Scarborough RT

Scarborough gets the shaft on public transit

It wasn't supposed to be this way. That sentiment, I would imagine, has been expressed by more than a few Scarborough residents since attention has been turned toward the four to seven year gap that the area is facing without a rapid transit line. With the aging SRT line set to close after the Pan Am Games in 2015 and the Eglinton Crosstown LRT not set to arrive until 2019-2022 depending on who you talk to, those who rely on public transit east of Kennedy are going to be on the bus at some point or another.

It really wasn't supposed to be this way. In light of the need to eventually replace the SRT line, the Transit City plan would have seen the completion of the Sheppard LRT in advance of the SRT being decommissioned — such that far east enders would have had a rapid transit option to get to Don Mills Station and onto the subway. That might not have been ideal, but it's a dream compared to what transit-users are looking at today.

That plan was, however, scrapped by Mayor Rob Ford, who promised that he'd extend the Sheppard and Bloor-Danforth subway lines instead. As ridiculous as this might sound today, Ford campaigned on the promise (PDF) these extensions would create a closed loop at the Scarborough Town Centre by 2015. By 2015! At this point, the odds are pretty damn good that a single station won't have been built on the Sheppard extension by that time.

The problem that faces Scarborough exemplifies the difficulties this city has had in getting any major transit expansion completed for the last quater century, going right back to the Network 2011 proposal in 1985. At some point or another, well-laid plans have fallen victim to political power shifts and changing economic climates. One difference worth noting, however, is that in the past these changes have come at the hands of the provincial government, but this time it was our mayor who spearheaded the cancellation of a funded project in favour of a plan that now looks anything but a certainty, let alone an option in 2015.

Photo by PLTam in the blogTO Flickr pool


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