Eglinton LRT: Trouble Brewing in Mt. Dennis (Update 2)

Updated February 17 at 11:00 pm:  At today’s TTC meeting, despite a very long series of deputations from residents of the Mt. Dennis area and a number of local political representatives, the Commission decided to proceed with the staff’s recommended alignment for the Eglinton LRT.

Although I have supported this project and Transit City, today’s meeting ranks among the worst travesties of “public participation” I have ever seen.  This fell on the same day as the launch of the TTC’s vaunted “Customer Service” project showing just how threadbare that scheme already is.

Deputations at the TTC are to begin at 2 pm, but there were many presentations early in the meeting, and the Eglinton item didn’t really get underway until nearly 3.  Staff began with a presentation that completely ignored the specifics of the objections raised by the community, and presented the situation as a choice between two options:

  1. An all-surface option with a station at the intersection of Black Creek Drive, and an island-platform station west of the Weston/Eglinton intersection.
  2. An all-underground option with a station under Eglinton west of Black Creek, and a station under Eglinton west of Weston Road.

One critical point about both designs is that they require a wide tunnel structure around Weston Station and the demolition of a row of houses at Pearen Road.  The TTC did not address the question of moving the station east of Weston Road to reduce or possibly eliminate conflict with the houses and to improve a future connection to GO Transit at the rail corridor.

After the deputations, during which Chair Giambrone had to be reminded by one speaker to pay attention to the public and stop playing with his Blackberry, came a brief discussion between Commissioners and staff.  A few amendments were proposed to the recommendations including a scheme to seek supplementary funding (this might be called the “faint hope clause” for transit projects), but these failed.

In his concluding remarks Giambrone told the assembled crowd, many of whom had been in the meeting room for well over four hours, that in fact the TTC could not change the selected alignment because it had already been approved by Council and was sitting at Queen’s Park for review.  In effect, Giambrone said that all of the public consultation since early December, 2009, when Council approved the Transit Project Assessment, was for naught because the decision had already been taken.

In fact, the TPA process includes an option for amendment, and the TTC plans to use this once they finalize the alignment at Pearson Airport.  Why isn’t this option available for a change elsewhere in the design?  Why was the TTC still holding public meetings on details of project design when there was no intention of entertaining changes?

Some speakers addressed the use of the Kodak lands for the proposed carhouse, and asked that alternative schemes be considered.  Part of this relates to a proposed “big box” development on the land.  However, Council approved the acquisition of this property, by expropriation if necessary, in December.

I could understand the TTC simply saying “look, Council has decided, there’s only enough money for the recommended option, sorry, but that’s how it’s going to be”.  At least that would be honest.  It would not string the community and their Councillors along with the idea that the design might be altered.

This is a classic abuse of process by a public organization, and shows all too clearly the problems introduced by the new “speedy” TPA.  Although there is an appeal mechanism, the grounds for an appeal are very limited.  This is not Transit City’s finest hour, and it damages the credibility of the TPA process generally.

Councillors would be well-advised to be less quick in granting approval to TPA reports lest they give away their last chance to modify a project proposal.

The earlier information in this article follows the break.

Updated February 16 at 10:45 pm:  Information in the original post about community opposition to the use of the Kodak lands as a carhouse do not reflect a unanimous position.  Please see the comment left by Rick Ciccarelli for details.  Rick reports that there is a developer, the current owner of the site, who wishes to develop it for big box retail.

On Wednesday, February 17, the TTC will consider a report on the public participation process in the Eglinton LRT project.  Among other items in the report is a discussion of the alignment options in the stretch west of Keele through to Jane Street.  The report does not address issues raised at a recent public meeting because it was written before that meeting took place.

Last Thursday, February 11, two local Councillors hosted a meeting regarding the Eglinton LRT.  I was unable to attend, but a friend who contributes here regularly (Robert Wightman) did, and I have used his remarks in preparing this article.  Any additional feedback from people who were there would be appreciated.

The Evolution of Plans

The original summer 2008 open houses showed only a general view of the line and included notes about several areas requiring further study, including the section from Keele to Jane.

By June 2009, there were five proposals for the section through Weston Station (see Display Boards starting at page 29 of the pdf, display panel 28).

  1. Completely on the surface  with stations at Black Creek and on Eglinton, west of Weston Road.
  2. Elevated structure south of Eglinton crossing Black Creek including a station west of Black Creek Drive.  Underground station on Eglinton west of Weston Road.
  3. Similar to option 2, but with the elevated structure north of Eglinton.
  4. Underground structure through the entire area with stations west of Black Creek and west of Weston Road.
  5. Elevated structure north of Eglinton, but no station at Black Creek.  Weston Station underground between Weston Road and the rail corridor.

