Yonge Subway Extension Additional Information Report (Updated)

[My apologies for the temporary absence of this item.  I have been updating it.]

A supplementary report on ridership projections and other impacts on the Yonge Subway is now available on the TTC’s report website.

While I do not agree with all of the report’s conclusions, this is a refreshing attempt to look at the growth and development of the transit system on a wholistic, networked basis, rather than as a single line.

The TTC persisted in using subway train capacities that do not match their own service design criteria, ignoring current over capacity problems and downplaying future growth.  This has changed between the December and January staff reports, and with that change come important new concerns about current and future available capacity. 

At this point we have no idea of the feasibility of the proposed Bloor-Yonge platform reconstruction project.  The TTC alternately treats this as something for the indefinite future or as a co-requisite of the extension’s construction, depending on which report one reads.  Cost, constructability and operational impact during the conversion are all unknowns.

I remain seriously concerned that the TTC is playing a dangerous game with capacity of the subway system and views the downtown relief line as a far-distant, last resort fix.  This will push more and more passengers into a single route and make the system even more vulnerable to delays and disruptions than it is today.

Today’s TTC meeting produced the expected result, the endorsement by the Commission of the project, but it is still subject to a long list of caveats.  The definitive list is in the recommendations of the Toronto Executive Committee from January 5, 2009 (item EX28.1).

However, after presentations by me, Karl Junkin and David Fisher, there was considerable debate.  Vice-Chair Mihevc wound up as the sole dissenting vote in the approval motion, but it was clear that the complexity of the issues related to the future of the Yonge Subway is now grasped by the Commission. 

Well, almost all of them.  Commissioner Perruzza seems to think that York Region should be free to build whatever it wants, connect it to Toronto’s system, and let us worry about how to deal with the aftereffects.  Unfortunately, nobody has stepped forward, certainly not from York, offering to actually pay for it. Continue reading