Metrolinx Announces Design Changes and Public Meetings on Eglinton LRT (Update 8)

Updated June 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm:

In the comment thread for this article, there has been substantial discussion about a “south side option” for the Eglinton LRT between the portal at Brentcliffe and Don Mills Road.  I have after several requests obtained an answer from Metrolinx about whether this had ever been considered.  Here is their reply sent by Jamie Robinson today.

Placing the LRT on the south side of Eglinton Avenue East in the vicinity of the West Don River/Leslie Street was included in three of five options compared to the at-that-time base case (which was underground throughout the corridor) in the Don Mills River Crossing Study prepared in February 2012 by HMM. However, the LRT would have been in a completely separate right-of-way on a new bridge across the West Don River in order to maintain current vehicle capacity of Eglinton Avenue East (i.e., no conversion of travel lanes to LRT tracks).

That report recommended one of the options that included a continuation of the bored tunnel from the west to pass under the West Don River and portal east of the Don Valley Parkway. That option was selected because the cost differential with the at-grade options was minimal, provided that a station at Leslie Street was not required. If a Leslie Station would be required, then one of the at-grade south side options was the preferred option. MX decided to proceed with the first option, and further refined that option with a launch at Don Mills Road and continuing eastward with the EA alignment, which led to the preparation of the Eastern EPR Addendum.

The at-grade south side option was not compared to the EA Option.

Generally, however, It is very difficult (if not impossible) to relocate the portal from the centre of Eglinton (as proposed in the current design) and shift it to the south side of the right-of-way and continue to use the existing bridge. The “viaduct” option that HMM reviewed, was suggested by the public and was presented during the recent consultations for the changes in the East, was more expensive and required an EA amendment. Due to project implementation timelines the project is proceeding with the EA option.

In brief, yes they looked at it, although not in the context of the original EA.  Shifting to the south presents problems for the river crossing and the tunnel launch shaft, but might have survived as an option if Metrolinx had not decided to go all-underground to Don Mills.  Now that they’re back on the surface, they are sticking with the original plan.

Updated May 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm:

Recent events have raised questions about which versions of two major stations, Yonge and Kennedy, on the Eglinton LRT were actually to be built by Metrolinx.

In the case of Yonge Station, there are two quite different versions:

In the EA document (see plate 57A-E, pages 17-21 in the PDF), link from the LRT to the subway is handled via a mezzanine level between the two lines making the transition from east-west orientation (LRT) to north-south (subway).  The primary route between the two lines reaches the subway level via new escalators and stairs into the north end of the subway platform.  A secondary route rises all the way to the existing mezzanine level from the west end of the LRT platform and connects with both the paid and unpaid areas of the north entrance (under the BMO branch).

In the Metrolinx Central Station Reference Concept (see pages 47-52), the direct connection to the subway platform has been eliminated, and all traffic is funnelled to the upper mezzanine where it would connect to the paid area of the subway through area under the old bus terminal (now closed off).  This would eventually be incorporated in redevelopment of the terminal lands.

In the case of Kennedy Station, one of the proposed layouts, quite different from what we have seen before, was shown by Councillor Bernardinetti at last week’s Council Meeting.  It was unclear whether this was the version under active consideration by Metrolinx.

I wrote to Metrolinx for clarification, and here is their response (provided by Jamie Robinson via email).

Re Yonge/Eglinton:

The current Reference Design for the station includes a main entrance to the west (in the abandoned bus terminal property), which is meant to be an interim pavilion that will be incorporated in the future development of the site by Build Toronto.

The Reference Design is indicative of one design where requirements are reflected. The AFP process allows the Proponents, and later the Project Contractor to come up with a design solution that satisfies the requirements of the PSOS (Project Specific Output Specifications).

At Yonge/Eglinton the more recent design will be used.  It is simpler to build and brings passengers through the “traditional” transfer route into the central part of the subway mezzanine just as they once came from the bus terminal.

