OneCity Plan Reviewed

The OneCity plan has much to recommend it even though in the details it is far from perfect.

The funding scheme requires Queen’s Park to modify the handling of assessment value changes, and they are already cool to this scheme.  Why OneCity proponents could not simply and honestly say “we need a 1.9% tax hike every year for the next four years” (not unlike the ongoing 9% increases to pay for Toronto Water infrastructure upgrades) is baffling.  A discussion about transit is needlessly diverted into debates about arcane ways of implementing a tax increase without quite calling it what it is.

On the bright side, Toronto may leave behind the technology wars and the posturing of one neighbourhood against another to get their own projects built.  Talking about transit as a city-wide good is essential to break the logjam of decades where parochialism ruled.  Couple this with a revenue stream that could actually be depended on, and the plan has a fighting chance.  Ah, there’s the rub — actually finding funding at some level of government to pay for all of this.

Rob Ford’s subway plan depended on the supposed generosity of Metrolinx to redirect committed funding to the Ford Plan (complete with some faulty arithmetic).  Similarly, the OneCity plan depends for its first big project on money already earmarked by Metrolinx to the Scarborough RT to LRT conversion.  If this goes ahead, we would have a new subway funded roughly 80% by Queen’s Park and 20% by Toronto.  Not a bad deal, but not an arrangement we are likely to see for any other line.

On the eastern waterfront, there is already $90m on the table from Waterfront Toronto (itself funded by three levels of government), and OneCity proposes to spend another @200m or so to top up this project.  Whether all $200m would be City money, or would have to wait for other partners to buy in is unclear.

Toronto must make some hard decisions about a “Plan B” if the Ottawa refuses to play while the Tories remain in power.  Even if we saw an NDP (or an NDP/Liberal) government, I wouldn’t hold my breath for money flowing to Toronto (and other Canadian cities) overnight.  A federal presence is a long term strategy, and spending plans in Toronto must be framed with that in mind.

Sitting on our hands waiting for Premier McGuinty or would-be PM Mulcair to engineer two rainbows complete with pots of gold landing in Nathan Phillips Square would be a dead wrong strategy.  Bang the drum all we might for a “one cent solution” or a “National Transit Strategy”, Toronto needs to get on with debating our transit needs whether funding is already in place or not.  Knowing what we need and want makes for a much stronger argument to pull in funding partners.

In some cases, Toronto may be best to go it alone on some of the smaller projects, or be prepared to fund at a higher level than 1/3.  If transit is important, it should not be held hostage by waiting for a funding partner who will never show up.

The briefing package for OneCity is available online.

My comments on the political aspects of OneCity are over at the Torontoist site.

To start the ball rolling on the technical review of the OneCity network, here are my thoughts on each of the proposals in the network. Throughout the discussions that will inevitably follow, it is vital that politicians, advocates, gurus of all flavours not become wedded to the fine details. Many of these lines won’t be built for decades, if ever, and we can discuss the pros and cons without becoming mired in conversations about the colour of station tiles.


Scarborough Subway (Kennedy Station to Sheppard and McCowan)

This line is top priority in the scheme, understandable because Scarborough and TTC Vice-Chair De Baeremaeker are essential to the success or failure of OneCity’s adoption.

It’s no secret that I have always been lukewarm on a Bloor-Danforth extension, but this version is somewhat more attractive for a few reasons.  First, it does not end at Scarborough Town Centre, but continues north to Sheppard thereby eliminating the need for northern Scarborough residents to get across the 401 on a bus service just to reach a rapid transit line.  Second, with the subway-vs-LRT battle out of the way, the subway does not preclude the Transit City LRT lines on Sheppard and on Eglinton/Morningside.

This is a network view of transit in Scarborough, not just an “I want a subway because North York has two already” pout from Scarborough Council.  Riders from northeastern Scarborough will have the option of transferring to the subway at McCowan or of continuing west on the Sheppard LRT to Don Mills depending on their destinations.

Ridership projections for this line are strong, at the higher end of LRT, but better than what is expected for the Vaughan extension of the Spadina line now under construction.

One advantage cited for the subway option is the avoidance of a four-year SRT shutdown.  This is a sour note in the proposal because the length of shutdown seems to vary inversely with the speaker’s love for a subway alternative.  Not long ago, the shutdown was barely two and a half years.  This is a valid tradeoff, but it shouldn’t be oversold.

The funding scheme proposed for this project assumes that the $1.8b Metrolinx has earmarked for the RT’s conversion is all available for the subway and only $484m additional is needed from the City to build a subway instead.

In fact, part of the SRT project budget includes a chunk of the Conlins Road carhouse and other shared costs for the east end of the Eglinton-Crosstown project.  These would have to be carried entirely on the Sheppard project budget and don’t just disappear with the subway alternative.

The map is vague on the route and what is shown (like so much else on that map) is only a diagramatic view, not an explicit one.  Whether the subway runs north via Brimley or McCowan from Eglinton, Scarborough Town Centre Station is not on a straight line.  From a construction point of view, it may be preferable to offset the line from the buildings, but whether to the east or west is an open question.  Obvious casualties will be De Baeremaeker’s long hoped-for SRT station at Brimley, as will the planned SLRT station serving Centennial College.  The debate on a route through Scarborough Town Centre will be vigourous, but at least it will pit Scarborough against its own rather than downtowners who are so often accused of meddling in Scarborough’s transit plans.

Yonge Subway (Finch to Steeles)

The TTC already has a project on its books to extend the line north to a roughed-in station at Cummer with a three-track underground yard north from Finch.  The purpose is to expand overnight storage capacity and allow more trains to feed into the Yonge line at the start of service.  (As the number of trains increases both for the extension to Vaughan and for more frequent service, they cannot all get into service from Wilson Yard before the rush hour has ended.)

If we are going to build north from Finch (this would be a first step, the “Toronto” section of an eventual line to Richmond Hill), then let us go to Steeles and relieve the congestion of buses feeding into Finch terminal.

This project may get approval both because it is comparatively small, and because York Region will see it as the beginnings of their long-desired north Yonge subway.

The estimated cost is $1.346b for 1.9km of route.  At over $700m/km, there’s a lot more to this extension than just a few stations and a bus terminal.  Compare to the Sheppard West extension at about $400m/km.

Don Mills Express aka “Downtown Relief Line” (Eglinton & Don Mills to Yonge at Queen or King)

This line is vital to unlocking capacity problems on the rapid transit system downtown, and it would have been built decades ago but for a deal made by then Councillor Jack Layton and North York Mayor Mel Lastman to focus rapid transit construction in the suburbs.  The TTC hasn’t helped matters by conceiving ever more ambitious schemes to pour more riding onto the Yonge line with more trains, better signalling, platform doors and station modifications.  Finally, possibly because we have a transit Chair and a CEO who both actually live on the Yonge line and see it first hand, the TTC recognizes the need for a new subway line into downtown that will attract significant ridership.  Metrolinx too has an interest because they see its downtown leg as a possible service to a proposed new station south of Front between Spadina and Bathurst.