By November 2009, only the preferred all-surface option 1 remained in the presentation (see Display Boards at pages 2-3 of the pdf, display panels 27-28).

The Situation Today

In the TTC report (linked at the top of this post), only two options are shown — the preferred surface alignment (1) and the underground alignment (4).  Both of these place Weston Station west of Weston Road, and not immediately beside the rail corridor.  This issue is important on two counts.  First, a good connection to a future GO and Air Rail Link station are an obvious requirement, and would make this one of Metrolinx’ “mobility hubs”.  Why would we build a brand new line with such an inconvenient walking transfer?  Second, houses on the north side of Eglinton west of the intersection are right at the sidewalk line and would be demolished to make room for either of the proposed alignments.

Move the station further east, one might say, but the TTC would like to have a three-track section west of the station as a turnback point.  This would require a wide box structure west of the intersection (and affecting the houses) even if the station were further east.  It is baffling why the TTC can’t simply place a crossover east of Weston Station, where there will, in any event, be special work for the access tracks to the carhouse planned for the Kodak Lands east of the rail corridor.

As a side note, the TTC is planning to use automatic train operation for the Eglinton LRT rather than wayside signals.  If there were concerns about any safety issues, ATO should address them regardless of the track configuration.

For Black Creek Station, the design must take into account the planned new Community Centre to be built here.  Simply skipping over the station is not an option.

The following notes are by Robert Wightman.  He describes additional options beyond those appearing in previous schemes, and it is odd that these are not discussed in the TTC report on the February 17 agenda.

No matter what option they use, the pocket track to the west of the underground station or the end of the station will require a 22 m wide tunnel in a section where the road is 23 m wide. There are 18 houses on the north side of Eglinton that are within 2 m of the edge of the cut which will have to be expropriated. The west side pocket track appeared to be placed so as to cause the maximum amount of expropriation of buildings on the north side of Eglinton.

The underground station options all had curves from the car house that entered Eglinton by running under the buildings on the north east corner of Weston and Eglinton.  These seemed to be 300 to 400m radius versus the curves that ran from the street into the car house. 

The project manager from the TTC could not figure out what anyone’s question was, kept answering the wrong question, and said the tail track had to be at the west end of the last station on the totally segregated ROW to allow for automatic train operation.

The difference in price between the underground option and the above ground one was $110 million at the last meeting but is now $300 million. Going elevated across Black Creek ups the cost by only $200 million.

Many people noted that the reported difference in price last fall was about $110 million but is now $200 to 330 million. They think that this price has been cooked to make it more expensive.

The totally underground option 6, which everybody seems to want, will not have a stop at Black Creek beside the new $26 million rec centre and all the parks. This did not please the residents.

There was an option shown that had the station between Weston Rd. and the rail alignment and that ran on an elevatetd north of Eglinton over Black Creek and went back underground just before the York Civic centre. Just south of the civic centre there is, or will be, some centre which will draw a lot of people and they were worried about the surface line coming out of the tunnel portal blocking pedestrians from crossing the street.

The at grade station at Weston will widen the road by 8 to 10m. This is a busy pedestrian interchange with lots of school children and seniors using it.

Last Summer a car apparently made the west to north turn at Eglinton and Weston Rd on a red without stopping and wiped out a family of 4. Right turns are banned on reds but people who don’t even slow down won’t have time to see that the turn is banned. The intersection has bad geometry that makes west to north turns especially difficult but all right hand turns have limited visibility. Car traffic on Eglinton is very heavy through here, especially at rush hour and it is dangerous for pedestrians. A lot of children and seniors use it.

When questioned about the ability of older pedestrians to cross the 10m wider Eglinton without getting run over, one of the engineers said that the Right of Way would provide an “Island Of Refuge” where pedestrians could wait for the next light. People soon figured out that it would take twice as many lights to cross and were not happy. Others then questioned these “Islands Of Refuge” and wanted to know if there would be shields to protect them from road spray or out of control cars. It went down hill from there.

The Mt. Dennis community is angry with the TTC for taking away a potential jobs site with their bus garage and LRV maintenance and servicing facility. Apparently there was going to be a large retail commercial development going in on the Kodak site.  [See the comment left by Rick Ciccarelli regarding this.  The large retail development is opposed by the Mt. Dennis community because of its impact on the viability of businesses on Weston Road, and because jobs at the development will be low-wage retail.]

