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Tweaks will fix St. Clair fire truck access: TTC

Jun 20, 2008 01:45 PM
Tess Kalinowski
Staff Reporter

The TTC is proposing some minor fixes to the street level and curb height on the St. Clair streetcar right-of-way to address the fire department’s concerns about the street being unsafe for its trucks.

But the controversial streetcar lane that runs up the centre of the road won’t be redesigned, said TTC chief general manager Gary Webster.

He walked along St. Clair this morning with Toronto fire chief Bill Stewart this morning to try and tamp down the controversy around a report released this week suggesting the right-of-way was unsafe for fire trucks and therefore put area residents at risk.

The curbs and the centre poles that power the streetcars pose a hazard to the trucks if they mount the right-of-way to circumvent traffic, according to a report by the fire department.

“The most important thing to do today is reassure everybody that what was built is fine. There are some minor adjustments that we’ll sort out,” said Webster, adding that there’s still time to address fire access concerns before the TTC moves ahead and builds seven Transit City streetcar lines across Toronto.

“We’ve said right along St. Clair was safe,” said Stewart. “We respond in the city of Toronto as we do every day. In fairness that report was written in April, there’s alterations that are going to occur with TTC and we’ll make a plan work for the citizens of the city of Toronto. The issue for us is we’ll operate on the curb as we have and will continue to do so. There’s traffic congestion in the city, there’s densification and there are more vehicles and we have to be able to accomodate moving in the city.”

But Margaret Smith, a St. Clair resident who has fought for years against the streetcar line, called the city’s handling of emergency experts’ and residents’ concerns “a scandal.”

“This never would have happened if they’d listened to folks and said we’re going to work this out. But they are so arrogant to rush forward,” she said.




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