Eglinton LRT Update

Planning for the Eglinton LRT continues as described in a report at the May 28 Commission meeting.  Major points in this report include:

  • Surface operation west from Keele and east from Brentcliffe with a tunnel between these two points.  The exact location of the tunnel entrance, particularly at the west end, is still under study.
  • Centre of the road alignment for the surface sections.  This arrangement is substantially cheaper than an alternative trench arrangement (similar to that used on the Yonge Subway north of Rosedale) along the north side of Eglinton in the land reserved for the Richview Expressway.
  • The carhouse will be somewhere near Black Creek.  Although not explicitly named in the report, the Kodak lands in Weston have been rumoured as a site.
  • The airport alignment and stations are the subject of an area study to deal with special considerations including two highway crossings and a future link with other regional services.
  • Future work in this project will also include connections with existing and future TTC subway and LRT services.

The next round of public consultation including updated designs will occur in June.  There will be six open houses between June 15 and 25 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm:

  • June 15: William Lea Room, 1073 Millwood Rd
  • June 17: Eglinton Public School, 223 Eglinton Avenue East
  • June 18: Richview Collegiate, 1738 Islington Avenue
  • June 23: York Memorial Collegiate, 2690 Eglinton Avenue West (at Keele Street)
  • June 24: Beth Sholom Synagogue, 1445 Eglinton Avenue West (at Allen Road)
  • June 25: Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre (formerly Mid Scarb. CC), 2467 Eglinton Ave East

21 thoughts on “Eglinton LRT Update

  1. This list of probable station makes intersting reading… reading that document, you would never guess that GO Transit exsisted, let alone the Elginton LRT intersects four of their lines.

    There’s also potential for a station on the Georgetown line near the Weston Rd or Black Creek Dr stations, and similarly near Leslie St on the Richmond Hill line and near Caledonia for the Barrie line.

    Even if TTC has some hidden knowledge that GO will never ever build stations near to line up with LRT, there is still the fact that the connection at Kennedy is ignored (see Appendix B).

    I know TTC caries 470m passengers, while GO carries “only” 50m (roughly), but I would guess half of GO’s riders use TTC as part of their journeys, and that forms a significant chunk of TTC’s ridership.

    I simply can’t see why TTC ignores GO.

    Steve: More to the point, GO ignores the TTC and steadfastly organizes its fares and services to make it difficult for GO to be part of the “local” system within the 416. The map in Appendix B shows only the TTC service to/from which Eglinton line riders can transfer at no extra cost.


  2. Just north of Eglinton that railway corridor suddenly widens quite a bit where a small yard and the Belt Line branch used to be. There would be plenty of room for a GO station there, likely without blocking the Castlefield Avenue grade crossing. There should be an LRT station at Caledonia with its west platform end meeting the GO line and the plaza there for access to everything at once. Remember also that the LRT tunnel won’t have to follow that strange jog in the road that dodges a hydro tower.


  3. What are the technical difficulties to prevent a stop from being built in between Keele and Caledonia? I noticed on Google Maps that there is a railway line going in between Caledonia and Keele. Is it used by GO? The google maps distance between Keele and Caledonia is 1.1Km.

    Steve: There is a steep grade from Caledonia down to Keele, but it starts about half way along. Relative to the surface, the line would be deep underground because the tunnel will not take as steep a grade.

    The rail line is the GO line to Barrie.


  4. Firstly, I have always been under the impression that TTC doesn’t want GO competeing with it for travel within the 416, so GO set their minimum fare higher than TTC’s on purpose. Better links with GO Transit encourage those from 905 to use transit when travelling into Toronto, which is surely a good thing.

    I’m curious… what role do you think GO should play in moving people around the 416m and fares aside, how should it do it?

    Steve: TTC resented GO as an upstart system, but that was decades ago. If anything TTC was guilty of ignoring GO in many of its demand projections. For example, the demand model used to justify the Sheppard subway did not allow for GO absorbing much of the new riding from Northern Scarborough and southern York Region. The TTC didn’t even show the GO lines on their project maps!