People asked why the car house couldn’t be lowered and the development go on top but the TTC guru’s could seem to figure out what they meant. From the reaction of the TTC types you would have thought they were asking to have it built on the moon. The city property people seemed to comprehend but they are not TTC and were not going to comment on political decisions.

The uncertainty about expropriation is apparently affecting property values and the ability of people to sell their properties. There was a couple there who wanted to sell ther business and use the money for their retirement but no one will buy the business or the property. Expropriations won’t occur until 2012 so they, and others, are not happy.

At least 18 properties will be completely expropriated and 4 would have partial easements taken no matter what they do. Those 18 houses are so close to the sidewalk that you could probably knock on their door while standing on city property.

The meeting started at 6:30 and ended when we were all thrown out at 10:30. It would still be going on if they would have let us stay. The most competent appearing people were the two who were from the land expropriations department.

This will certainly be a challenge for the TTC’s newfound initiative to be pleasant to the public.  Design issues like these are never easy to solve, but I can’t help the impression that different versions of the proposal are concocted to suit the meeting of the moment.  The report on the TTC agenda completely misses the complexity of the discussion.

Several community representatives will attend the TTC meeting and speak to the issue.  I only hope that the Commission actually listens to their concerns and asks for a consolidated report including the effect of various possible changes in the scheme.  This is the sort of event that gives “public participation” a bad name, even if the TTC’s heart were in the right place.  Weston has lots of experience with this, thanks to GO Transit.

27 thoughts on “Eglinton LRT: Trouble Brewing in Mt. Dennis (Update 2)

  1. I was at the above meeting.

    Mount Dennis residents do not support the large format retail on the kodak site. It’s residents from east of Black Creek that do.

    The main concern of Mount Dennis residents is where the stops will be, safety impacts and traffic concerns.

    If Transit City focused all its resources on the Eglinton line, we would end up with a subway from the airport to the metro zoo. This would be ideal. But too many ideas, stretched all over, ultimately leads to second class transit.


  2. Steve,

    I am writing as a resident of Mount Dennis who lives on Eglinton, a member of the MD Community Association Executive and representative for the Mount Dennis Weston Network.

    First a call for some clarity that there is an effort to play politics on this one in a major way during an election year and in the immediacy of a major property acquisition of the Kodak Lands by the City from Metrus. I don’t know how involved Robert Wightman has been in the land development issues affecting this area, but I have sat through 2 years of meetings on Kodak and welcome the TTC as an anchor to retain a strategic industrial site and give potential to new economic development in this community. Further, Build Toronto is involved and we will be working with them TTC, Metrolinx and the City to encourage green sector industrial development relating to the site. This is fundamental economic development that brings solid employment generating incomes one can raise family with, not big box retailing that was proposed by Metrus with fancy architectural renderings of Italian gallerias. Unfortunately there are still pro-developer voices in the wider community with visions of how a regional mall will drive up their property values (when in reality it would mean disinvestment of the Weston Road and Eglinton main streets).

    As to the Eglinton Crosstown line, we have the most complex terrain in the project to try to work with. Extending the underground tunnel across to a portal east of Jane with a Mount Dennis Station connecting to the GSSE/ARL station, and a station serving the new Recreation Centre 400 meters to the east is the preferred option of the wider York South Weston community. The price tag is estimated at between a 300M and 500M add-on. And the TTC maintains they still need residential property regardless if surface or tunnel.

    Mount Dennis Community Association has met with Transit City folks twice and held a community consultation on the issues involved. We agree that the extended tunnel option is preferrable for a variety of reasons. However, if TTC/Metrolinx decide that the budget is not there for this option, MDCA has presented Transit City staff with a half surface-half tunnel concept that may require limited extra funding while avoiding the over-engineered road widening that threatens to divide this neighbourhood with a transit-traffic throughway.

    The requirements for residential properties on Eglinton are based on extra width requirements for either the surface line or for crossing and storage tunnel if underground, according to TTC staff. We agree with Steve that you should be able to redesign in such a way that the acquisitions are minimized in the tunnel option. Two possibilities we are putting forward are shift the location west of the houses to the end of the line near the portal, OR keep them at Keele Station and recognize that Keele will be the terminus of the future automated system.

    In the presentation last week, Transit City stated a too narrow road allowance is the rationale for tunnelling in Leaside. Why not in Mount Dennis?

    Steve: Why not indeed! Thanks to Rick for this update. The situation with the property developer is of particular interest, and it shows how there can be multiple forces at work, not all necessarily with the community’s best interest at heart.

