I’m no trainspotter, but I’ve lived Toronto for long enough to know that the perfect has long been the enemy of good transit—buses get replaced by imaginary subways, replaced in turn by very real budgets, which force the piecemeal return to buses, and LRTs almost never get built.
So when the Ford Conservative government said that they had some really great plans for the Eglinton LRT, I sighed. Ford wants to put the proposed western section of the LRT underground instead of in dedicated lanes—at (at least) twice the price. His plan would also, not coincidentally, bring a subway to Etobicoke, his old stomping grounds.
The city has some questions about this ‘plan’, and quite a few of them concern Mount Denizens. But oddly, the questions actually aren’t that interesting. They are very basic. That they have to be asked is interesting.
The city wants to know—I kid you not— “How many stations are proposed and where”? They would mind finding out a few other pretty fundamental things, like:
- Will the service levels and fare be comparable to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT?
- i.e. How much is this going to cost?
- Has the design taken into account necessary facilities for passenger transfers to and from TTC buses and streetcars?
- i.e. Have you planned stations at all? At all?
- Metrolinx has previously recommended an at-grade LRT for the Eglinton West LRT; what new information has Metrolinx considered that supports a tunneled option?
- i.e. Why are you doing this?
I’m going to take the PCs at their word and believe they actually do want to build transit and not just stall it by proposing money holes they know can never be filled in.
If the PCs were being cynical, I’d be in some ways be happier, though. Cynical plans are still plans–but the PCs don’t seem to have one at all.
It’s depressing that the Ford administration thinks its napkin sketches are better than maps and blueprints drawn by experts in consultation with communities.
It will takes years for the mess to be sorted out. Again. In the meantime, we’ll still have buses.