Loss of traffic lanes and parking spaces just before Christmas rubs merchant’s wounds
Dec 20, 2007 04:30 AM
city hall bureau
The dump truck idling for hours outside her St. Clair Ave. W. restaurant wasn’t doing Sandra Cacciotti’s business any good yesterday, and the No Parking barriers strung along the curb made matters even worse.
Cacciotti and other storefront proprietors along the path of the St. Clair streetcar right-of-way found themselves entering a new chapter in the long saga of that controversial project, and not a happy one. It was time to fight city hall - again.
Days before Christmas, the merchants were alarmed to find crews reducing traffic lanes on the strip west of Dufferin St., banning parking and, as of yesterday, tearing up the streetcar tracks in preparation for raising the track level.
“We were under the impression they were going to start this after the holidays, in January,” said a distraught Cacciotti, who said diners at her St. Clair Village Trattoria had plummeted by half.
“We knew they were going to work in December, but we didn’t expect them to shut down two-thirds of the commercial strip for four days immediately preceding Christmas,” said Jeff Gillan, executive director of Corso Italia Business Improvement Association.
“What they did by starting the track work and ripping up the street was to take away everything but one lane of traffic both ways, with no parking.”
A call from Gillan prompted local councillor Cesar Palacio (Ward 17, Davenport) to convene a meeting with Gillan, the TTC and city works officials - who agreed to call off the work until after Christmas.
Dave Crichton, the city’s manager of design and contracting for TTC projects, said the No Parking barriers will be gone by business today.
Crichton said crews have been doing sidewalk work in the area, but when the recent weather led to delays, the city decided to get the track work going as an alternative.
“We felt it would have less of an impact on the businesses,” he said.