[All readers — please do not rehash the alignment debate we have already has on the downtown section of this route here.]

My own preference for the downtown route is well known.  Enter downtown from the east via Front and Wellington, connect to the King and St. Andrew Stations (which structurally are not far north of Wellington Street) not to Union, and swing southwest to Front Street via the still available corridor running diagonally from Wellington and Peter to Spadina and Front (this was the old freight lead to the large yard that occupied the space where Metro Hall now stands).

What is needed is a thorough study of routing alternatives, not a knee-jerk plan to come through downtown on Queen just because a few hundred feet of station exist at Yonge (with a rather low-capacity connection to Queen Station).  Any study must include possible alignments to serve the planned GO “Bathurst North” station including a possible extension to Exhibition Place, a site that will probably see major redevelopment in coming decades.

Taking the Don Mills line north to Eglinton provides rapid transit service to Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park and makes the terminal intersection a potential apple of Metrolinx’ eye, a mobility hub that has much developable land in the immediate vicinity.

The name “Don Mills Express” should be rethought as the “Express” moniker is also used for a different type of service on two other proposals (described later in this article).  It’s a subway line, and should simply be called that, but finally we are rid of “Downtown Relief”.

The cost estimate is $5.4b for 10.2km of line.  There is no discussion of storage facilities for the new fleet that such a line would require.

Sheppard Subway (Yonge to Downsview)

This line is a pet project of Councillor James Pasternak, yes the same Councillor who thought a litmus test for would-be citizen Commissioners should include support for subways in general and for his subway in particular.  Demand projections for this line are abysmally low and, while it looks nice on a map, I cannot see this getting priority or funding in the near future.

The estimated cost for the 3.8km extension is $1.541b.

Bloor-Yonge Station

There is a $1b provision for expansion of capacity at Bloor-Yonge although the whole idea of a “relief” line is to eliminate the need for this work.  Why is it even in the list, and what is entailed in this project?

Bloor West Subway (Kipling to Sherway)

Notable by its absence is the Bloor extension to Sherway Gardens.  This shows that routes got onto the map because they had a sponsoring Councillor, and the ward’s representative, Peter Milczyn, is a Ford loyalist and the only TTC Commissioner who opposes OneCity.  No biscuit for naughty Peter.

LRT Lines

Before I talk about the lines added in OneCity, let’s not forget those that will be built by Metrolinx:

  • Eglinton Phase 1 (Kennedy to Jane)
  • Sheppard East Phase 1 (Don Mills to Morningside)
  • Finch West Phase 1 (Keele to Humber College)
  • Scarborough RT (extended east and north to Sheppard, possibly replaced by Scarborough Subway)

For all of the OneCity LRT proposals, it is unclear what drives the variation in per km costs and whether vehicles and yards are included in the cost estimates.  Some but not all of these routes can piggyback on planned maintenance facilities, but the cars for all routes will be a net addition to the fleet.

Eglinton Phase 2 (Jane to Airport)

This is a no-brainer.  The right-of-way for the line exists, and a regular fare connection to the airport that would take riders clear across Toronto to both north-south subway lines and beyond is just the sort of route “ordinary” airport users would love to see.  Most of them don’t originate at Union Station as would-be Air Rail Link (ARL) clients notwithstanding the misplaced love for that service at Queen’s Park.  If it were not for the Pan Am Games, we would not even be having a debate about which service should reach the airport first.

This 11km extension would cost $1.874b or $170m/km.

Finch West Extension (Humber College to Airport)

This link to the airport is not as critical to the network as Eglinton, but it would give yet another way to distribute would-be flyers across the top of the city.  Add in planned bus connections from the west and the airport could be a major transit hub even if the ARL was only a minor player in the grand scheme.

This 6.6km extension would cost $851m or $129m/km.

Finch West Phase 2 (Keele to Yonge)

A connection across to Yonge may be useful eventually, but we really need to see how demands shuffle around once the Spadina extension plus Finch West Phase 1 are up and running.  How strong an east-west demand will there be between the two subway lines, which route (Sheppard or Finch) will see the lion’s share of the riding, and what is their ultimate destination?

This 6km line would cost $762m or $127m/km.

Jane (Bloor to Steeles)

The Jane LRT plan has always had problems with right-of-way constraints especially at the south end.  Even getting down to Eglinton is tight.  This route needs a careful review to see how much should actually be built, and whether it would operate as a branch of Eglinton or interlined as far east, say, as Eglinton West Station.

This 15.2km line would cost $1.488b or $98m/km.

Don Mills (Eglinton to Steeles)

The Don Mills line is a logical extension north from the Don Mills Subway.  How soon we should actually need to build it depends on demand projections for this corridor.

This 10.7km line would cost $1.42b or $133m/km.

Scarborough-Malvern (Kennedy Station to Sheppard via Morningside)

At the very least, the northern segment of this route to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) should be built as an integral part of the Sheppard East LRT Phase 1.  This proposal already had support at Metrolinx before Rob Ford’s election, but didn’t make it into the plan as an amendment.  It should come back onto the table as soon as possible.

For the remainder of the line south and west to Kennedy Station we need an updated demand estimate and a sense of the evolving redevelopment of Scarborough to see when this should be built.  Kennedy Station (which will have to be redesigned again if the proposed SRT/SLRT conversion morphs into a subway) must have provision included for the Scarborough-Malvern line from the outset.

This 12.5km line would cost $1.845b or $148m/km.

Sheppard East Malvern Centre Branch (1.6km, $123m, $77m/km)
Sheppard East Extension to Meadowvale (2.0km, $160m, $80m/km)
Sheppard East Extension to Zoo (1.8km, $170m, $94m/km)

With the conversion of the SRT/SLRT to a subway line, the proposed SLRT extension north into Malvern Centre falls off of the table.  A branch line from Sheppard East will require a redesign of the planned LRT junction east of Progress and Sheppard, and a branching operation of the Sheppard line would probably result with trains east from Don Mills to both Morningside (or UTSC) and to Malvern.

The direct link south via the SLRT through STC to Kennedy no longer exists, and this begs the question of whether the access to Malvern should operate as part of the Scarborough-Malvern line (restoring the northern terminus that gave it this route its name).  Operational plans are years in the future but worth thinking about lest there be too many permutations of LRT routes on wide, subdivided headways serving northeastern Scarborough.

