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  • blogTO notes an exciting open house on the 28th of October for three of the new University Line subway stations.

  • Alex Bozikovic praises the architectural innovation behind the new stations on the Eglinton Crosstown line.

  • Christopher Hume's argument (from August) that Toronto will, despite itself, have to invest in its future works.

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  • Torontoist remembers Pam McConnell, former deputy mayor and a person committed for a long time to the health of Toronto.

  • The Toronto Star's Jesse Winters notes the controversial planned addition of two condo towers, somewhat modified, to the Distillery District.

  • The Toronto Star reports on the rescue of two photo-taiking tourists stranded midway the Scarborough Bluffs. I'm not saying I've climbed these very same inclines, just that I empathize with their position.

  • The Star's Emma McIntosh confirms what we suspected: The flooding of the Toronto Islands is such that large portions will remain closed off all summer.

  • The Globe and Mail's Stephen Wickens notes that there is not a large commerical real estate boom along the new Eglinton Avenue LRT.

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Two pigeons, coal-black

I rather liked the style of these two pigeons I saw perched by the buses at Eglinton Station.
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In The Globe and Mail, John Lorinc notes plans for the extensive redevelopment of a stretch of Eglinton Avenue East in Scarborough.

By suburban standards, the 7.7-hectare No Frills property on the north side of Eglinton Avenue East, between Victoria Park and Pharmacy, may not seem like the sort of real estate destined for serious mixed-use intensification.

Situated at the western edge of Scarborough’s Golden Mile, the decades-old shopping centre, anchored by a 55,000-square-foot No Frills, is part of a long stretch of big-box malls, low-slung industrial sites and a few squat office blocks.

But when Choice Properties REIT, Loblaw’s development spinoff, acquired the property four years ago, it identified the shopping centre as a candidate for the sort of big-bang intensification exercise that has few precedents in Toronto’s inner suburbs.

“We looked at that site and said, ‘It’s significantly underutilized,’” Choice Properties chief executive and president John Morrison said. “We want to build a new community where people can live and shop and ideally work as well.”

In what he predicted will be a multiphase project beginning with a redevelopment of the supermarket, Choice will add 2,500 residential units – stacked townhouses, mid-rise apartments and towers – as well as 260,000 square feet of additional retail, green space, private and public community amenities and links to the two LRT stations that will serve the 410-metre-long parcel when the Eglinton Crosstown goes into service, expected in 2023.
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blogTO's Derek Flack describes how the soon-to-be-completed Eglinton Crosstown LRT will transform Toronto, especially the midtown. Plenty of analysis and photos is there: go read!

In about five years, Toronto will unveil the largest expansion of the TTC's rapid transit network since the 1960s. The Crosstown LRT will consist of 25 stops stretching across 19 kilometres of Eglinton Avenue, 10 of which will be underground.

While this massive project won't open until 2021 (assuming it stays on target), it's already transforming Toronto in profound ways.

The construction of rapid transit spurs development, whether it's a heavy rail subway or an LRT, but the placement of a new line is always crucial. In the case of the Eglinton Crosstown, there are already plenty of signs that the route will lead to a huge increase in density along the street after which it's named.

It'd be overreaching to claim the condo boom in and around Yonge and Eglinton as the direct result of the coming LRT. The area is already so well served by transit thanks to its proximity to the Yonge Line.

When you follow the route away from the core, however, it's amazing to see how many developments have already been proposed, many of which will be completed shortly after the LRT opens.
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Alicja Siekierska at the Toronto Star looks at the concerns of businesses on Eglinton Avenue about disruption to their affairs by construction of a light rail route. This sounds a lot like what we heard about St. Clair during streetcar construction there.

Vendors along Eglinton Ave. say their businesses are paying the price for construction of the Crosstown LRT.

“The whole area is devastated and desecrated,” said Viive Tork, the owner of VII Designs and Gifts on Eglinton Ave. near Chaplin Cres., where one of the stations will be located.

“We’ve been forced into a very precarious situation.”

Maureen Sirois, chair of the Eglinton Way Business Improvement Area, said the area is grappling with many issues – a lack of parking, drastically reduced foot traffic, various obstructions – since the construction of the stations began. The entire project will be complete in 2021.

