Half a Loaf

According to this morning’s Toronto Star, Ottawa is about to announce its support for the Spadina Subway extension to Vaughan along with a bunch of other goodies for the 905.  Notable by their complete absence is any transit support for the 416 other than the subway extension.

I’m not going to debate the merits of that line again as everyone reading this site knows my position, but I have a very important question for Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty and David Miller:

Where’s the money coming from for the projects we really need to serve the whole city?

Are we facing the same situation we had with Mike Harris when he agreed to fund the Sheppard line, gave us a pot full of money, and then said, in effect, “bugger off, that’s all you’re getting”?  Will the Harper crowd think that this announcement is all they will ever have to do for the greater Toronto area?

As my readers know, I have always warned about the Spadina line crowding every other project out of the room for the next 8 years.  Will Ottawa and Queen’s Park say “we gave you what you asked for, don’t ask for more”, or the City say “we have over-extended our ability to write new debt, so that new bus you thought was coming next year is on hold”.

To all three levels of government:  Please prove me wrong.  Soon.

53 thoughts on “Half a Loaf

  1. If this news is true, it will be very bad news for Scarborough. The Scarborough ICTS line will probably not receive provincial and or federal funding for a long time. This means the extension to Malvern will not happen. The conversion (for better or worst) to tram technology will not happen. At best, the TTC can only afford to purchase a new fleet of ICTS MkII cars. Even with the 44 new cars, service headway will not improve much from today since the line is too short. The turnaround time for the cars will take up too much time at the terminals.

    The TTC must be given money to experiment with various transit technologies. Toronto has different transit requirement than Tokyo. Exclusive use of metro technology will not be the most ideal. Transit should not be politicized. The Sorbara Line is good for ribbon cutting politicians. The construction lobby is too powerful in this province. Think about it, most of the cost will go to construction companies. Even if the TTC orders 48 more T35A08 vehicles for the new extension, it will only give Bombardier $120 million in revenues.

    I hate to say it Steve, if the TTC went ahead and build a spider web of tram lines or Guilded Light Transit network, Bombardier will receive a lot more orders. This will create a viable future for Thunder Bay. I guess Bombardier wasted their energy in lobbying for aircraft subsidies instead.

    Toronto should not always rely on other government for transit funding. We should follow the example of Atlantic City. Their gaming facilities and red light districts funnel huge revenues to their urban redevelopment fund. They have been able to revitalize their city with it. If Toronto allow gaming facilities and a red light district, the TTC can probably segregate all its vehicles from traffic. This way they have no more excuse for unreliable service.


  2. I might have a bias in this but this is my view. Im a 905er and this announcement provides plenty of good news for the suburbs, which, need the most help in trying to be more environmentally sustainable.

    Brampton (I used to live there until recently) – Acceleride Program, Means VIVA in Peel Region but the difference is that the lines proposed by Brampton ALREADY carry far more passengers and have great frequencies then the lines developed for VIVA (excluding Yonge St from 407 to Finch, which is going to start Phase 2 soon). Brampton Transit is one of the fastest growing transit systems in Canada and i was there first hand to see the massive change from 2001 to 2006. A poor suburban system with curvy infrequent routes to a GRID SYSTEM with acceptable frequencies. May 16th 2005 was the day it all changed (I still hold the transfer). The money will be best used in Brampton. Mark my words. Queen already could use an LRT!

    Mississauga – Transitway means fast movement of passengers. Whenever somethings fast, it can compete with cars. This will basically be Mississauga’s first subway on tires because it will be, for most of the route, on its on R.O.W. and it will be a great East-West Corridor. Furthermore, the entire corridor CAN be on private ROW because from Cawathra and points eastward, there is unused 403 R.O.W. that can easily be utilized. If demand justifies it, it can be used.

    York Region – VIVA is starting to loose its spark because of the lack of bus lanes in areas, notably Highway 7 and Yonge St. Yonge will have its lanes done soon, so with funding for Highway 7 widening + bus lanes, it can become a truly rapid alternate.

    Durham Region – Planning Ahead! Starting up an EA for a region which is less then or equal to the size of Mississauga, is an excellent strategy. If all goes well, Durham can possibly be the first GTA region to build rapid transit early in its development.

    Subway to VCC – Clearly a choice better then the Sheppard Subway. Already proposals are flying about multiple high rises in the Jane/Avenue 7 Area. Brampton Acceleride has an excellent transfer point, with bus lanes, would make it rapid. Absence of GO Transit in the Woodbridge Area also increases passengers to the subway line.

