After an extended discussion at its December 2015 Board Meeting, Metrolinx has decided on names for three stations on The Crosstown that were in dispute.
- The station at Dufferin will be called “Fairbank”, as originally proposed, after the name of the original community.
- The station at Bathurst will be called “Forest Hill”, as originally proposed. Although outside of the traditional centre of this community, the Bathurst/Eglinton intersection does lie on the edge of the borders of the original village.
- The station at Lebovic/Hakimi will be called “Hakimi Lebovic” to recognize that the street changes name as it crosses Eglinton. Originally this was to be “Lebovic” station after the older and longer street of the two, and then the TTC Board, egged on by member Glenn De Baeremaeker, changed the name to “Hakimi” (the location isn’t even in his ward). Metrolinx adopted a “Solomon-like” decision to use a double name.
The Board held a teleconference meeting to discuss one item, the staff report on proposed names. The report proposed staying with the single name “Hakimi”, but this idea did not survive long in the rather short debate. Director Janet Ecker proposed “Hakimi-Lebovic” saying that this preserved some of “the integrity of the process”, but Director Bonnie Patterson wondered why this had not been the original proposal.
The problem turns on the matter of a hyphen, and such punctuation offends the Metrolinx naming standards. The question of great import: to hyphenate or not to hyphenate? One director pointed out that the hyphen could indicate a link between the two families (as in a compound name), and this tipped the decision against the hyphen.
On a related note, all stations whose names are not already those of intersecting streets will get a subtitle, much as the stations on University Avenue have today, to identify the intersection they serve. Chair Rob Prichard suggested that people unfamiliar with their location could look at the signs on station walls to get the supplementary name, but subway riders will quickly tell you that this is not always possible depending on where a train stops and whether one can even see out of the window. There is also the basic question of access for those who cannot see easily or at all.
The entire exercise has the feel of massive face-saving for Metrolinx staff and the station naming protocols developed with much fanfare. The double name was described by Chief Planning Officer Leslie Woo as being in a grey zone, on the edge of the protocols. This is just plain silly. Many stations will have names that do not match the intersection they serve, and locations with different street names on opposite sides of a line are common (there are at least four on the Finch West LRT alone).
The protocols should be amended so that:
- Double street names are allowed as station names where appropriate and where another option, such as a major nearby landmark or neighbourhood name, is not available.
- Station “subtitles” should always be used to clarify a station’s location at a major cross street.
These “protocols” were not engraved in stone and they do not warrant worship as if they are immutable. Two basic issues were missed in creating them, and Metrolinx should be honest and humble enough to address this. “Nevermore” is not the correct answer in this circumstance.
Meanwhile, on a related topic, the actual name of the Eglinton-Crosstown name is still in debate given that the TTC has moved to line numbering. Will it become “Line 5”, or will someone complain that Toronto has scoffed all of the “premium” numbers for its rapid transit routes on a regional basis? At least GO Transit uses letters rather than numbers, and we can avoid a prolonged debate about who gets to use “Line 1”.
Such are the weighty matters that burden transit planners and politicians.