Eglinton-Crosstown LRT to Pearson Airport

Eglinton-Crosstown LRT

The display panels from the Martin Grove to Pearson Airport public consultation held on September 2 are now available along with an updated FAQ. There are five proposed routes, four involving an alignment west of the 427 and one east.

The route east of the 427 provides the most direct and fastest route, likely cutting a one-way trip to the airport by about four minutes. It is also the most expensive route that involves a tunnel below the 401.

The routes west of the 427 have two southern variants, one heading north at Renforth Drive and the other heading north at Commerce Boulevard, and two northern variants, one using Silver Dart Drive and the other using Carlingview Drive. The actual alignment into the airport itself is still to be determined.

The options using Commerce Boulevard would be most useful as this is where the Mississauga Transitway will have a major terminal. The one really bizarre thing about the proposals is that the LRT would be in a median on the road while the Transitway terminal will be next to the road and grade separated. This has the potential to be an extremely useful connection point with connecting services into Mississauga and to the Kipling Subway station, but why on earth should people have to go up a level of stairs and cross a road to an LRT platform on a median?

The whole point of the Commerce Boulevard alignments, which are rather out-of-the-way, is to provide a useful connection. Why mess it up with an awkward connection?

If there is not going to be a useful benefit, why bother with any of the western alignments? Otherwise, forget the Renforth Drive alignments as they don’t make the connection, and its bridge across the 401 is longer and more expensive. Use the Commerce Boulevard alignments, provided the LRT moves to the north side of Eglinton (perhaps at Renforth) and follows the Transitway alignment to Commerce. From there, it can curve underground and come up to the surface in the median of Commerce, or perhaps just south of the 401.

I haven’t decided whether the western options should use Silver Dart Drive or Carlingview Drive. Steve Munro pointed out an odd irony in his review of these proposals. He notes that in the past the idea of electrifying the Dufferin bus route was shot down because the overhead wires on Wilson beyond the end of a runway at Downsview was a show stopper. Now, two of the route choices involve using Silver Dart Drive, which is right at the end of runways 6L and 6R.

One last note: the plans at this point only suggest that this line will only server Terminal 1. While I believe that LRT service should also involve Terminal 3, I would suggest that when the plans for a western extension of the Finch LRT have it coming into the airport, that its alignment might be better to serve Terminal 3 on the way to Terminal 1. Hopefully, the design of the Eglinton-Crosstown alignment into Terminal 1 will take this into account. I suspect that LRT operations could become the preferred way to transfer between the two terminals. A good example of using LRT for intra-terminal movement can be seen in both Minneapolis and St. Louis. LRT fare is free between the airport terminals.

2 Responses to “Eglinton-Crosstown LRT to Pearson Airport”

  1. Michael Forest Says:

    Is it possible to branch the route? Run one branch from Martin Grove straight to the airport, and the other to Commerce and BRT interchange.

    If they are talking about 3-4 min frequency at peak hours and 6 min at other times, half of that on each branch should still be good enough.

    Cal’s comment: Is it possible to branch the route? Absolutely. Is it possible for the TTC to branch the route? I’m not so sure. The more I look at this plan, the more I feel that option 5 should be used to the airport, or even a new option that heads up Martin Grove to Dixon (a shorter, less costly tunnel from Martin Grove under the 401 and emerging on Dixon is possible), plus a branch to the BRT station at Commerce Boulevard.

    The TTC doesn’t seem to have a great problem with running branch routes or interlined routes on bus and streetcar network, but for some reason it becomes an issue with higher order forms of transit. Once a few Transit City lines are in place, there will likely be a number of interlining and branching opportunities to provide service that meets some significant travel patterns, provided the infrastructure (connecting tracks) is in place. The west end of the Eglinton-Crosstown line is certainly one situation where branching should seriously be considered from this point forward.

  2. W. K. Lis Says:

    I have received an e-mail confirmation that “To confirm, after a thorough review, the decision was made to proceed with Route 1, as it would provide the best connection to existing and future development in the vicinity of the Airport. More details will be provided at the next round of consultation.”

    Cal’s comment: Interesting.