Today the TTC unveiled an astounding plan for a 120km network of LRT lines for the City of Toronto. You can read all about it on the website created for the plan at this link.
Nothing like this has ever been announced in my 35 years of transit advocacy. Even the 1990 David Peterson government’s scheme for many subway lines doesn’t come close. That plan was mostly bits and pieces patched onto an existing network and recycling a lot of old plans. Very little was actually built and most remnants of the program were killed off by Mike Harris.
Transit City is completely new. Many of the lines in this plan have never been part of old transit studies, or have appeared as full-blown subway lines, not as LRT.
This is the plan I have been waiting 35 years for. Ever since the Streetcars for Toronto Committee fought to keep our streetcar system as the nucleus of a much larger suburban network, I have waited to see a real LRT network promoted by the TTC and embraced by the City.
Already, some critics are wondering how this will get approved and funded. We seem to have no trouble proposing subway lines we don’t need at bankrupting prices, and it’s time people knew that there is an alternative. This will mean some hard political choices about the use of road space — it’s always easier to bury the transit system than to deal with design and traffic issues on the surface. But now, after decades, we can have this debate with a real plan as a starting point.
I will comment in detail on the plan over the weekend when I have time for a longer post, and will incorporate the many comments received on this subject.