For Kennedy:

Metrolinx has undertaken an intensive design exercise to review options for integrating a converted Scarborough RT and a new Eglinton Crosstown LRT into the existing Kennedy Station, as well as addressing other mobility hub considerations in this location. Based on this exercise, we have concluded that the basic station design indicated in the 2010 Environmental Project Report is the most functional and appropriate approach from a transit operations perspective. We have directed our design team to proceed with further design of this approved alternative.

This design was presented at an April 2010 public meeting.  It includes a double-deck LRT station north of the existing structure under the existing bus platforms.

The SRT trains would use the upper level which is designed as a large loop at the existing mezzanine level of the station.  The Eglinton trains would use the lower level which is designed as a conventional centre platform terminal station with a crossover.

Transfers between routes would be:

  • SRT to Subway: walk from the SRT platform across the mezzanine to the existing stairs and escalators, then down one level.
  • SRT to Eglinton LRT: via stairs and escalators between the upper and lower level of the LRT section of the station.
  • Eglinton LRT to Subway: up from the Eglinton LRT level to the SRT level, across the mezzanine, and down to the subway.

In the Metrolinx reply, I was curious about the implication that bidders might change the designs that were already approved.  Metrolinx further replied:

With the decision to procure the project using an Alternative Financing and Procurement or AFP model, each proponent will be developing designs for the stations.  Therefore a reference concept design (RCD) is being developed for each of these stations.

The RCD is intended to identify the location of entrances, exits and ancillary station (ventilation) equipment to allow property acquisition and (if required) major utility relocation to commence.

The Request For Qualifications (RFQ) for the project was issued by Infrastructure Ontario in January.  Once a preferred proponent is selected, the proponent will be required t submit designs to Metrolinx and the City for approval.  The designs will be reviewed by Metrolinx.  The proponent will also be required to participate in the City’s Site Plan Review process which could potentially include the City’s Design Review Panel.  There will also be a requirement for the preferred proponent to incorporate consultation with the public as a condition for design approval.

Updated May 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm:

Metrolinx issued the following statement regarding the Eglinton project via email:

Metrolinx has decided to proceed with the approved 2010 Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT Environmental Assessment (EA) and launch tunneling just east of Brentcliffe Road.

Metrolinx had identified some potential issues with the Brentcliffe Road launch site. It investigated different options and engaged the community, including convening three public meeting. We believed that our proposals would result in significant improvements to construction staging, schedule and traffic impacts. However, in discussions with the local community and with local community organizations it was clear that there was a strong preference for a stop at Leslie Street and for a station at Laird, not moved to Brentcliffe Road. We have listened. Metrolinx will proceed to tender the contract for the construction of the tunnels from Brentcliffe Road to Yonge Street. This signals another important step in the largest light rail transit expansion in the City of Toronto’s history. When the tunnel contract is awarded later this year, construction of the east launch shaft can begin.

Metrolinx will work to minimize disruption to the community during construction. Traffic lanes will be reduced along Eglinton for many months. But, as much information as possible will be shared ahead of time so people can choose alternate routes. We will also develop a traffic management strategy with the City of Toronto. Finally, Metrolinx community relations staff are available to provide information and answer questions.

[Email from Jamie Robinson at Metrolinx]

I spoke with Robinson to clarify various issues, and here in brief are his responses to my questions.  (The notes below are my paraphrase of his comments.)

  • There is a need to get on with the tendering of work on the Crosstown so that construction can begin.
  • Any changes to the approved design will require approval by Toronto Council which, under the current circumstances, could be difficult to achieve on a timely basis.
  • The cost for an underground alignment between Brentcliffe and Don Mills would be approximately the same as the surface alignment to which the project has returned.  The extra cost of tunnelling is offset by the cost of removing contaminated soils east of Brentcliffe and the shoring needed for the launch shaft adjacent to existing development.
  • Traffic disruption in the area will last 2.5-3 years (this launch site will be the extraction point for all tunnelling west to Yonge Street).
  • Plans to reinstate the Ferrand Drive stop east of Don Mills are not affected by this decision as this stop was in the originally approved project.

