Eglinton LRT Plans Insane

Former TTC Chief calls tunnel for Eglinton LRT "insane"

Former TTC Chief General Manager David Gunn, who was brought on by the TTC as an unpaid consultant to aid with the review of its 2012 budget, had some harsh words regarding the decision to bury the Eglinton LRT. "Low-floor streetcars in a tunnel will cost you more than a subway while delivering less. I can't for the life of me figure out how this decision was made," he told the Globe and Mail in reference to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, a project which recently broke ground.

Gunn cites the fact that LRT cars are more expensive and require bigger tunnels than subways, but can't provide the same capacity. Metrolinx, on the other hand, claims that smaller stations and the ability to repurpose the Scarborough RT makes the current plan the better option. The former chief characterizes this rationale as "nonsense."

And that's not the only criticism of the TTC Gunn was willing to share with the Globe. Here are some highlights:

  • He believes the Commission's capital budget is "chaotic" and that it should focus on state of good repair initiatives and cost recovery via the fare box, which has dipped from 84 to 70 per cent over the last decade or so.
  • Gunn isn't a fan of replacing the current streetcar fleet, citing increased maintenance and storage costs, as well as the new cars lack of accessibility.
  • He points out that the new Rocket subway cars might pose reliability issues given that the entire train will need to be taken out of service should a problem arise (with previous designs like the T1, it's possible to isolate a single car).
  • As far as labour costs go, Gunn worries that the (sweet) deal given to the Toronto Police will spill over the TTC.
  • Although on time and budget, the Spadina Subway extension features "grandiose" stations that are far too expensive.
  • And, unsurprisingly, Gunn doesn't buy into the idea that private sector funds will pay for the Sheppard Subway extension. Not only that, he's also critcal of the fact that it'll feed the already overcrowded Yonge Line.
  • His most pronounced criticism was reserved for Metrolinx's decision to mix track gauges (i.e. width), which he said will "go down in railway lore as one of the dumbest decisions ever."

Photo by MrDanMofo in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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