Spadina Subway Extension Update

The presentation from the Spadina update given at the TTC meeting on July 6 is now available online.

There’s nothing very surprising, but a few points are worth noting:

Station Names (p 3): There are still discussions in progress about station names.  The ones in the presentation are the working names that have been used for the project, but the final selection will occur probably in October.  Among the proposals in various stages of consideration are:

  • Sheppard West:  There are some who would rename this Downsview, or Downsview Park, although this would create a conflict with the existing Downsview Station which, just to spice things up, is actually at Sheppard.
  • Finch West:  There was a proposal to call this University Heights, although that is a neighbourhood name that doesn’t appear to have much currency among the local residents.
  • Steeles West:  This might become “Black Creek — Pioneer Village” to mark the nearby historical site.
  • Vaughan Corporate Centre:  Aside from being a name that would only inspire an accountant, it’s a rather long name that will be hard to fit on signage, literature, etc.  However, Vaughan wants it “Vaughan Metropolitan Centre” which is still rather long.  York Region is paying the municipal share for this part of the line, and I suspect that a long name will prevail, even if it’s rather pretentious.

Whatever names stations do eventually get, I hope that the major street names survive with a local neighbourhood name as a subtitle rather like “Bay Yorkville”.  Of course if we sell the station names to the highest bidder, neighbourhood and street names might vanish completely.

Budget (pp 4-5): The project is “fully funded”, but this has to be taken with a grain or two of salt.  First off, all of the project contingency has already been consumed in the design phase, and we still have four years of construction to get through.  The TTC hopes to make up any deficiencies through a combination of cost controls and the interest earned on the trust fund holding the provincial contribution to the project.

The project has repeatedly been described as “on time and on budget”, but whether this condition will hold through the remaining 4.5 years to opening remains to be seen.

Construction Schedule (pp 10-13): The schedule shows that the line will open at the end of 2015 taking us beyond one municipal election and two provincial elections.  Who knows which politicians will actually get to cut the ribbon.  Although the physical construction will finish in early 2015, commissioning of the line will take several months.  There has been no discussion of an early opening to York U or to Steeles West to serve the Pan Am Games.

Just as with the budget contingency, all of the “float” time in the project has already been consumed.

Automatic Train Control (p 14): When this project started, the TTC had not yet launched into an ATC conversion project, and the extra cost of ATC over a conventional signal system was not included in the approved, shared budget.  Strictly speaking, this is not required to open the line provided that a headway shorter than a conventional system can handle is not operated into non-ATC territory.

Earlier in the design stage, the TTC dropped Platform Edge Doors from the extension to save money.  At one station, this triggered a redesign because the wall containing the doors was planned as a structural element holding up the roof.