As City of Toronto and Metrolinx planners consider the latest round of public feedback to their 15 year master plan for new rapid transit in Toronto and the GTHA, their plans for new infrastructure around Pearson airport have received another suggestion from an influential source—the TTC Board—which, following its March 23rd meeting, has asked Toronto planners and its own CEO Andy Byford to study linking the Finch West LRT with the western extension of the Crosstown LRT at the airport.

finch eglinton lrt mapThe TTC would like to join the two lines which are near the airport and build them by 2021

Shelley Carroll, the councillor on the board who recommended examining this possibility was struck by a recent report for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority which found that just 3% of the workforce in nearby Jane-Finch was employed at the airport, and that 93% of airport employment zone workers drive to work. The Finch West LRT will travel through the Jamestown and the Jane Finch priority neighborhoods. The two lines were slated to end about 4.5km from one another as the crow flies, and between the two would be the West Humber Valley with Humber College's Arboretum, Woodbine Mall, Woodbine Racetrack, and a significant amount of industrial lands and other transportation infrastructure. A feasibility study about extending the Finch line was done for the TTC in 2009 but we have not yet seen this document.

Finch West LRT Crosstown WestThe "missing link" between the Finch West and Crosstown West LRT lines

In addition, the TTC board has asked commission staff to study if the TTC could take over the responsibility for the construction of the Eastern and Western extensions of the Crosstown LRT—currently under construction along Eglinton Avenue from Mount Dennis in the west to Kennedy in the east, being led by Metrolinx—in the hope they can build these by 2021 (which is when the central portion is also due to open), several years sooner than their present due dates. Complicating matters further, at the public consultation on the Crosstown West in February 2016, there was a good deal of hostility towards an LRT at all (unless it were at least partially underground), with a bus rapid transit alternative suggested by some local residents. 

UrbanToronto contributor The Tiger Master suggested in the forums that because the Airport Corporate Centre covers such a wide area it is hard to serve effectively with LRT, and suggested only a small minority of potential workers would live in the area would be served by the Finch West extension. The Eglinton Crosstown environmental assessment estimated that of the 170,000 people a day who are expected to board in 2031, only about 10,000 would be airport workers and 3,000 air travellers.

What do you think of the prospect of linking the two lines? Or of the TTC's desire to get the extensions to the Crosstown built by 2021? Let us know in the spaceprovided on this page, or you can always join in on the discussion in our dedicated Finch West LRT forum thread.