The Leslie Street stop for the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown has been scrapped and the Ferrand Drive stop saved.
Residents at a Dec. 11 public meeting were told of plans by Metrolinx to remove the two stops from the line’s list of 27 proposed stations, but after reviewing feedback, the provincial agency decided to keep Ferrand. But due to low ridership expectations and high construction costs, Metrolinx said plans to nix Leslie will remain.
“We believe Ferrand can work,” said Metrolinx spokesperson Jamie Robinson during a meeting Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Ontario Science Centre to bring residents up to speed on the latest developments. “Leslie would cost over $100 million and have very low ridership. There will be no development ever to the south and northwest corner of Leslie and Eglinton because of parkland. We currently have condos and folks north on Leslie, but Leslie would still have the lowest ridership on the highest cost station on the line. We don’t believe the cost is justified.”
Ferrand, however, is in a priority neighbourhood with high density and that, combined with the Aga Khan Museum currently under construction, makes it a viable stop to keep, he said.
Bus service on Leslie Street will be every 10 minutes during peak hours, Robinson said, adding buses will turn right onto Eglinton Avenue before stopping at the Laird Drive station.
Metrolinx also reiterated from its Dec. 11 meeting to alter the eastern tunnel alignment of the 19-kilometre LRT line, which was originally intended to travel below Eglinton Avenue past Yonge Street and emerge onto street level at Brentcliffe Road in Leaside.
But because of a potential conflict with a condominium under development at Brentcliffe, Metrolinx wants to tunnel further east beyond Don Mills Road where it would emerge at street level and travel in a dedicated right-of-way all the way to Kennedy station in Scarborough.
Along with tunneling to Don Mills, the provincial transit agency would like to move the tunnel’s eastern launch shaft - through which tunnel borer machines would excavate west to Yonge Street - from Brentcliffe to the more spacious north parking lot of the Science Centre, located at 770 Don Mills Rd.
Bayview Avenue would be another site option to launch the tunnel boring machine, but that location would have significant noise impacts and is located on school lands, Robinson said.
Laurie Forbes, one of about 100 residents who came out to Thursday’s meeting, agreed the Leslie Street price tag wasn’t justified.
“It is a concern,” she said. “The city is undergoing a lot of fiscal issues and why put money into the stop when you can walk or take the bus to a stop close by?”
Forbes, who recently moved to the Leslie Street and Eglinton Avenue area from Ottawa, said she runs in Wilket Creek Park every morning and knows the site is busy come summer, but is hardly used in colder months.
“I think people will benefit enormously from the line being on Eglinton, but perhaps the money (for Leslie Street) can be put to better use,” she said.
The proposals out forth by Metrolinx require an addendum to the 2010 environmental assessment approval for the line and must be endorsed by the agency’s board of directors before being sent to the minister of the environment for final approval, estimated to be spring 2014 at the earliest.
- with files from Rahul Gupta