“Every single business understands that we must build a subway, but it shouldn’t be done on the backs of small businesses,” Sirois said.
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The Toronto Star shares Luke Simcoe's article noting how dangerous midtown's Eglinton Avenue is.

This year, eight pedestrians have been killed on, or adjacent to, the east-west artery, according to a Metro analysis. No other roadway’s tally comes close.

The trail of pedestrian deaths extends as far west as Dufferin Street, but the majority of fatalities along Eglinton occurred in the east, where the road widens to as many as six lanes.

The victims include 63-year-old Grace Fryfogel, killed Oct. 20 at Eglinton and Hanna Road, as well as a construction worker run down Oct. 12 near Midland Avenue and an 81-year-old man on a mobility scooter, killed Oct. 5 at Eglinton and Winter Avenue.

The stats didn’t come as a surprise to residents who don’t believe the city is doing enough to address the problem.

The city’s new road safety plan largely ignores Eglinton. Save for a small portion in Etobicoke, speed limits on the road remain untouched, and it’s not included in the city’s list of pedestrian safety corridors, most of which are located downtown.
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Last Metropass line, November 2016, Eglinton station #toronto #yongeandeglinton #eglinton #ttc #metropass #metrolinx #presto

Last night when I was at Eglinton station, I snapped a photo of the regular end-of-the-month line-up for a Metropass. It was a noteworthy moment for me because this is going to be the last such moment, with the transition in January 2017 to the reloadable Presto cards.
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The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports on a development dispute at the future Avenue Road station of the Eglinton Crosstown.

A dispute over a piece of land in midtown is reigniting debate about whether Toronto is doing enough to integrate transit with development projects.

Terranata Developments Inc. is slamming Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, for scuttling a deal that would have allowed the company to build a 15-storey mixed-use tower above the planned Avenue Rd. station on the $5.3-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. Metrolinx counters that it couldn’t allow the project to go ahead because it would have delayed LRT construction, and didn’t have the support of the city.

The tower would have incorporated the station and, according to John Aquino, a partner at Terranata, provided Metrolinx and the local community with numerous benefits.

Aquino said Terranata offered millions of dollars for the air rights above the station, and would have granted the agency’s contractor permission to use its property as a construction staging area. Aquino argued that would have reduced the need for road closings and limited the effect on a nearby park, where Metrolinx intends to cut down about two dozen trees to make way for a work site.

“We were very disappointed to be shot down,” said Aquino, who learned the proposal had been rejected via a letter from Metrolinx in August.
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blogTO's Derek Flack reported yesterday on how the Eglinton Station bus terminal is going to be torn down. That he used a photo I took of said terminal from above is a bonus, I think.

Eglinton TTC bus station #toronto #yongeeglintoncentre #yongeandeglinton #parks #rooftop #patio #ttc #eglinton #buses

One of the most recognizable bits of TTC infrastructure is finally being torn down after sitting vacant for over a decade. The sprawling former bus terminal at Eglinton Station will be razed to make way for a new station entrance and eventually further development.

The outdoor bus bays that made up the former terminal are a relic from the 1950s when Eglinton was the terminal station on the Yonge Line. The size of the station, which seems odd these days, was a product of a lack of density in the area at the time as well as the importance of Eglinton as a hub that connected the suburbs to the newly built subway.

When the station and bus terminal were first laid out, few would have imagined that Yonge and Eglinton would become one of the most dense intersections in the city at the heart of a burgeoning vertical neighbourhood. The abandoned site had long been an anachronistic throwback to a sleepier version of Toronto.
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The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports on a good idea that might not be realized.

An agreement to hire locally for constructing the Eglinton Crosstown was billed as a ground-breaking move that would leverage major transit projects to create jobs for disadvantaged communities. But more than a year after the consortium building the LRT agreed to put forward a plan, labour and community organizations say it has yet to deliver.

In 2014, the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN) and Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, signed a widely lauded framework outlining principles for “community benefit agreements” for Toronto’s light rail projects.

