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Avoiding St. Clair

LRT open houses seek to avoid past problems
By Tristan Carter

February 8, 2012

Neighbourhoods: Glen Park

Originally published in our North Toronto print edition(s).

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The public got a sneak peek at plans for the future Dufferin-Eglinton LRT station at a consultation held on Jan. 25, but it seemed as though many in attendance, including the local councillor, had the St. Clair streetcar on their mind.

“With the experience we had on St. Clair with the transit project I had some concerns with regards to this project,” said Ward 17 councillor Cesar Palacio of the Eglinton Crosstown plan. “There are lessons to be learned from that project especially in terms of management, in terms of vision, in terms of leadership.

“We have all those ingredients in place now.”

The public meeting was held so that mistakes made during the St. Clair right-of-way project are not repeated, said Anna Pace, director of strategic planning with the TTC.

Many businesses and residents along St. Clair Avenue East say they are still trying to pick up the pieces after enduring years of construction delays and cost overruns related to the right-of-way.

“The biggest thing we learned from St. Clair was to focus on community relations,” Pace said. “If people are going to disrupted by construction we owe it to them, it’s our responsibility, to let them know as much as we can about it.”

At the meeting, the public was able to peruse plans for the station’s design, including entrances and exits. Slides of the information boards were made available online at thecrosstown.ca following the meeting.

Those who didn’t attend can still ask questions or voice their opinions and concerns regarding the project at a recently set-up community office located at 1848 Eglinton Ave. W. The next in the ongoing series of meetings is scheduled for Feb. 2 at the Beth Sholom Synagogue to discuss the Allen Road station.

Although Palacio said he anticipated the majority of concerns would revolve around construction disruptions, no information about construction has been made available at this stage of the planning process.

“We’re coming to people early, getting their input, getting their feedback as well as letting them know more about it and then we’ll incorporate their feedback into the next stage of the station design,” said Pace.

Local resident Michelle Senayah, who lives two minutes away from the site, said she’s happy hear that the project will soon be underway.

“I think it’s pretty exciting that it’s actually going in because so much of the time things like this are pie in the sky and it never gets beyond that,” she said. “Downtown is sort of spreading into midtown, it’s going north so this is just facilitating that and acknowledging that and recognizing that people need to move around that.”

Despite her close proximity to the intersection, Senayah said she commutes mostly by transit and is looking forward to the start of construction.

“For a certain amount of time there will be a disruption, but as long as it’s well managed and the development that goes in is well thought out it will be worth it.”

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