    Some of you might have guessed that i am Center-Right, but the average person can see that Conservatives have no chance of gaining any riding in Toronto proper, so they probably don’t seem to care, and rather give funding to the suburbs. However, despite it all, Toronto did get the most money, for the subway extension, i just hope like you said, they will not stop giving funding to Toronto because of the subway extension.

    Its time we start looking at GTA as a whole region, rather then the Toronto-centric view of whats only good for the city. Not everyone lives in the core of the city, nor do many prefer high density lifestyles.

    Thanks for reading my long post.

    Steve: I’m not objecting to spending in the 905 where the amount of work needed to get even a 20-percent modal share for transit will be immense, and the traffic problems will continue to grow faster than we can put new service in place. I called my post “Half a Loaf” because there are still huge requirements within the 416. Indeed, some of the hard choices we have to make about the use of road space for cars or for transit within the City of Toronto will be replicated in decades to come in the 905.

    From a “centre-right” point of view, trying to solve all of our problems with subway lines doesn’t represent a good use of tax dollars compared to other alternatives, and my own position might be described that way. I just don’t like the baggage that comes with the hard right Tories.


  3. Do you think this extension, and the new riders it will attract from Vaughan, will cause capacity problems on University south of Bloor?

    Look at things this way — it’s similar to sending money to starving children in Africa. Some agencies spread out their money trying to help everyone a little, but not enough to change any one child’s life significantly. Other agencies have taken the approach of sponsoring a specific child, making a huge difference in that child’s life. So which is the better approach? If you spread that 2 billion across the city, I don’t think you’re going to see a big difference in 10 years, but if you focus on one area at a time, you can make a big difference. Next, put the Eglinton West line back on the table.

    Steve: The difference between subway planning and network planning in Toronto is quite simple. With subways, we force feed one child for a decade while thousands make do with gruel. With sustained funding and a planned network of LRT lines and better bus service, we improve the lot of everyone. Moreover, as another comment pointed out, we spend most of our money on the people who need it, not on the construction industry.


  4. Elections are won and lost in the 905 belt. Toronto is permanently red with or without bribes. Is it any wonder who the pork barrel projects will go to?


  5. Why Can’t the TTC spend money on a campaign to Educate people about what an LRT truly is (not a slow Streetcar ROW) instead of this whole “1% GST” campaign which will surely be a flaw. Even the stronghold party Liberals don’t agree to this policy. Then what is the point?

    If people knew what an LRT really was, they would champion for one. When i showed my friend the nice LRT in Houston, he was thrilled, and didn’t know what an LRT was until he saw those pictures.

    The Subway to Vaughan is secured. Its great to see SOMETHING done in this region, because everything gets strangled and nothing usually gets done. Its become so lame that when the VIVA network opened, it was like a big blockbuster hit because nothing gets done in the region. (I give lots of credit to York Region for phasing it in so smoothly…)

    One councilor from Scarborough made a good point tho “We cannot build an LRT on Sheppard! Car drivers will only switch over to something that is FAST and Comfortable and a Subway is the only answer”

    That can be greatly disputed of course, because Elevated works just as well, and an LRT in its on ROW also works. This however demonstrates that NOBODY IN THE GTA knows about anything but Subways and Highways. As the City Grows, it will only get worse.


  6. I completely agree with you Steve that getting Federal and Provincial $$$ for the York subway line is likely to mean they will think we have then had our ‘fair share’ and other, more cost-effecive, projects will get postponed. That said, I do think a subway to York is a good idea, we just may be building it too soon. What I do find unsatisfactory is that the line is not scheduled to open until 2114 (and doubtless later.)

    If other cities like Madrid can build subways far faster why can’t we? Since the EA is well underway the delay cannot be attributed to this overly complex process. Is the glacial speed because the $$ are spread over so many years or because the construction is going to be carried out like the Broadview station renovations – by what appears to be one man and a boy working half time?

    Steve: 2114? On that timescale, global warming clearly has no influence on the TTC’s Engineering & Construction department.


  7. Funding for the Mississauga Busway was overdue. Its great to see that happen. But without a Toronto rapid transit link connecting with it I fear Mississaugans will continue driving into Toronto. Where is the GTTA on this? If we are to continue looking at this piecemeal I fear we will continue to have a broken so-called transportation network that will continue doing more for promoting the car-ruption of our communities.


  8. The Mississauga Transitway is a terrible mistake, just like the subway north of York U. That city thinks that an Ottawa style busway down the 403 is the solution to their transit problems. First of all, except at Square One, the stops will be a the side of a highway, with low density residental which already turns its back to the 403/Hydro lands. That project will rely totally on feeder buses and park-and-ride for ridership. Not the type of transit that will encourage redevelopment or increased densities. Brampton and York Region at least have more sense in this regard.

