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Midtown intersection endures construction crunch

ERICA NATIVIDAD | posted Friday, Nov 15th, 2019

New ground is being dug up at the notoriously construction heavy intersection of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, re-configuring what is already a challenging area to navigate.

Construction crews with the Eglinton Crosstown project are currently digging a ventilation shaft for the TTC’s line one subway. Cars now have to drive around a hole in the middle of Yonge Street between Eglinton and Roehampton Avenue.

“We will see a few more configurations from here, but the good news is that all four crosswalks will remain open and really the worst is behind us,” said Metrolinx spokesperson Nitish Bissonauth.

Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown started in the summer of 2011 and began impacting the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton in 2014. In the years that followed, there were lane restrictions, pedestrian tunnel closures, crosswalk closures and turn restrictions — the intersection configuration changing with each new phase of construction.

I think people are sick of it to be honest,” said Alex Mazelow, chair of the Uptown Yonge BIA.

Mazelow owns the Carbon clothing store on Yonge Street just north of Eglinton. He said he’s seen a change in business since the construction, and adds he’s worried about how the construction will impact this year’s holiday shopping season.

“Some days you go out, you open the door and there’s not a person on the street — which is very unusual.”

Metrolinx launched a marketing campaign called “Experience Eglinton,” which promotes local businesses, but Mazelow said the same should be done for struggling shops on Yonge as well.

Compounding the construction woes are the numerous condominiums being built in the area. City councillor Josh Matlow said the city’s hands are tied when it comes to these projects.

“The reality is the province gets to decide how we allow for condo construction and how we don’t,” he said. “The province decided on when the LRT was going to be built.”

Metrolinx said the new intersection configuration will be in place for the next six months, and then it will be changed again.

The Eglinton Crosstown is projected to be completed by 2021.

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