John Tory’s transit plan for Mount Dennis has come under scrutiny, and has raised some community hackles. The Globe and Mail sent a reporter out this past weekend to check it out.
His verdict? It’s never going to happen.
The city-wide problem is substantial: Tory doesn’t know how to pay for it. But the Mount Dennis problem is significant too: how can this mammoth thing be built on the cheap?
The article is succinct in its assessment:
Mr. Tory has said he won’t demolish homes or run surface rail through parks, so you cross off those areas. You can eliminate places where development is pending. The rail corridor will have to be at least 30 metres wide, so any open space more narrow than that is also out. After that it’s simple math. Metrolinx standards are that their trains cannot go up or down at greater than a 2.5-per-cent angle, a common passenger rail restriction….
This process suggests that, if the train goes underground at Mount Dennis, it cannot come above ground until just west of Martin Grove. It would emerge about 8.5 kilometres from the rail corridor where the tunnel began.
Tunnelling costs, roughly, $200–300 million per kilometre. The Mount Dennis section of the track would cost, then, about $2 billion—or about a quarter of the total budget. And that’s just for the Mount Dennis tunnel.
The SmartTrack plan isn’t popular with Mount Dennis residents either. The Mount Dennis Community Association issued a scathing press release that said, amongst other zippers,
“We’re not prepared to stand by and watch a plan unfold that could cause traffic chaos for residents, seriously hurt local businesses and divide this community in two without demanding answers,” said community association vice-president Jules Kerlinger. “And we want answers before the election on Oct. 27, not after.”
Tory has said that he will meet with the community association, though he hasn’t said where or when.