Wait–what happened to SmartTrack?

Ah, promises. It’s been 10 months since we voted for Tory’s light rail plan that would serve Mount Dennis, relieve congestion, and integrate with the subway. The TTC Board was briefed on September 28 about progress on SmartTrack. I imagine it must have been a short meeting.

The SmartTrack proposal is, according to Steve Munro, spinning its wheels:

  • Neither the TTC nor Metrolinx owns it
  • The route remains unsettled
  • It does not integrate well and may not draw riders
  • Nobody has yet figured out how much it will cost
  • And nobody knows how to pay for it.

Not one of the studies that would answer these questions is complete, Munro says.

One intriguing possibility is in the presentation Munro posted: the city is studying a route (almost?) to the airport, instead of along Eglinton.

John Tory had proposed a difficult—perhaps impossible—sharp left turn on Eglinton for the trains, which would have taken them up hills and under houses. It was a bad plan, and it was widely criticized.

st_eglintonweststudyarea_22

The new study area conspicuously includes a route that could take the trains through Weston and up to the airport. Munro says

 The city is also studying alignments that would stay on the rail corridor to the point where the UPX spur branches off and then running south to reach the Corporate Centre lands.

The UP Express has, as previously reported, been under-performing. Here, perhaps, we might find a face- and money-saving solution: Use much of the infrastructure for the SmartTrack.

This plan would have an enormous benefit for us: a subway-lite connection to downtown.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.