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Dundas streetcar

December 7, 2009
S. H. wrote:

Dear Adam,

I am a resident in your ward and I'm hoping you can help me with recent public transportation issues I've been having. Firstly, can you please tell me when TTC service along Dundas west of Ossington will resume? My husband and I both live and work off Dundas, so the interruption in service has been a major inconvenience, as the diversion adds 15-20 minutes each way to our daily commute, making it about the same as walking the 4-5 km downtown to work. We would prefer to walk, however, my husband is injured and I'm suffering from a cold, so we are forced to take the TTC. I have also been not dropping into my favourite shops like Multiple Organics and West Side Stories on the way home like I normally do, since they are no longer on the way home.

Many thanks from resident of Ward 18,

December 10, 2009
Adam Giambrone Assistant wrote:

Thank-you for your e-mail, the Councillor has read it and asked that I respond.

We appreciate you bringing your concerns about TTC service on Dundas Street West to our attention. The lack of service is due to the watermain replacement work that is currently taking place on Dundas Street West, from Ossington to Lansdowne. This repair work is temporary, and we have heard from Transportation services that they are projecting the work to be finished by end of summer 2010.

We have heard from a number of concerned residents who have let us know of the impact this work is having on their commute. I know that living in the midst of construction can be very difficult, however this work is necessary and will ultimately make the neighbourhood better, by ensuring better water flow and updated water pipes servicing the street.

We are monitoring the situation, and we encourage our constituents' to let us know how this work is progressing and how it is affecting you and your business.

I hope that this has been of some help.

S. H. wrote:

Dear Constituency Assistant,

Thank you so much for this response. But most importantly, can you tell me if there are plans to resume the bus service to make up for the fact there is currently no transit option available along Dundas west of Ossington? For this area to go without public transit service for another 8 or 9 months is unacceptable: especially as we are entering winter, when walking further to transit can be cold, icy and truly unpleasant, and when biking to work isn't an option.

Was transit coverage for Dundas West not part of the watermain construction budget?

December 12, 2009
C. K. wrote:

I am sure some of you are already aware that the 505 Dundas streetcar has been re-routed to College from Lansdowne to Ossington since mid-November. We had a shuttle bus coming through since early summer but as of last month, we have completely lost service on this strip of Dundas. The reason for the disruption, according to our city councillor (and Chair of the TTC) is that there is an ongoing watermain replacement operation. Adam Giambrone's office states,

"since the demand for bus service on this final stretch of Dundas is low, and Dundas ad College move closer to each other the further west you go, it has determined that shuttle bus service along this route would not be the best utilization of resources."

This lack of service is projected to last until fall of 2010!

The consequence of course means that many of us have had to find alternative routes. For the elderly and others with mobility issues, the walk to College may not be as easy as the City assumes. This is especially true in the winter.

For small businesses, many of us have already experienced a significant dip in sales. No TTC on Dundas means less customers can reach us. If this continues onto 2010, the results will be devastating.

There are plans in the works for different things to happen. One is an invitation to Adam Giambrone to a public meeting to urge him to resume service. Stay tuned for more information regarding this as we go. Meanwhile, if you are also concerned and want to let him know that demand for 505 is NOT low and we very much need it, contact him at:

Phone: 416-392-7012
Fax: 416-392-7957
E-mail: councillor_giambrone@toronto.ca

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this

I. H. wrote:

I just sent and email to Adam gambrionne.. I am appealed that we never got notice and that we would have to be in this situation until fall 2110?.. and go through a fare increase.. absurd? I usually ride my bike and I am not too bother by the lack of service but I just find it unacceptable.. College is now a nightmare to TTC rider, driver, pedestrians and cyclists...

December 13, 2009
S. H. wrote:

Thanks for posting this C. This past week I also emailed Adam's office, I'm posting the string of emails above for everyone to read. What I find most shocking is the complete lack of communication about this. The original signs accompanying the water-main construction read "estimated completion: Fall 2009" but now this has become end of summer 2010.

If you care about being denied transit service on Dundas in our neighborhood for the next 8 months, I encourage you to please phone or email Adam's office, and let him know you're a resident.

A. O. wrote:

Dear Mr Giambrone

I live in the Brock-Wyndham area and I have just heard that transit service along Dundas in my area has been cancelled until late 2010. I am shocked and frustrated by this news. I am over 60 years old and in reasonably good health, nevertheless the alternatives of the College or Queen cars are just not good enough. The walk to College or Queen in the wintertime is not pleasant, the wait times once one gets to the nearest streetcar stop after one has already frozen on the trek there even more unpleasant, and those streetcars are now even more crowded than ever. Transferring to another streetcar at Ossington (when one takes the College car) is frustrating too. I can only imagine how hard this must be for even older people or people with mobility issues. Not to mention mothers travelling with small children.

