Lansdowne is due for a makeover. A lane of car parking is being taken out; the sidewalk widened; the main drive lanes widened; bike lanes being put in between Bloor and Davenport; and a boulevard of trees put in. And the residents are up in arms. Their message: never, ever touch our precious parking.
I ride Lansdowne a lot. It sucks. The lanes are incredibly narrow for such high traffic - there is no easy escape from the car doors. The road bed is a mess of potholes that have sprouted along the buried streetcar line that you can sometimes see visible through the holes. (Once upon a time the streetcar came down from St. Clair in the steepest and tightest turn in the city.) Plus sections of Lansdowne look decrepit and lonely with a lack of trees.
The proposed roadwork will solve all the main issues of Lansdowne, and may even bring up some property values in the area. What the residents are calling "narrowing" is not something random and capricious: it is a way of rebalancing the space on the street to accommodate the real uses by cyclists, pedestrians, and even cars driving through. And all it means is a few people lose their parking.
I ask the residents to just start using their back alley parking again and get over it - we don't need to sacrifice our safety just so you get prime car parking.
You can read the staff report (pdf), and tell Giambrone you think he's doing a good thing (that is if you agree with me).
BlogTO commentaryTue, 05/29/2007 - 11:00
There's some great discussion in the comments section of BlogTOs coverage of this.
Steve (not verified)
Lansdownre ResidentsFri, 06/01/2007 - 16:35
Everyone should ask the residents WHAT THEY REALLY THINK about this. Ask them what would make their commun ity safer. TREES OR GETTTING ROD OF THE VIOLENCE AND CRIME WEVE BEEN THROUGH FOR OVER 25 YEARS.
TY Steve email me email@example.com the O in my last name is a zero
Anonymous (not verified)
LansdowneSun, 06/03/2007 - 01:09
I'm completely sympathetic to the residents.
How can we accept a government that applauds itself for involving the community and claims to want to pass on more responsibilities to the community while at the same time that same community is completely shut out of the process and both the Mayor and the Councillor involved lie about? if this happened in my neighborhood i'd be seeing red too!
I guess the only involvement Miller wants from us is the 'donation' of our money via his revenue tools so he can spruce up his office and give himself a whopping raise.
Anonymous (not verified)
I thought this blog was forMon, 06/04/2007 - 10:53
I thought this blog was for dicussions about cycling on Toronto's streets? I think you guys found the wrong blog.
carolyn (not verified)
narrowing lansdowneFri, 06/01/2007 - 20:47
As a resident on St. Clarens Ave, one blk E of lansdowne and as a cyclist you need to be aware of the fact the Adam Giambrone promised , in writting, that there would be community consultation about this issue. He DID NOT and has only stone walled us as a neighbourhood to answer our questions. I ask all of you, would you not be upset??
And yes, people are upset about the traffic and parking because whether we like it or not Lansdowne is the one main road way that connects us on and off of the Gardnier, narrowing it will only cause more congestion and force drivers on to more residential roads. As for the parking many of the homes are used for multigenerational homes or are rented out , so ya where are they going to park, again on the residential streets where parking is already maxed out. So while the narrowing of Lansdowne sounds "green" over here is sure feels "MEAN"
Lansdowne Resident (not verified)
Industrial Traffic on Lansdowne- Not Fit for BicyclistsTue, 06/05/2007 - 20:53
I love bicycles, but do not think that Lansdowne with traffic including cement mixers (there is a cement factory that uses this street), buses and fire trucks is a great street for bicyclists...in fact, it frightens me when I see bicyclists on Lansdowne as I am afraid that they are going to be blown away by the wind generated by these vehicles as they pass...
Bicycle lanes need to be on streets that do not have industrial traffic. I speak as someone who knows of a bicyclist killed by a truck merely passing him at a high speed as he was knocked over by the tailwind....
Residential streets are much safer for bikes- Lansdowne is a major north-south artery with 17,000 vehicles on it a day, with parallel residential streets much safer for bikes.
Mr. Lansdowne Resident: leave cycling safety to the expertsTue, 06/05/2007 - 22:57
What a ridiculous idea. Any large vehicles on Lansdowne are not going to attain speeds even getting close to fast enough to suck a cyclist into their slipstream. I should know as I bike on it all the time.
The fact is is that Lansdowne is a minor arterial and it's ripe for being made friendlier for cyclists. This is something recognized in the Bike Plan and by cyclists. There are other arterial roads with bike lanes that also get "industrial traffic" with no problem: Davenport, Sherbourne, College, Bloor Viaduct, and so on. There is nothing special about Lansdowne. If anything it's quieter than some of the other streets.
In your mind cyclists love to go on residential streets at 5 km/h and stop at every stop sign just because it is somehow much "safer". We appreciate your paternalistic concern, but you would be wrong. The majority of commuter cyclists, in fact, much prefer fast, direct routes.
