Transit changes will help Leaside

Much has happened on my transit file since the showdown that shook up the TTC commission earlier this year. Two developments in this regard should be of particular interest to Leaside residents:

1. Eglinton LRT Alignment: I presume it is now widely understood that plans for the Eglinton Cross-town LRT line include a tunnel through the central portion of its route (from Black Creek Dr. in the west to Brentcliffe Rd. in the east), where the roadway is narrow and traffic is already congested.

The location of the eastern portal is now being rethought. Late this fall, Metrolinx indicated that it is considering extending the tunnel further east to past Don Mills Rd.

If implemented, this change in track alignment would eliminate the proposed portal at Brentcliffe. It would therefore also eliminate any interference with the existing left turn lane on westbound Eglinton Ave. at Brentcliffe, which was a concern that some Leaside motorists and business operators expressed to me in connection with the earlier concept.

An incidental benefit would be that, in order to accommodate the long gentle slope required to enable the track to pass under the Don River, the tunnel through Leaside would be particularly deep. This would maximize the separation distance between homes on the surface and any vibrations emanating from the trains passing beneath – another concern expressed to me.

2. Downtown Relief Line: The transit debate of last winter now behind us, we on the TTC have begun to turn our minds to the question of what next.

There was little disagreement that our next priority must be to build a subway line that provides an alternate route linking downtown Toronto with the Danforth line. Such a link, called the Downtown Relief Line, or DRL, will take pressure off the congested Yonge/Bloor station and reduce passenger volumes on the Yonge line generally. In short, the DRL will benefit more than just the passengers who use it.

As a member of the commission, I joined my colleagues recently in formally declaring the DRL to be Toronto’s next transit expansion priority once funds are available to finance its construction and operation.

At the meeting that committed the TTC to the DRL I added a further element that will contribute to its overall value:  I ordered up plans to extend the DRL up Don Mills Rd. to the new LRT/bus terminal to be built at Don Mills and Eglinton as part of the Eglinton Crosstown project.

A downtown link from Don Mills and Eglinton will be good for Leaside commuters. A Leaside resident will be able to board the Crosstown at Bayview or Laird and travel directly to Don Mills, and from there take a subway to the core of the city. Taking that route will avoid the crush at Eglinton station and reduce the pressure on that interchange. It will also further reduce passenger volumes on the chronically overcrowded Yonge line.

Article written by John Parker, Councillor, Toronto Ward 26.