    Unfortunately, the York U/Vaughan Sorbara Line was the one with the momentum. It has been the pet project of the finance minister, York U lobbied hard, plus Metro lobbied for it back in the 1980s and 1990s (thank you Mel). Our politicans must first see the light, then lobby for years to get the type of transit we need – LRT in the city (and possibly subway where needed, like a DRL), and real regional rail for the 905 and the outer areas of Toronto.


  9. #5 asks that dangerous question – ‘Why?’.

    I’ll take a shot at answering.

    I don’t think we have a concensus at the TTC – or in general – as to what LRT means. Some in the “transit community” see LRT as streetcar service. They envisage light rail vehicles ploughing along the medians of suburbs providing local service. The speed of service would likely be comparable to – or at best slightly faster than – existing bus service. Others see LRT as arterial – i.e. providing speed significantly faster than existing service. It’s hard to sell LRT when you haven’t decided what it is.

    This is compounded by the labelling of the Spadina and other streetcar services as “LRT”. I can’t imagine the TTC selling new LRT in the suburbs “as LRT but not really”.


  10. The Spadina Subway has it’s merits (which I won’t go into right now), and it’s disadvantages. With the extention to Vaughan, it provides an excellent link to VIVA (if nothing else). But the money for a subway will probably have to go into that corridor sooner or later. It might even be better to extend it now before inflation extends the cost waay to high. Unfortunately, the main reason the extention is questioned most now is because other projects need money (new streetcars, subway cars, RT cars, Don Mills LRT) that are more important currently. If this proposal was only a decade or so into the future, then it might surely have less controversary than it has today.


  11. RE: …Will Ottawa and Queen’s Park say “we gave you what you asked for, don’t ask for more”, or the City say “we have over-extended our ability to write new debt, so that new bus you thought was coming next year is on hold”.

    It’s a shame that when the federal government announces (well, leaks) that it is funnelling hundreds of millions of dollars to public transit in the GTA, that it causes more anxiety than glee among so many of its residents.

    This is what happens without stable funding and a proper strategy. Hospitals, universities and school boards in this province are also very familiar with this absurd funding model. Here’s hoping (really, really, hoping) the new GTTA can go a long way towards depoliticizing transit in this city and focus on real transit needs. The manner in which it is funded will probably play a bigger role in how it plays out than how much funding it actually receives.

    Back to Spadina, I actually don’t think the federal government has any business funding a SPECIFIC local transit project. That’s when it becomes about politics and not about the environment, or reducing gridlock, etc. The federal goverment does have business providing stable funding through a national strategy that meets local transit priorities and national goals. But getting a senior level of government to hand over cash without strings is a whole other matter.


  12. I’m going to have to completely disagree with what Joseph C. has been saying.

    Until recently I lived in Markham, and viva and acceleride are 2 systems that do exactly what needs to be done in Toronto, give people more service than is required to spur transit usage and increase its appearance as an alternative.

    Now I’m all for environmental sustainability and think that 905 has been in love with their cars for far to long but my point is this:

    When I’m walking on College from Yonge to Bathurst, because there isn’t a single streetcar in sight in the direction I am going, I sit and wonder why billions are spend on subways to the middle of nowhere (technically by density) while I can’t find a streetcar that costs 3 million$ to pick me up!

    Steve: The short answer is that the level of subsidy for bus systems in the 905 is much higher, per rider, than in the 416 and there are far fewer riders. If the TTC spent money like its 905 counterparts on service, you wouldn’t have to walk from Yonge to Bathurst.

    This is not to say that just throwing money at transit is the solution. However, we have had years of cutbacks and forgot that our primary job is to run transit service that is attractive. Wooing people in the 905 to that kind of unreliable service would be laughable.


  13. To commenter Geoffrey,above:

    There already is a rapid-transit link between Toronto and Mississauga. It’s called the GO train.

    Steve: Yes, and it runs now and then, and two of three lines don’t run outside of the rush hour, and they provided limited counter-peak service. The one all-day line is down at the south end of the city. That’s not a rapid transit service.


  14. I read this morning where this project “pierces the 416/905 barrier” – why is GO Transit used by so many 905416 travellers yet so disregarded?

    This is a nakedly political announcement, just as McGuinty’s subway trust was, which continues the shackling of local priorities to the electoral manoeuvring of senior governments.


