Eglinton West LRT options outlined and critiqued.

Option 4; the mostly underground continuation of the Eglinton Crosstown Line. From Metrolinx Business  planning document. Click to enlarge.

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT (soon to be known as Line 5) will begin (or end) at Mount Dennis using the refurbished Kodak recreation building as a station. Readers may remember that the building was temporarily relocated while a new foundation and lower floor were constructed. Much discussion has taken place about connecting Line 5 westward to Pearson Airport and how that would happen. The MPP for Etobicoke Centre, Kinga Surma believes that tunnelling would be the way to go.

Kodak Building 9 in 2012. File. Click to enlarge.

Metrolinx has released a business case study into four options for completing the link from Mount Dennis to Pearson and has outlined them in this report. The gist seems to be that there’s a weak case in terms of return on investment but that some options are better than others. Incidentally all options seem to be better than the business case for the Scarborough Subway!

Steve Munro is a Toronto blogger who knows more about transit than just about anyone in the city. He has examined the Metrolinx report and has commented on each of the options. Read that here.

Whatever happens, it will probably be another 10 years (and a couple of changes of government) before this project gets under way.

Another local cannabis store announced.

This distinctive building at Weston and Eglinton is soon to be the home of another retail cannabis outlet under the Hobo Cannabis Company brand. The company seems to be based in Western Canada. The Weston location is one of fifteen Ontario outlets announced today by the company.

The latest cannabis store will be at 1161 Weston Road. From Google Maps.

I’ve always wondered about the purpose of the glass structure on the front.

Two youth hubs for Weston and Mount Dennis

Frances Nunziata announced some very good news: both the Weston and Mount Dennis libraries will be receiving youth hubs.

DJing
From the TPL

Youth hubs are

a welcoming place for teens after school and in the summer, where snacks, fun activities and helpful staff are always available. Drop in to connect with friends in a supportive environment and get help with your homework.

The hubs include gaming systems, iPads, computers, and specialized equipment. Tutors are  available to help with homework.

Nunziata also announced that Pelmo Park will be getting a splash pad.

 

 

35-storey development proposed for Mount Dennis

A developer has applied to the city to build a 35-storey tower on Locust Street, a short, dead-end residential street in Mount Dennis near Eglinton and Weston Road.

From the application

The tower would include 374 units, and would back onto Oxford Drive.

From OpenStreetMap

The developers will ask the city to change the planning rules for the area, which currently allow only buildings 4-storeys or shorter.  They argue that this is justified because the building will be near the new Mount Dennis Station.

The streetscape at present (from Google Maps)
The streetscape as imagined by the developers (from the application)

My take:

The developers argue—oddly, if you ask me—that the building “is appropriate and desirable and would fit harmoniously” within the area. That seems a little optimistic.

This would be the tallest building in Mount Dennis by a large margin, but will be on a tiny, dead-end residential street, on which two cars can’t pass if a third is parked. It’s far too large a building on far too small a road. It’s not appropriate, desirable or harmonious.

 

 

Funding for youth spaces proposed for 2020 budget

Frances Nunziata , John Tory, and Councillor Michael Thompson announced yesterday that the proposed budget will include $6 million to curb gun violence by, among other things, “creating new youth hubs [and] opening new youth spaces”—one of which seems likely to be on Falstaff Avenue and one of which may be in Mount Dennis.

Toronto is an extremely safe city, but there was quite a lot of gun violence last year, including in York South–Weston. There were 9 murders in 12 Division in 2019, triple the number in 2018. (12 Division includes many other neighbourhoods)  There were 490 shootings in Toronto last year—and shootings have increased dramatically since 2014.

From The Globe and Mail

The locations for the youth hubs have not been announced, and the funding must be approved by City Council, but that Nunziata and Tory made the announcement at Falstaff is encouraging.

In 2018, library staff also proposed opening a youth hub in Mount Dennis. In 2018, the TPL’s manager of youth services, Lisa Heggum, told The Star

The library has always been a space for youth…. Especially in more disadvantaged neighbourhoods, youth rely on access to computers, WiFi, books and other resources. The hub adds another space to connect with teens, she said.

She stressed their role is facilitation not supervision in a space where teens are encouraged to be loud and librarians aren’t shushing anyone.

 

 

Mount Dennis loses its most unusual store

Skull Store, the only place in Mount Dennis to buy an embalmed anencephalitic human fetus (risky click there), has had to move. They say “It’s the classic Toronto story – the building that houses our museum and store has been sold to developers and they are going to demolish it. We were given only 2 months to secure a new location and safely move well over 20,000 specimens – ranging from beads made from dinosaur poop to an entire pilot whale skeleton!”

It’s certainly a loss to Mount Dennis. The Skull Store also offered a free natural history museum.

The new location is 397 Dundas St E, Toronto.

New signals on Eglinton at Pearen Park

At the Jan 8 Community Council Meeting, another item of note was the decision to install a pedestrian traffic signal across Eglinton at Pearen Park. Residents have long complained about the danger of crossing between the signals at Jane or Weston Rd (a distance of 800 metres). Roads and Traffic have in the past refused to permit a safe crossing, citing concern that it would slow traffic on Eglinton.
However, a death in 2017 caused the councillor to ask again, and this time they agreed. However, their recommendation is that it wait until 2021, and only if ‘competing priorities’ don’t get the money first ($120,000).
As reported by Simon Chamberlain, former chair of the Mount Dennis Community Association, the city advised that they are hamstrung by new rules imposed by the province that seriously limits the number of contractors the city can use to do such work. Apparently there is, as a result, a huge backlog of signal installation.
One would think that the safety of pedestrians would trump any provincial meddling. Vison Zero cannot be successful if intersections such as this one cannot be made safe. And what ‘competing priority’ is more important than the death of a pedestrian? The councillor can be reached at 416-392-4091, should you wish to urge her to order the installation sooner.