Where Might The Scarborough Subway Go?

The City of Toronto will hold its first public consultations on the proposed Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) starting on the coming weekend:

Date: Saturday, January 31, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Jean Vanier Catholic
Secondary School, 959 Midland
Avenue, Scarborough

Date: Monday, February 2, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Scarborough Civic
Centre, 150 Borough Drive,
Scarborough

The primary function of initial meetings such as these is to make sure that what the staff proposes to do actually meets public expectations. In the old days of traditional Environmental Assessments, this was the most tedious part — establishing the Terms of Reference — in effect a study to define a study. That’s no longer part of the official scheme, but some prep work is required to validate the work plan. For the SSE, this is complicated by the desire to get everything done quickly and in parallel with other related studies.

When the SSE was approved by Council as an alternative to the LRT plan then on the table (and still, officially, the signed deal with Queen’s Park), the subway was the only game in town. Talk of significant improvements to GO Transit service in Markham, let alone frequent “SmartTrack” service at TTC fares in the Stouffville GO corridor, had not yet been added to the conversation.

In some ways, the study now getting underway reflects that isolated view of the project — so typical of much rapid transit planning — in that the focus is on one project. However, a parallel study by Metrolinx, the City and TTC will review a wider range of options including how the presence of GO corridor services might affect demand and travel patterns for the SSE. (See Planning for SmartTrack) Necessarily these studies will interact because the selection of a route and stations for the SSE will interact with plans for other rapid transit services.

SSERapidTransitNetwork

This map shows the area covered by various studies including the GO network, SmartTrack, one of several possible versions of the Relief Line, even an extension of the Finch LRT southwest to the airport. Long-dormant Transit City LRT and BRT proposals are also shown, among other things from various wish lists.

A recent change in the scope of the SSE study has been to widen the study area eastward to Markham Road.

SSEStudyArea

The purpose of this expansion is to allow the inclusion of potential subway corridors further east of the SmartTrack/GO corridor to discover how or if this might affect riding projections. When the subway was proposed, its projected demand stood much higher than the numbers previously cited for an LRT line. The reason for this, as it turned out, was that the demand model included many would-be riders from Markham who were funnelled into the north end of the new subway for want of any competing service. With GO/RER and SmartTrack, the network has changed a lot, and a subway line close to the GO corridor might not be such a good idea.

A flaw in this thinking is that if the “extra” riders come from the north, not from the east, then it does not really matter where the subway is located because it will only carry the “local” riders originating in Scarborough, not those from Markham.

In any event, there are now many, many possible “corridors” for the SSE on the table for preliminary comments by the public. All of them must address the need to link Kennedy Station, the Town Centre and Sheppard Avenue.

SSECorridorOptions

  • The McCowan corridor — east from Kennedy Station via Eglinton, northeast on Danforth Road, north on McCowan to Sheppard — is the route approved by Council.
  • The SRT1 corridor is the “Glen Murray” route touted by the former Transportation Minister as his preferred alternative. This would follow the existing SRT line to Scarborough Town Centre and terminate there.
  • Several options turn north on Midland taking various routes to the north and east. The common purpose of this group is to avoid the need to re-orient Kennedy Station to point north rather than east.
    • One option (SRT2) swings back west into the SRT corridor north of Eglinton.
    • One option (M1) continues straight up Midland to the existing SRT corridor and thence eastward.
    • One option (probably M2 although this may be a labelling error on the map) follows Midland to the Hydro corridor south of Lawrence, then turns northeast following this over to McCowan where it joins the McCowan alignment.
  • All of the options that use the SRT east-west corridor through the Town Centre have an option for extension to the east and north with two possible routes to Sheppard Avenue, one via Markham Road, and the other via the alignment originally proposed for the LRT line.
  • A Brimley option would run north from Eglinton, but would not use the existing SRT route through the Town Centre. Instead it would pass through STC diagonally to meet up with the McCowan route.
  • Routes via Bellamy or Markham Road would approach the Town Centre area (actually McCowan and Progress) from the southeast. The exact route either of these would take is unclear and there is no obvious clear path back to McCowan from a more easterly route.

Some of these proposals will fall off the table fairly early for basic reasons such as constructability or availability of routes through already build-up areas. At this point, every conceivable scheme is included if only to establish why it should not be included in the short list.

Normally at this stage of a study, any attempt by the public to engage in discussions such as “where should the stations be” or “how much would this cost” would be rejected because these are normally design issues dealt with later in the process. The inability to engage on such details is a deeply frustrating part of the process. However, given the urgency of the project in the political realm, the hard line on what can or cannot be discussed at this stage will not be enforced. (This is an obvious and long-overdue change to transit project reviews generally, but that’s a story for another day.)

