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Councillor lauds LRT project

(Posted Date: Thursday, October 30, 2008)

By Karolyn Coorsh

Bill Saundercook is lauding plans to put a light rail line along Jane St. He likes it so much, in fact, he’s hoping to extend it to the waterfront.

The Parkdale-High Park councillor says light rapid will ease congestion on one of the busiest streets in Toronto’s west end.

The line is one of seven proposed for the city as part of the expansive Transit City project.

Current plans include building a 17-kilometre dedicated route from the Bloor-Danforth subway to Steeles Ave.

He said the LRT will also be a “nice connecting link” to the Bloor, St. Clair, Eglinton and Finch transit corridors.

“It’s all about connections,” said Saundercook, who is also a TTC commissioner. “We’re looking at some very important east-west routes and these routes now need to be connected to north-south routes.”

At an Oct. 23 TTC commission meeting, Saundercook asked staff to study the potential of extending the line further south to the waterfront.

By taking it toward the Queensway, he said, there’s more space to loop around. It also avoids creating a terminus at “the very tight and awkward” Jane and Bloor intersection.

The TTC is also studying the possibility that the Jane line may also have to go underground near Bloor, as the streets are too narrow for dedicated transit lines.

But the councillor said he wants to see the majority of the line remain above ground.

“For it to go below grade for any section of Jane is going to be extremely expensive,” he said. “It becomes the cost of a subway.”

The $630-million line has not been named a priority, and is set to begin construction in 2013, the second last line to be complete in the Transit City initiative.