Eglinton LRT is top priority, says Metrolinx board member

Paul Bedford, former chief city planner in Toronto and current member of the Metrolinx board, writes an editorial for the Toronto Star:

In my view, it is essential to tie any fixed rail transit construction to an aggressive land use intensification strategy and the expansion of the city and regional transit network.

This is especially true for subways and underground LRT lines, where strategic investment is clearly for the long term. The proposed Eglinton LRT certainly meets this test and will function as a subway for much of its length, serving communities across the city. It was first proposed in 1974 and is the absolute No. 1 priority.

via Ford’s critical 100-year decisions –

My read of the situation with the delayed transit plan, still being hammered out by the mayor’s office and Metrolinx, is that Eglinton is the sticking point. Metrolinx won’t budge on it.

Bedford also talks about the role underground transit has in fostering new development, which is an argument I quibble with because the Bloor-Danforth line has done little for neighbourhood development in many places.

Any future subway extensions must be linked directly to extensive mixed-use development that would generate 15,000-30,000 people living and or working within one square kilometre of targeted major stations. This would include the Sheppard corridor as far east as Victoria Park, in addition to existing and future stations located along the proposed Spadina subway extension.

The reference to Vic Park is interesting. A revised Transit City plan that includes a half-hearted Sheppard subway extension to Victoria Park, an extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway to Scarborough Town Centre (replacing the SRT) and the as-planned Eglinton LRT would seemingly fit within established funding constraints.

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