    FYI Robert Wightman lives in Brampton, and has been a good friend of mine involved with transit matters for decades. His knowledge of the local politics within the Mt. Dennis communuity is limited to what he has heard at various meetings.


  3. My understanding is that the $100 million (extra) figure quoted at the first meeting in Mount Dennis was for an above ground, grade-separated structure from Black Creek to Jane which would presumably create an elevated Sky Train type transit structure in the heart of Mount Dennis.

    The higher figures ($200-$300 million) includes costs for grade separation from Keele to Jane Street. Presumably this is high because of tunnelling under Black Creek.


  4. The pocket isn’t mentioned in the report on the agenda, but there is an obvious question of why not have the pocket track in front of Gladhurst Park if they must have one between Weston and Jane? It would allow such a pocket to be at least partially on the surface (think Islington pocket), presumably reducing costs. Jane is an island stop in the west side. Something doesn’t make sense, and not for the first time on this line.

    Steve: As I said in my main post, the TTC seems to come up with different designs for each meeting they attend. I am particularly concerned that design is being driven by a desire to run the line with ATO, and how the TTC plans to deal with other situations (Don Mills Station, Kennedy Station) where the line dives underground.


  5. I believe that the best option would be elevated on the north side of Eglinton with a station at Black Creek and a a station between Weston Rd and the Railway line. There will need to be a crossover east of this station to allow for car house access and it would also provide turn backs for emergencies or extra service. Since the car house is next to the line there, I fail to see why they need the pocket track to store dead trains or those waiting their times. Surely they could do this at the car house. It might mean that cars waiting their time would not be able to serve Weston station but they could still serve Black Creek. The current plan has short turns not going west of Keele. With the station east of Weston Road and the elimination of the pocket track they should be able to narrow down the tunnel from 22 m to 16 or 17 m and save most of the 18 houses that they plan to expropriate.

    My comment about the people from the property department might sound to some as though these were the best of a bad lot. On the contrary they were professional, knew their stuff and provide proper answers to all questions asked. Unfortunately because of the law these weren’t always the answers people wanted to hear but they did explain to them, in detail, what all their options were and why they were that way. It is a shame that people’s lives are going to be put on hold for two years until the city starts expropriations. I especially feel for the couple who want to sell their business and retire but can’t find any buyers.


  6. Karl Junkin says:
    February 16, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    “The pocket isn’t mentioned in the report on the agenda, but there is an obvious question of why not have the pocket track in front of Gladhurst Park if they must have one between Weston and Jane? It would allow such a pocket to be at least partially on the surface (think Islington pocket), presumably reducing costs. Jane is an island stop in the west side. Something doesn’t make sense, and not for the first time on this line.”

    I think that there is now going to be U-Turn Signal there for the east to north turn at Jane St. and a pedestrian crossing signal to access the parks. I wonder if it will have an “Island of Refuge” in the middle of Eglinton. Either of these would be a problem as I don’t believe that there is enough room after you exit the tunnel for the 110 m for the tail track plus switches before you hit the light. I asked this question. Apparently the switches and curves have to be for higher speed even though there is a station at one end and if you go into the tail track you are going to stop and reverse ends. Their plan had a crossover at the east side of Weston and a tail track at the west side. Show me one spot on the subway on a mid-line station that has this. The whole reason for this tail track appears to be to keep the number of properties that must be expropriated artificially high.


  7. “Those 18 houses are so close to the sidewalk that you could probably knock on their door while standing on city property.”

    I am presuming the 18 houses are the ones here.

    I’ve warned about these houses before. They are too close to the road to allow a RoW just west of Weston.


  8. @ Robert: Eglinton Station.

    Steve: This reply was to the issue of stations that have both a nearside crossover and a farside tail track. Yes, Eglinton is set up like that, although thetail track was added for the YNSE and was not part of the original line. A similar configuration exists at Union, although half of the crossover was removed years ago for maintenance and safety reasons (the facing switch on the curve entering the station was, little used, quickly worn down, and caused a serious derailment).


  9. I have a feeling the TTC feels these 18 houses are superflous, in a “run-down” neighborhood.

    Amazingly, the TTC had the same attitude to houses on the west side of Yonge St, north of Eglinton. They originally wanted to do the North Yonge extension as cut-and-cover, and, at the time, that area wasn’t considered as prestigious. At least, to those who didn’t live there. Well, I don’t see a difference in attitude toward the Mt. Dennis community.


