City Council will consider whether Metrolinx should be allowed to close a huge amount of the paths and roads around Eglinton Avenue this week. And it sounds like Mayor Tory might not be rushing approval if Metrolinx doesn’t start playing ball with City Hall.
There are two issues: fair wages and putting the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension through the Eglinton Flats in Mount Dennis. City Council would like to know why the line can’t go underground, or beside the road instead of inside the park. It seems like Metrolinx hasn’t been forthcoming with the answers.
Tory told his executive committee Wednesday he strongly supports transit expansion, but if Metrolinx officials don’t like being “left with a degree of uncertainty,” as deadlines loom to sign construction contracts, they should “speed up the work” answering questions and concerns from residents and city council…. Metrolinx is “certainly not up to, and accustomed to, the standards we set for public consultation in anything we do, whether it’s transit or not,” the mayor said.
Metrolinx is asking council to close a huge number of routes, including:
The multi-use trail on Eglinton between Jane and Glenvalley
The multi-use trail on Eglinton between Weston Road and the tracks
The westbound curb lane on Eglinton Avenue West east of Jane Street and Weston Road
The westbound curb lane on Eglinton Avenue West, between Weston Road and the tracks
The north sidewalk on Eglinton Avenue West, between Weston Road and the tracks
The north sidewalk on Eglinton Avenue West west of Pearen Street and the park
All of the “temporary” closures will be for eight years.
The Mount Dennis Community Association pointed out another important issue in a letter to the Executive Committee: the proposed closures will interfere with access to the brand-new Mount Dennis Station. They say “there has been a total failure in community consultation about plans for pedestrian access to the station’s main entrance” and that pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders will be affected.
Metrolinx is also facing “adamant and unreserved opposition” from the International Union of Operating Engineers for their refusal to follow Toronto’s Fair Wage Policy.
Metrolinx must rethink its plans for elevated tracks through the Eglinton Flats, according to the Mount Dennis Community Association.
The MDCA says “a huge amount of parkland will be lost including parts of Pearen Park both temporarily and permanently.” They also say that the renderings of the tracks are inaccurate.
In their email circular, the MDCA said:
MDCA was told by Metrolinx that the elevated guideway would be similar to the picture [above], similar to the already built section at Black Creek Drive. Recent information reveals that the elevated solution requires a far wider right of way, and it will be located at the bottom of the treed slope, not at the top. Furthermore, the elevated section will be far wider due to station platforms and a third track to permit trains to turn around near Jane Street.
An online group called Stop the Trains in Our Parks (STOP) has built a website to marshal support and show the reality of the trains. They say “if it was worth the money to go underground in Etobicoke, it’s worth the money in Mt. Dennis.”
Frances Nunziata asked City Council this week to “request Metrolinx undertake an assessment of running the elevated segment of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension underground and to identify any options that may exist to accommodate this change.”
The elevated segment of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will result in significant impacts to the local environment including parklands and trees along Eglinton Avenue West. The loss of parklands, including the treasured Eglinton Flats and forests, outlined by Metrolinx at recent community consultation sessions, is a significant concern to residents and visitors from across the City.
Metrolinx is planning to build an elevated track through the Eglinton Flats parkland to extend the LRT out to Renforth. Only the section in the Eglinton Flats will be elevated. Metrolinx has said in the past that burying the line through the valley would be difficult and expensive.
The Mount Dennis Community Association and Metrolinx will be meeting for a walk through Eglinton Flats, to discuss Metrolinx’s controversial proposal to build an elevated train through the parks.
The meeting will be Monday, May 9 at 6 p.m. and will start where Pearen Park reaches Eglinton Avenue:
The MDCA says they believe the LRT will run “entirely WITHIN Fergie Brown Park from the point we wil meet until it is almost at Jane Street.”(Emphasis theirs.) They are also concerned Metrolinx’s images make the tracks seem lower than they will be.
Putting the train through the park would be disruptive to people, but it would also destroy woodlands, the MDCA says. “We expect that most of the woodland area west of Jane… will be clear-cut to accommodate the LRT, likely with serious damage to the wetlands that separate the woods from the playing fields”.
The Mount Dennis Community Association will be hosting a Jane’s Walk this Saturday, May 7 at 2 pm. They
are hoping to explore the next stage of the LRT this year with a walk from the Mount Dennis station west towards Jane Street. The elevated guideway was nobody’s first choice, and the current plan in our opinion destroys too much of our parks. The walk starts at 2pm
Metrolinx’s September 28 meeting about the Eglinton West LRT raised several concerns. Regular readers will know that Metrolinx is planning a raised train through and above Fergy Brown Park. They are also planning a new, longer access road and “extraction shaft and portal” through what appears to be a stand of trees on park land.
In June, Metrolinx announced their plans for the Crosstown West branch of the LRT around the Eglinton Flats and Fergy Brown Park: They are planning to build a long elevated track from west of Scarlett to east of Jane.
The ‘elevated guideway’ will be 1.5 km long and about 5m (16′) off the ground. (The remainder of the tracks will be underground out to Renforth.)
It’s sure to be controversial, since the LRT will cut through Mount Dennis’ largest area of parkland.
Metrolinx says that they are concerned with minimizing “the visual impact on the surrounding park land, development and streets” and “overlook, overshadowing, noise and vibration, and physical obstructions”. In the presentation, Elmira Moghani said they considered “how it can nicely fit into the environment and the context of Eglinton Flats.” She says the preferred design is a “smaller structure which has less visual impact in the area [and] less constructibility challenges.”
The Mount Dennis Community Association, however, recently detailed several cases where Metrolinx has removed trees, not replaced trees, and allowed erosion in the neighbourhood.