Eglinton Avenue connects Toronto- running east to west through each of the former cities and borough. In Ward 22, it also hosts some of city’s best cafes, galleries, restaurants, shops and small businesses of every kind. During the upcoming construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which will run underground through midtown, it will be more important than ever for our community to support our local businesses and protect the vibrancy of our neighbourhoods’ main street.
Buying local helps grow other businesses and the local tax base. One recent study shows that locally owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 goes right back into the community, compared to only $14 at a chain store.
Locally owned businesses are more likely to hire architects, tradesmen, accountants and other ancillary service providers from the neighbourhood as chain stores generally keep those functions in house.
Independent stores make a retail strip a community main street. Along with being an important part of our local neighbourhoods, Torontonians come from all across the city to visit the Eglinton Way and Mt. Pleasant BIAs because of unique destinations such as the Mad Bean, Phipps Bakery, The Healthy Butcher and more.
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 include 25 stations and stops, 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.
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. Let’s begin by supporting our local small businesses. Shop Local. Shop Eglinton.
Stay tuned as we continue to roll out Councillor Josh Matlow’s Shop Local, Shop Eglinton Campaign in Ward 22.
Please also visit our partnership websites:
Eglinton 2020 has been formed to bring together the diverse community groups, businesses and people who are concerned about the overall impact of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT on community and commercial life along the Eglinton corridor.
Considering the needs of all people in the surrounding neighbourhoods, we want to advocate strongly to ensure that Eglinton Avenue becomes safe, sustainable, environmentally responsible and business-friendly.
The Crosstown, Eye on Business: www.thecrosstown.ca/eye-on-business
Metrolinx Crosstown website: http://www.metrolinx.com/en/projectsandprograms/transitexpansionprojects/crosstownproject.aspx