I asked about the design of Kennedy Station given that a version of this site was shown at the recent Council meeting by Councillor Berardinetti.  Robinson confirmed that this design has not yet been settled, and it is unclear whether Metrolinx will simply return to the original design, again to avoid an EA amendment.  He will provide an update on this situation next week.

Updated May 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm:

TTC Chair Karen Stintz has tweeted that Metrolinx has decided to return to the original plan for Eglinton between Laird and Don Mills with surface running east of Brentcliffe.  Detailed reasons for this change of heart have not yet been issued by Metrolinx, notably an explanation of why the tunnel to Don Mills, presented as an essential engineering requirement at recent meetings, has been dropped.

I have sent a request to Metrolinx for an official statement on this matter including a technical explanation for the change.

Updated April 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm:

Metrolinx proposes to change the section of the Eglinton route to underground construction between Brentcliffe and Don Mills.  On April 23, they held a public meeting to discuss this proposal.  The presentation deck is available online.  There is a detailed map on page 5 of the presentation.  The PDF version is at high resolution and can be zoomed to read the notes and design details.

At a previous public meeting where an early version of this scheme was proposed, Metrolinx heard concerns about:

  • The loss of the stop at Ferrand Drive east of Don Mills,
  • The loss of the stop at Leslie Street and, with it, easy access to parkland,
  • Bus activity at the proposed Laird Station, and
  • Alternative alignments the route might take.

The need for all this was triggered by Metrolinx’ decision to shift the access site for tunnel boring from a portal on the hill between Brentcliffe and the west branch of the Don River to the southeast corner of Don Mills and Eglinton.  Their claim is that the soil at the Don River is contaminated, that construction is now complicated by condos that have been built nearby, and that about $20m in construction cost can be avoided by shifting the launch site elsewhere.

To those who have followed the Eglinton line’s history, it is no surprise that Metrolinx would propose to underground the line to Don Mills, and they were pushing the merits of fewer stops and faster “regional” travel back in the days Transit City was struggling for their attention.  Metrolinx simply does not understand that this line is not “regional” but local especially as it will go nowhere near the 416 boundary in current plans.

In any event, Metrolinx tries to make a case for the new scheme with arguments that simply don’t hold up, and the sense of “say anything to keep them happy” pervades the presentation.

Station Spacing

Metrolinx proposes to shift the Laird Station to Brentcliffe about 400m to the east.  The reason for this is to “improve park access” (via long walkways from Brentcliffe down to the park itself) and to “even out” the spacing of stations between Bayview and Don Mills.

The park access is nowhere near as convenient as a station at Leslie would be, especially for anyone who is neither a cyclist nor an avid walker, because Brentcliffe Station is located at the top of the west bank of the Don Valley.

As for “even spacing”, this is hogwash given that stations are to serve people, and a Brentcliffe station is further away from the main concentration of would-be riders who live west of Laird.  Indeed, an early plan of the Eglinton line placed the station at Brentcliffe and it was shifted west precisely because that’s where the riders would be.  Spacing has nothing to do with the issue as almost all of the land east of Brentcliffe is green space.

At the meeting, there was good support for going back to the original plan with surface operations east of Brentcliffe, but the moderator and Metrolinx folks seemed to be encouraging acceptance of the new plan as “second best”.  That was not the sense of the meeting, but it will likely be reported that way.

The Access Shaft

It is quite astounding that someone didn’t figure out there was a soils problem, let alone one with adjacent development, a long time ago for the originally proposed launch site east of Brentcliffe.  I cannot help thinking Metrolinx is taking advantage of what might have been a difficult situation to make the case for a design change they always wanted, but could not justify.