  10. It is starting to look like the dramatic effects on the neighbourhood are not a direct result of the design but rather operations dictating a design. We’re back to the “Don’t question us about operations because we know best” attitude. The claim that the boundary for ATO has to be near a tunnel portal shows a lack of imagination and flexibility on the part of the operations folks. There seems to be an attitude that if they have to expropriate one property then it might as well be 18 while they’re at it.

    If space is at such a premium at Weston Road then stack the tracks one above the other in a tunnel with the platforms on one side only like in the downtown part of the Vancouver Skytrain. Also don’t make this a turnback point. Leave the tracks stacked as they rise to above ground for a flying junction at the carhouse which would be ATO controlled, higher speed and allow for more non-conflicting routing moves. The tracks can level out for a Black Creek Station or remain stacked until the other side of the valley.


  11. The TTC fudge reports? Why I never!!!

    Seriously though, I would have thought that a station connection to the GO/CN/CP/ARL line would be a major constraint on the design of the line. Here it seems like an afterthought. Couldn’t the line shift to the North at Black Creek Dr as in the Jane station option?


  12. I went to the meeting on the Mt. Dennis section of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT on February 11, 2010. During the presentation, they said that a trail track and crossover is required at the last underground station for Automated Train Operation. The preferred option by Transit City is for Keele Station to have the trail track and crossover, and Weston to be an above-ground stop.

    According to Transit City, if Weston is to be an underground station, a trail track and crossover is required there. Why? Why not keep the trail track and crossover at Keele Station, and leave Weston as an ordinary understand station. No trail track and no crossover for Weston, allowing for less space and less expropriation. Have the Automated Train Operation operate until Keele, and let a driver take over for Black Creek and Weston.

    My second suggestion is that the name for the LRV maintenance yard at Eglinton Avenue West and Black Creek Drive has the name KODAK in its name, for history purposes.

    Steve: Equally important in this discussion is the question of ATO operation rather than simpler cab signals. The line has other underground sections — how will they be controlled? From the TR subway car order, we know that adding ATO controls to a car order isn’t cheap. Why is the TTC going down this path?


  13. TTC supported the staff recommendation of surfacing via portal on the east side of Black Creek and running centre of the road to the end of the line.

    We were given the “300M costs too much” (figures provided by staff based on rough averaging and no effort made to offer how to achieve savings or find funds; staff report Province and Metrolinx say “No More Money, live with what you have”. TTC says spending additional on tunneling across Black Creek and Mount Dennis means shorting somewhere else while staff are already complaining they can’t make the budget work.

    The kickers were Chair Giambrone stating that Council approval of the EA meant our request for a time out to work out some issues was ruled out and dep Chair Mihevc telling us to be thankful for what we get and it needs to be implemented fast before the Province changes its mind, and that going after Fed infrastructure means taking away dollars from important projects. I don’t really think I am too thankful for the way they have butchered the Weston Road-Eglinton intersection, ignored our effort to get an integrated stop with the GO ARL corridor, and did not respond in any way to safety issues.

    Steve: I will address today’s events in an update to the main article.


  14. I believe that everyone is attaching more importance to ATO than actually exists. I believe that the project manager said that the tail track was needed IF they decided to implement ATO on the tunnelled portion and not that they were going to implement ATO. Everyone started asking questions about ATO except if or when they were going to implement it. I don’t think that it is an imminent consideration; but planning for a future situation. In that respect it is better to put in now what you will need in the future than waiting and having to spend a fortune to do it then. They should put turn back and storage facilities and both ends of the tunnelled portion so they can run part of the service that is always in the subway. I don’t know if they need both though.

    Steve: In any event, if it’s for emergency turnbacks, they can do that just as well with a crossover east of the station.


  15. Something else that I found interesting regarding the Swift Dr. issue was that when Commissioners were asking questions of staff, Stephanie Rice, the Eglinton-Crosstown Project Manager, stated that one of the options was a new bridge across the Don River at a gentler grade, either for the LRT only or including the road lanes of Eglinton. That wasn’t included in the report. Sameh Galey, Transit City Project Manager, also indicated that there were 7 or 9 different options for Mt. Dennis, yet the presentation boards only ever included 5 options.


  16. Let me get this straight! Are we talking a high level bridge from Weston Rd. to the otherside of the valley i.e. west of Scarlett Road as one alternative or tunneling under the same stretch, including Black Creek itself as the other alternative?

    Steve: No. There are two major crossings involved — Black Creek and Jane — with the “hill” carrying Weston Road in between. If the line is on the surface, it would run from a portal in the middle of Eglinton somewhere east of Black Creek where the road level drops and the tunnel west from Keele Station would simply pop out of the ground. Black Creek would be crossed at grade, and the LRT would follow Eglinton on the surface from there west.

