Transportation-led Redevelopment And Affordability Along The Eglinton Avenue Lrt Line, Toronto.
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New rapid transit lines have been demonstrated to increase access and enhance equity and social inclusivity in cities. However fixed transit infrastructure improvements have also been shown to lift property values, decrease affordability, and lead to displacement and community homogenization in areas adjacent to its construction. The following case study examines this often overlooked relationship between enhanced mobility and reduced affordability in the context of Ontario's largest single infrastructure project, the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT). The case study first looks at the history of rapid transit infrastructure in Toronto and the role of provincial transit agency Metrolinx and their stated goals in the development of new transit. The case study area, a 2.1km stretch of Eglinton Avenue West is subsequently examined, detailing the neighbourhood's history, demographic makeup and existing affordability conditions. The implications of new transit development in the study area to date and in the future are considered. Parties likely to gain the most from the Crosstown LRT such as the development and real estate firms are discussed in context to those most at risk of losing out, tenanted business and residents. Reggae Lane, a local project in the case study area conceived in recognition of the changes to come, is discussed by way of interviews with the local councillor who proposed the project as well as the founder of Canadian Reggae World and active participant in the project. Finally the paper offers up a series of policy recommendations that could prove beneficial in preventing transit land displacement and towards create positive outcomes for neighbourhood affordability.