The Sheppard East line has grown many tentacles in the OneCity plan and operationally these may not all be practical.

Bus/Streetcar Expansion

Waterfront West (Union to Long Branch)

This line shows up in LRT Purple on the map, but it is really an expansion of the streetcar system and should be shown as such.  The WWLRT has been around for over two decades, and its route has been modified more times than I can count.  There are problems all along the line including:

  • access to Union Station,
  • threading a surface right-of-way past the Rogers Centre and the condo forest around Spadina,
  • getting past Fort York,
  • an appropriate route through Exhibition Place,
  • a route through Sunnyside and the Western Beaches, and finally
  • the right-of-way width on parts of Lake Shore Boulevard.

An important first step in examining this line is to decide whether and when the west leg of a new east-west subway downtown will serve Front Street west of Spadina and continue west into Exhibition Place.  This ties into questions of serving some of the new condo developments as well as whatever might evolve in the Exhibition grounds.  The existing streetcar line looping under the Gardiner is in the worst possible location to serve new developments either around Princes Boulevard (the main east-west street through the grounds) or along Lake Shore.  That location is a sad relic of transit history that viewed the streetcar as something to be pushed out of the way rather than integrated into the grounds as a whole.

If there is to be an “Exhibition Subway”, then a good chunk of the rationale for the WWLRT close to downtown disappears.

Further out, we must consider how much demand there would be from southern Etobicoke especially if GO Transit changes the service level and fare structure on the Lake Shore corridor.  It is ironic that we have an “LRT” proposal on the books for decades, but the TTC always short-changes the 501 Long Branch car for service.  This illustrates a classic split between the allure of new construction and the boredom of simply providing good service on what we already have.

The WWLRT is listed as a 6.1km line (presumably the extent of net new construction) at a cost of $767m (126m/km).  It is unclear whether there is any provision for upgrades to existing facilities such as Union Loop or the Lake Shore Blvd. right-of-way.

Waterfront East (Union to Parliament and beyond)

This is the second priority within the OneCity package, and it is described as a $290m project of which $90m is already available in Waterfront Toronto’s budget.  However, that money only gets us to Parliament and Queen’s Quay and it does not provide the connection through to Cherry Street north of the rail corridor and a potential for service either to Broadview Station or to downtown via King.

Oddly enough, text in the OneCity announcement talks about going to Parliament, but the map shows the line continuing up Cherry to King.

Waterfront Toronto divied up the sub-projects within the overall waterfront scheme.  The planned redesign of the Cherry, Lake Shore, Queen’s Quay and Parliament intersections is part of the much larger scheme to reconfigure the mouth of the Don River, and there is no funding in place for this part of the project.  More recently this became entangled in debates over the future of the Port Lands as a branch from the Waterfront East route would go south via a relocated Cherry Street to serve new development in the port.

The TTC and Waterfront Toronto should figure out what is involved in providing the section of the work from Queen’s Quay north including the link to Cherry so that we have both a complete transit plan and a dollar figure to go with it.

St. Clair (Gunn’s Loop to Jane)

This extension has been in the hopper for years as a logical next step after the creation of the St. Clair right-of-way.  How much chance it has sitting in the middle of a Ford loyalist’s ward is another question.  At a minimum, we need to see both a functional design — will a streetcar extension with reserved lanes actually fit here — and an analysis of demand from this area both eastward via St. Clair and southward to the Bloor subway via existing bus routes.

For reasons that defy understanding, the cost estimate for this 1.7km extension is $102m, and I suspect a lot of non-transit improvements have been bundled into the project.

Wilson and Ellesmere BRTs

These are two elements of the BRT section within the Transit City Bus Plan (see pdf page 33, report page 26).  Two others are for Yonge north from Finch Station (replaced by an extended subway) and Dundas west from Kipling Station (mysteriously absent again possibly thanks to the opposition of the local Councillor to OneCity).

There is far more in the TCBP which should be part of OneCity, but isn’t.  A transit plan is not just about long term capital projects but about overall improvement in service quality and attractiveness.  Plucking two relatively minor elements from a much larger plan is the worst kind of cherry-picking.

Kingston Road BRT

This line would run from Main Station east via Danforth and Kingston Road to Eglinton where it would meet the Scarborough-Malvern line.  This proposal has been around for several years and evolved from a Kingston Road LRT scheme which proved not to be very practical because the primary destination of riders in the corridor is the Danforth subway.

One important issue about “BRT”.  The term is used rather freely to represent two very different implementations.  One includes reserved lanes and stations in the manner of the VIVA system in York Region.  This is what people usually mean by “Bus Rapid Transit” and it includes moving stops further apart than on a regular bus route for increased speed.

Another form, sometimes called “BRT Lite” is little more than a supposedly reserved curb lane.

It is unclear which flavour of BRT is intended by OneCity, but at a cost/km of over $30m, I would hope for a bit more than paint stripes on the pavement.

“Express” Lines in Etobicoke and Scarborough

This is the wooliest part of the whole announcement.  A technology, as yet unknown (maybe subway, LRT or mainline rail) would operate on the GO rail corridors from Steeles east of Kennedy (the Uxbridge Subdivision that now serves the Stouffville GO service) south to Scarborough Junction, west and south via the Lake Shore rail corridor through Union, then northwest via the Weston Subdivision to the airport replacing the Air Rail Link.

There are immense logistical and regulatory problems with a shared right-of-way for transit and mainline rail vehicles.  In the I-METRO-E proposal (from which this is adapted), the author talks of simply “kicking GO off” of the Uxbridge Sub.  That might, in a parallel universe, be possible, but not so on either the Lake Shore or Weston corridors.

As for the ARL, Queen’s Park clings to the idea that it should be a premium class service and continues to design and provision infrastructure on that basis so as to show a good face to the world for the Pan Am Games.  The infrastructure could be better used for a local service, but it would have to include good connections to TTC routes to make it part of a
true network, not a line that wandered by just far enough for transfers to be not worth the effort.

My gut feeling is that the western leg of this has a better chance of conversion because it can be operated on a free-standing basis (like the ARL) while the eastern leg runs into serious problems on the Lake Shore corridor.

The cost estimate is $6.9b for a 26km line from northern Scarborough to Union, and $1.5b for the 22km western branch to the airport.  It is unclear why these two numbers are so different, but somebody obviously knows that the east side route is no picnic to design and implement.  For my money, just running better GO service would be a huge improvement (a view that applies to the entire GO network).

65 thoughts on “OneCity Plan Reviewed

  1. Better GO-TTC fare integration would go a long way to improving mobility for 416 public transit travel, but for the problem of having to provide even more GO train service (gads!) at rush hours. Off peak, such fare integration would make great use of unused GO trains (ie running GO trains on the non-Lakeshore GO lines to have free transfer to/from the TTC). But if you do that, people would rightly expect to have free integration at rush hours. But the GO trains are already full.

