The cost of burying the Eglinton LRT
The Toronto Environmental Alliance has released another pair of maps (view as larger PDF) highlighting the differences between Toronto's transit plans of old (a.k.a. Transit City) and what lies on the horizon. The first exercise of this type took some heat for the inclusion of unfunded Transit City routes in a comparison with the proposed Sheppard Subway Extension. In what might be a clever response to that criticism, the maps released today feature only currently funded projects.
Why clever? Given that Mayor Ford is now looking to build the Sheppard Subway Extension via private financing (which has yet to be secured), it thus doesn't make an appearance on these maps. And the result — at least on a visual level — is quite stark. Where, one wonders, is the transit infrastructure for the suburbs?
Well, there isn't any. At least not technically. The proposal to privately fund the Sheppard Extension is just that until financing is actually in place. "Strip away the unfunded Sheppard subway extensions, which won't be funded with provincial tax dollars, and you are left with a pretty bare bones plan that does nothing for the suburbs.... Essentially, people along Finch West and in east Scarborough are being left out of this compromise plan for the sake of needlessly burying 8 km of LRT under Eglinton Avenue [the portion between Laird Avenue and Kennedy Station]," said Jamie Kirkpatrick, a transit campaigner with the TEA in a press release that accompanied the above map.
Should the funding come together for the Sheppard Extention — which it very well might &mdash the current picture painted by the TEA's maps will surely change dramatically. And that, one might be inclined to say, makes them disingenuous. After all, the Ford team is moving forward with their transit plans on the basis that they will be able to get the subway extended on Sheppard East. And yet, the point Kirkpatrick makes doesn't even target the area that subway line would hypothetically serve. For even if it does come together, Finch West and and the eastern reaches of Scarborough will still be stuck taking the bus.
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