At the meeting, it was claimed that this change is cost neutral.  That is very hard to believe if the delta for the original launch site is only $20m over original estimates.  That will hardly cover the cost of tunelling all the way to Don Mills Station.  Yes, there are savings in avoiding modifications to the Eglinton Avenue bridge over the Don, but it is not credible that this would pay for the extended tunnel.

An alternative launch site at Bayview & Eglinton, using the playing grounds beside Leaside High School, was rejected because of the length of time — five years — that work would occupy the site and the neighbourhood disruption this would cause.  That’s a real stretch considering that tunnelling for the entire line is supposed to be completed in less time than that.  The slide concerning the Bayview access option is not in the online slide deck although it was included in the meeting materials.

Brentcliffe and Laird Stations

Because the proposed tunnel now dives under the river rather than emerging east of Brentcliffe, the tunnel where this station would be located is much deeper than in original plans.  Although Metrolinx claims its stations will be accessible, it is unclear exactly what this means, specifically whether there will be bi-directional escalator service from street to platform plus an elevator.  Moreover, secondary entrance(s) will not have any accessibility features.  For deep stations, this means a lot of stair climbing.  (See presentation page 6.)

A strange exchange came up during the Q&A when someone asked about siting a station between the two streets.  The first and obvious answer is that with a station being only 130m long, and the space between the streets measuring 400m, this change wouldn’t really please advocates of either location.  A midblock station would be further from the park, but still well east of Laird.

In any event, Metrolinx rambled on about how with the private sector being involved in construction, there was another round of design reviews in which the station designs would be finalized, and the site could be adjusted then.  This is complete nonsense because (a) the station location affects tunnel grades and a new location would require an EA amendment, and (b) the private bidders are supposed to “inherit” an already-built tunnel structure around which they will place the stations.  Obviously, Metrolinx has to decide on the station locations as part of tunnel design.

This exchange had all the earmarks of someone making up an excuse to avoid debate on the fly.

Surface Bus Routes

One claimed reason for the shift away from Laird involves surface bus service.  Metrolinx claims that the TTC will integrate the 56 Leaside and 51 Leslie, and this will mean the combined route will make west-to-south and north-to-east turns at Laird or at Brentcliffe depending on which site is chosen.  Apparently, there was concern that this operation will completely foul up traffic at the Laird location, even though the claimed frequency of service was every 10 minutes at peak.  The real issue, regardless of location, for some people was that this connection will be open air, and people waiting for a northbound Leslie bus will do so at a regular bus stop on the east side of Laird or Brentcliffe as the case may be.

(If the station is at Brentcliffe with the primary entrance on the southwest corner, there is no reason the TTC could not run southbound service via Brentcliffe, and northbound service via Laird and Eglinton so that both transfer stops could be served by the same weather-protected waiting area in the station entrance.)

The whole issue of TTC service was a bit of a conundrum for Metrolinx who claimed that any surface routes, including a supplementary bus on Eglinton, were up to the TTC (who were not at the meeting).  Sorry, but that excuse won’t wash.  Earth to Metrolinx: you are building a transit corridor, and you are responsible for co-ordinating all of the service that will operate there, not just for your pretty green trains.  The Metrolinx folks also didn’t seem to know that their recent proposed amendment for the Mt. Dennis portion of the line includes a table of proposed TTC services including “34 Eglinton” which would no doubt serve the eastern part as well.

The Leslie Stop

Without question, if the line is underground (and at this point under the Don River), a station at Leslie cannot be justified given the very low density at this site even allowing for future development north of Eglinton (e.g. the Sony property).  On a surface LRT line, a stop at Leslie would be simple to include, but Metrolinx’ decision to go underground with a south-of-Eglinton alignment scotches that possibility.