    The province is already using otherwise idle GO trains for the very popular Niagara Falls weekend GO train service, so by the same argument the same could be done offpeak weekdays to get revenue & mobility from otherwise idle GO trains.


  2. Yes, it is good to see a plan that at least attempts to look at ‘the system” not individual lines and attempts to deal with paying for it. I agree with you, Steve, that it might be simpler simply to treat this funding proposal as a tax increase (which it is) rather than trying to disguise it.

    However, all in all it’s a very good start but I bet the “finish” is somewhat changed and in fact transit expansion should never ‘finish’ — having rolling 5 or 10-year plans might be a far better way to go.

    On transit expansion ideas I was at two public meetings this week; at one, concerning a First Gulf building on King Street, we heard from a First Gulf representative who was giving some background on the company. He noted that they have bought the Unilever site just east of the Don River and he said ‘we are in discussion with both the TTC and GO on improved transit links to this site’. If GO are talking this would seem to suggest they are actually looking at a “Downtown East” station to book-end their ideas of a Bathurst one.

    Then, last night, Glen Murray – the MPP for the area – came to the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association monthly meeting and came out in strong support of the Queen’s Quay East LRT. He also said he is pressing for it to be linked to both Cherry Street and to Parliament Street and ‘hoped streetcars could be extended to Castle Frank station.’ This latter idea may be pie-in-the-sky (it was certainly rejected during the QQ East Transit EA) but it is good that Provincial politicians are at least thinking of transit possibilities.


  3. After yesterday’s near euphoria over the OneCity transit plan amongst City Hall regulars and rail fans, I’m in awe of Steve’s timely & thoughtful critique a little over 24 hours later. Kudos, to Steve!

    He’s the only person in Toronto (after 40 years of tireless advocacy for the TTC) who has both an intuitive and detailed operational understanding of the TTC that he brings to bear in his assessment of the bold OneCity plan, writing about it clearly, concisely & objectively, despite its overwhelming complexity (well, to me at least, a comparatively junior TTC observer of just 15 years!)

    I say of his 40 years of advocacy, that the last 6.5 years of his blog have seen Steve blossom, witness this article! The blog has been by far his greatest transit contribution: making him more accessible to thousands of citizens and pundits, educating them and the latest rotating crew of Toronto Councillors & Commissioners, and even tenured TTC Staff; all the whilst advancing the public transit debate for both better TTC service and rational TTC expansion as he matured as a writer, listening thoughtfully & patiently to many different transit points of view.

    I would hate to see this blog or Steve muzzled or co-opted, when he has so much to give as an arms-length public transit observer, critic & advocate.


  4. Steve, I agree with your comments wholeheartedly, and for that matter the general thrust of the plan. Plus I love that it shows the man-child in the Mayoral chains what the words “vision” and “funding” and “logic” actually mean.

    Regarding the “wooly” GO-corridor routes, there is an interesting precedent in the new London Overground lines. I’m not sure if you are personally familiar with this recent innovation but I’ve been on it a few times and the system is, in a word, fabulous. They took under-utilized mainline rail that was separate from the Underground system but served suburban areas that needed better rapid transit, and through rebranding, station work and new trains converted it to a sort of mainline-subway hybrid that is still above ground and on a longer headway but looks and feels like rapid transit (even the trainsets are continuous, like the Toronto Rockets, and they look like supersized Underground trains). You can use your Underground fare seamlessly on the Overground, at no extra cost, and darned if the whole thing doesn’t work very well. It would be terrific if Andy, who must have been around when the Overground was being planned, could try to apply some of that thinking to upgrade the two highlighted GO corridors with a parallel TTC service. I think it could be done.

    Steve: What bothers me about the whole concept of TTC using mainline corridors is that it is a kludge to work around GO’s refusal to entertain local service on their tracks or in their fare structure. Nothing prevents us from having services such as the Scarborough/Etobicoke Expresses as part of the GO network but their own foot-dragging, and the pig-headed attitude at Queen’s Park about the role of the ARL as an express train to Union. Fix the underlying attitudes and bureaucratic problems rather than proposing a completely new and very difficult to implement new technology.


  5. Aren’t you worried that having the Yonge North subway extension on the map at all would beacon Parliament Hill to jump in and make it a priority ahead of everything else (possibly even pressuring Queens Park and Metrolinx to change it’s 5 in 10 plan as well, since those lines are still off into the future)?

    Steve: Yes, but that’s a chance we have to take. Also, the TTC needs the yard space at Finch, and better we just built to Steeles than do a half-assed job to a shell of Cummer Station.


  6. If projects are being proposed to placate certain people and groups, then I also feel that the Agincourt-Crosstown line is also another worthy proposal, just to keep the Eglinton Subway Advocates quiet once and for all. But I understand that there is only so much money.

    Steve: First you have to find a Councillor who wants it on the map, then, given that it’s a rail corridor and therefore likely a GO operation, not a TTC one, you have to get it into GO’s plans. It is part of The Big Move, but not a high priority.


  7. I always see the Etobicoke Express line very feasible. The line would need feeder buses to work. More people take transit in northern Etobicoke due to many low income family who lives there. The 191 Highway 27 Rocket can make a connection on Highway 27 bring the Woodbine race track and Humber College much closer to downtown. Etobicoke North GO Station can be serviced by Kipling buses and Weston GO Station makes a connection with the 52 Lawrence West and 58 Malton bring rapid transit much closer to central Etobicoke. The line can make connections with Eglinton LRT, St. Clair Streetcar and the Bloor-Danforth line. The line would need electrification and a fleet of trains. I could only see the Union Station connection posing a problem. Why does Metrolinx have to stick to the premium service ARL?

    Steve: Because that’s what the Premier wants. This has been made abundantly clear at public meetings where precisely that question was asked.


  8. I’m having a hard time imagining the Wilson BRT as anything other than BRT Lite. As it is, the 96E does a decent job in the evening rush hour (can’t speak to the morning). It’s not a terribly full bus either, in my experience, which is nice if you’re getting off at Dufferin or Keele, but not too useful in between. In my experience, the regular Wilson buses (96 and 165) make almost as many local stops between Dufferin and Keele as they do between Avenue and Faywood and are crammed in the evening. Local service, in other words, seems like the major driver of demand.

    I’m also wondering why west of Wilson Station is targeted for a BRT revamp, but not between Wilson Station and York Mills Station. The latter stretch is, at rush hour, excruciatingly slow. Without exaggeration, it is not unheard of for the trip from York Mills Station to Keele to take a good 50 minutes on a weekday evening.

