17 comments

  1. It is amusing to see this Jarvis street narrowing debate occurring on the heels of Janette Sadik-Khan’s visit to Toronto. As noted in recent media reports, Sadik-Khan, NYC’s Transportation Commissioner, has been tremendously successful in creating bike lanes and pedestrian infrastructure in New York. Her visit was celebrated by Toronto’s city councillors, but it apparently they didn’t learn anything from her approach.

    Sadik-Khan advocates the use of temporary pilot projects in order to quickly move forward and obtain approval and acceptance (for a thorough discussion, please see Chris Hume’s column from last week’s Star at http://www.thestar.com/GTA/Columnist/article/624814). The Jarvis Street narrowing project seems to be the ideal opportunity to use Sadik-Khan’s methods to obtain immediate results. By repainting Jarvis and blocking a lane using temporary planters and street furniture, everyone could envision the impact of permanent change to Jarvis.

    In fact, this presents an ideal compromise solution. Many of the Rosedale and Moore Park residents who protested yesterday simply have little confidence that the simulations and studies conducted for the City. For at least the most reasonable of these residents, their primary request is that the City conduct a real life test on the traffic impact. A “temporary” change would address the desire to try out the proposal while generating pedestrian friendly improvements. And if the lane reduction does in fact have serious negative consequences, the City can easily go back to the existing Jarvis Street configuration.

  2. You might even be able to pull off what Rob suggests without re-painting lanes — block the easternmost lane using planters, set the reversible-lane lights to always point north, and presto: four-lane Jarvis.

    The lack of funding for permanent changes to Jarvis seems troubling. Maybe people really hope funding will materialize in support of a good plan. But without that, what’s the point of a bitter debate if no change is actually carried out?

  3. Anyone who is reasonably mobile and lives in Rosedale or Moore Park should not be driving to downtown. The fitter should bike or walk, the less fit should take the TTC.

  4. Here’s what the staff report had to say about a trial period:

    There were also requests from residents north of Bloor Street to temporarily close the centre reversible lane for a trial period to determine the delays and increased travel time. A trial closure is possible, however, the results obtained will not necessarily replicate the conditions with a permanent closure of the reversible lane. A temporary closure of the reversible lane would require the use of construction barrels and/or concrete jersey barriers. These barriers would prevent any left-turn movements to and from properties along Jarvis Street. Transportation Services staff are not able to adequately provide for these turns while undertaking a trial closure of the centre lane. Allowing the left turns to occur with barriers in place could result in an unsafe condition along Jarvis Street. Left turns would only be possible at those signalized intersections where left turns are currently permitted. Since mid-block left turns are allowed now, and would be allowed with the permanent removal of the reversible lane, measurement of resultant delays and travel time on Jarvis Street during a temporary closure will not reflect the conditions that would result with a permanent closure. Consequently, any surveys and observations of the temporary condition would be misleading or inconclusive.

    Transportation Services staff, through the feasibility study and the EA study, have concluded that there will be an increase in delays and congestion and have also determined that these projected increases are acceptable from a traffic operations perspective. Although it is possible to undertake this trial study it is staff’s recommendation not to proceed with this trial study.

  5. Here’s a question: what did the Works committee actually approve?

    There was discussion here a few days ago that the recommended design had changed so that the pavement width would remain but be restriped to include separate bike lanes.

    The staff report states that the recommended design is the one with a pavement narrowing and boulevard widening; it considers and specifically recommends against the bike lane alternative because it would not allow for streetscape improvements, and because north/south bike travel is accommodated on Sherbourne (and via slightly wider curb lanes on Jarvis — 3.6 m vs. 3.1 m today).

    The papers seem to be reporting that bike lanes have been approved, but the papers also initially reported on the Transit City plan with a picture of the Scarborough RT.

    So… does anyone know which version actually passed?

  6. Restricting right hand turns on red is going to be a disaster for some intersections. Have a look at Eastbound Front @ Spadina. Sometimes you have to wait for 4 or 5 light cycles before even one car can turn right on Spadina.

  7. Glen> I go through Front/Spadina a lot — that 4-5 light cycle you claim usually has approx 10 cars in line, turning right. It may take them some time. Most are single occupancy. So let’s say that’s 15 people.

    How many pedestrians cross there? Lots more. The numbers are on the side of the pedestrians (I’ve noticed you dig numbers). A few drivers slowed down for many more pedestrians kept from possible harm.

    That’s the crux of no right hand turns.

  8. The whole issue of the middle lane on Jarvis seems to be just to create a confrontation.

    This could all have been avoided by simply setting the overhead signals to show red Xs in both directions, and leave it that way for a few weeks. If anyone complained, the city could simply say they are looking into repairing the system, and in a couple of weeks it will be clear whether all hell will break loose because of the loss of the lane, or whether life goes on without the lane being used for traffic.

  9. Excellent point Shawn. We have to remember that we are ALL pedestrians at some point.

  10. Of course there are a lot of pedestrians crossing Spadina on the west side at Front. It looks like there is no pedestrian crossing on the south side of the intersection (I’m looking at it right now and I only see people crossing Front and no one crossing Spadina at the south side). So if you’re on the south-east corner and you want to get to the south-west corner, you have to cross Front to the north side, then Spadina to the west side, and then Front to the south side. That would explain why it takes so long for those right turns.

  11. On some intersections (SOME), I think a ban on right-hand turns would make sense…providing it was only for specific PERIODS of the day. But having the ban in place 24/7 and during non-peak hours would just increase the noxious fumes from cars idling without providing any real benefit to pedestrians.

  12. Shawn, I was referring to the effects that it will have on gridlock. Though, pedestrians might be affected by the intersections that become clogged behind the ones restricted.

  13. Brent — thanks for the background on the Jarvis trial from the staff report.

    I can definitely understand the issues associated with closing down the centre lane for a few weeks; however, it still doesn’t explain why the City couldn’t try a larger scale trial period where they repainted the lines on the street and added planters to one of the curb lanes. Presumably this would much more accurately reflect the results of a permanent closure as the configuration of the planters and the new lane markings would reflect the proposed configuration of the permanent solution.

  14. Glen> Red light green light, Gridlock is caused by too many cars — allowing or disallowing right turns is negligible. Negligible effect on a few, on the safety of many pedestrians, seems a no-brainer.

  15. Joan,

    Gridlock can, and is caused by other factors as well. By definition alone it relates not to volume but the blocking of intersections. That is something that happens frequently and might be made worse by the restriction suggested. Crossing between cars, whom are trying to inch forward out of the intersection, is equally as dangerous.

  16. For those who fret about gridlock or longer wait times at turns – leave your car at home. There is no law, civic or divine, that mandates cars shall be accommodated above and beyond all other forms of movement.

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