NEWS February 25th, 2011

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Jane LRT goes off the rails

Sheppard subway plan means no money for proposed west-end Transit City line

Don’t expect light rail along Jane Street anytime soon.

While the TTC, mayor’s office and the province continue to deliberate over plans for the Sheppard subway line in the east, and the Eglinton Crosstown light rail, the proposed Jane light rail line is effectively off the table, says TTC chair Karen Stintz.

“There’s no funding now and there’s no plan for funding it in the future,” Stintz said recently.

The light rail line, which would have cost about $630 million, was to be the sixth of seven new transit lines proposed under then-mayor David Miller’s Transit City project. Scheduled to be completed in 2017, there were also plans to join it with the new York-Spadina subway extension for which construction is already underway. The line was to also connect with the Eglinton Crosstown light rail plan, which Stintz said is going ahead as planned.

Ward 13 councillor Sarah Doucette says the Jane transit line would have benefited her ward and that she hopes one day the idea will be revived.

“I think it’s a shame that we won’t be getting this but you never say never,” Doucette said in a February interview.

Though many were in favour of the line, Doucette also noted that during the recent election campaign several residents expressed concern that light rail would be built above ground and would negatively affect traffic flow. The original plan was to run the light rail underground.

“When they thought it was going to be above ground on Jane Street they were horrified,” Doucette said.

One resident who lives near Jane subway station told the Town Crier he would take light rail transit in his neighbourhood any way he could get it.

“If it got me the LRT I wouldn’t mind (the construction),” said David Roth while waiting for a bus on a cold February day.

Despite the loss of the light rail project, area transit users have claimed a small victory by retaining service for the 55 Warren Park bus.

City council had discussed eliminating service to the route after 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The route, which runs north from Jane Station to a neighbourhood southwest of Dundas St. West, was one of 49 bus routes in the city that had been facing service cuts.

“Through resident support and myself explaining that this is the only bus that goes into Warren Park we have been able to save it,” Doucette said.

Warren Park bus user Roth admitted the route is under-used but said cutting service would have been a huge inconvenience to him and his neighbours.

“Just because it’s a small route and it’s not very popular doesn’t mean we need to cut it,” he said.

If plans for the Jane light rail displayed a recognized need for more transit along Jane Street, Doucette said she doesn’t understand why any service cuts would be proposed for the area.

“If they were so concerned about the people on Jane Street why was the Warren Park bus even on the agenda to be cut?” she said.

One thought on “Jane LRT goes off the rails

  1. wklis
    February 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    There will be a four or more years delays in any good transit plans until we get a new pro-transit mayor into office. The current mayor has an unreasonable phobia against visible rail transit of any kind that he can see.