I am also very surprised to hear the news that the Dundas car in my area was not well used. It always seemed well used to me when it ran, and I rarely used it during rush hours. I am very disappointed that we were not better informed of its cancellation. I recently spent a half hour at my nearest Dundas car stop waiting with my grandson until a passerby told me (and the several other prospective passengers that had joined me in my wait) that there was no service there anymore. The sign indicating no service was actually hidden from view when you stood in the TTC shelter! You had to stand at the crosswalk preparing to cross the street in order to view the sign, and since I didn't need to cross the street to get to the stop, I couldn't see the sign.

When you (the TTC) reduce service in an area, it is no surprise that usage goes down. VIA Rail successfully used that strategy to reduce passenger train service and raise prices, it now appears that the TTC is attempting the same thing. Shame on you/them.

R. K. wrote:

Dear Mr. Giambrone,

I'm just wondering when the TTC service will resume between Lansdowne and Ossington? I live just south of Dundas at Lisgar and I've found the lack of service extremely inconvenient especially now during the winter. Now I know the signs next to the road say the project is to be completed by the end of fall 2009 which officially ends in about a week however I've heard that TTC service won't resume until fall 2010! Is this true? I rely on the TTC to get to work on a daily basis and this would be quite cumbersome. I look forward to hearing from you.

December 14, 2009
E. B. wrote:

Dear Councillor Giambrone,

I know that many others in my community have written to you about the serious impact that the loss of transit on Dundas is having on their lives. I echo their concerns.

I am writing to you now to advise that, in addition to these concerns, there are a number of vulnerable groups who are more seriously affected by the total loss of public transit on Dundas and the need to walk to College to access the TTC. I am referring to those with mobility challenges, the elderly, the disabled, and parents with young children in strollers.

For the elderly and disabled who were, until recently, able to walk to their streetcar stop, the sudden increase in distance to the nearest serviced stop is unacceptable. As a lawyer at the Parkdale Legal Clinic, I know that many of my clients and other members of the community struggle to maintain normal lives despite challenges to their mobility. It can be a herculean effort for some of these people to walk the distance to the nearest transit stop. The walk is all the more challenging if the ground is covered in snow and ice. To eliminate any transit service along a route where there was, until recently, regular service adds a challenge to these people's lives which may be significant enough that they must chose to stay home. It may be too exhausting, too dangerous, or too overwhelming to make it to College. It is no answer to say that the TTC provides door to door service in the form of wheeltrans. The service is very limited, hard to book, and requires significant life changes to work around. The loss of regular transit along Dundas may confine many to their homes who where formerly able to get out and use transit like the rest of us.

I would suggest that the elimination of transit along Dundas for any period of time is not only inappropriate, it is a violation of the Human Rights Code. The City is required to accommodate elderly and disabled people in the delivery of services to the point of undue hardship. If it is necessary to eliminate the streetcars to allow for maintenance work, then buses which arrive with the same frequency must be provided.

In addition to the above, new parents (and most often mothers) who use strollers are also affected. As a person with a young child, I can advise that winter travel is a significant challenge. When there is snow and ice on the ground, it is exceedingly hard to walk even a short distance while pushing a stroller. Adding a long stretch to the walk to transit is a barrier which is has a very negative effective on those with young children who want to use transit or who do not have cars to resort to.

I would ask that you address the concerns I have expressed above in a written response. In light of the fact that I have raised Human Rights concerns, I would ask that you do not send a form letter. I would ask that you send a detailed response explaining why the TTC has chosen to eliminate buses along Dundas in the absence of streetcars and what you propose to do to rectify the situation.

F. D. wrote:

Here are two more ways to get active on the Dundas bus/streetcar issue:

-a petition (to bring back the Dundas streetcar) created by a small group of local folks: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bringbackdundaswestbus/

-and If you are on Facebook, join the “together for Dundas West” group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=234385735099&ref=ts

C. K. wrote:

Such awesome letters!! Please keep us posted on the responses.

December 15, 2009
J. B. wrote:

Dear Councillor Giambrone,

There are a number of issues I would like to address in this letter, all of them contributing to the fact that our neighbourhood, a neighbourhood that I would hope you have an interest in protecting is becoming a less and less attractive place to live. Some of them as chair of the TTC, you have brought on yourself. These changes to our neighbourhood are contributing to giving your constituents transportation problems, poor health as well as helping destroy the viability of Dundas West.

1) Dundas West Parking When I heard that there was going to be changes to parking along Dundas, I didn't realize what a huge impact this would be to businesses in the neighbourhood. 5 spots on the north side and 5 on the south side between each block is ridiculous. Why is our neighbourhood being unfairly targeted, when College, Queen and Bloor all have a different set of rules. What's wrong with the no stopping on the south side in the morning and no stopping on the north side in the afternoon? I feel that there was little consultation with the public on this issue. I'm sure you know that our Dundas West BIA is now in jeopardy as well as many of the few businesses in our neighbourhood that make Brockton an attractive place to live.

