CommunityAIR claims victory over Island airport

Toronto Port Authority said to have fought against safety improvements to protect school children and pedestrians against injury from out-of-control taxis and other Island airport traffic

By Brian Iler –

A flurry of activity over the past two weeks has resulted in Toronto and East York Community Council May 13, 2012 adopting significant measures to address dangerous traffic volumes caused by the expanding Island airport.

We’ve won a significant victory. It took the combined resources of angry parents and an impressively responsive Toronto District School Board, working closely with Councillor Adam Vaughan and City staff, to force the Toronto Port Authority to take community concerns seriously.

If the TPA had any willingness to listen to the community’s concerns it would have long ago constrained its aggressive airport expansion until sufficient measures were in place to protect the community. These actions should not have been necessary.

The city has limited ability to address that aggressive airport expansion and the TPA`s complete failure to properly plan for ground transportation to and from its airport. It has done all that we could reasonably have hoped for.

A city safety review of this intersection, tabled at that meeting, confirmed what parents have been worrying about:

•    pedestrian conflicts with vehicles related to vehicle turning movements at the intersection

•    taxi drivers queuing through the intersection, blocking pedestrian crosswalks, and performing aggressive manoeuvres such as

1.    northbound right turns on red from the northbound left-turn lane,

2.    running the red/amber light,

3.    U turns, and

4.    northbound and westbound left turns with pedestrians in the crosswalk.

5.    parking for student pickup/drop off interfered with the northbound approach to the intersection,
forcing through and right-turning traffic into the northbound left-turn lane.

Over the 3-year period ending Dec. 31, 2011 there were nine collisions at this intersection. But since April 7 there have been three: a cyclist was struck by a car that day and taken to hospital.

On April 23 young woman was struck by a car at Bathurst and Queens Quay. She left in an ambulance.

A third accident between two cars occurred May 11.

The meeting was told 100 traffic tickets have been issued in the past month, as Toronto police step up enforcement activities at that intersection.

The Community Council decided to:

•    Prohibit northbound left turns from Eireann Quay to Queens Quay West at all times,

•    Prohibit northbound right turns from Eireann Quay to Queens Quay West when the  traffic control signal shows red,

•    Prohibit eastbound right turns from Queens Quay West to Eireann Quay when the traffic control signal shows red

•    Modify the pavement markings at the intersection of Queens Quay West and Eireann Quay/Bathurst Street by

1.    installing zebra markings on all four crosswalks,

2.    improving the bicycle lane markings on the westbound approach,

3.     installing any additional guide lines required to assist motorists through the centre of the intersection, and

4.    delineating a new school bus loading zone immediately south of the intersection

•    Prohibit northbound left turns from Stadium Road to Lake Shore Boulevard West, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, except Public Holidays.

•    Prohibit eastbound right turns from Lake Shore Boulevard West to Stadium Road, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Monday to Friday, except Public Holidays.

•    Prohibit heavy trucks at all times on Stadium Road, between Lake Shore Boulevard West and the south end of Stadium Road

•    Install a red light camera at the Bathurst Street/Queen’s Quay/Eireann Quay intersection

•    Narrow the Eireann Quay roadway at the south side of the intersection

•    Create seven short stay parking spaces for parent pick-up and drop-off for the two schools and day care centre at that intersection.

Speed bumps on Eireann Quay, approved for installation in August 2010, but delayed by threat of legal action from the TPA, are now likely to be installed following a further round of consultation.

Parents and community members continue to stop traffic with banners in that intersection twice daily to protect their children.