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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
A Queensway LRT Project
08/04/2004

There is an article in the Toronto Star today about an interesting new TTC project proposal.

It's partly interesting to me because I had already imagined this one on my own, and actually suggested it once at the annual meeting the TTC holds for riders to discuss service improvements. I'm sure I wasn't the first to think of this, however.

Here's the idea:

In order to speed up travel into downtown from the west -- especially lower Etobicoke, southern Parkdale -- a new LRT line is proposed.

Consider it an extension of the Exhibition run that goes from Union Station to Exhibition Place along a dedicated right-of-way on Queen's Quay and Fleet Street.

From the station at the Ex, the LRT would be extended on railway property to somehow reach Roncesvalles. From there it would continue along the right-of-way that exists on the Queensway as it goes along the south end of High Park.

At the point where the 501 car splits off to follow Lakeshore, this Queensway LRT would continue in its own right-of-way on The Queensway, as it continues west through the middle of south Etobicoke.

(Rough map of the region)

The advantage? People coming from the far west would not have to ride through congested Queen or King Streets to get downtown. They would have a direct route on a reserved right-of-way, all the way from the west Queensway. (With the new track, the (now 501) Lakeshore route could also be adjusted so that riders coming from anywhere west of Roncesvalles would travel along through Harbourfront, with the same benefit.)

Additionally, this would open up new areas for transit-friendly development. The Star article talks about new construction that will be happening on the old Stelco lands, as an example. Both the Queensway and Lakeshore in Etobicoke are designated "Avenues" in the Official Plan.

City Councillor and Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone is a backer of the plan which he says would cost $300-million. (I don't know where he got this number. Has there been a TTC assessment?) He says that that's cheap, even though the proposed St. Clair LRT is only about 1/10th that cost.

Ironically, the $300-million is about the same as Pantalone's other pet project, the Front Street Extension. These two seem to serve similar goals, but the LRT seems to be much better value -- so why not cancel Front Street and use that cash to build the Queensway LRT?!?


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