Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Etobicoke-Finch West LRT

The City of Toronto's webpage for the proposed Etobicoke-Finch West LRT has gone live, with more detailed documents and public meetings to follow in the coming months. The line is expected to follow the Transit City formula of light rail vehicles operating in reserved lanes, but like all transit projects, there are many options on the table. The method of connecting the line to Finch and future-Finch West station will come out in the EA, but are minor details in comparison to some critical "how far" questions:

How Far West?
The line is expected to terminate at Humber College in the Highway 27 and Finch area, but there are several options beyond that destination. Further west lies Westwood Mall, a major terminal for Mississauga Transit, while a southward extension could bring the line to support a redevelopment of Woodbine Centre and Woodbine Racetrack. These destinations are logical extensions, but are they logical enough to be considered in the current study?

How Far East?
The 39 FINCH EAST bus is bursting at the seams, so there is a market to extend the line eastward. Seneca college at Don Mills is a key source of this crowing, but higher densities along Finch don't start to dissipate until after you pass Kennedy. Should an LRT along Finch East be considered during this study, or should the project remain in separate, more manageable chunks?

How Far Away From Finch?
The hydro corridor gives us an opportunity to run the line out of traffic from Highway 400 to Highway 404. Faster travel times will result, but with the corridor about 300 metres away from Finch Avenue, will this support the growth management policies for Finch and replace the bus service with high-quality transit?

These are some key things to watch in the EA - and a close watch will be necessary, as this line doesn't have the controversy attached to its cousin on Sheppard East.

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