The agreement said companies selected to deliver the transit lines would be asked to commit to offering employment and apprenticeship opportunities to “historically disadvantaged” and “equity-seeking groups,” to ensure that some of the billions being invested in the projects would stay in local communities.

A construction consortium called Crosslinx won the bid for the second phase of the $5.3-billion Eglinton Crosstown in July 2015. But according to the TCBN, the company has yet to release any clear targets for so-called “diversity hires.”

Crosslinx declined to answer questions about its community benefit plan and instead referred the Star to Metrolinx, which is in charge of the light rail project. Agency spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said Crosslinx has submitted community benefits and apprenticeship proposals, and Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario are in the “final stages” of reviewing them. She said the provincial agencies “expect to have an announcement very soon” and the agency is committed to the community benefits project.
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From the Toronto Star's Ben Spurr:

Rail manufacturer Bombardier has blown another deadline for the delivery of the first vehicle for Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT, but the company vows the latest delay won’t affect the opening of the $5.3-billion transit line.

Metrolinx, the regional transit agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, confirmed Wednesday that the Quebec-based manufacturer has yet to complete the test vehicle for the Crosstown. That means Bombardier has missed the end-of-August target date that the company said as recently as last month it was on track to meet.

“Bombardier was not able to deliver the pilot vehicle at the end of August. Metrolinx officials continue to work closely with Bombardier and track its progress,” said Anne Marie Aikins, a spokeswoman for Metrolinx, which is an agency of the provincial government.

“The latest information Bombardier has provided is that the prototype will be ready for testing within the next three to four weeks.”

According to Bombardier spokesman Marc-André Lefebvre, the pilot is in the “final phase of manufacturing” at the company’s Thunder Bay, Ont. plant.

From the Canadian Press, via MacLean's:

Bombardier is juggling challenges on two new fronts in Canada, temporarily suspending business jet production and falling behind in its delivery of a light rail transit prototype for Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown transit line.

The aerospace and railway manufacturer says it plans to place workers at its Global jet completion centre in Montreal on furlough for an unspecified amount of time next year.

“It’s a minor adjustment to our completion activities that will be deployed in 2017,” spokesman Mark Masluch said Thursday.

He said the change — which follows last year’s move to cut production of the Global 5000 and 6000 models from 80 to about 50 per year — will better manage costs and address ongoing sluggishness in the business jet market.

A company source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak said Bombardier is seeking to suspend production for 20 days in addition to the usual two-week shutdown during summer.
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CBC reports on a sad crime committed at Eglinton station. I only hope the person responsible will be apprehended soon.

A Toronto Transit Commission bus driver was slashed with an "edged weapon" at Eglinton station after leaving a washroom early Saturday.

Const. David Hopkinson, spokesperson for the Toronto police, said the TTC operator was cut by a man when he exited a bathroom, he tried to defend himself, and protective gear he was wearing took the brunt of the edged weapon.

The assailant pulled a silver handgun on the operator, who was forced back into the bathroom. The operator then locked the bathroom door and the assailant fled on foot.

The assailant is described as a white man, about six feet tall, 180 lbs, with shaggy, short brown hair and scruffy facial hair. He was wearing a black hoodie.
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  • blogTO shares some photos of Toronto in the gritty 1980s.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the habitable zones of post-main sequence stars.

  • Far Outliers notes the ethnic rivalries among First World War prisoners in the Russian interior, and examines how Czechoslovakia got its independence.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at the mapping technology behind Pokémon Go.

  • pollotenchegg looks at how the populations of Ukrainian cities have evolved.

  • Savage Minds considers anthropology students of colour.

  • Transit Toronto notes
  • Window on Eurasia suggests the post-Soviet states built Soviet-style parodies of capitalism for themselves.

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Torontoist's Sean Marshall notes that name selection for the stations on the Eglinton Crosstown light rail route is nearly done.

Getting station names right is important. Station names should, where possible, be unique, intuitive, and simple enough that you can provide directions. Short station names are helpful as they’re easier to display on maps, signs and display boards.

In 2015, Metrolinx developed a decision tree [PDF] with these considerations in mind, in which priority is given to street names, followed by neighbourhood names and local landmarks for identifying stations, and looking to avoid duplicate names where possible. For example, Metrolinx didn’t want to have a “Keele” Station on the LRT, as it duplicates an existing station name on the Bloor-Danforth Subway.

