This month, if you’re a Ward 22 resident living in a neighbourhood south of Eglinton Avenue, I’ll be coming to your door to speak with you directly about the upcoming construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT– an exciting project that will run underground through midtown and connect our community to the rest of the city. As your local city councillor, I want to ensure that you are informed and engaged in this process.
While a new Eglinton Avenue rapid transit line will be a remarkable asset to our community and city, to be candid, like any construction project I expect there will be some challenges. While most of the tunnel boring work will not affect at-grade activities, at intersections where the new underground stations will be built, there will be cuts to the street and some temporary lane closures. To simply put it, there will be frustrating periods for all of us during construction.
To avoid increased lane closures and traffic disruptions, the TTC property (former bus depot) near the southwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton will be used as an off-street staging ground. After The Crosstown construction is completed, this site will be redeveloped and will include a new public square. In the meantime, I’ve asked the TTC for some aesthetic improvements to the periphery of the site- it’s been left as a derelict eyesore for far too many years.
Please be assured that I will be working closely with our community and the Eglinton Way Business Improvement Area in an effort to mitigate adverse construction impacts of the work being underground and at the station locations. There must be a plan to support local businesses and to assist local residents when they need immediate questions answered.
I’d like to share with you some information from Metrolinx and the TTC about The Crosstown, to give you a sense of what you can expect.
Construction of The Crosstown has already begun and the tunneling from Black Creek Drive to Laird Drive is scheduled to begin this summer. The entire line will run from Jane Street to Kennedy Road, a distance of 25km, and riders will be able to transfer to the Yonge/University/ Spadina subway at Eglinton and Eglinton West stations and at Kennedy station riders will be able to connect to the Scarborough RT, the Bloor/Danforth subway, and the GO train. The Crosstown is scheduled to be operational in 2020.
There will be twenty-six stations along The Crosstown, including stops at Bathurst, Chaplin, Avenue, Eglinton and Bayview. Metrolinx and the TTC are in the preliminary design stage for Chaplin Station and it is important to them to get your feedback before the architectural design theme is finalized. There is an online survey available at The Crosstown website (listed below) which is available until May 9, 2012. There will also be a wider consultation meeting about The Crosstown on May 24 (see meeting notice below). Construction work related to tunnelling is scheduled to begin at Chaplin in late 2013. The station itself will begin construction in 2015.
Detailed information on The Crosstown can be found at the project’s website: www.thecrosstown.ca. As well, you can contact Metrolinx, the provincial organization responsible for the project, at 416.874.5900 and the TTC at 416.393.3030, and visit their websites at www.metrolinx.ca and www.ttc.ca.
Together, we were successful at ensuring The Crosstown would be built. This line will help connect our city and relieve overcrowding on the current subway line. It is a project, in my opinion, which is frankly a generation overdue.
However, now that the project has begun, we must challenge Metrolinx and the TTC to do it well – on time, within budget, and working closely with local residents and businesses and to learn from past mistakes.
Over the next two years, the City of Toronto will undertake a comprehensive planning study of the Eglinton Avenue corridor to create a community-led vision that will help to anticipate future growth and redevelopment along the corridor resulting from the Crosstown line. The study is being led by City Planning staff and will be completed with the financial support of Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency of the Province of Ontario.
Further information on the planning study can also be obtained by visiting the City’s website at www.toronto.ca/eglinton. Be sure to check this website often for news and coming events. For general information on the transit project, visit www.thecrosstown.ca.