There have been ongoing debates about revisions to the LRT (Light Rail Transit) transit plan instigated by Mayor Rob Ford; however, the most important matter is not being considered: public satisfaction.
Ford wants to revise the plan by having 25 kilometres of the Eglinton-Scarborough LRT moved underground which will cost an extra $2 billion.
If the LRT continues with the original plan, it will run in the middle of the Eglinton Avenue and Warden Avenue intersection, with two lanes on either side.
The part of the LRT which will be situated in the middle of the intersection is a concern for some because it may increase congestion and produce traffic issues.
However if the LRT is to remain above ground there won’t be any stations which means no money will be spent for chairs, escalators and elevators to go up and down to the train platforms.
No need for a large loading deck, due to the height and width of the vehicles, not to mention extra space that is needed for the track curves and platform cross-overs. Underground transportation also needs a complex signalling system compared to those above ground.
Therefore if parts of the LRT do need to be underground then money will have to go towards stations containing these facilities.
Toronto is coping with debt so spending so much money on these subways is going to take us 10 steps back while the city tries to recover from the recession.
The LRT may cause traffic in local areas but the advantages of the LRT outweigh those of the subways. To list a few, there will be many more convenient stops for riders and the money saved from not building subways can go toward fixing current traffic routes.
Time is already being wasted on trying to agree on a transit plan. The completion of a fully effective subway system seems too far to even imagine.
Ford wants to revise the transit plan, perhaps in order to avoid complaints from local residents and fix the problem temporarily.
If you look at the bigger picture and the cost to build the subways, it will become a greater nuisance to people in the future.