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City of Toronto Executive Committee approves "RapidTO" bus-lane project

Today, Tuesday, July 21, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee approved a staff report recommending that the City amend traffic and parking regulations so it can install about 8.5 kilometres of priority bus lanes on Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue.

The City has now designated its program of priority bus lanes as “RapidTO”. Mayor John Tory, TTC chief executive officer Rick Leary, Councillor Paul Ainslie, Councillor Gary Crawford and Councillor and transit Commissioner Jennifer McKelvie announced the program Wednesday, July 8. Ainslie, Crawford and McKelvie all represent Scarborough wards which benefit from better transit service along Eglinton.

Eglinton East service plan.jpg

According to a City news release, “The improved speed, reliability and increased capacity of bus routes in the RapidTO network will result in a faster and more reliable commute, which will improve access to employment, healthcare and community services.”

Last Tuesday, July 14, the Toronto Transit Commission — the TTC’s board of directors — approved a staff report that proposed fast-tracking priority bus lanes and other service-enhancing measures on its busiest corridors. The measures are part of the TTC’s five-year service plan and 10-year outlook, a multi-year action plan for improving public transit in Toronto from 2020 to 2024 and afterward. Buses along the five corridors together served as many 220,000 passengers Mondays to Fridays before the COVID-19 pandemic. The corridors include:

  • Jane Street between Steeles and Eglinton Avenues West;
  • Dufferin Street between Wilson Avenue and Dufferin Gate Loop;
  • Steeles Avenue West between Pioneer Village Station and Yonge Street;
  • Finch Avenue East between McCowan Road and Yonge Street;
  • Eglinton Avenue East / Kingston Road / Morningside Avenue between the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus and Kennedy Station; and
  • Lawrence Avenue East between Rouge Hills Drive and east of Victoria Park Avenue.

The TTC is also studying whether it should include Sheppard Avenue East between McCowan Road and Don Mills Station as part of the plan.

Bus Lane Implementation Plan.jpg

The TTC’s plan for installing priority bus-lanes on its busiest corridors. The plan now includes Lawrence Avenue East. Image: TTC

The City says that the Eglinton East corridor continues to play a significant role in moving people around the city, even during COVID-19. After TTC staff assessed several factors, it emerged as the top candidate for the first of the priority bus lanes. The factors for evaluating the corridors included whether the corridor

  • improved transit reliability;
  • had an available right-of-way;
  • improved “transportation equity” by serving some of the City’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

City Council will consider the staff report recommending the plan, and then amend, adjust or approve it during its meeting of July 28 and 29. If Council approves the plan, staff will consult riders and community residents and business people for input on tweaking the proposal. The City and TTC will implement the lanes in the Eglinton corridor by late fall.

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