Whoever you are Mr. Lansdowne Resident, I'd appreciate it if you put your real name. I've been seeing this 17,000 statistic keep popping up. It's just a little too suspicious that they are all comments by one person under different "nom de plume". Don't you think it's much better just to have a straightforward discussion?
steve (not verified)
herb come ride your bikeTue, 04/15/2008 - 00:28
herb come ride your bike on lansdowne now and see how safe it is. what a joke
Giambrone has made a mockery of the bike plan a nd pedestrian charter
I use Lansdowne all the timeTue, 04/15/2008 - 11:59
I ride on Lansdowne all the time and find that the portion below Bloor is much nicer to ride on than the portion above Bloor. I would even say it's safer - wider lanes and more room for cyclists to ride next to moving and parked cars. I can't wait until they redo the top portion.
Sorry, Steve. I completely disagree with you.
Anonymous (not verified)
No True Bike PathsSun, 06/10/2007 - 16:59
Actually, the reconstruction of Lansdowne will not include true bike paths according to the report.
Anonymous (not verified)
Look at Lansdowne Now- During ConstructionFri, 06/22/2007 - 03:02
This is the true litmus test. Look at Lansdowne with fewer lanes now, as it is beginning to be narrowed, and see the traffic jams.
Let your eyes tell you that narrowing Lansdowne will make it unsafe for a bicyclists when it is narrower as it is will be a bottleneck with fewer lanes.
construction is not a litmus testFri, 06/22/2007 - 10:52
The construction is not a litmus test because the parking still exists on the east side and the roadway has been blocked for one and a half (if I recall correctly) lanes on the west side. This means that motor vehicles have to take turns to get through; hardly an accurate representation of how the roadway will function when it is completed.
Anonymous (not verified)
Bottlenecks?Mon, 06/25/2007 - 14:33
Have you ever taken a bike down that stretch of Lansdowne. You can't possibly make it worse than it already is. Where are these supposed bottlenecks going to occur after narrowing happens?
Bicyclist (not verified)
No Bike PathsThu, 08/16/2007 - 10:55
There will be no bicycle lanes on Lansdowne. The street has lost 11 feet of width, and bicycles will no longer be able to fit on the street beside industrial traffic.
The reconstruction of Lansdowne is counter to the greening policy of the city- the vehicle emissions of the traffic will increase due to the traffic calming measures as this street will now become a bottleneck. Go look at the first section of Lansdowne as it is presently reconstructed- and you will see traffic bumps and narrowed access that will impede the emergency response, wheeltrans and bus routes. They will actually create traffic accidents and traffic jams.
The reconstruction of the first half of Lansdowne Street will be disastrous for traffic flow, and the second half will be more of the same.
Councillor Giambrone has disrupted an entire neighbourhood with the imposition of his urban design.
Joe LaFortune (not verified)
No Bike LanesThu, 08/16/2007 - 13:00
Narrowing the road will not create traffic jams and accidents. A narrower road by itself cannot possibly cause congestion and collisions. Motorists who insist on using a residential street like Lansdowne like it was a thru-way, however, will be the cause of any future problems though. People need to use their cars only when absolutely necessary.
Anonymous (not verified)
Lansdowne is an arterial road... not residentialSun, 08/26/2007 - 18:16
Joe, Lansdowne is deemed to be an arterial road by the City, not residential as you claim. In fact, the City has said clearly that it sees no decrease in traffic volume for this route following implementation of the City's plan. Given that following the plan there will no longer be a 3rd lane for moving traffic to use during morning and afternoon rush hours (4hrs per day), there is definitely going to be more congestion on this stretch of road during rush hours. I agree that people need to use there cars only when absolutely necessary but this plan is not the solution.
Also, if anyone is under the belief that the plan is more pedestrian friendly, please go check out the sidewalk they have built on the east side. It is no wider than it was previous. However it has been placed right next to what will be a moving lane of traffic that gets about 17,000 vehicles a day....whereas before, pedestrians walking on that side had a buffer provided by parked cars. Even worse, is the fact that the hydro poles are on side of the sidewalk furthest from the street. Psychologically and physically, the setup leaves pedestrians feeling more exposed to fast moving traffic than ever. The layout is unlike anything Toronto has done previously on an arterial road. The boulevard has been placed between the sidewalk and residents' homes, rather than beside the road where it could have provided a buffer for pedestrians.
Time to grass over LansdowneSun, 08/26/2007 - 20:35
It is time that all roads in Toronto are reduced to two lanes as they come up for reconstruction.
There is no way that 17 000 people live on Lansdowne, why so many cars. Like most every other road taxpayers are getting soaked to provide roads to 905'ers- people that pay Toronto no taxes. Just like the proposed Front Street Extension who's only purpose is to get 905'ers home faster. Two lane roads, with a few exceptions, would be enough to care for the people that live in Toronto. Lansdowne is a road that goes nowhere, it is not like it connects any highways like Avenue Road.
Anonymous (not verified)
Darren, I'm not into nameFri, 08/31/2007 - 05:44
I'm not into name calling but you are making some extremely ignorant comments. Lansdowne doesn't go anywhere? Right... it only provides one of the few access points to and from the Lakeshore and to the Gardiner. You seem to have no idea of who is using the road. But why let that stop you from offering us your great insights.
