Transit City (4) The North-Central Network

This post continues a series of articles about the Transit City announcement on Friday, March 16.  I have subdivided the discussion to keep these posts to a reasonable size and to focus discussion on each part of the network.

The North-Central section of Transit City comprises:

  • The Eglinton LRT originating at Kennedy Station (see discussion of the East Network) and running straight across town to Person Airport or beyond (see discussion of the West Network).
  • The Don Mills LRT from Steeles Avenue to the Danforth Subway.

These are the two largest and most expensive parts of the proposed network, and they will likely take the longest time to fund and build.  Both of them require some underground construction, especially on Eglinton, and this will lead to the inevitable demand to “just build a subway”.  That urge can and should be resisted.

The Eglinton line ties much of the existing and planned network together with a new crosstown service.  However, its intent is not that thousands will live in eastern Scarborough and work at Pearson Airport.  The Eglinton LRT will speed travel in that corridor for a great variety of trips between many neighbourhoods.

The central portion of the line from Laird (roughly the top of the hill west of Leslie) to about Keele (or slightly to the west) must go underground because there is no place to fit a right-of-way on the street.  Some media coverage today included apoplectic shopkeepers on Eglinton West decrying the plan as putting them out of business without realising that the line will not be on the surface through their neighbourhoods, and equally distraught motorists wondering how the TTC could possibly fit a St. Clair-like right of way through the central part of Eglinton.

A big challenge will be the interchange at Yonge and Eglinton.  The “one below” level of the intersection is already occupied by passageways connecting the four corners to the subway station.  “Two below” is the Yonge Subway.  Putting the LRT “three below” would be very expensive and complex, and “one below” will require rethinking the underground pedestrian circulation systems with possibly another path from the subway up to “one below” at the north end of Eglinton station.

The situation at Eglinton West is not as complex because there is no complex of tunnels at “one below” to worry about.  Moreover, whatever exists of the Eglinton West subway structure might be reused for the LRT tunnel.

Eglinton’s total cost is estimated at $2.240-billion, slightly less than the cost of the Spadina Vaughan subway extension.  By the way, the subway cost does not include a provision for vehicles, whereas the Eglinton LRT estimate does.  The cost/km for Eglinton is roughly $70-million showing how the moderate cost of the surface sections offsets the high cost of underground construction through the heart of the city.  This option is simply unavailable to all-subway schemes that are doomed to stay underground.

Eglinton is a good candidate for staged construction with the outer ends being completed long before the tunneled central section.  Again, because we are building a network, we can fill in parts of it as we go and as funding is available rather than requiring an all-or-nothing commitment.

The Don Mills line will provide a much-needed trunk parallel to and east of the Yonge Subway.  South of Thorncliffe Park, the route must cross the Don Valley, and this could be the opportunity for a beautiful piece of bridge architecture.  Going underground (and underwater) would be hideously expensive and is unnecessary.  South of the Don Valley, things get more complex.

As proposed, the line would run down Pape to Pape Station.  Obviously, this would be underground.  Whether Pape is the ideal terminus, I’m not sure, and a lot will depend on options for continuing the line south and west into downtown.  That’s a long-term consideration, but we do have to design in that possibility.  A Don Mills via Pape LRT would take much traffic off of the local roads in East York.  Today, the Don Mills and Thorncliffe Park buses serve Pape from Danforth to the Leaside Bridge, and the Flemingdon Park bus runs from Broadview Station up to O’Connor and then east and up Pape to the bridge.   Much of the traffic these routes carry would move onto the Don Mills LRT, but with a much faster connection from the Thorncliffe/Flemingdon areas to the Danforth Subway.

Plans for a busway via Don Mills and Redway Road to Castle Frank Station can now be given a quiet funeral.

Eglinton and Don Mills are the two most expensive, the two most challenging, but if not the two most important, certainly well up the list for their impact on the future of our transit network. 

22 thoughts on “Transit City (4) The North-Central Network

  1. How frequent would you expect the stops to be on these routes?

    Steve: This will vary depending on the neighbourhood and whether the line is underground at the time or not. There are no detailed designs at this point, but a spacing of no more than 1/2 km on the surface sections keeps the line in walking distance so that we don’t have to run a parallel bus service just because we were too cheap to add a few stations.

    Stop locations will also be dictated by the spacing of major cross streets and traffic generators.

    For underground sections, I would be surprised to see stations closer than 1 km apart except in unusual circumstances. Stations are one of the most expensive parts of any underground system.


