John Tory's proposal to cancel Eglinton Connects irresponsible and short-sighted
Submitted by Jared Kolb on 22 April, 2014 - 08:03
Last week, John Tory released his "Fighting Gridlock Initiative" which included a proposal that if elected Mayor, would see him cancel "the $150 million 'Eglinton Connects' proposal, which will increase traffic congestion by reducing traffic lanes." Eglinton Connects is a small component of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project, to which the province is committing $5.35 billion. Eglinton Connects is a transformative plan that is driven by a Complete Streets vision for Eglinton Ave. Tory's proposal would eliminate the plan for Complete Streets, as well as proposed streetscape improvements along Eglinton including the creation of wider sidewalks, protected bicycle lanes, great trees, mid-rise development, street furniture and patio space.
Tory's irresponsible proposal to cancel Eglinton Connects goes against strong support of the plan from schools, community groups, business improvement areas (2), school trustees (2) and residents’ associations, and many individuals who live, work or study near Eglinton. The project was even awarded Transportation Project of the Year Award from the Institute of Transport Engineers. Cycle Toronto fully supports the Eglinton Connects plan for its investment in 11km of protected bike lanes through midtown Toronto.
- Eglinton is not going down "from 5 lanes to 3", as Tory claims. Most of Eglinton has from 2-4 rush hour traffic lanes, with 1 or 2 rush hour bus/taxi lanes (which are parking the rest of the time).
- The new plans have 4 rush hour full traffic lanes over most of Eglinton. In many places this is an increase in auto lanes over what exists today, and much fewer buses on the street.
- The section of Eglinton near Yonge St, which sees the lowest auto traffic of all (600-900 cars per direction per hour), is planned to have 3 traffic lanes - but the heavy bus traffic into Eglinton station will be gone.
- The Yonge & Eglinton intersection moves 70% more pedestrians than cars and is the second busiest pedestrian intersection in the city.
- The Eglinton Connects project will fight congestion by increasing the people-moving capacity of the avenue.
- The LRT can carry up to 15,000 people per hour per direction - the car lanes top out at 2,000.
- The street designs for Eglinton Connects have been worked out in meticulous detail through a community consultation process that has taken into account the needs of all of Eglinton’s users, including motorists
The Eglinton Connects study won unanimous approval at Public Works & Infrastructure Committee and Planning & Growth Management Committee earlier this month and heads to City Council in May. We urge John Tory to revise his position on Eglinton Connects and fully support the proposal.