The name calling.Fri, 08/31/2007 - 14:20
I would not be too worried about your name calling abilities when you cannot even name yourself. Hell, does that just sound like school yard talk.
I am worried about your facts though. Lansdowne is an access point for the Gardiner and Lakeshore? Suggest you look at a map, Lansdowne ends at Queen.
I live on a road that is supposed to have some 20 000 cars a day using it M-F. Reducing it to two lanes...which should be happening soon... will have little affect on it. Even when the DVP is closed it would manage as a two lane road.
LansdowneFri, 08/31/2007 - 15:29
Yeah, Lansdowne ends at Queen, but half a block to the west is Jameson Ave. which leads right down to the Lakeshore and Gardiner. I would imagine that motorists use Lansdowne as an access point to that area.
It never seems like Lansdowne is the bottleneck though... In my limited experience (I could be wrong), Jameson is clogged up all the time, but Lansdowne flows relatively freely. I don't really see how the narrowing will affect access to the Lakeshore/Gardiner in any significant way.
Not sure why anyone would want all that Gardiner-bound traffic on their residential street anyway...
lanewaysTue, 05/29/2007 - 14:15
So they actually have laneways where they can park? Do you know if that's along the whole street?
I would have thought people who live nearby and drive on Lansdowne would be opposed, but people who actually live on Lansdowne would be all for this change. Lower speed traffic, bigger sidewalks in front of your house, more trees on your street, higher home resale value (I don't know how many are renters around there).
LanewaysTue, 05/29/2007 - 15:05
There are laneways on both sides of Lansdowne between College and Bloor. You can see them in the Google satellite photos.
I bet many/most of the houses along there probably only have space to park one car each off the laneway. Two if they're lucky. But I'm sure MANY of those homes have two or more units, and therefore more cars. Also cars for people visiting, delivering, etc...etc...
They bring up other excuses about more traffic congestion, slower emergency vehicle access, etc.... but I'm pretty sure the protest is almost entirely about parking spaces and nothing else.
I can totally see why they are upset. But I don't really feel bad for them. I would be VERY excited if they got rid of the parking in front of my house on Symington and added wider sidewalks and more trees. but I'm sure many of the neighbours wouldn't be as happy as me.
steve (not verified)
lanewaysFri, 06/01/2007 - 16:31
The laneways in my area are some of the worst laneways when it comes to public safety and there have been many victims and there continues to be victims.
Ther is also NO-PARKING in the laneways and the reason why the ON STREET PERMITS ARE SO LOW is because people are sick and tired of thier cars getting broken into, vandalized and even burned so dont judge us residents until youve walked in our shoes.
email is firstname.lastname@example.org the O in my last name is a zero
Anonymous (not verified)
parking in the lanewaysSun, 06/24/2007 - 01:11
yes, both sides of lansdowne have laneways. Try leaving your car there overnight and you will have a pretty yellow surprise. There is no parking in the laneways.
But the issue is not about parking. They reduced a lane on Lansdowne and Queen and look what happened there. Yes, traffic is less but it all went to a side street, Sourauren. Google that street between 4 and 6 and see the traffic flow. If you don't know Sourauren before narrowing the street their was very little traffic, you could play street hockey which we did all the time. Their is a baseball field and a park and 2 schools in that area and that means lots of children. GREAT IDEA.....Our traffic will do the same and why do I care??? To avoid the wait on Lansdowne the traffic will end up going thru margaretta where Brock school is located. My child safety comes 1st and the schools are not fully staffed due to funding and nobody was to see a child hurt. It took us 2 yrs to get Mario Silva to allow speed bumps in front of the school and he only put it in when a student got hurt by a CAR.
Also, instead of people putting down the residents of Lansdowne they should be proud that we are making a statement. Counsillors are elected to represent us and I find it disgusting when a resident goes to their counsillor with concerns and he tells them he will do what he wants. This is not the 1st time they let us down. You think bloor and lansdowne is BAD, you should of saw it 20 yrs ago. We at that time had petition and force our government to do something. It was good for a few yrs and look at it again. Why???? Because their to busy on narrowing our street when we would be happier if they put that money into cleanning bloor/lansdowne.
geoffrey (not verified)
Lansdowne narrowingTue, 05/29/2007 - 19:50
Bike lanes! Where are the bike lanes! While Mr. Miller (yes the same one) was metro councillor for Parkdale Lansdowne was narrowed between Queen and Rideout. There is NO WAY to ride this section without taking the lane. Before the narrowing was begun I asked him about bike lanes. He never did answer. Some things DON'T change.
Bikelanes north of Bloor? What about those who use the section south of Bloor? Are they expected to tolerate belligerant motorholics rolling up behind them, revving their engines, leaning on their horns and screaming for them to get off the road? Or is this the message the city is trying to convey to cyclists? Despite the HTA accepts bicycles as vehicles and cyclists have rights to use the road the city has deigned to make it as difficult for them as possible? WTF?
math (not verified)
fighting for bike lanesWed, 05/30/2007 - 14:58
I think we should give up the fight for bike lanes on major city streets where we will always be exposed to cars and just work towards getting bike 'routes' (ie use the whole road, not just a lane!) on quiet residential streets instead.
