High Line

City councillor eyes rapid transit line as NYC-style High Line in Toronto

A Toronto councillor has submitted a motion to explore the reuse of the now defunct Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT) elevated guideway (which includes the six former stations along the 6.4 km line) akin to the famous High Line in New York City.

Scarborough North councillor/TTC board chair Jamaal Myers City Council, as well as Councillor Paul Ainslie, want council to consider the feasibility of adaptively reusing Line 3 of the TTC assets that are no longer required to provide bus or train service as part of the development of a “new linear park and active transportation corridor”, inspired by similar projects, such as the High Line in New York, the Beltline in Atlanta, Cuernavaca’s Railway Linear Park in Mexico City, and the Potrero Yard Modernization Project in San Francisco.

The councillors are requesting that CreateTO and partnering city organizations evaluate high-capacity mobility solutions along the corridor to meet ongoing resident and business needs in partnership with Metrolinx, as well as commercial and housing development potential integrated into the existing SRT corridor, “including opportunities to support city-building objectives.

In 2013, Council first proactively decided to explore the feasibility of adaptively reusing the SRT assets, which served Scarborough from 1985 until its decommissioning in July 2023. According to the TTC, the SRT trains operated 10 years past their design life, became susceptible to cold weather, and had already been overhauled twice to ensure safe reliable service.

After the line was decommissioned, an on-street bus replacement service began operating southbound via Midland Avenue and northbound via Kennedy Road between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations.

“The possibility of converting the elevated right-of-way portions of Line 3 into an iconic linear public park and mobility space remains an important act of city-building,” the motion states, adding that  Scarborough residents have the longest Toronto Transit Commission commutes, the least amount of biking infrastructure, and the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the City.

“This linear park will help residents to safely and conveniently gain expanded year-round access to jobs, affordable housing options, culture and entertainment, shopping, green space, and other neighbourhoods along the existing corridor, and would significantly improve the quality of life in Scarborough while supporting Council’s ambitious housing, employment, quality of life and fiscal sustainability goals.”

The motion requests that CreateTO and partnering organizations report back to Council with their evaluation by the end of the third quarter of this year.

The motion will be considered tomorrow.

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