Grade Separations 

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.

This is a digital drawing showing what an LRT right-of-way would look like at both an above-grade (on a raised platform) and below-grade (underground) separated right-of-way to the north, center, and south side of Eglinton Avenue West.

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.

This is a map showing the potential grade separation locations for the Eglinton West LRT. The map includes the preferred stop locations for the Eglinton West LRT from Mount Dennis in the east to the Pearson International Airport’s future Regional Transit Centre in the west. LRT stops are shown from east to west at Mount Dennis, Jane, Scarlett, Mulham, Royal York, Islington, Wincott / Bemersyde, Kipling, Widdicombe Hill / Lloyd Manor, Martin Grove, Renforth Station (Commerce Boulevard), Convair and Silver Dart. Within these stop locations, potential grade separations are marked at Jane, Scarlett, Royal York, Islington, Kipling and Martin Grove.

Evaluation Process

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:

Serving People

  • - 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.

Strengthening Places

  • - 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.

Prosperity 

  • - 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. 

Our Findings

To review our findings, please visit the Our Findings page of this website.

This is a chart showing the findings for each grade separation location based on the Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework which includes Social Equity, Experience, Choice, Healthy Neighbourhoods, Shaping the City, Public Health and Environment, Supports Growth and Affordability. This chart shows that an at-grade crossing is preferred for all six intersection locations at Jane Street, Scarlett Road, Royal York Road, Islington Avenue, Kipling Avenue and Martin Grove Road. It also displays the grade separation travel time benefits versus cost comparison. The Jane Street net benefit range is $5.4 to $25.9 million and the net cost range is $70.6 to $106 million. The Scarlett Road net benefit range is $2.2 to $22.8 million and the net cost range is $93 to $139.6 million. The Royal York Road net benefit range is $8.3 to $15.7 million and the net cost range is $187.1 to $280.8 million. The Islington Avenue net benefit range is $3.1 to $6.4 million and the net cost range is $74 to $111.3 million. The Kipling Avenue net benefit range is $127.5 to $254.8 million and the net cost range is $220.6 to $331 million. The Martin Grove Road net benefit range is $68.5 to $95.7 million and the net cost range is $236.5 to $354.9 million. Therefore, the costs outweigh the benefits at all potential grade separation locations.

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.

Our Findings

This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Jane Street intersection with an above-grade separated LRT in place on the north side of Eglinton, looking north-east. This is not the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicle at a stop with pedestrians getting on / off and crossing the road at the intersection, underneath the above-grade LRT stop. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Jane. This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Jane Street intersection with an at-grade LRT in place in the centre of the roadway, looking north-east. This is the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicle at a stop with pedestrians getting on / off and crossing the road at the intersection. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Jane, including two buses. This chart provides a summary of the Stage 2 and 3 grade separation analysis for Jane Street. It demonstrates that a grade separation at this location is not preferred due to Experience, Healthy Neighbourhoods and Public Health and Environment. Regarding Experience, a grade separation would introduce vertical transfers, have increased distances to platforms, have reduced intuitive wayfinding and would impact sightlines for drivers. Regarding Healthy Neighbourhoods, a grade separation would cause greater construction impacts and land-takings and would impact the surrounding area, public spaces and natural surveillance. Regarding Public Health and Environment, a grade separation would impact natural features and parks. This chart also shows the net benefit and cost range for a grade separation at Jane Street. The net benefit range is $5.4 to $25.9 million and the net cost range is $70.6 to $106 million, meaning the costs outweigh the benefits. This grade separation is not preferred over the at-grade option.
    • Social Equity – Duplication of elevators offers a level of redundancy – performs the same as at-grade option.
    • Experience – The above-grade structure introduces vertical transfers, increased distances to platforms, has reduced intuitive wayfinding, and increased impacts to sightlines and visual distraction for drivers.
    • Healthy Neighbourhoods – The above-grade structure has greater construction impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood and greater land-takings, as well as impacts to public spaces and natural surveillance.
    • Shaping the City – The grade separation does not impact future residential development. Public Health and Environment – The above grade structure has greater impacts on natural features & parks, especially along the Eglinton Flats area.
    • Choice and Supports Growth – The grade separation performed the same when compared to the at-grade option - as they both provide choices for transit riders by offering a connection to higher order transit, and do not impact development potential for employment lands.
    • Affordability – The costs overwhelmingly outweigh any monetized benefit that could be expected for this location. Costs are estimated at between $70.5 and $106 million versus Travel Time Benefits estimated at between $5.4 and $25.9 million. (NPV,$2017)
This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Scarlett Road intersection with an above-grade separated LRT in place on the north side of Eglinton, looking north-west. This is not the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicle at a stop with pedestrians getting on / off and crossing the road at the intersection, underneath the above-grade LRT stop. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Scarlett. This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Scarlett Road intersection with an at-grade LRT in place in the centre of the roadway, looking north-west. This is the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicle at a stop with pedestrians crossing the road at the intersection. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Scarlett, including one bus. This chart provides a summary of the Stage 2 and 3 grade separation analysis for Scarlett Road. It demonstrates that a grade separation at this location is not preferred due to all six evaluation criteria including Social Equity, Experience, Choice, Healthy Neighbourhoods, Shaping the City, Public Health and Environment, Supports Growth and Affordability. This chart also shows the net benefit and cost range for a grade separation at Scarlett Road. The net benefit range is $2.2 to $22.8 million and the net cost range is $93 to $139.6 million, meaning the costs outweigh the benefits.

