Updated October 2 at 11:15 pm:
In the comments thread, a question has come up about the originally proposed alignment of the SLRT. This dates back to the Metropolitan Toronto Transportation Plan Review (MTTPR) and a study of alternatives to the Scarborough Expressway. One of these was an LRT line starting at roughly Queen & McCaul running east to the CNR Kingston Sub at Degrassi St., then northeast via the CN to Morningside Avenue. A branch would run north from Scarborough Junction following mainly existing and abandoned rail corridors to the Scarborough Town Centre.
That branch eventually became the SRT, but was moved to follow the Uxbridge Subdivision because the old right-of-way used in the first proposal was very narrow. As you will see from the maps, this is not the very wide Hydro corridor that crosses the SRT line, but a much tighter route.
To orient yourself, the Uxbridge Subdivision runs just below the top edge of these maps which have north to the right.
Updated September 30 at 4:50 pm:
Item SC 28.30, which requests the TTC and Metrolinx to report in November 2009 on an LRT implementation for the SRT, was passed today by Council.
Item SC28.20 was ruled out of order and withdrawn.
Updated September 30 at 12:45 pm:
This morning, in discussion of another Transit City matter on the Council Agenda, Councillor Thompson asked TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster about the status of the Scarborough project. Among other things, Webster replied that:
- TTC now feels that LRT is the appropriate technology for the route and is working with Metrolinx to define the technology and scope for the Transit City projects generally.
- The funding announced by Queen’s Park is not sufficient to carry the SRT north from Sheppard to Malvern.
The debate will continue this afternoon, but I suspect the items listed in my original post below will not be dealt with until tomorrow given their place on the agenda.
Toronto Council’s agenda today, September 30, includes items of interest regarding the Scarborough RT (SRT) line.
Item SC28.30, initiated on a motion by Councillor Michael Thompson, amended by Councillor Brian Ashton, (both former members of the Toronto Transit Commission), reads:
Scarborough Community Council recommends that:
1. City Council request the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx to report back in November 2009 on a process to implement LRT Technology to match and work with Transit City, on the extension of the Scarborough Rapid Transit line, and request the conversion of the existing line between Kennedy and McCowan stations from its current I.C.T.S. Technology to LRT technology, matching the extension, consistent with Transit City.
Decision Advice and Other Information
The Scarborough Community Council requested Scarborough Planning and Transportation staff to report to the Scarborough Community Council, at its meeting on October 13, 2009, on the status of the Transit City as it impacts the Scarborough District including the status of Environmental Assessment studies relative to current networks.
In a related item, SC28.20:
Scarborough Community Council recommends that:
1. City Council request Metrolinx and the TTC to report back to the Scarborough Community Council by April 2010 on Scarborough Community Council’s position that the Sheppard East LRT will terminate at the Toronto Zoo.
2. City Council request Metrolinx and the TTC to reaffirm the commitment to a transit line extending to the Scarborough Town Centre.
The historic irony of this proposal is, of course, that the SRT was originally planned as an LRT line, but at the request of Scarborough Council, under considerable lobbying effort from Queen’s Park, was redesigned as an ICTS line.
These motions, collectively, would see an extended “RT” integrated in Scarborough’s Transit City LRT network and would provide for both east-west and north-south service as well as interlining to connect the Scarborough Town Centre with the Sheppard line. This could allow service to operate from STC to the Zoo (as per the proposed extension) and/or the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC).
I hope that Council formally embraces this position. Throughout the Scarborough RT extension EA process, almost all of the proposals shown to the community were heavily ICTS oriented and there was no discussion of the alternative implementations possible if the line were LRT. Notable examples are:
- The absence of a track connection between the Sheppard LRT and the extended RT. If the technologies differ, of course such a connection would not exist. However, if an option for LRT were truly being considered, the junction at Sheppard would have included an alternative design with a connection.
- The underground section for the ICTS route north of Sheppard could possibly be shortened for LRT depending on how the approach to Malvern Centre is handled.
- The design for Malvern Centre station assumes an ICTS line on an elevated structure. However, there are already proposals to extend the route further north, something that would be much more easily (and cheaply) achieved with an at-grade LRT.
- The proposed yard for the extended SRT line could be replaced by consolidation into those that will be built for other parts of the LRT network.
None of this is a surprise to TTC staff who have talked, usually privately, about their preference for an all-LRT network in Scarborough. With Council’s approval, this discussion can come into the open.