Will Scarborough Get Its Subway? (Updated: Probably)

Updated October 9, 2013 at 1:20am:

Toronto Council, by a vote of 24-20, has approved proceeding with the Scarborough Subway project including a three-stage property tax increase totalling 1.6% to finance the City of Toronto’s share of the budget.

There is little new to add at this point on the technical issues all of which were covered on this site before.

My personal reaction is disappointment, but more strongly, disgust at the behaviour of some Councillors and a few City Officials.  The outright hatred and slander against “downtowners” and their motives in “pushing” LRT does not bode well for cordial relations on Council, not to mention sowing equivalent feelings among the electorate.  There are arguments to be made for the subway option (many of them have appeared here in the comment threads), but this should be done in a civil manner relatively free of distortion.

Instead, we got warped versions of the truth about both the subway and LRT options, and not a few outright lies.  TTC CEO Andy Byford, one who trotted out the “100 year subway” myth was forced to backtrack on two counts by questions at Council.  He admitted that the tunnels last for 100 years, but much of what is in them does not.  Meanwhile, he talked about LRT lasting 50 years, not the 30 year figure that has been bandied around of late.  The obvious issue is that a tunnel may very well last 100 years, but if you don’t have to build one in the first place, and can save the expense, what does it matter?

We will have to wait a decade to see whether the suddenly much rosier projections of demand for a rapid transit line in Scarborough come from the same well-cooked land-use and population assumptions that brought us the vastly overstated estimates for the Sheppard Subway (and for growth at Scarborough Town Centre).

In any event, the vote is taken, and barring a discovery of a major extra cost for the City appearing during detailed design, the decision is as final as we can expect to see from this Council and the provincial government.

How the rest of the LRT network will fare really depends on the 2014 municipal and provincial elections.  Mayor Ford has already declared that subways on Sheppard and Finch are goals for his next term.

The half-hearted advocacy for LRT from Metrolinx and Queen’s Park plays a big part in this situation, but I never thought their hearts were in it going right back to the early days of Metrolinx when I was persona non grata for asking their newly-minted Chair if they would consider this mode as an option in their grand plan.

How many more ridings will the Liberals feel the need to buy off with a subway promise?

The original article from October 4 follows the break.

[In a previous posts, I have been tracking the debate over the proposed Scarborough Subway including the provincial scheme announced by Minister Glen Murray, the City’s plan for a subway via McCowan and, of course, the original LRT line from Kennedy to Sheppard.  With the Toronto Council debate coming up on October 8, it’s time to start a new thread (with apologies to those who want to see an even longer comment string on one article).]

Toronto Council will debate, again, the fate of rapid transit for Scarborough at its meeting starting on Tuesday, October 8.  Back in July, Council voted to support a subway scheme with various provisos that some thought would act as a “poison pill” because all conditions would not be met.  Critical among these were requests for federal funding and for additional money from Queen’s Park.  Since then:

  • The Ontario government announced (through Minister Glen Murray) that it would support a subway on the existing Scarborough RT alignment, but that the available funding would take it only to Scarborough Town Centre.  This alignment and no other would be acceptable for provincial support.
  • Metrolinx published a feasibility study supporting the subway-via-SRT option.
  • The federal government announced (through Prime Minister Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty) that it would contribute up to $660-million toward the city’s subway proposal.
  • The TTC published a report critical of the provincial alignment, but with only superficial comments on the technical aspects of the route pending further detailed study.
  • Metrolinx, originally strongly supportive of the government’s subway proposal, retreated to a more generic support for rapid transit with a preference for the LRT plan, but a willingness to support a subway on any alignment, subject to an Environmental Assessment including analysis of competing proposals.

The City Manager has issued a report for Council recapping the issues and updating the cost and tax implications.  An appendix to the report includes copies of the correspondence between the parties showing the evolution of their positions.

Going into the debate, we now have more details about the funding for the Scarborough line that has been transferred to the Eglinton-Crosstown project.  $320m was originally described as the cost of restructuring Kennedy Station to accommodate the new Scarborough LRT, the Crosstown and provision for the future LRT line east on Eglinton.  With the subway option, provision for an SLRT station is eliminated and the cost of rebuilding Kennedy for the McCowan subway alignment plus the Crosstown LRT should be less than the original budget.

However, Metrolinx is also working on improvements to the design of the Crosstown line’s interchange with the Yonge Subway, and wants to keep the full amount in the project budget to help pay for these improvements.  Only when the final cost of the Eglinton-Crosstown line is known would money be released from the Crosstown budget for additional funding of the subway scheme.

The budget for the subway extension includes a provision for additional trains and storage at a cost of about $400m although the current fleet is actually large enough to handle the future requirements.  However, the TTC’s fleet plan (published as part of the 2013 budget) shows the gradual addition of trains on the BD line over the coming decade to bring the peak period headway down from 141 to just under 120 seconds (roughly an 18% increase in capacity with 51 rather than 43 trains on the line).

If this is implemented (previous plans for subway service improvements such as an extension of the Spadina line’s short turn beyond St. Clair West Station have never materialized), it would soak up all now-surplus equipment and yard space.  It is unclear whether the amount of extra service planned is dictated by the available fleet, the minimum headway possible with existing technology, or actual planning for demand growth.

An extension east and north to Sheppard will certainly add to demand and crowding on the BD line over and above regular growth, and it is unclear how much reserve capacity is available even if the line moves to automatic train control and a moving block signal system.  Constraints will remain at major interchanges and at terminals.  Where a new yard would be placed has not been discussed in public.

The cost estimate presented by the City Manager is roughly the same in the July and October reports, although the presentation is slightly different (both estimates are on p7 of the respective reports).  The capital cost of the subway project is now:

Subway construction, equipment, etc              $2.300b 2010$
SRT life extension & demolition                    .170b
Total                                             2.470b
Inflation to completion (2023)                    1.090b
Total cost                                       $3.560b

This is essentially the same as the number used in July.

The provincial budget for the SLRT project was $1.8b 2010$, but from this must be deducted $320m transferred to the Crosstown project leaving $1.48b for the subway project. With inflation, this amount would be $1.99b.

Funding for the project would come from:

Federal government                               $0.660b
Provincial government                             1.990b
City development charges                           .165b
City debt and tax reserves                         .745b
Total                                            $3.560b

A property tax increase of 1.6% spread over three years would be required to create a capital reserve (short term) and then fund debt that would be floated to pay the City’s share.  Future increases in interest rates could have a substantial effect on costs and the taxes needed to cover them.  Moreover, the headroom in the City’s overall debt and appetite for new taxes could crowd out many other necessary projects in future years.

