Over the past ten years, if you’ve driven north or south on Allen Road and Dufferin Street between Sheppard Avenue and just north of Finch Avenue, you will notice shoulder lanes that are almost always empty and yet motorists cannot use them. These are “diamond lanes” reserved for transit buses all day and all night, 7 days a week. The lanes have long been a source of great frustration for residents in our community.
Since my arrival in Toronto City Council, I have been working to loosen the restrictions on these lanes. Over the years, I was repeatedly told by City staff that once the subway extension to Vaughan was complete, these lanes would be converted back to regular traffic lanes, open to all.
Recently, we made some great progress. At the City of Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting on February 27th, I worked with Councillor Anthony Perruzza to have the committee pass a motion that will convert the diamond lanes on Allen Road and Dufferin Street to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes for vehicles containing a minimum of two people. In addition to busses, the lanes can now be used by cyclists, motorcyclists and taxis. The item will now go to City Council on March 26th for approval.
We are also seeing the other positive impacts of the new subway extension on our local streets. With more residents north of Toronto taking the subway downtown to work, there are less cars cutting through our neighbourhoods. With new commuter parking lots along the north part of the subway extension, dozens of parking spaces at the Wilson and Sheppard West subway station lots have opened up. The opening of the new subway proves that investing in transit provides dividends for both transit riders and motorists.
Keep up with our progress and check back for regular updates at www.JamesPasternak.ca.