At a media briefing regarding the consultations, one question was pursued at some length: what happens if the alternatives such as a Markham Road alignment are substantially more expensive than the amount contemplated by Council when it approved the SSE? City staff were somewhat evasive on this topic as one might expect give the sensitivity of the question. The basic problem is that in  launching the study, Council did not explicitly say “by the way, don’t propose anything that will go over budget”, and staff are now faced with some pressure to move the subway in order to gain more riders.

The process for eliminating potential options and dealing with high-cost alternatives appears to be that the project team would go to an executive steering committee from the City Manager’s Office and the TTC CEO. They would decide what to do and whether to involve Council in filtering the options. The problem here is that higher-cost options may stay in the mix longer, and there may be pressure to accommodate them within the dollar amount Council expects for the SSE project.

As I reported in an article about TTC fleet plans, the TTC is now showing the SSE’s fleet as coming from existing spare equipment (thanks to a surfeit of T1 trains on the BD line) rather than from new purchases. This would mean that the SSE budget lines for new cars and a carhouse to store them could be dropped, at least in the short term, only to reappear as a general requirement for greater system capacity in the mid 2020s. As an accounting measure this would allow a longer SSE to be built “within budget”. This is not a new trick in Scarborough — Queen’s Park did the same thing with the SRT to keep the base project “within budget”, and then pushed extra costs into a supplementary project.

That scenario may be a bit Machiavellian for the TTC, but I wouldn’t put it past any number of politicians to attempt a scheme like this.

The SSE study must report back later in 2015 given the need to nail down a specific subway proposal as part of a larger package of rapid transit schemes now under study. If the subway survives this process, detailed design would begin sometime in 2016 following provincial approval of the Transit Project Assessment (a mini EA), construction in 2018, and revenue service in 2023.

The LRT option is still on the table, technically, although unless the subway scheme goes completely off of the rails due to high cost or low potential demand, the LRT is unlikely to get a receptive hearing. Too much political capital, too much ego has been invested by “subway champions” for this project to be dropped unless it simply becomes unaffordable, even by Toronto standards.

73 thoughts on “Where Might The Scarborough Subway Go?

  1. Without dredging up a discussion here it’s safe to say this will not be solved any time soon. There are various valid reasons for going up Midland, McCowan or Brimley but NOT Markham.

    Midland: It’s the heart of Scarborough commercially and is centrally located for connecting routes like the 54, the 95 and most of the routes along Eglinton at Midland.

    Brimley: Residentially speaking it’s the heart of Scarborough. So many subdivisions and parks have been built up around it that a subway would be used by a lot of people shopping and heading to work.

    McCowan: It provides a connection to Scarborough General Hospital and to the Scarborough Town Centre. It’s not exactly central to anything but it connects to 2 major locations in Scarborough. It does cut through residential and commercial but it’s more of a mix. Not too many subdivisions and the lots it would cut through are spaced out more.

    Markham Road: Are you kidding me? It’s far from anything, it’s located in a far out part of Scarborough in relation to the demand and I highly doubt it would get the demand required to justify it. Can you say Sheppard?

    All in all, the one thing they need to worry about is in the connection at the STC. With all the condos and office buildings they will have to dig pretty deep to get around them. As for a station in the area they may just have to use that empty plot of land at Triton and Progress or build something under the parking garage like they did at Don Mills.

    Let the games begin!

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  2. I seem to recall subway proponents validating their preferred mode with the claim that a subway would only cost $500M more than the LRT to Malvern.

    Steve’s last estimate was $1-2B more, depending upon a few factors, including inflation based on the fact it will be built much later. Steve was a naive optimist, it would appear.

    Questions: If the line follows Markham Rd., and the tax hike is not raised further, then there won’t be any budget for stations. How many fewer stations would such a proposal include? If you can’t afford to build a station at the Towne Centre anyway, why bother to swing the route back west there anyway?

    This study isn’t ambitious enough. It’s best to keep tunneling northwest until the Seaton lands are reached, even if there are no stations west of Kennedy. Never know when an airport will get built.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The “Corridors Being Considered” map in your article does not indicate which routes will be able to run subway cars on the surface. I am interested to see which segments of these potential routes can accommodate surface tracks. Running trains on the surface will have the benefit of significantly reducing construction costs.

    Steve: The only corridor that could handle surface operation is the one in the existing RT corridor. For the east-west leg to STC, the elevated structure and stations would require some reconstruction to handle subway cars.

    Can SmartTrack and the Subway share the same corridor?

    Steve: I believe this is possible, but having stations for both modes at Ellesmere and at Lawrence East could be tight. In any event, this alignment would require an RT shutdown in the same manner as the proposed LRT replacement.

