After publication of a series reports going to Toronto’s Executive Committee on March 7, there have been many competing claims about just how much the Scarborough Subway is going to cost. Subway advocates prefer the lower number of $3.35 billion cited as the base cost of the subway itself plus an improved bus terminal, while others point out that many elements have been omitted from this number.
I reviewed many of the reports in a previous article, but this post looks beyond the subway itself to other projects that are required for the subway to open. Some of these are unfunded, or are now planned for a date beyond the Scarborough line’s opening, or are simply missing from TTC and City plans.
Previous Cost Estimates for the “Express Subway”
The Scarborough Subway project, as described in all previous reports included the following three items:
- Construction of the subway from Kennedy Station to STC at a cost of $2.3 billion in 2010 dollars, or $3.315 billion in year-of-expenditure (YOE) allowing for future inflation.
- Life extension work to keep the SRT operational until the subway opens at a cost of $132 million (YOE).
- Demolition and removal of the existing SRT structure following the subway opening at a cost of $123 million (YOE).
These values, totalling $3.56 billion, appeared in:
The October 3, 2013 report to Council:
A presentation to a Value Engineering workshop by the TTC in September 2016:
The TTC’s 2017-26 Capital Budget recently approved by Council (click to enlarge):
The $3.305 billion cost for the subway itself is intriguing because it has not changed between the 2016-25 and 2017-26 versions of the budget. The detailed views are below. (These are taken from the detailed TTC budget books that are not available online.)
2016 (click to enlarge):
2017 (click to enlarge):
The major change between the two versions to line item totals is that an allowance for property has been offset by an increase in “fixed facilities”. However, expenditures timings change, and there is no adjustment for inflation. I have asked the TTC for comment on this and related matters.
Item 2016-2025 2017-2026 ($000) ($000) Fixed Facilities $2,458,000 $2,623,000 TTC Installation 250 Property 165,000 Consultants 398,123 397,297 TTC Engineering 101,877 102,453 Vehicles 182,000 182,000 Total $3,305,000 $3,305,000
In the 2017 Capital Budget the section for the SRT life extension shows values only to 2023 and the demolition of the SRT structure is in 2025. These timings do not make sense except in the context of a 2023 opening as described below. It is clear that these two items have not been updated to reflect the later opening date and the added cost this brings for ongoing support of the old system, and inflation in the cost of demolishing and removing it.
From the description of the Life Extension project:
Additional Costs Not Included in the Current Projected Total
The $3.35 billion cost now claimed for the SSE project does not include several items cited in the City’s reports:
- Procurement costs through Infrastructure Ontario: $15 million
- Financing costs of a 3P project, net to TTC: $40 million
- Public realm improvements (optional): $11 million
- Platform edge doors (optional): $14 million
- Increase in “management reserve” for scope changes to the level recommended by consultants: $100 million
- SRT Life Extension: $132 million
- SRT Decommissioning and Demolition: $123 million
As noted above, some costs have been estimated based on a 2023 opening for the subway, but without allowances for inflation to a later date.
Planning for Fleet, Signals and Carhouse Space
There are inconsistencies in the timing of various projects related to the Bloor-Danforth Subway that existed in the 2016-25 budget, and still pose major problems for 2017-26. These are all linked to the opening of the SSE which, like the TYSSE extension to Vaughan, will be built with Automatic Train Control (ATC).
- Resignalling of Line 2 BD with ATC
- Replacement of the existing T1 subway fleet with new trains capable of ATC operation
- Construction of a new yard to house the replacement fleet
The TTC plans to resignal Line 2 following completion of Line 1 YUS in 2019. Here is the budget summary for these projects (click to enlarge):
The T1 subway fleet is due for replacement in the mid 2020s, but current plans show this happening substantially after the SSE opens with delivery of prototypes in 2024 and the remainder of the fleet from 2026-2030. This means that a large part of the BD fleet would not be able to operate on ATC, and therefore could not run beyond Kennedy Station.
There is also a provision in the SSE budget (above) for additional trains with funding in 2022-23 of $182 million. This corresponds to the original scheme to open the line in 2023, but not to the current fleet plan. In the table below, six trains are shown as a service addition for the SSE in 2023, but these come from available spares within the T1 pool (even though they cannot run in ATC territory). This would provide an AM peak service with alternate trains turning back from Kennedy Station, and overall BD service at the same level as today (2’20” west of Kennedy, 4’40” to STC). The replacement fleet begins to arrive in 2026 through 2030 including the seven trains funded from the SSE project budget. Full service to STC comes in 2027, but this and an allowance for ridership growth are clearly based on a 2023 SSE opening date.
