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Province and TTC might save face, Eglinton LRT

Province and TTC might save face, Eglinton LRT
Traffic stalled during early rush hour at Iglinton and Eglinton (Image: Michael Gil)

Stories of the death of Transit City have been greatly exaggerated, according to today’s papers. The Star tells us that it looks like Ontario (through Metrolinx, its regional transit body) is pushing hard to make sure that whatever else Rob Ford and other conservatives on council may want, the Eglinton crosstown LRT is being saved. The line is too important to Metrolinx’s plans for the region to let die, so it looks like Toronto will likely get to keep one part of David Miller’s baby.

According to the Star:

Talks between the TTC and the province’s Metrolinx agency are proving fruitful enough that a compromise transit plan for Toronto should be ready by the end of January, both sides say.

And, despite fears that Mayor Rob Ford’s focus on getting more subway into Scarborough will kill light-rail-based Transit City, signs point to a hybrid plan with at least the Eglinton Crosstown LRT surviving, and Toronto paying a premium on the provincially funded expansion to get more of it underground and otherwise away from road traffic.

TTC and Metrolinx staff are communicating “daily,” said Metrolinx chief executive Bruce McCuaig, while the agencies’ leaders, and senior officials from Ford’s office, are to meet again before the end of next week, following a “very constructive” Dec. 17 session.

Given that Toronto has been promised an Eglinton crosstown line since the 1960s or so, it’s hard to complain about this news. So we won’t. Saving Eglinton allows everyone involved to save a little face—the mayor gets an underground route, car traffic won’t be impeded, and Transit City can’t be declared entirely dead—so good on the TTC and Metrolinx for hashing this out.

One cute side note: between the little stub of a subway (12 kilometres added to the Sheppard line) that the mayor wants and the expansive Eglinton line (33 kilometres, 11 kilometres of that underground) that was the core of Miller’s plan, this will still be more like Transit City than Mayor Ford’s Transportation City. Not that we expect either man to appreciate that.

Ford-Transit City hybrid plan in the works [Toronto Star] • Eglinton Transit City line may survive [CBC News] • Nothing can stop a train powered by politics [Globe and Mail]

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