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A Bus Lane on Bayview?

Is the City putting a dedicated bus lane on Bayview Avenue? No. At least not for decades, if ever. There was some confusion around this at a recent RapidTO Community Consultation. Bayview Avenue would be a poor candidate for a priority bus lane because most bus trips on Bayview are shorter and other routes are preferred to take people to the subway. I followed up with staff on this, and they confirmed that they have no plans to alter Bayview Avenue. The purpose of this community consultation was to explore residents’ priorities and prioritize the avenues that will benefit most from this program. Let’s talk about exactly what RapidTO is and what transit priority solutions are being explored for North York.

RapidTO is an initiative that Council supported to enhance bus and streetcar transit across the city. While TTC ridership dropped during the pandemic, many of our bus routes are as busy as ever. This was particularly true in the City’s most vulnerable communities, where many residents rely on buses to get to and from their frontline jobs. Through RapidTO, staff are evaluating major avenues to assess which solutions are best suited to create a network of reliable buses and streetcars in every part of Toronto. City staff are in the process of hosting specific RapidTO community meetings for each borough of our city to ask community members what criteria they think should be used to achieve RapidTO. It’s important to remember that this is only Phase One of a three-phase consultation. There will be many more opportunities to provide feedback. North York’s consultation was the first to be held last Monday, and staff ran into some serious technical difficulties. Many residents weren’t able to join the meeting, and those who did weren’t always able to ask their entire questions. While my team and I were not the formal hosts of this meeting, we spent all night on the phone helping people connect. Trust me when I say that we were just as frustrated as the many of you who tried to join. I have demanded that City staff host a second RapidTO meeting for North York residents, which has been scheduled for Monday, November 8 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM. Whether or not you attended the first RapidTO consultation, it has important implications for transportation in our neighbourhoods. There are many different types of transit priority solutions being explored, not just priority bus lanes, that will impact our major roads here in Don Valley North. Let’s take a look at some of these solutions and why they’re important for our city.

You may have already noticed some transit signals at intersections across the city. These may or may not use transit signal priority.

One solution being considered is transit signal priority. This technology allows transit signals, namely traffic lights, to respond in real time to allow transit vehicles to travel more efficiently and reliably. There are different types of transit signal priority, which can range from streetcars and buses always getting a green light at intersections to “queue jumping” that allows buses to enter the intersection first, moving in and out of stops more easily. Recently, there was a bit of debate around transit signal priority for the Eglinton Crosstown. After a media tour of the new stations, a journalist reported that the Crosstown would not have transit signal priority when travelling alongside cars. I reached out to staff right away to find out what exactly is happening with transit signals for the Crosstown. They explained that the Eglinton line is equipped with a transit signal system that can be turned on when the LRT trains are running behind schedule. However, when they’re travelling on time the system won’t need to be used. This is called limited signal priority, and highlights another solution that may be considered on some roads to help when the bus or streetcar is running late. Other transit priority solutions involve road design, such as creating “bus bays” so that buses can pick up and drop off passengers without holding up traffic. RapidTO is also looking at improvements to transit stops themselves to make them more comfortable, safe, and accessible for riders.

An example of a "bus bay", a dedicated short lane where buses can stop to pick up and drop off passengers.

Again, I want to stress that the transit priority solutions for specific roadways are not being selected in the current consultation phase. After this first phase of consultation, staff will begin to study specific avenues. When their studies are complete, they will bring their recommendations back to the community for another round of consultation. On some avenues, staff will recommend no change, while on others they might suggest some of the solutions mentioned above. I know that solutions need to be different here in our inner suburbs than they are downtown. In North York, my advice to staff will be to focus their efforts on the longest bus routes, where riders tend to have very long journeys to get to the subway (50 minutes or more). Improvements along these routes are most needed to help both transit riders and drivers have the quickest trips possible. The transit priority solutions being considered through RapidTO are meant to work together to make our transit system as reliable and attractive to riders as possible. In turn, this will make our roads better for all users. I know it may feel hard to believe when you’re stuck in traffic on the DVP, but pre-pandemic 70% of people commuting to and from work travelled by transit. If we don’t look for ways to make our transit efficient, we will no long be able to count on people choosing transit over the car and our traffic problem will only get worse. That would be a recipe for disaster in a city that is well on its way to growing by another one million people by 2050.

Building an efficient and reliable transit system is necessary to move people around our city. Without it, our traffic problem will only get worse.

RapidTO also helps the City achieve its ambitious TransformTO goals to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions. We need to look at ways to have fewer cars on the road if we want to reduce our emissions and make sure Toronto is still a safe, healthy and vibrant city for future generations. Transit is truly an essential piece in our fight against climate change. I want to thank all of the residents in Don Valley North who took the time to join the first RapidTO community meeting. I know there were some challenges, but I really do hope all of you stay engaged in this process. My team and I are here to make sure your voices are heard throughout this multi-phase consultation so that the City can implement the best solutions possible for our community.