The fleet plan is out of sync with the opening date for the SSE and its signal system.
The T1 replacement project is on the “City Requested Budget Reductions” list, and does not have any funding within the current ten-year Capital Program. This represents a pressure within the City’s overall capital budget and its “below the line” iceberg of capital projects it cannot afford.
Finally, a new fleet cannot be provisioned without a new yard. This is required both to provide overlapping capacity for new and old trains (unlike Line 1 where Wilson Yard had room for expansion to handle the H to TR fleet changeover). There are also design problems with Greenwood in that the shops were not planned for 6-car unit trains, and major renovation would be required to do this, all within an active shop for the BD line.
The TTC recently authorized the purchase of land near Kipling Station for a new subway yard. However, the actual construction of a yard does not appear in the Capital Budget and there is no provision for this in the TTC’s financial plans. Quite obviously this facility is required before the new trains begin to arrive. If the T1 replacement project moves forward so that the new trains can all be here before the SSE opens in 2026, then the new carhouse must exist by the early 2020s. Considering how long it takes the TTC to get approval for a major new facility, let alone build it, this is a critical project that has not even been discussed in the context of SSE planning.
None of this is news, and the TTC is well aware of the problem. I wrote about this as part of my 2016 budget coverage, and the TTC replied with details of what is really needed. Management plans to bring an overall plan for the renovation of Line 2 to the Board at its March meeting, but this will inevitably produce ripples in the City’s budget. That can be fixed, in part, if some of Toronto’s PTIF money (the federal infrastructure program) goes to accelerating these projects, but this has to be fitted in among the many hopes Toronto has for that funding.
These are not, strictly speaking, “Scarborough Subway costs”, but they are projects triggered by the decision to extend Line 2 BD. Although federal money could be available, the City will have to pony up its share, and this will fall right at a period when it is tight for capital.
Toronto Council deserves to see the whole picture of funding and financing requirements for the SSE and related projects. Too much is hidden either by its unfunded status, or by simple omission from the overall plans. This inevitably creates a crisis when – Surprise! – a project is forced “above the line” because it cannot be avoided. This brings new spending that crowds other works, many having nothing to do with transit, off of the table. This is no way to handle City budgeting.
I disagree with opponents of the Scarborough subway and believe it should be built. The cost is considerably cheaper than the Spadina subway extension that is now under construction if you adjust for inflation. I believe that a station should be added at Lawrence but I don’t think that having too few stops is a good reason to not build the project since the additional stops could be built later. The subway provides significant time savings on Bloor-Yonge to Scarborough Centre by getting rid of the transfer at Kennedy and there is not a very large difference between the travel times to Centennial College with subway+bus vs subway+LRT.
In this forum, everyone is entitled to their opinions. I am no expert but have heard contrary opinions and feel it necessary to comment.
I follow the SSE quite closely. I have heard the discussion of “blocking in” a Lawrence Station or retrofitting a Lawrence station. It seems “blocking in” a station could be 60% of the cost of building a station, and to complete the station would require closing down the subway line.
As part of the discussion, these same people suggested that retro-fitting a station could be done for compelling reasons, but would require closing the line and would cost an unreasonable amount.
Steve: Yes, TTC staff have talked about how difficult a Lawrence East Station would be due to the high water table and other factors. If they have to leave provision for a station, it complicates the initial structure, and isn’t cheap.
Apparently a looming crisis is the Yonge/Bloor interchange. Subway Lines 1 and 2 are the two busiest lines in Toronto. There is no city in the world, except Toronto, that has its two busiest lines intersecting. Extending the lines is truly the height of absurdity.
I disagree with proponents of the Scarborough subway. We are spending over 3 billion dollars to replace one type of train with another. There is no net new rapid transit being built; we already have rapid transit to STC. I use it every day and it takes 8-10 minutes from the Kennedy to STC. It’s actually mind boggling that we are spending so much money without actually adding rapid transit to our network. Only in Toronto (er, Scarborough)…
I’m not commenting here on the SSE itself, but please remind me just why the T1 fleet “can’t” be converted to ATC. I know it is not a physical impossibility, for the speed control system installed in the fleet is to ATC as an ice cream cone without sprinkles is to one with, to use a rather rough analogy.
