Archive for July, 2011

Extending the Sheppard Line: Pros and Cons

Monday, July 25th, 2011

There was an article in Friday’s Toronto Star outlining pro and con views of extending the Sheppard line’s construction. You can click on the link to read the full article, but there are some points I will address here.

The article starts off with Councillor Norm Kelly. There is no particular quote of his that requires a direct comment, but the article does say, “He is convinced that ridership will be there.” Well, if he is convinced, that must be proof that we should spend billions to build the extension. Nothing like the convictions of a flip-flopper like Kelly to convince us all to do that.

A flip-flopper you say? Ah yes, let us not forget how solidly behind the SELRT prior to the election. Some constituents of his passed on a message from him that he was interested in hearing from someone with LRT knowledge in his bid to alleviate the concerns of the Save Our Sheppard group. That is, until the results of the election were in and the writing was on the wall for centre-of-the-road LRT lines, and he jumped on the Subway wagon.

The second person on the pro side in the article is Denis Lanoue who had these gems to say:

We were scared it would turn into a St. Clair Ave. scenario.

There is a reason people and businesses are located along Sheppard and not St. Clair: because it is not St. Clair. We are talking about a five-lane road that has an allotted space for seven lanes of traffic and adding an LRT median in the middle. Simple math tells us there is not a single square centimetre lost to car space.

Once the Subway extension is built, condos and other businesses will come up all along Sheppard and property taxes will help pay for the cost.

[capitalization of ‘Subway’ mine]

The Ford administration is already of the position that all the condos and businesses that will come up on Sheppard PLUS all the condos and businesses that will come up along the Eglinton-Crosstown subway-LRT line will be needed to pay for the Sheppard line. Many say that won’t be enough, but Lanoue somehow feels the development along Sheppard alone will cover the cost. How about this, Mr. Lanoue: a new $2000 annual levy added to the tax bill for every 25 metres of frontage along Sheppard Avenue until the Sheppard line is paid for?

We are wasting so much time in cars going from point A to B, LRT wasn’t going to be fast and it would have clogged street.

Lanoue must seem to think there is no Sheppard Avenue east of Kennedy Road, since that is where the extension’s alignment will part with the street. No higher order transit east of Sheppard (or northeast of Scarborough Town Centre as well) will greatly increase that time spent in cars.

This city’s primary focus on Subway expansion should be on a Downtown Relief Line, with current focus on its eastern leg from downtown somewhere around King or Queen to a connection on the Bloor-Danforth line somewhere between Pape and Coxwell, and continuing north to Don Mills and Eglinton.

Recently, my thoughts on this have shifted slightly to say that extending this all the way to Sheppard might be useful in taking a little more load off of Yonge, though that extension could be implemented later on. With this idea in mind, what about implementing a northern extension of a DRL to Sheppard as an eastward curving southward extension of the Sheppard line? Perhaps another option to consider.