Eglinton LRT line behind schedule

The contract to dig the Eglinton LRT, which end at Black Creek Drive, has been awarded, but the work is running behind schedule.

The tunnel boring machines will start digging, according to The Star, in February, but they were supposed to start in late 2012. The first machine will start at Black Creek and dig eastward.

The LRT will have a large impact on Weston and Mount Dennis. Apart from connecting us to the downtown with rapid transit, a maintenance and storage facility will be built on the disused Kodak lands. The original plans had called for a station at Jane Street, but that appears to still be in development; Black Creek is the nearest confirmed LRT stop.


Feedback on maintenance yard needed.

Here is a conceptual view of the TTC rail yard slated to occupy the Kodak Lands site.

The original Kodak building will be preserved on the site.

Next to the site is a proposed bus terminal to serve as a transportation hub.

The bus terminal, rail tracks and Eglinton Crosstown LRT all converge here.

Conspiracy theorists have said that the junction of the GO train line / Airport Link with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT in combination with the bus terminal plans will mean that Weston Station will be temporary. They think that the ultimate plan is to build a GO station in this location and render Weston Station unnecessary.

This would be even more outrageous than claiming that electrification of the Kitchener rail line / ARL has to wait for an environmental assessment.

Residents are invited to comment on the whole document but (sorry for the late notice) get your skates on. Feedback is required by July 10.


Sullivan stands with Stintz on OneCity plan

Mike Sullivan is onside with Karen Stintz’s radical plan to overhaul transit in Toronto. The plan would bring much-needed improvements to transit in Weston, including extra stops and electrification of the ARL and an LRT on Jane.

Sullivan wrote an open letter to all members of City Council and several members of the Provincial Parliament. It reads:

Dear Councillor Stintz:

I am writing to lend my support to your OneCity Transit Plan and to urge you and your colleagues on Toronto City Council to take the necessary steps to bring this bold but necessary plan to deal with Toronto`s gridlock to fruition. I would like to offer my assistance as a Member of Parliament for York South-Weston – a federal constituency within the City of Toronto – in helping to secure the necessary federal funds that are needed to bring this plan into reality.

There is no argument whatsoever that Toronto needs considerable investment in public transit infrastructure in order to relieve traffic congestion, improve economic productivity, and improve the quality of life of our residents and neighbourhoods. You are all familiar with the Toronto Board of Trade estimates of the costs to Toronto’s economy as a result of traffic gridlock in our city.

Your plan reveals the necessity of investment by other levels of government in order to solve Toronto’s traffic woes. Your formula of one-third funding from Toronto taxpayers (a significant commitment at $10 billion), and one-third each from the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada is, in my view, very reasonable. If we have learned anything from the previous federal infrastructure program is the necessity of federal funding in order to enable cities like Toronto to build their needed transit projects.

That is why we in the federal NDP have called for the establishment of a National Public Transit Strategy – a joint municipal-provincial-federal strategy that would develop broad principles to guide public investment into needed public transit infrastructure and assure stable, sustainable funding to enable these projects.

Lastly, I cannot help but notice your plan’s proposal to electrify the Air-Rail Link from Pearson Airport to Union Station, plus add more stops on its route. Bravo! This line is in my riding, and it makes so much sense to the community I represent that this line be electrified to avoid harmful diesel exhaust and to be accessible to the over 300,000 residents living in that corridor.

Please let me know how I and my NDP colleagues can be of assistance to you and Toronto City Council in bringing this plan into fruition.

Huge changes to TTC would include fixing ARL

With luck and a lot of political will, sweeping changes will completely revamp transit—and life—in Toronto. Karen Stintz and Glenn DeBaeremaeker have a new proposal, called OneCity, that would add 6 subway lines, 10 LRTs and 170 km of new transit lines—and completely change the Air Rail Link.

The Toronto Star says that the new plan would bring great changes to Weston:

  • An LRT along Jane from Steeles to Bloor—an idea originally in Transit City.
  • Extending the Eglinton LRT to the airport instead of having it stop in Mt Dennis
  • Adding three stops to the Air Rail Link to make it public transit
  • Renaming the ARL the “Etobicoke Express”

MPP Jonah Schein says that the plan would also electrify the ARL and calls for people to support it at a Metrolinx meeting tonight.

The new lines would be funded with $180 a year in extra property taxes. Rob Ford has already expressed his disapproval, saying “If they want to hijack the process and hike taxes I’m not supporting that.”

Adding stops to ARL gaining traction

Frances Nunziata’s gambit to get more stops added to the Air Rail Link is getting some press. The National Post has a sympathetic article, which explains one  of the biggest problems with the new, very expensive, very controversial Air Rail Link and Eglinton LRT: despite coming within metres of each other, they don’t actually meet.

Councillor Frances Nunziata highlights one particular “missed opportunity”: the Air Rail Link will cross paths with or skirt the light-rail line being built along Eglinton, but there are currently no plans to connect with it.

“Wouldn’t it make sense to have a stop at Eglinton?” said Ms. Nunziata, who wants city council to ask Metrolinx to alter its plan. “If we’re building the Eglinton LRT, we want an integrated transit system in the city.”

Metrolinx is planning a ‘Mobility Hub’ terminus for the Eglinton LRT at the Kodak lands, but that will be about  2 km away from the Weston Station, where the GO trains and the Air Rail Link stop. It’s not an easy walk, even for the spry when weather is good.

Metrolinx, not surprisingly, isn’t in love with the idea of building extra stops at Eglinton or anywhere else.

The premise of the ARL project is to provide fast service to the airport with minimal number of stops. Currently, each one-way trip is scheduled to take approximately 25 minutes, adding additional stops would add to the length of each trip, therefore taking away from the purpose of the service as being direct and express,” Ms. Thomas [of Metrolinx] wrote in an email.

Mt Dennis bank, daycare to be expropriated

In Mount Dennis, the Bank of Nova Scotia and a daycare will be expropriated to make room for the Eglinton LRT, according to Frances Nunziata.

The westernmost station will be at Weston and Eglinton, no longer Jane and Eglinton, and it will be in large measure underground. Previous plans had called for the expropriation and demolition of more buildings; now only two will be required.

Nunziata says, that things

are still very preliminary at this point, but the City will be requiring that the daycare be relocated within the community and in close proximity to where it is now, so that it doesn’t cause unnecessary strain or inconvenience for those that use the services. They will also be working with the Bank of Nova Scotia to find a suitable place within the community.