Further deductions include $85m for SLRT sunk costs and the unknown penalty that will be imposed for reduction in the size of the LRV order to Bombardier.  These amounts are not included in the City Manager’s estimate of total project costs, although they represent over 10% of the amount the city plans to finance through new taxes.

(Note: As a matter of City policy, the tax increase on non-residential property would be 1/3 of whatever is levied on residential.  This would continue a multi-year practice of lowering the ratio of non-residential to residential tax rates that was in place well before the Ford era.)

The City would be entirely responsible for any cost overruns on the subway project.  At this time we have only an order of magnitude cost estimate, and as the details are worked out, this number could rise.  Obvious questions include the location and cost of the new Scarborough Town Centre station and whether a station should be provided somewhere on Eglinton before the line heads north up McCowan.

Capital improvements to the existing BD line (notably resignalling and a larger fleet) could also be triggered by this project.  To be fair, the LRT plan would also have increased BD subway demand and the cost of handling this must be included in budgets for all proposals in any comparative evaluation.

There are many unknowns as Toronto faces the Scarborough subway debate, but we most definitely do know that subways are not “free” as was promised during the Ford campaign.  Having created the expectation that subways would come at no cost and that they are the birthright of every Torontonian, subway advocates now must face the implications of a long-lasting city-wide tax hike to pay for one subway extension.

For too long, the true cost of expanding our transit system in capital and operating funding has been buried under rhetoric about cost efficiencies and the magic of private sector partnerships.  Coming in to the budget debates, we now have TTC Chair Karen Stintz advocating increased support for TTC operations through municipal subsidies rather than the flat-lining she herself championed for the past two years.

Budget debates have always attempted to sequester capital financing from operating subsidies, but at last we are seeing how spending in capital and the inevitable demand for greater debt service will affect the headroom for spending on operations.  Is subway building a replacement for providing better transit service that will rise to meet the growing travel demands of Torontonians?  This is not an either-or choice, but a need to balance spending and to spend wisely where the money is needed.

Writing that, I cannot help recognizing a “conservative” voice, but one that recognizes public spending as a necessary part of city building, not as something to be avoided except when buying votes.

183 thoughts on “Will Scarborough Get Its Subway? (Updated: Probably)

  1. Really wish Cllr Ainslie spent some time lobbying some numbers to his side, or at least holding a meeting beforehand explaining how he came to the conclusion he did. Pretty sure his speech about LRT houses and Subway houses didn’t change any votes.

    Steve: Yes, it was a very poor analogy, but at least it was his own, not notes prepped by Ford’s staff.

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  2. Out of curiosity, if the province were to move up the start for the Sheppard LRT, what would the earliest year that it could be done? Regardless of politics, I would assume that it’s too late to start work next year. However, could it take over the post Pan-Am start date that the Scarborough RT conversion had?

    Steve: There is probably a year’s worth of detailed pre-contract design to do. The big issue is whether we waste a year letting Infrastructure Ontario concoct a P3 or simply do a conventional tender for someone to rebuild the road with provision for the LRT corridor. There’s also the tunnel into Don Mills Station, but no longer the planned junction with the Scarborough LRT for its service access to Conlins Road carhouse. They should have the paperwork ready to call tenders in spring 2015 with the intent of launching construction immediately after the games. Three years after that, tops, to get it open, preferably in time for the 2018 elections.

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  3. In response to this comment by George N in Don Mills…

    People are always willing to pay more for something, if they think that it is worth it.

    … L. Wall commented:

    I don’t think that’s actually true. In a recent Forum Research poll, residents supported the Scarborough subway extension (barely) until they were told it had fewer stops and cost a lot more money.

    I believe you have another think coming. 😉

    The second sentence suggests that George’s statement IS true. People polled did in fact believe they were willing to pay more for the subway extension, likely because they thought it was worth it. Only when some facts were explained, such as fewer stops and a LOT more money, did they re-examine its worth and come to new conclusions.

    At least, that was my take-away.

    Steve: Yes … what people think is “worth it” varies depending on what they believe they are getting. Do you want a pony for free? Do you want a pony for $100? Do you want a pony that you will have to take care of, love and feed at your own expense (insert value here) for 20 years?

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  4. Brandon claims

    “Thank you Mayor Ford – you did it. The Scarborough line that will go into the North Eastern part of Scarborough (Sheppard/McCowan).”

    Even from out here in Long Branch, I know that Sheppard and McCowan isn’t northeast Scarborough. Malvern and Morningside will remain just as far from rapid transit after this extension as they are today. Unless, of course, some LRT lines are built.

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  5. What a sad state affairs that we have supposedly transit supporters actually trying to figure out what could happen to derail a subway extension plan, just because it does not follow what they want built.

    We should all be rejoicing that our transit is being expanded. What we should be rejoicing in even more, is that Toronto’s outstanding planning of the last 60 years has left us with a metropolitan area where expanding rapid transit to the suburbs is actually viable and will be well used.

    Seriously this whole debate is getting old, and this whole obsession with LRT is getting weird, when people are hoping a transit project won’t get built.

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  6. It’s disappointment in some big ways, but it ain’t so over, and there was also a good and passionate debate on transit, as Cnclr Perks noted.

    I couldn’t really stand being around for the whole thing, but in the time that I was down there, only Cnclr Mihevc noted the annual extra cost of c. 8-12M for Sheppard subway ops; and if we could tease out Spadina leg costs, what would they be?

    Not that actual costs and numbers seem to matter to these fiscal conservatives. Is the point to bankrupt the whole system in order to fix it?

    I’m exceedingly disappointed in Councillor Bailao voting for this morass; about the only core councillor to do so. Hmm, is there any perk incoming for this?

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  7. This is not fair for Etobicoke. Why does Scarborough get a subway and not Etobicoke? Are Etobicoke citizens second class? Where is our Mayor Ford? We need a subway asap from Kipling to the Airport, and an LRT north-south on Royal York-Weston.

    Compare Scarborough to Etobicoke is size & the amount of transit infrastructure Etobicoke already has. You know the projects Scarborough helped pay for. Scarborough is a much large land mass than Etobicoke. I get the feeling from some of you know nothing about Scarborough and could care less too.

    Steve: Etobicoke has precisely four subway stations: Kipling, Islington, Royal York and Old Mill. Stop feeling so hard done by. Their taxpayers helped pay for your subway, and the old city’s taxpayers helped build the infrastructure — sewers, roads, water — that allowed Scarborough to grow to the density it is today.

