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Kingston streetcar track work a headache for businesses

It’ll be the third straight year of city construction on Kingston Road in Toronto’s east end, and this summer’s streetcar track work has many local businesses worried about their bottom line again.

Beginning Monday, traffic will be reduced to two lanes for the next three weeks on Kingston between Queen Street East and Victoria Park Avenue for preliminary work such as rail welding and rail storage.

After June 24, traffic will be reduced to one eastbound lane until mid-December at the earliest, as streetcar tracks are replaced and upgraded, the TTC says.

The construction will mean disruptions, including traffic detours and parking restrictions which many Kingston shop owners say will mean fewer customers again.

Katya Nosko, owner of The Great Escape Book Store told CityNews, she’s part of a community of local shop owners who know their businesses will suffer again.

The city worked on Kingston to replace underground water pipes last year and gas lines in 2011. And customers and delivery trucks will again have difficulty finding parking, she said.

“We did see two years of fewer customers coming to the area,” she says. “This is the third year [of construction].”

“As businesses we felt that we were really being squashed by that.”

City officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

The TTC said on its website it regrets the inconvenience and has told the public at an open house last week that the city has divided the work into two parts to accelerate the construction. The work when completed will include other street improvements such as new trees, curbs and sidewalks.

TTC spokesman Danny Nicholson said, “Unfortunately, there will be inconveniences to some of the local businesses but we are working with the BIAs [business improvement associations] in the area and the local residents to make it as least inconvenient as possible.”

“But once completed there will be brand new streetcar tracks and improved landscaping,” he said.

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