At the TTC and Metrolinx transit consultation meeting on Feb 20th in Etobicoke, local speakers voiced their opposition to the part of the newly-unveiled overall transit plan that calls for an LRT along Eglinton west of Mount Dennis, citing concerns about traffic flow dating back to 2009 when an LRT was first suggested as part of then Mayor David Miller's Transit City plan.
Hilary Holden, Toronto’s director of Transit and Sustainable Transportation Planning, said that the original plan, which would have been over ground for its entire length and had 17 stations was only one of several possible configurations, including as few as five stations and some underground sections if necessary.
Responding to those calling for the LRT to run underground, Holden remarked that while this would be considered in part or whole, “the more you do underground the more expensive it is and therefore the less likely it is to happen sooner”. When another speaker called for a bus rapid transit (BRT) alternative to be considered, supported by others in the audience, Holden agreed to add that as an alternative for consideration before the next consultation meeting. She was, however, adamant that using the space allocated for an LRT to increase the number of lanes in each direction from two to three as some in the audience suggested was not consistent with city policy – “as we grow we are getting more demand for travel, and we need to make sure that we are encouraging people to use public transport for those journeys.”
Other residents were disappointed that those presenting could not provide detailed traffic assessments for the new options based on the studies done six years ago, but Holden said that an environmental assessment would have to be done again in any case because traffic and where people are moving from and to have changed since then.
The LRT option (or BRT if that turned out to be the preferred option) would replace John Tory's original proposal for a heavy rail SmartTrack Western corridor. Heavy rail—essentially GO Trains running along Eglinton West—was found by a recently-published feasibility study to not be cost effective.
You can email comments on any parts of the plan to TransitTO@toronto.ca or to firstname.lastname@example.org and find further information (including a schedule of the remaining consultation sessions) at http://www.toronto.ca/TransitTO.