The matter of a future GO Transit connection to the CPR tracks came up during the Q&A.  Again, the Metrolinx team showed its ignorance when they claimed that there were not plans to implement service on this line beyond a Federal study (one that will probably die once influential MPs along the route retire or are defeated, notably the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Assistant).  However, service on this corridor was originally in the 15-year Big Move plan, and it has been pushed back to the 25-year plan in recent revisions.  For Metrolinx to claim that no service is planned here is either a flat out lie, or simply a case of incompetence — not knowing what’s in your own plan.

In any event, as and when the CPR does get GO service, a technically preferable station site would be at the Don Mills crossing north of Eglinton and a potential station on, dare I say it, a Don Mills subway (aka the DRL).

All in all, Metrolinx appeared to be making up excuses about the Leslie stop out of thin air without fully understanding the options in this area.

Don Mills and Ferrand Drive

In the original scheme, Don Mills Station and its approaches from both east and west would have been built cut-and-cover.  However, with the change to bored tunnel, the entire structure must remain far enough underground to give headroom for the boring machines.  this shifts the depth of the station, and presented problems with the space needed for turnback tracks at the station and a ramp back to the surface.  For this reason, the Ferrand Drive stop was eliminated in the design shown a few months ago.

Now, Don Mills Station has been revised so that the portal out onto Eglinton is far enough west that the originally proposed Ferrand Drive stop can be included.  This was another nibble Metrolinx planned to take out of the surface operation, but the bite may have proven indigestible.  This change will keep the advocates of a Ferrand stop happy.

Meanwhile, at Don Mills, potential integration with a new subway line (the “Downtown Relief Line” or the “Don Mills Subway” as I prefer to call it) is not mentioned.  The plans show no provision for a north-south station connecting with the Eglinton line’s east-west box structure.

The DRL itself is the subject of confusion at Metrolinx where the length and cost cited on the Big Move’s Next Wave page do not match with the diagrammatic map.  Terminating the line at Danforth is not a viable design, but the TTC/Metrolinx seem to be dragging their feet on pushing north to Eglinton despite the benefits of such a scheme.  Clarity on the DRL’s design would help considerably in placing discussions re the Eglinton route in context.


Metrolinx is missing a great deal of detail, but if past experience is anything to go by, their mind is already made up, and the option presented to the public meeting will be the one on which the EA amendment will be based.  There are serious questions about assumptions in this version, but getting them asked, let alone answered, will be quite another matter.

Metrolinx really does need to try again and get its story straight on many of the issues raised at the public meeting.

Updated April 18, 2013 at 11:00 am:

The Environmental Project Report addendum covering the section of the line west of Black Creek is online as part of a report to the Toronto Executive Committee for April 23, 2013.  This includes the redesign of the section from the tunnel portal east of Black Creek Drive through Mount Dennis Station to Jane Street, although only the section as far as Weston Road would be built in Phase 1 of the project.  Attachments to the report include:

The revised alignment is shown in Figure 2-5b at the start of Part II.  This includes cross-sectional views of the portion in Phase 2 which would be built cut and cover from the west limit of Weston Road to a portal in the hill down to the Jane Street flats.  Detailed views appear in Figures 3-7a to 3-7d at the end of Part II, and 3-7e to 3-7g at the start of Part III.

Although the portion west of Weston Road will not be built in Phase 1, it has been revised so that demolition of the houses on the north side of Eglinton is no longer required.  (A list showing the original and revised property requirements is in Table 5-2 in Part IV.)

The Mount Dennis Station itself straddles the rail corridor in a layout that is described under “Option 11” in the report.  The existence of options 1 through 10 documents the long process of working through alternative schemes for this section of the route, and ironically ends up with a variant that in the early days of the line’s design was called “too expensive”.

(The overview map of Option 11 in Figure 2-4 of Part I erroneously shows the alignment as underground to west of Jane Street when, in fact, it emerges from a portal east of Jane and runs on the surface west from there.)

