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Leslie St. extension is back in discussion

I have recently begun a review of a 1990 Metro Toronto report on a proposal to extend Leslie St., widen the Bayview Extension and link the south end of the resulting roadway to Bloor St.

The proposal will be familiar to many Leaside residents. The report ranked the proposal as the most favourable of several options under consideration at the time for improving transportation conditions within what was defined as the Don Valley corridor. 

Other proposals were: implement improved transportation system management, including incentives for high occupancy vehicles, etc.; add more buses, raise bus service standards, and implement reserved bus lanes and new bus routes; improve GO transit rail service; and widen Don Mills Rd. and/or Victoria Park Ave.

Also on the list of options to be considered: do nothing. Of this option the report made the following helpful observation: “[a]lthough the ‘do nothing’ alternative would involve the least direct costs and effects on the natural environment, it would offer no improvements to existing and future traffic operation problems, community intrusions in South Leaside or accessibility to the Leaside/ Thorncliffe Park areas.”

(Although probably not on the basis of that particular insight, it was of course the “do nothing” option that was in effect adopted.)

The interesting thing from my point of view is that the report estimated the construction cost for the recommended option – creating a direct link from the bottom end of Leslie to Bloor via a widened Bayview Extension – to be not much over $100 million. Those were 1989 costs expressed in 1989 dollars, of course, but the price tag does give some perspective to the $1 billion cost that my colleagues on city council recently took on in opting for a three-stop extension to the Danforth subway line in preference to the previously agreed seven-stop surface rail alternative.

I intend to comment further in the months to come on the 1990 Metro recommendations and possibly some other measures aimed at addressing traffic and other car-related matters involving our community.