Where Is The Centre of Scarborough?

Everyone knows that the Scarborough Subway will run east from Kennedy Station, veer north at Danforth Road, and then go straight up McCowan to Sheppard. Right?

At Toronto’s Executive Committee today (Jan. 22), a major item of discussion was the study plan for SmartTrack. As previously reported, this will include a review of the effect of SmartTrack and the companion Metrolinx RER plans on other projects including the Yonge Relief Study and the Scarborough Subway.

As things turn out, there is now a worry that SmartTrack will draw so much riding from the nearby subway line that it will no longer be viable. Whatever can we do?

The answer, believe it or not, is to extend the study area further east looking for a new home for the subway far enough from SmartTrack that the subway has a chance of surviving on its own. Markham Road, 1.7km further east, could raise the attractiveness of the subway to some parts of Scarborough, but it would also move the line well away from Scarborough Town Centre and development plans for the lands around STC.

With an extra roughly 2km of line to reach Markham Road, the project may never reach across the 401 to Sheppard Avenue unless a very generous angel adds to the City’s share of the project cost.

Does this make sense? Yet another route would be included in the subway study in the hope that it will eke out enough ridership if it lies further east. What does this say about any claims the McCowan route is best because of the areas it serves?

This is what passes for planning in Scarborough, and it shows that the subway advocates are far from certain that their project has lasting, solid support.