    Do you only get upset when someone from Scarborough requests fairness & equality?

    Yet as you pointed out Etobicoke already has 4 subways stations going to the heart of their City. And in a much smaller area of Toronto than Scarborough. I’m tired of everyone who has a subway system in their City Center complaining about having to pay for Scarborough’s. It’s utter nonsense. We all payed for each other sewers & roads so that is an invalid point. Just pay for it and let’s move forward. It’ll be good for all of Toronto & maybe one day you people in the West and Center would come visit.

    Steve: For all its problems, the RT has been running for three decades into the heart of Scarborough. It may have been the wrong technology, but it certainly wasn’t nothing.

    My comment about who paid for what came directly from Glenn De Baeremaeker’s remarks about how Scarborough paid its share for all of the subways. Well, no, it didn’t because Scarborough was still mainly full of pastures and orchards when the Yonge subway was built and paid for from Eglinton to Union by the City and the TTC. Even when the original BD line from Woodbine to Keele was built, Scarborough’s tax base was nowhere near that of today, and its contribution through Metro would not have been high.

    Meanwhile, one of the reasons Metro was formed was to use the strong tax base from the old city, particular from downtown, to fund expansion of utilities that the suburbs could not afford to build on their own.

    I don’t want to get into a who-paid-for-what battle, but it’s important to call out a politician when they so blatantly misrepresent how the city has evolved.

    And please stop acting as if you’re the poor cousin nobody wants to acknowledge or visit. If you want to “move forward”, start acting like a mature city, not a whining brat.

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  8. Just wanted to say that I had professed the benefits of a BD extension in the comments of one your posts long past. So I should be happy, but I’m rather disgusted at how we got here. Politics is truly a profession that draws from the amateur ranks.

    Steve: There have always been benefits of a BD extension, and the question is whether these benefits are worth devoting the resources to this one line in the larger context of transit and other needs in the city. When it became a matter of wounded pride, it stopped being a rational discussion.

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  9. Yes, you are right Steve.

    I am still sure though that there are people out there in the megacity suburbs that still support the idea of more light rail in their communities. I think the fight against the LRTs by the Fords and their supporters is just a fear reaction to the change that could come with it. I know that we can all fear change, I just with there was some way to convince more of the residents in the affected areas what wonderful things the light rail would bring, especially the greatly improved social atmosphere from having more urbane downtown style development and the potential for new street life : ). I am sure there are still many other routes that could be used for future potential light rail lines with more tree lined grand avenues, perhaps roads like Lawrence, Isglinton, Kipling, Kennedy, Steeles, and so on, the possibilities are surely endless…

    ~ Jordan

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  10. I’m kinda stubbornly rooted to my 1960’s and 1970’s education. At that time I was taught that we lived in a Representative Democracy. The people we vote for to represent us do all the research and vote for what they really believe we need. It shouldn’t really matter if a pollster or populist politician represented that the “ponies” are free or if they need to be looked after for 20 years and fed or how people responded to that propaganda. Our politicians should research the true costs and vote in our best interests. If we do not believe that a politician – on a broad basis – represented our best interests we would get rid of him or her.

    What this model was not supposed to include was a politician who instead of doing the research, relies on instant polls of his/her constituents, Even worse, these polls are not actually accurate, but based on the people who are motivated (on their own or by a group) to write in by e-mail or even worse say “Stay the Course” in a friendly located Tim Hortons.

    Sadly, today we seem to have the latter as the norm. I am not all that old to find myself marginalised by politicians. I just don’t understand why they don’t have the courage of their convictions to do what is right (in their view) and be judged by the result. I suppose these populists are eventually judged, but they make more stupid populist promises to get re-elected.

    As a social democrat I despair about who to support. My local councillor is a star and I will vote for him again. But as for the NDP, a silly populist party, I tell them that when Ontario or Canada once again has a social democratic party I will vote for it. In the meantime I may hold my nose and vote…..

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  11. It will be interesting to see what happens once the EA gets underway and as the design is refined. Will Council still be as enthusiastic and confident about a subway, and as willing to approve tax increases, as details emerge? In particular, regarding the McCowan alignment: the EA may well identify an additional station east of Kennedy, and hopefully it will spur councillors and the public into realizing that the currently proposed Scarborough Centre station is not really in Scarborough Centre.

    Mike says transit advocates should be thrilled that we are getting an extension. Yes, we may be getting a one-stop extension to Sheppard, but we already had that with the previous agreement. The only things that are new: the transfer at Kennedy is removed instead of merely improved from today; the other stations become less convenient (some are being removed — potentially including Scarborough Centre station, to be replaced by a new McCowan station); and the potential for extensions into deeper Scarborough is eliminated. Oh, and the extra $1B that eats up financial and political capital that could have been expended either on higher-priority projects (DRL) or on providing a wider network.

    There may be criticisms of Andy Byford in this debate, but one thing that I did like was that he has identified that the Scarborough subway extension is not the top priority in terms of transit need — that belongs to the DRL. The only reason that we have been having this conversation is because the SRT is on its last legs. The priority is not related to expansion, or at least is only tangentially related — it is primarily a debate about the best way to replace a piece of infrastructure that is close to failing and that is obsolete technology that is not easily replaced.

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  12. “Seriously this whole debate is getting old, and this whole obsession with LRT is getting weird, when people are hoping a transit project won’t get built.”

    We’re hoping money won’t be wasted on an overpriced project. I am in favour of building lots of transit, not a little bit. Right now, a small amount of transit is proposed to be built in Scarborough. If the subway extension is cancelled and replaced with re-instating the SRT and Kingston/Morningside LRTs, then more transit will be built than is currently planned, and if this is done soon, little additional money will be wasted.

    The obsession is not with LRT. If anything, the obsession in this debate is with subways, and with studiously avoiding learning what the LRT lines would really be like, what the expected ridership compared to the maxima for the various modes, and how much transit could be built with the same money.

    You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

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  13. Peter Strazdins said:

    “This is not fair for Etobicoke. Why does Scarborough get a subway and not Etobicoke? Are Etobicoke citizens second class? Where is our Mayor Ford? We need a subway asap from Kipling to the Airport, and an LRT north-south on Royal York-Weston.”

    Perhaps that was a tongue-in-cheek comment that does not need response.

    But in any case, Etobicoke is naturally in a better situation than Scarborough. Only 4 subway stations are located in Etobicoke, but once the Spadina subway extension opens, almost every resident of Etobicoke will be within 8 km or less from a subway station, and have a reasonable bus access to it.