    The dreamer in me thinks an LRT along Wilson, unpalatable as it would be to motorists, as technically challenging it might present itself to engineers, would make a great contribution to the connectivity of the transit network. I don’t know what projected ridership would be between Wilson Station and, say, Weston/Albion. Pure fantasy, I know, but would it be cool if it were to link with an LRT running in the Weston corridor (still more fantasy).


  9. Still digesting the implications of this plan, and looking ahead to how Ford et al can construct a counter-proposal. Steve, can you tell whether OneCity assumes P3 to any degree? Not read the report yet; your assessment is appreciated.

    Steve: There is no detail in OneCity about how the lines would be built, although Stintz did make references to private sector partners without explaining exactly what they would do. If Ontario has any money in the game, you can bet they will want IO to run the projects as AFP.


  10. Do you think there is any chance of running single-operator trains, similar to the Ottawa O-Train, on mainline track shared with GO? Is that even a possibility worth considering for the Etobicoke and Scarborough Express lines?

    Steve: The problem is that both proposals must share trackage (or at least right of way) with conventional mainline traffic. Scarborough uses the Lake Shore corridor to reach Union, and the Weston corridor has all sorts of trains on it. This is very different from the situation in Ottawa.


  11. There are positive and negative aspects of the One City Transit Plan.


    1) This is an extensive network expansion plan that will put many Torontonians within walking distance of transit.

    2) Rather than drawing lines on a map, the individuals behind this plan have put some thought into how to pay for new transit infrastructure.


    1) On the surface there appears to be a correlation between technology choice and population density on the various routes. The plan’s mix of subway, LRT and BRT lines creates this illusion at first glance. However, when we examine the routes more closely we learn this is not necessarily the case.

    One City proposes extending the Sheppard subway west from Yonge to Downsview while building an LRT on Sheppard East. This doesn’t make sense since ridership on Sheppard East is much higher than it is on Sheppard West. Ridership projections for the Sheppard subway extension show greater ridership east of Don Mills than West of Yonge. How can a lack of ridership and population density be used to justify not extending the Sheppard line east but those same criteria are ignored to extend the line west?

    I do not believe light rail on Sheppard West would be too inconvenient since there are not that many people who commute all the way across Sheppard to have to make all of those transfers.

    2) The Scarborough and Etobicoke express lines appear to use existing GO Transit lines. Are they planning on taking over those routes to run above ground trains? I’m sure there will be fierce resistance from Metrolinx, GO transit and the Province of Ontario. Moreover, we already have above ground trains on those routes, GO trains.

    3) There are a number of problems with funding for this plan. The City is putting the burden of paying for this plan on homeowners, which is problematic given stagnant wages and rising home-ownership costs. Can homeowners afford to pay more?

    A more equitable way to pay for this plan would be a combination of road tolls and parking leviess as more people drive than own homes.

    Another potential drawback is relying on the Provincial and Federal governments for $333 million per year for 30 years to pay for new transit infrastructure. Both governments have massive deficits and will most likely not be providing money for this plan in the near future. On the other hand, there may also be an advantage to this as it is easier to plan a budget when you know how much the transit line item will cost you every year. This may actually increase the likelihood of funding from senior levels of governments but this will most likely occur when we are in better economic times.

    4) One City doesn’t bring much new to the table. The majority of these transit projects have been planned for some time but were never built because the funding didn’t materialize.

    Overall, I like the plan but there are a few issues that should be worked out before it proceeds.


  12. As a life long resident of Scarborough, I am pleased to see a subway extension in the works to McCowan and Sheppard. Personally, I think a subway up Brimley is a brilliant idea, that or Midland would be a great idea since Midland and Brimley both cut through dense residential pockets and businesses. Brimley however is home to Thompson Park and Scarborough Town Centre; it’s close to Scarborough General Hospital and provides access to a convenient point along Ellesmere. While going down McCowan might make sense as it follows the route of the 16 McCowan it really does not have the density to support a subway and would not really go where people need it to go unlike if it went up Brimley.

    On that note, if I recall correctly land was set aside for a subway station at the Town Centre when the Sheppard line was conceived in order to build the station. Whatever happened to that?

    Steve: That may be so, but it will face the wrong way and will be oriented for an east-west line entering from Progress, not a north-south one coming up Brimley.

    In my opinion, there are two ways a subway station could be built at the Town Centre. First, the existing station could be torn down and buses using a parking lot as a “temporary” terminal or board on the street at McCowan and Triton then divert via Town Centre Court and Borough Drive. This would essentially update an already outdated station and eliminate a lot of no longer needed features such as the second and third collector booths (which have not been staffed in decades). The second option would be to build a new station on the empty plot of land along Progress and Triton. This land is and always has been vacant and would make a good location for a station. This option however would be quite a ways from the actual mall and would require a pedestrian tunnel rivaling that at Spadina but it would enter into a part of the mall that is heavily used as it is. It would also allow for buses to use the existing terminal while construction takes place. I personally prefer option 2. While it is a longer walk it does mean a new station and it allows for expansion versus option one which is essentially a replacement of the existing station which itself is shoehorned between the mall and condos allowing for almost 0 expansion of the station in the future. As well, option 2 actually permits a subway to be built. I doubt a subway could fit in the space where the station currently is given the building foundations.

    Anyway as I said, I am glad to see a subway in the works for Scarborough. I love the RT in so much as it is as much a part of Scarborough as Thompson Park or Highland Creek. It’s something everyone has come to know and it has become an integral part of the culture in Scarborough. What it is not though is effective. Over the years the connection at Kennedy has become a pain in the ass and the RT has become unreliable. If I could get a subway extension through Scarborough I would go for it in a second even though I am pro LRT.. all because I feel Scarborough needs it, especially the central part of Scarborough. I do not however think Malvern needs a subway.


  13. The question of how the DRL West and the WWLRT will work with each other is an interesting one.

    Ideally what I’d like to see is the DRL West do the alignment that you mention to the Ex. Then, I’d like to see it run though the Ex and curve up and run under Dufferin up to either Queen or Bloor (depending on funding).

    That last part is key because then what the WWLRT can do is run the usual route through Etobicoke, and then under Queen from Roncesvalles to Dufferin, where it would terminate (and the Queen streetcar would pick up from there).

    This funnels those Etobicoke passengers onto the DRL to reach downtown, and it also opens up the door for a Queen LRT should funding be available and ridership justify it. It also avoids the question of how to have the DRL and WWLRT work together through downtown.

    The short tunnel under Queen will also likely be less expensive than the entire WWLRT route from Roncesvalles to Union, so some of that money can be diverted to the DRL West.

