Toronto City Council has unanimously approved changes to traffic and parking regulation amendments required to install approximately 8.5 kilometres of priority RapidTO bus lanes on Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue.
The installation of priority bus lanes on the Eglinton East corridor is part of RapidTO: a network of transit priority corridors across the city. The RapidTO plan was announced by Mayor John Tory, TTC CEO Rick Leary, Councillor Paul Ainslie, Councillor Gary Crawford and Councillor and TTC Board Member Jennifer McKelvie on July 8.
Improved 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.
Eglinton East is among the TTC’s most heavily used corridors and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to play a significant role in moving people around the city. It emerged as the top candidate for the accelerated installation of priority bus lanes based on an assessment of several factors including improvement to transit reliability, available right-of-way and considerations for transportation equity and inclusion of Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.
The 8.5-kilometre Eglinton East corridor runs along Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue from Brimley Road, through to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. The existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on Eglinton Avenue East will be converted to priority bus lanes, and curbside general-purpose lanes on Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue will be converted to priority bus lanes. The priority bus lanes will be reserved for buses and bicycles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and identified using red surface treatment and signage. The one-time installation cost is approximately $7.8 million.
The priority bus lane on the Eglinton East corridor is anticipated to increase transit reliability and reduce transit travel time on average between two to five minutes per trip. The decrease in travel time equates to annual savings of $2.5 million in operating costs and a one-time capital cost savings of approximately $6.3 million, as a result of fewer buses required to provide the same level of service on the corridor. These cost savings could allow the TTC to reinvest in other transit opportunities in this corridor, as demand increases or in other areas of the city where there is crowding on transit.
The Eglinton East corridor serves seven of Scarborough’s eight Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Providing the priority bus lane advances Action 7.2.1, to explore bus transit lanes on heavily used bus corridors in the inner suburbs to improve speed and reliability of existing transit service, of the City Council approved Poverty Reduction Strategy 2019-2022 Term Action Plan.
On July 14, the TTC Board approved a report to fast-track the installation of priority bus lanes and other service-enhancing measures on five of its busiest corridors. The report is part of the TTC’s 5-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook, a multi-year action plan for service-related improvements to public transit in Toronto between 2020–2024 and beyond. The five corridors, which had a combined pre-COVID-19 ridership of approximately 220,000 passengers per weekday, include:
• Eglinton Avenue East/Kingston Road/Morningside Avenue from Kennedy Subway Station to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
• Jane Street from Eglinton Avenue West to Steeles Avenue West
• Dufferin Street from Dufferin Gate to Wilson Avenue
• Steeles Avenue West from Yonge Street to Pioneer Village Subway Station
• Finch Avenue East from Yonge Street to McCowan Road
• Lawrence East (East of Victoria Park to Rouge Hills Drive) was subsequently added as the sixth priority corridor
The report is available at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/vi
More information about the TTC’s Bus Lane Implementation plan, including ridership data, graphics and maps, can be found at http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TT
“Installing priority bus lanes as soon as possible on the Eglinton East corridor will help us quickly improve access and mobility for Scarborough residents, help manage congestion, shorten travel times and improve transit reliability so that residents are even more confident they will get where they need to be on time. This is the beginning of the RapidTO network which will help our transit system recover from the impacts of COVID-19 as quickly as possible and ensure that the TTC continues to be a critical part of rebuilding our economy.”
– Mayor John Tory
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SOURCE: City of Toronto