Reaction to the King St. ROW Meeting

Tonight I attended the public meeting at City Hall discussing the plans for the King St. ROW test run, planned for the summer of 2008. The evening began with Adam Giambrone explaining about the problems with service on the King St line, and how the ROW would be an attempt to solve these issues.

He was repeatedly interrupted by some business owners from the King st portion of the entertainment district. When he finished his presentation, they took about an hour to air their grievances about the project. They basically were opposed to losing on street parking, and said that cars already had enough trouble downtown.

I think that increasing the quality of the streetcar service on King St. is extremely important. The plan is not overly disadvantageous to motorists, and business in the entertainment district would not suffer from the loss of something like 100 parking spots. If these people can only manage to stay in business because there is parking nearby, they have worse problems than streetcars.

One of the attendees of the meeting even complained that there is not enough automobile access to downtown. He spoke glowingly of a plan for a private toll supported expressway leading into downtown Toronto, mirroring the path of the DVP. Taking advice from someone who advocates adding another freeway into downtown seems like a dumb idea to me. That idea is definitely not something that would be popular in this ward (remember the Front St. Extension and Spadina Expressway). The same man made about 10 minutes worth of comments, basically considering nothing but the profits at his business, and ignoring more pressing issues like the health of the public and climate change.

After about 40 minutes of comments from the business owners, Adam Vaughn asked Adam Giambrone to remove the end date from the planning stage of the plan and send the idea back to the community council.

I was slightly upset with this request. There is a lot of support for the plan of a trial run of a ROW on King st with the residents of ward 20, as well as with those who use the King St. Line. Councillor Vaughn seemed to take the opinion of those attendance of the meeting tonight as being representative of the opinion of all of the people in this ward.

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