‘It’s so terrible’: Broadview construction upsets local businesses

A few days after it began, the repair work on Broadview Avenue between Danforth Avenue and Gerrard Street East is already facing criticism from local businesses.

The city’s five-month project to replace old TTC streetcar tracks and additional work in the area have been underway since July 4, affecting traffic in the area and shops on Broadview Avenue.

“How can you do business?” asked Livia Cao, manager of Broadview Flower Market, located in a temporary no parking zone.

The streetcar track renewal, which is expected to be completed in November of this year, aims to “reduce the current track noise and bring them into a state of good repair,” according to a press release from the city on June 30.

The construction involves suspending 504/505 streetcar service to Broadview Station, limiting transit in Broadview Avenue to one lane only, restricting parking and some sidewalks within the construction area.

Broadview Station signs
CAUTION: Streetcar service to Broadview Station is also disrupted by the road work. (Rodrigo Huerta Aguirre/Streeter)

Other work on Broadview includes reconstructing Montcrest Boulevard, road resurfacing, and extending the life of sewers.

While the track replacement is expected to be completed in November of this year, the sewer work won’t finish until early 2024, according to the city.

‘Nobody can come in and go out’

“There will be long-term gain for everyone who uses Broadview Avenue,” Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie said.

However, some businesses disagree.

“COVID-19 killed us. We’re getting back on our feet, and now this is happening again, bringing us back to square one,” said Saddie Muniapen, a worker at John’s Hairstylist. “They’re going to kill our business. As you know, nobody can come in and go out.”

Due to the road closure and parking restriction, Muniapen said that some of her customers have had to walk from Gerrard to Danforth — the equivalent of 13 blocks — to get a haircut.

Broadview construction shovel
AT WORK: Hydraulic shovel working on Broadview Avenue construction sits next to Riverdale Park. (Rodrigo Huerta Aguirre)

The city of Toronto and the TTC have offered alternatives for traffic disruption, such as redirecting some buses and streetcars to nearby subway stations. Still, these changes are not enough for businesses on Broadview Avenue.

“We are happy to make a new [track], but it’s so terrible for the business,” Cao said.

In their latest construction notice and in their project website, the city warned about concrete-breaking work, which would cause high noise and dust levels.

“What can we do? Only close the door and get on with the business,” Cao said.

Other businesses in the area have also complained about decreasing sales due to the transit closures.

Menwhile, the city encourages residents to “continue to support your local businesses during construction.”