2) Dundas West lack of Transit Why after allowing traffic to flow faster would the TTC stop service along Dundas until next fall? It just doesn't make any sense. There have been many letters to you about this issue recently and I don't think I need to add more to the complaints.

3) The Diesel Rail Expansion With this slap in the face, I can't help think that our neighbourhood is being ghettoized. I know of many families moving out of Brockton because of the pollution that we can expect from the rail expansion. I'm very disappointed in you as our councillor in not stepping forward against this plan despite knowing how it would affect your constituents. I know that the City of Toronto recommended electrifying the line, but I would hope that with as much interest that was shown by the people in our neighbourhood, that you would have stepped up.

And I'm not talking about showing your face at a rally and piggybacking on hours of hard work done by the fine people in our neighbourhood. At a meeting in the spring I recall David Miller sending you a message (during that meeting) that he was willing to fight against this plan, which you so promptly jumped aboard. But neither him nor you were willing to take on this political battle. I now realize that our city government just smiles and waits for handouts from our provincial government instead of sticking up for us.

The sad thing is that, despite the nasty media our current city government is getting now, I actually like Mr. Miller and many of his initiatives. I shudder when I think of the other options we have in our next election.

It seems that 2010 is a losing year for our neighbourhood and I hope that it's not a losing year for you as well. If you can't look after your constituents, I don't know how you'll fare looking after our city.

I would hope that you would be interested in having a community meeting to try to resolve some of these issues and to listen to the people that you represent.

M. F. wrote:

Mr Giambrone,

It seems you are in a conflict of interest as both a city councilor and chair of the TTC. The decisions you have been making for your "ward" during this present term seem to be geared more towards making our community a thoroughfare as opposed to a destination.

I see it as an abuse of power to alter the layout of streets (Lansdowne), amend the availability of parking (Dundas West) and rescind TTC service to one's ward for the sole benefit of one's charge (Chair of TTC).

Your actions mentioned above are but a few which have been observed as severely detrimental to local business and residents alike... with no apparent beneficiary other than the commuters who may wish for a minor decrease in commute time through our neighbourhood.

Although I would not wish you upon any of Toronto's other wards, I would respectfully request you not seek re-election in ours.

Sincerely yours,

C. L. wrote:

I've seen numerous letters sent to Adam and this group has been cc'd on them. I would like to thank all of you for keeping the group updated in this way. I am however curious to know if any of you have had a response. Since none of the responses have been posted here. If you have been given a response please do send it to this group. I'm pretty sure that Adam and his office will not be "replying to all" and will only be replying to the original sender.

Thank you to everyone for your support.

J. F. wrote:

Dear Councillor Giambrone,

Please allow me to add my voice to what seems to be a growing chorus of citizens with very valid concerns about the termination of public transit on Dundas West. It would appear to me that excessively harsh decisions are negatively affecting the small businesses between Ossington and Lansdowne. First, parking spaces were drastically reduced to allow more rapid TTC service during peak traffic. Then, almost simultaneously, TTC service is completely halted for an entire year.

It has been suggested that being both a councillor of this ward and TTC chair there is the possibility of a conflict of interest on this issue. I disagree. In both capacities, it seems absolutely in the best interest that bus service resume on Dundas West until the streetcar lines are again available.

I'm sure as councillor you're excited about the combination of new and enduring business that line the banks of Dundas West. These business provide jobs, character and life to the neighbourhood. And I won't even mention the apple-cranberry tarts. It would be a shame if we had to lose these businesses for the sake of short-term efficiency.

I'm looking forward to your response. If you would like to meet to discuss this in person, my wife and I would be happy to meet with you at your convenience.

C. C. wrote:

I've talked to a few of our small business owners, and they are having a really tough time making ends meet with no transit coming into the area. I have noticed fewer people in our area since the suspension of bus service.

Please take the time to stop in to local stores. If we do not do this the stores will be forced to close making our neighbourhood much less vital and exciting. I think we can all appreciate the convenience and community value of local businesses.

Go for a coffee at Naco or Zoots, rent some DVDs at West Side Stories, stop by Multiple Organics for some groceries, get one of those ridiculously delicious vegan cupcakes at OMG Bakery!

December 16, 2009
Adam Giambrone wrote:

Thank you for your email regarding the temporary suspension of TTC service on Dundas St. W.

In order to increase pedestrian traffic to local businesses, especially in the last week before Christmas, and to best minimize inconvenience for residents, I am happy to inform you that as of Saturday, December 19 at approximately 10:00am, full 505 Dundas Streetcar service is expected to resume along Dundas St. W., including Lansdowne Ave to Ossington Ave.

