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NEWS: Slowing the flow (Summer 2018)

August 12th, 2018 · No Comments

Spadina Road from Bloor to Dupont streets will be narrowed to create a safer space for pedestrians and cyclists. The new lanes will be installed in August, with tree planting and the widening of the sidewalks done at a later date. COURTESY MARTIN REIS

City moves to narrow car lanes on Spadina Road

By Temi Dada

Following an active campaign led by Sandra Shaul and other members of the Annex Residents’ Association (ARA), the City of Toronto is moving to give pedestrians a little more space (and safety) on Spadina Road.

“I’m not a downtown elitist who hates cars. I’m a downtown person that gets from A to B by walking or cycling. Cars are not the best way to get around so you have to respect other modes of transportation and make them safe,” said Shaul about her initiative to reduce the dangers of Spadina Road, particularly between Bloor and Dupont streets, where the road is wider than other parts of Spadina Road.

“The intention is to separate motorists slightly further away from the pedestrians on the sidewalk” —Bruce Clayton, manager, traffic operations

“The priority is the safety of citizens. As the city continues to grow, we have to redesign our streets from the focus of moving cars swiftly to moving pedestrians safely,” said Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina). “This is important in our downtown neighbourhood where many cars are driving in and out of the city to get to work, which is all the more reason to ensure that it is safe for the people walking or living nearby.”

The City of Toronto plans to slow traffic down in the area by narrowing Spadina Road between Bloor and Dupont streets and make wider sidewalks while retaining the road’s four-lane format. The road is currently 15.2 metres wide, and each lane is 3.8 metres. The narrowed passing lanes will be 3 metres, and the curb lanes will be 3.3 metres. The new lanes will be painted in August, with tree planting and widening of the sidewalks done at a later date, still not set.

“The intention is to separate motorists slightly further away from the pedestrians on the sidewalk to create a bit of a buffer area and increase pedestrians’ feeling of comfort walking on the sidewalk,” said Bruce Clayton, manager of traffic operations for Toronto and East York. “It is also hoped that by narrowing the lanes, motorists will reduce their speeds.”

Shaul has lived in three houses in the Annex over the course of 32 years, and calls that section of Spadina Road a racetrack, having seen various accidents in the area.

She also says the sidewalks and appearance of the street are due for an upgrade.

“My husband and I can’t walk side by side on Spadina Road because you might bump into a telephone pole or a parking meter.”

Her vision includes bringing back grassy boulevards and the tree canopy that once used to mark the street.

“We want safety and we want the city to look beautiful,” she said.

The city will also add two new traffic lights on Spadina Road next year. One will be between Bloor and College streets, and the other near Blue Butterfly Montessori School. And a new mid-block traffic control signal was approved for Spadina Road between Bloor Street and Lowther Avenue.

“These drivers think that when we want to ride our bicycles and walk it is just a nice recreational activity when all we really want is alternative forms of transportation,” said Shaul. “That’s why we need to improve the transit structure.”

Tags: Annex · News