LRT Toronto by Dylan Passmore
The Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit project, worth C$4.5 billion, is one of the biggest transit projects in the history Toronto that should significantly improve the transit service in the city. New, electric light rail vehicles will replace the inefficient bus transit service on Eglinton Avenue. The 32.6 kilometre LRT line, which will run from Kennedy Station to Pearson International Airport, should provide a cost-effective, reliable, high-capacity, sustainable, modern, accessible, and comfortable LRT service.
The proposed plan of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT consists of three different sections. The first one is drawn from Pearson International Airport to Black Creek Drive. This west section is 14.6 kilometres long and includes a new bridge crossing Highway 401. The central underground section is 10.5 kilometres long and runs from Black Creek Drive to Brentcliffe Road. The last part of the 32.6 kilometre long LRT line operates between Brentcliffe Road and Kennedy Station. It also includes an underground section (from Don Mills Station) and measures 7.5 kilometre in length. The whole line contains 28 surface stops and 13 underground stations. The light rail transit will be supported by buses located at three locations: Keele Station, Caledonia Station, and Don Mills Station.
The environmental impact of the Eglinton Crosstown route is one of the main questions that need to be solved. The Toronto Transit Commission completed its Environmental Project Report in March 2010. The main concerns were about turn restrictions, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, the preferred transit technology, the vertical alignment of the LRT route, and property, air quality, and noise impacts. The Ministry of the Environment reviewed this project and announced that it “will not have a negative impact on matters of provincial importance related to the natural environment or to a cultural heritage value of interest or have a negative impact on a constitutionally protected Aboriginal treaty or treaty right.“
The development of a new transit system in Toronto has many benefits. The construction of the new light rail transit will create more than 100,000 jobs in Ontario. Commuters will be able to get to work and home more quickly. Traffic congestion and greenhouse emissions will be significantly reduced. Moreover, an efficient and sustainable transit system is a key factor for the future growth of the city.