Talking traffic before Eglinton LRT work begins

With the construction of the Eglinton Avenue light rail transit (LRT) on the horizon, public meetings will soon be held to discuss station design and traffic management.

Coun. Joe Mihevc noted that it’s a vital but complicated project. Mihevc said area residents ought to be prepared to deal with the “day-to-day havoc” this will cause.

“I think we should be as honest and clear as possible with good communication,” he said. “This is a big project, and it will have a lot of impact on the neighbourhood.”

The disruptions will come in the beginning and end months of construction of the stations, as the rest of the work will mostly happen underground, Mihevc explained. Bathurst station is being designed first, with the others following closely behind.

Mihevc said developing a traffic management plan will be paramount. One question that will need to be answered is whether the Allen Road will be closed at Lawrence Avenue or that some traffic can be let through.

In the meantime, east of Yonge Street, the steep slopes of the Don Valley may pose a challenge to Mayor Rob Ford’s wishes to bury that stretch of the LRT.

According to a spokesperson for provincial transportation co-ordinating body Metrolinx, this was factored into its plans. With a number of above- and below-ground options under consideration, he indicated that the results of his agency’s technical evaluation would be presented to the public early next year.

Coun. John Parker supports the Eglinton LRT, but he’s not convinced that it’s necessary to bury this segment.

“It will add substantially to the cost, no matter what challenges we face, just the mere premium it’ll cost to put the line through a tunnel rather than on the surface,” he said.

The Metrolinx spokesperson said the $8.4 million estimate includes the projected increase in cost.

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