Three major projects face approvals at Toronto Council and Queen’s Park in coming months.
- Should we replace the Gardiner Expressway with an at-grade boulevard between Jarvis and the Don River?
- Should “SmartTrack”, John Tory’s signature campaign plank, form a U-shaped line from Markham to Pearson Airport providing both regional and local service in parallel with GO Transit?
- Should the Bloor-Danforth subway be extended through Scarborough in place of the once-proposed LRT network, via which route and at what cost?
None of these is a simple problem, and they are linked by a combination of forces: polarized political views of what Toronto’s future transportation network should look like, very substantial present and future capital and operating costs, and competing claims of transportation planning models regarding the behaviour of a new network.
On the political front, Mayor Tory is playing for a trifecta against considerable odds. Winning on all three would cement his influence at Council, but it is far from clear that he will win on any of them. Council is split on the expressway options, SmartTrack has already sprouted an alternative western alignment, and the Scarborough Subway fights for its life with alternative route proposals and the threat of demand canibalized by the Mayor’s own SmartTrack plans.