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cityscape

Greening the LRT

Green trackways are practical and easy on the eye, but they come at a cost.

A green trackway in Paris. Photo by Flickr user Patrick Stahl.

City planners would like to see new LRT lines on Sheppard East and Finch West and on the Eglinton Crosstown go green. They’re proposing that grass, sedum, and other plants be introduced along portions of the track, as they have been in other cities like Paris and Hamburg.

Green trackways are both pleasant to look at and useful: they reduce noise and help offset the “heat island effect.”

They are also, inevitably, more expensive than other less attractive and useful options such as gravel—22 per cent more expensive, according to Metrolinx.

But a report adopted by the City’s executive committee on Wednesday and now headed for council reveals, unsurprisingly, that Torontonians would rather see their LRT coast along on a sea of green: 84 per cent of people surveyed as part of a public consultation program for the Eglinton Connects Planning Study indicated that constructing green trackways was somewhat or very important.

In the same report, City staff recommend “that all feasible portions of the at-grade section of the Eglinton LRT project between Brentcliffe and Ionview Avenue be considered by Metrolinx for a green trackway.” They also suggest that the greening of the trackway between Victoria Park Avenue and Birchmount Road be added to the list of priority projects: “A green trackway in this location would have significant impact on this largely hard-surfaced area. Accordingly, Metrolinx will seek competitive proposals from the bidders to design, construct and maintain for 30 years a green trackway within this segment of the project.”

No new funding will be forthcoming for green trackways, though. They would have to be supported through the $70 million the City received from Metrolinx for streetscaping—an amount that also has to cover other projects like buffered bike lanes and soil cells for trees.

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