Finch West LRT commented


On June 3 2014, the Emery Village BIA held a Town Hall meeting in order to discuss the implications of the proposed Finch-West LRT (light rail transit). Executive director Sandra Farina, opened the discussion reminding the audience that similar meetings were held in 2009, and 2012 where Metrolinx (the company planning to build the LRT) was invited but did not attend.

The proposed LRT plan would have tracks stretch from the Yonge-Finch subway station, including 20 stops going west, ending at Humber College. The LRT tracks would be in the middle of the road, leaving room for two lanes in each direction for other vehicles, as well as a 1.6m bike lane. Sounds promising, but an LRT will not solve the problem of transportation; it will make it more inefficient, said the BIA.

Emery village is the “largest industrial pocket in the country,” implying that we need to have a route that is accessible and efficient for trucks, constantly hauling shipments to local businesses. There has been a record of 900 trucks, on Weston Rd. on any given day- having the LRT would slow down the traffic flow, Farina said.

As the LRT would run through the middle of the roadway, it would prevent vehicles from turning left into the driveway of a local business. Vehicles will have to go to the closest intersection and make a u-turn, taking a more circuitous, and time consuming route to get to their destination. And tractor-trailers would be an issue regularly making turns at the height of rush hour.

John Mcgill, transportation vice-president of Cole Engineering Group Ltd presented the audience with a report done by his company, highlighting the negative impact the LRT would have on travel time. For instance, it takes a car roughly 6 minutes to get from Jayzel and Finch, to Driftwood and Finch, but after the LRT is built it will take almost 20 minutes to go the same distance. Local resident Kirti Sharma believes “the difference is ridiculous, and we are better off without an LRT.”

Giorgio Mammoliti, the York West Ward 7 Councillor has repeatedly stressed in the meeting that he has opted for a subway, and that the LRT is not the way to go.

The discussion between the councilor and the BIA has lead to the idea that tunneling off a section of the LRT would be much more efficient then the current proposed plan.

The main problem with burying a section of the LRT is that it is much more expensive, although over time cheaper to maintain.

Alternatively the current plan by Metrolinx is cheaper to build but much more expensive to maintain. Business and property owner Julius Suraski stated that the LRT is “a disaster for the business area,” and considers “the subway is the only logical solution.”

Another resident, Danny, went as far as to call the LRT “the lousy rotten transit,” using the example of Avenue rd. and St.Clair, where local businesses and property owners have suffered losses due to the presence of the LRT.

Danny noted that before the LRT a house in the area would be sold in a matter of days after being put on to the market, but after the LRT was built a house in the same neighborhood would stay on the market for more than two months.

This is not what Emery Village should turn into, after working so hard to build the community the LRT should not be the reason for its downfall, many said. As councilor Mammoliti has said, “this is a time to forget our political stripes, we must stick together on a plan that fits the community.”