Is it just a cost thing given the age of the fleet? That seems strange considering that Edmonton’s LRT system, including its 1978-vintage U2 vehicles have been converted to ATC for use on the parts of their system that is ATC.
Steve: This issue came up before in the context of the YUS where original (pre-ATC) plans were to have a mixed fleet of T1s and TRs. The reason we now have a T1 surplus is that the TTC decided to make that line (and 4 Sheppard) all TR.
According to the TTC, retrofitting ATC to the T1s is complicated and expensive, especially considering that by the time the SSE opens they will be up for replacement.
I know Metrolinx bought the Canpa subdivision awhile back, but what happened with Obico Yard? How about Honeydale Mall? Seems like a bunch of opportunities in the area, but which designs would preclude a western expansion to Hurontario?
Steve: I believe it is Obico Yard that the TTC bought. It was accidentally named as the site in a budget report for 2016 before the purchase had been approved.
There is a cryptic reference in the subway fleet plan to the suitability of the yard as a multi-modal site. This could mean a combined GO/TTC facility.
If 6 km tunnel and one station cost more than 3b, can you imagine how much a Don Mills subway from dt to Sheppard would cost?! Seems like a non starter.
Steve: But how much will it cost to have a subway nobody can get on because it is full?
Time for a cheaper alternative, I would say. Maybe conversion of the SRT to LRT should be revisited.
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What are the odds of the SSE opening and initially be served be served by a separate TR shuttle from Kennedy to STC? The irony would be delicious.
Now i know this would be difficult at Kennedy, but if a new BD fleet does not show up in time, what else could be done?
Steve: This would be very difficult as both Kennedy platforms are needed to maintain full service on the existing line. Can’t do it with only one.
As upwards spiral the costs; backwards reel the chances that city council will ever approve this crazy idea. Tory, after all, has only one vote, and his little coalition, by now, has more than one ‘ally’ who sees his weaknesses and is contemplating a run at the job.
The problem here is that the only option being considered is the LRT transfer solution. How would someone get from Malvern, Centennial, or STC to downtown. With either SSE or LRT, the travel pattern is still to get on the B-D line and transfer at Y/B. That is why this argument holds no water.
The solution is to send Scarborough downtown by a different route. One solution was a connected SRT/ECLRT. Passengers would transfer at Eglinton/Don Mills to the newly constructed DRL. Yes, this would have provided good incentive to built the “DRL long”.
The other solution is to build a whole new line from Scarborough to Downtown – using the Don Valley for some length would save money. Vancouver now has the largest rapid transit system in Canada, and Montreal is building their REM which will move Toronto into 3rd. Toronto needs to smarten up soon.
Steve: If one believes John Tory’s plans, another option will be to take the GO train (aka SmartTrack) direct to downtown, albeit from western Scarborough. The wild card in all of this will be the fare structure, and whether an “inside Toronto” fare would apply only at selected stations on the Stouffville corridor, or also to the Lake Shore East corridor which is much closer to many in Scarborough. Then there is the question of how the bus network will be oriented – to the subway or to GO stations or both?
Well, considering that Toronto only really has 2 subway lines, they cannot help but intersect. I think you will find the same holds true for all other cities which only have 2 subway lines.
Yes, de facto only two. The SRT is just a tack-on extension of BD and the Sheppard line is a lightly used spur off of YUS.
Thanks very much Steve for sharing the background to this ongoing travesty, and enabling the discussions.
At least the two major thoughtful Toronto dailies have had strong editorials against it, despite how much car advertising is in their papers. Because it’s gone beyond just being set on an idea to something that smells worse. Sure, we’re Caronto the Carrupt. But it’s smelling far more like it’s actually Moronto the Corrupt so hidden are the backgrounders (see the Star), and so pig-headed are the alleged fiscal conservatives in holding fast to a white elephant, relative to all sorts of other transit investments that are clearly a better deal.
So what are the possible motivations? Is it meant to beggar and bugger the entire transit system by having massive spending that eats up all the possible capital, to have the public transit so deeply and thoroughly impaired, it has to be broken up a la Snobelen?? Has anyone done exploring to see how deeply indebted some politicians perhaps are to Oxford Properties and the various construction interests?
