Fire Chief says St. Clair Avenue West right-of-way safe for fire trucks

    TORONTO, June 20 /CNW/ - After walking along the St. Clair Avenue West
right-of-way earlier today, City of Toronto Fire Services Chief Bill Stewart,
together with Toronto Transit Commission Chief General Manager Gary Webster,
concluded that the route provides safe access for fire vehicles.
    "The St. Clair right of way is safe," said Toronto Fire Services Chief
Bill Stewart. "I want to assure the residents of St. Clair Avenue West that in
the case of an emergency their safety is our priority. Fire trucks will be
able to mount the streetcar right-of-way. The walk through the neighbourhood
today showed that we had some minor adjustments to address and we are working
with the TTC to do that."
    "In any major city, emergency services train to respond to obstacles in
an urban environment such as building density, heavy traffic, overhead wires,
and even snow accumulation along narrow city streets. The centre pole design
can work for fire services vehicles," said the Fire Chief.
    TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster said, "An important part of
running a safe transit system is preparing for emergencies. We will continue
to consult with the City's emergency service providers to ensure that they
have access to buildings along the corridor in emergency situations. After the
walk-through today and discussions with Chief Stewart, the TTC will make some
minor changes to curb heights where required, ensuring fire apparatus can
access the right-of-way or street, as necessary."
    St. Clair Avenue West is identified in Toronto's Official Plan as one of
many avenues for future growth. The Official Plan focuses on city-building,
high-quality transit on the city's major avenues and making transit a more
attractive option for travel.
    In 2004, with City Council approval, the City of Toronto and the TTC
began work on a transit improvement project to revitalize St. Clair Avenue
West, from Yonge Street to Gunns Road. The project includes streetcar track
replacement and an urban design component. A dedicated right-of-way for
streetcars with a centre pole configuration is being constructed along the
corridor to improve transit frequency and reliability. The $69.9 million
project is expected to be completed in 2009.

    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine
of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America.
In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality,
innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government
is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

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For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Brad Ross, Director, Corporate
Communications, TTC, (416) 393-3598; Kevin Sack, Director, Strategic
Communications, City of Toronto, (416) 397-5277

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