Changes to Yonge Street between Sheppard and Finch
The City of Toronto has been studying options to "ReImagine" Yonge Street between Florence Ave and Finch Ave. They have had several public meeting to obtain public input about the look & feel and they are narrowing down the options. There are a few features which cause concern for our community that we have now voiced to the City.
Detailed information on the proposal at the following link
After careful examination of the proposal which includes a reduction of lanes on Yonge Street, the addition of protected bike lanes northbound and southbound, the addition of a median from Florence all the way to Sheppard, and eliminating left turn lanes from Yonge Street onto Sheppard Ave, our board of directors has concluded the following:
1. We support the concept of implementing streetscape improvements and safe cycling infrastructure in the Yonge corridor between the 401 and at least to Finch Ave. However, we are not certain that our residents will enjoy the result sufficiently to compensate them for the unintended consequences of its current form of implementation on our neighbourhood.
2. The proposal has been rushed to allow for quick implementation of new cycling infrastructure and beautification without adequate consideration given to the negative impact of traffic on the community of West Lansing. It is clear that the proposed lane reductions on Yonge Street, as well as the elimination of the left turn from northbound Yonge onto westbound Sheppard, will result in significant increase in traffic on Beecroft Road via Poyntz Avenue, as well as a significant increase in diversion of traffic to Sheppard Ave. via the residential streets of our neighbourhood (via Poyntz Ave. and Florence Ave.). Other than providing a median in front of Johnston Avenue, the proposal does not include any measures to protect our neighbourhood from expected penetration by outside traffic originating from Yonge St and Beecroft Road, and its inevitable consequences such as rushing through local intersections and regularly not observing "no turn" signs (because enforcement rarely happens). The proposal should incorporate our community and include all necessary measures to protect us from an inevitable increase in penetration by outside traffic including enforcement.
3. The proposal is slated for completion well in advance of completion of the East Service Road connecting Doris Avenue to Avondale Road (which is intended to alleviate the additional traffic volumes on Yonge Street). It would be more logical to implement this proposal once this East Service Road extension is completed.
4. The traffic study does not take into consideration the realities of planning decisions in the province of Ontario wherein the Ontario Municipal Board regularly overrides City of Toronto's Official Plan. These numerous decisions over the past 20 years have resulted in disproportionate residential condominium development in North York and more specifically the immediate vicinity of the West Lansing Community. Many of them, representing thousands of residential units, are NOT contemplated in the Official Plan. There is no reason to expect this behaviour will not continue. In fact, the west side of Sheppard currently has two proposals for 14 and 11 story developments with townhouses behind them whereas only 4-5 storey developments (and no townhouses) are contemplated in the Official Plan. The traffic study made no effort to test the impact if developments (and other similar developments) are approved at more than double what is currently allowed under the Official Plan. Yet we continue to assume that the Official Plan will be followed? The resulting continuing rise in traffic volumes as a direct result of OMB decisions is inevitable and has not been factored into traffic modelling used in the proposal. The assumptions made in the proposal assume much lower traffic volumes and are therefore completely inaccurate. The proposal should be revised to present a realistic scenario, not one based on an Official Plan that is no longer followed.
Penetration by Outside Traffic
The North York City Centre has been targeted by City & Provincial Planners for intensification without adequate provision for arterial roads and highway access. The Yonge & Sheppard intersection thus became one of the busiest intersections in the GTA with frequent gridlock on Yonge Street between Sheppard Ave and Highway 401. As a consequence, an excessive number of vehicles have increasingly been using our residential streets to bypass this escalating gridlock. This resulted in:
- Serious safety concerns
- Threat to property values
- Eroding / diminishing quality of life
A Traffic Committe consisting of volunteers has been established in 2004 to study the situation and make recommendations.
The first phase of recommendations included the addition of right-turn, 7-9 AM restrictions for eastbound traffic at Easton Rd, Senlac Rd, Fennel St, Pewter Rd and Beaman Rd. Additional stop signs were installed at 6 locations in the neighbourhood and a left-turn 7-9 AM & 4-6 PM turn restriction was installed for westbound traffic at Poyntz Ave and Botham Rd. Click here
to download the original report and recommendations [PDF].
Following the implementation of the first phase, the traffic situation has been monitored by the committee for several years. Based on observation and feedback from residents, it was determined that additional measures needed to be considered to safeguard the neighbourhood. It was also recognized that the proposed addition of three new developments created a potential for additional bypass traffic in the future:
Two surveys, an short online survey and a comprehensive door-to-door survey were conducted to measure the willingness of the community to impose further restrictions on traffic. The community overwhelmingly supported additional restrictions on traffic. Click here to download the comprehensive survey results [PDF].