    For the north-eastern Scarborough, today this number is about 11 km on a straight line, but more like 15 – 16 km by bus, or bus + RT. With the new Scarborough subway, the maximum travel distance to a subway station will be down to about 8 km, as in Etobicoke now.

    A north-south LRT along one of the western arterials (Royal York, Islington, or Kipling) is a good idea. However, at first I would extend the Eglinton line to the airport, that would serve Etobicoke as well.

    Steve: On a similar note, the Don Mills line would put a lot of Scarborough much closer to a north-south route into the core and perform the function for the eastern 416 now provided by the Spadina line for the western side.

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  14. Justin Bernard said:

    “It looks like the Sheppard East and Finch LRT construction could be bumped up. I am most likely getting ahead of myself, and this is about the LRT, but I am interested in if the LRT is completed in 2020/2021, how is the subway construction at McCowan/Sheppard going to impact the operation of the line? There is going to be a big hole in the intersection for years.”

    Because of that, perhaps Finch West LRT should be at the forefront, and Sheppard East LRT second in line.

    On the other hand, I remember the Yonge/Sheppard intersection during the Sheppard subway construction. Yonge was not closed for the traffic. They closed access to Sheppard West, and rerouted Yonge traffic around the construction site.

    Dependent on the exact location of the McCowan subway station, they may be able to reserve the space for construction site, and route the light rail line around it, so it does not get disrupted a couple of years later when the subway construction starts.

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  15. Michael said:

    We should all be rejoicing that our transit is being expanded.

    We did when the money was originally put forward to finish multiple lines before the end of this decade about 5 years ago with the first one being opened this year. Now we are wondering if any more construction will start this decade and whether the existing projects will get killed off in the coming years; including Eglinton. Remind us again why we should be rejoicing over this?

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  16. If you want to “move forward”, start acting like a mature city, not a whining brat.

    My point exactly. The majority of the whining is not from Scarborough posters here. And I only rebut some of the whining.

    Steve: You should have heard the Council debate. Scarborough was ill-served by its representatives who may have “won” the subway fight, but did serious and lasting damage in the process. How many more times will they attempt to blackmail the rest of the city into feeling sorry for poor Scarborough?

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  17. Brent said

    In particular, regarding the McCowan alignment: the EA may well identify an additional station east of Kennedy, and hopefully it will spur councillors and the public into realizing that the currently proposed Scarborough Centre station is not really in Scarborough Centre.

    My response:

    The location of the city-planned “Scarborough Centre Station” on McCowan Rd is better suited to serve the east side of McCowan. The east side of McCowan is a large tract of land that is planned for high density. Therefore, the new Scarborough Centre station will serve the entire area better since it will be mid-point between the mall to the west and the future, high density development to the east.

    Please note that the Don Mills Subway Station at Fairview Mall is located at the northeast corner of Don Mills and Sheppard, in the mall’s parking lot. In order to get to the mall, you need to walk through the parking garage at ground level. Most people who use this station are not shopping at the mall.

    Michael Greason said:

    Sadly, today we seem to have the latter as the norm. I am not all that old to find myself marginalised by politicians. I just don’t understand why they don’t have the courage of their convictions to do what is right (in their view) and be judged by the result. I suppose these populists are eventually judged, but they make more stupid populist promises to get re-elected.

    My response:

    We all know that the electorate is massively uninformed, and that only a minority of people vote. However, this is the reality of a democracy. As Winston Churchill said, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried”.

    What is the alternative? We are not a communist country with a central government that does the research and then takes whatever course it sees fit.

    I’d rather live in this flawed democracy where good, bad and ugly decisions are made every day, if that is the price of freedom. If in our ignorance we elect a politician to do as we ask, then we’ll get what we want, but not what we need. C’est la vie.

    Steve: I agree with the spirit of your final paragraph. Having said that, what appalls me is the vitriolic hatred for the works of the Miller regime who were, like Ford and his followers, elected by that same “flawed democracy”. They were elected not just by “downtown”, but city-wide

    Transit City was not a mistake, it was an honest attempt to deal with the widespread needs for transportation across Toronto in an era when spending on the scale shown by the Scarborough Subway project was unimaginable. Remember that when it was announced, the $6-billion price tag, itself likely a low-balled estimate, was thought to be an outrageous amount of money for the city to consider. Now we face one project at over $2-billion before escalation and debt service costs are factored in.

    We are not out of the woods on transit financing by a long shot. The Scarborough project could be a great vision for the future, or it could be a monumental folly that precludes much else.

    Already there are signs that a “relief” line, whatever it may be called, will fall victim to crass political calculus (it’s for “downtown” and therefore “bad”) and our ability to serve growing demand will be strangled. Toronto tried that before when it opted for suburban expansion over the an earlier version of the DRL in the vain hope that development would go to suburban nodes and downtown would be stabilized. A noble idea, but the development industry, not noted for its communist planning principles, thought otherwise.

    This whole debate — pitting “me” against “you” rather than thinking of the city as “us” — is the sort of thing one project at a time decisions bring. Real vision, really looking at what a network of lines would provide (be they BRT, LRT, subway, commuter rail) is lost and a decade or two in the future, we look back wondering why so little was done.

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  18. I’m trying to understand something here about all this.

    We keep hearing that people who don’t live in Scarborough should not be talking about this and should let people from Scarborough tell it like it is.

    And then many of these same people talk about transit in my ballywick (Willowdale), they act all authoritative, even though it seems their assumptions are based on seeing condos go up while driving by on the way to IKEA.

    When are people going to accept that building a transit network requires listening to local knowledge while adding an understanding of the system as a whole, from both an operational and a fiscal perspective?

    Or is that no longer an acceptable way to run a city?

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  19. OgtheDim said:

    I’m trying to understand something here about all this.

    We keep hearing that people who don’t live in Scarborough should not be talking about this and should let people from Scarborough tell it like it is.

    [remainder of quote snipped]

    I completely understand all areas of Toronto have been underserved by the transit planners over the last 40 years & it’s not just a Scarborough issue.

    But throwing a blanket LRT accross Scarborough was lazy planning. It was not even fully funded & stops were eroding quickly before ground was even broken. Not to mention how bad traffic already is on Eglinton/Sheppard Ave in the Western portion of Scarborough. Just build the subway as we have no faith in the proposals past and present.

    We can have a joint discussion once the heart of Scaroborough is integrated on the same grid as the rest of North York, Etobicoke & Metro.