The alignment east of Mount Dennis Station has been designed to remain completely grade separated and protected including the junction leading to the maintenance yard.  Metrolinx intends to use automatic train control on the underground section of Eglinton, and the yard access will be part of the ATC territory.  (A detailed view of the yard layout is in Figure 3-7e.)

As the line emerges from the portal at Black Creek and crosses on a bridge to the Kodak lands, an access track to the yard splits off from the westbound track.  A single crossover east of this split would allow an eastbound train to reverse into the yard.

Two exit tracks from the yard turn south and west with one of them joining the westbound track and one running just north of it.  At this point, the layout is three tracks wide.  A double crossover between the eastbound and westbound tracks lies in the area just west of the yard exit.  The northern exit track from the yard merges with the westbound mainline track just before the station where the platform separates the eastbound and westbound tracks.

Metrolinx’ intent is that Mount Dennis will be a “Mobility Hub”, and the station is now actually designed with a view to that purpose.  However, there remain concerns about walking distances to various nearby facilities including the bus terminal and a community centre, but this is almost inevitable given that the “hub” stretches from Weston Road to Black Creek Drive.

Although Metrolinx shows generic drawings of primary and secondary exits, with escalators and elevators only at the former, their drawings do not show in detail the level of accessibility at various access points to the station and its satellite facilities such as the bus terminal.  This is a “Mobility Hub” in Metrolinx lingo, and the ability to easily circulate within it and to all nearby points will be essential.

The report includes a preliminary service plan with trains to operate at 2’00” headways between Mount Dennis and Don Mills, with a 3’00” headway beyond to Kennedy Station.  Proposed bus services and frequencies are also shown including a “34 Eglinton” route (a surface bus to supplement the LRT subway) at a 15’00” headway.  (See pages 3-2 through 3-7 in Part II.)

Updated April 13, 2013 at 6:45 am:  Presentation materials from an April 10, 2013, public meeting on the Mount Dennis Mobility Hub design are now available.

This presentation includes a major change in the treatment of Eglinton Avenue and of the Mount Dennis station itself.  Previous schemes struggled with two physical problems at either end of the site:

  • At the east end, the retaining wall on the north side of Eglinton created a barrier and constraint to any significant change to the road layout, and the LRT alignment necessarily tunnelled through the hill behind the barrier to get under the rail corridor.
  • At the west end, the station box and provision for tracks west of the station caused design problems and conflicts with existing buildings.

The station now sits well east of Weston Road with the station box centred under the rail corridor. This shift also allows the old Kodak building to have a role as part of the station.

The existing retaining wall and the land north of it are dug out to provide a short section of surface LRT on the approach to the station.  This places the junction with yard tracks on the surface (rather than the original underground scheme, and allows the Eglinton corridor to be widened and improved as part of the future design of the Black Creek intersection.  (The design proposed at the December 2012 meeting moved the retaining wall, but not as dramatically as in the April 2013 version.)

Metrolinx is under no illusions that the type of neighbourhood this could become is many years away and will require efforts by the city to encourage development, but at least the transit scheme now attempts to be a catalyst for that development rather than taking the bare-bones “this is all we can afford” approach.

I was unable to attend the April 10 meeting, and welcome comments here from any reader who can give a sense of how this proposal was received by the community.

Updated December 13, 2012 at 8:45 am:  Presentation materials from the public meetings are now available online.  Links to them have been added to the article below along with my comments.

Metrolinx has announced two public meetings at which design changes to the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT project will be discussed.

Eglinton East — Leaside to Don Mills

Tuesday December 11, Ontario Science Centre (Telus Conference Room), Don Mills south of Eglinton, 7:00 to 9:00 pm

In the original plan, the LRT would have emerged onto the surface through a portal in the centre of Eglinton Avenue as it descended from Brentcliffe Road toward Leslie Street.  This location would also have been the tunnel launch site, a twin of the structure near Black Creek Drive.  This location conflicts with recent redevelopment of the area.