  15. Good Point made about the Ending of the Missisauga Transitway. However, what can be done cheaply is make the buses route onto Highway 427, using the collector lanes (which does not have much traffic) and make its connection to the Bloor Danforth Subway.

    The Perfect short-term solution would be the Bloor-Danforth Extension to Cloverdale so that it has rapid access from Highway 427 without having to travel at snail’s pace to reach Islington Station.

    The Transitway is located along a private ROW, and that itself makes it viewed as being rapid. Furthermore, it will be grade separated from Cawathra to West End. Feeders might be the solution, but consider this! Feeders from all parts of the city creep their way into Square One to meet with the regional terminal.

    If all these routes can just make a stop at the Transitway in the same way that buses stopover at the Bloor-Danforth Line, then they can avoid trying to make a “Square One” Connection and thus make the system more grid based.

    Mississauga already has a plan to make a nice LRT line along its Hurontario corridor, so this will give the city a good start with an East-West and North-South Rapid Line. Thats the first step to a true Grid System and feeders don’t have to travel from Britannia and Hurontario and creep its way down to Square One.

    The only thing is, it would have been better as an LRT transitway, but there’s no proven ridership yet to risk that.


  16. New subject line: Subway extension; too many stops?

    Looking at the map in the Toronto Star Sat. March 3rd page A4 I cannot help but wonder why so many statons?

    Sheppard West Station located on the GO train line so I guess that is good however, why another station at Finch West? Couldn’t buses be routed to/from Sheppard West?

    Then the York U station, good enough but why another at Steeles West? Again, could the Steeles buses not be routed via York U?

    Highway 407 Transitway Station, what is this for and again couldn’t it be combined with another station?

    If there were less stations in the far outreaches of the line a faster service could be provided which would be advantageous in attracting new riders from afar instead of stopping and starting over and over again to say nothing of saving tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs and operating expenses.

    Help me understand this.

    Steve: I will take these in order:

    Sheppard West is the biggest joke of all and only makes sense in the context of some massive future redevelopment at Downsview Park. The next time the Pope visits, they will have a subway station for him, but otherwise projected ridership here is lower than any existing station. The construction and operating costs of this relative to any future use will be enormous. This really is a situation where provision should be roughed in for a future station, but nothing actually built just as they did at North York Centre.

    Finch West is actually at an intersection and is a useful place for a station. Stations should be where people are.

    York U station is in the university grounds, but the university doesn’t want any additional traffic such as connecting buses coming into their campus. The whole idea is to get rid of the herds of buses that are there today.

    Steeles West station connects with the Steeles bus and serves a huge parking lot in best TTC fashion. This made a lot more sense before the line was extended.

    The two stations in Vaughan are at highways. The one at 407 is intended to connect with east west transit service, although I have problems with stations that serve highways, not local roads because they are entirely dependent on feeder services. As for Highway 7, that’s a local arterial road. It really needs a name much as we call Highway 11 Yonge Street. This will be a major development centre.


  17. At least Mr. Miller makes noises that make it clear what’s needed is sustainable funding for network development and longer term operations cost, which is a cost often ignored.


  18. A north-south LRT on Hurontario will not happen during Hazel’s lifetime. (Which hopefully won’t be that long for the Queen of Sprawl) This LRT is sorely needed, the traffic on Hurontario is horrendous, the number of lights greenhouse gas inducing, and the service on the 19 Hurontario bus mindboggling bad.


  19. The 407 Transitway Station is excellent but it will only be best when the “407 Transitway” is built. Since subway construction will take at least 7 years without delay, it just *might* be possible that it will be built in time for the subway extension.

    It’s an excellent station for the following reason.

    Commuter #1 – Goes from Bramalea GO Station and wants to reach the Spadina Subway Line. I would take a train and get off at Bramalea Station and then hop on an express bus and get off at 407 Transitway Station. Thats it! From there I’m on the subway line. It takes approx. 10-15 Mins from the GO Station to the Subway Line.

    Today, that journey could be made except, the bus ends up at York University and then you have sit through congestion to eventually reach Downsview Station. Approx Time to York U is about 20 Mins.

    With speeds like that, you’ll attract so much people that you’ll have capacity problems. Why? 407 is a toll road, if you can get an alternate thats faster then the 407 and 401, people will definitely take it. If it’s an LRT, even more people will hop on, because a train just “more” reliable to the public eye.

    Having the station exactly at the future spot of the transitway station ENSURES excellent transfer speed, making the commute seamless. Also, for long distance travellers, this is the new Yorkdale Station! Park N’ Ride direct from Highway.

