John Tory’s administration is releasing some of the proposals for the signature SmartTrack plan that pulled him into office. All of the proposals will affect Mount Dennis; some will affect Weston, too. There is a good chance, though, that none of them will come to pass.
The SmartTrack train will, according to Tory’s plan, run above- and under-ground in a U shape from roughly the airport, through downtown, and out to Unionville. Importantly, the original plan called for a sharp turn in Mount Dennis, and an impossible trip along Eglinton. It was a poorly thought out idea.
In February, City Council asked, among other things, for a rethink of the Mount Dennis section, and now that rethink has been released.
There are six proposals, each with deficits.
The first proposals (1A, B, and C) run along the proposed (but not funded or built) Eglinton Crosstown route along Eglinton Avenue. They do not stop in Weston. They would have very serious, and sometimes deleterious, effects on Mount Dennis—including a train through the park at Eglinton Flats. They would also require adding two more tracks and a widening of the corridor from downtown. On the other hand, Mount Dennis would get an excellent station that would connect cars, trains, LRTs and 12 bus routes.
In the second group of proposals, the original plan is abandoned, and the train instead runs north, through Weston, and out to the airport. These proposals are less disruptive to Mount Dennis, but would still require more tracks and “significant modifications to recent rail improvements in the Weston and Junction areas.”
There is also a lot of duplication in this plan. The UPX and GO Train already run all day from Weston to downtown, GO will likely run more often in the near future. SmartTrack through Weston, in other words, would provide a third way to get downtown on the same track corridor.