I feel like there's a big difference between a cost-effective design and value engineering. Metrolinx's render doesn't look that bad, considering what kinds of bridges we're used to seeing in the GTA.
And while we're on the topic of bridges, I must say that, from an urbanist point-of-view, I do appreciate how the Ontario Line will improve the walkability under the railway underpasses at Leslieville and Gerrard stations.The architectural designs for the Ontario Line stations are very well done, and Metrolinx has a pretty solid record of delivering high quality architecture. Of course I want the fancy bridge with all the flourishes too, but we’re getting a pretty good deal with the Ontario Line, as far as architecture is concerned.
And these are just two of several railway underpass revitalizations underway at the moment. The Bentway, the Bay Street/Union underpass and the Davenport Diamond also come to mind. Private developers have also proposed and implemented improvements under the Gardiner as well. These kind of architectural improvements for underpasses are becoming standard in Toronto.