    Today, everything has to work as an integrated network. In comments on this site, I hear so often how new lines have to be fast, fast, fast so that people can travel all the way from Rouge Hill to the Airport on a one-seat ride. For this we should gerrymander the Eglinton line which has an important role as a local service?

    I would make an analogy to the 905/416 fare debate. People gripe about paying to cross the boundary between Toronto and the rest of the GTA, and want this removed. I gripe about GO transit failing to recognize that the outer parts of the 416 should be just as much part of their territory as the inner 905.

    Between GO and Metrolinx, the proposed level of service on major routes such as Lake Shore, Georgetown and Richmond Hill will grow to the point where headways are every 10 minutes or better and the lines run reasonably often all day. Why shouldn’t these be integrated in whatever fare scheme exists for the region as a whole? Why should Toronto have to build tens of billions in subways to reach areas that could be well served by GO Transit?


  5. Steve said: “Between GO and Metrolinx, the proposed level of service on major routes such as Lake Shore, Georgetown and Richmond Hill will grow to the point where headways are every 10 minutes or better and the lines run reasonably often all day. Why shouldn’t these be integrated in whatever fare scheme exists for the region as a whole? Why should Toronto have to build tens of billions in subways to reach areas that could be well served by GO Transit? ”

    Which is why I’ve always wondered about the WWLRT and its purported purpose of getting people downtown to Union as quickly as possible. The Lakeshore line runs parallel and will always be a faster route in, and the WWLRT should for local service and for getting people to the GO stations that there are (really only Long Branch as Mimico is too far from Lakeshore. Perhaps a new stop at the soon-to-be-replaced Humber loop to serve the Humber shores would be an idea).

    The lack of planning for GO connections on the ECLRT is distressing in that the regional integration of service is something that should be in the cards, and I believe was called for when spending was announced. But that may have just been in a happy dream.

    Steve: The Eglinton line will use the existing connection at Kennedy where service on the Uxbridge Subdivision will eventually be all day rather than peak period. The crossing at Leslie and Eglinton of the CPR does not now have GO service, although integration with Leslie Station should not be difficult. The Richmond Hill line crosses under Eglinton in a valley and this is not conducive to a station connection. The next crossing is the Newmarket Sub west of Caledonia. That’s a tricky one because the line will be underground at this location, and far enough east of the railway to make a connection diffucult. In Weston, the connection is obvious. The problems really lie in GO/Metrolinx hands.


  6. I know that the intersection at Eglinton Ave. and Martin Grove Rd. is very busy during rush hour. Cars are lined up over a block. How does an LRT in the middle of the road accommodate for this?

    If they give priority to the LRT, cars turning left will even have a longer wait. If it isn’t worst enough as of now. Now that they have announce that the LRT lanes will be in the middle of the road, do you think a tunnel or an elevated section could be build to bypass traffic?

    Steve: I doubt you are going to see a grade separated station as that is very expensive. Something that should show up in the design materials, possibly in the next round of presentations, is intersection capacity information for the whole line. At that point we will see what the predicted effect is at each location and how the design addresses any problems.


  7. Hi Steve, It was mentioned that the Eglinton line would run in the middle of the road in the West End, because it was too expensive to build a trench (like the Yonge subway) in the old Richview (?) exwy. right-of-way. Why must it be a trench? Can the line not run at grade on the north side of Eglinton? Would that not be cheaper than ripping up Eglinton? Right now it is simply grassland. There is tons of room from Jane all the way to the airport. Do they not like level crossings that close to intersections? cheers, Andrew

    Steve: The trench is proposed by Metrolinx for an, ahem, technology that cannot cross streets at grade. This is very much the way the SRT got through the Town Centre on an elevated. It was claimed that the streetcars could not run at grade because they would block property access, then with the decision to use an el structure out of the way, the technology could be changed to ICTS on an equals/equals basis. Very shady.