  2. Steve, I’m still confused about how the Don Mills LRT can happen, without addressing either a downtown relief line (subway or LRT) OR the major expansion and overhaul of Yonge/Bloor Station and some way of delivering new capacity on the core of the Yonge line (south of Bloor).

    Yonge/Bloor is already overflowing, its an interminable mess in rush hour, and not so good at other times.

    How do you accomdate up to 20,000,000 new rides generated through a Don Mills LRT which, for the most part, are bound for downtown?

    Steve: First off, a lot of the new rides are not going to downtown. The big potential market for new rides on the LRT network is suburb-to-suburb travel where the existing system just can’t be competitive. As mentioned elsewhere, there is an option to extend Don Mills as a downtown relief line and long term there are plans to increase subway capacity, although even that has its limits as I have discussed elsewhere.


  3. A co-worker and I were discussing the southern leg of the Don Mills route. Pape is too narrow to have on-street running in both directions (We hadn’t considered running underground), so perhaps running one-way along Pape and returning along Donlands as both roads merge at the Leaside bridge. (Running south on Donlands and north on Pape crossing along the Danforth would eliminate left-hand turns and serve the stations without having to cross traffic.) It would then continue over to Overlea and serve Thorncliffe Park to Don Mills and then north.

    Steve: The line will have its own crossing of the Don Valley and will run underground to get to Pape Station through East York.


  4. I was looking at the route of the Eglington LRT on Google Earth, and there’s an approximately 80 metre stretch of grassland that on the north side of the street from Royal York to Martin grove that the LRT could run on completely segregated from traffic. I suspect it will run on an elevated guideway into Pearson.
    I like the Don Mills LRT (and not only because I live within a 5 minute walk of it!) Don Mills is quite congested and it would take pressure off the subway.
    Also, there is space for a future branch at the Overlea-Don Mills intersection that could run up the the hydro corridor in Scarborough. However, it should run south of Danforth into downtown, as the extra traffic from the LRT could put even more pressure on Bloor/Yonge station.


  5. The current Finch LRT -> Yonge Subway -> Sheppard Subway -> Sheppard E. LRT -> SRT for crosstown 401 traffic sucks!

    How many transfers are people expected to make? What a disjointed system — either do it straight across on Finch as LRT or on the hydro ROW. That part of current scheme is garbage.

    OK, so Sheppard was a mistake, but don’t make it worse by doing this — people need a real alternative to the 401.

    Two messages to the TTC …

    1) Stop the transfers!!
    2) Show us estimated trip times on this new plan (as was done before BD opened)


  6. In terms of the B-D Subway connection, wouldn’t Broadview Stn be logical in that it would provide a link to the existing Downtown streetcar tracks? If the routes are built as proposed, then the only connection between existing and planned lines would be Bathurst – somehow that just seems like a recipe for disaster. Even if the Jane line were re-routed to Dundas West, having a connection in the east might be useful.


  7. The scary thing about “one below” at Eglinton is that the ceilings are very low — this could be trickier than squeezing the new platforms into Sheppard. But one bit of flexibility at Eglinton station could come from the old bus terminal site, still unused. The main entrance could be moved to ground level west of the Canada Square building, freeing up space on one below. The pedestrian tunnels under the intersection don’t get a ton of use, but the one to the Yonge Eglinton Centre is very busy and unfortunately, pretty constrained at the north end.

    As much as local service is important, the thing that will make the Eglinton corridor worth $2.2 billion is the new cross-town link. I think there will be some regional demand here, as GO Transit’s east-west corridors are far away: 407 in the north and Lakeshore in the south. One approach — and it’d depend on the number of long-distance commuters, the travel time saved, and the additional cost — would be to have stations “off-line” underground and in the Richview stretch (where I think there’s room). That would mean LRVs making local stops could be passed by “express” LRVs that, in the central stretch, would only serve major transfer points. Corridors that could allow fast cross-town commutes are few and far between, so I think there’s an obligation to study that aspect before we start digging.

    Steve: I know that plans for redevelopment of Eglinton Terminal have been modified to include provision for some sort of east-west line connecting with the subway. That happened well before Transit City was announced.


  8. When I first proposed it – to run an LRT line across eglinton with a LRT subway though the centre of the city, it was a unique idea as far as I could find, I proposed it to the makers of the “Get Toronto Moving” plan, and they adopted it. Just weeks after that plan hit the media, the TTC comes out with this. I like to think in the back of my mind that I am indirectly responsible for the Eglinton line, but even if that is not true, I am very happy – I would not have proposed it in the first place had I not thought it was a good idea.

