Thursday, June 14, 2007

Showdown on Lansdowne

My neck of the woods made the papers:
It has been a classic local battle between the people and their politician in Toronto's west end.

On one side: the city's youngest councillor, Adam Giambrone, a staunch supporter of the $2-million project that will narrow Lansdowne Avenue between College and Bloor Streets from four lanes to two.

On the other: Sam Galati and his band of neighbours from the Toronto Lansdowne Residents' Association who object to the plan because they fear increased congestion and are angry about what they claim is a lack of consultation.

Their opposition is writ large on lawns along Lansdowne and neighbouring streets where dozens of yellow signs stand stamped with the words: "Giambrone, don't narrow Lansdowne!"

Residents have also held what they call traffic JAM-brones - parading over crosswalks and stalling traffic - and waving signs at last weekend's Portuguese parade in the area.

Mr. Giambrone is playing host to a meeting with Mr. Galati and the residents tonight at city hall in hopes of healing the rift. But the work will still begin next week, he says.

I'm fairly ambivalent about the whole thing. I know some of the people involved, and I'm puzzled as to why a bike lane isn't part of the plan (maybe it is and I'm just missing it); on the other hand, I lived on that stretch for a couple of years and found it almost willfully unfriendly – aside from the one or two people we knew, our neighbours only started even saying "hello" after we'd been there a couple of years. They even snubbed our kids, which I just found perverse.

Which is all to say that although the residents probably have a case, part of me is, like, fuck em.*

On the other hand, I don't understand how our councillor let this get this far. Having said that, he was for a while the president of the federal NDP party, so perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise when his political instincts are found wanting....

* totally unfair and petty, I know. But there it is: don't snub my kids.

ADDED: more on the whole broohaha here and here, with long back-and-forths in the comments sections.

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