    I find it interesting that the current SRT route segment between Kennedy and Ellesmere (K-E) stations is still being considered for the subway. I think it’s a forgone conclusion that this segment will be used exclusively for SmartTrack. I doubt if it makes sense to share this segment with the subway for the following reasons.

    Firstly, how will the Lawrence and Ellsemere stations accommodate both SmartTrack and the Subway? Is there enough room to build 4 HRT tracks side by side each station? Is there enough room to run 4 HRT tracks in the corridor? I doubt if tunneling can be justified to accommodate both services.

    Secondly, by running the subway up the K-E segment, it will increase construction costs at Kennedy station, since the existing subway track would need to be redirected north, meaning that the entire station will need to rebuilt in a new orientation. The extra costs at Kennedy station will quickly eat up any cost savings of running the subway on the surface between Kennedy and Ellesmere stations.

    Thanks for the excellent update!

    Steve: The only reason the RT alignment is on the table is that Glen Murray stuck his oar into the debate when he chose to support a subway over the LRT option. He is no longer Minister, and I think Queen’s Park will be more than happy to have the TTC folks say “for the following reasons, this idea is bunk”, but in nicer language. A lot of potentially bruised egos are involved here.

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  4. Seriously? Brimley? I’m amazed that it’s even on the list since anyone who can read a map can see that option would be a failure due to all the parkland which would make intensification impossible.

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  5. Actually Markham Rd. makes the utmost sense over all the routes. Unfortunately it will be the most costly & we know pretty much any route is going to start transit holy war all over again next year. Which I’m sure is what the Politico’s are trying to achieve as usual. Study & build nothing.

    Some benefits for Markham Rd route:

    – Closer proximity to a number of priority neighborhoods
    – More opportunity for development
    – Closer proximity to two major Post Secondary institutions
    – Provides greater overall transit coverage in Scarborough.
    – All other proposed routes are in somewhat close proximity to Smart Track & Eglinton LRT

    Markham Rd is “too far” Really? It’s a highly populated, neglected corridor in the CITY of TORONTO & has much room for development & re-development. It’s about about fair access & building the necessary demand in the future.

    Keep in mind this is just my preference of this semi-mindless political proposal at hand. It would certainly make more sense to take all this capital and spend it on a full blown LRT network from Port Union GO (or at-least Morningside) around Sheppard & around Kingston/Eglinton & place as many stops a feasible.

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  6. Nick L said:

    “Seriously? Brimley? I’m amazed that it’s even on the list since anyone who can read a map can see that option would be a failure due to all the parkland which would make intensification impossible.”

    It won’t be a failure. No matter which route is selected, the majority of riders will come from connecting surface routes rather than walk into stations. Local intensification is an added benefit, but it should not be the main deciding factor.

    That said, McCowan route is likely better because it connects to the hospital, and is probably easier to build (no tight turns).

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  7. I know Steve said that the plan is to put all the options on the table but from to my best recollection I have never seen more than 4-5 options on the table for a public consultation.

    Nevertheless it seems to me that McCowan is the best choice up to Scarborough Centre. Beyond that I am no longer sure…though my preference is always to have short and medium distance rapid transit on/under/along the road corridors as much as possible to encourage the most efficient use.

    That said, I’m extremely pleased to see a map of a Toronto Rapid Transit Network.

    I look forward to the TTC making a “Rapid Transit Network” map available to public transit users so people know what is available to them if they support the investments that the TTC wants to make.

    And hopefully they will avoid (as much as possible) the debate over mode & technology and just make it a “rapid transit” network.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  8. Steve, it’s too bad LRT isn’t an option.

    The best route would be to finish the Sheppard Subway on both ends. Scarborough gets their subway and they will have 4 routes downtown from Sheppard Subway locations thereby somewhat relieving Bloor/Yonge: 1) Agincourt Station as part of Smart Track. 2) Oriole from Leslie. 3) Yonge from Yonge/Sheppard. 4) Downsview on the Spadina Line.

    A Line 2 eastern extension does nothing more than filter more people to Bloor/Yonge station. Enough is enough. Plus it removes the chance of any Ford ever being re-elected.

    Take the Eglinton LRT and extend it West to the Airport to replace Smart Track and use the left over change to take the Eglinton LRT East from Kennedy using the elevated current RT ramp to STC through to Centennial College, eventually expanding into Malvern and across to the zoo.

    Fund a truly unbiased study (without agendas) for a DRL to see if it is a good use of funds after Smart Track and ATC controls/reduced waiting times for trains have existed – which I suspect we will still need – and then use whatever revenue tools (sales tax, road tolls, etc) to fund, build and service the DRL line itself.

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  9. We heard earlier how McCowan is Scarborough’s Yonge Street. Now I see that Midland is the commercial heart of Scarborough. If that fails Brimley is the residential heart. Some are even trying to make a case for Markham making eminent sense.