    I think people are underestimating how important the 407 Transitway will be. It can get you from Brampton to Markham within 1 hour by Transit! It’s something the 401 could have benefited from if they had planned transitways back when they created the “Toronto By-Pass”.

    Also, Highway 7 will have NO Park N’ Ride because it will be a dense downtown styled station, so theres another reason why the Transitway station is necessary.

    Highway 7 Will be Renamed as “Avenue 7” to make it more of a boulevard.


  20. The only way a station at Sheppard, on this new line, makes any sense would be if a large amount of new development (on Downsview Park lands) or redevelopment (of older obsolete industrial properties north of Sheppard) takes place, to new uses which would be trip generators. Otherwise, why bother with a Sheppard station? I can’t see redevelopment of industrial areas taking place. Land ownership is too fragmented, and in any case the City has had a policy of maintaining employment land uses.

    Continuing in this vein, the only way anything at all north of Steeles makes sense would be if Vaughan is willing to heavily emphasize high density land uses at the Hwy. 7 end. I don’t have high hopes at all for this. They have been falling all over themselves to build big-box retail with humongous parking lots.

    Absent these conditions, this subway might, barely, make sense with one new station at Keele / Finch and one on the York campus, preferably toward the north side of the campus so that it could be accessed by Steeles buses without undue delays.


  21. A lot of people think that the extension to Vaughan is a terrible Idea. I’m one of them. I’m of the belief that if there is to be a subway extension, it should be the Sheppard Line extended to York University and nowhere further. My belief behind this that it will provide the needed “northern link” between the Spadina and Yonge portions, providing critical service to York University, and if the Sheppard Line is extended to the east, provide a second, critical, east west corridor. Even an extension to York University will provide a lot of benefits to York Region. If the Highway 400 interchange at Steeles were to be completed, then patrons using the 400 from the north can have a convenient connection to the subway.

    But there really is no justification for an extension of the subway to Vaughan. Consider this, other than the VIVA route there are very few routes that could connect to this subway station. Combine this with YRT service which at best is provided every 30 minutes and you are looking at a subway corridor which will become extremely underused.

    I also agree with people who say that the money is better spent increasing service in the GTA rather than dumping it into subway expansion. There are a lot of things that the TTC could do with that money if it was not earmarked for capital projects. Steve is right, it looks like this “commitment” is more of a bribe to “shut up and stop complaining”. Why not just extend the subway to York University only and use the money saved from the Vaughan extension to make other improvements in the TTC? The Vaughan extension is sure to be a bigger white elephant than the Sheppard Subway, it is probably better to save the money and make better use of it than to throw it in a hole in the middle of nowhere (where Highway 7 and Jane currently is). I’m sure York Region people won’t lose much sleep over this, they don’t use transit anyway and those who do can still benefit from shorter trip times.


  22. Why are you folks criticizing this project?! You should be grateful, not critical!

    The northwest end of the city has been shafted of quick access to the downtown core for years, and they’re finally getting what they deserve.

    As for Mississauga, you can thank Hazel that the BD line isn’t there yet. It should have been extended to Dixie ages ago. It’s her fault — she never lobbied for it. And Scarborough has had the RT for over 20 years.

    The only question mark is what will the increase in ridership do to the University line south of Bloor.

    Steve: I just realized that I didn’t address the issue of ridership downtown in Mimmo’s previous comment.

    Yes, I believe that this will certainly have an impact although whether it will overload the line is hard to say. By the time the extension opens in 2014 or so, a lot will depend on what other improvements are in place. This includes the planned increase in route capacity through signalling changes and the new subway cars. The Spadina extension is planned on the basis that half of the service will turn back somewhere north of Downsview Station, and at least on this leg of the subway this will address the terminal delay problems I have written about here. However, unless there is some change at Finch Station, that will remain a barrier to reducing headways below 130 seconds.

    If the TTC aims to get the headway down below 120 seconds, they will need to carefully study the dynamics of major stations like Bloor where dwell times can play havoc with running a very frequent service.


  23. Mimmo – I have no problem with NW 416 riders and support the extension to Finch West or Steeles. Crossing the 905 is different because now the politics of the City of Vaughan will enter the business of ongoing subway funding and they feel they send enough money downtown (due to Harris downloading) as it is.


  24. If the TTC aims to get the headway down below 120 seconds, they will need to carefully study the dynamics of major stations like Bloor where dwell times can play havoc with running a very frequent service.

    And for that, the most effective means I can see of achieving this is extending the Yonge subway to Clark Blvd (intermediate station at Steeles) and revamping the tailtracks north of Finch station to allow easy turnbacks for every second train.

