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 Some of these drawings are partly out of date and they must be read in connection with my notes here.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.
This is a plan view of the platform level of the expanded subway station and the existing Harbourfront streetcar loop. There will be direct connection between the northbound to Yonge platform and the loop via the existing passageway. The space now occupied by the escalator, stair and elevator down to the passage will be absorbed into the new platform space and the mezzanine above.
This is a plan view of the mezzanine level of the subway station. The fare control area (blue central section) is consolidated in one block, and through traffic bound for the Royal Bank Plaza is diverted around it to the west. Passengers bound to or from the subway will no longer conflict with those walking further north.
At the east end of the mezzanine, traffic coming from BCE Place can use the automatic entrance down to the Yonge platform, or continue west and south into the moat to GO, west and north to the Royal Bank, or west into the main fare control area.
This plan also shows the steps up to the moat from the mezzanine. These won’t exist with the direct across-the-moat link into the lower GO concourse.
Also visible in outline here is the structure of the Harbourfront Streetcar Loop. Note how it is constrained on the west by the northeast corner of the Railway Station structure. Although there does appear to be room for widening to the east, this might be relieved if the more generous opening to the GO concourse (shown in the end-stage plan for the expanded loop) is built. The loop will be one level below the lower concourse level.
This is a view of the northeast corner of the station showing the stairs down from the existing moat level to the new crossing between the subway station and the lower GO concourse. The large version of the drawing includes elevations of the various elements counting up from the retail level (lower concourse), the existing moat level, the VIA concourse (at roughly the same elevation as the new upper GO concourse), the Great Hall, and finally track level.
The doors shown here are at the new lower level, and the wall above (where the existing doors are) will be rebuilt to match the style of the building.
This is a section through the station looking east, and the full version shows much more than the thumbnail. In this, you can see the direct link from the TTC at the new lowered moat level into the “Bay Street Promenade”, the official name for the new retail concourse.
The doors shown in the middle of this promenade open out onto Bay Street.
At the south (right) end of the drawing, you can see how the double-level GO concourse works, and how it takes advantage of the change in elevation of track level relative to the lower floor of the building immediately to the north. The added headroom allows the upper concourse to fit in.
Other structures in the area for which I don’t have drawings include:
- The PATH connection to BCE place cutting diagonally across the Bay/Front intersection at about the same level as the subway mezzanine.
- The tunnel from Union Railway Station to the Royal York Hotel. This tunnel is to be rebuilt without the “down and up” alignment it now has to dive around the same sewer we saw earlier below the moat. This will make the hotel connection accessible.
The Northwest PATH connection project includes a presentation showing existing and projected pedestrian flows out of Union Station. The Council report for this project includes a rather busy set of drawings showing the NW PATH in detail.
Still to come is the Front Street redesign EA that should begin later this spring. This will affect the area from York to Bay in front of Union Station itself. Some of the design options are linked from the Union Station District Plan page.
I hope that this gives everyone a better understanding of the area around Union Station, and how some of the changes now or soon in progress will fit into an overall plan.