    Hilarious. We’ve heard it all now.

    No wait we haven’t. How about a viaduct across the lake to serve Guildwood and Bluffer’s Park?

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  10. Richard White said:

    “Without dredging up a discussion here it’s safe to say this will not be solved any time soon. There are various valid reasons for going up Midland, McCowan or Brimley but NOT Markham”

    Well, when it comes time to create a viable system, it is a little more complex than a campaign slogan. “Subway, Subway, Subway” is a little easier than actually resolving the issues surrounding engineering, route realignments, and most critical origin and destination locations that will be a reality 15 years of so from now when it comes into service (I know a little optimistic). Yet another reason I like LRT better, it is up faster, can be changed faster, and when it is proven there is a better location you have enough in the kitty to say oops do-over.

    Joe M said:

    “Actually Markham Rd. makes the utmost sense over all the routes. Unfortunately it will be the most costly & we know pretty much any route is going to start transit holy war all over again next year. Which I’m sure is what the Politico’s are trying to achieve as usual. Study & build nothing.”

    I would beg to differ Joe, I think their goal is to win their seat, and as many others as reasonably feasible. The discussion around transit is merely a means to that end. Also the hotter the debate around transit, the less discussion there is surrounding other governance issues. Joe I think you would find a great deal of support broadly across Toronto and Ontario (likely Canada) to getting the idea of funding resolved to placing funds in a segregated fund in the year of commitment. Your logic for subway over other options really comes down to how funding flows, it is also how the issues stay hot and illogical, as they are not resolved until the money actually flows.

    I think all of Toronto, and most of the province could get behind 3.2-3.8 billion for Scarborough transit, that actually provided wide coverage for Scarborough as a whole. It will be much harder to get that support when everybody knows that this will be subway, and not address any of the other issues. I think broad support (in the public) could be had for taking funds and placing them in a lock box. However, this will be a non starter (unless the public makes it a hot button issue) with the pols, as transit (and other mega projects) make for a great distraction, much like a magician, they help a great deal with misdirection (keeping basic governance issues off the table).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Moaz said:

    “That said, I’m extremely pleased to see a map of a Toronto Rapid Transit Network.

    I look forward to the TTC making a “Rapid Transit Network” map available to public transit users so people know what is available to them if they support the investments that the TTC wants to make.

    And hopefully they will avoid (as much as possible) the debate over mode & technology and just make it a “rapid transit” network.”

    The map itself does highlight a couple of points, the UPX runs in a an area where there is a relative dead spot for rapid transit, while SmartTrack west runs directly on top of a less costly option in the west. The subway and SmartTrack in the east run uncomfortably close together (hence this debate), also I note that the TTC is looking at “rapid transit” as a whole. Moaz I am with you good transit including rapid transit should be about, reliability, speed, comfort, frequency, cost and access. Mode is a capacity issue, not a quality one. It is clear in the debates around Toronto, mode and the real questions around transit have become conflated, and they should not be. We should be happy to pick the mode with the right capacity, but it would appear we do not trust the city and TTC to really support other modes.

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  12. Building a new underground Kennedy Station so most of the track as well as Lawrence and probably Scarborough Centre Stations can be built above ground should prove a net savings.

    Would they consider cut and cover construction. On a road like Brimley a temporary single lane could be put on the east side of the ROW to provide residential access and the rest of the space used for tunneling.

    Steve: I would not hold much hope for cut and cover construction. There is already talk of sending the TBMs from the Spadina extension over to Scarborough even though we don’t yet know where they would dig.

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  13. JW :

    The best route would be to finish the Sheppard Subway on both ends. Scarborough gets their subway and they will have 4 routes downtown from Sheppard Subway locations thereby somewhat relieving Bloor/Yonge:

    1) Agincourt Station as part of Smart Track.
    2) Oriole from Leslie.
    3) Yonge from Yonge/Sheppard.
    4) Downsview on the Spadina Line.

    This is the wisest plan which will eventually take place if intelligent people make the final decisions.

    Steve: Just to clarify, there would be four routes to downtown, but it presumes the existence of an east-west subway as a feeder service. Whether the demand would actually flow as you suggest would require more study before we embrace an extended Sheppard line as if it were the “downtown relief” line.

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  14. Steve said:

    I would not hold much hope for cut and cover construction. There is already talk of sending the TBMs from the Spadina extension over to Scarborough even though we don’t yet know where they would dig.

    Clearly the TBMs should go there underground so that we can link the two sides of the YUS line and at the same time give Scarborough the subways it so needs! :->

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anyone planning on attending either of the public consultations?

    Do note that Feb 2 is also the day of the Special TTC budget meeting.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: But the TTC meets in the morning, and the SSE meeting is in the evening.