Metrolinx now proposes to continue the tunnel under the west branch of the Don River straight through to Don Mills Station.  The tunnel launch site will now be in the parking lot of the Ontario Science Centre.  The original design east of Don Mills remains with the line surfacing between Don Mills and the DVP.  The east branch of the Don River will be crossed at street level because this would be a much more difficult piece of tunneling given the valley’s depth and the need to bore through bedrock.  Leslie Station has been deleted from the plan.

Updated:  Presentation materials are now available online.

Laird to Don Mills Addendum Page

Detailed PDFs are included showing the original and proposed alignments for the Eglinton line from Laird Station to the Don Valley Parkway.

Although some costing information was discussed at the public meeting according to some who attended, this is not included in the presentation materials.  Among the benefits claimed for the revised plan:

  • Relocation of the launch shaft to Don Mills will put it in a better location with less effect on local residents and simpler engineering and construction (soil conditions and stabilization, site access).
  • No new or widened bridge is required for Eglinton Avenue and this eliminates effects on the river valley below.
  • Operation between Laird and Don Mills will be faster because it is underground and because there is no stop at Leslie.

Another stop to be removed is at Ferrand Drive between Don Mills and the DVP.  This stop is no longer physically possible as it conflicts with the exit ramp location that has shifted because a pocket track has been added east of Don Mills station.

What we are seeing here is a move away from surface construction and a return to the original Metrolinx view (dating back to the launch of Transit City) that Eglinton should be a high-speed “regional” line, not a local service.  Whether the surface design east from Don Mills and west from Weston will survive, especially if there is a political change at Queen’s Park to an anti-LRT administration, remains to be seen.

Metrolinx plans to have a revised Environmental Project Report completed in March 2013 for approval by May in time for tendering of the tunnel work.  The web page linked above includes provision for feedback which should be submitted by January 4, 2013.

Eglinton West — Mount Dennis

Wednesday December 12, York Memorial Collegiate, northwest corner of Keele & Eglinton, 6:30 to 9:30 pm

A revised alignment places the Weston Station underground on the northeast quadrant of the Weston-Eglinton intersection with an improved connection to the rail corridor as compared to previous plans.

A Metrolinx “mobility hub” is planned for this location, and part of the meeting will be devoted to working through community preferences for its design.  Also up for discussion are the preliminary plans for the Maintenance Facility on the former Kodak lands.

The original plan called for a wide box tunnel section west of Weston Road that would have required demolition of several houses.  My understanding is that this will no longer be required, but await confirmation of this when Metrolinx publishes detailed designs.

One almost certain victim of changes to the plans will be the segment from Weston to Jane.  Neither the Jane LRT nor the Eglinton West extension to the airport are part of the recently-announced Phase 2 of “Big Move” projects, and a mobility hub at Weston suggests that it will be the western terminal for some years to come.

This is made quite clear in the project description on the Metrolinx Crosstown Project page where the line is described as running from “Black Creek to Kennedy Station” and the map shows the western end at Mt. Dennis.  The map has not yet been updated to reflect underground construction east to Don Mills.

Updated:  Presentation materials are now available online.

Keele to Jane Addendum Page

Mount Dennis Mobility Hub Page

The new design confirms that Weston Station has been redesigned to lie further east than its original site and with a good connection to a future GO station because the LRT station platform will now be partly under the rail corridor.  The planned three-track section west of the station has been eliminated and this resolved problems with property conflicts along the north side of Eglinton Avenue.

The section west to Jane Street is now clearly shown as being part of “Phase 2” of the project, and it would not be built until the western extension to Pearson Airport occurs, if ever.

The transition out of the tunnel at Black Creek drive has been modified so that Eglinton Avenue would now swing south of the portal, and the LRT would cross Black Creek on a bridge dipping back underground after an at-grade junction with access tracks to the maintenance facility on the former Kodak lands.

