February 5, 2010
Dear Seaton Village Residents,
First off, thanks to all who attended Wednesday night’s meeting. It was a creative and frank discussion of the traffic issues in the neighbourhood. The issue of how we make it safer and easier for kids to walk to school has been embraced by all who attended. A mutual respect for each other’s traffic conditions was also highlighted and appreciated by those who attended.
Thanks in particular to Rebecca Sugarman and the Seaton Village Residents Association for organizing everything.
For those who couldn’t make it but have written to my office with advice, concerns and ideas – thank you for your input as well.
The proposed left hand turn restriction on Barton will not be implemented.
While many residents of Barton in particular supported this idea, the proposal raised legitimate concerns with other neighbours in the community. The common concern that was voiced is clear: we need to find a way to control cut-through commuter traffic in the neighbourhood.
Cut-through traffic poses two problems. It increases the volume of vehicles, and it tends to increase the speed of traffic. The velocity of traffic contributes to rolling stops, conflicts with pedestrians and noise. Quite often it also results in confused or frustrated motorists driving the wrong way down one way streets.
It was also noted that construction on Bathurst has been heavy for the last 18 months. This has shifted some traffic to Christie. To circumvent the Dupont/Bathurst intersection, many drivers have been traveling southbound down Christie and eastbound across Barton to access Bathurst south of Dupont.
There was also information presented that indicates that car use on Barton has gone from 2,500 cars to 3,400 cars per day since the traffic maze in Seaton Village was instituted. An increase in the number of people driving in the city and an increase in the number of people driving to the school in the community are two factors that have contributed to the increase in traffic on Barton. Much of the increase, however, is due to the role Barton Avenue now plays in the community.
Barton is the street that gets a large number of local residents to and from their houses. Traffic counts indicate that the overwhelming majority of cars on Barton come from within Seaton Village. Nothing will change that. Re-opening the bitter debate or re-visiting the complex traffic maze instituted in Seaton Village years ago will not solve this problem. The process to review the maze would be complex and difficult, creating more anger than solutions.
Still, something needs to be done.
At the meeting, we came to a consensus that if speeds could be controlled, the streets would be safer, and that a slower street might also deter outside traffic from cutting through the neighbourhood.
The neighbourhood association, residents of Barton and my office will begin work on the following ideas suggested by people in the community who attended the meeting:
-Enforcement – ask the police to catch one-way violations and rolling stops.
-Reduce the speed limit to 30kph.
-Re-paint intersections and refresh the one-way and stop signs in the neighbourhood with a view to looking at larger signs and better positioning of signs.
-Engage a street designer to explore traffic calming ideas for Barton. More parking, narrow lane markers, new intersection design, and alternate paving styles will be explored.
-Planters: review placement and design; work towards better plantings for those that remain so that they look nicer.
-Education: contact the school. Explore Pedestrian Safety courses for students. Work on a driver awareness campaign for parents dropping off kids. Distribute a notice to area residents about traffic concerns in the neighbourhood.
This final point was one of the best ideas of the night: encourage residents of Seaton Village (especially parents dropping kids off at school, the rink and the Boys and Girls Club) to drive slowly, very s-l-o-w-l-y! If we reduce speed, stop and pause at stop signs, thereby calming the traffic with our cars, then the cut-through commuters won’t be able to speed or race through intersections or fly over the speed bumps. This idea can be acted on now.
If you are interested in following this process, please contact your residents association through their website at www.seatonvillage.ca. If you’d like to work on some of these ideas, please contact my office at 416-392-4044 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Adam Vaughan
Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
2nd Floor, Suite C50
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
visit us online at www.ward20.ca