    Steve: No it was not lazy planning, and the loss of stops came thanks to Queen’s Park after Metrolinx took control of the projects away from Toronto. The LRT network was to extend across the city eventually, not just Scarborough, and it was to serve areas that will never ever see a subway line.

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  20. The Star reported:

    If Mayor Rob Ford and the Ontario Liberals both win elections next year, [Steve Munro] fears for the Sheppard and Finch LRTs.

    Was that a misquote? Didn’t you mean the Hudak Conservatives rather than the Ontario Liberals?

    Steve: If the Tories win, it doesn’t matter who is in the Mayor’s office, Queen’s Park will abandon transit and may even try to strip the TTC away from the City of Toronto. If Ford wins, he will bully his way to forcing a Liberal government to give him what he wants, and they will roll over. That was not a misquote.

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  21. Steve: For the benefit of readers, the Star article referred to in this comment is here. It is not linked from my article.

    The Star article I think was done in poor taste and without true facts. Once again it only showed the LRT side, and Gord Perks is far from a transit expert at all.

    I can tell you first hand a transfer at Kennedy Station does not take 40 seconds plus subway wait time. It takes vastly longer than that.

    Steve: I made that transfer connection for eight years and am well aware that it takes longer, especially if you don’t happen to be in exactly the right place on the train to get quickly to the best escalator (or if that escalator is not working). I particularly remember the joy of navigating that station while recovering from knee surgery.

    All that said, the new LRT proposal was completely different from the SRT arrangement as I have written here many, many times. You may have read one or two of them. The LRT loop would be one level above the subway, just under the bus loop, and passengers would walk/ride up/down a short distance from the LRT to the subway platform. The arrangement would be roughly like that at Spadina Station for the streetcars, but bigger.

    That existing connection is used over and over again to bludgeon the LRT proposal, and this is an outright misrepresentation by LRT opponents.

    By the way, the 40 second figure was from Metrolinx, not from Gord Perks. Also, before he was a Councillor, Perks was a long-time campaigner for a variety of environmental issues including transit.

    This debate is still missing a question that has never been properly answered.

    Question: Steve and other LRT supporters have never said they would or could live in Scarborough with an LRT network, car free. This question has always been skirted around. So I would like to hear this question answered by Steve and others. It does not matter if you like living in your part of Toronto. If you had to, would you choose to live a car free life in Scarborough, if it had the LRT lines you want so badly built.

    If you cannot with full conscience say that you could live in car free in Scarborough with such a network, then you have to question your support for these lines.

    Steve: Your question is wrong because you do not also ask whether I would choose to live car-free in Scarborough with the Scarborough subway. It all depends on where. If I had a condo at STC or a house either close to a subway station or on a frequent bus route, I would consider it, although the real issue would be the travel time into the core where almost everything I do is located. Other considerations would be whether I could walk to do my shopping. A car-free life involves the small local trips, not just the longer ones by transit.

    If I didn’t live near the rapid transit network, regardless of mode, I would be foolish to try a car-free existence. A subway line is no good to me if it isn’t easy to get to. One can see similar problems in the old city where even though there might be a transit route on the map and streetcar track to prove it, the service is so badly managed that it has headways much worse than on many “suburban” bus routes. This is not a function of the technology, but of how the TTC looks after (or abdicates) service quality. People on the Dufferin bus have the same complaints as people on the Queen car.

    If we build an LRT network, it would be essential to run frequent service just as we do on the subway. Waiting time is an important factor in transit’s attractiveness, and the higher speed of LRT could be completely outweighed by longer walks to stations and longer waits for trains to show up. If we take a standard TTC attitude to surface routes and run barely enough service to handle the demand, then people might well ask why we spent so much money. Imagine if the Sheppard subway had one train on it every 20 minutes during the evening. People love the subway because they get vastly better service as a matter of policy whether demand warrants it or not. If we matched service to demand, people would not be happy, and subways would not be as popular especially for off-peak travel.

    If we build an LRT network, more of the city will be close to a station, and we will be able to afford a much more extensive network than one subway line. This would increase the portion of Scarborough where a car-free existence might be possible.

    There has been a lot of talk lately about whether Scarborough is a “suburb” or an “urban area”, dare I say “city”. If you cannot live the routine elements of your life in about a 15-minute radius on foot, then “urban” is not the word I would use, and I certainly would not consider living there car-free. We have places like that in the heart of the city such as parts of Rosedale, but people certainly are not forced to live there.

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  22. Joe M said:

    But throwing a blanket LRT across Scarborough was lazy planning.

    You know, it’s fascinating listening to someone speaking on behalf of all of Scarborough about how Transit City was “lazy planning” yet they never acknowledge the transit needs of east or south Scarborough.

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  23. Steve, correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think the 3B include extra trains and a new yard? If that’s the case, half the trains will need to be short turned at Kennedy. Therefore, the only real advantage of subway over LRT, an elimination of a transfer, is lost for half of the through trips. I can already see people blocking the platform at Bloor/Yonge to skip the train only going to Kennedy and all the mayhem it will create.

    On a positive side, we have an emerging consensus that we will have to pay out of our own pockets if we want better transit. The public starts to understand that the private sector, casinos or senior governments just won’t do it. And there is only as much “gravy” as you cut. The next step is convincing the “taxpayers” that there are other ways to move people around than “subways, subways, subways”.

    If only Sheppard LRT could open this year and prove the critics that it’s not a streetcar…

    Sigh

    Steve: There is provision for a yard and trains in the budget, but as I have already shown here, the resulting fleet size implies that only half of the service will run through to Sheppard. I am waiting to see the TTC’s 2014 capital budget books to determine what the fleet plan looks like and what sort of service the TTC has planned for the next decade.

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  24. Steve and other LRT supporters have never said they would or could live in Scarborough with an LRT network, car free. This question has always been skirted around. So I would like to hear this question answered by Steve and others. It does not matter if you like living in your part of Toronto. If you had to, would you choose to live a car free life in Scarborough, if it had the LRT lines you want so badly built. If you cannot with full conscience say that you could live in car free in Scarborough with such a network, then you have to question your support for these lines.

    I’ll be waiting for the day the Sheppard-Danforth loop is completed and all of Scarborough (oh and North York too) goes car-free!

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  25. New here, and I will not pretend to have the knowledge or expertise of most contributors. That being said…

    Arguments can be made both for a subway extension in Scarborough or for a LRT network that would include modernizing the SLRT. Subway can carry more people on one line. It’s drawback is cost, including costs when it is underused (the Shepard subway line outside of rush hour is a prime example). A LRT network reaches more areas and more people, but it can only function well if the technology is right (think the current SLRT as an example of bad technology), if service frquency is constant (like with the subway) and – most importantly, if it’s either separated from vehicular traffic or has signal priority.