I dont understand why cyclists fight so much to get 2 feet of a busy street where you can get cut off by a right turning car in a bike lane, when many through streets exist all over the city. The places we DO need bike lanes is where there are no alternates over an obstacle (highway, bridge over ravine, railway, etc) and there are no other through streets (yonge at Summerhill for eg).
Thats where bikes need a lane so they're not stuck in traffic jams (which bikes are supposed to reduce in the first place, but then get penalized by having to wait in traffic anyway!) Yonge south from Heath any weekday morning is a prime example.
Fight for a bike lane there instead of lansdowne - except at the railway crossing where there are no alternates (Margueretta, 2 blocks east, doesnt cross the tracks near dupont). Thats the only place they're needed - make Marguerretta a Prime Bike Highway with Cars:Stop/Bikes:Yield signs the whole way down and you're going to have a much better solution.
steve (not verified)
life long resident of LansdowneFri, 06/01/2007 - 16:23
im sorry Herb, but for you to make this just about prime parking is disrespectful and shows the lack of understanding of what the residents of this area have suffered for over 25 years. The MAIN ISSUE is making our neighbourhood safe. Our BACK ALLEYS are filled with drug addicts, theives, hookers, muggers , rapists and many others who have and will continue to victimize the residents until everyone acknowledges the plague in our community and not the condition of the street. HOW ABOUT THE CONDITIONS OF THE PEOPLE WHO FEEL LIKE PRISONERS IN THEIR OWN HOME. Even prisoners have VISITATION RIGHTS. The parking concern for me is that our family and friends can be able to visit us,spend time with us, laugh with us, celebate with us and even mourn with us. Many residents have parking issues when it comes visitor parking and they shoud have sympathy for us. We also share our street with 17,000 vehicles a day and many cyclists. It should say something that there is NO BIKE LANE being added to Lansdowne (College to Bloor) It is a main road for not just cars and trucks but for cyclists and TTC passengers. Congestion, noise pollution, smog and gridlock already are issues we deal with on a daily basis. This new plan doesnt even have a place for the bus to stop going Northbound (2 stops- Near crosswalk and laundry) Now that everyone willl be forced to take the back alley there will be stopped cars waiting in the middle of the lane so they can enter the back alley ( Go see now that St. Clarens is closed) ITS A MESS and that is going to be our future of not just the people that live in the neighbourhood but ANYONE THAT COMMUTES IN THE WEST END FROM HIGH PARK TO LAKESHORE TO BATHURST TO EGLINTON. THIS IS A CITY ISSUE AND CONCERN.
The biggest reason we should have the WHOLE CITY'S SUPPORT is the fact that we were not consulted and the councillor has not worked with the community. how can he claim that HALF OF US DON'T CARE when this is going to affect our lives and our livlihood. It will make our busy lives even harder than they are and isolate us from many things. There willl be less "neighbourhood watch" because of the lack of people in the front especially after dark .
Residents will have to use the back alley to drop off kids, seniors , and the diabled and then become victims much easily and there has been many of us already.
IT IS A SLAP IN THE FACE WHEN THE CITY SAYS THEY WANT TO MAKE OUR COMMUNITY MORE SAFER AND BEAUTIFUL WITH THIS PROJECT. i LOVE TREES AND OUR STREET HAS MANY BIG BEUTIFUL TREES, BUT I WOULDNT TRADE THEM FOR MY 'REAL SAFETY AND WELL BEING AND THOSE OF MY NEIGHBOURS. THE AREA ISNT GREAT BUT MY
NEIGHBOURS ARE GREAT AND SHOULDNT BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE LIKE THIS BECAUSE THEY DONT SPEAK ENGLISH AS A FIRST LANGUAGE. THEY ARE SOME OF THE MOST DECENT,KIND,POLITE,HARD WORKINGS NEIGHBOURS THAT MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS AND HAVE BEEN VICTIMS FOR MANY YEARS. DONT LET THE CITY VICTIMIZE THEM ANY MORE.
Thank you for reading this and i have tons of stats why this is a bad idea.
You can reach me at email@example.com *the O in my last name is a zero ty
bike routesSat, 06/02/2007 - 11:27
From what I understand the plan is to add bike lanes from Bloor up to Davenport. The section from College to Bloor will be made wide enough to safely accommodate cyclists in the through lanes.
The major issue on Lansdowne for cyclists currently is that the through lanes are just too narrow. When I bike down Lansdowne I am forced into a very uncomfortable situation right next to parked cars. This puts my life at risk.
To be comfortable there needs to be enough space that cyclists can avoid car doors on the right side and still allow cars to drive on the left without going into oncoming traffic or squeezing cyclists into the parked cars.
So, while I understand your community concerns, I feel that this plan will improve traffic flow and cyclist safety by taking out a lane of parking. It's always a trade-off and I feel the city planners made the right choice.
