Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pothole Repair

Check out the city crew filling the potholes on Glencedar on the approach to Eglinton. I guess with all the extra traffic and freezing and flooding, the street became an obstacle course. It was definitely one of the worst stretches of potholed road I've seen so far this winter. The crew was out there between 09:00 and 11:00 Tuesday morning. Hat tip to Anthony Schein, Councillor Mihevc's Executive Assistan, who responded quickly to emails about the problem and arranged for the repairs.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ward 21 History

Added a new section with links about the history and geography of Ward 21.
Look up at the menu or visit http://myward21.blogspot.ca/p/21-history.html

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Traffic Update - Feb. 18 letter from Councillor Mihevc

From: councillor_mihevc@toronto.ca

Dear all,
You are receiving this message because you contacted our office regarding traffic congestion and pedestrian safety issues at Eglinton and Allen. Please see the below update from Councillor Mihevc.

Dear Neighbours,

Attached, please find a letter from Metrolinx Director of Community Relations Jamie Robinson regarding the current traffic situation in the area of Eglinton and Allen. The letter is being delivered via Canada Post in the immediate vicinity of Allen and Eglinton.

I have requested City Transportation staff and Metrolinx to report back as soon as possible regarding long-term improvements to the traffic situation in this area. For the next several years of Crosstown construction, we know that congestion will be quite bad. We need a plan from Metrolinx and Transportation to manage the situation in the best way possible under very difficult circumstances.

In the mean time, a Paid Duty Officer will continue to be posted at the intersection of Allen and Eglinton at the northbound on-ramp/pedestrian crossing.

Several measures have already been put in place:

1.) Lifting turn and no entry restrictions on a number of side streets between Bathurst and Winona;
2.) Making several streets two-way to improve traffic flow'.
3.) Eliminating the left turn from Eglinton Ave onto Oakwood Ave;

I have requested that Solid Waste Management re-schedule its pickup routes to avoid residential streets in this area during the morning rush hour. I have made a similar request of Urban Forestry. Metrolinx is also in the process of implementing signage on feeder routes that provides real time updates on delays entering/exiting the Allen at Eglinton (e.g. Expect 20 minute delay) and announcements on television and radio traffic reports advising of traffic delays at this location and encouraging motorists to use other routes (Metro Morning, 680 News, CP24, etc);

I understand the deep frustration of residents regarding traffic backups in this area. I am committed to continuing to work with you and with Metrolinx to manage the pain as well as possible. We must also brace ourselves for continued disruption in this neighbourhood for the next several years. Work on the LRT will have major impacts and cause significant traffic disruption over the next several years. Eglinton and Allen Road is the epicentre of this work, as it is the site of both launch and extraction shafts for two of the tunnelling machines being used on this project. In addition, the work at this site is complicated by the existing subway crossing at Eglinton West station, and remnants of the Eglinton Subway which was cancelled and filled in 1995.

You can get regular updates about the Eglinton Crosstown on the Metrolinx website a www.thecrosstown.ca. You can also sign up to receive email alerts about construction progress.

Joe Mihevc

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Right Turn Signal

I was walking with my kids to the subway station this morning, I saw that without the police directing traffic, people are still stopping and not turning on the red light (as was required before the changes due to construction). Backs up everything on Eglinton.

It dawned on me that the city has installed the wrong signal at that intersection. What they need is one of these:

Something just like at the corner of Bathurst and Eglinton. A signal with a dedicated right turn arrow. When the light is red for cars traveling west beyond the station, and the pedestrian no-cross signal is up, the green right turn arrow can come on and cars can keep flowing north on the Allen. Then, when there is a green signal allowing cars to drive west and the pedestrians can cross, the green right turn arrow goes off and cars can only turn right onto the Allen when it is safe to do so.

I can't really think of a downside to this. If you can, please post a comment.

Water main break on Dewbourne

 Thursday Feb. 13 Morning

Water main break on Dewbourne - as of 09:00 road closed between Glencedar and Westoverhill.

