What To Do With Spadina

Due to the volume of questions and comments about the Spadina issue along with the Toronto Star article about the extension, I am posting this to summarize what I would do if I were Transit Czar. 

Please remember that I am not perfect and that there are alternative ways of looking at this problem.  Here is mine:

  • Address the demand for service between York Region and downtown Toronto with substantially improved service on GO Rail on the Richmond Hill and Barrie lines.  This looks after the long-haul trips into downtown, makes GO Rail an attractive realistic alternative to the subway, and removes peak demand from both the Spadina and Yonge subway corridors.
  • Build a T-shaped LRT network consisting of an east-west spine (in effect, the mid-range plan for the Viva LRT) and a north-south line connecting that to Downsview Station via York University.  Build as much of it on the surface as possible. 
  • Substantially improve bus services especially those feeding York University along Finch and Steeles.

We need a detailed study of these options so that we will know comparative capital and operating costs and the scope of the affected service area.  One big point about this proposal is that it is aimed at providing a lot of good quality service to southern York Region and to York University rather than blowing every nickel we have on a subway line that won’t be open for nearly a decade.

Postscript (updated)

The original postscript has been moved into the compendium reply on matters re Spadina.

One addition:  I had originally omitted from my scheme any discussion about east-west LRT services within Toronto itself.  A Finch West line would do quite nicely, and I will delve into this in a separate post about the future of LRT in Toronto.

For greater clarity:  LRT is not that orphan technology in Scarborough but true LRT such as runs in many other cities in North America and worldwide.  Modern, low-floor streetcars on, for the most part, reserved lanes or private right-of way.