    In the “all underground” version, the line stays underground, goes under Black Creek, and pops out of a portal somewhere east of Jane Street.

    There are alternatives proposed which would place the LRT on a low bridge over the Black Creek ravine, and it would go back underground to go through Weston.

    Such a choice reminds me of the fight over whether to bridge the subway over the Don Valley at Glen Echo or to run it under the valley and under the Don River. Of course the choice was made to go under with the result that the trains must do a lot of braking as they descend to York Mills and then use a lot of power as they climb up again. Frankly, given the wide open space from Mount Dennis through to Royal York I would have thought that stretch would have been pretty easy to plan. Under? Over? Why not just along the surface?

    Steve: In all plans, the line is on the surface west of Mt. Dennis.

    As to the island of refuge, the Spadina line plays that role from College to King if not beyond. I’m not saying that would be ideal at the Weston Rd. intersection but the concept is hardly unheard of and with a few safety features perhaps it could work. Before the PRW went in Spadina was almost impossible for pedestrians to cross between traffic llghts.


  17. Steve:

    “In any event, if it’s for emergency turnbacks, they can do that just as well with a crossover east of the station.”

    From the TTC engineer’s comments at the York Civic Centre meeting, I think that the TTC wants to be able schedule part of the service to run only in the subway section and that would work better with far side pocket tracks. Mind you it does not make it to the Don Mills LRT, to the Weston GO corridor nor the Jane LRT, but what do you want, to be able to carry passengers or to show a good headway?

    Steve: Yes, this is a fundamental problem with what the TTC plans imply. Logical places for turnbacks or branches in service are at Jane in the west and at Don Mills in the east, both of which are beyone any possible ATO limits.


  18. I have known that this “public consultation” was a farce from the beginning. People couldn’t have been any more vocal on the layout at Weston Road and the route to the airport. The planners seemed to reply to the public with a form letter discussing “creating avenues” despite the fact that Weston Road is already urban and there is no chance of creating an urban avenue on Eglinton between Martin Grove and Matheson nor is there any opportunity for creating an urban avenue on Silver Dart.

    The lack of a stop under the Georgetown corridor with a comment on the diagram “connection to be determined in a future study” is a complete joke. If they go ahead with a stop west of Weston and at Black Creek then all this future study is going to tell us is that people are going to have to walk further because changing things after the fact is too expensive. The time to widen the Eglinton tunnel under the Georgetown corridor to allow a convenient transfer is now because Metrolinx is about to spend money adding tracks over the road. If those bridges are built to only allow the existing road width with no space for LRT platforms there will never be a connection.


  19. Steve I wonder if we aren’t merely witnessing a display ofr Nimbyism up in Mt. Dennis. Surelyif they got the subway they seem to want the same houses would be expropriated and maybe more. The fear of the line cutting up the neighbourhood sounds much like the fears that were raised over the streetcars on Spadina which resulted in a postponement of the boulevards on that route. I think this article from the Star perhaps issustrates the suburban nmentality we are witnessing.–porter-save-our-sheppard-group-missing-the-point

    Steve: Actually, the expropriations in the subway plan come because the TTC adds a three-track section west of the station that is not an absolute operational requirement. This has the effect of artificially widening the tunnel, forcing the expropriations and making the two options appear equal from a local impact point of view. I will agree that there is a general fear of the barrier effect of the route similar to what we saw on Spadina.


  20. David O’Rourke says:
    February 20, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    “Steve I wonder if we aren’t merely witnessing a display of Nimbyism up in Mt. Dennis. Surely if they got the subway they seem to want the same houses would be expropriated and maybe more. The fear of the line cutting up the neighbourhood sounds much like the fears that were raised over the streetcars on Spadina which resulted in a postponement of the boulevards on that route. I think this article from the Star perhaps illustrates the suburban mentality we are witnessing.”

    You have to take the plan and go to the neighbourhood to see the devastation that would be created. If I recall correctly the surface option will take out 26 houses and parts of 8 or 10 others, all on Eglinton from 2 blocks west of Weston Rd. to almost the railway tracks. The 4 buildings at the corner are gone. All the houses on the north side of Eglinton west of Weston Rd are gone. Most of the houses on the south side will lose substantial parts of their front lawns. Since there is a hill east of Weston Rd the road will be 8 to 10 m wider than it is now as it has a centre platform which must be 4 m wide, plus two lanes for LRT, plus 2 lanes each way for through traffic, plus right and left turn lanes.

