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TTC unveils ambitious transit plan

Proposed billion dollar plan will see streetcar lines across Scarborough

Mar. 16, 2007

Dedicated streetcar lines will be criss-crossing Scarborough over the next couple of decades, and the SRT line will extend into Malvern to help complete the network if the city can find the billions of dollars it will take.

That according to a new light rail transit plan just unveiled by the Toronto Transit Commission.

The plan, which is pegged at about $6 billion, would see a total of seven new lines constructed across the city with three of them touching Scarborough.

The biggest and most costly of those would see streetcars running through dedicated rights of way and tunnels along Eglinton Avenue between Kennedy station and Pearson airport - a 31-kilometre haul that would cost an estimated $2.2 billion.

The plan also envisions a 15-kilometre route that would link Kennedy station with northern Scarborough, the Malvern community and the Morningside Heights community. It would run east from Kennedy Road on Eglinton Avenue, then northeast along Kingston Road and north on Morningside Drive to Malvern and Morningside Heights.

It would directly service the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus, and Centennial College’s Ellesmere and Morningside campus, and it would cost $630 million. And the plan would send streetcars east from Don Mills station along Sheppard Avenue, 13.6 kilometres to Morningside Avenue, costing $555 million.

The light rail plan by TTC officials is a blueprint for a massive transit expansion program across the city, envisioning a web of seven new routes totalling almost 95 kilometres of new surface track. While the TTC have no implementation plan until funding is in place, TTC chair Adam Giambrone (Ward 18, Davenport) said there’s a case to be made federally and provincially for long-term funding for the project.

“It seems ambitious, but it’s not in the sense that it would spread the cost out over a number of years because you can’t build all this in a short period of time. And funding is realistically the biggest challenge there, but it’s a tight plan.”

Ward 38 Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Scarborough Centre) sits on the commission. He called the plan “big, bold and beautiful.”

“I think there are tens of thousands of people who would benefit,” he said.

“I think this will impact or touch virtually every corner of the city. We’ve talked about having a spiderweb of rapid transit criss-crossing Scarborough. Well that spiderweb will go across the entire city - north Scarborough, north Etobicoke and down to our own waterfront. In terms of good public policy this is everything you’re supposed to do.”