West Don Lands LRT Update

The final report for the West Don Lands LRT (the Cherry Street Car) came to the TTC meeting yesterday.  Thanks to the TTC’s embrace of PDFs for their reports, this is available on the web in full, living colour!

Much of the detail has been discussed here in other posts, but this provides a good overview as well as a statement of the “final” version of the EA.  From here, the report goes to Council for approval in January after which there will be a 30-day period for public comments.

Detailed design (together with that of the surrounding new neighbourhood) will continue through 2008/09 with construction in 2009/10.  Operation is planned to start late in 2010.

This isn’t the biggest extension to the system ever, but it marks an important change in the way transit is integrated with the neighbourhood as you can see from sample views of the line in the report.  This is also the first step in a network of lines to serve the eastern waterfront including Queen’s Quay, itself the subject of a major redesign project now in the planning stage.

Members of the Commission were tripping over each other with enthusiasm for this project and hoping to see work of comparable quality when the Transit City design teams come to their neighbourhoods.

For those who are unfamiliar with plans for the waterfront, the Central Waterfront Transit Plan includes a network of new streetcar/LRT lines that will be built in conjunction with new residential developments eastward from the Don River.  Whether we will see the whole network depends on continued commitment to transit and on the continuing boom in downtown residential construction.

This project has set a new, high standard for community participation in transit project planning.  Public participation can seem tedious, especially to professional staff who just want to get on with the job.  However, the collegial manner in which the West Don project evolved has shown the benefit of involving the community in the design work rather than imposing a finished product.  This will continue through the detailed design over the coming year.