And how truly pathetic that our EA processes for a ‘review’ are so cursory they won’t look at any real alternatives, like revamping the SRT as was proposed 10 years ago for about a tenth of the cost, but with an 8-month shutdown. Why is this downtime no longer OK? Do we not want to save/avoid $3 billion of spending??
The FAIL on this issue is buggering up the transit scheming in the core: we sure need a west end DRL, but instead we’re proposing a local Liberty St. and are allowing all sorts of condos to be built east of Strachan in critical land if we have any any hope of getting a new surface line in to the core, and Keep It Simply Surface, because we’re soooo behind/messed, we cannot do the diggings that are required to have subways everywhere that this majority of Clowncil wants to put them and still manage to do a tiny bit of GHG reduction.
The key to solving the transit issues in Scarborough I think now lies in the Gatineau Hydro corridor that slices all the way through this area from Eglinton/Vic Park to 401/Zoo area. It is on the diagonal, a shortcut. If we advantage transit off-road, then squeeze cars, that’s fairer. Going on the surface is waaay cheaper, and it’s a very very wide corridor that we already own. And it gets quite close to major destinations like the Hospital, the UTSCC and Centennial, and we need resiliency and new corridors.
Some of these fooliticians may be wanting to point to something more real soon – and having a costly one-stop stubway benefitting corporate interests first while the public pays and pays and pays ain’t a winner. Screwing the lower/east-end Scarborough for the Eglinton E LRT ain’t a winner either, though that’s what’s happening, or will continue to happen. So by retreating from the Suspect Subway Extension to the LRT plans and a sweetener of a Gatineau busway, that might start usage with an SRT replacement, and extend to east/west to become a 401 relief option within Scarborough itself, makes a bit more political sense.
I cannot understand why Mr. Tory is being soo damned stupid on this file. The old joke for the previous Mayor was “The Mayor walked in to a library”…. and Mayor Tory clearly is able to read and speak. So why push for facts facts facts on minor things like a Bloor bike lane on one-third of what was to be studied a decade ago, and ignore the potential for a bit of subway relief by bikeway, and then be totally oblivious to how stinking bad the numbers are for the SSE????
Let’s hope Councillors Bailao and McMahon and Palacio and Burnside to name some that I suspect are still supportive, get pressured to get real/smart.
Andre S: Yes; and el mundo also. His real point is well taken; the Bloor-Yonge intersection is already dangerously overcrowded, not to mention socially unpleasant. The Scarborough Stub will feed people into Bloor-Yonge who will have no place to go, literally. Only a sane application of LRT’s, properly hooked up with the Lincolnville GO line can avoid this disaster in waiting.
Whatever the cost, I don’t believe that Canada as one of the richest countries in the world can’t afford to build a few kilometres of subway with only one additional station when much poorer countries such as India and China continue to build 100% grade-separated first class railway systems including but not limited to subways. The issue here is not the cost but where the subway is located (i.e. Scarborough). Any alleged cost increases for the Scarborough subway (no matter how small) make headlines for days if not weeks but nobody cares to report (except may be buried somewhere in the back-pages of a newspaper) when the cost of the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) more than doubled and wait till it doubles several more times and yet, nobody will object to building the DRL. In conclusion, it’s not the cost but the location of the project that matters.
Steve: I am really fed up with the “poor Scarborough” narrative about why there is opposition to spending $3+ billion dollars on a line whose principal function will not be to serve travel within Scarborough. Over half of all travel in Scarborough is not oriented to downtown, let alone close to the Town Centre station, and this demand will be poorly served, if at all, by the subway line. The DRL by contrast will serve a very substantial demand providing capacity relief for all subway riders. If, as it should, it goes north to at least Eglinton, preferably to Sheppard, it will provide an alternate route into downtown from the northeast bypassing the Bloor-Yonge bottleneck.
I would propose to apply that “inside Toronto” fare just to the Stouffville corridor stations (Milliken and further south) initially, for the first 3 or 4 years after the frequency of trains is improved to the point the service can be called “SmartTrack”. That will reduce the operational cost of the fare change.
