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Toronto’s Executive Committee approves report to authorize the installation of priority bus lanes on Eglinton Avenue East

7/21/20 4:54 PM

Today (July 21), the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee approved a report that will enact the traffic and parking regulation amendments needed to install approximately 8.5 kilometres of priority bus lanes on Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue. The report will be considered by City Council at its next meeting scheduled for July 28, 2020.

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, 2020.

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, as well as transit equity and inclusion of Neighbourhood Improvement Areas for residents.

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:

• 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 • Eglinton Avenue East/Kingston Road/Morningside Avenue from Kennedy Subway Station to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus • Lawrence East (East of Victoria Park to Rouge Hills Drive) was subsequently added as the sixth priority corridor

Eglinton East is among the TTC’s most heavily used corridors and, during COVID-19, 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 would be converted to priority bus lanes, and curbside general-purpose lanes on Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue would be converted to priority bus lanes. The priority bus lanes would 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 proposed 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.

The Eglinton East corridor serves seven of Scarborough’s eight Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Providing the proposed priority bus lane advances Action 7.2.1, 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.

The agenda item is available online: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.EX15.1.

More information about the TTC’s Bus Lane Implementation plan, including ridership data, graphics and maps, can be found online: http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Commission_reports_and_information/Commission_meetings/2020/July_14/Reports/5_Bus_Lane_Implementation_Plan.pdf.

Quotes:

“Public transit plays a vital role in the reopening and recovery phase of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our city’s transit system connects people and communities, which will help with rebuilding our economy and ensuring that no one is left behind. Expediting the installation of priority bus lanes on the Eglinton East corridor will help us quickly improve access and mobility for Scarborough residents, and will help reduce congestion, shorten travel times and improve transit reliability.”
- Mayor John Tory

“The TTC is the primary mode of travel for many people in Toronto and more than half of all TTC trips are taken on the bus network. Bus priority lanes are not only an important step in the City’s pandemic recovery efforts, they play an essential role in creating a sustainable and successful surface transit network for Torontonians in the longer term.”
- TTC CEO Rick Leary

City news release issued on July 21, 2020

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