By Al Ruggero
In all probability, readers of this newspaper are well aware of and live daily with the traffic impacted by the construction of the Finch West LRT. Upon completion, the LRT will see the introduction of Light Rail Vehicles riding on a raised guideway along Finch Avenue, from the Keele Street subway station to another terminus at Highway 27. The project will undoubtedly become a boon to the neighbourhoods and business establishments along this vital corridor. Expected completion is projected for the end of 2023, but delays caused by COVID-19, and, more recently, striking union workers may portend future delays.
Together with other stakeholders, the Emery Village BIA has been active with Metrolinx and Mosaic Transit, to call attention to the traffic issues created by the ongoing construction with a view to mitigate and bring solutions to the table. They have also raised awareness with their membership with notices and alerts for road, intersection closures and lane restrictions that would have them make adjustments to shipping and receiving routes and schedules.
On a related traffic topic, The Finch West Goods Movement Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is a step closer to completion following COVID-19 associated delays.
This city led transportation planning study is linked to the Finch West LRT plans and is partially funded by Metrolinx, the City of Toronto, and brought forward in partnership with the Emery Village BIA and Duke Heights BIA. Together, Emery Village and Duke Heights BIAs form the largest BIA based employment zones which are heavily dependent on commercial vehicle transportation to continue to support their employment areas.
In 2019, the study consultants held a series of meetings with stakeholders and the public to receive input and identify issues and potential improvements with the road network.
Recently the project official leading the study announced that the TMP is developing a set of recommendations and an implementation strategy to support the viability of freight and goods movement over the short and long term within the study area.
The key objectives of the study area are to:
• Address traffic congestion and commercial truck movements with the consideration of Finch Ave. West Light Rail Transit (LRT).
• Establish a collaborative process to gather feedback from Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and other key stakeholders.
• Enhance 400 Series Highway Access.
• Improve Safety and Active Transportation facilities (e.g., sidewalks and bikeways).
• Maintain or improve healthy neighbourhoods, natural and cultural environment, and social equity.
The final public information centre (PIC) will be held on June 23, where the recommendations will be shared with the public.
Following the final PIC, the City’s staff report detailing the recommendations to the City of Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee, followed by Council, will occur in the first quarter of 2023. Notification of this virtual event will be sent in June.
While additional information and details will be forthcoming, you can also learn more about the study and the upcoming meeting by contacting Al Ruggero, Project Manager, Emery Village BIA.