Surely that will be unfair to the residents living closer to Lakeshore East line, or other rail lines not included in the SmartTrack scheme. But, people will accept it, if they are promised that integrated fare is coming shortly to their lines as well.
Steve: People in Scarborough have heard promises that they will get an improvement “shortly”, not to mention folks on other GO corridors, before. There will be “SmartTrack” stations on the Kitchener and Barrie corridors too, not just the Stouffville/Lincolnville line.
This problem also applies to those in Richmond Hill who seek and extension of the Yonge line.
Steve: The thread name “Transit fantasy maps” says it all.
I would be surprised if very many people even know how many cities there are in the world (in the thousands) let alone anyone having analysed whether or not their busiest lines intersect. Also don’t forget that our two busiest subway lines (considering that we pretty much have only two subway lines to begin with) intersect at three different nearby stations and so that reduces the bottleneck at each. As Andre S points out, there are many cities around the world with only two lines which happen to intersect (please look at developing countries with small yet world class and growing transit networks).
I never mentioned anything about Scarborough being poor.
And you hope to meet over half of travel demands with only one line? What happened to your talk about building networks? Scarborough needs a network of subway lines. Extending the Bloor-Danforth subway eastwards is only Phase One.
I have capitalised ‘ALL’ to show emphasis. How will the DRL provide capacity relief to those travelling between Kipling and Keele stations? How will the DRL provide capacity relief to those travelling between Kennedy and Victoria Park stations? How will the DRL provide capacity relief to those travelling between Downsview and Lawrence West stations? You are trying to overstate the benefits of the DRL – something that you have accused Scarborough subway supporters of doing.
Steve: As you very well know, the use of “poor” is not referring to economics, but to a mock sadness. However, the economic case has also been made by others suggesting that “rich” downtown is calling the shots.
I do not talk of building only one line, but of contrasting the benefit of the DRL with the SSE. Of course there should be a network. Where we disagree is in claiming that it should be all subway. Transit City was a network of LRT lines, one of which (the SRT replacement) would have operated at almost the same speed because of the exclusive right-of-way and wider station spacing that a street-running line.
The DRL will not provide relief to the entire network, but relief is not required at the same level between Downsview and Lawrence West (which has so much surplus capacity that only half of the trains turn back from Glencairn in the AM peak) as on Yonge, especially if that line is extended north to Richmond Hill. Similarly, the BD line is not stuffed beyond capacity and safety west of Keele Station.
There are other ways to reduce bottleneck at the Bloor-Yonge station than building a DRL. Perhaps, we can bring back the streetcar line on Yonge. Is the Yonge subway tunnel strong enough to handle that? If not, then we can bring incentives for people to transfer at Spadina and/or St George. Perhaps free hugs from supermodels at the Spadina tunnel?
Steve: Now you really are getting ridiculous. The problem with capacity on Yonge will not be solved by a downtown streetcar, but by diverting passengers away from that junction in the first place. The junction at St. George is very well used and backs up in the morning peak when there is the slightest delay on service coming south from Spadina. This will only get worse when the line opens to Vaughan and attracts more riders, although that will provide temporary relief at Yonge. The next relief will come when the TTC can bring the headway on Yonge down from 140 seconds to 115 seconds, roughly a 20% improvement if they actually manage to achieve this, something about which I have doubts notably regarding terminal operations. They do not make the scheduled frequency of 140 seconds today on a sustained basis.
People riding in from the Danforth subway to downtown have the option of getting off at Broadview and taking the Dundas or King cars. Very few of them do so, and I doubt that many would take advantage of a surface route on Yonge if it existed. Similarly, demand on the Bay bus does not sustain a very frequent service, and most of the people boarding at Bloor are headed to offices between Wellesley and College, not to the financial district.
Two busy perpendicular lines intersecting isn’t a problem but the fact they intersect outside of the core is a problem.
Well, for example, today all people living around Eglinton in Etobicoke have to take the bus to Bloor (Kipling, Islington, Royal York) to take the TTC downtown. Once the western extension of Eglinton Crosstown is built, they’ll have the option to instead take rapid transit to Eglinton West station on Line 1. Which brings us back to the problem – overcrowding on Line 1. Which means that for true relief, we need a “DRL II” aka “DRL West” – now there is more crowding on the Y part of YUS than on the US part, and the eastern DRL is therefore much more of a priority – but you get the point. You have a bunch of people today busing into either Line 1 or Line 2 (and then transferring to Line 1 at Bloor-Yonge) that would instead use the DRL. So, owing to network effects, the DRL can end up helping everybody (at least on the eastern side of the network).