    As for an LRT in the grassed area, it makes the intersections more difficult to design if there are, in effect, two crossings of the north-south streets, one by Eglinton itself, and one by a frequent LRT line. Cars queued southbound at Eglinton would block the tracks.


  8. In their Georgetown Open House presentations in February, GO showed a possible future station between the Eglinton LRT and GO’s Weston lines.

    With respect to the Richview Expressway Eglinton right of way, a number of the intersection already have dips in them for the expressway that was never built. It would be possible to put in a few more and have a completely separate right of way in this stretch. If they could add something between Keele and Weston Road and Between Don Mills and Kennedy they would have a completely isolated right of way. That would make the line faster because it would not have to wait for any traffic lights, I know that this does not have much chance of happening.

    Steve says: “Between GO and Metrolinx, the proposed level of service on major routes such as Lake Shore, Georgetown and Richmond Hill will grow to the point where headways are every 10 minutes or better and the lines run reasonably often all day. Why shouldn’t these be integrated in whatever fare scheme exists for the region as a whole? Why should Toronto have to build tens of billions in subways to reach areas that could be well served by GO Transit? ”

    The Lakeshore GO service is running every 10 minutes in the peak hour. If they try to carry more passenger will the Yonge and University Subways be able to handle them? Also will Union GO, Union Subway and Union LRT stations be able to handle the peak demand? Last year the Mt Pleasant GO parking lot was barely half full. Last autumn it was 3/4 full. Last week it was TOTALLY full.

    I drove through downtown Barrie today and the Condo construction along the waterfront was unbelievable. These will all be with in a short walk of the new Barrie GO station if it ever gets built. Barrie has 9 acres at the old Allendale station up for re-development. The GO storage yard has electrical hookups for four 12 car trains track for six and land for nine. I do not know who would want to spend over three hours each day on a GO train but evidently there are those who do.

    Steve: A lot of this discussion ties in with the article on fare by distance that I wrote about a week ago. If the TTC system moves to fare by distance, then the relative cost of GO for longer trips becomes competitive, and the capacity problem will be upon us whether we like it or not. There is a big issue at Union because the projected demand on all of the GO lines in the Metrolinx RTP is substantially higher than GO’s own plans and higher than the capacity of the revamped Union Station. This is another of Metrolinx’ many failings: they’re good at drawing lines on maps, but not very effective when it comes to analyzing the consequences (or even acknowledging that there are any).

    The presumption that publication of “The Big Move” ended the major work for Metrolinx and that they’re now just a construction and financing agency tells us a lot about how well they understand the problems of building an integrated network.


  9. Can I finally breath a sign of relief. From the looks of it, it looks like LRT technology will be used. “thank goodness” or am I just being to optimistic. Is there still a battle brewing between ICTS vs LRT or better yet Metrolinx vs TTC … any updates?

    Steve: It’s hard to say. Metrolinx is being very quiet these days, and I think they have also found out that ICTS is more expensive than LRT (big surprise!). Meanwhile, the City and TTC are proceeding on the basis that it’s LRT. Now we have to get a public commitment to LRT on the “SRT”.

    One annoying side to this situation is the love for private sector partnerships among certain political groups. Obviously, if we build ICTS, it’s a sole-bidder, proprietary arrangement. Remember the subway car contract? If we build LRT, then the field is open to any bidder, and we might actually get some competition on price.


  10. Do we know the cost difference at doing the Metrolinx plan of building the Eglinton LRT below grade along the Richview ROW? It could certainly be a mix, like the C-Train in Calgary. Overpasses would cost $25 million or so and could be done at key intersections – not a huge cost in the grand scheme of things, and would certainly speed up service, especially it did go to Pearson.

