Port authority, school board held accountable for Bathurst Quay crossing

By Kimberly Spice –

TPA-TDSB-MeetingThe Toronto Port Authority (TPA) and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) continue to be at odds with parents from the Bathurst Quay and extended Harbourfront community over dangers school children face at the corner of Queens Quay and Eireann Quay.

More than 50 area residents voiced their ongoing concerns and frustrations during a meeting on Aug. 27 at Fort York. Many opined that the intersection’s traffic problems have been created by taxi drivers who do not heed pedestrians or obey traffic laws.

Gordon Petch, a lawyer and representative for the TDSB, told attendees that neither the TPA nor the TDSB is satisfied with the current situation and want to focus together on a cure with the communities help.

“They need to find a solution for their business purposes and the day I was there it was terribly unsafe for children and pedestrians alike,” Petch stated, adding that the TPA “has been 100% cooperative.”

“The school board’s sole mandate is the safety of the children. We are not here for the convenience of condo owners although that’s a legitimate concern. We need to find immediate interim solutions but also long term solutions because that school is going to be there long term.”

Changes to the corner are progressing. Road signs had been posted on June 25 restricting traffic movements. Currently there are no left turns onto Queens Quay when travelling north on Eireann Quay and no right turns on a red light.

Solutions to be reviewed at upcoming meetings will include placing an additional crossing guard at the intersection, having highly visible painted lanes as well as implementing a cash disincentive for taxis which exit the waiting cue, but as options are being considered speeding vehicles remains one of the top safety concerns.

“The biggest problem is the taxis,” stated one gentleman. “I realize they are trying to make a living, but they just drive too, too fast. We need speed bumps on Eireann Quay. That is what will slow these taxis down. The only thing that will work, at least in the short term, is to reduce the speed of those taxis.”

Vaughan told the audience that the speed bumps have been approved by council but have not been installed because the TPA has argued they will encumber the performance of emergency vehicles.

For more information, visit the Strategic Transportation Study website at www.toronto.ca/planning/tp_strategic_plan.htm. Questions or concerns should be emailed to Chris Dunn of the city’s waterfront secretariat at cdunn@toronto.ca.