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  16. Looking at the map, the big thing that struck me was the overlap of 3 planned services west of downtown. There is UpEx, ST, and DRL West supposed to go through there.

    Steve – loaded question ,but in your opinion, if ST is built with 1-3 stops south of Bloor towards downtown (and serves Liberty Village), do you think we still need the DRL West? I am assuming that it gets to a reasonable ~5 minute service within 10 years.

    Steve: DRL West and SmartTrack are the same thing, and have said this, effectively, when talking about the need to treat the east and west sides of the DRL as separate entities.

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  17. L. Wall said:

    “We heard earlier how McCowan is Scarborough’s Yonge Street. Now I see that Midland is the commercial heart of Scarborough. If that fails Brimley is the residential heart. Some are even trying to make a case for Markham making eminent sense.

    Hilarious. We’ve heard it all now.”

    Actually, we haven’t heard it all now. You see, Kingston Road is the historical main street of Scarborough and I’m sure someone is currently trying to find the right colour of crayon to combine a subway under Kingston Road with one that also serves STC.

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  18. The idea of running up either Midland or Brimley and then along the SRT alignment then up to Markham/Sheppard might be a decent compromise. Since reusing the entire SRT alignment is not feasible because of the Kennedy station alignment issue, this route would serve Centennial College and the office buildings at Markham/Sheppard (so probably would have higher ridership than the McCowan route). I suspect that this would be built underground around STC instead of reusing the SRT alignment there to avoid shutting down the SRT. There is not much development at McCowan/Sheppard so I can’t see why building yet another subway to a freight railway yard (like the one in Vaughan) makes any sense. The Scarborough LRT proposal is too problematic because of the transfer at Kennedy and its dependence on the unpopular Sheppard LRT proposal and the transfer at Don Mills.

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  19. The first picture looks good. Let’s build it (Scarborough subway) already and bring it to Highway 7. Markham has long been neglected by the province in terms of giving our tax dollars back in services/infrastructure and we are tired of our tax dollars subsidising Toronto projects.

    Steve: What you are going to get is frequent service on the GO line either via the provincial “RER” project or Toronto’s SmartTrack project, or both. Even if both go ahead, they will be vastly less expensive than taking a subway all the way to Highway 7.

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  20. When the tail tracks at Kennedy Stn. were installed, as it were, was the thought at the time that the subway would continue east along Eglinton?

    Steve: I don’t think anyone expected that the subway would ever be extended. The tail tracks are simply a standard part of any terminal station, and the station works best on that site with an east-west alignment.

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  21. Malcolm N Says:

    I think all of Toronto, and most of the province could get behind 3.2-3.8 billion for Scarborough transit, that actually provided wide coverage for Scarborough as a whole. It will be much harder to get that support when everybody knows that this will be subway, and not address any of the other issues. I think broad support (in the public) could be had for taking funds and placing them in a lock box. However, this will be a non starter (unless the public makes it a hot button issue) with the pols, as transit (and other mega projects) make for a great distraction, much like a magician, they help a great deal with misdirection (keeping basic governance issues off the table).

    Joe M says:

    I agree 100%. I would be happy to see a fully funded BRT or LRT network. But it has to be a fully funded & integrate all of Scarborough. Otherwise it’s just a hack job which would connect to different technologies than the rest of the City of Toronto. And the political hostage taking of an massive area that has been butchered enough by politicians would continue. That’s why I’m happy with the Subway. Because not only would it still be quite helpful for commuters and integration with the City … the politicians could leave us alone and slap around the 905 for a bit.

    Majority of Scarborough would approve a fully funded LRT network in a heart beat. But this has never been proposed & likely won’t until the updated costs of the Subway extension are announced in a couple years.

    Truly sad games being played.

    And if the Subway is the direction they decide to go then Markham Rd. loop is much more effective. If we are going to spend that kind of money we need to ensure the Subway serves the greatest amount of citizens.

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  22. “unpopular Sheppard LRT proposal”

    Which poll established that the Sheppard LRT proposal is unpopular? The recent poll I’ve heard about says that city-wide support for LRT vs. subway in Scarborough is at about 61 to 29, with a majority even of Scarborough respondents supporting LRT, assuming the LRT plan is the full network.

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  23. Steve:

    I would not hold much hope for cut and cover construction. There is already talk of sending the TBMs from the Spadina extension over to Scarborough even though we don’t yet know where they would dig.

    David says:

    Why not put them in the basement of the STC, spin them around like a game of blind man’s buff, and let them dig in whatever direction they’re facing?

    Since the LRT is funded, why not build that and the put in a subway extension anywhere?

