Transit Briefs: Metrolinx, NYCT, San Diego MTS

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
This photograph from another Metrolinx project shows the tunneling method that will be used on the eastern underground portion of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. (Caption and Photograph Courtesy of Metrolinx)

This photograph from another Metrolinx project shows the tunneling method that will be used on the eastern underground portion of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. (Caption and Photograph Courtesy of Metrolinx)

Metrolinx awards a second tunneling contract for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. Also, all 472 MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) subway stations will be upgraded to LED lighting; and San Diego (Calif.) Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) breaks ground on a new transit-oriented development project.


Metrolinx on Feb. 16 awarded Strabag Inc. a contract to design and build the second underground segment of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. The 5.7-mile (9.2-kilometer) extension will connect with future Eglinton Crosstown LRT service and create a seamless rapid transit line from Scarborough, through midtown Toronto, and into Mississauga, according to Metrolinx (see map below). It will add seven new stations to the 25 stations and stops that will soon open along the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

The second tunneling work package covers detailed design and construction of a 547-yard (500-meter) tunnel that will link the existing terminus of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT at Mount Dennis Station to a portal east of Jane Street where the line will run on an elevated guideway, and changes at the station that will accommodate extended Eglinton Crosstown LRT service. The contract also includes supplying mining and tunneling equipment, construction of launch and extraction shafts, modifications at Mount Dennis station to accommodate extended Eglinton Crosstown LRT service, and utility work and road modifications along Eglinton Avenue West to accommodate construction activities.

Work is under way to prepare the site for major construction on this segment of the project, which Metrolinx said is expected to begin in later this year after a detailed schedule is finalized.

Major construction is also expected to begin soon on the 0.93-mile (1.5-kilometer) elevated section of the line that will run from west of Scarlett Road to the tunnel portal near Jane Street.

Work on the first underground segment of the line, between Renforth Drive and Scarlett Road, is entering its final phase, according to Metrolinx. The twin tunnel boring machines excavating the line have each completed more than 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) of their approximately 3.7-mile (6-kilometer) journey to the extraction shaft at Scarlett Road, where they will be disassembled and brought to the surface. West End Connectors was awarded the contract for the work in 2021.

The Eglinton Crosstown West Extension is anticipated to accommodate nearly 69,700 transit trips per day, which will take nearly 6.5 million car trips off the road when combined with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, according to Metrolinx.  


Lafayette Avenue C Station featuring new LEDs. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA Photograph)

NYCT will convert all 150,000 light fixtures across the subway system to LED lighting by the middle of 2026. “This project will brighten every subway platform and mezzanine, increasing safety system-wide and enhancing the customer experience,” the transit agency said during its Feb. 20 announcement.

According to NYCT, the project will generate an estimated $5.9 million in annual recurring energy and material cost savings, and the new LED light fixtures will also improve illumination for 15,000 security cameras in the subway system, further increasing safety.

The project began in late January 2024 at the Bergen Street F and G Station, followed by the Carroll Street F and G Station​​, and most recently at the Lafayette Avenue C Station.

“By upgrading the lighting at each of our 472 subway stations, we are not only making our stations brighter and safer for customers but also reducing our costs and emissions,” NYCT President Richard Davey said. “It’s simple: A brighter station is a safer station. Transit crews have already upgraded the lighting at every station where we’ve completed a Re-NEW-Vation, and customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Soon, these benefits to the customer experience will be felt systemwide as we supercharge LED deployments in 2024.”

The lighting project follows on the footsteps of the Re-NEW-Vation project, which includes station-wide repairs, improvements, and deep cleanings across the subway system. Since Re-NEW-Vation began in late 2022, 63 stations have been upgraded. In all, 53 stations were renovated in 2023, the first full year of the program. NYCT said it will complete upgrades, repairs, and deep cleanings at 13 more subway stations in first-quarter 2024.

San Diego MTS

SkyLINE Apartments groundbreaking ceremony. (San Diego MTS Photograph)

San Diego MTS on Feb. 15 celebrated the beginning of construction on SkyLINE Apartments at the Rancho Bernardo Transit Station. Also attending the groundbreaking ceremony were officials from Affirmed Housing, a provider of affordable and supportive housing throughout California, and regional housing leaders. The new seven-story mixed-use, transit-oriented, affordable housing development in San Diego’s Rancho Bernardo neighborhood will include 100 apartment homes and roughly 14,000 square feet of commercial space that will be Affirmed Housing’s new company headquarters.

SkyLINE is a GreenPoint-rated development comprising 99 apartments for individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, and one unit earmarked for an on-site property manager, according to San Diego MTS, which operates 97 bus routes and three Trolley lines in 10 cities and unincorporated areas of San Diego. Apartments come in a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedrooms, ranging from roughly 557 square feet to approximately 1,113 square feet. The building’s amenities will include a community room, a learning center, a tot lot, and an outdoor courtyard. Residents will also have exclusive access to services and programs “designed to support quality of life goals, such as health and wellness classes, financial literacy, parenting, food preparation, career building, job readiness (such as resume writing and interviewing skills), voter registration, and other enrichment activities,” San Diego MTS said.

SkyLINE uses a portion of an existing San Diego MTS parking lot that is in close proximity to several off-site amenities, including bus service, grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare options, and the Rancho Bernardo library. Affirmed Housing is engaged in a 99-year lease with San Diego MTS; as part of the partnership, it has improved the property’s sewer and water systems and worked alongside San Diego MTS to meet current and future parking needs. In addition to designated resident and office space parking, SkyLINE provides 84 parking stalls within its podium structure for San Diego MTS patrons.

“SkyLINE is just the latest example of how MTS is bringing much-needed affordable housing to the San Diego region,” said Stephen Whitburn, San Diego MTS Board Chair and San Diego City Council Member. “Thank you to Affirmed Housing for their continued partnership as we continue to develop affordable transit-oriented housing that will connect residents with communities that will allow them to balance their daily lives with work, school, social activities, raising families and much more”.  

“Transit-oriented resources are a benchmark of a city’s ability to meet residents’ current and forward-looking needs,” said Affirmed Housing President Jimmy Silverwood. “SkyLINE is a remarkable example, and it’s a particularly special project for Affirmed Housing as it serves as our new home, as well. All our communities are established with the purpose of providing safe, quality spaces that individuals and families can be proud to call their own, and in this case, that includes our staff and team. We’re thrilled to be here, where we can continue our mission of delivering high-quality, safe, affordable housing in the San Diego region, and throughout the state.”

Affirmed Housing is relocating from Sabre Springs into a larger space at SkyLINE, designed by Carrier Johnson + Culture. Its partners on SkyLINE include San Diego MTS, Bank of America, Citi Community Capital, Lument Capital, City of San Diego, California Department of Housing and Community Development, County of San Diego, San Diego Housing Commission, Compass for Affordable Housing, HA Builder Group, Architects Orange, and ConAm Management Corporation.

SkyLINE is part of a larger effort San Diego MTS is advancing to redevelop its top-tier park and ride locations into transit-oriented developments. Other top-tier properties it is in the process of redeveloping include:

  • Palm Avenue Trolley Station – 406 units
  • Spring Street Station – 152 units
  • 12th & Imperial Transit Center – 500 estimated units
  • El Cajon Transit Center – 323 estimated units
  • E Street Transit Center – 170-390 estimated units
  • Beyer Boulevard Transit Center – 100 estimated units

Additionally, San Diego MTS has existing transit-oriented developments at the Morena Linda Vista Station, Grossmont Station, 62nd Street Station, 47th Street Station, and Grantville Station.

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