Council could end up telling Metrolinx this week to derail its plan to build a massive train overpass through the Davenport neighbourhood.
Metrolinx is set to put the $140-million Davenport diamond grade separation project on the fast track for approval.
The plan – if it goes ahead – would create a 1.4-km overpass, between Bloor St. W. and Davenport Rd., so trains on the GO Barrie line can cross over the CP rail line in the area.
The proposed overpass would eliminate the need for GO trains to stop for freight rail traffic and allowing Metrolinx to offer all-day GO service between Toronto and Barrie.
But Davenport residents are fighting the plan, arguing it will lead to a “Gardiner for GO Trains” running over their residential community.
A report going to Toronto council this week from city staff recommends telling Metrolinx that the city opposes the plan and, instead, supports the construction of a tunnel to accommodate increased GO train traffic through the west-end neighbourhood.
City officials concluded the scale of the overpass and its impact on residents and businesses in the area is “not consistent” with the city’s planning objectives.
However, switching to the tunnel option comes with a much bigger price tag and a longer construction period.
The 4-km tunnel would stretch from north of Bloor St. W. to Eglinton Ave. W., take five to six years to build and cost an estimated $626 million.
Sam Barbieri, co-chair of the options for Davenport, welcomed the city staff recommendation. The community group has been pushing for the tunnel option over the last eight months.
“The bridge is not a great idea – we all knew it and now we know for sure,” Barbieri told the Sun.
He accused Metrolinx of engaging in “short-term thinking.”
“They want to do it quick and fast and dirty and that might save the money in the short run but really in the long run, how much money is that going to save them?” barbieri said.
“It doesn’t make sense for proper city building and for liveable communities.”
Metrolinx countered the overpass project – which would take no more than two years to build – will provide “greater public safety by removing the ground-level rail crossing where CP freight trains and GO passenger tracks meet.”
Officials also pointed out the project will allow Metrolinx to roll out regional express rail (RER) along the Barrie GO line giving it the ability to provide two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes.
Metrolinx spokesman Anne Marie Aikins said her agency is reviewing the city report.
Reposted from the Toronto Sun. Read the original story: Here.