By Jason Tavoularis (This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)
I would like to start by thanking Marc D’Orgeville for serving as chair of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance’s (NECA) Traffic and Safety (T&S) committee these past few years, and for encouraging me to step up to replace him. Marc came to my home on Dufferin Road recently to complete the transition. We discussed various T&S matters like Dufferin Road’s new speed humps, a project we had worked on together, liaising with City Councillor Rawlson King’s office and adjacent residents.
But it was the Stanley Avenue road closure in late October/early November that really animated us. One of the documents Marc transferred to me as the new T&S chair was NECA’s 1997 Community Directed Traffic Calming Study report which recommended closing Stanley Avenue to traffic from the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse (203 Stanley Ave.) to the entrance of River Lane on Dufferin Road. This recommendation never moved forward due to the potential for negative spin-off effects.
The recent temporary closure inadvertently gave us an interesting proof point that seemingly justifies further study towards a Stanley Avenue revamp without through traffic. Marc and I live on opposite ends of the closure that was recommended in the NECA traffic calming report almost 25 years ago. Neither of us witnessed a negative impact from the recent closure. We did observe a more relaxing atmosphere in Stanley Park without cars driving past the playground. Did any other park users perceive this? Surely, there must have been some traffic diverted from Stanley Avenue onto Crichton or MacKay Streets, but did those living on these streets notice?
The path towards permanently changing Stanley Avenue in such a way is a long one that would need broad support to succeed, including that of residents, our community associations and our councillor –no small feat to achieve. But I think the potential benefits make this worth revisiting. I’m optimistic that this stretch of road in question can be redesigned to keep commuters away from the playground and the dog park without loss of parking or green space. Maybe a proposed plan would include a road segment repurposed as a vibrant gathering spot, like a skatepark or a vegetated area with seating?
I would like to hear your traffic and safety ideas and concerns for New Edinburgh, including this big idea for Stanley Avenue. Did you experience any negative effects from the recent closure on this street? What worries you most about a prolonged closure? How would you like to see a stretch of the road reclaimed? Any parking arrangement ideas for that tricky road bend? Would you support a temporary closure, perhaps during the summer months, to allow the effects to be evaluated more scientifically?
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