    In short, the Eglinton West subway WILL now be built, it will just run different vehicles then first imagined.

    Steve: I don’t want to get into a contest of seniority of transit schemes, but I have been talking about an Eglinton LRT/subway since the early 1990s. Anyhow, it’s not a question of who had the idea first, but that lots of people are talking up ways to improve transit in meaningful and comparatively inexpensive ways.


  9. In response to Mimmo and others that would like to see a Finch Hydro corridor route rather than Finch Ave. route – this argument should be taken to GO, who would be the best agency to build the cross-town super-fast route as opposed to the neighbourhood multiple-stops route that TTC should be providing. Getting from Durham to Mississauga is regional travel, and should be provided as such. The two routes next to each other should be quite feasible (money aside) with connections between stops every few kms or so (I’m thinking the glide-walk at Spadina station to cover the distance). If GO would provide more than just ‘get to Union’ service for the GTA, then the TTC can serve the needs for local transit service.


  10. Re: In short, the Eglinton West subway WILL now be built, it will just run different vehicles then first imagined.

    I agree this should really be a subway but at least the tunnel can be constructed in such a way to accomodate subway cars in the future. As capacity increases the tunnel can expand absorbing the surface LRT as far as Pearson to Highland Creek.


  11. Steve… Why does the Don Mills LRT need its own crossing of the valley? The Leaside bridge is really wide and could afford to lose some lanes for the LRT. (I’ve also wondered if there isn’t room below the roadway, just like on the Viaduct?)

    As far as extending Don Mills past Pape/Danforth through to downtown, I’d endorse this concept. Already at Pape Station you simply can’t get on many the trains that are headed downtown around 8:30 in the morning, and then you need to deal with Yonge/Bloor. It’s not very far from Pape/Danforth to the railway tracks and there seems to be room there to head downtown.

    Steve: The Leaside bridge was originally only four lanes wide and had extra structural steel in it to handle the proposed streetcar to Leaside. That was in the 1920’s, and the project died with the recession. For many years, tracks went a very short distance north on Pape beyond Gertrude Loop which stood where Pape Station is today. The Bathurst Street bridge north of St. Clair is a twin of this bridge.

    Both bridges were widened to six lanes thanks to the structure’s ability to carry more load. Having done that, however, putting an LRT line on the bridge is now out of the question, leaving aside any question of the need for the line to get underground by O’Connor Drive and the difficulty of doing this from a surface alignment that comes off the south end of the bridge.


  12. Andrew – two reasons why not:
    1. Those who use the Leaside would be in uproar since it has only recently had a very disruptive refit.
    2. Case Ootes is the Councillor for the ward and listens to uproar – not least given his paper-thin win last time. Obviously if Don crossing + tunnel is up for grabs I’d like to reopen the C****ll option 🙂

    The serious part of my post is about Steve’s concern about Yonge and Eglinton, i.e. that the LRT does not have to run bang through the intersection. Running it under Roehampton past North Toronto CI at -1 level from the Dominion parking lot at Bayview westward to rejoin Eglinton about Oriole Parkway would avoid the -1 congestion and extend the catchment of the overall station area further up Yonge, creating a mini-PATH. If Danforth subway doesn’t have to run under Danforth does Eglinton subLRT have to run under Eglinton?

    Obviously a disconnect as large as Spadina station is worth avoiding. An Eglinton LRT would also substantially reduce bus platform needs so distance from there to the LRT platform would be less important.

    There would probably have to be some hand tunnelling west of Yonge to thread the alignment out but that would probably have to be the case in the Y+E case to respect the existing -1 structures.


    Mark! You plan to run the subway right past my mother’s front door! We want our very own private station!

    Seriously, you have omitted the fact that there is no equivalent street to Roehampton west of Yonge and you have to do some wiggling around to fit through various side streets that are more or less in the same alignment. This would not be a good arrangement for future conversion to a subway, something that Adam Giambrone has already stated would be included in the design.

    I really wish people would stop to engineer lines that are way down the pipeline. I feel like I have to personally defend the fine details of a network that has not gotten past the preliminary announcement stage.

    If this were a subway proposal, people would not all become instant engineers trying to work out the details. We would just go in and demolish whatever was in the path of the subway and be done with it.


  13. Steve write’s about Leaside bridge “..Having done that, however, putting an LRT line on the bridge is now out of the question”

    I’ve seen you write this a few times, and the engineer in me keeps wanting to say “hang on a second …”.

