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Light-rail line's on track for Sheppard

TTC bosses move $665M Transit City plan further along


The TTC has taken another step along the road toward Transit City.

Transit commissioners yesterday unanimously approved an environmental assessment study recommending the construction of a light-rail transit line along Sheppard Ave. E. from the Don Mills subway station through to Meadow vale Rd.

“This is a billion-dollar gift basket,” said Commissioner Glenn De Baermaker, a city councillor who represents Scarborough Centre (Ward 38). “It’s everything you could have wanted for Scarborough and the northeast part of the city.”

The plan calls for an LRT right-of-way to cut a swath down the middle of Sheppard Ave. E. with two travel lanes and a bike lane in each direction, said Gary Carr, the TTC’s chief engineer of operations planning.

There will be left-turn lanes at major intersections but access to smaller roads will be limited to right-turns, he said.

The plan does allow U-turns at traffic signals.

Councillor Michael Thompson, who represents Scarborough Centre (Ward 37), praised the proposal as bringing an “equilibrium” to transit across the city.

One thing that still needs to be decided is how the LRT line will intersect with the Sheppard subway.

One option is to extend the subway to Consumers Rd.; the other is to extend the Don Mills subway station platform and build an LRT tunnel under Hwy. 404.

Extending the subway is the pricier of the two options at $355 million — about $120 million more than tunnelling.

Originally the plan was to widen a bridge across the highway and have a surface station on Sheppard Ave. E., connecting with the subway.

When the Transit City plan was launched in March 2007, the projected cost for the Sheepard East LRT was $435 million. The new plan, which includes upgrades, would cost $655 million.

The plan is to get the GTA-wide transit authority, Metrolinx, to include the LRT in its funding plans.

Construction is currently slated to begin next year.