The temporary suspension of streetcar service on Dundas St W. was due to the ongoing watermain work along Dundas. TTC planning staff recommended against using a bus along Dundas between Lansdowne and Ossington as bus service would be unreliable due to the construction, and instead encouraged riders to use the Lansdowne or Dufferin buses to access Queen or College streetcars.

Certainly this service change has been a huge disruption for residents and businesses. I have heard from many affected residents and business owners in the area about the negative impact this has had on them.

Therefore I have spoken with staff in Transportation, the city department undertaking the watermain project, as well as senior TTC staff in order to best service residents and businesses, while ensuring the watermain work can continue. At the end of this week, the nature of the work will allow for streetcar service to resume.

The watermain project will move west of Dovercourt Rd in April or May 2010 and will continue along Dundas St. W. to Lansdowne Ave through to the Fall 2010.

This break in the major work from December 19, 2009 until April or May 2010 has afforded us an opportunity to restore regular 505 service along Dundas until April 2010, at which time we will reassess the feasibility of TTC service.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts on this with me.

Have a very happy holiday season.

C. C. wrote:

Way to go everyone.

I cannot believe that they were about to have no streetcar service during the ENTIRE WINTER months EVEN THOUGH they weren't doing any work on the line!?!?!? (That's how I read that letter anyway...)

I noticed that they did this to us during the summer strike... Remember when the strike put a halt to watermain work BUT THE streetcars STILL weren't running? I thought I noticed that there was absolutely no torn-up street anywhere along the streetcar tracks but the TTC was still diverting?

I'm glad Councillor Giambrone came through for us but I simply cannot believe that the TTC was willing to allow such a long disruption of service when it was unnecessary.

Unbelievable. But yay for all of us.

J. F. wrote:

Good news!

S. H. wrote:

Here's the latest response I had from Karen at Adam Giambrone's office. I have a hard time thinking a bus would be slow considering there is little to no work happening at the moment. Thanks to all for writing such great letters! Keep it up! Toronto residents deserve access to public transportation on major streets like Dundas.

Many thanks and warm regards,

Thank-you for your response, I apologize that my first response did not cover all of your concerns.

There are currently no plans to resume a bus service on Dundas street West. This is because

 bus service would be slow, and more importantly, very unreliable, meaning long waits and slow progress once you board. Some congestion is expected during the construction, and buses will only add to it, without offering adequate enough service to make it worthwhile. Experience shows that under these conditions, people will overwhelmingly not use the temporary service, preferring instead to walk to College or Queen for the time being, where the service will be much more reliable and effective.

As for TTC service being covered in the watermain construction budget, the short answer is no it is not. The watermain work is done by the city and does not give any money to the TTC for added bus service due to construction. This lack of service is therefore also inconvenient to the TTC as well as residents. However, for the reasons stated above, TTC planners made the decision that this area was better services by the frequent service of Lansdowne and Dufferin buses.

I hope this has been more helpful than the last e-mail, if you have any more concerns please feel free to contact me.

I. H. wrote:

weird? is Adam and Karen talking to each other???.. I got a complete different answer...I am confused?

Seco! ndly, the rush hour service of the Dundas car headed west seems to be seriously lacking. My husband and I also both leave work at 5pm from downtown, attempting to catch the streetcar headed west to home. Three times last week I had to wait 10-15 minutes for a streetcar, once waiting over 20 minutues - at the height of rush hour (between 5 and 5.30pm). Then of course, when a car did show up, there was no room to board. Once again, it would have been quicker to walk. Is there any possibility of adding more westbound Dundas streetcars at rush hour?

S. H. wrote:

My response was from Tues, the others from Wednesday - so clearly Adam made a few calls a realized that the streetcar was being re-routed for no reason, and did a quick turn around before any more polictical damage was done (ie. it became a news story).

C. C. wrote:

Seems like one was sent after the other. Was Adam's response saying we're getting service back this Sat. sent after the one about buses taking too long?

M. H. wrote:

Well, as you can see from the email below, this is a victory for the community: it shows that you can pressure city hall and get results. It was great that so many people in our community emailed our councillor about the issue. Who knows how long we would have been left without streetcar service if we had remained silent? Councillor Giambrone does deserve some credit for responding to the pressure applied against him in the last couple of days. We spoke and he listened.

Thank you for your email regarding the temporary suspension of TTC service on Dundas St. W.

In order to increase pedestrian traffic to local businesses, especially in the last week before Christmas, and to best minimize inconvenience for residents, I am happy to inform you that as of Saturday, December 19 at approximately 10:00am, full 505 Dundas Streetcar service is expected to resume along Dundas St. W., including Lansdowne Ave to Ossington Ave.

The temporary suspension of streetcar service on Dundas St W. was due to the ongoing watermain work along Dundas. TTC planning staff recommended against using a bus along Dundas between Lansdowne and Ossington as bus service would be unreliable due to the construction, and instead encouraged riders to use the Lansdowne or Dufferin buses to access Queen or College streetcars.

