Understanding Union Station

Several reader comments recently talk about various design changes that might be made for Union Station Loop and surrounding areas.  My gut feeling from many of these is that the three-dimensional layout of existing and planned structures in this area is not well understood.

To assist, to the degree I can, this post includes some drawings from the past year and a discussion of how things fit together.  Some of these drawings are partly out of date and they must be read in connection with my notes here.  The intention is to give an overview, not a definitive set of plans.  The linked images have an aspect ratio wider than the thumbnails and more is visible in the large versions.


This is a cross section through the subway station looking west with the second platform (in blue) added.  Although not obvious on this drawing, a new glass wall will be added between the south edge of the existing platform and the northbound-to-Yonge track.  The escalator and stairway access to the northbound-to-University platform will be moved to the south edge of this platform giving more space for passengers between the University track and the vertical access paths to the mezzanine.

Also visible in this drawing is a stair up to the moat level from the mezzanine level of the station.  This design predates the “dig down” plans for the GO concourse.  The new lower concourse will be on the same level as the subway mezzanine with a straight access through a lowered moat between the two areas.

Note also that there is a sewer under the moat.  This must be lowered to permit the direct access across the moat.

The mezzanine of the subway station is immediately under street level.  There is no room here to insert an east-west Front Street LRT station below grade.

Note to the TTC:  When are they going to put current information and detailed plans up on the web page which has not been updated (only reformatted) since 2006?  This in an important project, but one needs a personal archive and other sites’ data to see what is going on here.

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Sheppard LRT Will Go To Don Mills Station

Today’s TTC Commission Meeting was rather short, but it included a discussion of the current state of the Sheppard LRT project.

TTC staff reported that the EA document is now being considered by the Ministry of the Environment who had sought clarification on whether the Sheppard Subway was to be extended.  Staff will formally recommend later in April that the LRT line come into Don Mills Station rather than ending at Consumers Road.

This arrangement simplifies connections with the Finch to Don Mills LRT announced earlier this week.

No details on funding for the project are available, but the TTC is continuing with design, and the City of Toronto is carrying the cost on its own books.

Ottawa & Queen’s Park Announce GO Transit Improvements

A joint federal-provincial announcement today added a long list of GO transit improvements to the parking lot and the Hamilton Junction grade separation projects.

Among today’s improvements are:

  • Extension of GO Rail service into downtown Barrie (completion in 2011)
  • Expansion of the tunnel at Exhibition Station to provide a new north access, and additional track capacity at this station (completion in 2011)
  • Widening of the Credit River bridge on the Georgetown line to a capacity of three tracks, with two tracks initially on the new structure
  • Refurbishing existing locomotives to improve reliability
  • Adding 20 bi-level coaches to the fleet

Regular readers will know that I railed [sorry about that] against the amount of spending on parking lots announced in February.  Today’s project list is much more oriented to improvement of service and passenger facilities.  Yes, I know that to car commuters, parking is an important part of those facilities, but it’s not the only one.

From a longer range point of view, the planning issue of how parking lots and structures poison station locations remains a big problem.  The Metrolinx plan for “Mobility Hubs” doesn’t work very well without pedestrian-oriented stations and good local bus services.