This grade separation is not preferred over the at-grade option.

          • Social Equity – The above-grade structure may limit equal access to stop for persons with mobility issues as there is no redundancy in accessible station access.
          • Experience – The above-grade structure introduces vertical transfers, increased distances to platforms, has reduced intuitive wayfinding, and increased impacts to sightlines and visual distraction for drivers.
          • Healthy Neighbourhoods – The above-grade structure has greater construction impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood and greater land-takings, as well as impacts to public spaces and natural surveillance.
          • Shaping the City – The grade separation may impact future residential development.
          • Public Health and Environment – The above grade structure has greater impacts on natural features & parks, especially along the Eglinton Flats area.
          • Choice and Supports Growth  – The grade separation performed the same when compared to the at-grade option - as they both provide choices for transit riders by offering a connection to higher order transit, and do not impact development potential for employment lands.
          • Affordability – The costs overwhelmingly outweigh any monetized benefit that could be expected for this location. Costs are estimated at between $93.1 and $139.6 million versus Travel Time Benefits estimated at between $2.2 and $22.8 million. (NPV,$2017)
This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Royal York Road intersection with a below-grade separated LRT in place, in the centre of the roadway, looking north-west. This is not the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT stop, with stairs leading underground to the LRT. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Royal York. There are no changes to the roadways, as the LRT stops leading underground are located on the land adjacent to Eglinton and Royal York. This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Royal York Road intersection with an at-grade LRT in place in the centre of the roadway, looking north-west. This is the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicle at the Royal York stop. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Royal York, including two buses. This chart provides a summary of the Stage 2 and 3 grade separation analysis for Royal York Road. It demonstrates that a grade separation at this location is not preferred due to Social Equity, Experience, Healthy Neighbourhoods and Public Health and Environment. Regarding Social Equity, a grade separation may limit equal access to stop for users with mobility limitations. Regarding Experience, a grade separation would introduce vertical transfers, have increased distances to platforms, have reduced intuitive wayfinding and would impact sightlines for drivers. Regarding Healthy Neighbourhoods, a grade separation would cause greater construction impacts and land-takings and would impact the surrounding area, public spaces and natural surveillance. Regarding Public Health and Environment, a grade separation would impact natural features and parks. This chart also shows the net benefit and cost range for a grade separation at Royal York Road. The net benefit range is $8.3 to $15.7 million and the net cost range is $187.1 to $280.8 million, meaning the costs outweigh the benefits. This grade separation is not preferred over the at-grade option.
  • Social Equity – The below-grade structure may limit equal access to stop for persons with mobility issues as there is no redundancy in accessible station access.
  • Experience – The below-grade structure introduces vertical transfers, increased distances to platforms, and has reduced intuitive wayfinding. There are also greater impacts to auto-users/traffic due to the level and duration of construction in the ROW.
  • Healthy Neighbourhoods – The below-grade structure has greater construction impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood and greater land-takings, as well as impacts to public spaces and natural surveillance.
  • Shaping the City – The grade separation does not impact future residential development.
  • Public Health and Environment – The below-grade structure has greater impacts on natural features & parks.
  • Choice and Supports Growth – The grade separation performed the same when compared to the at-grade option - as they both provide choices for transit riders by offering a connection to higher order transit, and do not impact development potential for employment lands.
  • Affordability – The costs overwhelmingly outweigh any monetized benefit that could be expected for this location. Costs are estimated at between $187.1 and $280.8 million versus Travel Time Benefits estimated at between $(8.3) and $15.7 million. (NPV,$2017)