Certainly this service change has been a huge disruption for residents and businesses. I have heard from many affected residents and business owners in the area about the negative impact this has had on them.

Therefore I have spoken with staff in Transportation, the city department undertaking the watermain project, as well as senior TTC staff in order to best service residents and businesses, while ensuring the watermain work can continue. At the end of this week, the nature of the work will allow for streetcar service to resume.

The watermain project will move west of Dovercourt Rd in April or May 2010 and will continue along Dundas St. W. to Lansdowne Ave through to the Fall 2010.

This break in the major work from December 19, 2009 until April or May 2010 has afforded us an opportunity to restore regular 505 service along Dundas until April 2010, at which time we will reassess the feasibility of TTC service.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts on this with me.

Have a very happy holiday season.

C. K. wrote:

Thanks for all the letters! It really made all the difference.

December 17, 2009
S. H. wrote:

My response was from Tues, the others from Wednesday - so clearly Adam made a few calls a realized that the streetcar was being re-routed for no reason, and did a quick turn around before any more polictical damage was done (ie. it became a news story).

C. L. wrote:

This is a victory for our community. I am very proud of it. It warms my heart to know how we have all banned together to take action with a positive and amazingly quick result. I'm happily shocked.

Allow me to share my humble opinions for a moment.

While I agree some credit is due to Adam that pales in comparison to the utter lack of communication/consultation with all of us prior to this TTC service cut. Including the businesses that make up the membership of the BIA (Adam is a member of the board). Let me be very clear in saying that Adam and his office have been given at some point most if not all of our email addresses or at the very least access to gaining that information, if he had chosen to ask for it. And I believe that one if not several of his "Assistants" are on our Brockton list serve. The fact that there was no prior notice given to any of us which I believe should have been the bare minimum expectation (prior to the removal) of our Councillor. I do not understand and still cannot seem to make sense of why this had to happen in such a backwards way. I will be the first to admit that I don't understand politics, perhaps this is just not the way things are done and I'm just an artist with her head in the clouds...

So what now? Here's my suggestion of a solution. Several of the business owners and residences are coming together to create a larger list of contacts to help smooth communications in the future. In hopes that things like this won't happen again regardless of who is our next elected official. The intention is to bridge this lack of communication between our Councillors office and all of us. Perhaps we can effect change and have things done in a different and more effective way? Or maybe I'm living in a dream world.

It is a positive result but one that we as a community should be proud of. Let's not loose sight of that and keep up the great work that we can all do together for our neighbourhood and for each other. I strongly believe that the hero in this story is - YOU AND OUR NEIGHBOURS. I am so grateful to live in such a wonderful "hood" that I am not able to truly express it in words. Okay I'll stop now before I get all mushy. Lol!

Thank you and I hope everyone has a very happy and safe holiday season!

J. B. wrote:

Don't cut yourself and all other artists short. You're not an artist with her head in the clouds or someone living in a dream world. I think it's important for us to demand much from our elected officials. If they are not representing us (this includes communicating with us!), they are not doing their job.

I wish that more politicians were artists as they might be able to come up with more creative ideas to solve problems. Hopefully in the future, we can be a part of decisions that effect our community instead of demanding "treats" like little children.

C. L. wrote:

Thank you for your response. Well said. You are too right.

Dec 22, 2009
J. B. wrote:

I thought some of you might want to hear the response I received from Mr. Giambrone.

Thank-you for your e-mail, I apologize for the delay in my response, the holiday season is a busy time in our office but responding to concerned constituents is still our top priority.

I will address each of your concerns as you have laid them out by number, so as not to miss any of the issues you raise.

1) Dundas West Parking The recent parking amendments on Dundas Street West through Ward 18 were part of a traffic management initiative developed by the City to improve streetcar and general traffic operations. This initiative is in keeping with City Councils' reduction targets contained in the "Climate Change Plan" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and locally generated smog-causing pollutants. This initiative is also the culmination of approximately three years of consultation with the Dundas West BIA, which began when they first requested that the City look at ways to increase the amount of available parking during rush hour.

Council in moving forward with this initiative recognized parking as an integral component in maintaining the local retail and commercial businesses on Dundas Street West. In considering these competing interests and find a balance between improving transit operations and enhance parking opportunities for patrons of local businesses a total of 51 parking spaces where identified on local streets intersecting with Dundas Street West where pay-and-display parking was introduced to supplement the total complement of parking. Theses spaces can be used throughout the day unlike the hours of operation for pay-and-display parking along Dundas Street West, which are restricted due to stopping prohibitions during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods. These parking spaces are a benefit to the Dundas Street West Business Community to promote parking turnover and enhance parking opportunity for their customers.

