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Spadina gets crash-proofing with barriers

Separate cars, transit

Jennifer Prittie
National Post

A stretch of Spadina Avenue that came to be known as the city’s most dangerous streetcar route is being given concrete barriers to separate cars from TTC lanes.

Construction began yesterday on the curb-style barriers that will run on either side of the streetcar tracks between Front Street and Spadina Circle. They are meant to be a more permanent replacement for the green bollards, or posts, that currently line the tracks.

They will also end a long-running dispute about whether barriers should be there at all. The fight over the barriers began years ago, when the Spadina streetcar line was being planned.

Though the TTC wanted to include them as part of construction on the line, locals insisted they would reduce drivers’ access to the area, by blocking left turns off of Spadina Avenue. Merchants also thought they would hurt business.

But after the line opened in July, 1997, collisions between cars and streetcars occurred at a rate of about 2.3 per week. Many of those happened when drivers crossed the tracks without checking whether streetcars were coming.

The TTC then installed bollards along the stretch of line, blocking turns at all but nine unsignalled intersections. That construction occurred in September, 1998, and accidents went up a bit.

So last year, bollards were also put up across eight of those nine intersections. Accidents have since gone down.

Once the new concrete barriers are installed, curbs will run along most of the line, and there will be landscaping and trees as well. Pedestrians will still be able to walk over the barriers.

The project will cost about $1.5-million.




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