By the way, Steve, you might want to edit your writing for if you want to be fully understood and be taken seriously. A good chunk of your comment is about "VICTIMS" and "PRISONERS", like if you capitalize them somehow we will take you at your word. Sorry, you'll have to do better than that.
Your caps lock key is brokenWed, 06/06/2007 - 08:01
You seem very adamant about this issue. Unfortunately you seem a bit shrill and your arguments are lacking in the logic department. Adding bike lanes and narrowing roads does not victimize a community. Once the changes are made and you get used to them, you will realize that it was a positive change.
Scott (not verified)
one more lansdowne commentWed, 06/06/2007 - 23:56
I ride a bike, and have for 20 years in this city. I'm all for more bike lanes.
But I live on a side street beside Lansdowne. The city's own report admits that the plan will increase congestion and slowdowns, even at "half capacity." This will almost certainly force more traffic onto residential side streets. Mine (St. Clarens) is already being used as a high-speed short cut to Bloor – if this plan goes through the situation will just be worse, and put the safety of kids and families – including mine – in jeopardy.
All we're asking is that Giambrone actually consult with the community. Having one public presentation, followed by Giambrone allegedly going door to door to poll the residents, so we have to take his word for it that we're all in favour, is just not acceptable.
Sam Galati (not verified)
Whether people agree withFri, 06/08/2007 - 03:53
Whether people agree with the City's plan or not, how does anyone think they can justify the lack of consultation that has taken place on this issue with residents on whose doorstep this change is to take place? Regardless of whether you think residents are right or wrong in their concerns, they are just as much entitled to due process and consultation as residents in other areas of the city. If you want to dismiss their concerns, that's your right. But don't pretend that you've actually tried to understand what these concerns are when you haven't.
Regarding the person who said they don't want to cycle on residential streets because of stop signs, you should know that the streets parallel to Lansdowne between college and bloor have about as many stop signs as you would find on Lansdowne itself.
I'm a cyclist myself and I am all for bike lanes where they can be put in without disadvantaging the elderly and disabled residents who are already present in a given neighborhood and whose mobility is dependent on the street having certain features. I would suggest that this stretch of Lansdowne, with the amount of traffic it sees, presents special challenges for elderly and disabled residents that more quiet residential streets do not. Does that mean that we should ignore the needs of cyclists? I don't think so. But maybe it means we need to think more creatively about how we meet those needs so that we don't disadvantage our more vulnerable members of society. Maybe it means that this city needs a range of solutions that fit the circumstances of the particular street and the people who are living there.
Am I for bike lanes? Yes. But not for bike lanes that have been built on the backs of elderly and disabled residents. And before anyone accuses me of being dramatic, try to make the effort to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is far less mobile than you are, perhaps one of the elderly or disabled residents who live on our street and are concerned about the impact it will have on them. If you really think hard, you might be able to come up with some ideas about why these individuals are concerned about this plan. Maybe you'll be able to appreciate that using the back alley for some of these individuals isn't always as easy as you suggest it is -- especially given the incidence of crime in some of these alleys.
Some people are supportive of the City's plan, and that's fine. However, before dismissing residents' concerns outright, maybe some effort needs to be made to better understand what these concerns are.
sam galati (not verified)
Math -- I think your comment is right on!Fri, 06/08/2007 - 04:00
Math, I think your comment about bike routes and how we can shape spaces to better serve cyclists is bang on. I say that as both a cyclist and as a resident on Lansdowne.
Elderly and DisabledFri, 06/08/2007 - 11:04
Sam, you're wayyy off saying the bikelanes are "built on the backs" of the elderly and disabled. If that isn't a "trolling" comment, I don't know what is.
For one, this stretch of Lansdowne is NOT getting bikelanes (only the part north of Bloor is), only wider traffic lanes which will make it safer for cyclists to bike alongside motorized traffic.
Secondly, narrowing Lansdowne will make the street safer for the elderly and disabled because it shifts the focus of the street a little more towards not-motorized travel (whether it be cyclists or rollerbladers or pedestrians), meaning the traffic may have to travel a little slower to look out for people crossing this people-friendler street.
Sam Galati (not verified)
My elderly and disabled neighbors are concernedFri, 06/08/2007 - 20:56
Joe, I honestly don't about whether a bike lane is going in on this stretch of road or not. The comment wasn't intended as a trolling comment but my apologies if that is how it came across.
With respect to your other comments, I would say that if it was made clear to me that traffic on this stretch of road was going to decrease substantially, then I might be for this plan. However, I haven't seen how that is going to take place. This is an area where traffic has increased substantially in recent years given all the new developments that have been built in the area. What I and others here are concerned about is the prospect of increased congestion -- just as the fire department has gone on record as predicting.
