Noise barrier cut from TTC budget

Proposal to erect noise buffer near Allen and Eglinton chopped
Toronto councillor pushes for project to be added back in TTC budget
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Jan.20)

Residents living near Eglinton’s Allen Expressway on-ramp say they are furious with TTC for quashing a plan to put a noise barrier between their neighbourhood and a noisy commuter lot.
The approved noise barrier project was noticeably absent when TTC presented its 2011 capital budget in January.

Residents Tom Sandler, left, and Randy Daiter are petitioning the TTC to restore funding for a noise barrier near Allen Road. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

For years, residents living on Wembley Road have complained about honking, beeping and cursing from drivers competing to enter the expressway from Eglinton Avenue, and the noise coming from an adjacent commuter parking lot.
Four years ago, local councillor Joe Mihevc began pushing for funding of a noise barrier along the north side of the lot and the south side of the road’s residential properties.
“There’s been a 10-year plan for all the noise barriers on the Allen,” Mihevc said. “This is the last piece.”
In 2010, about $1.2 million was approved for the noise barrier. The plan was to design and tender it for contract this year, then build it in 2012, Mihevc said.
But there’s been a change of heart at the transit commission.

TTC chair Karen Stintz said before committing to a noise barrier, the commission must first look into the fate of the commuter lot and the changes the construction of an underground light rail may bring to the area.
“There’s a question of what happens to the parking lot when the Eglinton LRT goes through,” Stintz said of the plan to build light rail along Eglinton.
When he heard about the decision to pull funding, local resident Randy Daiter helped organize a petition of over 60 names from people directly impacted by the noise on Wembley Road and other neighbouring streets.
He said noisy drivers are only part of the problem. There’s also noise from snowplows on the TTC parking lot, idling tow trucks and police sirens as cops pull over drivers committing traffic infractions.
Daiter said he and his neighbours are concerned the noise “will only get worse” if and when the Eglinton underground light rail is built.
While he supports that project, Daiter said he’s worried the commuter parking lot may be used as a construction staging area, and that will add further noise and pollution.
Daiter’s neighbour, Jared Green said he’s had to install triple-pane windows in his home to keep out the noise.
“The noise is constant — day and night,” he said.
After reading the Town Crier’s Jan. 13 web story on the issue, Green sent an email to Stintz and Mayor Rob Ford asking for funding to be restored for the barrier. As of Jan. 19 he had yet to receive a response directly.
Mihevc is also pushing for a funding restoration, saying it’s now or never for the noise barrier.
“The TTC has some (financial) wiggle room in this year and next year’s budgets,” said Mihevc, a former TTC vice-chair.
“But the provincial money for a number of funding projects runs out in 2013. That’s where the rubber hits the road.”
He said if residents want this project to move ahead they should contact TTC commissioners now.
“A good neighbour builds good fences,” he said.
“One of the neighbours, (the TTC) can mitigate the noise of another neighbour.”
TTC staff has agreed to report back on the issue at a to-be-determined date.
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