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  24. Isaac Morland said:

    “The recent poll I’ve heard about says that city-wide support for LRT vs. subway in Scarborough is at about 61 to 29, with a majority even of Scarborough respondents supporting LRT, assuming the LRT plan is the full network.”

    It would be interesting to see how the question was worded. One can construct the question in such a way that one option comes with several positive adjectives while the other option is just stated. When such a question is asked to random members of the general public, most of whom do not follow transit debates closely, and many of whom are not even transit users, the majority will surely “support” the first option.

    But the same public may vote quite differently on the election day, after both sides had a chance to argue the benefits of their case.

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  25. Isaac Morland said:

    “The recent poll I’ve heard about says that city-wide support for LRT vs. subway in Scarborough is at about 61 to 29, with a majority even of Scarborough respondents supporting LRT, assuming the LRT plan is the full network.”

    Joe M says:

    Forcing Scarborough citizens to takes side on an inefficient LRT plan vs. an inefficient subway plan is ridiculous. Both option reek of political gamesmanship at its finest.

    The Scarborough LRT

    Is proposed on the same inefficient alignment as the current RT & would continue to force a transfer & connection to a separate technology. Tough to garner too much support from the majority out here especially when all other major Boroughs in Toronto have Subways to their cores.

    The Sheppard LRT

    Is just a transfer stub connecting to a subway stub running east/west. A complete joke. Quite the head scratcher.

    Considering how slow we build transit in this province & how the political pandering starting in other cities in the province, I would highly doubt any future connections would ever been built in a reasonable time.

    A full blown efficiently mapped out LRT/BRT network would be the proper way to serve the people of Scarborough as a whole otherwise the 3-4 Stop subway would be an improvement over the proposed Scarborough LRT.

    And it’s all about the location of residents who were polled. Scarborough is not a tiny dot on the map & if the resident polled reside close to a proposed LRT stop of course they would vote LRT. Very easy for politicians to skew data to their advantage because of Scarborough size & differing needs within.

    Steve: I don’t put much faith in polls re the subway vs LRT debate either way. My gut feeling is that the details of either network are not well understood and far too much depends on how the question is phrased. Moreover, we won’t have a good comparison of the benefits and costs of each scheme until at best late this year, and the poll numbers (and politicians) could move all over the place if the underlying assumptions shift.

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  26. “It would be interesting to see how the question was worded.”

    This article has the poll question:

    I will grant that the question opens by using the “more than $[large number]” formulation, which is a way of saying that something is expensive, possibly too expensive. But it then says that a large LRT network could be built for the same money, and asks which they would prefer. I don’t think a reasonable person can really complain too strenuously about this poll question.

    However, we’re getting away from the actual point of my comment, which was and remains the question “Which poll established that the Sheppard LRT proposal is unpopular?”. I’m just asking for justification for using the word “unpopular” in connection with the Sheppard LRT.

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  27. @Steve, the sad thing is if we could stop mixing in new plans, and execute in what would be a reasonably affordable way this would be much less of an issue, and cost benefits fully understood. $ 1.5 -2 billion per year in infrastructure projects would have kept Toronto as a whole moving. Now just delaying 7-9 years and there are too many needs at once, and projects without transit context they should have.

    If we had started in a timely fashion in the 1990s: WWlrt would have changed the western shoulder area development and relieved the need for what will be urgent action at Union. This should have been completed by 1996 (not Spadina extension). Scarborough RT conversion to LRT should have been launched before the RT was in trouble, and with a bus plan in hand. This and a Sheppard LRT instead of the Sheppard subway. This should have been completed by 2002. Crosstown should run through Kennedy to at least Kingston Rd & Guildwood Parkway (past the gates) and to the airport grounds instead of extension to Vaughan and be scheduled to open now. The debate now should be extension to Finch for Spadina to enable a Finch west LRT and York U to Vaughan LRT and link to subway. I think how different the city would be if the politics of the subway had not interfered. Scarborough would be notably different as would the city. We would also have experienced a little transit first development.

    The next moves required would also be much less uncertain as there would be a clear and established context. Need to now move forward, and realize that Scarborough is not the only borough without subway to its core. Etobicoke’s core is not Islington or Kipling at Bloor. Also & more importantly transit is about serving people not boroughs. That means affordable quality service in terms of speed comfort and frequency close enough to access. Let us not make the mistakes of the past, and build what makes sense realizing you will need to fund like service on the other side of the city, and capacity per rider downtown (if one area needs enough space for all to sit why not downtown).

    Liked by 2 people

  28. It would be interesting to see the subsidy per rider for all these options (capital cost and operating cost).

    At one time, the Sheppard line was being subsidized approx. $.67 per rider (operating cost) and $3.33 per rider (capital cost). To be confirmed, please.

    Also add line items for the BD Line, the YUS Line and the new line from Downsview to Vaughan.