As for Kipling – Keele, as someone who takes this stretch every day, let me reiterate what Steve said: there is no capacity issue on the Kipling – Keele stretch. The subway half-empties out at Keele and High Park going westwards, even during rush hour going back home I know that after Keele or High Park, I can find a seat, despite entering an absolutely packed train at St. George. Ditto in the morning in the other direction, it only really gets super crowded in the rush hour once you get to High Park.
To add to my previous comments – a DRL is absolutely essential in the medium/long run if Toronto is to expand use of rapid transit. I remember when the Sheppard line opened, how the then TTC chairman (or maybe some other TTC bigwig, I can’t remember) complained that this is now a problem, since the Yonge line did not have the capacity to absorb the extra passengers that will be attracted by the Sheppard line (!). We have a bottleneck at the heart of the network, and it makes no sense to build rapid transit lines all over the place if they will just attract more riders that will make that bottleneck worse. We have to remove the bottleneck. Especially if you are building rapid transit out to the suburbs, this will primarily encourage more people to take the TTC downtown to work – and to what, get them stuck in the core of the network? Then the people give up, and you have a bunch of underused lines on the periphery which aren’t bringing in enough people to make them worthwhile. Alternative paths to downtown are required, not just stuffing more people in an overfilled existing tube.
When you look at this option against the transfer LRT I would much rather see the subway to Scarborough Center. Unfortunate we couldn’t find a cheaper route or construction alternatives for the subway to add stops. Oh well, thus is the Political reality we live in. Time to get building
CP24 said that this is ninth time that council is voting on the Scarborough subway. If and when the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) is approved, I hope that you will keep supporting more and more debate and votes on it until it either fails a vote or until it passes the vote a minimum of nine times. This is not about subway vs LRT but about the simple lack of respect for democracy by Downtowners who refuse to accept that the Scarborough subway has been repeatedly approved by successively democratically elected governments at all three levels of government. I actually didn’t mind LRT until I saw how Downtowners are trying to overturn democracy for their own selfish interests (more money for their own DRL subway by spending less on Scarborough).
Steve: Please stop whining. Remember that many of the multiple decisions arise from the on-again, off-again nature of transit planning for Scarborough and for all of Toronto. The DRL has been on maps from an era when much of Scarborough was farmland. People who would benefit from this line including residents of Don Mills and Thorncliffe Park, not just “downtowners”.
A comment by “Andy” left in the wrong thread has been moved here:
There never was any doubt in my mind that the Scarborough subway will be approved a million times if it were voted upon a million times. A great amount of money has already been spent on engineering studies for the Scarborough subway and as Joe M rightly points out, it is time to get building as it is the single most important transit project that the GTA needs followed closely by the need to extend the Yonge Line to Richmond Hill.
Is that an alternative fact? Much more had already been spent on the SRT upgrade than the 5% design for the SSE.
Steve: Yes. As reported at Executive Committee, spending to the end of 2016 on the SSE stood at $44 million. This compares to about $85 million on the SLRT.
Let’s hope that no further votes are demanded by Scarborough opponents. It’s not that we can’t demonstrate the support that we have across all spectrums of society as well as across all levels of government, it’s just that it’s a waste of time and money to endlessly debate and vote on something that is a done deal. Excellent decision by our elected representatives, let us build the Scarborough subway that should have been built fifty years ago but better late than never.
Are you nuts?!?!?! Scarborough does NOT NEED a “network of subway lines.” Scarborough DOES NEED a TRANSIT NETWORK, which is composed of buses, LRT and, perhaps 100 years from now, more of your precious Scarborough Subway Extension beyond Scarborough Town Centre. Don’t you dare waste more money on fantasy subway lines that the City cannot currently afford while northern Etobicoke residents (Rexdale, Thistletown, Humber Summit) are stuck on buses trying to get south to the Bloor-Danforth line before they even start their trek eastward towards the downtown core or beyond.
