Transit =1; Traffic = 0 by Dr. Eric Hoskins, MPP St. Paul’s
Toronto has some of the worst traffic congestion in North America. In 2006, the Toronto Board of Trade estimated that $6 billion in economic activity is lost annually because of gridlock in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). However, after dozens of plans and decades of neglect, rapid transit is finally coming to midtown Toronto. The Ontario government has committed $8.4 billion to support rapid transit throughout Toronto. The centerpiece of the new Toronto rapid transit strategy will be the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT. The Crosstown will run 19km along Eglinton Ave., of which 11km will be underground and another 6km in Scarborough where it will replace the aging Scarborough RT. On June 5th, 2013, the first Tunnel Boring Machine was launched – and it was given the name Dennis, after the Mount Dennis neighbourhood at the western end of The Crosstown. Dennis the Tunnel Boring Machine is currently tunneling to Eglinton West Station at a rate of 10-15 metres per day. Once the machine gets to Eglinton West Station, it will be extracted at the west end of the Allen Rd. and then reinserted on the east side of the Allen Rd. This way, subway service will not be disrupted. The Crosstown will transform rapid transit in Toronto. It will intersect with the Yonge-University-Spadina subway system at both Eglinton and Eglinton West stations, as well as at Kennedy station, so that transit users will have a seamless transfer between The Crosstown and the current subway system. The Crosstown is made-in-Ontario; the trains are constructed by Bombardier in Thunder Bay, the Tunnel Boring Machines are made in Etobicoke and even the concrete tunnel lining is made in Ontario. They’re still lots of opportunities for residents of midtown to be part of the discussion regarding this unprecedented rapid transit expansion – visit www.thecrosstown.ca and click on “Get Involved.” There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m proud to say that rapid transit is finally coming to Eglinton! Eric Hoskins has been the MPP for St. Paul’s since 2009 and is currently the Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Employment.