No more left turns along Roncesvalles?

Village BIA RoncesvallesARCHIVE, Front Page, Roncesvalles Village BIA6 Comments

No Left TurnsLeft turns along streetcar routes may soon be a thing of the past, according to yesterday’s Toronto Star and today’s National Post. Traffic services staff are considering a ban, which would prevent streetcars from being blocked behind a row of motorists as they try to turn left. The King route, of which Roncesvalles is the final leg, is among those routes being examined.

A recent proposal for the 2009 reconstruction of Roncesvalles called for peak hour left turn restrictions at southbound Howard Park as well as northbound High Park Blvd. Members of the community, along with the BIA, have told the City and TTC that they support the goal of reducing streetcar travel times. But they have also expressed concerns that the High Park restriction would only increase residential traffic and prolong the return home of local drivers, who are believed to be the main users of that left turn. The community also asked why a streetcar-controlled advanced green signal would not achieve the desired result without requiring any restrictions. Finally, it was not clear the restrictions would be effective anyway, since those local drivers would simply line up further ahead at the unsignalled intersections at Garden, Fern or Geoffrey.

Interestingly, the TTC told the BIA that it was not as concerned about left turns at the unsignalled intersections, since they allowed more flexibility for drivers. When there is heavier traffic, explained the TTC, left-turning drivers can nudge their way through, causing southbound drivers to slow down and let the cars turn. But when those southbound motorists see a green light, they are less likely to yield. And if there is little traffic, drivers need not wait before making their turn. Currently, those drivers often have to wait unnecessarily at the red light, during which time southbound drivers will arrive and cause a delay when the light finally turns green.

Such flexibility has been shown to be often more beneficial for traffic flow and safety than regulations and controls. If so, should we be asking whether we really need the High Park traffic light at all?

What do you think about restricting left turns along Roncesvalles? Please leave a comment or email the BIA at!

6 Comments on “No more left turns along Roncesvalles?”

  1. As a frequent streetcar rider and sometimes driver, I’d like to see the left-term restrictions. The TTC makes a pretty good case here and think this contributes to the growing vision of Roncesvalles Ave. as a destination instead of a thruway.

    If it means the streetcar becomes more reliable then I’ll be driving less anyway.

    I’m curious to hear what business owners have to say, though.

  2. I have noticed that at streetcar stops, the vehicle traffic coming in the opposite directions are able to make their left turn, but only if the streetcar is stopped for passengers. So, I think a compromise maybe to allow left turns only if there is a streetcar stopping traffic in the opposite direction, otherwise no left turns.

  3. Many residents of Roncesvalles Village feel it is more than high time the annual ‘Polish Festival’ be re-named in honor and RESPECT for the many other ethnic groups who make up our diverse, thriving and unique community. The Roncesvalles BIA and/or Festival planning committee is virtually slapping the hard-working, innovative and dedicated NON-Polish vendors, merchants and residents in the proverbial face – and have been doing so for some time now.

    A message to the Roncesvalles Village BIA: Wake up! It is 2008, not 1968.

    Roncesvalles Village is more, much more than the Polish element. We feel

    a more appropriate name such as ‘The Roncesvalles Festival’ or perhaps

    ‘A Taste of Roncesvalles’ is much more politically correct and RESPECTFUL

    of All residents and merchants who make up our unique neighborhood.

    Also, the POLISH Festival has become a joke; a parody. Crappy Konklin fair

    rides and atrocious live entertainment abound. Perhaps the apathetic

    BIA should get off their butts and display more energy re entertainment

    booking/scheduling for this now tawdry festival.

    We are calling on ALL non-Polish village vendors/merchants and residents

    To BOYCOTT the POLISH Festival until such time when the BIA deems

    Non-Polish residents and merchants to be a viable and significant and

    respected element of Roncesvalles Village.

    If you’re going to do it/plan it – then get it right.



  4. Dear George:

    When our annual street festival was called the Roncesvalles Harvest Festival, it attracted about 50,000 people. Last year, the Roncesvalles Polish Festival attracted over 100,000 people, and we’re aiming for even more this year.

    When this is pointed out to local businesses–who now have twice as many festivalgoers looking into their stores and restaurants, twice as many people buying their meals and wares–they tend not to see the BIA as being “apathetic”, and in fact seem to think that we are “getting it right.”

    The Taste of the Danforth always has a Greek theme, but anyone who has visited the Danforth knows that the Danforth is not exclusively Greek. Then why use a Greek theme? Because “everybody knows” that the Danforth is Greektown. It simply works, because it is distinctive. Non-Greek businesses on the Danforth don’t feel disrespected by the quarter million or so people who crowd the Danforth, attracted by the Greek theme of the Festival. They’re too busy making money!

    Of course Roncesvalles is much more than “Little Poland”, but it is the “Little Poland” fact of Roncesvalles that is one of the things that makes Roncesvalles different from the rest of the City, and distinguishes our Festival from the myriad “nondescript” street festivals that occur in Toronto every year. We do not brand our festival the Roncesvalles Polish Festival to shut non-Polish businesses out, but to attract more people to our street and to all of our businesses. It works on the Danforth, and it works here. I believe that our track record can stand on its own merits.

    That having been said, this year we are planning much more, and more diverse, entertainment and attractions up and down the entire length of the street. We welcome any and all suggestions and comments regarding entertainment, attractions, and the like.

    I am somewhat alarmed by your call to residents to boycott our neighbourhood street festival because of its name. Remember that at the end of the day, not attending the festival basically amounts to not supporting our local businesses.

    I doubt that you will have very many businesses answer your call to a boycott. I am sure that they will be very keen to open their doors to the over 100,000 people that will be on Roncesvalles during the Festival.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me at any time at with any constructive ideas you may have.


    Keith Denning

    Coordinator, Roncesvalles Village BIA

  5. It’s too bad that some folks see a nice cultural festival and take it as a personal insult. How can Coito bear to live in Toronto? Does he want to boycott St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas and Chinese New Year too? Or does he just hate Polish people? Respect? Please.

  6. Why can’t they do what we do here in Melbourne. Why not introduce hook-turns in downtown areas and in the suburbs, have fairways and streetcar triggered left turn phases?

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