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Lakefront LRT Proposal
20/09/2005

In yesterday's Metro (link PDF), there was an article ("Regions vie for TTC cash") that talked about a possible "Lakefront LRT" project:

Councillors from the city’s west end are petitioning the TTC to extend the Harbourfront streetcar line to link south Etobicoke to Union Station in what may become an “east-west” divide over the division of the transit authority’s resources.

When 10 west-end councillors present their petition for a $350 million “Lakefront LRT” to TTC commissioners on Wednesday, the transit agency will already be wrestling with the future of the Scarborough RT. The aging cars and tracks need to be replaced with a subway, streetcars or buses, according to a report in this month’s agenda.

But a Lakefront LRT would create a continuous streetcar line that would operate in its own right-of-way from Lake Shore Boulevard West to Union Station. The issues will pit west against east in the fight for transit cash.

I've had this project in my mind since the Harbourfront Streetcar was extended to Exhibition Place. An extension of this line from the The Ex to Queen & Roncesvalles is the main work that is required to create a high-speed option for bringing west-enders into Union Station. Streetcars already move in their own right-of-way along the Toronto portion of The Queensway. West of the Humber, both Lakeshore and Queensway are wide enough to consider building LRT lanes.

I have emailed both of the Etobicoke-Lakeshore City Councillors -- Mark Grimes and Peter Milczyn -- but neither has replied to me with any information about the proposal. Based on my own assumptions, I've put together the map below. The extension along Lakeshore West is what is planned; the Queensway extension could be a future option but isn't warranted at this time.

Ed Drass has more about Wednesday's TTC meeting at which these and several other expansion projects may be discussed. Obviously, there is not enough money to go around, and the Scarborough RT replacement is necessary. However, the advantage of LRT developments is that they are relatively cheap compared to subway investments.


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