Beach residents are voicing traffic concerns a month before construction crews start closing parts of Leslie St. to install the new streetcar tracks that will link the Leslie Barns storehouse on Commissioners St. with Queen St. E.
About 100 residents gathered at tables set with maps and comment forms for a meeting hosted March 27 by the Toronto Transit Comission in the S.H. Armstrong Recreation Centre.
Many residents asked how the TTC plans to avoid traffic snarls at busy intersections along roads that parallel Leslie St., such as Carlaw Ave. and Greenwood Ave.
Residents who live on Leslie St. or other roads nearby asked how they will be able to get in and out of their homes during construction.
David Nagler, a TTC community relations manager for the project, said the heaviest construction is expected to last from May until December 2014.
“Bottom line – I don’t want to sugar coat this – construction is going to be exceptionally difficult,” he said.
Crews will fully or partially close parts of Leslie as they work north from Commissioners— an approach that Nagler said is faster than keeping one lane open along all of Leslie St. throughout the project.
During most of the work, five of the six east-west lanes that go in either direction on Queen St. E., Eastern Ave. and Lake Shore Blvd. E. will stay open to keep traffic flowing.
That will drop to four lanes during the complex track work at Queen St. E. and Leslie St. The intersection is expected to be closed for six weeks from March to May 2014.
Nagler said that timeline might be shortened if local residents are in favour of crews working with extended hours.
Another major closure on Leslie St. from Lake Shore Blvd. E. up to Mosley Ave. means a pair of temporary access roads will be built so drivers can access the shopping plazas on either side of Leslie St. at Lake Shore Blvd. E. The roads will allow for right turns in and out of the plaza parking lots, but they will cross a sidewalk and a bike path.
Speaking briefly at the start of the meeting, Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher called it a “small gathering” compared to the crowds of 200 and 300 who turned out for previous meetings that focused on the decision to build the storehouse at Ashbridges Bay.
Fletcher had opposed the location, but she joined several residents in welcoming the 204 new low-floor streetcars that required building the Leslie Barns as the first accessible streetcars in Toronto.
Given that the construction of the Leslie Barns has been underway since November, Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said her focus now is to make sure the project runs on time, on budget and with as little disruption as possible.
“I didn’t always think that was the best spot,” McMahon said. “But I’m not going to fight old battles.”
Residents can add their comments about traffic management during the Leslie Barns track construction until April 10 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the construction is also available on the project webpage at www.ttc.ca.