A Tale of Two Maps

Two days ago, Toronto’s Planning & Growth Management Committee approved both the Environmental Assessment Report for the Sheppard East LRT and an Official Plan Amendment extending the scope of the transit corridor east on Sheppard to match the LRT line.

Scarborough Councillors popped the Champagne corks, or at least sparkling water, and I got an invitation to talk about the significance of the occasion on Metro Morning.

This should be a big event — approval of the first leg in a suburban LRT network.  Back in 1972, the Streetcars for Toronto Committee fought to save what we now call the “legacy” system as a base for suburban expansion, and I have waited a very, very long time for this day.

Over the decades, a combination of Provincial meddling in transit and local subway megalomania  stymied transit’s ability to keep up with, let alone form suburban growth.  All the planning mantras about leading development with transit from the sixties and seventies are little more than quaint memories.

Finally, early in 2007, the TTC and City announced the Transit City plan for a network of seven new LRT lines.  Work began immediately on detailed studies, and three EAs are already underway with the Sheppard Line’s being the first to come up for approval.  The Don Mills study recently had a round of public meetings, and the Eglinton study will roll out in the fall.  Add to these the non-TC projects in the eastern waterfront and the Kingston Road study, not to mention proposals outside of Toronto, and there’s a lot of LRT on the table. Continue reading