    If those conditions are met, I think that a LRT network is the best of two good options for Scarborough. Subway is the best option on the surface (pun intended), especially for those who want as few transfers as possible. But it keeps rapid transit out of vast chunks of Scarborough that would be covered by a LRT network.

    Mind you, I have no problem with the decision to go with a subway. I have a serious problem, however, with the ignorance and downright insulting tone displayed by some of the supporters of the subway expansion. Led by Mayor Ford, we have witnessed a parade of non-sense about LRT. We’re being told it’s a streetcar (like a Lada was a Mercedes-Benz, I gather), that world-class cities don’t have LRTs (repeated even after lists of cities with LRTs are produced), that Toronto is too cold for LRTs (but somehow, Edmonton, Minneapolis and Irkurst are not too cold for LTR or streetcars).

    And when that fails… The LRT network becomes an attempt to treat Scarborough residents as second-class citizens, because, less we forget, subways are not just a mode of transportation, it’s something that is DESERVED. And anyone who dares supporting LRTs is a downtowner, an elitist, who hates Scarborough, etc., etc., etc.

    And I thought the merits of a Scarborough extension to the subway would be self-evident (sarcasm fully intended here).

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  26. @Michael: When I lived in Halifax I seldom if ever needed a car since I could walk to school/work within 10-20 minutes, and lived within 5-10 minutes of several grocery stores, my bank, two Shoppers and a Lawtons, the edge of downtown, parks, libraries, YMCA/gyms, and just about anything else I needed. When I used my car it was to drive to the somewhat more distant mall (getting there by bus was adequate) or to the airport or the like.

    But I didn’t really need a car and I didn’t need to take the bus much either when I didn’t have one. Why? Because peninsular Halifax is compact, easily walkable, and was never designed with cars in mind (hence some of the weird streets). Transit of varying modalities is not irrelevant to one’s being able to live a car-free existence, but it is far less important than the built form of the city.

    In contrast, in a city like St John’s – which you might think would be fairly walkable – traffic is something of a nightmare since the older residential areas still consist mostly of rowhouses without even many midrise condos/apartments, and also without much retail/service development. Meanwhile, newer suburbs have made the car king here, which maybe isn’t that surprising given the layout of other cities where petro-dollars are driving development.

    As for Scarborough and the other inner suburbs, they are not oriented toward pedestrians in the slightest, as evidenced by clusters of strip malls and shopping primarily at major intersections. In some areas it might take a half hour to walk to a grocery store, if you’re lucky, and you must pass umpteen single-family homes, older apartments, and – here and there – shiny glass condo towers.

    One final problem I’ve noticed in these debates is the conflation of “transit-oriented development” or “density” with the construction of high-rise condos. Building a few expensive condos across from Bayview Village or next to the Leslie/Sheppard Ikea does not equate to building a walkable neighbourhood, and perhaps obscures the fact that north of Sheppard you’ll scarce find anything but single-family detached houses. For my part, I don’t like high-rise condos, and I feel that they depersonalize neighbourhoods while creating wind tunnels and casting shadows on the pedestrians below. There’s nothing wrong with density, but it needn’t come in high-rises.

    I’m fairly sure most people living in Scarborough in detached houses (or even townhouses!) don’t want to see a 30-storey condo on every block.

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  27. Steve said:

    If the Tories win, it doesn’t matter who is in the Mayor’s office, Queen’s Park will abandon transit and may even try to strip the TTC away from the City of Toronto. If Ford wins, he will bully his way to forcing a Liberal government to give him what he wants, and they will roll over.

    I agree on one point, but have to disagree on two others.

    If provincial Tories win, yes they will halt all transit expansion plans and relegate them to indefinite future.

    No they will not take ownership of the TTC. Paying the operational subsidy to TTC or any other transit system is the last thing they want.

    Steve: Hudak has already talked about this, and it is something his pal Rob Ford wants. Service will crumble as Toronto is reduced to routes that can only “pay their way”.

    If Liberals stay in power provincially but Ford is re-elected as City mayor, I doubt that he will be able to stop LRT. This time, he cannot unilaterally cancel anything, and will have to ask for a Council vote. The Council will not agree to abandon Finch or Sheppard LRT without a replacement. Subways in those corridors are totally unfeasible at this time, and the debate will inevitably fall back to confirming LRT.

    Steve: Much depends on who rides into office on the Ford’s coat-tails and whether Council has a working majority opposed to Ford’s plans who cannot be bought off, one vote at a time to support Ford’s agenda. I am not hopeful given the behaviour of “moderate” councillors like Bailao and Colle.

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  28. Michael Forest says

    “For the north-eastern Scarborough, today this number is about 11 km on a straight line, but more like 15 – 16 km by bus, or bus + RT. With the new Scarborough subway, the maximum travel distance to a subway station will be down to about 8 km, as in Etobicoke now.”

    This is sophistry.

    The 15-16 km “by bus or bus + RT” is of course to Kennedy station. I presume that Scarboroughites are generally not subway geeks fascinated by fonts and tiles, but intend to go somewhere west on the Bloor Danforth. The subway does not teleport or levitate (despite UTDC’s attempts back in the day). So the new “8 km” is to a subway station that is still a goodly way from Kennedy station which is the subject of the “15-16 km” distance.

    It’s about 13 minutes to take the subway from Eglinton to Sheppard-Yonge station; 12 minutes from Eglinton West to Downsview. So those Scarboroughites who presently are 16 km away by bus and RT from Kennedy station will then be maybe 8 km + a 10-13 minute subway ride away from Kennedy station. And if it’s only every other train going that far, there will probably be an average 3-5 minute wait for that train. (The RT right now is a 10 minute trip from STC to Kennedy.)

    Of course if the only purpose is to go to a subway station and gawk at the miracles heretofore denied Scarborough residents, then yes indeed the opportunity to do so will be seven or eight kilometres closer. But to go somewhere downtown, “to the heart of the city” as some people here say, well that won’t be a heck of a lot quicker, if any, than today.

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  29. Steve:

    Already there are signs that a “relief” line, whatever it may be called, will fall victim to crass political calculus (it’s for “downtown” and therefore “bad”) and our ability to serve growing demand will be strangled.

    Perhaps we need a politician based in a place other than Don Mills (maybe York South-Weston) to advocate for a completely different Don Mills line that runs from Don Mills & Eglinton to the Exhibition.

