Toronto’s Network Plan 2031: Part II, Scarborough Subway Extension (Updated)

This article continues my examination of the mound of reports going to Toronto Executive Committee and to the Metrolinx Board on June 28, 2016. For a complete list, see Part I of this series.

The subject here is the Initial Business Case for the Scarborough Subway Extension.

A few central points underlie the study:

  • In a review of possible subway alignments through the Scarborough Town Centre, an east-west alignment comes out on top because it would better support future growth of the STC precinct via an eastern extension that is impossible with a north-south alignment.
  • Options that would produce an east-west alignment are eliminated from consideration before a full technical and financial evaluation because it is claimed that the SRT would have to be shut down for the entire period of construction.
  • The preferred alignment via McCowan includes technical challenges, and there are alternatives via Brimley, but these have not been studied in detail. There is no sense of the comparative cost of the alternatives.

Opening date for a Scarborough Subway is now pushed off to 2025 because various reviews, debates and studies have pushed back the start date for the project.

The report is completely silent on related capital projects that are pre-requisites to an SSE including:

  • Replacement of the existing fleet of cars serving the BD subway to allow automatic operation over the extension.
  • Provision of a new subway yard.
  • Launch, but not necessarily completion, of a project to re-signal the existing BD subway.

Updated June 25, 2016 at 10:30 pm:

In the evaluation of options that would require the shutdown of the SRT during construction of whatever might replace it, the report states:

Bus replacement for the SRT service during the construction period would require 63 additional buses and infrastructure requirements such as a bus facility to accommodate the additional bus fleet, and bus terminal expansions at Scarborough Centre and Kennedy Station. The cost of shutting down the SRT during the construction period would amount to approximately $171 million (YOE/Escalated $).

However, this makes no allowance for the following savings:

  • Avoiding the need to keep the existing SRT operating, a value estimated in July 2013 as $132 million including inflation. See Scarborough Rapid Transit Options at p 7.
  • Buses and garage space provisioned for the temporary shuttle would have a life beyond the end of the project, and indeed the TTC requires another new bus garage beyond McNicoll Garage in northern Scarborough. Only the cost of buying, building and operating these earlier than would otherwise occurs counts as a net cost against the project.

This is either an error in calculation, or a misrepresentation of the true cost of replacing SRT operation.

Given that the LRT option would require a shorter shutdown of the SRT than the subway options, the cost of the bus shuttle would be correspondingly lower.

[End of update]

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