    Steve: The net additional cost for the Spadina/Vaughan extension will be about $10m/year based on projections in the TTC/City budget papers.

    I agree that the absence of operating cost estimates for the various subway schemes (and the LRT alternative) are not available. “Draw lines on the map” today, but don’t expect to know what the cost implications are because “we don’t do detailed analysis at this stage”.

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  29. Just a thought Steve… I know it’s a bit insane but given the fact the subway is extended into Vaughan… Do you think they will ever extend it into Markham, Durham and Mississauga provided those municipalities pay for it?

    There is precedent.. when the TTC was formed they assumed control over various inter-urban lines leading to far off towns and cities such as Port Credit, Uxbridge and and I believe Pickering.

    Steve: Only Port Credit. There never was an interurban to Uxbridge (you may be thinking of the Woodbridge service via Weston Road) nor to Pickering (only to West Hill). Don’t forget that at the time, the “radials” (including the one to Sutton on Lake Simcoe) were part of Toronto-based companies, not a “local” transit agency.

    The important thing about GO/RER is that we are finally talking about using the rail corridors. That will certainly be the case for Markham, Durham and parts of Mississauga. It is conceivable someone might say “let’s extend the BD line to Mississauga” but an LRT on Dundas to connect in with the Hurontario line would make so much more sense.

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  30. Ah ok. I got Sutton confused with Uxbridge and assumed the line was absorbed by the TTC. For some reason I figured Uxbridge was on the way to Sutton. As for West Hill I was thinking near Pickering. Apologies.

    Steve: Sutton was the end of the Yonge (Metropolitan Division) radial line.

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  31. Richard White said:

    “For some reason I figured Uxbridge was on the way to Sutton.”

    There was a railway line linking Stouffville, which is along the Uxbridge subdivision, and Sutton. However, the southern half of the line was abandoned by 1930 with the rest by 1979.

    Steve: Any in any event, it was not part of the Toronto radial car network.

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  32. Steve:

    It is conceivable someone might say “let’s extend the BD line to Mississauga” but an LRT on Dundas to connect in with the Hurontario line would make so much more sense.

    Indeed many have said that the BD line should be extended to Mississauga, either parallel to the Milton Line/CP railway corridor (because subways are so great for commuting), along Dundas (because it has so much density), and Bloor (because it actually has the density … in two parts of Mississauga).

    At one time about 10 years ago there was a thought that the extended St. Clair streetcar would eventually get on to Dundas and reach Kipling and eventually be extended out to Mississauga. I can confirm that some in Port Credit want the radial railway back in the form of a streetcar.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: The St. Clair car will be lucky to get past Gunn’s Loop given that it no longer could operate north via a future Jane LRT to Black Creek Carhouse thanks to the gauge difference. Provision for space for a streetcar underpass at the west end of St. Clair has been deleted for the project to reconfigure that intersection.

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  33. Steve: The St. Clair car will be lucky to get past Gunn’s Loop given that it no longer could operate north via a future Jane LRT to Black Creek Carhouse thanks to the gauge difference. Provision for space for a streetcar underpass at the west end of St. Clair has been deleted for the project to reconfigure that intersection.

    I thought it was envisioned that the 512 streetcars would through the underpass through Scarlett Road, rather than Jane Street. The standard gauge shouldn’t affect this plan at all.

    Steve: You are confusing two separate projects. The Scarlett Road underpass affects the scheme to take the St. Clair cars to Dundas and Kipling. Not going to happen. Jane Street was to have a Transit City LRT line on it, and the St. Clair car was going to use this track to operate from Black Creek, rather than from Roncesvalles. No TTC gauge Jane LRT, no access for the 512 to Black Creek carhouse.

    In other words, both of the things that might be used to justify extending the route no longer are on the table.

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  34. “The Scarlett Road underpass affects the scheme to take the St. Clair cars to Dundas and Kipling. Not going to happen.”

    When was this decision made? Google searching the issue suggests that the preferred redesign included provisions for exclusive streetcar lanes through the Scarlett Road underpass. Unless Google is omitting an even more recent story.

    I hardly go to the area, so I wouldn’t even know if reconstruction of the underpass has even occurred yet.

    Steve: It has not yet occurred, and, yes, the change was made recently as one of many ways to trim the City’s capital budget.

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  35. Joe M:

    “Is proposed on the same inefficient alignment as the current RT & would continue to force a transfer & connection to a separate technology.”

