The end is in sight for Leasiders sick of the state of disrepair of Bayview Avenue and Millwood Road.
Since 2008, utility companies such as Bell, Rogers and Toronto Hydro have opened the roads on 20 different occasions to do work on their lines. Due to the toll the constant disruptions have had on the roadway the companies are paying $1 million to do a full restoration of the streets, which is expected to be finished in early September.
Bayview Avenue from Millwood Road to Eglinton Avenue East, the street as well as both sidewalks will be repaired. On Millwood from Bayview Avenue to Laird Drive, only the roads will be resurfaced.
City spokesperson Hector Moreno says that work will be done on off-peak hours and that there will always be two lanes open.
According to the TTC, construction will not affect area bus routes.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” said Ward 26 councillor John Parker, adding that as a resident, he’s long been unhappy with the messy, uneven look of the streets.
Parker said the restoration is the first in many improvements he has requested for the south Bayview strip. He’s also asked workers to remove the concrete planters that line the street. In the future, he’d like to see trees planted directly into the sidewalk, which will provide the avenue with a green canopy, similar to the recently rejuvenated stretch of Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Church Street.
Residents and business owners say they won’t let the sound of jackhammers keep them from making the most of the last few weeks of summer.
Smokin’ Cigar owner Trae Zammit doesn’t expect the roadwork to dampen spirits at his annual customer appreciation bash. He’s expecting over 300 people to attend the event, which will feature catering and live Cuban music.
He’ll put up with a little short-term pain to reap the long-term gains.
“It’s been a long time coming. Just look at how awful our sidewalk is,” he said standing outside his shop, where on a sunny day, locals and cigar aficionados can be seen mingling and enjoying a puff on his patio.
“It’s not level, it’s dangerous. I’ve seen people trip, especially when it’s icy and snowing,” he said.
Zammit agrees that the work is long overdue, but he isn’t thrilled about the lack of parking it creates for his customers.
Regulars like Geoffrey Johnson, who parked his E-Type Jaguar in British racing green out front, will have to walk a few blocks.
“This is a destination,” Johnson said, Cuban in hand. “I’ll get through riots to get here.”
Down the street at McSorley’s Saloon near Bayview Avenue and Millwood Road, long-time resident Rudy Vandoremalen says he won’t desert his local watering hole during construction.
“I own 20 feet of the bar here,” he said while taking a smoke break.
“He’s spent enough money,” quipped friend Tim Maxfield, who recently moved out of the area but has vivid memories of construction on Bayview last summer.
“It drove me nuts. I poked my head out once and yelled at the construction workers, ‘shut up!’ ”
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