    Which means another billion dollars slurping up capital costs that need to go elsewhere in the system…


  25. Steve wrote: “York U station is in the university grounds, but the university doesn’t want any additional traffic such as connecting buses coming into their campus. The whole idea is to get rid of the herds of buses that are there today.”

    So, what I understand, students coming in from York Region or Peel on the YRT and GO buses will be forced to make a transfer to the subway for one or two stops from Steeles or the “Transitway” station. Will they then pay a fare to ride the subway, or is this one of the things the much promised “smartcard” will deal with? Right now, many of the students drive a car to a GO station (because GO stations are designed for cars, not people, and found mostly in industrial or light residental areas), take the GO bus that takes them to the campus. Now an extra transfer is being added. Wouldn’t some just drive to the TTC park and ride then (free with a Metropass, cheaper than York U’s parking, or most monthly GO fares) and take the subway one stop, and skip GO Transit?

    Anyway, I know one way to institute “bus rapid transit” without exclusive roadways, without even designated lanes. Equip each bus with a Code-3 lightbar and siren. But then again, there would be no consultants or construction firms making money from that idea!


  26. Steve,

    To your point about increasing capacity on YUS, one of the things I noticed while riding through the wye is that trains on both legs heading into Museum can *already* get VERY close to each other. We were stopped on the climb into Museum from Bay Lower and you could clearly see a train at the Museum southbound platform that had just rolled in from St. George — we were 500 feet from it.

    How can they increase capacity on YUS and get the trains any closer than this while maintaining a safety factor? Isn’t that a function of speed, the mass of the train itself, and stopping distance? What I mean is, if they increase capacity, does it mean all the trains have to run SLOWER? I remember northbound YUS trains on Yonge in the late 80s moving at a snail’s pace.

    Steve: My point is that with the new signalling system, places where trains can’t get closer together today can be safely eliminated. The problem of terminal capacity remains the controlling factor on the lines. Only if you short-turn half of the service somewhere so that the terminal is no longer running at capacity, or if you redesign the terminal to eliminate the constraints, can you reduce the minimum headway on the line.

    Attempts to schedule a headway shorter than the terminal’s capacity will always product long queues of trains waiting at the end of the line. Similarly, subway running times need to be as tight as possible (almost slightly too tight) to ensure that trains don’t arrive at terminals early and, again, create long queues approaching the end of the line.


  27. I believe that the TTC should not leave the City’s borders, currently that’s (for all intents & purposes): Highway 427 in the West, Morningside in the East, Steeles in the North, and Lake Ontario in the south.


  28. #21 Eric Chow called the Sheppard subway a “white elephant”.

    I disagree, however it is simply not long enough and should be extended westbound to the airport and eastbound to Scarborough, certainly linking the Yonge and Spadina lines. But for a “white elephant” it is currently standing room only for both rush hours and busy all day. Bessarion is no longer the least used station on the system, and with the continuing construction of condos near that station, ridership will soon increase.

    Say what you will, subways do bring development and the extension into Vaughan will reduce the cars into Toronto.

    This metropolis should never stop building subways, there is so much catch-up to do it must become an on-going project. And to those who say it doesn’t serve the needs of all the people, I say the St. Clair streetcar or Donlands subway station doesn’t particulary serve my needs just like the Sheppard line doesn’t serve yours.

    But the greater good right now is to get the people who have to drive cards (because surface routes are too slow) into mass transit. The Don Mills station did it for me and additional extensions and lines will also go a long way to reducing the number cars in the city centre.


  29. Here’s a question: am I correct in assuming that the entire local share of the subway extension in Vaughan is being paid for by York Region, and not by Toronto? If Vaughan wants to pay for it, then perhaps they really will act on their plans to build a new downtown at Hwy 7 and Jane.

    Steve: Yes, Vaughan is paying their 1/3 of the cost from Steeles to Highway 7.

    Here are some other comments:

    This will certainly free up a lot of buses that could be used in other areas of the city that are currently used on Line 196, which is probably 20 buses or more just on that line. I’d also imagine that quite a few Finch West and Steeles West buses could be ended at the new subway stations.
    The reverse commute is growing in importance as most new jobs are created in the suburbs of Toronto. A lot of reverse commuters are probably transit dependent, and, perhaps due to line constraints, GO currently can only provide acceptable reverse commute service on the Lakeshore line. Comments about the York Line seem to center on people going from York Region to downtown, but I suspect the reverse direction could become equally as important. When the line is built, given the connection to Brampton’s Acceleride, it will actually be possible to commute from Toronto to Brampton in the morning via transit.
    Suppose we’re like Calgary, and think everyone should be within a 20 minute bus ride of a rapid transit line. This line will significantly increase the number of people living a 20 minute bus ride away from a rapid transit line, many of them low income people, in for example, the Jane/Finch area. Currently northwest Toronto, in my opinion, has the worst transit service of any area in the city. In contrast, due to the arrangements of the Yonge, Sheppard, and Bloor lines it is unlikely that a LRT on Don Mills will serve passengers who currently live greater than a 20 minute bus ride away from the nearest rapid transit station.
    Finally, the Vaughan area is one of the fastest growing in the GTA. What makes little sense now may look like great foresight by 2014, when the line actually opens.


