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Updated Slessor Traffic Study is published

Slessor’s traffic consultants, Cole Engineering, have delivered a report designed to bring a smile to the developer’s face.

They say in the summary

the proposed development is expected to operate generally within the available roadway capacity with some localized intersection movements operating at or near capacity.

Really?

The report later predicts that a long list of major intersections within the study (secondary plan) area are likely to be operating at or over capacity in 2021 during all analyzed peak periods.

By 2021 they say potential developments in the Secondary Plan area will generate hundreds of additional vehicle movements every day – for example, 772 two way trips in the Saturday peak hour. Slightly fewer for weekday peaks.

The consultants have some ideas to keep the traffic moving. George Street could get collector status and become a four lane road, up from two.

North bound traffic on George Street would have to turn west on to Yonge, rather than east into the residential neighbourhood.

The traffic engineers make a lot of assumptions using their “engineering judgement”. This is consultant-speak for reading the tea leaves.

They predict the roads are not going to clog up and become gridlocked because they expect 15% of people (rising to 25%) to get about using non-auto options – walking, cycling, transit and so on.

Fair enough. I am all in favour of encouraging people to leave their cars at home and use alternative modes of transport. The big question is how to do it. The consultants say developers could hand out free bus passes. Hmmmm.

Certainly, making bus travel cheap is one option. (After the recent transit dispute, bus travel was free for a month or so and ridership leapt 10%)

The consultants refer to current Town car parking standards as one parking space per apartment. The original report from the Town’s planners a year ago gives 1.5 spaces for every so called “adult lifestyle unit”. Slessors, I recall, wanted to increase that to 2 spaces.

If the Town has since reduced its parking standards for monster condominiums – and it looks like it has - that’s good.

With only a few weeks to go before the Slessors take their case to the OMB, there are still a lot of ifs and buts.

By 2026, the planners want the Yonge Street – Upper Canada Mall intersection to lose its traffic lights following the construction of a proposed new street “B” that would provide a new access to Upper Canada Mall.

The signalized intersection that is currently operating gives access to the Slessor site and the consultant tells us the owner does not agree with or consent to the existing traffic signal being removed.

Clearly, the Slessors believe that traffic signals at the intersection are crucially important for the success of their development and they are not going to give them up without a fight.

I don’t know how this will play out.

So, where does this leave us?

The consultants predict the Slessor development and all the others in the pipeline, will generate extra traffic (they could hardly suggest otherwise) but, with a tweak here and a new road there, the system will cope.

Not sure it is quite that simple. You can read the traffic study here. Scroll to Updated Traffic Impact and Parking Study 18 October 2012.

The Appendices, containing important information, are missing from the downloaded report. (or were) 

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