    Naturally though, these projects would likely need to be built in conjunction with each other, or at least with the DRL first. You don’t want the WWLRT funnelling into nothing.


  14. It’s dawned on me recently (with a recently faulty short-term memory it may have in-fact dawned on me many times) that Islington is the logical choice for a Western-LRT line (as opposed to Jane).

    Lane restrictions absent, and connections with “WWLRT”, B/D, Eglinton & Finch.


    Steve: This may work, although I would want to look at the details of the route. Jane was chosen because it goes through Jane/Finch, a major priority neighbourbood, thereby giving it LRT in both north-south and east-west directions. I didn’t agree with this when Transit City was proposed, but serving those neighbourhoods took priority in the plans.


  15. Steve, you mentioned that at one point a Kingston Rd. LRT was proposed. Could you expand on this please? I’m very interested.

    Steve: At one point when Brian Ashton was on the TTC, he proposed that the Kingston Road streetcar be extended as an LRT to provide a direct route downtown. This evolved, in time, into the BRT proposal.

    Also, I think the only way to have the I-METRO-E implemented without destroying GO service would be to twin the tracks like is happening with the ARL which would make local transit there possible. Unfortunately, this begs the question of trans-region service from Markham to Toronto, and what the overall function of GO is.


  16. LongBranchMike hit the nail square on the head. GO transit expansion coupled with fare integration is the most promising project. It can appeal to a politically polarized city, it delivers the economic and overall prosperity growth the province needs, and it can all be done in a reasonable cost effective and environmentally friendly way.

    My personal opinion is that the stars are aligning for GO expansion. Significant reasonable funding tools are available i.e. a modest HST increase. The province can no longer rely on its traditional industries to maintain its current level of prosperity or economic growth. Downtown Toronto has the economic growth potential but is limited by the number of people that can reasonable get in there to work. Overall the GO project would deliver the highest productivity, prosperity, and quality of life improvement to the greatest number of people making it first on my to do list.

    Steve: Also, I think Queen’s Park will eventually wake up to the fact that improving GO is a lot cheaper than trying to pay for a network of parallel rapid transit lines within in Toronto.


  17. BRT: really, it only works in Ottawa. All other “on street” versions are cop-outs. Stick to LRT. That said, sigh, trolley buses ignored again….


  18. Thank you for mentioning the Jack Layton/Mel Lastman deal. Instructive in some ways for the eventual horse trading that is going to occur.


  19. Regarding Waterfront East LRT. I understand the major overrun of $200M is due to a tunnel up Bay Street to Union Station.

    There is a simple way to save about $199M. Run tracks on the surface of Bay Street on the east side of the street. Two tracks (plus bike lanes). Two west side lanes for motor vehicle traffic. One Way reversible north/south during rush hours.

    Turn left (west) at Bremner Blvd. and stop at a walkway connection into Union Station. If these new LRT cars are double ended there is no need for a loop! More money saved.

    Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box.

    Deepak Chopra

    Steve: The new LRVs are single-ended and at this point, you’re not going to see a change to that configuration. Also, the idea of taking road space away from Bay Street is a total non-starter.

    Getting rid of one box does not necessarily mean that the new one(s) you move to are an improvement or even feasible.


  20. So, let the discussion begin. Of course there are questions, and some of the answers aren’t yet known, but we can only hope that someone has some idea of what is going on.

    So my questions are:

    1. How quickly do you think people on the routes which are supposed to get “BRT” will be complaining about getting “3rd class” public transit while those along the LRT routes will be complaining about their “2nd class” routes?

    2. What elements of the Transit City Bus Plan (aside from Dundas which is clearly missing) should be in the OneCity proposal?

    3. How realistic is the short-distance Wilson BRT, which appears to only run out to Keele (based on the map) … why not extend it as “BRT” to Jane and perhaps further as “BRT Lite” out to Weston?

    Scarborough Subway
    1. What corridor will be used … or at least, which would be the best choice?
    2. If the line is going to Sheppard Ave, what will be the cost of getting under/over the 401? Mainly, how would it compare to the cost of getting the Sheppard line (LRT or subway) under the 404 (and why not compare it to the cost of getting the University-Spadina line over the 401, adjusted for inflation of course).
    3. Can I presume that the TTC would retain Scarborough Centre as the main bus terminal, with a Sheppard East station as the LRT link?

    Eglinton LRT Phase 2
    1. The issues with the line in phase 2 including the proposed u-turns and closure of intersections will still have to be worked out.
    2. Should the LRT be located in the centre of Eglinton, or in the old expressway right-of-way to the north?
    3. How should the LRT approach the Airport?

    Steve: Chunks of the expressway right-of-way have been transferred to Build Toronto for redevelopment. The LRT route into the airport is already largely defined in the TPA for Eglinton and in some preliminary planning work for the airport itself.

    Don Mills Express
    1. How would the Don Mills LRT & Don Mills Express line and Eglinton Crosstown LRT (which will all be serving Don Mills & Eglinton) be brought together? I can see the Don Mills LRT extending north from the Don Mills “express” with a connection at platform level (like the Sheppard East LRT from the Sheppard Line), but how would the Eglinton Crosstown line fit in? Would it be possible to have it underground or would it have to run at surface level?

    Steve: The Don Mills Station on the Eglinton line is already planned to be underground. Look at the detailed drawings in the TPA.

    Right now I’d love to see one of those evaluation tables that compares each of the different transit proposals … just like the ones we see at PIC sessions.

    Let’s see, Network 2011, NDP Plan, Toronto Official Plan, Transit City (Bus & LRT plans), Ford Plan, and OneCity…with all their advantages & disadvantages, across a broad range of categories such as:

    Number of lines proposed
    Technology proposed
    Kilometers of “rapid transit” (Category A or B) proposed
    Kilometers of “non-rapid transit” (Category C or C+ … like “BRT Lite”)
    Total area to be served by the proposed “rapid transit”
    Percentage of Toronto residents served by the proposed “rapid transit”
    Proposed Cost (overall, averaged)
    Funding Formula

    And perhaps the most important:

    1. percentage of City Councillors on side
    2. odds of actually getting Federal & Provincial funding

    Did I miss anything?

    Cheers, Moaz


  21. I am still not clear why this Downtown Don Mills Express Relief Line has to terminate at Yonge St. Is it because too many other new services are proposed that would occupy the corridors between the Financial District and roughly Dundas West station?

    Also, connections with Bloor-Danforth are going to be a mess. I wonder if the old caryards across from Coxwell will suddenly become a kind of heritage subway station for the new line.

