Ten Years of Spadina Streetcars

Today, July 27, 2007, marks the tenth anniversary of the Spadina streetcar/LRT.  Despite the transit crises of past weeks, we celebrate an important birthday for the Spadina line and for our transit system.

I started writing this piece for the Jane’s Walk series back in late April, but there was just too much else going on, and it didn’t get finished in time.

Without Jane Jacobs and the many who fought beside her, there would be no Spadina streetcar, the heart of the Annex would be an expressway, and the renaissance of Spadina south from College would not have happened.  Indeed, had the road designers had their way, Dundas would be widened out to six lanes through downtown to the DVP, and much of Chinatown would be arterial roads bereft of late 19th century architecture.

The many condos whose populations fill the King-Spadina-Front area would not be there because western downtown would be like so many other expressway cities, a sterile land of interchanges and new office blocks, but no people. Continue reading