On October 1st, preliminary designs for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT's undergound stations, at-grade stops, and track-level amenities were revealed, with the Metrolinx and Crosslinx Transit Solutions presentation to the City of Toronto's Design Review Panel (DRP) drawing significant public attention. Following the DRP presentation, UrbanToronto has provided in-depth coverage of system's the major design elements, with articles exploring underground station and platform designs, outdoor amenities and at-grade stops, as well as the facilities and landscaping at Mount Dennis.

While the system's proposed green trackway and distinctive stations designed by team led by IBI Group Architects have garnered significant attention from our readers and Forum contributors, the question of how the system's infrastructure will accommodate future development has been widely discussed. The DRP presentation specified structural enhancements for Yonge Station—which is designed to accommodate a high-rise project of up to 30 storeys directly above it.

A rendering of Yonge Station, image courtesy of Metrolinx

Like at Yonge, the Crosstown LRT station at Bayview (possibly to be named Leaside) will also be constructed with reinforcements that allow for high-rise development directly above it. As two of the most centrally located stations in the system, Yonge and Bayview were identified as having the greatest potential for new development, while the surrounding subterranean area was deemed able to accommodate the necessary structural supports.

Bathurst Station, image courtesy of Metrolinx

Metrolinx has provided us with more detailed information regarding station design to both facilitate development and sensitively merge with its surroundings. Though only Yonge and Bayview will be constructed to support overbuild directly above the station, most of the length of Eglinton Avenue where the Crosstown LRT is being built is designated as an Avenue in Toronto's Official Plan, meaning that mid-rise development is encouraged along the bulk of this corridor. To that end, knockout panels will help accommodate future developments at Caledonia, Dufferin, Bathurst, Avenue, Mount Pleasant, and Don Mills Stations. While the knockout panels will not allow for the same type of direct overbuild, they provide a degree of flexibility which allows for the stations to have direct connections to future development, integrating the LRT into the developing urban realm.

In addition, Metrolinx has informed us that the footprints of several station entrances are being minimized in order to accommodate future development adjacent to the facilities. For example, the main entrance and bus terminal at Don Mills Station were streamlined in order to allow for adjacent development, as were the secondary entrances of both Bayview and Laird Stations. Likewise, the secondary entrances of Keele Station (below) also features a reduced footprint, minimizing the impact of the Crosstown facilities on development.

Aerial rendering of Keele Station, image courtesy of Metrolinx

In particular, the aerial rendering of Keele shows the limited scale of the secondary entrance at the southeast corner (marked '3,' above). Though the entrance will be built on a relatively large lot, the facility has been scaled down to take up approximately half of the available space, leaving some room for development. At the northwest corner ('2,' above), meanwhile, a small facility has been designed to fit the relatively developed streetscape around it, avoiding the demolition or reconfiguration of existing buildings without necessitating the use of more space.

A revamped public plaza (right) will be created as part of Dufferin Station, image courtesy of Metrolinx

Beyond these instances, many of the Crosstown's planned facilities are not specifically designed to accommodate high or mid-rise development. Nonetheless, some stations feature significant public realm improvements that foster a more urban streetscape, and improve pedestrian experience and uplift the surrounding neighbourhood. Without catering directly to new development, the urban landscape is significantly revamped at stations like CaledoniaDufferin (above) and Allen-Road Eglinton West (below), where a new public plaza, stretching across the foot of the Allen Road, seeks to integrate the Crosstown with an improved streetscape.

Aerial view showing the expanded public sphere at Allen Road, image courtesy of Metrolinx

At Allen Road, a new plaza cohesively knits together the existing station with the LRT, creating a more walkable environment in an area currently characterized by its swell of cars. Though the public space does not promote or facilitate development directly, the invigorated public realm serves to create a more vibrant cityscape, facilitating the type of urban environment that often attracts development in the first place. 

We will keep you updated as the Crosstown's finer design elements continue to emerge, and construction continues. What do you think of the efforts to accommodate future development? Was enough done to accomodate new development and invigorate the urban realm? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page, or join in the discussions in one of our Forums, linked below. Also, make sure to check out our dataBase files, linked below, for more information and additional renderings.

Related Companies:  Crosslinx Transit Solutions, Daoust Lestage Architecture, GFL Environmental Inc., IBI Group, LEA Consulting, Metrolinx, NORR Architects, SvN, Toronto Transit Commission