Letters · VIEWS April 8th, 2016

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Eglinton Connects not all it’s cracked up to be

Eglinton Connects is a sham. The very week Mr. Taranu’s op-ed appeared (“The case for funding Eglinton Connects”), the mayor announced the subway could not be extended to Richmond Hill until the relief line is built because the Yonge line is already overcrowded as far north as York Mills.

And how many more riders will Eglinton Connects dump on the Yonge line?

Then the Toronto District School Board said they would be able to resolve the question of adequate school capacity by 2024.

Shouldn’t the question of where the schools go have been part of all preliminary studies and of any plans submitted to the OMB for approval?

When they planned subdivisions they sure were. The fact that schools are only now being considered underlines the lack of professionalism of City of Toronto planners.

Mr. Taranu’s comment “without a transit-supportive streetscape Eglinton could well struggle” betrays him as an “urban design ideologue.”

Is it possible he does not know Eglinton Connects is really about the mass upzoning of Eglinton from Yonge to Caledonia, which is why speculators are already driving the merchants out?

If there is so much money here to be made by developers why should the taxpayers pay one cent toward Eglinton Connects and “mature trees” whose root systems will comprise 10-storey-plus condos on each side and an LRT below?

At the meeting for the Relief Line held last March at Yonge and Heath, the planner spoke about the intention to put more density along that route. I replied that this would make the Relief Line the first bypass that actually adds cholesterol.

At one of the first sessions of Eglinton Connects where we, the little peons, were allowed to speak, I said the traffic plan was like putting in a smaller drain in a flood.

Ten years or less from today, people on a street such as Duncannon will learn of a 10-storey condo to go up on their corner.

They’ll vow to fight it, then they’ll learn the zoning was pre-packaged in 2014.

Thank you Ms. Keesmaat, thank you Mr. Matlow. The planners sold Eglinton Connects to the fuzzy thinkers with pretty pictures of young girls in flowing white dresses with unicorns.

The reality of pre-packaged upzonings betrays it as a classic bait-and-switch.

Then there is the legitimately expert report of Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou of U of T. Her study indicates that we in the midtown and downtown produce the lowest emissions in the GTA but for farmland.

The highest emissions are caused by “extreme commuters” from the 905.

The effect Eglinton Connects will have will be to increase the carbon footprint of the extreme commuters.

Our planners have said we cannot build effective transit in the suburbs because there isn’t the density.

But planners are supposed to be planning for the needs of the GTA over the next 30 years, not just validate what developers want to do today.

When the “urban design ideologues” have built all the condos and LRTs and young women in flowing dresses are holding their bonnets as they bicycle on Eglinton (that’s one of the Eglinton Connects illustrations), the extreme commuters will still be there.

What Mr. Taranu never got around to in his op-ed is where they will all go, and that is because the answer is through the neighbourhoods south of Eglinton.

Bob Murphy
Eglinton Avenue East