Elevated Rail, anyone?
Elevated trains: Metrolinx offers subway alternative
Natalie Alcoba December 20, 2010 – 10:34 pm
Metrolinx, Ontario’s regional transportation agency, has tossed another option into Toronto’s transit rethink: elevated train corridors.
Tasked with coming up with a plan that scraps surface transit routes, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig and chairman Rob Prichard met with Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff, Nick Kouvalis, his director of policy, Mark Towhey, and TTC chairwoman Karen Stintz on Friday at City Hall. Mr. McCuaig called it a “constructive and collegial” exchange.
The message from the Mayor’s office was that “minimizing the impact on traffic” (also known as preserving road space for vehicles) is “very important” to him; Metrolinx said there are alternatives to tunnelling underground.
“In some cases there might be a wide enough right of way to accommodate an LRT” while maintaining the same number of traffic lanes, Mr. McCuaig said in an interview.
“Another way of potentially addressing it is going up, instead of going down. We owe it to the people to look at all the alternatives.”
And while it’s clear that the Mayor is intent on building subways, he is also prepared to hear Metrolinx out.
“The Mayor’s office is certainly looking forward to working with Metrolinx and the TTC about the Mayor’s priorities to build subways,” said Adrienne Batra, Mr. Ford’s press secretary. “There is also a good opportunity here for there to be other options presented and we look forward to hearing what those are.”
Mr. Ford’s priority is extending the Sheppard subway from Downsview to Scarborough Town Centre.
Metrolinx is pushing for the Eglinton Crosstown, a light-rail line across the city that would include a 10-kilometre stretch underground, which is valued for its “regional” benefits. Mr. McCuaig said an Eglinton line would relieve the congested Yonge line and link up with GO Transit hubs.
“We’re hearing that that project has some support from the city as well,” said Mr. McCuaig.
Ms. Stintz said she expects to see a revised plan, with various options, by the end of January.
She said it is premature to judge the viability of building an elevated line. Ultimately, any changes to the plan will have to consider the limited funds available from the province, which is paying for most of the new transit, and meeting the Mayor’s target of completing a Sheppard line in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
The provincial government had put up $3.1-billion for the first phase of transit expansion, and is firm that there isn’t any more. Some of that money has been spent; the TTC and Metrolinx have also signed $1.3-billion worth of contracts that will cost money to break.
Mr. McCuaig said an elevated line is “less expensive than going underground” but could not give a per-kilometre estimate because it depends on the site. “When you look at places like Vancouver, they were able to integrate the SkyTrain and the Canada Line very effectively in the urban environment,” said Mr. McCuaig.
Toronto has some experience with the technology: The aging Scarborough RT operates on stretches of elevated track. Richard Soberman, a transportation consultant who was vice-president of the company that supplied the parts for the RT in the 1970s, said the city considered at the time putting the elevated tracks along the less populated stretches of Eglinton Avenue. The community objected to the “visual intrusion,” he said.
“I think it would be a tough sell in the modern era when people are a lot more concerned with the urban landscape,” said Mr. Soberman. “But it’s not something that shouldn’t be considered.”
Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/1...linx-offers-subway-alternative/#ixzz18imRsfRy
Yes, ELs have some interesting prospects in some areas of the city; however, the NIMBY protests would be probably worse than for LRV/LRTs. This is unfortunate for many reasons, not the least is that separate/non-grade ROWs solve so many problems.