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cityscape

Behold the St. Clair Disaster

A wasteland full of danger, in which all residents are doomed.

Rob Ford is a man of few words, repeated ardently and often—a sloganeer, if you will. Among his favourites of late is the “St. Clair Disaster”: his claim that the streetcar right of way installed there has laid waste that part of the city. Traffic is at a standstill, no business can survive, residents have had their community torn up.

Data collected by the City tells a rather different story. As discovered by John Lorinc writing for the Globe and Mail, St. Clair is doing just fine, thank you very much. This infographic based on City stats reveals a dramatically different picture than the one Ford paints: traffic congestion and collision rates are down, while traffic speed and ridership are up. Another nugget Lorinc dug up: for the period from 2006 to 2011, the total value of all building permits issued by the City on St. Clair from Yonge to Keele was $162.5 million. And as he pointed out to us, the peak was in 2008—right in the midst of construction on the street. This is an area people are quite literally buying into.

Was there turmoil along the way? Undoubtedly. Could the project have been better managed? To be sure. But the construction period is over and however messy it may have been, the result is a street that is working well—better than it did before—and a community with improved prospects for the coming decades.

The sloganeering, nevertheless, wages on. Enter Joe Drew, who shot the above timelapse video during the Tuesday morning rush hour this week, for CodeRedTO. (CodeRedTO is a newly formed group that is fighting for evidence-based transit planning in Toronto.) “I wanted people to stop using rhetoric on both sides, and instead see what it’s actually like,” Drew told us. And you can: just click play and behold the disaster, on St. Clair just east of Spadina, in action.

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