Are you worried about the eastern Leaside section of the LRT

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT promises to enter into service roughly a year from now, but we are already hearing concerns about its upcoming operation. Some transportation analysts and commentators speculate there may be problems with day-to-day operational issues caused by the route’s layout.

The LRT consists of about 11 km underground, with about 8 km at grade. The portion of the route east of Laird station, just east of Brentcliffe Road, had to be brought to the surface at Leslie Street because of the difficulty and cost of tunnelling deep into the valley beneath the watercourse, as well as related soil conditions. Here’s the potential problem: at Leslie, and farther east toward Kennedy Road, where the LRT runs on the surface, the LRT is not given priority over signalized road traffic signals. Automobiles and trucks share priority with transit. It will be possible for an errant driver or two to become confused by the special signal timing required, while others might well try to “beat the red” by turning left and then collide with an LRT train, thereby shutting down LRT service in both directions.

The travel times where automobile traffic and the LRT share the surface roadway will be random, with traffic lights, pedestrians crossing Eglinton Avenue (not to mention jaywalkers) and transit competing with each other. Speed in the grade-separated (underground) portions of the route, on the other hand, will be automatically controlled and reliable. A number of recent media articles have speculated there will be bottlenecks where subways meet surface traffic, affecting the efficiency and reliability of the LRT as a whole and creating uneven service levels. 

We can only hope that priority treatment eventually goes to transit operations rather than to cars, and that signage will be clearly marked to create an efficient, reliable and safe operational system overall.

Get ready for the provincial election

This edition of Leaside Life goes to the printer in mid-May, so this is my last chance to remind you that the provincial election is but days away. As I write, the Leaside Residents Association is working on organizing a virtual Don Valley West all candidates’ meeting. We will announce Zoom contact details as soon as we have them, in Leaside Life online and other local media, as well as with e-blast messaging from the LRA website. We hope you will attend!

All elections are important, but this one will be really crucial in shaping what kind of Leaside, and what kind of Toronto, we want to live in.

Our next LRA monthly board meeting is on Wed., May 4th, at 7:30 p.m., on Zoom. If you’d like to watch or participate, please let us know by that date and we’ll be glad to send you the Zoom access details. You can find us at www.leasideresidents.ca.

About Carol Burtin Fripp 121 Articles
Carol Burtin Fripp is Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, and is Chair of the LRA's Traffic Committee. Over the years, she has served on numerous East York and City task forces. Now a retired television producer (TVO and CBC), she writes Leaside Life's monthly LRA column, and has created a daily international current affairs newsletter read from Newfoundland to New Zealand.