So You Want Us To Build You A Subway!

From time to time, people suggest to me that the world would be a better place if only we had more subway lines.  Many politicians love subway lines, but paying for them is quite another matter [see the following post on Sheppard].  The one thing people tend to forget is that not all subway lines have stations close together the way they are on much of the Yonge-University and Bloor-Danforth lines.  The new scheme shows itself in the Yonge line north of Eglinton, the Sheppard line, and the proposed line to York University.

If you want me to design a subway under your street, I will use modern 21st Century design criteria.

Let’s look at what might have happened 60 years ago if we had done this on the original Yonge and Bloor lines.

The stations on Yonge would be at:

  • Eglinton
  • (Davisville might have sneaked through by virtue of the TTC head office and the yard, but that’s an exception)
  • St. Clair
  • (Forget Summerhill and Rosedale)
  • Bloor
  • (Wellesley was totally unimportant)
  • College
  • (Dundas and Yonge was a backwater in the 40s and early 50s.)
  • Queen/King (one station would be made to serve the core area rather than two).
  • Union

Now let’s have a look at Bloor-Danforth:

  • Jane
  • (Skip past Runnymede and High Park)
  • Keele
  • Dundas West (an existing major interchange with the King and Dundas cars)
  • Lansdowne (a major exchange with the Lansdowne and Keele buses, and just down the street from Lansdowne Division)
  • (Dufferin was so unimportant a location it didn’t even rate an off-street bus loop)
  • Ossington (another major route, more important than Dufferin)
  • (You expect a stop at a park, Christie Pitts?)
  • Bathurst (a really busy transfer point) 
  • Spadina (another busy bus transfer)
  • St. George (it’s already there)
  • Bay/Yonge (one stop shall serve them all)
  • (Skip Sherbourne and Castle Frank – why serve the slums of St. James Town or south Rosedale?)
  • Broadview
  • (Skip Chester – Greektown doesn’t exist yet.)
  • Pape (a major transfer point)
  • (Skip Donlands and Greenwood.  We can have an interchange for Greenwood Yard without the stations.)
  • Coxwell (because of Danforth Division)
  • Woodbine or Main (but not both)
  • Victoria Park

These would be very different lines from what we have today.  Faster, but not quite the neighbourhood service we know today.

When you ask for a network of subways, expect the stations to be few and far between, and the service to be designed for long-haul riders, not for the locals.  They can go looking for the surface bus.