Local residents are painfully aware of the traffic delays caused by the backup of cars trying to turn left onto eastbound 401 from southbound Yonge Street. The traffic backups often take out a through lane on Yonge Street making the Yonge/Sheppard & Yonge/401 area on the worst congested areas of the city.
Now its time to focus on the other big delay – by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation – which has now spent years finding ways to avoid fixing this problem.
At the initiative of Toronto City Councillor John Filion, improving the Yonge/401 interchange has been identified as the single most important solution to traffic gridlock in the Yonge & Sheppard area. Recently City Council asked Mayor John Tory to raise the issue directly with Premier Kathleen Wynne. He did. However, the response was another letter from MTO to the City in May referencing the start of yet another traffic study.
The Provincial Transportation staff don’t care about congestion on Yonge Street because it’s not their road. Although they won’t say it directly in public, they want to keep the situation the way it is because it helps contain traffic entry onto their road – the 401. No matter how many studies are done, the Provincial bureaucrats keep stalling by requiring another one.
The City has set aside funding for its share of a solution in its Capital Budget. Because the interchange is on Provincial land however, the City can’t fix the problem by itself.
Councillor Filion and Willowdale residents are asking the Ministry of Transportation to demonstrate an equal interest by:
- Providing a clear commitment to participating in the construction of a preferred solution.
- Providing a clear timeline, from commitment to completion, including any further study, design or construction work.