    Steve: The larger incremental cost comes from a more expensive fleet (RT cars cost about the same as the much larger LRVs) and the need for completely segregated right-of-way on other parts of the line where land is not available. I have already heard rumours that in one scheme, Metrolinx proposed shortening the line (and not going to the airport!) because it cost too much as RT.


  11. I have a hard time believing that even with the eased technical requirements of the TC network that any manufacturer other than Bombardier will ever bother to bid in this city or region ever again.

    Steve: I don’t know if you heard Stephen Harper at the recent announcement of funding for the Sheppard LRT, but he said that the cars for the line would be built in Thunder Bay. In effect, the decision is already made, and Bombardier has a lock on equipment for the GTA.


  12. Steve wrote, “Now we have to get a public commitment to LRT on the ‘SRT’.”

    I would encourage anyone interested in helping see this happen to attend the open house on Tuesday (231 Milner Avenue, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm) and fill out a comment sheet expressing this.

    On another, slightly unrelated, LRT note – it looks like York Region is diving into LRT. The announced over the weekend an upcoming open house for a northern section of the Don Mills LRT from Steeles to Highway 7. See for more details.

    Steve: Thanks for the York Region info.


  13. Steve, do you have a cached copy of that PDF with the dates for Eglinton LRT open houses? The link won’t work for me and the city didn’t deign to just put the dates on the project webpage.

    Steve: The information has been added to the main post.


  14. Are they going to use the a signal system in the tunnels? Or just let the streetcars free like the tunnel under Bay st.

    A signal system could keep a better headway and make it safer for higher speed operation.

    Steve: Yes, I believe that there will be signals, and even the surface junctions, crossovers, etc., will be signalled. That will be interesting considering the difficulty of making track circuits work in a street environment.


  15. Steve wrote: “More to the point, GO ignores the TTC and steadfastly organizes its fares and services to make it difficult for GO to be part of the “local” system within the 416. The map in Appendix B shows only the TTC service to/from which Eglinton line riders can transfer at no extra cost.”

    A good example of GO ignoring TTC is during the last TTC wildcat strike…The Milton line, which normally stops at Kipling, decided to bypass it during the strike. Nevermind the fact that they should have instead been helping alleviate all the transportation headaches and _encouraging_ TTC folks to instead take GO to get into the city core.



  16. Correct me if I’m wrong, Steve, but I seem to remember when I delved into the proposed designs for intersections there was a proposal for having underpasses at intersections, with the LRT ‘swooping’ under. This would let the LRT get places more quickly, as well as prevent (or at the least, minimise) traffic snarl-ups. A problem which comes to mind is the buildup of snow that would inevitably occur – would this be a problem, or am I being naïve?

    Steve: I would be more concerned about the safety of stations in underpasses. As for snow, part of that depends on whether the rails are concreted to the railhead (for shared operation by buses as at St. Clair West Station) or left bare to the slab. I don’t remember snow being a problem at St. Clair West, but I think there are ramp heaters. Subways get into problems with deep snow because it freezes on the third rail, not because they cannot physically plough through it. Streetcars don’t have this problem because they use overhead power supply. By contrast, ice storms can proove difficult for streetcars, but there tends to be a lot more snow than ice in Toronto’s weather.

    Re: former Kodak plant – given its previous use, I’d want a thorough EA carried out, especially of the soil.


  17. What will the LRT new line do the property values in the Richview area for example?

    Steve: I don’t know specifics, but generally any new major transit line like this is beneficial provided that it is built in a way that adds to the neighbourhood.


  18. I was in shock(not really but seeing it on paper makes it worse)seeing the presentation boards for the Eglinton LRT and seeing that we are spending billions on a new transit line and at the end of the day all I save is 10 min going from Kennedy to Yonge-Eglinton over the current bus route. Now instead of taking 40 minutes it will take 30 minutes. Not to mention the bus usually takes less than 40 min.