You are certainly entitled to think that the changes will make the street safer for the disabled and elderly because you seem to think that traffic will need to slow down because of the people who will be crossing the street. You are entitled to this view, but more than a few people would think it is nonsense to think this way given the volume of traffic that this road sees and the behaviour of some drivers. Many disabled and elderly people have explicitly said that they are concerned that this plan will force them to dodge traffic on a busy street, when now they don't have to. You seem to think that cars will slow down for them. But these elderly and disabled people aren't so sure of this. They are not buying your argument -- and they are the ones facing this risk.
If the City's plan is in fact premised on the understanding that traffic volume will decrease substantially on this route, don't you think it makes sense to first test that premise rather than creating a route that seniors, disabled and others will feel poses added risk to them?
self-elected community leadersMon, 06/11/2007 - 23:00
With the lack of consultation it seems we only have Sam's word to take over the "many" elderly and disabled residents who are concerned about the road work. And since these residents understand so little English they need someone like Sam to translate and "explain" the plan to them. In fact, it seems as if Sam doesn't even need to explain things to them, he just knows what position they would take as if he had explained it to them.
Sam, it's not like you are a disinterested interpreter and sociologist in this whole mess. Why should we believe you any more than Giambrone?
And why, pray tell, is the status quo the only way of making your "elderly and disabled people" happy? Can there be no other accommodation less than an entire lane of parking?
Sam Galati (not verified)
Herb, try to understand why people are concerned - seriously tryTue, 06/12/2007 - 18:18
If you are sincerely interested in learning the views of people on our street, then please make your way over here. Please don't suggest that it is only my word -- I may be the one writing this comment on your blog. But it is not only "my word". It is probably more likely the case that many others who are more than capable of speaking to this issue either don't have the time or the inclination to make their way ove to your site. Maybe they don't see it as a priority to post a comment on the site of someone who seems either incapable or unwilling to make an effort to understand why some residents are opposd to the City's plan. But I assure you, these people exist, even if they haven't posted comments on your site.
If I am posting a comment on your site it is in the hope that it will help you and your visitors develop some insight regarding the opposition that is out there. If this is appreciated, great. If it isn't, that's ok with me as well.
When did I ever say I was a disinterested interpreter or witness? I live on the street and have a stake in what happens here. For you to suggest that I am the interpreter for many folks on the street is just absurd and frankly, in my view, more than a little patronizing with respect to the people who live on the street.
If you sincerely want to find out what will make some of the disabled and elderly residents happy on this street, I suggest you make the effort to go speak with them. You might want to start with the homes on the east side that have permanent disabled parking spaces in front.
Herb, you can try to discredit me all you like, short of making libelous statements of course. However, when someone is attacking the messenger, it's probably a sign that they are making little headway in countering the points that have been made.
Time OutWed, 06/13/2007 - 09:00
Okay, you're both getting riled up... and to avoid this becoming an even bigger disagreement, let me step in. :)
Sam, you obviously care deeply about your stretch of Lansdowne, so you may be the best person to answer these questions:
1) How many disabled spaces (which are slated to be removed) are used regularly. The city staff report on this states that there are two permits for disabled parking along this stretch, and that the owners of one permit has informed the city that it is no longer needed.
2) Apparently, many of the parking spaces on this stretch of Lansdowne are not used. Traffic counts show that overnight parking is below half the available capacity, and will remain below capacity after the improvements are made. Do you have other studies that contradict this?
3) How do wider sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and slower/safer traffic inconvenience the disabled or elderly, exactly? Common sense tells me that these things will make things safer.
I think your answers to these questions will help us all come to terms with the issues surrounding this reconstruction.
Scott (not verified)
looking past the detailsWed, 06/13/2007 - 10:44
The issue isn't the number of parking spots used or unused. The issue is that the city's own plan acknowledges that even though Lansdowne will only be at half capacity after the plan is finished, it will still increase congestion and will slow traffic. The effect on side streets such as St. Clarens (which is alreday being used as a high-speed short cut by tow trucks and sports cars) has not been considered at all. In fact, residents on surrounding streets were never officially informed of the plan.
The resident safety issue has much to do with increasing the distance that people have to walk to their doors, and having more people needing to use their laneways, when most residents would consider the overall environment unsafe.
Also, the official rationale for the plan keeps changing: is it a greening plan? Is it about getting more people onto transit? Is it about smoother traffic flow? Is it about the safety of residents? Hard to tell. I've heard all those reasons, but they seem to be mutually contradictory.
Many residents acknowledge that parts of the plan might be positive. Personally, I'd like to see full-up bike lanes on Lansdowne. Why aren't there bike lanes in the plan? Without hearing from as many area residents as possible, it's difficult to come up with a plan that addresses most people's needs.
Knocking on a couple of doors, after announcing the plan to a limited number of area residents, simply doesn't qualify as community consultation.
CongestionWed, 06/13/2007 - 11:07
Scott, the only thing that I can find about increased congestion in the city document is:
This only refers to the intersections at Bloor and at College. If you have access to other facts, please share them with us (with proper referencing).
Also, in reference to your statement that:
Please explain how they are contradictory. Pursuing urban planning philosophies that shift away from making motor vehicle travel paramount help most of those goals you mentioned - environmental, making public transit more attractive, pedestrian safety. And, as an added benefit, the more people who choose to get around the city by foot, bike or transit (or carpooling), the more congestion will be eased - creating "smoother traffic flow".
