It has been several months since I've heard any significant news about the proposal to build a dedicated right-of-way for the St. Clair streetcar. According to a newsletter from Councillor Michael Walker, the TTC is currently "in the process of retaining a consultant to lead the public consultation process that is part of the Environmental Assessment."
The Rocket Riders are organizing a campaign to build support for the plan. They will be handing out flyers and asking people to sign petitions at some busy stations along St. Clair this week.
One good reason to get involved with the Rocket Riders' campaign is that it may be able to help bring Councillor Walker on side.
Back in December, I reported that he was in the opposed camp. His recent newsletter leaves me feeling that although he is presently opposed, he may be reachable.
I feel that Walker seems to be very responsive to what he takes to be the mood of the community. He has gotten heavily involved with issues of significance in this area -- tenant's rights, opposition to the Minto towers, opposition to the Official Plan which some residents fear will lead to "overdevelopment". In his newsletter, he aggressively takes on all of these issues, and leaves no doubt as to where he stands.
On the St. Clair LRT issue, he is more cautious. Although he acknowledges that the majority of residents who have contacted him "have reservations" and that he too has "serious concerns about the proposal and its impact on the residental neighbourhoods ... on car and truck traffic, and on the businesses along St. Clair Avenue West," his article generally is neutral in tone. He doesn't slam the proposal or trumpet his position, as he does with other issues that are more black-and-white for him. It's clear from the article titles... compare "The St. Clair Streetcar -- A Dedicated Right-of-Way" to "The Minto Monster -- A Chronology".
So, I conclude that if Walker comes to believe that building the St. Clair LRT is an issue of importance to enough of his voters, he can be convinced to support it at City Hall. Thus, the Rocket Riders' campaign is a useful one, especially if it can help motivate residents of ward 22 to make their feelings felt to Mr. Walker.