A downtown city councillor is calling on the TTC to take further action to address a screeching and squealing noise generated by the 504A Cherry streetcar that she says has become “unbearable” for some Corktown residents.
The TTC began operating the route in June, 2016 and was soon inundated with complaints from residents complaining about the noise made by streetcars as they turned from King Street onto Sumach Street.
By September of 2016, the TTC had acknowledged the impact the noise was having on residents and began running shuttle buses along the route from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays and until 10 a.m. on weekends. The TTC also installed noise dampening rings on 10 of the 23 streetcars serving the route and put in a lubrication system for streetcars nearby in the hopes of softening the metal-on-metal grinding noise.
Since then, the TTC has tested noise levels in the intersection and has recorded an overall reduction in decibel volume, though some residents have continued to complain.
In her letter that will be considered by the TTC board today, Ward 13 Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam said that the “loud screech” generated by the metal wheels of the streetcar as it makes a tight turn onto Sumach Street is continuing to “shake nearby homes and pierce through thick window glass.”
She said that the noise and vibrations have disrupted life for many nearby residents, including those living blocks away from the intersection in high-rises near the Distillery Loop.
“For nearly four years this issue has been ongoing wreaking havoc on local neighbours,” she wrote.
Wong-Tam said that while the TTC’s engineering department has indicated that it is working on a more permanent fix in the form of an “improved switch design” for the intersection, she said that progress on that project has been “slow.”
The councillor is therefore asking the TTC to “prioritize and expedite any and all remedial measures,” including the installation noise dampening rings on all streetcars serving the route. She said that TTC staff should also report back to the board by November with status updates and a timeline for any outstanding work.
“While I sincerely appreciate the well-intentioned efforts made by TTC to address residents' complaints, I believe it's critical to recognize that such efforts have sadly fallen short of a satisfactory resolution,” she said. “It is time for a clear plan of action and a more urgent timeline. It is time for these residents to get a goodnights sleep without the fear of waking to screeching metal and a shaking home. “
The TTC has previously held several community meetings about the noise generated by the 504A Cherry streetcar.