What is a Grade Separation?
A grade separation is a bridge or tunnel that would allow the LRT vehicle to pass over ('above grade') or under ('below grade') Eglinton Avenue West, and at either side of the road or the centre of the road.
Where We Considered Grade Separations
As directed by City Council (July 2016, EX16.1), we are reviewing the strategic value of up to six potential grade separations at Martin Grove Road, Kipling Avenue, Islington Avenue, Royal York Road, Scarlett Road and Jane Street.
The many pros and cons of potential grade separation options were considered according to the City's Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework.
- - Stage 1 reviewed the feasibility of six different potential grade separations
- - Stage 2 & 3 considered the strategic value of the grade separations as well as the travel time benefits versus the cost.
Stage 1 Report
This report provides an overview of the long list of options to implement grade separations along the western portion of Eglinton Avenue. The high-level study and evaluation of potential grade separation concepts is intended to inform decision-making around the location and configuration of grade separations to ensure that options carried forward for more detailed evaluation deliver the greatest level of cost-benefit from a traffic perspective while responding to the needs of the local community and wider city.
For each preferred option the report provides a high-level overview of the potential impact on existing and planned neighbouring properties, relationship to floodplains, pedestrian/cyclist/bus transfer access, traffic impacts, high-level cost estimates and a summary of the pros and cons in relationship to the other options. A description of the options which were not identified to be carried forward including a reasoning behind the decision is contained within the appendix of this report.
Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework
The Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework (RTEF) supports the ongoing work of City Planning to develop a long-term, comprehensive rapid transit network plan for inclusion in the Official Plan. The RTEF was developed as part of Feeling Congested? in 2013 by City Planning staff with extensive input from the public and stakeholders.
Criteria used in the RTEF are unweighted and instead are considered collectively, to help provide a full picture of all considerations and foster a meaningful analysis of relevant city-building and transportation issues.
Each potential grade separation was evaluated using the Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework (RTEF) with consideration of Metrolinx's Business Case Analysis. Each grade separation was evaluated in isolation of the others according to the list of strategic values as well as a comparison of the potential travel time savings versus the costs. The include an assessment of impacts on the surrounding community, natural environment, construction impacts and an articulation of implications for the public realm. The evaluation will include input from public engagement and assessment of public feedback.
Three policy principles and eight evaluation criteria are the foundation of the RTEF. The criteria are grouped according to the themes identified as:
- - Social Equity - Allow everyone good access to work, school and other activities: Equal access for users with disabilities or mobility issues.
- - Experience - Make travel more reliable, safe and enjoyable: Access experience, wayfinding, shelter from weather, auto/pedestrian conflicts, driver sightlines, construction impacts on auto users.
- - Choice - Develop integrated network that connects different modes to provide for more travel options: Creates choices for all users.
- - Healthy Neighbourhoods - Strengthen and enhance existing neighbourhoods; promote safe walking and cycling: Impacts to neighbourhood, public realm, natural surveillance, and visual intrusion and construction impacts on community.
- - Shaping the City - Transportation network is used as a tool to shape the residential development of the city: Impacts to future residential development potential.
- - Public Health and Environment - Supports and enhances natural areas: Impacts on parks, natural areas and heritage sites.
- - Supports Growth - Supports economic development; allow workers to get to jobs more easily; goods to market more efficiently: Impact on future employment land development potential.
- - Affordability - Improvements should be affordable to build, maintain and operate; investment delivers value for money: Cost/Benefit analysis.
To review our findings, please visit the Our Findings page of this website.
This chart shows how the grade separations perform in comparison to the at-grade LRT solution, for the eight (8) Rapid Transit Evaluation Criteria.Generally, the at-grade option is preferred in almost every case, when compared against the grade separation.
- Social Equity - A grade separation may not offer equal access due for persons with mobility issues, in all cases except Jane, where duplication of elevators offers a level of redundancy.
- Experience - Grade separations introduce vertical transfers, increased distances to platforms, and have reduced intuitive wayfinding, as well as there are increased construction impacts to traffic due to duration and scale of construction. In the case of the above grade structures, there are increased impacts to sightlines for drivers.
- Healthy Neighbourhoods - Grade separations have greater construction impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood and greater land-takings, as well as impacts to surrounding area, public spaces and natural surveillance.
- Shaping the City - There was no difference for most locations except for Scarlett and Islington where grade separations have some impact to future residential development.
- Public Health and Environment - In all cases there are greater impacts on natural features and parks.
- Choice and Supports Growth - The criteria performed the same for all options, as all options provide choices to transit riders by offering a connection to higher order transit, and they do not impact development potential for employment lands.
- Affordability - The costs overwhelmingly outweigh any monetized benefit that could be expected for all intersections.