The only thing “poor” about Scarborough is the decisions they made as a political entity with regards to development, with the help of Metro Council, encouraging tracts of residential growth without considering transit options beyond the Kingston Road corridor, assuming, as Metro Council did at the time, that the Car was King. (The planned Scarborough Expressway was cancelled in the 1960s and even if it had been built, it wouldn’t have reached north of Hwy 401, cutting out the same areas that are still not well served by transit today in the north/north-east/eastern reaches of the area.) “Poor Scarborough” (a term Steve used not referring to economics, but to a mock sadness) should be fighting their own councillors for proper transit – which means ALL forms, not only costly subway – to move people around the entire landmass that it covers.
Councillors like Scarborough’s own Glenn De Baeremaeker, who have no business planning public transit, continue to beat the drum about how Scarborough is ignored by the rest of the city (the “Wall of Hatred”) and that they “deserve” a subway like the folks going to York University and Vaughan do on the Spadina Extension (benefits to North York, which already has its Sheppard Line). Is that just like Etobicoke does? (Bloor subway is only in the central part, ignoring north areas and the Lakeshore strip to the south) Or East York does? (Woodbine, Main and Victoria Park Stations are only on the south-eastern fringes). Here’s a lovely YouTube video, spliced together by the person who posted it, showing Glenn DeB in 2012 (pro-Sheppard LRT per Transit City) and then in 2014 when he got wind that a subway to Scarborough Town Centre just might be a real possibility (never mind the cost or any other pesky details):
You ain’t getting the TENS (HUNDREDS?) OF BILLIONS of dollars needed to plop down the dozens of subway stations that would be needed to start covering the part of the 72.5 square miles where there isn’t anything more than the current useless and soon to be demolished RT or “slow-moving, crowded” bus routes to create your “network of subway lines.” And even if you did, what about the rest of the 3 million people living in what is now the MegaCity of Toronto? At least the Downtown Relief Line, once built, would be a way for folks, especially in the northwest corner of Scarborough to use an alternate route to travel into the downtown core without crowding the currently jammed Yonge line. And, as has been said on this blog numerous times before, good luck with the even worse crowding on the Bloor-Danforth Line before the DRL is built to siphon off some of the riders heading westward and/or downtown.
Oh, and if Rob Ford hadn’t stuck his nose into things with his “War on the Car!” and “Subways, subways, subways!” crap, the *network of transit (not subway) lines* known as the Sheppard LRT and also the Finch West LRT (this latter to the benefit of those poor – economically and tragically-ignored-by-transit – residents of North Etobicoke) would now be built and running, which would also free up more buses that could be used in the northern reaches of Scarborough to improve transit to those residents.
Any modern, progressive city in North America and Europe (see Montreal, London, etc.) knows that networks aren’t all about subways ONLY but about ACCESS to commuters and transit users who use the system for a variety of reasons – door-to-door; more fine-grained, multiple-stop trips; commuting, etc. – and that these have to be reflected by the network layout and the variety of vehicles to meet those needs. Not everyone needs a subway all the time and designing the system that way – and tying up scarce transit funds to meet only that need – dismisses thousands of other users as they try to make their way around this large, complex and busy metropolitan area.
As far as the rich downtowners calling the shots, I think the voting public needs to be asking hard questions of all the councillors, whether situated in the core or inner/outer suburbs when it comes to spending money most effectively to improve transit in the city as a whole.
I think this comment is valid. The worst though is Brad Duguid, the real cause of the problem.
I look at this as a true human tragedy. There are so many traces that Mayor Tory knows better but made a political calculation instead of doing the right thing. His moral failure makes the next generations of Torontonians pay. There has been no grandstanding by Counsillor Ainslie, he has stuck to principles all nine votes.
Everyone here wants to blame specific Councillors as the “real cause of the problem”. They are all self serving and depending on where you live and what your strong opinion is you will believe the ones you want. There are truly good points on both sides of the debate, and it could go on forever and when would it end? What would the costs be of any plan at that point, I can guarantee not what they are now or quoted a decade ago.
Bottom line we have an unfortunate divide to work thru, the Politics couldn’t be more clear. if we don’t all take a bit of a loss & move on from this damn debate the City will have far bigger issues and questionable $savings by that time anyway. We can all be upset and many on both sides with this current plan but that not going help the City move forward to focus on the many other projects that are also needed.
