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September 8, 2004
St. Clair Streetcar Study team issues staff report
  
Following extensive public consultation, the St. Clair Streetcar Study project
team has finalized its recommendation. The report will be considered by the
City's Planning and Transportation Committee, Works Committee and the Toronto
Transit Commission at a joint meeting on September 13.

The report details the St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvements Class
Environmental Assessment. It seeks approval from the joint committees and
commission for the preferred design concept that calls for exclusive streetcar
lanes along St. Clair (Alternative # 6 in the study), and for staff to continue
with the next steps in the Environmental Assessment approval process.

The transit improvements recommended in the report will reduce congestion on
St. Clair, enhance pedestrian and driver safety and eliminate delays to transit
service that are caused by heavy traffic during rush hour and traffic patterns
on St. Clair Avenue West.

In addition to an exclusive lane for streetcars, the recommendations also
include two general purpose traffic lanes on each side of the streetcar lanes
during peak periods, enhanced street design with trees, furniture and public
art that will beautify the area, and parking spaces on both sides of St. Clair
for use during off-peak hours and weekends.

Rod McPhail, Director of Transportation Planning, City of Toronto said, "During
the study period, over 2,000 members of the public aired their concerns in
eight formal public meetings and workshops, 38 special stakeholder meetings,
and via hundreds of e-mail and voice mail messages. We listened to all these
concerns, then addressed and incorporated them into the various design plans.
Their input definitely made a difference."

"We not only had to determine how to improve transit operations along St. Clair
Avenue, but also how to address the needs of area businesses, neighbourhoods,
pedestrians, automobiles, delivery vehicles and cyclists. We listened to
everyone's concerns and used this a basis for developing a transit design
concept that would best serve the needs of all stakeholders."

Mitch Stambler, Manager at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) said, "Toronto
Police Services, Fire Services and Emergency Medical Services have been fully
consulted and have no objections to the proposed concept, subject to the
resolution of a small design detail pertaining to the centre of the reserved
lanes. These departments are continuing to work with the project team to
identify the best possible design."

The principal elements of the recommended design concept:

· Two centre lanes of St. Clair Avenue West between Yonge Street and Gunns Road
reserved for exclusive streetcar and emergency vehicle use protected by a
raised, but mountable trackbed;
· Two general purpose traffic lanes in each direction located on either side of
the streetcar tracks during peak periods;
· One general purpose traffic lane plus one parking lane in each direction
during off-peak periods and weekends;
· Left turn lanes provided at signalized intersections to permit left turns and
U-turns with their own special signal phases;
· On-street parking permitted on both sides of St. Clair during off-peak
weekday periods and on weekends;
· Enhanced streetscape, urban design, streetcar shelters and platforms, public
art and safety features in the overall design and implementation of the transit
improvement project.

The project cost is estimated at $25 million for trackbed replacement and an
additional $20 million for streetcar platforms and shelters, intersection
improvements, urban design enhancements, streetscaping, property acquisition
and public art. In addition, a number of City divisions have programmed and
budgeted for projects on St. Clair Avenue West, totalling $2.7 million in 2005,
which will be brought forward to coincide with construction of the project.
Additional funding for other components of the project will be brought forward
for 2006 budgets, including, streetlighting, urban design and parks
improvements. If all approvals are given, construction will begin in 2005.

Council passed Toronto's Official Plan in 2002. The Official Plan focuses on
city-building and identifies St. Clair Avenue West as one of many avenues for
future growth.

The staff report goes to City Council for consideration at its September 28-30
meeting. If the project is approved by Council, and environmental approvals are
obtained, the City and TTC will continue to consult with the public through the
detailed design phase.

The staff report is available on the City's Web site:
http://www.toronto.ca/planningstudies.

Media contacts:
Rod McPhail, Transportation Planning, 416-392-8100
Joanna Musters, Transportation Planning , 416-392-8572
Mitch Stambler, Toronto Transit Commission, 416-393-4460



 

 

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