Toronto to continue study of building Eglinton West LRT underground

News Dec 05, 2017 by David Nickle Etobicoke Guardian

Toronto council has voted to let staff and a community working group go ahead and keep studying a more costly plan to bury the Eglinton West light rail line through much of Etobicoke as a part of Mayor John Tory's ongoing SmartTrack transit plan.

The move, which was spurred by opposition to at-grade light rail along Eglinton through Etobicoke, could add billions of dollars to the not-yet-costed SmartTrack plan that was a cornerstone of Mayor Tory's 2014 election campaign. 

Originally, Tory had promised to build heavy rail along Eglinton West, and bury part of it. However, following the election, city staff indicated that such a move would be impossible.

So to replace it, in 2015 council decided to pursue an alternate network, that would see light rail constructed on Egliton West through Etobicoke.

Staff determined that the line should be built at-grade. But local councillors and community members argued that light rail on the roadway would contribute to intolerable congestion.

At last month's executive committee meeting, Tory supported a move to continue to study the plan to bury the line.

On Dec. 5, Toronto councillors had a crack at debating that move.

Don Valley West Coun. Shelly Carroll called it “cruel and inhumane” to promise Etobicoke an underground LRT when it is unlikely that the city could fund the plan.

“If we continue to keep a flicker of a flame alive in this conversation, that flame continues to grow and grow and grow.”

St. Paul's Coun. Joe Mihevc called the tunnel “a rabbit hole.”

“We cannot go down that rabbit hole of exploring tunnelling,” he said. “It's $1.8 billion for at-grade. It's another $2.1 billion to tunnel. (And Eglinton there) is wide enough to land a plane. It's absolute lunacy.”

But Etobicoke councillors banded together and tried to push the tunnel option even farther. Etobicoke North Coun. Michael Ford moved to simply proceed with underground light rail.

“Certain LRTs work in the city,” said Ford. “Subways also work. The majority of people in Toronto can connect to underground transit.... Over the last six months I have heard very clearly from my community in North Etobicoke that our residents want underground transit.”

Etobicoke Centre Coun. John Campbell supported simply continuing to consult on the plan, through a working group made up of councillors and residents who would be using the light rail.

"All we are looking for is an opportunity for more consultation,” he said. “This is not an opportunity that we're looking for, for interminable delay.”

Council approved going ahead with the working group, but voted down Ford's motion.

Council also voted to ask staff for greater clarity on the cost for the entire SmartTrack plan, by July of 2018. That will be the last meeting of Toronto council before the 2018 election.

Toronto to continue study of building Eglinton West LRT underground

News Dec 05, 2017 by David Nickle Etobicoke Guardian

Toronto council has voted to let staff and a community working group go ahead and keep studying a more costly plan to bury the Eglinton West light rail line through much of Etobicoke as a part of Mayor John Tory's ongoing SmartTrack transit plan.

The move, which was spurred by opposition to at-grade light rail along Eglinton through Etobicoke, could add billions of dollars to the not-yet-costed SmartTrack plan that was a cornerstone of Mayor Tory's 2014 election campaign. 

Originally, Tory had promised to build heavy rail along Eglinton West, and bury part of it. However, following the election, city staff indicated that such a move would be impossible.

So to replace it, in 2015 council decided to pursue an alternate network, that would see light rail constructed on Egliton West through Etobicoke.

Staff determined that the line should be built at-grade. But local councillors and community members argued that light rail on the roadway would contribute to intolerable congestion.

At last month's executive committee meeting, Tory supported a move to continue to study the plan to bury the line.

On Dec. 5, Toronto councillors had a crack at debating that move.

Don Valley West Coun. Shelly Carroll called it “cruel and inhumane” to promise Etobicoke an underground LRT when it is unlikely that the city could fund the plan.

“If we continue to keep a flicker of a flame alive in this conversation, that flame continues to grow and grow and grow.”

St. Paul's Coun. Joe Mihevc called the tunnel “a rabbit hole.”

“We cannot go down that rabbit hole of exploring tunnelling,” he said. “It's $1.8 billion for at-grade. It's another $2.1 billion to tunnel. (And Eglinton there) is wide enough to land a plane. It's absolute lunacy.”

But Etobicoke councillors banded together and tried to push the tunnel option even farther. Etobicoke North Coun. Michael Ford moved to simply proceed with underground light rail.

“Certain LRTs work in the city,” said Ford. “Subways also work. The majority of people in Toronto can connect to underground transit.... Over the last six months I have heard very clearly from my community in North Etobicoke that our residents want underground transit.”

Etobicoke Centre Coun. John Campbell supported simply continuing to consult on the plan, through a working group made up of councillors and residents who would be using the light rail.

"All we are looking for is an opportunity for more consultation,” he said. “This is not an opportunity that we're looking for, for interminable delay.”

Council approved going ahead with the working group, but voted down Ford's motion.

Council also voted to ask staff for greater clarity on the cost for the entire SmartTrack plan, by July of 2018. That will be the last meeting of Toronto council before the 2018 election.

Toronto to continue study of building Eglinton West LRT underground

News Dec 05, 2017 by David Nickle Etobicoke Guardian

Toronto council has voted to let staff and a community working group go ahead and keep studying a more costly plan to bury the Eglinton West light rail line through much of Etobicoke as a part of Mayor John Tory's ongoing SmartTrack transit plan.

The move, which was spurred by opposition to at-grade light rail along Eglinton through Etobicoke, could add billions of dollars to the not-yet-costed SmartTrack plan that was a cornerstone of Mayor Tory's 2014 election campaign. 

Originally, Tory had promised to build heavy rail along Eglinton West, and bury part of it. However, following the election, city staff indicated that such a move would be impossible.

So to replace it, in 2015 council decided to pursue an alternate network, that would see light rail constructed on Egliton West through Etobicoke.

Staff determined that the line should be built at-grade. But local councillors and community members argued that light rail on the roadway would contribute to intolerable congestion.

At last month's executive committee meeting, Tory supported a move to continue to study the plan to bury the line.

On Dec. 5, Toronto councillors had a crack at debating that move.

Don Valley West Coun. Shelly Carroll called it “cruel and inhumane” to promise Etobicoke an underground LRT when it is unlikely that the city could fund the plan.

“If we continue to keep a flicker of a flame alive in this conversation, that flame continues to grow and grow and grow.”

St. Paul's Coun. Joe Mihevc called the tunnel “a rabbit hole.”

“We cannot go down that rabbit hole of exploring tunnelling,” he said. “It's $1.8 billion for at-grade. It's another $2.1 billion to tunnel. (And Eglinton there) is wide enough to land a plane. It's absolute lunacy.”

But Etobicoke councillors banded together and tried to push the tunnel option even farther. Etobicoke North Coun. Michael Ford moved to simply proceed with underground light rail.

“Certain LRTs work in the city,” said Ford. “Subways also work. The majority of people in Toronto can connect to underground transit.... Over the last six months I have heard very clearly from my community in North Etobicoke that our residents want underground transit.”

Etobicoke Centre Coun. John Campbell supported simply continuing to consult on the plan, through a working group made up of councillors and residents who would be using the light rail.

"All we are looking for is an opportunity for more consultation,” he said. “This is not an opportunity that we're looking for, for interminable delay.”

Council approved going ahead with the working group, but voted down Ford's motion.

Council also voted to ask staff for greater clarity on the cost for the entire SmartTrack plan, by July of 2018. That will be the last meeting of Toronto council before the 2018 election.