Guided by these principles, Metrolinx staff recommended several name changes. Keele became “Silverthorne,” Dufferin became “Fairbank,” Bathurst would became “Forest Hill,” Avenue became “Oriole Park,” Bayview wbecame “Leaside,” and Don Mills became “Science Centre.”

In October, Metrolinx conducted an online consultation to test these proposed station names. Lo and behold, some names were very unpopular with the public. “Silverthorne” was not very representative of the Keele & Eglinton neighbourhood, others complained that they didn’t know where Fairbank was. (It’s the historic community name for the Eglinton and Dufferin intersection and the name of a nearby park most famous for the Fairbank Park scandal that sent two politicians to prison and launched Frances Nunziata’s [Ward 11, York South-Weston] career as a whistleblower.) Neither Forest Hill nor Leaside stations are in the centre of their historic communities, which also raised some concerns.

Taking public feedback into account, further changes were recommended. “Keelesdale” replaces “Silverthorne” at Keele Street, “Cedarvale” becomes the preferred name for the interchange station at Eglinton West (though the TTC has the final say), Oriole Park was renamed back to “Avenue”, and several surface stops east of Don Mills were also renamed, including Ferrand (to “Aga Khan”, as it’s adjacent to the culutral centre and museum), Victoria Park to “O’Connor” and Warden to “Golden Mile.”

But these changes didn’t satisfy a few Metrolinx board members. At its meeting in December 3, 2015, after passing a problematic GO Transit fare increase with minimal debate, it spent four times as long debating a few station names along the LRT corridor, namely the stops at Dufferin Street, Bathurst Street, and a surface stop at Lebovic Avenue in Scarborough. Toronto Star transportation reporter Tess Kalinowski called the station name debate the liveliest the board has ever seen.
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I approve of the proposal, as reported by the Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski, to give the TTC's Eglinton West station a more locally meaningful name.

The TTC has opted for Cedarvale as the new name of Eglinton West station where the Crosstown LRT will intersect with the subway.

But the Eglinton (at Yonge St.) and Kennedy stops, the other two interchange stations on the LRT, will retain their utilitarian handles.

The TTC has naming jurisdiction on only those three of the 25 Crosstown stations. The light rail line is being funded by the province and built by its agency Metrolinx.

Councillor and TTC board member Joe Mihevc put out the call in his ward for station name preferences at Eglinton West. Of 43 responses 22 supported Cedarvale and 21 wanted Allen Rd. The latter group, however, tended to be from a broader area, whereas the Cedarvale supporters were more local, he said.

Cedarvale, lends some local charm to the stop.
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The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski writes about the proposed design for the underground stations on the Eglinton Crosstown line.

A first glimpse of the early station designs for the $5.3-billion Eglinton Crosstown shows a minimalist vision designed to let in the light. The reveal by Daoust Lestage, IBI Architecture and Metrolinx took place at the Toronto Design Review Panel last week, revealing glass-box entrances as the signature identifying feature of the 15 underground stations on the tunnelled portion of the Crosstown. Each underground station will cost between $80 million and $100 million; ten street-level stops, costing $3 million to $5 million, will carry the same Crosstown identity, distinct from the TTC and GO Transit. It will be about five years until the stations are built and the designs are far from final, cautions Metrolinx.

Each underground station will have a trademark glass pavilion entrance. Adjacent will be a “technical box,” a textured, cast-concrete building that acts as the station basement, where the vents emerge from track level and the HVAC and electrical are stored.

All the stations will be a variation on the theme, depending on whether it is a corner location, mid-block or one of three interchange stations where the LRT meets the subway — at Kennedy, Yonge and Allen. In some cases the glass structure will be slanted and stations will be embedded into the streetscape.

Interchange stations will have more generous plazas and landscape plantings. All stations will incorporate an “urban carpet,” a kind of welcome mat that carries riders from outside to the interior with large-format pavers.

The boxes and skylights will maximize the penetration of natural light down to platform level, about three storeys below the street.

More description, and pictures, at the site.


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