Battling traffic woes at the Keele campus

There is no doubt about it, traffic can be a nightmare these days. Whether you are commuting to York University’s Keele campus from the far reaches of the GTA or you live close by, you may well have been caught in a Los Angeles-style slowdown on or near campus, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.

Right: The washout at Finch Ave. is a key contributing factor to York’s current traffic problems

The key change has been the devastating washout of Finch Ave. at Black Creek, which has caused severe clogging of other routes to campus. Not helping is York’s position at the hub of a series of major intersections, where one accident can instantly gridlock a large number of the University’s commuters.  And, obviously, it’s a busy new term. The University is doing everything it can – including much-enhanced traffic control at key intersections and a crackdown on double-parkers – but ultimately, people will also need to show a little patience.

“A number of factors have combined to make traffic movement at York especially difficult this term,” explains Andy Wickens (right), assistant vice-president, Campus Services & Business Operations. “During the first few weeks of the academic year there is normally more traffic congestion on campus with the increased number of activities and the new session for students. The closure of Finch Ave. between Sentinel Rd. and Jane St. has caused many residents of neighbouring communities to use York University as a detour, and in fact, the City of Toronto is directing traffic through the campus. This has caused gridlock from Jane St. and Shoreham Dr. to Pond Rd. and Sentinel Rd. – at times, in both directions. It is anticipated that the Finch Ave. road closure will remain in place for some months.

“We don’t have any firm date from the City of Toronto on when the situation on Finch is going to be resolved,” says Wickens ruefully. “What we are trying  to do is keep things moving on the Keele campus for as long as is necessary. Much of the issue surrounding the current traffic situation is happening on city roads and is somewhat beyond our control.”

Right and below: Traffic congestion on the Keele campus

Adding to the headache is construction that has caused congestion on Keele St., which in turn results in delays for people trying to leave the campus because they are unable to turn onto Keele. Then there are those people who insist on double parking their vehicles on campus roads. The areas around the Seymour Schulich Building and the Student Services Parking Garage are particularly bad for this, and enforcement officers are taking action.

Other areas to be aware of are Arboretum Lane and bus routes into and out of the Common. High volumes of vehicles entering and exiting Arboretum Parking Garage during the peak periods are causing delays on Arboretum Lane.

The increased volume of transit buses to handle the influx of students has resulted in approximately 1,400 buses per day entering and leaving the Keele campus.

The public roads and key intersections at The Pond Rd. and Sentinel Rd., and at Shoreham Dr. and Murray Ross Pkwy., are particularly congested. York has to rely on the City of Toronto to assist with the movement of traffic through these areas.

To help commuters cope with the congestion, York  has implemented a number of actions:

  • During the morning and evening peak periods, York security and parking staff are now providing traffic control along Ian Macdonald Blvd. between Chimneystack Rd. and York Blvd.
  • During the morning and evening peak periods, York security and parking staff  are also providing traffic control at Shoreham Dr. and Ian Macdonald Blvd. (at the Shoreham/Arboretum Lane traffic circle).
  • York has arranged for the Toronto Police Service to provide pay-duty officers to assist with traffic control at Shoreham Dr. and Murray Ross Pkwy., and at Sentinel Rd. and The Pond Rd. during the morning and evening peak periods.
  • York security and parking staff are assisting with managing pedestrian crossing activity at the southeast corner of the University Common, at the roadway crossings to and from the Seymour Schulich Building.
  • Parking Services is providing additional enforcement officers who will work throughout the day and evening to deal with illegally parked vehicles.

Here is what you can do to help: 

  • Park in designated areas.
  • Watch for pedestrians.
  • Take public transit or GO Transit.
  • Be patient and exercise courtesy to your fellow community members.