Beauty in the eye of the rider
The idea of elevated light rail has frequently been dismissed as a non-starter in Toronto. The fear is that it could create Gardiner Expressway-like scenarios around the city and interfere with above-ground utility lines.
But this photo of the Brentwood Station on Vancouver's Millennium line, sent by Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, proves it needn't be ugly and could in fact add a little wow to the landscape. Of course this picture is shot from above, not the view most people would enjoy. Other photos online, however, show that the station is still arresting from the rider's perspective.
Metrolinx and the TTC are analyzing the potential impacts of above-grade trains as a way to meet Mayor Rob Ford's goal of reserving road space for cars but expanding transit. Building above ground is less expensive than burying rail lines. With automated light rail such as that used in Vancouver it's also cheaper to operate because you don't have to pay drivers and computerized signalling means you can run more trains.
The technology being used in Vancouver is the next generation of Toronto's SRT, which theoretically can also operate unstaffed.