Sometimes it pays to talk to your local councilor.
That’s the message from North York neighbors David Pagliari and Lennie Trifler, who over the years have suggested ideas for reducing traffic congestion in their neighborhood, some of which have been implemented by the city.
“Community citizens have a lot to offer,” says Pagliari, who has been neighbors of Trifler in the Bathurst Manor area for more than 25 years. “There are many more great ideas that people have in urban communities that can improve not only traffic flow but other problems as well.”
In 2014, Pagliari approached York Center Coun. James Pasternak on traffic problems at the corner of Kennard Avenue and Dufferin Street/Allen Road.
There were only two lanes of traffic on Kennard heading west: a left lane to go south on Allen and a lane to either turn right into Dufferin heading north or go straight into a plaza on the east side of the intersection.
“Anyone sitting on that light going straight would reverse traffic behind them,” Pagliari said, adding that there were days when traffic was more than half a kilometer in a traffic jam.
Pagliari suggested widening the intersection to make room for three lanes of traffic, and the city carried out his plan within a few years.
“His ideas were creative and transformative, and we made it happen,” Pasternak said. “We were able to come up with a solution with David’s help to create a redesigned intersection to access the plaza(s) the right turn and the lanes for the left turn so that the congestion and backup were reduced.”
About nine months ago, Trifler contacted Pasternak about the construction of a bike path northbound from Wilmington Avenue at Finch Avenue, which would halt traffic. The bike path was a continuous line to Finch, making it difficult for motorists to make a right turn.
“The line markings were done wrong when the bike lanes were launched,” Pasternak said. “We went back and corrected the lines so vehicles knew they could cut into the bike lane and make their right turn.”
Pagliari and Trifler are calling for more changes that they believe will reduce traffic congestion.
Among their proposals are: widening Dufferin to three lanes in each direction between Finch and Steeles Avenues (as it is south of Finch and north of Steeles); open all lanes on Allen and Dufferin between Transit Road and Steeles to all traffic (currently, some routes have one lane reserved for taxis, buses and multi-passenger vehicles); and with an advanced green left turn on Transit Road to Allen northbound.
Bathurst Manor residents Lennie Trifler, left, and David Pagliari worked with Coun. James Pasternak to implement traffic changes in their neighborhood. – Dan Pearce/Metroland
Pasternak said the advanced green proposal is currently being studied. “There needs to be an advanced greenery there to keep the traffic flowing.”
But the councilor is not in favor of widening Dufferin or removing the bus, taxi and multi-passenger lanes.
“I don’t think there is support for that. I don’t think TTC would agree,” he said.
As for widening Dufferin, Pasternak said it would only invite more motorists to use the road. “Widening lanes rarely produces the results people want. Those lanes fill up quickly and you get capital from other projects that can be used to help traffic flow, such as right-turn lanes.”
Pagliari said Dufferin is “an absolute nightmare” and notes that it can take 40 minutes to get from Finch to Steeles during rush hour.
“There will be costs involved; I understand that, but the land is available,” he said.
Pagliari said he is speaking out publicly in the hope that other citizens will also put forward their ideas in an effort to make positive changes.
Trifler noted that neither he nor Pagliari are traffic experts, but citizens who benefit or suffer from it.
Pasternak said his office always values input from residents and road users, noting that “it is usually individual citizens who can spot problems.”
STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Reporter Andrew Palamarchuk wanted to learn more about how two residents of Bathurst Manor implemented traffic changes in their neighborhood and what further changes they are currently advocating.