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St. Clair saga drags on

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Construction is slowly progressing


The saga of transit-only lanes along St. Clair Avenue West continues to demand patience from both opponents and supporters of the project. Construction is slowly progressing toward Keele Street and will stretch through 2008.





This week, all bus routes are scheduled to resume using St. Clair West station, although streetcar riders will have to follow temporary walking routes to subway trains.





The bus platform was supposed to have opened sooner, however it seems 30-year-old diagrams of the station did not show the correct location of two major power cables. Local councillor and TTC vice-chair Joe Mihevc says when contractors hit the wires unexpectedly in August, “The Ministry of Labour shut them down, and they were not able to begin work until, really, the end of October.”





Construction continues, and Mihevc says he meets every week with all parties on site.





Another frustration has been the lack of shelters at streetcar stops between Vaughan Road and Yonge — the section of right of way that opened early this year. Local resident Alan Simons has been corresponding with Mihevc’s office to see when riders will get protection from the elements. (Simons’ politely exasperated messages are posted at stevemunro.ca in the topic “Will The TTC Ever Finish On St. Clair?”)





Mihevc says the shelters were held up by a series of problems, including disputes with the contractor and substandard parts that had to be replaced by a manufacturer. He admits, “Mr. Simons is absolutely right. It has been a history of delays, and frankly, in some cases, excuses, too. So am I confident now that it will be done in the next few weeks? No, but that’s the word.”





TTC staff did not confirm yesterday the status of the shelters, but both Mihevc and contributors at stevemunro.ca report that some work occurred over the weekend.





This situation reminds me too readily of delays last winter when riders waited for TTC shelters to be built on the Queensway near the lake.





The St. Clair saga will continue and perhaps my next update can examine whether the transit lanes are wide enough to be used safely by TTC buses and emergency vehicles.





To ensure new light rail lines are properly built on other Toronto streets, the city and the TTC must undertake an honest examination of the “lessons learned” on St. Clair.





Some less charitable would call it a “what went wrong” inquiry.

















streetcars


  • Last week, I stated Toronto is six years from getting new light rail vehicles. TTC chair Adam Giambrone writes, “The first prototypes are scheduled to arrive in 2010, and the first 30 or so new cars would come in 2011. That’s three to four years.” Details to follow at a TTC meeting Dec. 18.





transit@eddrass.com





Ed Drass has been covering transportation issues in Toronto since 1998. He has a degree in urban studies from York University and regularly rides transit in the GTA and elsewhere.

 
 
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