    So, the real grievance of folks in Scarborough is they have to transfer between transit modes? Who in the City doesn’t? You need to wake up to the reality that extending the BD line from Kennedy to STC, or wherever the terminal happens to be, is still going to leave nearly every one in Scarborough transferring between modes. We hear from a Scarborough councillor that “no one walks to the subway,” so there is an explicit assumption that people will be transferring from buses, or LRTs, to the subway wherever it runs and terminates. Which then demands an answer to why the subway should be extended at all, if it won’t change the actual problem people have with transit. Build a really good LRT network that brings higher order transit within proximity of more of the residents of Scarborough, speeds up their trips, and gets lots of buses and cars off the roads.

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  36. Steve:

    It is conceivable someone might say “let’s extend the BD line to Mississauga” but an LRT on Dundas to connect in with the Hurontario line would make so much more sense.

    There’s even an LRT platform waiting to be put to use at Kipling!

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  37. Joe M:

    “Is proposed on the same inefficient alignment as the current RT & would continue to force a transfer & connection to a separate technology.”

    Wtspman says:

    So, the real grievance of folks in Scarborough is they have to transfer between transit modes? Who in the City doesn’t? You need to wake up to the reality that extending the BD line from Kennedy to STC, or wherever the terminal happens to be, is still going to leave nearly every one in Scarborough transferring between modes. We hear from a Scarborough councillor that “no one walks to the subway,” so there is an explicit assumption that people will be transferring from buses, or LRTs, to the subway wherever it runs and terminates. Which then demands an answer to why the subway should be extended at all, if it won’t change the actual problem people have with transit. Build a really good LRT network that brings higher order transit within proximity of more of the residents of Scarborough, speeds up their trips, and gets lots of buses and cars off the roads.

    Joe M says:

    Again I fully agree with building an efficient LRT network. But this proposal has never proposed as of yet & if this should ever occur the Scarborough LRT should be realigned to provide greater coverage of Central Scarborough. The extra transfer is only one of the issues here & trying to simplify a one size fits all solution does nothing to help.

    The current Scarborough LRT would run through the same inefficient route as the RT. The subway would leave the majority of residents in closer proximity on their bus transfer to the Subway & alleviate a transfer leaving only a single bus ride in. It is certainly a huge upgrade over the Scarborough LRT proposal & puts Central Scarborough on the same technology as Etobicoke & North York which have enjoyed the benefits of growth associated with the Subway

    Although I agree its not the most efficient way to spend the 3.5 billion. The CURRENT Sheppard LRT proposal is in a whole other league of stupidity of it’s own & should either be looped around to the Eglinton Iine or taken off the table as its benefit would be minimal in it’s “as is” state.

    Until a fully funded efficient LRT proposal is on the table any argument pitting Scarborough against LRT is completely unfair.

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  38. Joe M. said:

    “Although I agree its not the most efficient way to spend the 3.5 billion. The CURRENT Sheppard LRT proposal is in a whole other league of stupidity of it’s own & should either be looped around to the Eglinton Iine or taken off the table as its benefit would be minimal in it’s “as is” state.

    Until a fully funded efficient LRT proposal is on the table any argument pitting Scarborough against LRT is completely unfair.”

    I think we need to seriously reframe the debate. The question needs to be not about this subway project vs that LRT single line, but about how to best spend 3.5 billion in Scarborough. First let us be straightforward, this is about what a real fix to Scarborough Transit will cost, to really provide a wide network. We need to stop funding with the governments providing little teases of funding that can be changed altered reduced or cancelled because some loud mouth screams and it all stops.

    The need is there, and a single line will not really address it. 3.5 billion properly spent however, likely would, and this would reduce the length of time to get to reliable transit, and serve more destinations, hence likely raise general ridership. This last is a must for Scarborough and the city. Transit needs to be a preferable option for most trips. So start demanding that 3.5 billion be spent on the best plan, and that plan needs to be a single plan, not a series of half baked ones.

    This is also true for Rexdale. The idea of a Finch Line not continuing to the west?? The Crosstown ending at Mt Dennis?? These lines need to serve riders to logical anchors, and real connections. The network has to integrate regionally, or we are not going to address the real social or economic issues, or improve the commute and lives of enough people. The Toronto network needs to integrate better with a higher frequency regional network. The GO lines to core need to be part of the solution for Scarborough, Willowdale and Rexdale as well as Markham, Brampton and Richmond Hill. This means real connections at Kennedy, Oriole, Malton with services frequent enough to be a viable alternative to TTC from that point (TTC times 2 type services).

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  39. Crazy idea: Why the council just don’t drop the subway, cut off from the 2015 budget all the hidden penalties we supposed to pay for canceling the LRT (about 500 millions already?), follow the claim of “just build something”, restart the LRT machine stopped in January 2014, start breaking grounds (in land already adquired) and keep the tax increase portion for transit developed? That way, the budget will be balance and we don’t need to ask Queen’s Park for money for housing… I know is not that simple, numbers may give a different picture, but is an idea that may help to build a so called ” world class city” the media like to print.

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