Careful if you are driving down Menin - cars ignoring Road Closed sign at Glencedar are driving north on Menin the wrong way. And obviously, extra traffic at Glencedar and Eglinton.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Not Far From the Tree

Lest anyone who ventures upon this blog thinks it is only a place for complaints, I wanted to take a moment for a good news story.

"Not Far From the Tree" is a local organization that puts Toronto’s fruit to good use by picking and sharing the bounty.

When a homeowner can’t keep up with the abundant harvest produced by their tree, they let NFFT know and they mobilize their volunteers to pick the bounty. The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the tree owner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 is delivered by bicycle to be donated to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens in the neighbourhood so that they’re putting this existing source of fresh fruit to good use.

Last year, 1321 volunteers picked over 22,000 pounds of fruit from 355 trees across the city!

So, if you have a fruit tree and you don't plan to harvest it, please consider giving NFFT a call. I know some Ward 21 people who do and it's been a wonderful experience for them.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Paid Duty Officers

Just a quick shout out to the Paid Duty Officer who was directing traffic from westbound Eglinton to northbound Allen last night at rush hour. Made a huge difference.

Below (previous post) you will see a memo from Dr. Mihevc's office in which Metrolinx says they will have a Paid Duty Officer there until Feb. 16.

While this is good, I think they should have one there, at least during peak periods, until the construction at that intersection is done. And I hear that construction of the Crosstown station at Bathurst and Eglinton ("the doughnut shop" stop) may be starting soon, so there should probably be a PDO at that intersection too.

If you agree with me that PDOs should remain at the Allen beyond Feb 16, please take one minute and fill out the Metrolinx form at http://www.metrolinx.com/en/contactus/ and drop Councillor Mihevc's office a quick email at councillor_mihevc@toronto.ca

Update From Dr. Mihevc's Office Re Eglinton Traffic

Dear all,

You are receiving this message because you contacted our office regarding traffic congestion and pedestrian safety issues at Eglinton and Allen.

Metrolinx and their consultant, along with City transportation, have reviewed the options available to deal with what is a very challenging situation. Metrolinx has indicated that their contractor is not able to free up additional road space, which means managing traffic within those confines.

Our office is committed to continuing to work with residents, City staff, and Metrolinx to manage the pain as well as possible. We must brace ourselves for continued disruption in this neighbourhood for the next several years. But Metrolinx and the City must do what we can to ease the traffic congestion where we can.

The update from Metrolinx provided to our office is copied below for your information.

Update From Metrolinx:


Construction of extraction and launch shafts along Eglinton Avenue at Allen Road has added to the congestion that already exists through this area along Eglinton. Metrolinx is committed to continue to work closely with the City of Toronto, the TTC, local elected officials, and police to monitor the situation along Eglinton at Allen Road and to make modifications to the traffic configuration as required. Metrolinx is also committed to open, honest communication with the public and the local neighbourhood regarding the construction activities along Eglinton Avenue using a variety of communication tactics.


Metrolinx has issued a contract for delivery of two tunnels from Black Creek to Yonge Street. Metrolinx’ contractor CTC submitted a permit application for roadway work in March 2013 that is valid until July 30 2014.
The full workzone set-up reduced the Eglinton and Allen Road way to one lane of traffic in each direction plus one right turn lane onto the northbound Allen Road on-ramp. It also included an adjustment to the signaling for the northbound ramp entrance.

During detailed design it was agreed between HMM and the City to allow a mixed use (vehicles and pedestrians) crossing on the northbound ramp to try and mitigate against the vehicle volume being lost due to losing one of the dedicated right turn lanes off Eglinton. Another reason for a mixed use turn was to prevent traffic heading east on Eglinton from backing up. This would quickly impact the southbound Allen ramp traffic.

Prior to January 31st, 2014 the full implementation of the traffic set-up in the vicinity of Allen Road and Eglinton was not in place as the full set-up was not yet required. Instead portions of the full work zone Stage 1 were gradually implemented in a number of phases as work zones were brought on line. The signaling design was included in the contract specification which the City had input to during design.

The signal change went into effect on January 31, 2014.

When the signal change was implemented it became apparent that the new signal configuration causes issues for pedestrians as both they and motorists are accustomed to separate signals.

