Elevated transit is among the alternatives Metrolinx is considering to address Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s concerns about street-level light rail that takes away car lanes from city streets.
There are already North American examples, including Vancouver and the Scarborough RT, where elevated light rail has proved effective, said Metrolinx chief executive officer Bruce McCuaig, who met with senior staff in Ford’s office on Friday.
The new mayor says he doesn’t want light rail tracks impeding cars on Toronto streets. He has ordered the TTC back to the drawing board on the $8.15 billion Metrolinx-funded light rail plan for Sheppard, Finch and Eglinton avenues and the Scarborough RT.
Although Ford has pledged to take transit underground, there are signs he might accept underground LRT, such as that planned for about 10 kilometres on Eglinton, as an alternative to subways.
McCuaig said there may be other ways, including elevated tracks, to address the mayor’s key concern about leaving room for cars on the road.
Metrolinx and TTC officials will also be looking at places in the existing light rail plan where the street could be widened and the impact on car turning minimized.
Although it can be tricky to fit into the urban landscape, elevated rail costs less than tunneling, said McCuaig.