Eglinton residents worried that Transit City’s crosstown LRT won’t make the streets any prettier

Eglinton residents worried that Transit City’s crosstown LRT won’t make the streets any prettier

Eglinton Avenue circa 1935. But what does the future hold? (Image: Toronto History)

The NDP announced yesterday morning that its election platform would include funds for the TTC (and other transit systems across the province) to offset a freeze on municipal transit fares. The move would essentially bring public transit back to how it was before Mike Harris ended the provincial subsidy for operating costs, and it would also provide an answer to what was always David Miller’s biggest complaint about the province’s role in Transit City: that the province was giving the city enough money to build transit but not enough to keep it running. Meanwhile, the last piece of Transit City that’s still actually getting built—the Eglinton Crosstown—apparently has some people nervous. Why? Not because they’re worried about the LRT clogging traffic above ground; they’re worried that with the light-rail line going underground, the street might not be beautified the way local residents and business owners had hoped.

The Globe and Mail has the story:

“The street is a mess,” local business owner Arnold Rowe told The Globe. “We need improvement for pedestrian facilities… and the use of roadways.” He asked the city and provincial representatives at the meeting—TTC chairwoman Karen Stintz, Ontario, Minister of Transportation Kathleen Wynne, Eglinton-Lawrence MPP Mike Colle and Ward 15 Councillor Josh Colle—if there were plans to work on the street itself as part of the project.

Mike Colle said that there no concrete plans, but that he hoped the launch of the rail line would mean the “reshaping, revitalizing, improving above ground—starting now.”

One of the little-noticed parts of Transit City was the effort throughout the suburbs to try to make streets like Sheppard and Finch more pedestrian friendly in addition to building LRTs. With all of the TTC’s money getting plowed into digging a tunnel across north Toronto, BIAs along Eglinton are worried that the money they want for street-level beautification projects is already spoken for. Shockingly, it might just turn out that people who live in this city want their roads to be more than just big pipelines for cars to move through without being impeded by bikes, streetcars or marathons.

Horwath vows to freeze transit fares if elected [Toronto Star]
Metrolinx seeks to calm anxieties over Eglinton LRT [Globe and Mail]