The Mobility Hub study is in some ways much more ambitious than the LRT plan because it foresees a much revised and revived set of neighbourhoods around the future LRT and GO station.  The challenge here will be to maintain this vision through changing political and economic climates over the next decade until the LRT line is in operation and acting as an anchor for Mount Dennis.

246 thoughts on “Metrolinx Announces Design Changes and Public Meetings on Eglinton LRT (Update 8)

  1. Steve:

    You are out of touch. The Leslie Station will be on the surface as that’s what is in the original EA. Low demand won’t be an issue because it will be a simple platform in the middle of the street east of the intersection.

    And you have misunderstood my point. I already know that Leslie is (now) going to be above ground as per Metrolinx’s sudden decision to go back to the original EA (despite them claiming for months that it was better to run underground all the way to Don Mills).

    I’m wondering if Metrolinx would be willing to revisit putting that segment underground if they could find the $80 million extra needed for an underground station at Leslie, and weren’t afraid of opening up a can of worms with Toronto council.

    Since Metrolinx has hemmed & hawed about Eglinton for 5 years now, I don’t necessarily see them stopping any time soon.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: Any talk of “extra” funding is unlikely to be directed to an underground Leslie Station. There are more pressing needs in Metrolinx’ plans.


  2. I know this is going to sound snarky and intellectually challenged but is there someone that we can contact to find out: a) who is smoking the same crack as our Mayor making lazy decisions like the above-grade section between Brentcliffe & Don Mills, b) why they are too lazy to conduct whatever EA assessment they need to tunnel it instead?

    This reeks of laziness. After all, if the costs are similar in the end, why be lazy and NOT conduct the “tunnelling option” EA?

    Steve: It’s not a question of laziness. Metrolinx does not want to reopen the approval of the Eglinton line by launching an EA amendment that could be snarled at City Hall.


  3. There’s nothing stopping whoever the future agency is from considering the south-side option again in the future, after the infrastructure will have to be reconstructed. As impractical as shifting an alignment and portal sounds, nothing stopped the TTC/City from entertaining the ideas of:

    – relocating existing portals along the Queens Quay LRT, or
    – converting an underground/surface LRT to a full-fledged subway.

    Whether the option of shifting alignment during reconstruction will be chosen is another matter.


  4. The Metrolinx response seems to suggest that the option first chosen by Hatch (HMM) was to have the portal east of the DVP – with a similar cost to having the portal west of Don Mills. Is there enough room between the DVP and Wynford for this or did they actually mean east of the East Branch of the Don River? Would the DVP ramps not function better without a median LRT?

    Steve: Moving the portal east of the DVP would have killed off the Ferrand stop, and that was not politically acceptable. The DVP will just have to put up with the LRT traffic. As for the east branch of the Don, tunnelling under it would be challenging because of the grades involved and the fact that the bedrock is very close to the surface.

    It seems that they are comparing a South side alignment (and the tunneling options) that maintains all existing lanes of traffic to a median option that takes away two lanes from traffic, and looses the ability to run with automated train control to the Don Mills hub. They do not seem to consider the level of service improvements by the first two options.

    I imagine that the HMM report is not available publicly.

    I also doubt that some bonus would be put in the contract if the contractor could maintain automated trains to Don Mills by letting the contractor do the EA work for the separate bridge? (I would guess that the tunneling and underground stations are on the critical path and the bridge construction could start later).


  5. As I am sure you are well aware of Metrolinx buying the Kodak building #9 and planning to convert it into a LRT Hub, but are you also aware that the Photographic Museum of Ontario is trying to purchase the building from Metrolinx (or at least work with them) to make this building the new home for the museum?

    The Photographic Museum of Ontario has been trying to speak with Malon Edwards, a spokesperson for Metrolinx and Glen Murray, the Minister of Infrastructure (they overlook Metrolinx) and neither have been willing to sit down with the museum to at least have a conversation about what is best for the building and the community.

    For more information about the museum, it’s progress of to offer support, please visit its website.


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