Suc­cess of Casa Loma leads to traf­fic is­sues

40,000 vis­i­tors in one month alone means prob­lems need ad­dress­ing

North Toronto Post - - News - by Ge­orge Redak

Let’s put ev­ery good idea on the ta­ble. If some­thing makes sense, we should do it.”

Since their 2014 ac­qui­si­tion of Casa Loma, the Gothic re­vival–style man­sion at the cor­ner of Spad­ina Road and Austin Ter­race, Lib­erty En­ter­tain­ment Group has made an ef­fort to ex­pand and im­prove vis­i­tors’ ex­pe­ri­ence. How­ever, since sea­sonal events bring thou­sands of vis­i­tors to Casa Loma, the traf­fic vol­ume has be­come a daily headache for res­i­dents.

“Dur­ing the month of Oc­to­ber, they had over 40,000 peo­ple over the 30 days at­tend­ing their Le­gends of Hor­ror event,” said Ed­ward Collins, from the Casa Loma Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (CLRA). “I can see them com­ing up with more as time goes on, and that’s why we have to ad­dress this now.”

Dur­ing th­ese events, Casa Loma’s park­ing lot fills up quickly, with no signs in­di­cat­ing al­ter­na­tive lots. Taxis, Ubers and pri­vate tour buses stop in front of the cas­tle on the two-lane Austin Ter­race.

To re­lieve the traf­fic pres­sures caused by th­ese events, the City of Toronto en­listed an in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant firm, WSP Global, to con­duct a study and pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions, which were pre­sented to a group of Lib­erty En­ter­tain­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the city and the CLRA in early Novem­ber.

WSP Global de­ter­mined that con­fu­sion over park­ing was a lead­ing cause of traf­fic. As there are no in­di­ca­tions of when park­ing lots reach ca­pac­ity, driv­ers queue to get into the park­ing lot, then dis­cover there’s no space and turn back onto Austin Ter­race. This forces traf­fic along the ad­ja­cent Walmer Road. One of the most re­peated rec­om­men­da­tions is to post more signs to di­rect traf­fic to­ward the al­ter­na­tive park­ing lot at Ge­orge Brown Col­lege on Daven­port Av­enue. Lib­erty had al­ready looked into this so­lu­tion, but city of­fi­cials balked at the idea of an elec­tronic sign in close prox­im­ity to the her­itage site.

“We made that pro­posal a year and a half ago and got de­nied from Her­itage [Toronto],” said Nick Di Donato, pres­i­dent and CEO of Lib­erty En­ter­tain­ment Group.

Other rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude pro­mot­ing tran­sit use, of­fer­ing shut­tle bus ser­vice and even cre­at­ing a new lane on Austin Ter­race to fa­cil­i­tate pickup and drop-off.

“Let's put ev­ery good idea on the ta­ble, and if some­thing makes sense, we should do it,” said Josh Mat­low, in­com­ing coun­cil­lor for the newly amal­ga­mated Ward 12 Toronto–St. Paul’s.

The CLRA is hop­ing that new so­lu­tions can be im­ple­mented be­fore next sum­mer, which is Casa Loma’s busiest season.

Ed­ward Collins of the Casa Loma Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion

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