New Toronto transit network could reshape the city, experts say
The new proposed network of rapid transit across Toronto is made up of projects that are underway or have been part of Toronto’s planning process in recent years.
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The 15-year transit plan unveiled Tuesday could change not only how Torontonians get around but the shape of the city itself.
The new proposed network of rapid transit across Toronto is made up of projects that are underway or have been part of Toronto’s planning process in recent years. It includes extending the Bloor-Danforth subway, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, a relief line, SmartTrack/GO RER and LRTs along Finch, Sheppard, Jane and Queen’s Quay.
Architect and planner Ken Greenberg and Matti Siemiatycki, a University of Toronto geography and planning professor, said that change could be for the better, bringing new neighbourhoods and completing existing ones.
But it’s important to make sure the city is equitable as it grows, said Greenberg, stressing the need for affordable housing near new transit hubs.
Siemiatycki and Greenberg highlighted a few areas that are ripe for change if the new lines on Toronto’s transit map become reality 2031.
The city’s plans show a SmartTrack stop and a relief line stop at Gerrard Square, Siemiatycki said.
The area of Gerrard and Pape is made up of large parcels that could easily be redeveloped—including a couple of large parking lots and Gerard Square mall.
“The community will have its own views on acceptable density, how tall the buildings are going to be, what type of amenities they want to see in there,” Siemiatycki said. “It could spur an interesting community development conversation.”
Development has already started here and having an LRT has long been part of plans supported by the city and Waterfront Toronto.
The area could transform into a real community with the LRT, Siemiatycki said. And, the infrastructure needs to be built fast so the neighbourhood — expected to be filled with a mix of condos, townhouses, retail and office space — becomes oriented around transit, instead of cars, as it develops, Greenberg said.
Scarborough City Centre
Extending Bloor-Danforth to Scarborough Centre is expected to be the catalyst needed to build a complete neighbourhood with homes, opportunities for work and community facilities, around Scarborough Town Centre mall, Siemiatycki said.
“Where you have large amounts of land there’s opportunity, and when you’re spending billions on these transit projects the key is to link that with land use,” Siemiatycki said.