    Steve: It really should go further west. Please refer to my preferred route via Wellington. Going up to Eglinton actually reduces the requirements at Pape Station by eliminating the flood of buses and associated pedestrian flows through the station. However, there will be quite a challenge to build links from the Danforth subway to the “Don Mills” line’s platform. Pape is fairly deep, and this implies that a north-south station might be above rather than under the existing subway. However, I have no idea what the layout of utilities under Pape and Danforth might be and the implications of building a new, shallow station box there.


  22. @Richard: although an LRT line could handle the demand on Sheppard West between Yonge and Downsview, such line would have to run underground between Yonge and the West Don bridge since that section of Sheppard is quite narrow.

    Therefore, the cost difference between LRT and subway is not that big. On the other hand, a subway link would provide a useful shortcut between the Wilson Yard and the Yonge line.

    Regarding Sheppard East: the sponsors of OneCity plan would be understandably reluctant to reopen the technology debate for that corridor, just a few months after the City Council sent a signal to Metrolinx to go ahead with the LRT plan. Moreover, the usability of Sheppard East LRT will improve significantly if it gets connected directly to the Danforth subway extension at McCowan, rather than SLRT extension further east.


  23. The thing I’m finding funny about the the Scarborough subway discussion is that all the focus is being placed on the north end of the extension to justify which road the line should follow while everyone is ignoring one very tempting destination which may determine the path of the subway extension:

    Eglinton GO station.

    Steve has often mentioned the idea of using satellite stations to relieve pressure at Union station and a subway connection at Eglinton GO would make that possible for the Lakeshore East line. This would probably end up being the carrot that would get Metrolinx to switch the funds from the RT conversion to the subway extension and may result in the extension ending up at Markham and Sheppard rather than somewhere further west along Sheppard.

    Steve: The problem with going east to connect with GO Eglinton is that the north end of the line will be well east of Scarborough Town Centre. There is a point in route design where the “connect the dots” game runs out of control with too many goals for one route.


  24. Would it be too much to expect the tunneling machines from the Vaughan extension to either be put into short-term storage, or dispatched immediately to Scarborough (or wherever) once their work in Vaughan is done, assuming this pitch flies? After all, the machines are bought and paid for, and while they will require replacement of parts and other running repairs, they are city assets which can be used again. The timeline of funding (beginning in fall 2013, if – and that’s a big if – funding can be secured) would seem to indicate that it’s in the realm of possibility.

    It’s not too much to see the four tunneling machines as a roving tunneling squad, tunneling the Bloor-Danforth extension, north Yonge extension, the DMEx, etc. In theory, that is.

    Steve: There is the tiny matter that the Scarborough Subway has not even been designed or gone through an EA process yet. It’s not simply a case of showing up at Kennedy Station with shovels and buckets.


  25. Steve says:

    “Notable by its absence is the Bloor extension to Sherway Gardens. This shows that routes got onto the map because they had a sponsoring Councillor, and the ward’s representative, Peter Milczyn, is a Ford loyalist and the only TTC Commissioner who opposes OneCity. No biscuit for naughty Peter.”

    My initial thought of the OneCity transit plan is that its a mish-mash of individual councilors pet projects and existing transit plans that have been on the table for a long time.


  26. I understand why the TTC wants to use Pape as the connection point for the DRL, but honestly I think using Castle Frank would be a better idea. Why?

    1) Running the DRL up Parliament would provide an enormous catalyst for development on the east side of downtown (would cover basically everything from Yonge to the Don). The scale of development would be magnitudes above anything that would take place in Riverdale.

    2) Running the DRL up Parliament is also a significantly shorter route than running it through Riverdale.

    3) It will still bisect all the E-W streetcar routes, albeit a little bit closer to downtown.

    4) The connection at Castle Frank would surely be easier to build than Pape. Castle Frank is pretty lightly used, so shutting it down for some periods of time would not be nearly as much of an impact as shutting down Pape.

    5) The alignment north of Bloor is also much simpler than Pape. The line can run through the Don Valley adjacent to the Richmond Hill line rail corridor. It would do this until the water treatment plant, where it would tunnel into the side of the valley and run under Thorncliffe Park.

    Realistically speaking, this is far less expensive than tunnelling under Pape, and then having to bridge the Don Valley. Especially considering that there would only likely be one station (somewhere near Cosburn) on that section of Pape. Likely over $1 billion more for a single added station? Is that really worth it?

    So in conclusion: shorter routing, better opportunities for densification, better interchange station, likely significantly less expensive than the current preferred option.

    Just a little outside the box thinking for you.

    Steve: Parliament is already developed or redeveloping without the assistance of a subway line. I have a big problem with your alignment via Castle Frank. You talk about following the Don Valley beside the Richmond Hill line, but that is considerably east of Castle Frank (and Parliament Street), and far below Castle Frank Station. They are not side by side, and my satire about Swan Boats and Trebuchets was in part directed at those who don’t know the local geography (I only have to look out my west window).


  27. Even the Toronto Board of Trade and the Greater Toronto Civic Alliance seems to be onboard the OneCity plan.

    Mitzie Hunter, CEO of CivicAction, says,

    “We are already so many decades behind in investment in transit, so we need to catch up … We call it a crisis and it must be addressed. It’s vital to the economic prosperity of the region.”

    Meanwhile, the Fords and their followers are acting like kindergarten kids, by just saying “no”, and nothing else. They should go stand in the corner.


  28. Looks like Stintz just got a taste of her own foul tasting medicine. The province has stated that it will not support her plan, and frankly, I can’t say that I blame them.

    Stop flip-flopping and stirring up the pot Karen — you and your fellow councillors decided on a light-rail-only system for Scarborough, so don’t start talking about a Bloor-Danforth-SCARBOROUGH subway now for “service continuity”. That will only reopen the entire debate on Eglinton and Sheppard.


  29. The complications on Jane, and with much of the west end that I keep getting the nagging feeling we may be better off going with a BRT lite very heavily VIVA influenced (as in lite, but headed toward more infrastructure where useful in a reasonable timeframe) on Jane, Dufferin and probably at least one more street (Weston look good on a map, but I’m really not familiar with ridership numbers on these routes). Artics, maybe even double artics, would be a LOT easier on Jane, and are just about he only practical option on Dufferin.


  30. So now my question is, would the TTC’s original recommendation to start SELRT construction immediately have been as effective as Queen’s Park’s plan to delay SELRT again to address resource shortages?

    And furthermore, would these resource shortage issues exist if the project was regular DBB?

    Steve: I think the “resource shortages” are a fiction invented to justify further delay. What would Ontario do if it ever needed to actually build something “now”?


  31. Ontario Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli said,

    “This is not acceptable. It will only result in protracted debate and more delays. We cannot allow this conversation to deter us from the immediate public transit implementation needs.”

