Hundreds of people showed up to a town hall — at the Beth Tzedec synagogue Wednesday night — that was expected to be an anger-fueled affair, allowing crosstown residents to aim their ire at Metrolinx and its proposal to close off a section of Bathurst Street entirely for seven months, just north of Eglinton Avenue.
But hours before the meeting, the agency backtracked on the proposal to shut down that busy stretch, citing public backlash and a lack of community consultation.
“We thought there was a benefit to that closure, but it wasn’t something the community was ready to accept,” said Metrolinx spokesperson, Jamie Robinson.
“We didn’t do a good job on this. We didn’t engage the community as we should’ve.”
Metrolinx said the closure would’ve sped up the construction on the Forest Hill station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT by three months.
The project has already been delayed. Originally scheduled to open in 2020, it’s now been postponed to 2021.
Meanwhile, businesses along Eglinton and Bathurst near the intersection also seem to be rejoicing. Many of them had complained about the construction already impacting their bottom line — and said the proposal to close a stretch of Bathurst would prove to be even more difficult.
“People are finding it very problematic to dodge all the traffic,” said Varad Gadtil, assistant manager at the Great Maratha Indian restaurant.