Our Advocacy Convinces Mayor Tory to Study Tunnelling the Eglinton West LRT
Mayor Tory's motion to study tunnelling the Eglinton West LRT passes City of Toronto Executive Committee
Yesterday Mayor John Tory asked the City of Toronto Executive Committee to support a motion directing staff to study tunnelling and/or grade separations for the Eglinton West LRT. The motion passed with unanimous consent.
I welcomed the Mayor's decision yesterday because I believe that an at-grade LRT down the middle of Eglinton Avenue would be unacceptable and I have been fighting on behalf of our community to tunnel the LRT, along with our local city councillors Stephen Holyday and John Campbell and many members of our community, including many of you. Tunnelling the LRT would be better for transit riders, better for drivers, better for taxpayers, and better for our community in Etobicoke.
Yesterday's announcement would not have happened without our advocacy, so I would like to thank all of you for your advocacy and support. I would also like to thank Mayor Tory for considering our input and for taking this important step.
I have been advocating on this issue since early 2016. I have consulted extensively with our community and co-hosted a Transit Town Hall and a community consultation in Etobicoke with Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca on this issue. I have also met on multiple occasions with Mayor Tory, the Premier, and Minister Del Duca to advocate for tunnelling.
In addition, I wrote Mayor Tory in May 2016 to ask the Mayor to halt the sale of lands that were set aside for transit along the North side of Eglinton Avenue and wrote to Metrolinx CEO John Jensen in May 2017 to request that the City of Toronto and Metrolinx study the full range of grade separation options for the Eglinton West LRT, including tunnelling. I also advocated for tunnelling at a recent consultation hosted by City of Toronto staff about the Eglinton LRT on November 13.
Mayor Tory recognized our advocacy when he spoke to the media yesterday, saying, "The feedback we got from residents, from business, from local representatives had me convinced and we'll be taking steps today to direct the staff to take a harder look at grade separations."
- The initial business case presented to Toronto City Council for the Eglinton West LRT in June 2016 indicated that the cost-benefit ratio of tunnelling the LRT was comparable to at-grade options.
- The same initial business case indicated that a tunnelled LRT was the only solution where the benefits could outweigh the costs. The majority of the benefits are from the time that a tunnelled LRT would save existing transit users (for details see pages 21-22).