U of T applauds new transit proposal for Scarborough
Bruce Kidd: “rational transit solution” for students, faculty and staff will provide huge economic stimulus for region
The proposed transit plan for Scarborough is being welcomed as a game-changer for both University of Toronto Scarborough and the entire east end of Toronto.
“This plan serves our growing student population, faculty, staff and all of the Scarborough community with a rational transit solution,” U of T Scarborough Principal Bruce Kidd said.
“It will provide a huge economic stimulus to this long under-served region of the city, and enable many more people to benefit from the tremendous educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities provided by UTSC and the rest of Scarborough.”
The city staff report released on Jan. 21 proposes a 17-stop Eglinton Crosstown LRT that will run to U of T Scarborough. The plan also proposes eliminating two of three stops along the proposed Scarborough extension of Line 2, which would now stop only at Scarborough Town Centre. The $1 billion in savings would go to support the LRT extension.
“Transit infrastructure is crucial to the prosperity of the city-regions, just as outstanding universities are a vital part of our capacity for innovation,” U of T President Meric Gertler said. “This new, evidence-based transit plan brings these two priorities together in a way that will serve the eastern GTA extremely well for years and decades to come."
Professor André Sorensen, chair of the department of human geography at UTSC and author of a report covering transit options for Scarborough, called the proposal “smart, informed planning.”
One big advantage of the LRT is that it’s shovel-ready since an environmental assessment has already been completed, says Sorensen.
“We know that well-planned transit can significantly contribute to the quality of life for people in Scarborough by providing mobility, higher intensity of use along key corridors, and along with that comes new investment.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory told CBC’s Metro Morning that the plan already has the support of both the provincial and federal governments, noting money has already been allocated for the project.
“This is a better plan – more transit for Scarborough for the same money. If I can find a better way to do things that goes along with expert advice, that gets more value for the money ... I'm going to go with that,” Tory said.
The city report outlining the transit proposal is expected to go to the mayor's executive committee next Thursday.
“The east Scarborough LRT was promised by City Council years ago, when UTSC students committed to a capital levy to bring about the creation of the Toronto Pan American Sport Centre,” Kidd said. “Today’s announcement brings the delivery of this promise much closer to reality.”
U of T Scarborough is already a transit hub in the eastern part of the city with 675 buses arriving every weekday. The LRT extension to the campus will connect all those travelers to even more parts of the city.
“The city is taking an important step in the right direction for a community that has previously not been adequately served by public transit,” said Yasmin Rajabi, vice-president, external for the Scarborough Campus Students Union.“This plan truly connects UTSC to the rest of the city, the way it should be.”