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LRT may kill buses on Eglinton

Picture this:

It’s 2021 and the new Eglinton LRT is finally operating. The years of digging, noise and disruption during its construction are over. You emerge from the underground LRT station at Bayview Ave.at mid-afternoon, to wait for a bus that will take you along Eglinton to Rumsey, to pick up your child from Northlea school. Or to get to your doctor’s office, located halfway between Bayview and Mt. Pleasant.

You wait. And you wait. No bus.

Or, it’s evening. You live halfway between Bayview and Laird, a few blocks north or south of Eglinton. Perhaps it’s raining. Or snowing. Or you’re tired, and you decide to catch a bus to get you closer to home. No bus is in view. So you wait. And you wait.

Eventually you give up waiting and set off on foot. Or perhaps you give up on public transit entirely and decide to use your car more often.

Currently there are numerous bus routes along Eglinton, so there is frequent service. After the LRT is complete, this is no longer likely to be the case.

The LPOA has heard that the TTC hopes to reap savings by reducing or virtually eliminating surface transit along Eglinton, under the theory that we won’t need it once the LRT is open.

But we WILL still need surface transit, to connect us to where we need to go.

The LRT stations are not within comfortable walking distances. We still need local buses to carry local passengers to points in between.

If bus service on Eglinton is infrequent, the street will not only be less convenient to use; it will also become less safe for pedestrians, especially at night.

Picture Sheppard Ave: ever since the Sheppard subway opened, the street is often like an empty canyon, by day and by night. Lots of cars, but if there are any buses it’s hard to find anyone who’s witnessed them!

It would be ironic if, after all of the problems residents had to live through during its construction, the LRT would actually make transit less accessible, less available and less convenient than it is now.

The LPOA will be approaching the TTC to make this point, and to do what we can to ensure that this scenario doesn’t happen.

Next month I hope to bring you more news and information regarding the controversial proposals to change the city’s ward boundaries, details about a June 21 LPOA public meeting about traffic calming, and the new south Bayview bus service which is due to start in late June.

In the meanwhile, feel free to attend any of our monthly Board meetings. The LPOA board meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, at the Trace Manes building on Rumsey Rd., near Leaside Library and the tennis courts. These meetings are open to the public. We encourage you to attend, whether with questions or issues on which you’d like advice, or just to listen in. Our next meeting is on Wednesday, May 4. You can always reach us at lpoa.ca.