    The bridge would have to be designed for a peak loading – which at a guess would be 6 lanes of fully loaded transport trucks from one end to the other of the bridge. Looking at weight limits, your then looking at a mass of about 1,500 kg per metre of lane foot. Yet for CLRV or ALRV vehicles fully loaded (for example), you have about 2,060 kg/m. Now that assumes that you have 2 lanes of LRTs from one end of the bridge to the other. Somewhat heavier, but not that different.

    Before the use of this of the bridge by LRT is dismissed, there should be a proper structural study to see how feasible it is. One could easily mitigate the heaviness of an LRT compared to a truck by simply putting a system in place to maintain a 100-metre separation between vehicles, for a lot less than building a new structure – although point loading may be an issue.

    Whether we get this kind of system built or not, is going to be a function of cost – as you well know! So saving a couple of hundred million on a new bridge structure, could go a long way to building other parts of the system.

    Also Steve, you seem to be hearing that the LRT will have to be in a tunnel south of O’Connor. And in the long-term that would probably be best. But in the short-term, perhaps having traditional non-dedicated streetcar tracks on Pape (and probably Broadview and maybe even Donlands as well), with use of the current rush-hour restrictions (which do seem to work fairly well when I take the Don Mills bus in rush-hour), will save a lot of money in the short-term, and allow for the construction of this much-needed line (someone else’s suggestion about down on Pape and up on Donlands seems like a neat idea, though perhaps not great for encouraging transit use along Pape itself).

    It would be a shame not to use the current structure – I frequently drive it in rush-hour, and the bottom-line is that 3 lanes are excessive, and not necessary. For much of the last 2-3 years the bridge has been restricted to only one lane in each direction during reconstruction, and that was a bit much. But really, only 2 lanes is necessary for the current traffic it carries.

    Steve: The basic point about any of the proposals is that there is no attempt to shoe-horn a new LRT option onto an existing 4-lane street. Both Pape and Donlands fit that description. We are building LRT, not streetcar lines.

    As for the bridge, there are two major points. First, if we have to start imposing load restrictions on a major bridge like this as a fix for a transit line, we are in trouble. This scheme would doom the proposal. Also, a Don Mills line would not necessarily follow the existing 25 Don Mills route slavishly. The valley crossing could occur somewhere else. Indeed, using the Leaside Bridge may take the route excessively out of its way. All of this is a subject for detailed design and won’t be settled for years.

    Transit City’s intent is not to nail down every single detail of every line today, any more than any other transit proposal would attempt to do this. It is a proposal for a network of lines (that alone is an important change in outlook from past practices). We have to stop getting bogged down in the details of implementation. Those details are important, but we need general agreement about the network itself first.


  14. Some questions …

    How much cheaper would the Eglinton line be (estimated) if it didn’t run underground in its central section (ie., ran in mixed traffic)?

    And how much more expensive would the plan be if it incorporated a full Eglinton Subway on the central section with cross-platform underground transfers to LRT on each end?

    I know you hate this idea, but I think it should be examined and costed.

    I think Eglinton Eastbound->Jane Southbound and Eglinton Westbound->Don Mills Southbound would be cool LRT “Y” routes to get people to the subway with no transfers.


  15. I also think that the Don Mills LRT should cross the Leaside Bridge and terminate at Pape or Donlands station. If the LRT continues south from the intersection of Don Mills and Overlea, crossing the Don River and terminating at, say Coxwell, then the high density neighbourhood of Thorncliffe Park would be bypassed, as would East York Town Centre and the apartments at Pape and Cosburn. Also, Overlea Blvd already has a wide grassed median that could be converted into an LRT ROW.

    My only concern is the Overlea Bridge over the West Don River. This bridge is only four lanes wide, and I don’t think it could support an LRT. A new structure may have to be constructed for the LRT.

    Steve: I am not disputing the idea that the line should serve Thorncliffe Park, merely talking about the reality that the extra strength in the Leaside Bridge was used to holdup the two extra lanes on the outside. If the bridge can be strengthened, great, but if not, we need another crossing. It does not have to be exactly where the current bridge is depending on the route taken through Thorncliffe Park and the target on the south side of the valley (Donlands, for example). Also, it may be cheaper to start dropping into a tunnel near the west end of Thorncliffe Park, cross the valley at medium height, and enter the inevitable tunnel down whatever street the line takes to Danforth.

    These are all design details, that have nothing to do with the basic idea that we need better transit on Don Mills and through the Flemingdon/Thorncliffe area, with the option of an eventual extension to downtown.