    Michael:

    I can tell you first hand a transfer at Kennedy Station does not take 40 seconds plus subway wait time. It takes vastly longer than that.

    I thought that 40 seconds was referring to the future “1 level up” SLRT rather than the existing “3 levels up” SRT. But a little confusion can’t hurt, can it?

    Cheers, Moaz

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  30. @Ed: Why what I said is “sophistry”? The point of my post was that Scarborough is more in a need of the subway extension than Etobicoke. I do not claim that the subway erases the geographical remoteness of the north-eastern Scarborough from the rest of the city.

    The subway extension will improve the situation somewhat. But if you feel that even that extension does not provide a fast enough link from Scarborough to downtown, then you should campaign for a much better GO service and the TTC / GO fare integration.

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  31. Michael Forest said:

    The subway extension will improve the situation somewhat. But if you feel that even that extension does not provide a fast enough link from Scarborough to downtown, then you should campaign for a much better GO service and the TTC / GO fare integration.

    I hope you are suggesting that Ed does that to propose an alternative to the subway extension rather than in addition to it. Otherwise, I’m going to have to ask if we have now reached the point where we have abandoned transit planning for the mantra “just spend more money”. I mean, with all the emphasis on time saved by the subway extension, shouldn’t we have skipped the subway and gone straight to better GO service and TTC / GO fare integration while realigning local service to support this?

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  32. So why was there not an expert panel convened to report on the best options for the RT corridor? As was done with Sheppard.

    I’m assuming that Stintz knew she would not like their findings.

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  33. Michael, the sophistry is when you compare distances to subway stations without context. Being close to a subway station is not a good in itself.

    The fact that you bring up improved GO service shows the weakness of the “closer subway station is so much better” position. Compared with the current SRT or proposed LRT replacement, the subway costs an awful lot for the incremental benefit it brings (and may bring disbenefits, depending on the station locations).

    I live a ten-minute walk from half-hour GO service, and a couple of buses that run to Kipling station. However, I usually take the Queen car to downtown. I really wish the West Waterfront LRT hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth.

    (For those people who point to condos going up along Sheppard, please come down to Park Lawn and Lake Shore and point to the subway that’s causing condos to sprout up there. Traffic is terrible around there, and transit consists of a bus to Old Mill station, some streetcars wandering by, and a wasteful and largely irrelevant peak hours premium fare express bus.)

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  34. @Ed

    You keep forgetting what having a subway is about. Never mind how one gets to subway, and where one goes once on the subway. The point is having a subway. Which begs the question you asked – how did we get all those condos around Lakeshore and Park Lawn, considering there is no subway.

    One a more serious note, a LRT or even a streetcar line on Lakeshore from downtown to Park Lawn is indeed sorely needed to meet the needs of south Etobicoke. I have my doubts on whether Lakeshore is wide enough to handle a full-fledged LRT west of Park Lawn, but you know the area better than I do.

    Steve: There is a section west of Park Lawn that was the subject of a lot of discussion during the meetings about the proposed LRT line. It is just narrow enough that fitting in the right-of-way and islands would not fit easily. Another major issue is the route from High Park through Parkdale to Dufferin. The TTC has a cockamamie plan to branch off at Ronces as if the intersection isn’t complicated enough already. David Miller preferred a route turning south at Howard Road from the Queensway to a new right-of-way along Lake Shore that would serve the western waterfront parks. Another even less “LRT” scheme would take the car via King and Dufferin as a streetcar. There are times I really wonder if the TTC wasn’t trying to sabotage the project.

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  35. Ed said:

    For those people who point to condos going up along Sheppard, please come down to Park Lawn and Lake Shore and point to the subway that’s causing condos to sprout up there. Traffic is terrible around there, and transit consists of a bus to Old Mill station, some streetcars wandering by, and a wasteful and largely irrelevant peak hours premium fare express bus.

    Moaz: I know the Queensway 80 bus runs from Keele Station to Sherway via Parkside, Lakeshore and Queensway, but I often wonder why there isn’t a direct bus connection between Keele Station, Humber Bay Shores and Mimico.

    Parkside Dr and Keele Station would be easier to access than the alternatives … Roncesvalles (Dundas West Station) or Park Lawn/Prince Edward (Old Mill)

    Pave the streetcar tunnel south of the Humber loop to allow buses to use the tunnel to access Lakeshore and avoid the busy Queensway-Park Lawn intersection with its >90° turns. Even if the buses only ran from Queensway to Lakeshore (and stayed on Lakeshore on the return to Keele Station), it would probably be an improvement on the streetcar and the current bus options.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: Something that is badly missing is origin-destination information for trips in and from the Lake Shore communities. A link to the BD subway may encounter less traffic, but what proportion of the demand would it serve? Someone headed for the business district would be dumped on the subway at precisely the wrong place (crowded already, transfer needed at St. George) and the time “saved” by going north to Bloor would be lost on the subway itself. People headed for downtown need a service that goes downtown. That could be provided with better frequency on the 508/501 combination and transit priority on King Street (although it’s never going to be speedy given the local demand and the length of the trip from Lake Shore to downtown).

    GO Transit already gets some riders in this area, but its fares are not integrated with the TTC and clearly this sort of travel is one of choice for convenience where the cost is not an issue.

    One of the biggest problems on Lake Shore, especially in the off peak, is wait time which adds an unpredictable and often substantial amount to journey times. It is astounding that the TTC would propose an LRT line serving this neighbourhood, but would not operate reliable, frequent service to make transit attractive. If people from Scarborough want an example of a neighbourhood ignored by the TTC (and by the politicians), they should visit southern Etobicoke. Oddly enough, the “Etobicoke subway” would do little to help folks down on Lake Shore. As far west as Kipling they already have the option of travelling north to the BD line, and a Sherway stop would only benefit folks on the outer edge of Long Branch.

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  36. I said:

    “This is not fair for Etobicoke. Why does Scarborough get a subway and not Etobicoke? Are Etobicoke citizens second class? Where is our Mayor Ford? We need a subway asap from Kipling to the Airport, and an LRT north-south on Royal York-Weston.”

    Michael Forest said:

    “Perhaps that was a tongue-in-cheek comment that does not need response.”

    Yes, Michael, you understood exactly! Though it provoked good debate.

    Michael Forest said:

    “A north-south LRT along one of the western arterials (Royal York, Islington, or Kipling) is a good idea. However, at first I would extend the Eglinton line to the airport, that would serve Etobicoke as well.”