  30. On a tangent, and acknowledging that it’s a little silly to talk hypotheticals and acknowledging the potential flaws of this project, but Steve I want to know what you think of the idea of extending the subway to York University, not as an extension of the Spadina subway, but as an extension of the Sheppard line.

    It strikes me that this has more benefit in that it provides service that can be better tailored to the ridership, and it actually builds a subway network, rather than attaching spurs to the “Big U”. The Yonge-University-Spadina line is getting so big, it’s a little silly, and once the line goes to the VCC, where does it go from there?

    It makes more sense to me to consider future westward extensions along Highway 7 as part of a Sheppard line, rather than as part of the Yonge-University-Spadina line.

    Assuming we had all the money in the world, of course.

    Steve: I believe that all of this discussion of subway extensions, regardless of which line, miss the basic point. We could build a much more extensive network of LRT lines serving York Region and York University, not to mention other parts of the city, if only we would stop assuming that subways are the only alternative.

    Yes, there is an upper bound to what LRT can do, and we have to make tradeoffs about surface operations that disappear for subways. At $300-million/km, it is very easy to make almost anything disappear. The question is: is it worth it?

    We need to decide whether the rapid transit network’s purpose is to get people downtown, or if it is to move people around the region. You don’t accomplish that with one subway line up to highway 7 and a bunch of feeder buses. As for a Sheppard extension, this would only perpetuate the folly of building that route as a subway line in the first place. The subway is on Sheppard only because the intersection at Yonge was Mel’s crazy idea of “downtown North York”. An LRT on Sheppard and another one on Finch or Steeles could have gone further, sooner.

    I’m still undecided about the merits of extending the Yonge subway to Steeles, but if there were an LRT route there, then definitely to avoid the dogleg connection all those buses make now.


  31. I have a question for Mr. Harper:

    You campaigned on Western Alienation, yet Toronto gets a new four new subway stations, which are not the best solution for the city. All the while, Calgary gets no money for its West Bound LRT extension. Instead the city must look towards its own pockets to build the future LRT lines.

    So how are you fighting Western Alienation?

    I know I sound like an alienated western. But I am not. Edmonton is equally as guilty as Ottawa on this front. It’s just annoying to see no money from any other order of Government.



  32. There is NO need for any sort of Sheppard subway extension. “Standing room only”? sure, on a four-car train. the TTC would be better off to pave the track beds and convert the subway to a BRT which could be extended on-street via the wide-enough Sheppard Avenue. Even if this were done, you’re still faced with the huge disparity in ridership on either side of Yonge. What works on the east is no doubt too much for the west. In a perfect world, the Sheppard subway will end up abandoned, forever remembered as our costliest [and Mel’s last] mistake, and an LRT built on or near Finch Ave from Westwood mall to Malvern, where it actually belongs.


  33. The Sheppard Subway is actually quite useful, but as said, if it was extended.

    The way I see it, extending Sheppard to York with a Spadina Line that only goes to Steeles is better than going up to Vaughan. In regards to students to York University, the line would only help those attending York from downtown, people from areas to the east still must transfer at Sheppard Yonge. A student living in the east end would have to transfer 5 times to get to York (local bus, 190, Sheppard, 196, Spadina), which isn’t much benefit.

    Extending it to Vaughan would also require an extra fare, as stated above, and most likely YRT will discontinue service to York. (I don’t believe the smart card will create a single fare, just a way to quickly pay seperate fares.)


  34. RE: Terminal capacity. Most terminals are designed wrong and they produce delays that as you say restricts service due to trains backing up.

    Terminals should have double crossovers beyond the station. Said terminal would then be treated as any other station along the route. 1. stop and unload. 2. depart and crossover to dead end. 3. change ends. 4. pull back into station just like any other station stop. Meanwhile, the 2nd train stops and unloads, then it departs, pulls ahead to wait for first train to reverse whereupon it crosses over and re-enters station. 3rd train arrives and repeats the above steps crossing over as train 1 did, repeat ad infinitum! No delays. You could even make one or both dead end tracks long enough to hold two trains should one break down it could be run or shoved clear to allow flow to continue.