    What about FUTURE transit needs? The OneCity plan covers 30 years. Yes, go ahead with the immediate needs, but plan AND work on future transit plans. Actual work should be ongoing each and every year, not every generation.

    Maybe in 30 years, it will be time for the 905 and beyond (Barrie, Milton, etc.) to work on their own pubic transit plans, as well.

    Steve: Chiarelli is quoted in the Star as if Queen’s Park had very little advance warning of OneCity and are more than a bit miffed as a result.


  32. The provincial Liberals are simply protecting turf over the GO Lines and Metrolinx projects while continuing to project the “we are the only adults in the room” line they are now using almost as corporate values.

    Frankly I think that was for consumption outside the 416 and the 905.

    Meanwhile the adults will go on planning and wait for the province to catch up, or another government.


  33. Steve: The problem with going east to connect with GO Eglinton is that the north end of the line will be well east of Scarborough Town Centre.

    While I disagree because the density layout of Scarborough makes curving back west from Eglinton GO station to end up at STC relatively easy, both from a tunnel/station depth point of view and the fact that there are development limitations between Midland and Bellamy along Lawrence, it does raise an interesting question. If you remove the buses feeding into STC and shift them to wherever the subway extension ends up, how much does ridership drop off at STC? To put it another way, are people going to STC, or through STC?

    Steve: Commuters are generally going through STC from my observations when I worked there for several years, but it is a major destination in its own right otherwise.

    And it looks like the OneCity idea is dead for now because of the changes to ARL and the death of the Scarborough RT.

    Steve: Not dead. Sleeping.


  34. Is there any part of OneCity that Rob Ford might support? The choice of extending the subway eastward instead of rebuilding the SRT with all of its long disruptions and costly bus substitution during construction ought to be right up his alley.


  35. My concern is that this is just another plan in a long series of plans and in the end nothing will get built.

    Did the Province, the City and Metrolinx not already agree to a different plan, a truncated, modified version of Transit City? Did the Province not say this is it, no more changing plans? Once we’ve agreed on what we’re going to build, we’re going to move forward together and build it.

    What is the potential for this latest plan, in a long series of plans, to jeopardize that agreement? If I was a Minister at Queen’s Park and Toronto kept changing its mind every year on what they wanted to build I would get tired of it and reallocate the funding to other municipalities that have their acts together.

    That being said, I still think most of this new plan is sound with the exception of the criticisms I pointed out in a previous post. The point is, Council needs to stop changing their minds every year and stop changing Toronto’s transit plans at the drop of the hat without any consultation. If this keeps up, all we’ll be left with is numerous maps with lines drawn on them and no shovels in the ground and more importantly no funding from senior levels of government.

    Steve: I think the Minister would be on stronger ground had he not used his press conference to announce yet another delay to completion of the four-line scheme Queen’s Park is funding using the flimsy excuse that there may not be enough capacity in the construction industry to build Sheppard on the already-delayed schedule. If Metrolinx had not been so eager to jump into bed with Rob Ford’s subway plan, indeed if the province had been as cool to Ford as it appears to be to Stintz and De Baeremaeker, we would not be in quite such as mess today.

    The provincial reaction to the proposed conversion of the ARL to an undefined form of “express” local train is understandable. Many requests to do this are tied into the politics of the Weston Corridor, and the proposal in OneCity runs counter to a deeply entrenched provincial position. Right or wrong, that’s the government’s policy and they are not going to change it because Karen and Glenn draw a line on a map.

    What is really odd is the non-committal but generally supportive tone of the initial provincial reaction when OneCity was announced on Wednesday, and the more strident comments at Friday’s press conference. Did someone at a senior level of the government have a hissy fit?


  36. @Michael Forest

    Thank you for the information. If I understand correctly, a Sheppard west subway extension would be more useful in terms of a connection to store trains at Wilson Yard and to get them into service more quickly on the Yonge line.

    Steve: The question, then, is whether this is the most cost-effective way of dealing with the train marshalling issue, not whether Sheppard West is a worthwhile subway line in its own right. The TTC already has a cheaper answer to this by way on online storage on the Yonge line north of Finch, and eventually at Richmond Hill.


  37. The maps show the Scarborough Subway terminating at a McCowan station, so I would presume that is the route they intend to take. It would directly serve Scarborough General Hospital with the Lawrence Ave. stop. I’m not sure what they had in mind for Scarborough Town Centre.

    With the Province raising a stink about this particular facet of the One City plan after it had already committed to replacing the SRT there should be some way to incorporate both plans. Extending the SRT all the way to Malvern seems like a more connective idea than simply running a branch of the Sheppard East LRT. It also skips Centennial College altogether.

    Incorporating both schemes would give the McCowan RT station some added traffic if the the Scarborough Subway simply stayed along McCowan. Again, people would have the choice of transferring at either Kennedy or McCowan, or even just walking from the station. Plus, if Markham/York Region are interested later, there’s another subway line almost at its doorstep whose extension they could fund.

    Steve: The map is diagrammatic only, and there is definitely no intention to bypass STC. Also the northern terminus is McCowan and Sheppard, not McCowan Station which is south of the 401.

    As for the Scarborough Express Line, if it is going to be tied in with an eventual I-METRO-E project but runs into the problems along the Lakeshore East line wouldn’t it be simpler to truncate the line to the Scarborough GO station? Coupled with increased frequency that electrification would bring (the Lakeshore corridor East and West are one of the first lines GO wants electrified aren’t they?) and a more unified fare structure between GO and the TTC would make for a tenable solution. It would also remove one line’s worth (the Stouffville Line) of trains from Union Station giving GO a bit of breathing room.

    GO would have to fiddle around with its schedules to accommodate the passengers transferring at Scarborough, but with more frequent service on both corridors it’d hopefully be more dispersed. Meanwhile, passengers will also have the opportunity to transfer to other lines along the way at Agincourt or Kennedy.

    Steve: I-METRO-E is not a credible proposal, especially with the huge estimated cost of the “Scarborough Express” line. $6.9-billion is a lot to spend on a right-of-way that already exists. This is more than the cost of the Eglinton LRT, tunnel and all.

    The Wilson BRT ending at Keele appears to try and capitalize on the new hospital being built there.

    The Finch extension to Pearson is rather ill-defined. I would prefer a route that ran south from Humber College to Woodbine Centre, west along Rexdale/Derry to the Malton GO station/International Centre and then south to Pearson. A link between Malton and Pearson seemed so much simpler than building a whole line downtown. Granted, it’s not the one-seat ride, but at least it would offer connections with GO, VIA, and local transit.

    Steve: The Finch Airport route is another of those lines on the map that is diagrammatic rather than a detailed prescription. This has to be sorted out, and might have been sooner if Transit City had not been savaged by Queen’s Park’s foot-dragging.


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