If the subway built initially we certainly wouldn’t have had this problem, If they didn’t shower North York,with subways and extend the subway to Vaughan MC we might not have had this problem. Had funding been provided the SMLRT & LRT to Malvern TC initially we might not have had this problem, if the DRL was funded maybe the SSE would not have been so dire to oppose from core Torontonians. There are many other reasons obviously we all have our favorites that have been debated endlessly, but they did all happen and this the reality.
This isn’t a vote for Tory by any means. It’s a vote to spend less time and resources delaying further and tell your local Councillor to start focusing energy on other things. Improving the subway for savings or adding stops is all that we should be focusing on at this point. If we can simply agree to disagree and just support the projects on the table we can pressure the Politicians above a bit more to hopefully can make it happen. Much better than the alternative.
Or we can roll the dice, continue to fight internally against 95% support of Scarborough council and let the Province and Federal Governments all off the hook with no real benefit to anyone in this City.
I don’t know why Downtown councillors keep reopening the already settled Scarborough subway debate when their constituents are not even paying for it. The people of Scarborough pay their taxes and as such, we (the people of Scarborough) are paying for this subway extension and I don’t see why outsiders should object to it. We don’t have people from Mississauga or Brampton (except one) objecting to it, so why should people from Downtown object to it? I just don’t get it. Please clarify.
Steve: Actually, the vast majority of tax revenue in Toronto comes from Downtown and the “old” City of Toronto, not from Scarborough. Metro News did a piece on this recently. The three downtown wards pay almost as much residential property tax as all of Scarborough.
There is also a huge amount of commercial tax raised downtown. This revenue and the employment it represents justifies higher investment in rapid transit for the core area.
And folks outside of Toronto are none-too-happy about all of “their” tax dollars going to subsidize projects in the 416. Hell, they won’t even pay a toll on the DVP.
And, yes, you just don’t get it.
Thank you for your response!
Steve: Actually, the vast majority of tax revenue in Toronto comes from Downtown and the “old” City of Toronto, not from Scarborough.
But nobody is asking to spend the vast majority of Toronto tax revenue in Scarborough. Scarborough subway over the course of its design and construction life-cycle would cost only a very small proportion of the Toronto tax revenue raised during the same period.
And so, Downtown does get vastly more spent on transit as well as every other public infrastructure. I don’t know what your complaint is, that ALL Toronto taxes should be spent in Downtown?
Steve: Well, actually, downtown does not get most of the transit infrastructure. The last two subways were built in North York. There has not been a new subway downtown since 1966.
You are right about the 905 subsidising the 416. Consider PRESTO as one of countless examples. I would much rather that 905 tax dollars are spent in the 905 rather than in the 416 which is simply not fair.
Steve: Actually, Presto is not self-supporting. They want to get their hands on Toronto’s potential revenue stream to prop up the relatively high cost of serving the 905. As for fairness, please explain how Vaughan gets away with paying almost nothing toward the operating cost of the TYSSE from which they will get great benefit. A sweetheart deal from Queen’s Park, of course.
Well, actually, that’s because Downtown got it’s lion share of the subways BEFORE anyone else. Also, Scarborough has gotten almost nothing.
Steve: When downtown got its subways, much of Scarborough was farmland. Not exactly subway territory.
Scarborough can’t refund you that money as almost nothing of it has actually been spent on the Scarborough subway which is still being opposed by Downtown councillors after having been approved UMPTEEN times by all three levels of democratically elected governments. If you want a refund, then please ask your mayor who hails from Downtown and Downtown controls all Toronto taxes and services. We will definitely pay for our own subway 100% by a special Scarborough only tax if you can refund Scarborough for the massive number of subway stations, streetcar infrastructure and vehicles, etc present in Downtown that we have helped to pay for over the years.
But back then nobody in Scarborough said that they wanted a subway. Scarborough is very densely populated now which is exactly subway territory many times more deserving than the sparsely populated Pape where you are demanding a Downtown Relief Line.
Steve: For the umpteenth time, I don’t “Want” a subway along low density Pape, but continuing north to serve Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Parks, the major new developments at Eglinton and Don Mills, and high density areas further north on Sheppard. This route would also serve riders on the bus routes in western Scarborough and eastern North York who could use it for a direct trip to downtown. Pape is simply the route to get from Queen/Eastern north into East York.
And, by the way, Thorncliffe/Flemingdon are more densely populated than Scarborough.