    The street will be 36 m or more wide with a 100 m long street car platform in the middle of it. If you have ever been in this intersection you will know that it is very, very busy. It is not like Spadina or St. Clair were you can cross to the right of way in the middle of the block. It would be like trying to cross the Gardiner when the cars start flying.

    Think of Spadina and Dundas. Take out all buildings on the corners and every building on the west side of Spadina for 2 block north of the intersection. On the east side cut 3 m from the front of each property. That is the kind of destruction that they are talking about. It is not the loss of 3 or 4 parking spots like the people on St. Clair were complaining about.

    The intersection of Eglinton and Black Creek Drive is also going to be interesting. At the moment there are 3 lanes of traffic each way from Weston Rd to half way up the hill on the other side plus left and right turn lanes. Because of the narrowness of the underpass for the railway lines this will be reduced to 2 lanes each way. At the moment the extra lane each way allows more cars to get through the intersection on each light. This will not happen in the future. Also the eastbound right turn and left turn lanes will be shorter because of the underpass, right of way and westbound loading platform. If, by chance, there ever develops a lot of pedestrian traffic through that intersection then the right hand turns are going to become backed up.

    At the moment the length of the red phase for eastbound Eglinton is between 90 an 100 seconds depending on the left turn phases. An LRT train that misses a light is going to have a LONG wait here. These facts were pointed out by a quality control engineer at the TTC meeting.

    If the TTC ran the line on an elevated right of way on the north side of Eglinton from were it comes out of the subway at the York Civic Centre, they could have an elevated station at Black Creek. This would eliminate the problem with the turn phases and congestion caused by the removal of two through lanes and the shortening of the traffic lanes. They could put the Weston Road station underground between the rail way right of way and Weston Road. They then might be able to put their pocket track in under Eglinton before it narrows thus obviating the need to expropriate all those house. If they can’t then leave the damn thing at Keele Street.

    A lot of NIMBYism occurs but this is not such an example. This is not in their back yard; it is in their front yard and in 18 to 26 cases in their house. You have to go to the intersection in rush hour and watch the traffic patterns at Eglinton and Weston Road and at Eglinton and Black Creek Drive. Try and picture it with all the buildings gone and with two lanes of traffic removed between Weston road to a point just east of Black Creek. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

    By the way, I do not live in Mt. Dennis; I don’t own any property there nor do I have any relatives in the area. I live in Brampton and try to avoid Eglinton between and Brentcliffe like the plague because the traffic is always a mess.

    Steve: After last week’s TTC meeting at which the Chair told the folks from Mt. Dennis that nothing could be changed because the plan had already passed Council, it was amusing to see a report on the upcoming Executive Committee agenda about an alternative property assembly for the carhouse. The TTC recommends against it, but how on earth could they even entertain the idea if there was no way to amend the proposal. Just another example of how this project is being railroaded through the city.


  21. Robert Wightman stated:

    If the TTC ran the line on an elevated right of way on the north side of Eglinton from were it comes out of the subway at the York Civic Centre, they could have an elevated station at Black Creek. This would eliminate the problem with the turn phases and congestion caused by the removal of two through lanes and the shortening of the traffic lanes. They could put the Weston Road station underground between the rail way right of way and Weston Road. They then might be able to put their pocket track in under Eglinton before it narrows thus obviating the need to expropriate all those house. If they can’t then leave the damn thing at Keele Street.

    I agree that an elevated solution is preferable to the at-grade one being proposed, but I think that the South side route (June 2009 – Option 2) would be preferable. Yes, I do realize that this would require the additional expense of an elevated connection t the yards, but there are a couple of advantages.

    From a rider’s point of view, there is currently nothing on the north side of Eglinton where the proposed stop is, and with the yards being placed there, there will probably not be much in future. However, I expect many of the passengers will be headed for the grocery store on the south-west corner. Having the stop there will be the most convenient for them as they exit the store laden with a week’s groceries.

    However, that is a minor point; the major one is the GO connection. Obviously the station would be either north or south of Eglinton, not spanning it. Since (if I remember correctly) the original Eglinton subway was going have the terminus (of stage 1) in that south-west section, I can only assume that they had already checked that the area there was suitable for such a station. Moreover, I wonder if the TTC will want a GO station, probably with concomitant bus access, immediately beside (or eating into) their maintenance facility.

    In any case it seems to me that either the North or South Elevated option allows for a more convenient transfer to GO than is possible with the surface centre option.


  22. DavidH says:
    February 22, 2010 at 4:40 am

    “I agree that an elevated solution is preferable to the at-grade one being proposed, but I think that the South side route (June 2009 – Option 2) would be preferable. Yes, I do realize that this would require the additional expense of an elevated connection t the yards, but there are a couple of advantages.”