This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Islington Avenue intersection with an above-grade separated LRT in place, in the centre of the roadway, looking south-west. This is not the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicle at the Islington stop, above Eglinton. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Islington, including one bus. This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Islington Avenue intersection with an at-grade LRT in place in the centre of the roadway, looking south-west. This is the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicle at the Islington Avenue stop. Pedestrians are crossing at the signalized intersection and vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Islington. This chart provides a summary of the Stage 2 and 3 grade separation analysis for Islington Avenue. It demonstrates that a grade separation at this location is not preferred due to all six evaluation criteria including Social Equity, Experience, Choice, Healthy Neighbourhoods, Shaping the City, Public Health and Environment, Supports Growth and Affordability. This chart also shows the net benefit and cost range for a grade separation at Islington Avenue. The net benefit range is $3.1 to $6.4 million and the net cost range is $74 to $111.3 million, meaning the costs outweigh the benefits. This grade separation is not preferred over the at-grade option.
  • Social Equity – The above-grade structure may limit equal access to stop for persons with mobility issues as there is no redundancy in accessible station access.
  • Experience – The above-grade structure introduces vertical transfers, increased distances to platforms, has reduced intuitive wayfinding, and increased impacts to sightlines and visual distraction for drivers.
  • Healthy Neighbourhoods – The above-grade structure has greater construction impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood and greater land-takings, as well as impacts to public spaces and natural surveillance.
  • Shaping the City – The grade separation may impact future residential development.
  • Public Health and Environment – The above grade structure has greater impacts on natural features & parks.
  • Choice and Supports Growth – The grade separation performed the same when compared to the at-grade option - as they both provide choices for transit riders by offering a connection to higher order transit, and do not impact development potential for employment lands.
  • Affordability – The costs overwhelmingly outweigh any monetized benefit that could be expected for this location. Costs are estimated at between $74 and $111.3 million versus Travel Time Benefits estimated at between $(3.1) and $6.4 million. (NPV,$2017)
This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Kipling Avenue intersection with a below-grade separated LRT in place, in the centre of the roadway, looking north-east. This is not the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT stop, with stairs leading underground to the LRT. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Kipling. There are no changes to the roadways, as the LRT stops leading underground are located on the land adjacent to Eglinton and Kipling. This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Kipling Avenue intersection with an at-grade LRT in place in the centre of the roadway, looking north-east. This is the preferred option for this intersection. The rendering shows the LRT vehicles at the Kipling Avenue stop, in both directions. Pedestrians are crossing at the signalized intersection and vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Kipling. This chart provides a summary of the Stage 2 and 3 grade separation analysis for Kipling Avenue. It demonstrates that a grade separation at this location is not preferred due to Social Equity, Experience, Healthy Neighbourhoods and Public Health and Environment. Regarding Social Equity, a grade separation may limit equal access to stop for users with mobility limitations. Regarding Experience, a grade separation would introduce vertical transfers, have increased distances to platforms, have reduced intuitive wayfinding and would have greater construction impacts for drivers. Regarding Healthy Neighbourhoods, a grade separation would cause greater construction impacts and land-takings and would impact the surrounding area, public spaces and natural surveillance. Regarding Public Health and Environment, a grade separation would impact natural features and parks. This chart also shows the net benefit and cost range for a grade separation at Kipling Avenue. The net benefit range is $127.5 to $254.8 million and the net cost range is $220.6 to $331 million, meaning the costs outweigh the benefits. This grade separation is not preferred over the at-grade option.
  • Social Equity – The below-grade structure may limit equal access to stop for persons with mobility issues as there is no redundancy in accessible station access.
  • Experience – The below-grade structure introduces vertical transfers, increased distances to platforms, and has reduced intuitive wayfinding. There are also greater impacts to auto-users/traffic due to the level and duration of construction in the ROW.
