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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

St. Clair streetcar construction stopped by judges


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A three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the TTC must stop construction on the St. Clair dedicated streetcar lanes. The group Save Our St. Clair (SOS), who oppose the right-of-way, challenged the TTC and the City of Toronto in a game of semantics. You can read the reasons for it in this Toronto Star article .

Margaret Smith, the local resident who galvanized opposition and formed SOS, was rather proud:

“People should take heart. You can believe in something and you can fight for something you believe in and you can fight on principle. I really honestly believed there’s a better solution and our community is at risk.”

You can read more about the righteous and indignant Ms. Smith in this feature in today’s Star.

Also check out Royson James’ column.

While I’m sure the judges are making the right legal decisions, it seems rather childish of SOS to look for tiny legal loopholes in order to get their way. The TTC hosted over 50 community meetings, performed numerous Environmental Assessments, and had tremendous support from residents along St. Clair West. It reminds me of the people who officially challenge their professor on a mid-term mark — or if you won an award after the person who beat you failed to fill out the entry form correctly.

We also wonder if Ms. Smith sees any irony in delaying the construction, which is already well underway at Yonge and St Clair. As this is drawn out in the courts, the tracks and equipment will sit on St. Clair, clogging traffic and blocking businesses. When construction continues, because new tracks will have to be installed no matter what, the work schedule will stretch longer into 2006, possibly causing more harm to businesses during the consumer happy days of spring and summer. If the right-of-way does get the full go-ahead (which is still quite possible), SOS will only have caused further financial strain to their neighbourhood.

And in reaction to this decision, some transit supporters are planning a Boycott St. Clair campaign to get back at businesses who support SOS.