    50 min from Yonge-Eglinton to Pearson Airport. Vs 20 min in a car. How this system is going to attract people who have a choice is beyond me, when it is still going to take forever to get anywhere.

    Transit City has not addressed this at all and I think this needs to be talked about before we spend billions on a line that will be no faster than a bus.

    Why has this not been brought up? Why are we spending billions to build a fancy streetcar line that is not going to improve my commute?

    At the end of the day I want to get where I am going in a reasonable time, and I don’t care if it is a bus or streetcar. And from residents I have talked to within the corridors they feel the same way. No one is going to use it unless it is a lot faster than the current design.

    Steve: The main savings in travel time occur in the underground part of the line from Leaside to Weston. The change from Kennedy to Yonge is 43 to 30, not “40” as you claim although that is not a major difference. The actual travel time on the Eglinton bus varies with traffic conditions, weather and crowding. I too have made that trip and it can be quite annoying, including just waiting for a bus to show up at Kennedy. The intent of separating the route from other traffic is to achieve reliable trip times regardless of conditions on the roads.

    As for trips to the airport, as I have said many, many times, this line is not built to carry people, for the most part, over the breadth of the city, but to provide many connections between various neighbourhoods and parts of the transit network. The airport is not, repeat, not the centre of the universe, and most of the demand in the Eglinton corridor is not going to it. If I wanted to complain about wasted billions, I would point to the attitude by some at Metrolinx for whom local service and stops are simply a drag on their ability to travel from Oshawa to Mississauga without setting foot in Toronto any more than necessary. To them I say, use Highway 407.

    The Eglinton line will connect with the Spadina subway, the Jane LRT (as and when that is built), GO Weston (as and when the station is moved south to Eglinton). To the east, there will be a connection with the Don Mills LRT and some service (still to be determined) between Eglinton and Danforth, possibly through to downtown. The airport will also be accessible via the Finch West line so that people don’t have to travel all the way down to Eglinton to get an east-west trunk line.

    Travel time changes need to be measured looking at the network as a whole, not one line. Someone who lives right on Eglinton (as I once did) will take that route, but many will take advantage of new paths in the network.


  19. The bus terminal at Don Mills looks odd. What’s the point of having a bus terminal if Option 1 is a proposed surface stop. To me that doesn’t make sense. Even if the ECT lrt is underground at don mills it still doesn’t make sense because people will have to make a complicated transfer to the surface bus bay and the Don Mills lrt. Whats the point of that?

    Steve: In talking to the project staff, they understand that the surface options have big problems in terms of circulation. Just the pedestrian traffic with one line on the surface could have a severe effect on road capacity. This interchange needs a lot of design work.

    I also noticed in the panel that the Go station at Kennedy will be relocated where the SRT currently exist. Where does the srt go then. will it be underground?

    Steve: It is my understanding that the SRT will be underground at the mezzanine level.

    Another flaw I notice was the fact that there not considering to merge the scarborough malvern and eglinton crosstown together at kennedy. Wouldn’t that make more sense?

    Steve: Possibly, but not necessarily. There’s a point at which a line becomes unmanageably long and needs to have a break. Having said that, there is a difference between through routing trains and having them share connecting tracks, platforms, etc. There are additional issues if he SRT is converted to LRT. Again, this station design needs a lot of work.


  20. Edmund O’Connor says:
    June 9, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Steve, but I seem to remember when I delved into the proposed designs for intersections there was a proposal for having underpasses at intersections, with the LRT ’swooping’ under.

    I’ve read this several times postings and comments, but can’t find a reference in the PDFs. Is this an alternative that is still under consideration? What intersections are/were under consideration?

    Steve: The grade separation proposals were Metrolinx’ idea, not the TTC’s. Metrolinx tends to regard Eglinton as a regional line which should run as fast as possible rather than a semi-local service that doesn’t stop at every lamppost, but can handle demand between neighbourhoods with limited need for a parallel local bus route.


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