Photo | Hana Nikčević
A study conducted by the city of Toronto earlier this year has determined that it would be feasible to convert Charles Street West to two-way traffic flow between Queen’s Park Crescent and Yonge Street. The Victoria College community reports concerns with how this change could affect student safety and pedestrian traffic within the college.
The Acting Director of Transportation Services, Toronto and East York District, recommends that the report be moved forward for consideration by the Toronto and East York Community Council, and that they “authorize all-way compulsory stop control at the intersection of Balmuto Street and Charles Street West.” The report further states that there would be no financial impact as a result.
Potential concerns outlined in the City of Toronto Report include the “loss of on-street parking, increased traffic volumes, introduc[tion] of new potential traffic conflicts” as well as necessary modifications to the roadway. However, the conclusion of the report states that the adjustment “will enhance the connectivity of the area road network and will promote slower operating speeds.”
This issue has been purportedly discussed by many of the Victoria College’s Board of Regents’ committees. Alexa Breininger, student representative on the Board of Regents, explains that all that has happened up to now is that the study has concluded that the change in traffic flow would be feasible, and that “President Robbins, Ray DeSouza (the bursar) and others from the board are meeting with our city councillor to communicate how this would affect the safety of students.” This meeting took place on October 12th.
Kristyn Wong-Tam is the councillor for Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale. Wong-Tam has a record of pushing strongly for road safety initiatives. Wong-Tam put forward a motion earlier this month to accelerate the city’s “Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.” According to the motion, this is essential “in light of the recent and tragic pedestrian causalities in Scarborough and across the City.” The initiative was originally scheduled to unfold over the course of five years.
A similar study was conducted in 2011, determining the feasibility of adjusting the traffic flow on Charles Street West to allow condo residents an additional access point to their driveways. It requested that the one-way westbound regulation be lifted between Bay Street and the driveway access to Premises No. 1, St. Thomas Street, and some success from that was seen. The part of the street near the university, west of Bay, as of now, remains one way.
The consideration of the issue of Charles Street transitioning to two-way traffic flow has been deferred by the Toronto and East York Community Council until their meeting on November 14th.