  16. Will the Eglinton midtown tunnel be operated like a traditional subway? I’m referring specifically to things such as signals, trip arms, etc. I know this is a premature subject to discuss, but I’m curious because the Bay St tunnel is not operated in this manner. Given the length of the Eglinton tunnel, however, I would assume subway-like operation would be a requirement.

    I’m also wondering what would happen if LRT cars became bunched up on the street portion of the route. Do you envision cars being held at the stop before the tunnel in order to properly space them out, or would the tunnel signals do this (as is done on the subway)?

    I think the Eglinton line is a superb idea. It really is the best of both worlds – fast subway-like service through the core, and surface extensions far beyond what would be possible if the line were built as a full subway. Has anyone ridden LRT routes in other cities that run both on the surface and underground? I’m curious to know how it works and what you liked/disliked.

    Steve: At this point, detailed design issues like the method of signalling are quite far down the track, let alone headway management which is not the TTC’s forte even in the subway.


  17. Re Leo’s comment on the Eglinton LRT Subway:

    I have problems with the TTC designing an LRT subway. They will either under design it like the Union Station and Spadina Station disasters for the Spadina and Harbour Front Cars or they will put in 500 foot long platforms ready for conversion to HRT on a moment’s notice.

    Boston, Pittsburgh, Phiedelphia and Newark NJ all have street car/LRT subways and they work quiet well. I have ridden the first three and they function beautifully although the Pittsburgh one is high platform, the others are low platform. I believe that the Green line in Boston has a higher ridership than most of the HRT routes but I am not positive.

    Steve: It is important to remember that the HRT lines in Boston are, with one exception, descended for former streetcar lines and subways. The Orange line, long an elevated, is now relocated underground or to an expressway median. In all cases, these lines run much smaller trains than Toronto (as befits the old streetcar clearance envelope and station sizes) and on wider headways. The Green line, on the other hand, merges service from four separate surface LRT routes through the central subway, the oldest subway in North America (1892). Its turns and clearances are such that full blown HRT could never fit through its tunnels. Also, because it is LRT, each of the four lines can emerge separately onto its own route and run down streets or, in one case, a railway right of way.

    Edmonton has an LRT subway that works well but it did not carry anywhere near as many people as Calgary did. St Louis in the States has a long LRT network that approximates Interurban distance and it runs through Downtown St. Louis in an old railway tunnel. Look at it on a map and you will see that it goes a long ways out into the boonies. Running LRT in a subway is a no brainer but I am sure that the TTC could figure out a way to screw it up.


  18. I agree that it’s premature to talk about signaling of underground sections (e.g. Eglinton), but I would argue it is critical to address above-ground signaling at an early stage. The Transit City network consists of a lot of on-street operations, which would presumably be comparable in design to Spadina or St. Clair, so it will be important to get signal operation right and to demonstrate how on-street right-of-way operations can provide faster service than experienced on the TTC’s current examples.

    So, I’ll ask: how much room is there for improvement in the on-street sections, compared to the TTC’s current examples? Will it be just a matter of enabling green extensions like the current surface signal priority system, or are there other tools that you would expect would be used? And, perhaps on a related note, are there any comparable examples that advocates can point to (and designers can emulate), systems with extensive median ROWs in wide and busy (but property-constrained) suburban corridors?


  19. I strongly believe that Toronto Roads and the TTC should adopt a different style signal for Street cars LRT on PROW. This might require an amendment to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to make them legal, but it would stop confusion at intersections, especially with motorists from out of town. With the introduction of LED signals we might event get away from the dumb requirement of having to have to signals side by side to meet the requirement that there must be at least two signals at each intersection in case one has a bulb burn out.

    One thing I saw in several cities where count down timers on traffic lights telling you that you only had to wait another 150 seconds until you got a 27 second green light. We have enough trouble with people running reds without giving this added incentive to speed. I am not kidding about the light cycle times of nearly three minutes. This is way too long and creates grid locks as cars block streets about three blocks back. I don’t know what downtown light cycle times are but it was between 80 and 90 seconds in the late 60’s early 70’s.

    The problem you run into with priority signals for Transit is that it can shorten the green phase so that it creates worse traffic jams and it can endanger pedestrians as they cannot cross the street, especially Spadina, in the shortened time. Priority for turns though makes sense as it clear an intersection so other traffic can go. The transit Priority works, after a fashion, on Queen’s Quay only because the traffic is relatively light, however the system should be redone so that it works like Spadina with a left turn U turn phase and then a straight through right turn phase for autos and street cars. It is also stupid to only allow one trolley through per transit phase though.

