Sent via email on January 16, 2019
When it first came to light that the LTC was proposing an additional bus route to travel from South to North down Briarhill Ave. to Kipps Lane, there was an overwhelming response from each person I spoke to to the effect of ‘Oh no ! We will never get out of our driveways!” Between Routes 1 and 27, we currently have 116 busses which are usually near empty, roaring up the street daily plus 29 Route 32, also near empty. It is inconceivable that the LTC would remove 32 travelling south and double-up the service to travel north when we are already over-run with busses and traffic. In doing so, we could expect a bus to pass each house every 5 to 8 minutes. This is just wrong. We are not in a commercial district or on a main artery.
We are a residential neighbourhood which has been overtaken by a tsunami of traffic which includes increased LTC busses, school busses, drivers using the street as a shortcut from Adelaide to Highbury and back again as well as courier trucks, bicycles, fire trucks, ambulances, and police.
Every driver on Briarhill trying to exit or enter their driveway can provide an account of an accident(s) or a near miss.
The sidewalk is on the West side of the street making it necessary for all residents on the East side to cross the street in the middle of the block including parents with small children to get them to their school bus. Given the grading of the street and the volume of traffic, this is already quite a challenge , especially in peak traffic times.
Vehicles coming from Adelaide Street turning onto Briarhill have been stuck behind a bus and/or made to stop at 2 cross walks, another 2 or 3 stop signs, and school bus loading and unloading so that when they finally reach Briarhill, they roll around the corner without regard for the stop sign, hit the gas, and fly up the hill. With the cars coming out of Sweetbriar heading south, It is not uncommon to have a succession and 6-10 cars. At the same time, traffic is coming around the corner from Melsandra or Huron Street travelling from south to north, again both directions barely stopping at the stop sign.
With the addition of a bus travelling from South to North every 5 minutes, it is inevitable that there will be busses passing each other. When you combine the existing travel difficulties with the reduced visibility around these busses and the grade of the hill, how long will it be before a frustrated resident thinks they see an opportunity to pull out after that bus passes by and misses seeing the cyclist that was hidden behind the bus?
And it is all worse on the wet, dark fall days and into the winter.
We need to remember this is a residential neighbourhood. It is just as important to consider the safety and convenience of the residents in the neighbourhood as it is the convenience of the ridership.
Individual notice should have been given to each resident, rather than our finding out by accident of this proposed change. At present we have had street parking reduced to 2 hour increments on the East side of the street only which is to accommodate the busses on the west side of the street. What happens if this route change is made and in time the bus drivers decide the parked cars are a problem, we wake up to find no parking signs on both sides of the street? While it may not be used daily by each resident, it is a necessity and not just weekends.
The rationale of the LTC in this proposal was to join the nodes of Huron and Highbury and Adelaide and Kipps Lane more directly and quickly. As an alternate proposal, if the LTC were to have Route 14 continue across Briarhill on Melsandra to Barker and turn North onto Barker, proceeding to Kipps Lane, then turn west to Adelaide, the bus would come out onto Kipps Lane at the point just west of the Mall where the bulk of ridership would come from in the town houses and apartment buildings (this is also west of where the school bus stops), thus accomplishing what the LTC has set out to do and at the same time, not further jeopardizing the safety of the residents on Briarhill.