In late 2008, a community consultation meeting was organized and held by Councillor John Fillion. The committee made a presentation to the residents proposing additional traffic restrictions. The meeting was followed by a vote at which a majority voted in favour of new restrictions. Click here to download the meeting presentation [PDF].
As a result, in early 2009 the neighbourhood received a new set of turn restrictions along Sheppard Ave to control penetration by outside traffic. Right-turn AM restrictions have been extended to 10 AM (from 9 AM) for eastbound traffic at Easton Rd, Senlac Rd, Fennel St, Pewter Rd and Beaman Rd. In addition, 4-7 PM restrictions have been added to Pewter Rd and Beaman Rd. Westbound left-turn restrictions have been added to the AM and PM peak periods at Pewter Rd and Beaman Rd. Westbound left-turn restrictions have also been added to northbound traffic turning left onto Sheppard at Pewter Rd and Beaman Rd.
All current turn restrictions mitigate penetration by outside traffic using our neighbourhood for a quick access to and from Yonge Street. They also safeguard our neighbourhood against future penetration by traffic generated by new condominium development in the North York City Centre and directly adjacent to our neighbourhood at the Yonge & Sheppard intersection. The situation continues to be monitored.
Click here for more information about development directly affecting traffic in our community.
A 40 km/hr neighbourhood-wide speed limit has been implemented in 2009. The limit is a response to concerns about speeding by residents. The committee requested a follow-up speeding stydy to be conducted by the city in the summer of 2010. The results will be posted on this page as soon as they come in.
401 Interchange Improvements - Innovative Solutions Proposed by Local Resident
There has been much discussion and frustration with the congestion on Yonge Street due to inefficient southbound Yonge Street to eastbound Highway 401 left turn requiring signalized intersection that creates long queue that gridlocks southern part of North York Centre. Funding for a feasibility study was approved in 2011 to assess a solution to improve the interchange. A resident of West Lansing, Mr. Raymond Jean has proposed the following alternative solutions:
Double Basketweave Crossover Diamond [PDF]
Southbound Yonge Street to Eastbound Highway 401 Fly-UNDER ramp [PDF].
Both the Double Basketweave Crossover Diamond and Southbound Yonge Street to Easbound Highway 401 Fly-UNDER ramp proposals are being examined as alternative solutions for the Yonge street / Highway 401 Interchange - Transportation Infrastructure Planning Study.
WLHA is sharing this information to promote conversation about this important issue. We thank Raymond for his efforts and for sharing his ideas.
To read more about the proposed concepts, visit a recent article on the subject published in the Post:
PostCity February 2012
Local looks to tackle traffic at Yonge and the 401 [External Link]
In addition, Raymond has also made significant contributions to the development of cycling and pedestrian multi-use trail near the Yonge an 401 interchange. He has hosted numerous hikes for councillors and their staff, staff from various city departments, MTO staff, consultants, Cycle Toronto members and executives of various local ratepayers associations.
Yonge-401-DonValleyWest ByPass Multi-Use Trail network proposal [PDF]
As part of the above efforts, Mr. Jean has organized a number of walking tours of the area. The tours have been very educational. Here is PostCity October 2013 article and some photos detailing one of the recent tours.
Changes to Poyntz Ave
In light of new development taking place at Yonge near Poyntz Ave, the city undertook work on adjacent streets intended to improve traffic flow in that area. The work affected Poyntz Ave and was carried out in three phases:
1st phase included the a partial realignment of Poyntz, which was completed late 2012. It included minor curb realignment and upgrades to underground utilities. The changes prepared Poyntz Ave for connection to Anndale Dr East of Yonge St.
During the 2nd phase, Anndale Dr was connected to Yonge St. Anndale traffic was temporarily routed to Yonge St. only, with no through traffic to Poyntz Ave.
In the 3rd phase, following completion of the Hullmark Plaza development on Anndale Dr, permanent changes to the Poyntz/Anndale/Yonge intersection were implemented. These involved additional modifications to the intersection, converting it to a full 4-way intersection with through access to Poyntz Ave from Anndale Dr and an introduction of a median curb south of the intersection.
Illustration of the changes:
For all issues related to traffic, please contact the chair of the traffic committee Dimos Zarkadas.