I recognize that there is high demand for parking in the area and that major changes to parking can be disruptive and stressful for local residents. My job as Councillor, however, is to try to seek the right balance between all the various interests in the area, such as those of residents, businesses, motorists, transit users, cyclists and pedestrians. In some cases, like this one, where there are conflicting interests, it may not be possible to please everyone, despite significant efforts. Nonetheless I continue to value your feedback and opinions on this matter and appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts and perspective with me.

2) Dundas West Lack of Transit I am happy to inform you that as of Saturday, December 19, full 505 Dundas Streetcar service is expected to resume along Dundas St. W., including from Ossington to Lansdowne. The restoration of TTC service will help increase pedestrian traffic to local businesses, especially in the last week before Christmas, and also minimize inconvenience for residents over the winter months.

3) The Diesel Rail Expansion

I share your concerns about diesel trains running through the ward on the rail expansion line. Though it is not always front page news, I have been a strong and active supporter of electrifying this line from the outset of its proposal. I have made my position clear by supporting motions at council that supported electrifying the line, I have also worked closely with the clean air coalition in the past year on this issue. I have also been instrumental in obtaining city legal's participation in an appeal to the Canadian Transportation Agency, which just last week ruled that GO and Metrolinx must now put a stop to the pile driving, which has been disturbing residents in the ward in the Dupont and Dundas area. I have been and continue to work Toronto Public Health and the Medical Officer to ensure a rigorous review of the proposed expansion's health impacts on constituents in our ward. Though it is ultimately up to the Provincial Government to decide whether or not electrified trains would run on this line, I will continue my efforts in supporting electrifying this rail line.

I hope my response has clarified my position on some of these issues. Thank-you for taking the time to send my office your concerns.

All the best in the new year,

April 8, 2010
D. C. wrote:

Councillor Giambrone:

I'm a local business owner on Dundas St. West at Dufferin. It has come to my attention that yet again there will be no transit service on Dundas St. between Lansdowne Ave. and Bathurst for the rest of the month of April until "the end of May".

This is unacceptable.

The small businesses on Dundas West went through this during the Christmas season and it very nearly closed some of our doors.

I as a business owner would ask that there be a substitute bus running on Dundas St. throughout the construction so long as cars are able to drive through. There are more than enough people to support a full bus load every 10 minutes on Dundas St. regardless of the construction.

There do not need to be more streetcars on College. We need a replacement bus on Dundas St. West during the construction.

L. wrote:

Dear Councillor Giambrone

I, too, own a business on Dundas- a daycare at Dundas and Dovercourt, and many of our families depend on the TTC to take them to daycare in the morning then off to work.

Our daycare is new, and our enrollment is growing. We don't need new families considering the TTC disruptions as one of the factors that may make them choose another daycare over ours.

I'm also one of those families! Just this morning, my son and I took the streetcar to daycare!

Please run the bus. So many of us depend on it!

Thanks for your consideration,

E. P. wrote:

Dear Councillor Adam Giambrone,

Please reconsider the issue of a shuttle bus on Dundas St. West as the neighbourhood really needs one. I appreciate the rerouting of the Dundas W car along College for the uninterrupted continuous long distance travel from Dundas West station to Main station, but that should not negate a shuttle bus on Dundas St. West that is bypassed by the streetcar due to construction.

Please schedule a shuttle bus along Dundas St. West.

C. H. wrote:

We need your help. I received a notice in my mailbox on Monday from the TTC. There will be no TTC service starting April 12 until May (no date given) due to watermain construction. So this means we will have at least 2 weeks or more (yes again) no TTC service from Lansdowne to Ossington. The streetcars will be diverted (servicing College St.) and NO bus service will be added during this time to service Dundas Street. Let me be very in saying this is completely unacceptable and goes against promises made by Adam's office. I was in a meeting about 1.5 years ago when this construction came up. We were promised that as long as traffic was able to run along our street we would at the very least have bus service if streetcars could not make it through. (due to overhead wires needing to be disconnected or something) If you find this as unacceptable as I do please write to Adam's office. councillor_giambrone@toronto.ca

And as a side note. Why not stop the Dundas streetcar from servicing/being rerouted on College? Instead use the money to pay for a bus from Dundas West Station to Bathurst Station along Dundas West. Then have the Dundas streetcar run from Bathurst Station and along it's normal route east? It just doesn't make sense to me to have no service in such a large area of Dundas but double up service on College. Am I missing something?

Please pass this along to anyone that might help us get the word out.

Thank you for reading,

I. H. wrote:

I never receive the notices in my mailbox and I am annoyed with that on top of the dsiruption in the service for people using it.. I am lucky enough to be riding my bike now that the weather permits!..I feel for people who don't have the option.

At least a bus shuttle should be in place

F. D. wrote:

Thanks for bring this to our attention, C.

Just a quick reminder that your letters of complaint made a difference last time, so consider sending one again.

