Friday, June 13, 2008

Don Mills LRT

I attended an open house on Monday in the cafeteria of the Rosedale Heights School of the Arts near Castle Frank subway station. I had to fight my way past the auditorium where a music concert was in progress to get to the sparsely attended transit gathering. This was the inaugural meeting for another Class Environmental Assessment on building an LRT along Don Mills Road.

I wasn't very impressed since it was basically a rehash of the last year's study concerning Don Mills Transit improvements. All they did was swap out the idea of high speed bus lanes and insert a dedicated LRT right of way. I much prefer trains to buses but the problem of how to get from Don Mills and Overlea to the Danforth still remains.

Steve Munro, a transit aficionado, has done a much better job of explaining these options so I recommend you read his posting on the subject. The only thing that I added to the discussion was an idea about reusing an old CPR rail line that exits the Don Valley at Redway Road. It might be possible to run an LRT along this line all the way down to Union Station. There is also possibilities of stops at the Brick Works, Queen Street East, and Cherry Street next to the Distillery District.

There are two major issues with this route, first it is only a single track and it would be very expensive to add a second track. Secondly, CPR wants to retain the line for a future GO connection to places north and east. When I mentioned this at the open house they said the second reason was a bigger stumbling block.However, I don't think this is a reason not to study the option. Part of the EA process is to look at all alternatives.

Regardless of what option the study recommends, it is unlikely that this will ever be built. It is part of the city's Transit City initiative which is dependent on getting bags of money from the Province and the Feds (as if that will ever happen).

If you're interested in seeing things for yourself there are two more public meetings in the next two weeks.

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