Willowdale residents have been endlessly frustrated by the lack of action on improving the Yonge Street & Highway 401 interchange to allow southbound traffic to turn eastbound onto the highway more efficiently and address traffic back-ups in both directions. Multiple studies have addressed these concerns, so why no action?
A joint study was presented in 2013 by the City of Toronto Transportation Staff and the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO). The recommendation was to proceed to a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) to get an upgrade of the interchange moving ASAP and local traffic along with it.
John responded within weeks ensuring that the City’s share of funding for design and construction were included in the City’s 10-year capital plan and that the source of funding would be development charges on future construction projects.
The Province responded by insisting on another series of studies. One got underway in 2014, but was shelved 18 months later. After more pressure from the City, John and members of the community, another got underway in late 2018 more than two years after being announced. This study is expected to be completed in late 2019, but it remains unclear whether MTO will finally be prepared to move forward with, and jointly fund, an EA and subsequent construction.
Earlier this month, John met MPP for Willowdale, Stan Cho, who considers this project a priority. MPP Cho and his team are working hard to get this project moving at MTO and ensure progression to an EA.
John also began the process of returning the project to the City’s active Capital Budget after the previous funding elapsed. He successfully passed a motion through Council this month ensuring that funding for the EA is ready to go when MTO is ready to partner with the City.