C. K. wrote:

I have been trying to look for a copy of the email sent by Adam Giambrone when he informed us that the 505 would resume a few months back. Didn't he say that regardless of the watermain work, there would be continuous service on Dundas? A shuttle bus if and when a streetcar can't get through? Does anyone still have copies of that response?

M. N. wrote:

There's this email... but it does actually say it may be disrupted again....

Thank you for your email regarding the temporary suspension of TTC service on Dundas St. W.

In order to increase pedestrian traffic to local businesses, especially in the last week before Christmas, and to best minimize inconvenience for residents, I am happy to inform you that as of Saturday, December 19 at approximately 10:00am, full 505 Dundas Streetcar service is expected to resume along Dundas St. W., including Lansdowne Ave to Ossington Ave.

The temporary suspension of streetcar service on Dundas St W. was due to the ongoing watermain work along Dundas. TTC planning staff recommended against using a bus along Dundas between Lansdowne and Ossington as bus service would be unreliable due to the construction, and instead encouraged riders to use the Lansdowne or Dufferin buses to access Queen or College streetcars.

Certainly this service change has been a huge disruption for residents and businesses. I have heard from many affected residents and business owners in the area about the negative impact this has had on them.

Therefore I have spoken with staff in Transportation, the city department undertaking the watermain project, as well as senior TTC staff in order to best service residents and businesses, while ensuring the watermain work can continue. At the end of this week, the nature of the work will allow for streetcar service to resume.

The watermain project will move west of Dovercourt Rd in April or May 2010 and will continue along Dundas St. W. to Lansdowne Ave through to the Fall 2010.

This break in the major work from December 19, 2009 until April or May 2010 has afforded us an opportunity to restore regular 505 service along Dundas until April 2010, at which time we will reassess the feasibility of TTC service.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts on this with me.

Have a very happy holiday season.

Yours Truly,

Adam Giambrone

Toronto City Councillor

April 9, 2010
E. B. wrote:

Dear Councillor Giambrone,

I live at 76 St. Clarens Avenue and will be adversely affected by the loss of bus service along Dundas between Lansdowne and Ossington during April and May of this year. I have a small child and we are not able to easily walk to Ossington, especially in inclement weather.

More seriously, I have neighbours who are disabled and/or elderly. These neighbours find even the walk to the existing transit stop a challenge. Eliminating transit along this stretch of Dundas denies these neighbours a public service upon which they rely. In some cases, neighbours may find themselves housebound. I note that it is no answer to say that they may use Wheeltrans. The service is not the same and is not available to those who are technically able to use regular transit.

I wrote to you once before about this issue to remind you of your obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code to ensure that those with disabilities have equal access to services. I was happy to see you change your earlier decision. I am now quite shocked that you are again ignoring your legal obligations under the Code in an apparent attempt to save money. As you know, financial saving is not an acceptable ground to deny equal access to services to all Ontarians.

If you do not change your decision, I will gladly offer my services as a Human Rights Lawyer to any resident who feels adversely impacted by the loss of bus service along this route owing to disability.

C. J. wrote:

May I ask that if/when people do get responses that they post so we may read them too.

C. J. wrote:

Want to learn more about the Ontario Human Rights Code and transit? Follow this link for interesting information.

http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/resources/discussion_consultation/DiscTransitServ?page=DiscTransitServ-PART.html

I. H. wrote:

I learned a few days ago that someone legally blind has get free access to transit.. I think it is also a confirmation that transit is a basic human right..

C. J. wrote:

Water main reconstruction update

L. W. wrote:

Dear Councillor Giambrone,

I live on Dundas St. at Margueretta. Many of my neighbours have been voicing their concerns about their ability to access the TTC if the Dundas streetcars are diverted to College during the watermain construction. While I personally am able to manage the short walk to College, I do question the logic in diverting the Dundas car to College instead of running a bus along Dundas for the duration of the construction. It doesn’t make sense to add extra streetcars on College if busses can still get through on Dundas and serve those with limited mobility. I would be interested to hear the rationale behind your decision.

I hope you will consider this input from your customers, and at least explain your decision one way or the other.

E. B. wrote:

Just a clarification with respect to my letter to Giambrone.

It is not that there is any basic right to public transit. Rather, the Human Rights Code prevents discrimination against historically disadvantaged groups (including those with disabilities) in certain contexts. These contexts include employment, housing, and the provision of services. So, for example, I cannot refuse to rent my apartment to a person based on the colour of their skin. It is not that there is a basic right apartments. It is that I cannot discriminate in my choice of tenant. Likewise, for example, the city cannot tell jewish people that they are not allowed to use the transit system. There is no right to transit. But if there is transit, everyone must have equal access to it.

