Mayor Jim Watson today committed the City to expanding the not-yet-built LRT and the OTrain.
He promised that by 2023, the Confederation LRT line will extend from Tunney’s to Lincoln Fields, where it will split into a south line running to Algonquin, and a west line to Bayshore.
And, the Confederation Line will extend east from Blair to St Joseph to Jeanne D’Arc, then to Prom d’Orleans and Place d’Orleans (two separate stations with almost identical names). Also to be up and running by 2023.
He further promised expansion of the OTrain in that same time frame. There will be a new Gladstone Station, and the train service will extend on a rebuilt fully-grade separated track from Greenboro to South Keys to Leitrum and Bowesville.
This, of course, depends on federal and provincial cost sharing of the $2.3 billion design-build-maintain contract.
This announcement earned him a standing ovation from the assembled Councillors, most of whom he managed to call out by name during the speech, and the senior transportation staff gathered around the stage.
The audience did not give a standing ovation, perhaps thinking that the expansion was so logical and necessary the City could do little else, and so the expansion was expected.
Mayor Jim made a big deal of his success on the Confederation Line project by having a budget first, then build to the budget (rather than design the best line, and figure out how to pay for it). He praised his initiative in bringing in this new budgeting system, and announced other cities are copying it. (Having just read Margaret Thatcher’s biography, I recall that she fought the same battle in the 1980’s in Britain and was roundly vilified for it. Maybe Jim will do better; it is, after all, 30 years later.)
Watson also announced some extensions to the bus transitway system, to be self-funded by the City.
When complete, the LRT network will touch all four universities, most major shopping malls, and a bunch of high rise apartment complexes.
I notice there is a rather large gap between South Keys and Leitrum. That’s where the airport is. I hope this gap is temporary, pending details for an airport station, or even an off-airport-connect-to-shuttle-bus station.