Scott (not verified)
your points, JoeWed, 06/13/2007 - 11:37
1) Anything which increases congestion at the intersections increases the likelihood that people will decide instead to use side streets as short cuts – more than they already are. As a resident on one of those side streets, I object to the plan partly because until a few short weeks ago I didn't even know about it. It's difficult to have input when you're in the dark.
BTW, getting speed humps or traffic calming on my side street to counter this effect requires an official city poll, and we need 60% of residents to respond before any results are valid, and then we have to get a majority. This is for a basic safety feature needed on our street as a result of the plan. No such poll was required for the Lansdowne plan; merely some door-to-door polling on the Councillor's behalf. He can't point to any official results supporting the plan because there aren't any.
2) As for the mutually contradictory reasons for the plan, how does traffic increasing from 1/3 capacity to 1/2 capacity ease congestion? That's one basic contradiction. And while I generally agree that we could all be walking and biking more, and fewer cars mean more pedestrian safety, it's hard to argue that in a higher crime area where residents don't feel safe for reasons other than cars.
As I said, the plan has some benefits I'd like to see, and some I'd like to see expanded (like bike lanes). I just want to see them within a context that the community has been consulted on and had input into, so more of our needs are addressed.
Just because the plan is perceived as green or bike friendly does not give Council or the Councillor the right to impose it without proper community consultation.
Sam Galati (not verified)
Fire Department concerned about congestionThu, 06/14/2007 - 02:20
If you read the City report carefully, you will see on page 4 or 5 that the Fire Department says it is concerned that the plan will lead to more congestion. Seriously, flip to that page and you will see the reference. Now if the Fire Department is going on record as anticipating more congestion, I'm going to figure that they have a reason for this. Also note that on Page 5, the Fire Department also expresses concernst that they are anticipating increased response times and even situations in which it will be difficult for vehicles to pull over for fire fighting crews to pass.
I realize that many want to dismiss residents' concerns as groundless. But please read the report.
FireThu, 06/14/2007 - 09:46
Sam, I've read the report. Don't imply otherwise.
Yes, the Fire Department has concerns, and "Despite a number of
inquiries, there were no responses from the Toronto Police Service or Emergency
Medical Services." which looks like the Police and the Ambulance Services do not have concerns.
Considering that have the parking spots on Lansdowne are always empty (even after the reconstruction), drivers will have no problem pulling over to let firetrucks by.
sam galati (not verified)
Actually Joe, I thought theThu, 06/14/2007 - 11:04
I thought the same thing until one of my neighbors called polic and EMS officials... and were told that they did raise concerns only that the concerns didn't make it into the report. I believe my neighbor said that EMS sent in a 2 1/2 page response that someone indicated was lost on some desk somewhere.
Parking InfoWed, 06/13/2007 - 10:53
In case anyone is wondering where I'm getting my information from, refer to the PDF Herb linked to in the original post. I'll quote some good parts for you:
So, basically, there are 59 overnight parking permits for this stretch of Lansdowne. An average of 54 spaces are used overnight, and an average of 33 are used during the day.
I fail to see how reducing available parking spaces from 203 to 110 equals the end of the world like Sam Galati is proposing. The worst case scenario is that someone will have to walk across the street to get to their parked car - a street that will only have 2 lanes of traffic and will be more pedestrian friendly.
sam galati (not verified)
inaccuracies in reportThu, 06/14/2007 - 02:40
The City's report about this plan makes reference to the Councillor (NOT the resident) advising that the handicapped/disabled space for a particular address is no longer required or will no longer be required. Well, when that family read the report and came to that comment, they were livid. Why? As they told me, they have been trying for some time now to have their situation addressed by the Councillor and City Staff. And they say that NOT ONCE, did they ever say that they didn't require this disabled space. But in any case, whether they need it or not, is besides the point given that with the changes being made to the road, they will be losing this disabled parking space... a space that they have had for over 25 years. Do you think that is fair? If you don't believe me about this, you can ask them yourself. I know that you know their address already.
When I see the comment in the City's report that this disabled space is no longer required -- and the family who has it is telling me that they DO require it, guess which source I am more likely to believe? There are other areas in the report that many people living on the street find questionable -- for example, the parking counts.
Herb, when I say that there are a number of people who feel their concerns have not been addressed, I mean exactly that. I'm not going to take the time to write up all their situations. I will say though that these people are as entitled to having their concerns addressed on this issue, just as you would be if such a major change was planned for your street. Yes I care deeply about this street, but what I care even more deeply about is that people not be ignored.
I'm merely questioning your authorityWed, 06/13/2007 - 12:21
I'm merely questioning your authority, Sam, as you've presented it on this blog. If you make claims as to who is for or against the reconstruction it would be helpful if you were upfront on how you collected your information and whether we can trust it.
