Nobody in Toronto wants the Ontario Line above ground except for the government
The province is holding several open houses to consult residents before shovels officially hit the ground. And the first one, held last week, proved that Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park residents are severely opposed to the elevated part of the line.
This is why it is critical that members of the public attend the upcoming Ontario Line information sessions being held by Metrolinx. The future of transit in our city is up in the air, and we must continue to push for an open and transparent process: https://t.co/P92h6mMf4e— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) January 17, 2020
According to the Toronto Star, several residents who attended the open house expressed concerns about the the area being split in two by the tracks, obstructed views from their windows and the potential increase of loitering youth and crime in the area.
Others said they felt the neighbourhood was being treated unfairly because many of its residents are low-income.
Deputy Mayor Minnan-Wong says Thorncliffe & Flemingdon Park residents want Ontario Line built underground, not elevated, through their neighbourhood: “They don’t believe that they should be treated any differently than communities that are in the downtown” https://t.co/R7F1UnCpCb pic.twitter.com/dYRAQoScho— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) January 9, 2020
As it currently stands, the Ontario Line is set to connect the Ontario Science Centre with Exhibition Place. And though much of the transit line will go underground, there will be above-ground portions in both the Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park area and the Leslieville/Riverside neighbourhood.
Leslieville residents are expected to express their concerns at an open house later this week, though many have already made a point of openly opposing the plans for the transit line.
@JohnTory Torontonians need real plans from province in order to make informed consent to Ontario Line. Above ground trains in my backyard isn’t what I want. Subways should be underground.— Tracy Kish (@TreycKay) October 29, 2019
Back in October, Leslieville resident and neighborhood representative for the Community Advisory Committee Shelley Kline said building the above-ground portion through the area would have major effects on the community.
"You're going to end up plowing down a great chunk of historical Leslieville to build those tracks," she said, adding that the potential destruction of the neighbourhood's Jimmie Simpson Park was "breaking her heart."
But despite constant concerns from residents who will be affected by these parts of the line, it seems the Ontario government and Metrolinx have every intention of keeping the plan as is.
Leslieville resident asks about above ground section of the Ontario Line - @Metrolinx says the surface route important to allow easy transfer to above ground at East Harbour station. Focuses as well on avoiding cost of going below Don River. He also says can mitigate noise.— Peter Tabuns (@Peter_Tabuns) December 6, 2019
A Metrolinx blog post published several months ago outlines the government's case for keeping it above-ground which essentially is because it's the cheaper option.
"Riders will have a much faster connection above ground than was envisioned under an earlier plan that would have seen the Downtown Relief Line built 38 metres below ground at East Harbour," the post states.
"An above ground station at East Harbour also means Ontario Line can cross the Don River by bridge, eliminating the need for a costly tunnel, saving tax dollars."
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told the Star a similar tale, though she said measures will be taken to incorporate feedback from residents and to mitigate the negative effects.
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