‘Don’t go cheap on Scarborough anymore’: Toronto board committee opts for separate Eglinton East line
The young people warned Toronto city councilors against building Scarborough’s Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (EELRT) line as a separate, smaller-scale system with cars shorter than streetcars.
The EELRT was proposed as an eastward extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Kennedy Station and then extended north to Malvern.
Some have compared the change, passed on June 8 by Mayor John Tory’s executive committee, to one that led to the creation of the Scarborough Rapid Transit line, a separate monorail from Kennedy to McCowan Road, which proved too small for potential traffic and will close in 2023.
“Please don’t discount Scarborough again,” said August Pantitlán Puranauth, a student member of TTCriders.
Puranauth, which takes public transit daily, said Scarborough is “re-experimenting” and “staying with the shell of a transit scheme” to keep costs down.
Although transit planners see benefits in shorter cars and shorter platforms at EELRT stops, Puranauth estimated that smaller two-car trains would move 5,000 passengers in each direction per day , barely more than the buses on the route currently carry.
Staff also believe that EELRT trains may be slower than buses in priority lanes along the route currently.
Tory has long promised that the EELRT would become part of a transit system in Scarborough along with the Bloor-Danforth subway extension and could be built at the same time.
Metrolinx, the province’s transit agency, made a unilateral change to the route of the subway tunnel after Premier Doug Ford announced the extension would reach Sheppard Avenue. This brings the EELRT and subway tunnels too close to Kennedy station, advisers said, so it is now virtually impossible for the EELRT to connect directly to Crosstown.
The report approved by committee members says the small light rail cars and shorter platforms are “more specific to Scarborough’s needs, with shorter trains this would better match capacity to projected demand.
This should mean that the EELRT, which could begin construction in 2025 or 2026, could end years earlier, as it would no longer require a tunnel under the intersection of Morningside Avenue and Kingston Road, or would need of its own bridge over Highland Creek, staff told advisers.
Although the city has earmarked $1.6 billion for the project, it needs $2.3 billion from other governments, but the Ontario Progressive Conservatives have made no campaign promises.
Tory said the city had not been negligent when Metrolinx rerouted its tunnel, but Kevin Rupasinghe, a candidate for Scarborough Southwest council who spoke at the meeting, suggested Scarborough councilors to let it be.
The current EELRT plan “is compromise after compromise” and unacceptable, Rupasinghe said, arguing that the city was making major changes without consulting the public.
Tima Shah, president of Centennial College’s student union, said students from seven neighborhood improvement areas along the future LRT route depend on public transit and want to make sure Eglinton East is well planned.
“We don’t want another transit disaster to happen in Scarborough,” Shah said, comparing the project to the “disaster” of the SRT closing.
Thai Higashihara, vice president of external affairs for the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, said the proposed new design did not meet the needs of students.
“Public transit is about fairness, and we deserve better,” he told the committee.
Scarborough-Guildwood County Paul Ainslie, however, said he still fully supports the EELRT, which could include a second branch along Sheppard Avenue to the subway in McCowan, and the bus rapid transit project Durham-Scarborough, which the province could also build in eastern Scarborough along Ellesmere. Road.