Metrolinx has taken the following actions:
• booked paid duty officers to be at the intersection to keep pedestrians informed from now until Feb 16th. There should be officers there 24/7.
• alternative options include removing the pedestrian crossing or changing the signaling to make it a pedestrian only crossing
• requested a technical memo outlining further options from the engineering firm of record on the west tunnels contract to re-examine the intersection and prepare a Memo detailing a number of options to the current set-up.

Current Status

At this time, the current set up will be maintained and continue with 24/7 PDOs on duty ( until Feb 16th) to assist and educate pedestrians and/or drivers during this initial implementation.
Various on-street adjustments have and will also be addressed though additional signage, pavement scrubbing, and adjusting/repositioning of current traffic barrels and/or lanes of traffic.
Please feel free to contact our office should you have any questions. My contact information is below.


Anthony Schein
Executive Assistant
Councillor Joe Mihevc - Ward 21, St. Paul's West
City Hall Office: 416 392 0208
Community Office: 416 392 7460
Direct: 416 338 5302
Twitter: @joemihevc Facebook.com/Joemihevc

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Traffic Lights at Allen, Bathurst Secondary Effects

To: Crosstown <Crosstown@metrolinx.com>, Councillor Mihevc <councillor_mihevc@toronto.ca>

I note that excessive snow banks are now starting to be removed in some of the adjoining neighbourhoods. Thank you.
On a related matter, I took some time to watch the traffic flow on Eglinton Westbound. Clearly there is a problem if the traffic is being backed up from the Allen to as far east as Avenue Road at peak times.

One of the secondary effects is that several north-south streets are being blocked. This is particularly acute on Bathurst, where westbound drivers regularly block the intersection. One neighbour reported to me that she watched as the Bathurst 7 southbound bus took 20 minutes to travel two blocks (from under the Old Forest Hill bridge to the stop at Eglinton because the flow of traffic was halthed southbound by westbound drivers on Eglintion. I, and several of my concerned neighbours have now routinely seen traffic backed up from Eglinton to Glencairn as a result.

Standing on Eglinton, I can see that the problem is the traffic light sequence, especially the new set up at the Allen. Drivers now have to compete with pedestrians during the green light phase. The flow of cars from Eglintion westbound onto the Allen north is being bottlenecked. It strikes me that this is a perfect scenario for Point Duty officers during peak periods. I also think officers at Bathurst/Eglinton intersection would be helpful during peak periods as well.

I look forward to your response.

Snow banks, construction and traffic

Update: Excessive snow bank removal appears to now be underway.

On Feb. 7 I wrote to Metrolinx and Councilor Mihevc

Crosstown <Crosstown@metrolinx.com>, Councillor Mihevc <councillor_mihevc@toronto.ca>

I am a big supporter of the Crosstown initiative and understand there has to be some short term pain for the long term gain.

However, I think the City and Metrolinx needs to do a better job coordinating responses to the traffic situation. We are now seeing frustrated drivers blatantly breaking the law (for example, driving north bound on one way south-bound streets to avoid the lines going to north, especially on Glen Cedar). My biggest fear is that a child will be killed because no one is actually looking at the secondary effects.

And of course, the situation is exacerbated by the city's snow removal process. As I've said to Councilor Mihevc in the past, failure to remove the snow banks, especially near the schools in the area, is a significant risk at the best of times. Failure to remove them now is wreaking further havoc on traffic patterns caused by the Crosstown construction. Yesterday, I saw four vehicles become stuck in snow banks at the same time at an intersection on Chiltren because the traffic was so heavy and there is only one lane to drive due to the snow and as they tried to avoid each other, they got stuck in the snow and completely blocked traffic in all directions. And this was at school drop off time with many kids walking.

It's not very difficult to realize that by changing the traffic patterns on Eglinton, you are going to have secondary effects in the in adjoining neighbourhoods, and if you want to keep the traffic moving and not have pedestrians killed, you need to remove the snow, and not let city crews pile it up on both sides of the streets reducing every street to a single lane for both directions of traffic.

And if you don't believe me, I'd be happy to meet any Metrolinx or Councilor Office staff member for a walkabout and see the problems first hand.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.