This post was written by Alison Read, TTCriders/STA member.
Living in East Scarborough (Ward 43 of Toronto), I often imagine what my everyday experiences as a TTC commuter would be like if we had a 24-stop LRT network running through our community – if we were less reliant on buses. Could those of us who crowd onto the 86, only to be stuck in traffic created by cars, be liberated by rapid and reliable transit? Could I ride my bike or walk to an LRT station, making all of Toronto – the downtown core, Etobicoke, North York, and the rest of Scarborough – so much more accessible to me?
Would I no longer need to call my parents to meet me from the bus stop, when I come home late at night, because the transit stop is so much closer to my home? Could I travel faster throughout Scarborough, to get to work, to school, to volunteer, and to visit my friends? How different would things be if I had an LRT system in my life, and in the near future?
However, I do know what an addition to the subway in Scarborough will do. It will add one stop to Scarborough Town Centre, somewhere that is ALREADY connected to Kennedy Station by the current Scarborough RT system.
Fiscally, an LRT to replace the aging Scarborough RT and extend up to Malvern could have been constructed by the province. Yet, somehow, this fact was seriously distorted in an 800-word brief from the TTC to our city council, saying the costs for each option were about the same. This is not at all true. And this misinformation on our transit options is a seriously harmful to the governmental processes at hand.
As a young woman of colour who uses the TTC every day, I already feel like I am poorly represented by the decisions made by our city council a lot of the time. If Scarborough councillors and the TTC board do not stand up for well-founded, fact-reinforced decisions regarding transit – i.e., for the seven-stop Scarborough LRT and 17-stop Eglinton East LRT, instead of a subway – they are truly not listening to us. Supporting the LRT is as simple as ABC: it is Accountable to all the policy documents, Beneficial to more Scarborough residents, and way more Cost-effective than the subway extension.