    The reason that I chose the north side alignment was that this is the one that had a station on the east side of Weston Road and was closest to the railway right of way. This is one of the options presented at the York Civic Centre meeting but it is not on line anywhere that I can find. It would still need a station at Black Creek. Personally if I lived in the area and wanted to use the proposed recreation centre I would like the station on the south side to shorten the walk time but I have a feeling that they don’t want an elevated line near it or their grocery store.


  23. Here’s a recent article that just came up.

    I do happen to agree with some right-wing councillors that the LRT definitely ought to be buried between the CPR and Fergy Brown Park just east of Jane Street, in order to allow for the possible preservation of the houses west of Pearen. But how technically feasible would it be to have the LRT on surface between Keele and the CPR line, and then have it dive underground between the CPR and Jane Street?

    Steve: The problem at Pearen is that the TTC insists on a design that has a three-track section west of an underground Weston Station, but there isn’t room for this without demolishing the houses. A related problem is the location of Weston Station relative to both the rail corridor and to Weston Road itself. The original TTC alignment puts a surface station west of the intersection on the surface requiring road widening and the demolition of the houses.

    Various schemes were studied in the EA for the alignment between the tunnel portal east of Black Creek and Jane Street. Metrolinx and TTC were adamant that the line stay on the surface to save money, a stance that proved laughable when Queen’s Park found an extra $4-billion to bury the line and placate Mayor Ford. The problem with making the transition from surface to tunnel at the rail corridor is that this is also the location of the carhouse access, a location where a grade change and portal structure would be difficult. If you look at the drawings in the EA, you will see that Eglinton does not rise until west of the rail corridor, and so a portal that simply dives into the hill (as it does on the east side of Black Creek) is only possible west of the railway, not east as you propose.


  24. If I’m reading the surface profile diagrams correctly, Eglinton falls into a “trough” between Black Creek (river) and the CPR, and rises between CPR and Weston Road.

    The diagrams I’m looking at are on page 38-42 of the functional design options [PDF 14mb].

    Furthermore, Option 1 of the MSF connection shows the access route east of the CPR, before the rise toward Weston Road.

    What I’m wondering is why wouldn’t the TTC have considered a modified version of Option 8, where the surface portion is extended to at least the CPR tracks (or even further west). MSF access would still be on surface where the trough is, the portal would have been at the hill rather than east of it, and the Weston Road/Eglinton Avenue intersection could still be preserved in its current configuration.

    Steve: I am not entirely sure what you mean, but it appears that you want the surface running to continue further west than it does in Option 8 so that the MSF connection can be on the surface just east of the rail corridor. The problem with this is that you have to get under the railways, and this requires ramping down which must start far enough east (a) for the required headroom under the CN/CP and (b) a level area for the MSF junction.

    More generally, the TTC was extremely uncooperative on the whole issue of the Weston design and threw up objections as fast as the residents created alternative schemes. The basic situation is that they (or more accurately Metrolinx) didn’t want to pay for any option other than the one they designed. This predated the decision to placate Rob Ford by putting the whole line underground.

    There are many other issues regarding the line in the Weston area that have been thrashed out in comments and articles on this site, and I am not going to cover all of that territory again. In brief, if the line ever gets west of Black Creek (even Metrolinx seems uncertain on that), we need a complete rethink of this part of the line.


  25. “…it appears that you want the surface running to continue further west than it does in Option 8 so that the MSF connection can be on the surface just east of the rail corridor. The problem with this is that you have to get under the railways, and this requires ramping down which must start far enough east for the required headroom under the CN/CP”

    Odd how headroom under CN/CPR bridge wasn’t an issue for the TTC’s preferred all-surface option.

    Steve: The TTC’s option runs in the middle of Eglinton which is already at the appropriate elevation. Option 8 is a different scheme that is located north of the street and runs through the embankment . If you want to use the horizontal alignment (north of the street), but stay on the surface, you will be at a much different vertical alignment than staying in the middle of the road.

    After reading the write-off of Option 8 (the community’s option) in the Environmental Assessment, it’s clear that the TTC/Metrolinx wasn’t planning on taking community feedback and suggestions seriously.


  26. What I meant to describe was a modified version of Option 8, but with tracks in the median, and portal at or west of the railway bridge. But I suppose this is a discussion for when western segment rises from the dead.

    Steve: By definition, Option 8 has the tracks north of the street, not in the median. That’s why I was confused.


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