By Gerry Divaris

Three community drop-ins were held last month to focus on the future planning opportunities along the anticipated Eglinton East Light Rapid Transit corridor in Scarborough.  The Eglinton East LRT team came first to the Don Montgomery Community Centre on Sept 5. Similar events were hosted in the communities that will have the LRT traversing them: Malvern Centre, Kingston Road between Galloway/Lawrence and Morningside, and Kingston Road between Markham Road and Kingston Road.

The Eglinton East LRT will be the easterly extension of the Crosstown LRT, and will run from Kennedy Station along Eglinton Ave East, connecting to Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue. This route should provide LRT service to some 40,000 people who live within walking distance of this transit corridor.

The objective of the community drop-ins is for interested parties and the public to voice their opinions and desires as to what they would like to see. Given some of the discussion at the attended event at Don Montgomery C.C, it was clear that parking and alternate uses of the land around the LRT may be at odds between various interest groups. Some retailers fear that during the construction phase pedestrian traffic will atrophy damaging businesses and vehicular traffic will encounter frustration. Yet others are concerned that finding affordable housing will be beyond their means as this gentrification unfolds.

Some of the plans of this transit expansion should appeal to cyclists, as development plans will not only include bike paths as part of the infrastructure but paths that will also provide connections to the ravine system.

The LRT team is honestly making every effort to satisfy as many people as possible, and they ought to be commended for their efforts.  However, we all know that along the way it may appear to some as a fool’s errand. Toronto has been bereft of a proper transit system for so long that any changes that are made are bound to upset a lot of people. Traffic pains are certainly in our collective future. If we want and demand a world-class transit system, we will have to grin and bear it.