    Steve:

    “On a similar note, the Don Mills line would put a lot of Scarborough much closer to a north-south route into the core and perform the function for the eastern 416 now provided by the Spadina line for the western side.”

    Agreeing with both of you gentlemen.

    Steve:

    This whole debate — pitting “me” against “you” rather than thinking of the city as “us” — is the sort of thing one project at a time decisions bring. Real vision, really looking at what a network of lines would provide (be they BRT, LRT, subway, commuter rail) is lost and a decade or two in the future, we look back wondering why so little was done.”

    Steve and others see clearly the situation, that this divide-and-conquer suburbs vs. downtown, is clearly aimed at killing the DRL. If the DRL extended all the way to connect with Eglinton-Crosstown LRT, the commuters from Scarborough going downtown would be able to transfer at Don Mills, and save a lot of time and grief trying to transfer at Yonge-Bloor. And perhaps the DRL should loop with the Sheppard subway, some other day in the future?

    Steve: Looping isn’t going to happen because Don Mills Station is physically east of the intersection. I really do get tired of people who want to build lines with a one seat ride whether it makes sense or not as in the Kipling to York U via Scarborough scheme one would get by merging some of the other loop proposals.

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  37. We all know what the western Lakeshore communities need, and it is not a slow moving streetcar/lrt, or a subway.

    What they need are express buses much like the Lakeshore Blvd express bus network serving the Lakeshore communities in Chicago.

    The Lakeshore express bus network in Chicago is so fast and attractive, that even people who live within walking distance of the red line, take the express buses.

    The current streetcar and the proposed LRT is not time competitive at all with the auto for lakeshore commuters.

    Transit use should be much higher in this corridor, but it is not, because we are not giving people want they want, which is fast and frequent transit.

    Almost everyone I know who lives in those Lakeshore communities drives, including to downtown. Because even in rush hour traffic, it beats the 501.

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  38. Steve: Looping isn’t going to happen because Don Mills Station is physically east of the intersection.

    The Don Mills subway makes so much inherent sense, one of the difficulties in my mind is figuring out where the subway should terminate, and the Don Mills LRT start.

    Eglinton is the obvious minimum, given the Crosstown, which is painfully close to being grade-separated all the way to Don Mills. Sheppard is attractive, but the Sheppard subway hardly needs any relief. I wonder if there’s enough demand to Finch, given Seneca’s presence there. I like the idea of the Don Mills subway curving east just north of Finch to terminate at Seneca, and junction with the Don Mills LRT and Finch (East) LRT at the north side of Newnham campus. It would also want GO to get 404 ramps to the terminal so it can dump its 404 buses onto the subway, rather than continue down to Union as they presently do. That is currently a great bus service, often 40 minutes from Aurora to Union, but using the Don Mills subway greatly increases the potential origin-destination pairs served purely by transit from/to York Region.

    That said, if the subway terminates further south, I’d look forward to checking out the Don Mills LRT through The Peanut.

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  39. Subway relief on the Yonge Subway Line can be provided by the following:

    1) More new subway trains (these have higher capacity)
    2) Accelerated signal upgrade program (this allows more trains to be run on the line safely)
    3) Frequent 2 way all day service on Richmond Hill GO Line, Stouffville GO Line, and Barrie GO Line along with accelerated TTC adoption of PRESTO and TTC-GO fare integration as well as moving GO train stations to better align them with the TTC (for example, moving GO stations to major streets and moving Oriole station to the Leslie subway station)

    Point 3 is particularly important. This is not to say that a Downtown Relief Line will not be needed with the adoption of these 3 suggestions but just that it will take a while to study, design, and construct a Downtown Relief Line.

    Also if the Downtown Relief Line is to compete with the Yonge line and provide substantial relief to the Yonge Line, then the Downtown Relief Line must go to Steeles or at least to Finch. Eglinton is just not north enough to make a substantial dent on the overcrowded Yonge Line. The Yonge trains get nearly full by Sheppard in the morning rush hour (seats are often already full at Finch).

    Also the Downtown Relief Line must be located half way between the Richmond Hill GO Line and Stouffville GO Line to be able to get full worth of the billions of dollars that the Downtown Relief Line will cost. The current alignment of the Downtown Relief Line is too close to the Richmond Hill GO Line and duplicates service (assuming a 2 way all day frequent service on the Richmond Hill GO Line in the near future).

    Steve: A few points here.

    The Yonge line will be running with all new trains by sometime in 2014, and the extra capacity has already been consumed by the backlog of demand.

    The new signalling system may allow somewhat closer spacing of trains, but I do not believe that the TTC can achieve the claimed improvements because there are fundamental limits to throughput at major stations (dwell time problems) and terminals (the geometry of crossovers). Some improvement is possible, but I believe this has been oversold in order to get approval for the signalling project, a necessary part of ongoing maintenance on a now 60-year old line.

    I agree that GO improvements will help for long-distance trips to the core especially with fare integration that does not penalize people unduly for using the “premium” service GO offers. I also agree that the DRL cannot stop at Danforth, although whether it would go all the way north in one build is another matter. Definitely at least to Eglinton to intercept trips that now go west to Yonge either on buses or via the Danforth subway. How much further north as subway (versus as an LRT) is a separate debate, but I think we are generally on the same page here.

    I don’t understand your reference to alignments relative to GO. Where the GO train travels is immaterial until it actually stops for passengers. The south end of the DRL is likely to serve some local demands in Riverdale/Leslieville and possibly the east side of downtown, but neither of these is in GO territory. We are already agreed that further north, the line would follow Don Mills and so that part of the route (the one where there actually are “competing” GO stations) is nailed down.

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  40. Mr Ross:

    “Eglinton is the obvious minimum, given the Crosstown, which is painfully close to being grade-separated all the way to Don Mills.”

    Can you provide a reference for that? The people at Leslie will never let go of a Leslie stop even if doing so only means a 5 minute walk and Metrolinx will never agree to bury the Leslie station as it would cost at least $60 million dollars and as much as $100 million dollars and the ridership at Leslie is expected to be low.

    I live 15 min away from a subway stop in Downtown and I have no problem with walking to it (both morning and evening) rather than wait for a streetcar (if I see a streetcar, then I am only too happy to hop on one as I love streetcars but I don’t waste time waiting for one). I consider my walking useful exercise. Metrolinx wanted to bury the line to east of DVP but people wanted a stop at Ferrand even though it is a 2 min walk away from the underground Don Mills station. I wonder what would have happened if every community wanted a stop (I suppose that that would have meant a service barely faster than walking).

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