In the context of the removal of bus service, the discrimination is less obvious. The removal of buses along dundas is "adverse effect" discrimination. Sure, the removal of buses appears to effect everyone equally. We must all walk further. No one is excluded from this. However the effect of the removal of buses is much more severe on those with disabilities as they may not have the same ability to walk further. People with disabilities are therefore being discriminated against.

I have been practicing human rights law for some 9 years now and it is my opinion that the above is legally sound. I believe that Giambrone will take my letter seriously and that there is a viable human rights complaint if he does not change his decision and a person with a disability is left unable to access TTC service.

April 13, 2010
D. C. wrote:

Below is the response I received from the office of Giambrone. I thought I'd pass it on to the neighbours if anyone is interested in reading his response.

Thank you for your email. The Councillor has read your email and asked that I reply.

Our office is aware that bus service will be halted on Dundas for a period of a little over a month. While I do understand that this type of measure is an inconvenience, it is unfortunately a necessity give the street and watermain repairs that will be occurring in the area. Because of this construction, TTC service in this area would be extremely difficult to provide, and even if busses were running, there would be no way to ensure efficient service given the traffic delays that are expected.

Further information on this service change can be found here: http://www3.ttc.ca/Service_Advisories/Route_diversions/505_Dundas_Watermain.jsp

I apologize for the inconvenience this change may cause, but service is still available on surrounding major arteries. Area residents should not have to walk more than approximately 2 blocks out of their way because of this change.

Thank you again for your email. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

Kevin Jarus
Constituency Assistant to:
Adam Giambrone

April 21, 2010
E. B. wrote:

I spoke to Adam Giambrone this morning at about 10:00 am about the interruption of streetcar service for 6 weeks along Dundas between Lansdowne and Ossington, and the decision to not provide replacement bus service. Here is a summary of the conversation:

I told AG that staff from Geo Construction (who are doing the water work) were of the view that streetcars could pass during the construction. AG replied that it might be the case on some days, but definitely not on others. He advised that the contractors were not necessarily in a position to know what is required for the operation of streetcars, which I thought was fair.

AG said that when service is going to be so intermittent over a period of time, it makes sense to find a consistent solution. AG said that normally, bus service would be implemented. In this case, however, the following elements were taken into consideration in deciding not to run buses:

1. The construction has slowed traffic significantly such that bus service will be exceedingly slow and hard to schedule.
2. The slowness of the service and irregularity of the buses will lead most riders to make the walk to College.
3. The distance between College and Dundas is 300 metres at Dovercourt.
4. In other locations where they have run buses to replace streetcars in close proximity of another route, they have found that the overwhelming majority of riders walk to the other route. The riders walk to the other route because they want to avoid slow buses and multiple transfers. The result is that use of the buses is minimal and makes the very high cost of running the buses hard to justify.
5. The disruption will last only 6 weeks and will be during warm weather.

There was some other stuff about the availability of drivers which was not very convincing.

I pointed out that even if bus ridership has been minimal in other locations, one must ask who is still riding the bus? Is it people who find the walk to the other route impossible? I pointed out that the walk from Dundas to College is a very long one for those with mobility challenges. I have had clients who found the walk from the waiting room to my office painful. Doubling their walking distance is very significant. I advised that cost cannot be a barrier to accommodating those who have disabilities which would make it impossible for them to get to the College route.

I then asked AG what other ideas his staff had proposed to address the problems faced by those who cannot get to the alternate route. If bus service is not an option, had they put their mind to other alternatives? He advised that anyone who cannot make it to the other route because of mobility challenges can just call wheeltrans and they will be able to use that service for the duration of the disruption.

I asked AG how people were supposed to know about the wheeltrans option. He said that people could call his office or TTC customer service. I advised that many people do not know that they can call these places, they may have language barriers, they may not have experience calling government to demand service, etc. I said that when a group of disabled people will be affected by a TTC decision and there is a solution for them, in this case broader wheeltrans service, it is the TTC's responsibility to tell them about the solution. I proposed a flyer be distributed in the affected area in an appropriate range of languages (English, Portuguese, Vietnamese?) to advise people of the decision regarding bus service and the availability of wheeltrans to those who cannot make it to an alternate route.

AG said that he would get his team to work up such a flyer. He has to make sure that there is enough wheeltrans available first. This creates some suspicion in my mind as to his original answer that anybody who called him could just access wheeltrans. It suggests a reliance on people not calling. If a flyer goes out and people actually know about the option, then he has to check availability. So he knows that many people do not call when they lose a service.

Regardless, it seems to me that if he does circulate a flyer and makes wheeltrans available, he will have accommodated those with disabilities as required under the Human Rights Code.

AG said that he would call me back within 2-3 days to confirm what the TTC will do.

May 30, 2010
K. wrote:

woo hoo!

according to the ttc website, regular streetcar service will return to dundas west between ossington and landsdowne on tuesday june 1 at 5:00 a.m.


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