 

North York General Hospital: Visitor Vaccination Requirement North York General Hospital (NYGH) is joining other hospitals in Ontario by requiring anyone visiting or accompanying a patient to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination starting November 15, 2021. Here’s what you should know:

  1. Visitors will need to show proof of full vaccination (14 days since receiving the second dose of a two-dose series or one dose of a single-dose series) in addition to passing onsite screening for symptoms and following public health measures like masking at the hospital and our community sites.

  2. Limited exemptions will apply for those with medical exemptions approved by NYGH, and for visitors of specific patient populations including children or youth under 18 years of age, patients in labour, or those with intellectual or developmental disabilities among others.

  3. The NYGH Seniors’ Health Centre is excluded from this policy as they are governed according to provincial guidance and directives for Long-Term Care Homes.

For more information, visit nygh.on.ca/EssentialCarePartnerandVisitorPolicy. Vaccine Passports Proof of vaccination is now in effect for select non-essential settings in Ontario. If you need to print or download your proof of immunization, you can do so by visiting covid19.ontariohealth.ca or calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. For more information on the vaccine passport, visit the link below:

 

Shelley Carroll

Councillor for Don Valley North

416-338-2650

100 Queen St. W, Suite A3


 

Coffee with Your Councillor

Join me for another Coffee with your Councillor on Thursday, November 4, at 11 AM. I'll be on Facebook Live talking about some of the big ticket items coming to Council. I'll also provide community updates and answer your questions about what's going on in our neighbourhoods. You'll be able to find the event on my Facebook page. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Old Sheppard Park Enhancement Complete!

I stopped by the Old Sheppard Park playground this weekend to see the new improvements and of course, all the new smiling faces using the equipment! It's always great to see these new playground being enjoyed, especially after so much input from the community. There are a few play items missing, as the supplier is facing some delays due to the impacts of the pandemic. Parks & Recreation didn't want to postpone opening the playground, as it is still safe for people to use. These additional items should be put in soon.

 

Survey: Ruddington Park Playground Enhancements

The City of Toronto is improving Ruddington Park by updating the playground, installing new seating, a shade structure, fitness and Tai Chi equipment. We need your help to design these improvements. The survey is open until Monday, November 1. Complete the survey by clicking the link below:

 

Pedestrian Crossing Reminder


We've had a few residents contact my office with concerns about pedestrians starting to cross the street while the red hand is flashing or the countdown has already started. Please remember to be safe when crossing and only begin to cross when the "walk" indication is shown. For more tips on how to safely cross the street, visit the link below:

 

Community Environment Days

Do your part to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Drop off items for reuse, recycling and safe disposal at Community Environment Days. The City of Toronto is hosting weekly events at Drop-Off Depots on Sundays until October 31. At the events, you will be to drive to different stations to drop off unwanted items for donation and to dispose of batteries, old paint and other household hazardous waste. Free bagged compost will be available with a limit of two bags per vehicle while supplies last. I also wanted to remind everyone that you are able to drop off household hazardous waste at the City's drop-off depots on days other than Community Environment Days. Check out the City's handy map of all drop-off depot locations and hours for more information. A list of event dates and more information about Community Environment Days is available at the link below:

 

EcoFair Toronto 2021

The 13th annual EcoFair (Nov 4-7) is free, informative, family-friendly and fun! Register for online eco- webinars, films, games, workshops, and exhibitor booths showcasing non-profits and businesses. Visit the website for details about the in-life bike ride and all EcoFair events. Learn about solutions, celebrate progress, promote change, and be inspired to take action in our own lives. A more sustainable future awaits!


For more information and to register, visit the link below

 

Ontario Garlic Week

Ontario Garlic Week has come just in time to ward off the vampires this weekend! From October 29 to November 7, restaurants, breweries, theatres and drive-ins across the province will create and sell a food or beverage item using Ontario grown garlic. For more information and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the link below:

 

UHN NORC Ambassadors Program

UHN OpenLab is looking for seniors to partner with on a new aging in place initiative. The NORC Ambassadors program is an initiative of University Health Network’s OpenLab that aims to partner with senior residents to transform their high-rise buildings into vibrant communities that support healthy aging in place. They are currently recruiting new groups to work with in early 2022, and are looking for residents who are interested in forming an 'aging in place' group in their own building. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Giselle at 437-290-8033 (a local Toronto number) or giselle@uhnopenlab.ca. You can also learn more at the link below:

 

Toronto Youth Cabinet: Employment & Equity Survey

The Toronto Youth Cabinet is proud to launch our Equity & Employment Sustainability Survey. The survey was created by youth, for youth to highlight the many barriers and inequalities Toronto youth face in the areas of employment and equity. The survey will paint a clear picture of the reality many youths face in the city. The Toronto Youth Cabinet was established in 1998 by Toronto City Council. It is the official youth advisory body to the city that promotes youth participation in municipal affairs and policy development. To access the survey, visit the link below:

 

TTC: Upcoming Closures

Subway Closures:

  • Line 1: Sheppard-Yonge to Eglinton nightly early closures October 25 to 28

  • Line 1: St Clair to College single day closure October 30

  • Line 2: St George to Woodbine late opening October 31

  • Line 1: Finch to St Clair weekend closure November 6 to 7

  • Line 1: Osgoode to King late opening November 14

For more information, visit the link below:


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