The final TMMP report prepared by the City of Toronto consultants, WSP Global, was delivered by them to community representatives on January 13, 2020. Attending the presentation from our Councillor’s office were Josh Matlow and Slavisa Mijatovic, from the City were Cheryl Blackman and Jo Ann Pynn of Economic Development and Culture (EDC), Louise MacDonald from the Dupont by the Castle BIA, Nick Di Donato and Pat Di Donato from the Liberty Entertainment Group (LEG) and Jeffrey Maiste, Director of the Casa Loma Residents Association.
For those not familiar with this Study, it was initiated by the City of Toronto in August 2018 to identify traffic and parking congestion issues around Casa Loma in response to concerns raided by residents living in the vicinity of the Castle. The first report was presented by the City’s consultants, WSP Global, on November 6, 2018 at an Open House held at the Toronto Archives building. The CLRA obtained feedback from local residents and presented this feedback to the City and its Consultants in November/ early December 2018. After a long period of little communication, caused in part by a change in personnel at WSP, the Consultant’s report was delivered on January 13, 2020.
Fundamentally, the final report was little changed from the initial report delivered to the Open House on November 6, 2018.
Observations and Recommendations taken from the Final Report were:
- The City and Liberty Entertainment Group should do more to encourage the use of public transportation to the Castle.
- The City can help by improving the wayfinding signage to the castle from both St. Clair West Subway station and the Dupont Station. Use of the Dupont Station can highlighted by potentially changing the name of the station to Dupont Casa Loma. Our Councillor’s office will approach the TTC to explore this possibility to coincide with the revamping of TTC maps in 2021 when the Eglinton Crosstown opens.
- LEG have taken steps on its website to encourage the use of public transportation by having a direct link from the home page to public transportation directions.
Other ideas such as extending the 33 Bus from St. Clair West to Dupont during major events at the Castle have been dismissed, largely because there is no place to stop a bus at the Castle without blocking traffic.
- A sidewalk be built on the north side of Austin Terrace across from the castle complemented by a Pedestrian Crossover.
- This recommendation is controversial as many residents in the area see this as adding to traffic congestion from continuous use of the crosswalk during major events, more dropping off/ picking up on the north side of the street, more risk to pedestrians as they will likely cross at several points and concerns over the privacy of those living on the north side if the sidewalk is heavily used by pedestrians and those taking photos.
The next step will be for EDC to send this recommendation to Transportation Services to initiate a detailed study, and investigate the feasibility and cost of the potential project. The CLRA will organize input from those living north of the Castle to ascertain their views and present them to the City. This is one recommendation that warrants more input from local residents given the differences of opinion already identified.
- A Pay and Display Parking System should be implemented at the Casa Loma Parking Lot to relieve congestion caused by the time it takes for payment at a kiosk on entrance to the parking lot.
LEG has committed to implement this but say that work on the parking lot and the side wall on Walmer Rd. hill has to be completed by the City first. This will therefore not take place until the City has completed its work, likely not before May 2021.
- More signage to direct traffic to alternative parking lots including in real time when the Casa Loma parking lot is at capacity.
EDC noted that there is a long history of issues with Heritage about signage. However EDC have been working on building a better relationship with Heritage and will re-engage them in the process to find a viable solution for improved digital signage. EDC will most likely engage a consultant to create a proper policy and design for a solution that is acceptable to Heritage and the community.
The TMMP Study Phase is now complete. As seen from above, action will now be required from EDC, Heritage and LEG. The CLRA will stay involved and will continue to take feedback from our residents, communicate with City officials and organize meetings as required.