  • Healthy Neighbourhoods – The below-grade structure has greater construction impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood and greater land-takings, as well as impacts to public spaces and natural surveillance.
  • Shaping the City – The grade separation does not impact to future residential development.
  • Public Health and Environment – The below-grade structure has greater impacts on natural features & parks.
  • Choice and Supports Growth – The grade separation performed the same when compared to the at-grade option - as they both provide choices for transit riders by offering a connection to higher order transit, and do not impact development potential for employment lands.
  • Affordability – Overall the costs outweigh any monetized benefit that could be expected for this location, although there may be some benefit if using the most aggressive/least conservative numbers (see Benefit/Cost memo for details). Costs are estimated at between $220.6 and $331 million versus Travel Time Benefits estimated at between $127.5 and $254.8 million. (NPV,$2017)
This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road intersection with a below-grade separated LRT in place, in the centre of the roadway, looking east. This is not the preferred option for this intersection. The main rendering shows the LRT stop at Martin Grove, with stairs leading underground to the LRT tunnel. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Martin Grove, including one bus. The inset map displays the LRT vehicle travelling on Eglinton where Eglinton comes together as one roadway, This provides a view of the LRT right-of-way heading underground to the tunnel, while the rest of traffic continues in the two traffic lanes. This is a computer rendering of the Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road intersection with an at-grade LRT in place in the centre of the roadway, looking east. This is not the preferred option for this intersection. The main rendering shows the LRT vehicle at the Martin Grove stop, with pedestrians crossing at the signalized intersection. Vehicles are travelling in all four directions across Eglinton and Martin Grove, including two busses. The inset map displays the LRT vehicle travelling on Eglinton where Eglinton comes together as one roadway. This chart provides a summary of the Stage 2 and 3 grade separation analysis for Martin Grove Road. It demonstrates that a grade separation at this location is not preferred due to Social Equity, Experience and Healthy Neighbourhoods. Regarding Social Equity, a grade separation may limit equal access to stop for users with mobility limitations. Regarding Experience, a grade separation would introduce vertical transfers, have increased distances to platforms, have reduced intuitive wayfinding and would have greater construction impacts for drivers. Regarding Healthy Neighbourhoods, a grade separation would cause greater construction impacts and land-takings and would impact the surrounding area, public spaces and natural surveillance. This chart also shows the net benefit and cost range for a grade separation at Martin Grove Road. The net benefit range is $68.5 to $95.7 million and the net cost ranges is $236.5 to $354.9 million, meaning the costs outweigh the benefits. This grade separation is not preferred over the at-grade option.
  • Social Equity – The below-grade structure may limit equal access to stop for persons with mobility issues as there is no redundancy in accessible station access.
  • Experience – The below-grade structure introduces vertical transfers, increased distances to platforms, and has reduced intuitive wayfinding. There are also greater impacts to auto-users/traffic as due to the level and duration of construction in the ROW.
  • Building Health Communities – The below-grade structure has greater construction impacts to the surrounding neighbourhood and greater land-takings, as well as impacts to public spaces and natural surveillance.
  • Shaping the City – The grade separation does not impact to future residential development.
  • Public Health and Environment – The below-grade structure does not impact natural features & parks, although there may be conflicts with the floodplain at the western portal.
  • Choice and Supports Growth – The grade separation performed the same when compared to the at-grade option - as they both provide choices for transit riders by offering a connection to higher order transit, and do not impact development potential for employment lands.
  • Affordability – The costs overwhelmingly outweigh any monetized benefit that could be expected for this location. Costs are estimated at between $236.5 and $354.9 million versus Travel Time Benefits estimated at between $68.5 and $95.7 million. (NPV,$2017)

Eglinton West LRT Updates

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