  35. I’m wondering if the TTC will implement a Zone fare for trains running into York Region, or if they will keep using the same fares.


  36. I think it was a requirement when York was lobbying for a subway that it not become a ‘terminal station’ with a bunch of bus lines filing in and out (heaven forbid surface transit on an already poorly designed university transportation network), might I add that although UofT has numerous subway station on it’s ‘campus’ it also has many surface routes that many if not more students use instead of the subway.

    Sheppard west I think should be roughed in until at least a GO station is built nearby (with an easily accessible transfer) and some built up intensity.

    Finch/Keele seems the most natural station on the line even if it only has on street transfers (as is done downtown)

    Steeles west was presented as the ‘gateway’ to toronto, with a typical urban mega parking lot. However if the line goes north what bus routes are going to be serving this station? Steeles and Jane? Certainly VIVA/YRT would want access to York U and failing that lobbied for the current arrangement with a station (2) in York Region. Thing is VIVA/YRT could have easily provided the same service from 7 to Steeles, but then you force riders (most of whom are students) to transfer to the subway (and pay additional fare) for 1 stop. Amazing how much of a political beast the extension has become, taking on a life of it’s own. What would have been best if the line were to go north of steeles would be to at least the Vaughan Mills Mall/Canada’s Wonderland area. At least these are decent trip generators

    I for one am not sold on the whole avenue 7 idea, or the success of VIVA. VIVA outside of the Yonge line is pitiful and is a glorified bus route. Certainly not a candidate for a BRT (which I cannot wait to hear people’s reactions when they find out that one lane of hwy 7 will be taken away from them). As for development, there isn’t much free land left for building these developments and what is going up, has gone up has been low density commercial big box stores and a few hotels. Not quite the best subway trip generators. As they say, show me the money and then I’ll accept this extension. Right now it’s just an amalgam of special interets who just happen to happily intersect.


  37. Does anyone know more recent numbers for the ridership on the Sheppard subway?

    Projected: 48,000 daily.
    October 22, 2003: 34,700 (3,400 peak hour)
    early 2004: 40,000 (4,300 peak hour)


  38. There is a lot of land in the Vaughan Corporate Center. Everything built there is built to a higher density standard. There is only one store that conflicts with the higher density plan. WAL-MART! It just opened as a supercenter so its not leaving any time too soon. Other then that, there is massive potential.

    There is additional space for a lane, so Highway 7 won’t lose a lane. It will be a nice 6 lane + BRT avenue. The Hotels are built in an urban fashion. It’s already very nice to walk near the new Hilton. The Corner of Edgely and Highway 7 already has a RBC Office Tower. The Other two corners are EMPTY. Those are proposed to be very tall office towers. The new Futureshop/Home Outfitters is built different from normal. The Futureshop is on top, and there’s escalators. They combined a bunch of stores in one plot. Its very nice, like a mini mall, you must see it.

    There are MANY empty plots, ready for development. The Site is not close to ruined. Only problem again is the WAL-MART which is built to big-box standard.

    I think you should see the website showing what is proposed for “Avenue 7”. The Downtown starts and ends at a HUGE Roundabout. The Roundabout is a ring that surrounds the corporate center. The only fear I have is that politics interferes with the plan and ruins it. With the Subway however, there’s a much better chance that things will move just as planned.

    http:// http://www.city.vaughan.on.ca/newscentre/projects/vcc.html


  39. 2005-2006 Daily subway ridership

    Taken from this link.

    Line Riders Length Riders/Km Relative to Y-U-S
    Y-U-S 628990 30.2 20800 100%
    B-D 473250 26.2 18100 87%
    Sheppard 41290 5.5 7500 36%
    SRT 42520 6.4 6600 32%

    Daily riders per km seems a reasonable measure of usage versus current value of the infrastructure.


  40. People laugh at the TTC’s web site, but obviously haven’t seen the City of Vaughan VCC web site Joseph C links to ( http://www.city.vaughan.on.ca/newscentre/projects/vcc.html — for extra fun, click the four links across the top one right after the other). It makes the TTC site look highly professional and very restrained. See, this VCC thing is solving the TTC’s problems already!

    I think the only way to get people to stop thinking subways are the only alternative is to officially make this one the last for a while. Forbidding any planning of new subway lines or extensions — even “just one station” projects — for the next ten years would force people to focus on less costly ways of getting better transit service to their favourite part of the city.


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