    Steve: The signals on Queen’s Quay will have to be reworked with the pending change in street design. Since there will no longer be traffic on what are now the eastbound road lanes, traffic will cross the right-of-way only to enter properties on the south side of the street. This means that the streetcar should get far more green time, and that ridiculous design that limits flow to one car per cycle will end.


  20. After a review of the Don Mills northern stretch, I’m tempted to ask why it wouldn’t follow Don Mills Road proper at least part way down the valley, cross over the DVP near the Don Mills interchange (not underground or underwater), and come up to O’Connor and Coxwell (just west of there it looks like a hydro corridor already touches O’Connor on the north side). It could add a “park stop” in the valley itself to add easy access to the parklands at that point.

    That would enable a straight run down Coxwell, enabling direct access to a major hospital (at Mortimer). When you reach the subway, on the south side of the Danforth is the site of the old carhouse, providing a major TTC property just 100 metres from the Coxwell station – making a very easily constructed junction, likely without having to do major street construction in that area.

    Farther south down Coxwell, there are already street car tracks (at Gerrard and again at Queen) to enable downtown connections.

    Steve: This proposal has two major problems. First, it misses the large population of Thorncliffe Park, one of the principal reasons for building the line. Second, it connects with the existing system so far to the east that riders would face a half-hour journey just to get from Coxwell and Danforth to downtown.
    As for the political considerations, Coxwell runs straight down the ward boundaries, enabling direct access to four councillors!


  21. Ok, so the Don Mills line has to connect to Thorncliffe. That said, I was more interested in the Danforth connection – noted above as ‘more complex’, and didn’t realize the side cut through Overlea was necessary.

    I do note that Thorncliffe is fairly large; it appears to be at least 1/2 kilometre from the southern loop of Thorncliffe Park Drive to Overlea. If the line ran to Overlea and Thorncliffe and then turned south through the dense region and out across the valley, it would pass directly through one of the high density areas, and could still make an easier connection to Coxwell.

    I will take direct issue with the “so far to the east” point. Even with a short delay this morning, a departure from Coxwell headed inbound added less than five minutes as compared to a departure from Pape. It certainly doesn’t seem to be “far to the east” when you actually ride that route.

    Steve: Sorry, but I thought that your proposal involved running the Don Mills LRT over the streetcar system into downtown, effectively as a branch of the Carlton car. If you just dump everyone out at Coxwell Station, you still have the same problem with line capacity and Bloor-Yonge transfers as if the line ends at Pape Station.

    I’m also curious if many people would take the new Don Mills route to get deep downtown. Wouldn’t the preference for anyone above the valley to be across to the Yonge subway, cutting out a Bloor-Yonge transfer?

    Steve: Two points here. First off, the Don Mills LRT is not intended just as a way to get people to the Danforth subway. There is a strong demand in the Don Mills corridor itself for which this would provide improved service. Second, people living in Flemingdon/Thorncliffe (especially the latter) don’t really have an alternative route west to the Yonge subway and they are forced to travel south to Danforth.

    When we look at a transit network, we have to look at travel over the entire region. There will be choke points, to be sure, but let’s not get so hung up on these that we forget that many people do not want to go anywhere near King and Bay, and we have to provide transit service for them too.


  22. Don Mills LRT and downtown linkage:
    Once the Don Mills LRT to Bloor & Pape is built, it might necessitate, after all, a construction of HRT (full-fledged subway) from Bloor & Pape to downtown. Such subway can relieve the overstrained Bloor – Union and St. George – Union sections of YUS by carrying the downtown commuters from Don Mills LRT, BD east, and partly even those who board BD between Pape and Yonge.

    The alternative of extending Don Mills LRT underground into downtown would be somewhat (but probably not a lot) cheaper, and have an advantage of taking Don Mills commuters downtown without a transfer. But, the LRT is unlikely to attract the downtown commuters from BD (no point to trade a tricky transfer at Yonge & Bloor for an even more troublesome transfer to a lesser-capacity, already filled LRT vehicle at Pape).

    The LRT / subway combination would still be a lot cheaper than a subway all the way up Don Mills, and much easier to phase in. Securing all funding for a long subway stretch at once is next to impossible, whereas any short chunk (either north of Bloor or Bloor to downtown) would be underused for many years before the other portion is built. The LRT / subway solution allows to built a well-justified LRT north of Bloor first, and that will help to generate enough demand for a subway south of Bloor.


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