Scott (not verified)
"authority"?Wed, 06/13/2007 - 14:10
Herb, I'm not sure it's a matter of "authority". The fact that 100 to 150 area residents turned out to protest at Sunday's parade, as well as dozens more throughout the week at the "driver education" actions, speaks to Sam's point about many people in the area (a sizeable portion of whom are elderly) being unhappy with the plan as is, and about the lack of consultation.
When it comes to authority, Herb, the more important point has to do with the Councillor's poll of residents. What were the results? Where exactly did he poll? By what authority does he claim to have community support for the plan?
That's one of the questions that the Lansdowne resident's group is asking, and so far there has been nothing but vague references to the Councillor's informal door-to-door chats with "some" residents of Lansdowne, at a time of day when many were likely to be at work.
If we're going to question "authority" and talk about "trust", how about we question the people who actually have authority, and who are about to impose their will on a community without proper consultation? Can we trust them? Should we trust them without thinking?
Sam Galati (not verified)
If people are protesting, it's because they are angryThu, 06/14/2007 - 02:05
Actually Scott, the number of people who came out to protest was about 200 -- and these are people who probably have never protested about anything prior to this issue. In case people are wondering why we would get this kind of a crowd out of people who are not the protesting type, I'll provide some explanation.
Many people who post comments on this blog seem to think it is just about the City's plan for the road. What they don't want to acknowledge is that if these people are angry to the extent that they are, it's because they see themselves being treated like second-class citizens and they have reached the point where they are furious about this. You can disagree with them all you want regarding their views about the City's plan. But what they are angry about is that they see extensive community consultation taking place for other areas -- but not for other areas.
Mayor Miller and Councillor Giambrone can tell the media ad infinitum that consultation took place with respect to the Lansdowne and that the Councillor did a door to door survey. But for the people who did not see proper consultation take place, the Mayor's and the Councillor's sound bites are likely having the same effect that waving a red flag in front of a bull would have. With all the communications expertise that I am sure is surrounding these two politicians, I am surprised that they have seemed not to budge on their media strategy.
I know some people want to use this blog to hash out residents' views of the street changes. But please don't think it is my job to present residents' views about whether they are happy with the City's plan or not. The point that I have been trying to make is that residents on Lansdowne are entitled to have their concerns dealt with in an open and transparent manner, in which due process is followed -- just as would be the case if the plan had been proposed for an area, say, like Dufferin Grove or High Park/Roncesvalles. Now, before you dismiss all this as using the "immigrant" card maybe you can ask what evidence you have that the Councillor did a door to door survey. Next, ask yourself if you would consider a door to door survey as appropriate community consultation for a major project that you cared deeply about and that you would need to live with each and every day.
If you are answering these questions truthfully to yourself, you are sure to develop some sense of why some people on Lansdowne are so angry right now. If you still feel entitled to dismiss their concerns, by all means, go right ahead. Do you think they are not already used to be ignored? They've had lots of practice with that. What they haven't haven't had a lot of practice at is protesting. But they do seem to be learning how to do it real quickly.
P.S. To the person who said that a Wheel Trans vehicle can stop anywhere, you should know that my disabled neighbor has already been told by the City and by Wheel Trans that he will only be picked up across the street from his house once the project is completed. Why? Because it takes about 10-15 minutes for him to get picked up and 10-15 to be dropped off and the proposed changes don't leave any room to stop on the east side of the street. Of course on a quiet residential street this would not be an issue but they have been told that it would not be feasible to hold up traffic on a busy route like Lansdowne for that amount of time. Now this daily Wheel Trans user is a heavyset man in a wheelchair, who also happens to be blind and speech incoherent. It is his frail, 76 year old mother who wheels him to and from the Wheel Trans each day. She is having a hard enough time wheeling him to the curb in front of her house now -- she really is dreading the prospect of having to wheel him across the street during rush hours, especially when the weather starts getting nasty. These are people who live just a few doors down from me. To those who drive or cycle down Lansdowne, you may not see them as you pass -- but I see them every day.
When I say that being able to pull up in front of one's home is a mobility issue for many elderly and disabled people, I mean that sincerely. You may still not want to acknowledge that these may be valid issues -- but then that doesn't mean that these aren't valid concerns. It only means that you choose to not regard them as valid.
mathFri, 06/08/2007 - 11:07
Math's comment has some merit, but an attitude like that can lead to the "ghetto-ization" of cyclists. Why don't Toronto taxpayers who chose to bike this city have a right to use EVERY street?
Why should major streets be the exclusive domain of drivers? What if they're from Brampton? Why should their presence trump a Toronto taxpayers right to bike on that street?
Anonymous (not verified)
Just narrow the damn street already!Thu, 06/14/2007 - 10:37
Sure there are people against this thing like there always is with change in an area but there are lots of people I know in the area who are super excited about it. This is a positive thing no matter how it's looked at. Just narrow the street and let's get on with our lives already! Lansdowne is an eyesore and is dangerous to drive/bike ride on as is. It is in serious need of improvements. And yes improvements I consider important like calming traffic, pedestrian crossings and less cracks/potholes are great for the area. Please improve the area Giambrone!