Toronto Star: Construction site nightmares: Isn’t there a better way than blocking traffic?

Paul Moloney Urban Affairs Reporter

The current building boom has created a checkerboard of downtown curb lane and sidewalk closures.

Some three dozen construction sites, mostly condo towers, are ringed with hoarding that extends over the sidewalk and curb lane, many on major streets including Yonge and Adelaide.

At the 1 Bloor E. tower under construction, northbound Yonge St. traffic backs up to the south during afternoon rush hour because the curb lane was closed last month — and will remain so until mid-2014.

Farther south, construction on the Ryerson student learning centre has closed the sidewalk and curb lane of Yonge at Gould St., until the end of May 2014.

At 21 Avenue Rd., conversion of the former Four Seasons Hotel to a condo required closing the sidewalk and curb lane last month — again, continuing until the end of 2014.

“Drivers do get fed up waiting,” said Briar de Lange, executive director of the Bloor-Yorkville business improvement area. “It’s all over downtown, and it does have an impact on drivers.”

It affects business, too.

“Pedestrians cross the street, which means businesses located next to the construction will see a drop in customer traffic,” said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale).

Wong-Tam is pushing for improved methods of handling construction, as is Councillor Adam Vaughan, who represents the development-heavy Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina.

And they have the ear of Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of council’s public works and infrastructure committee, who promises the issue will be studied.

“The city is a victim of its own success,” Minnan-Wong said. “We have more buildings popping up than most cities in North America, and that’s a good thing.

“But the collateral damage is you have lanes being taken out. It’s a problem crying out for a solution.”

Politicians are already tossing out ideas. Among them: click here to continue reading the article at