Ontario Line Open Houses

Metrolinx will hold four open houses on the Ontario Line later in January. All events run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Thursday, January 23rd
Ontario Science Centre Telus Room
770 Don Mills Road
North York, ON

Monday, January 27th
Ryerson University Tecumseh Auditorium
55 Gould Street
Toronto, ON

Tuesday, January 28th
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Social Hall
115 Simpson Avenue
Toronto, ON

Wednesday, January 29th
Exhibition Place Beanfield Centre
Room 201 ABC
105 Princes’ Boulevard
Toronto, ON

It is not clear how much of this will be simply a dog-and-pony show with whatever design info they have pulled together by then, or if there will be real opportunities for community input.

[Source: Metrolinx Ontario Line Page]

23 thoughts on “Ontario Line Open Houses

  1. If, and it’s a big If, they build this route as shown, it will definitely be an asset to the overall transit network of the city. An ego project sure, but once he’s gone we still get to have the line. Unless he cancels the construction when he gets voted out.

    Steve: More to the point, what happens to the project if the cost turns out to be substantially above the estimate? Will a chunk (such as downtown to Exhibition) fall off? (The north end is needed as it provides access to the proposed yard north of Thorncliffe Park.)

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  2. This is exciting news. Finally a much needed transit project is moving forward. Any updates on the Scarborough subway? Should be nearing start of construction. Good news for all transit riders everywhere and for all those who believe in global warming and climate change.

    Steve: The SSE or L2EE (depending on which acronym you prefer) is nowhere near starting construction. It has not even been designed yet thanks to the change of route and addition of two stations. The province projects completion in 2029-2030, but I would not place any bets on that date.

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  3. Metrolinx hasn’t been very forthcoming about the fact that the Ontario Line involves the construction of a giant 15m tall wall through east Toronto. How are people supposed to comment if Metrolinx won’t even provide an artist rendering? I’ve tried making some rough visualizations of it myself though.

    Steve: Of course the stations such as Gerrard and Queen would be much more imposing as these would have to be built somehow adjacent to the rail corridor. I think Metrolinx is totally out to lunch on this, but we saw the same attitude from the Ontario Government 50 years ago with their plans for elevated trains and stations for the technology that would eventually become the SRT. They never wanted to show drawings of stations because they were too massive, and the guideways were always seen across an open space to be less imposing than the view from below. But some bright spark at Metrolinx has convinced our Premier Doug that this is the way to build his legacy, and it will be very hard to stop especially if they manage to have a contract to build it signed while he is still in office.

    Metrolinx wants to release an RFQ in Spring 2020, with an RFP in Summer/Fall, and “financial close” in Winter/Spring 2022 before the next election. Given recent news about industry pushback on other big P3 schemes, it will be interesting to see what, if any, interest they get in the OL project, and how badly it will go over budget.

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  4. “Finally a much needed transit project is moving forward.”

    I understand the original Relief Line project was well past this point in the process, having already done public consultations. Ford’s reset means starting again from the beginning.

    Steve: The name Ford is synonymous with delay, not with progress, but I didn’t want to be too nasty about it.

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  5. I believe the key selling point (to the people doing the selling and the gov’t doing the buying) to the Ontario Line is the cross platform transfers at the Ex and East Harbour. The problem is, I see minimal value in these. As long as the transfer from GO to OL is easier than the Union Station transfer (which shouldn’t be hard), riders will use the OL. Making the transfer that much more convenient yields minimal marginal benefit.

    In terms of cost savings, I imagine the savings from having ~2km elevated is nearly offset by the cost of elevating and going under again, and the portals. In my mind, the ~2016 Relief Line route was better – Eastern Ave with one turn to Pape. I think the Carlaw jog, that was added to appease a few locals, added a few extra curves to the line, and forced a much deeper construction to go under and parallel to the Carlaw sewer. Just crossing under the sewer at 90 degrees and going up Pape would have likely made the stations at Broadview, Queen, and Gerrard all shallower and cheaper. I also suspect the track connection at Pape also added some significant costs.

    Across Millwood and Thorncliffe, I can see a cost saving argument for elevation.

    Through Downtown, I have wondered whether a Richmond route would have been preferable to Queen – mostly to reduce disruption to the Queen Streetcar during construction, and realizing that Richmond is less than 100m from Queen.

    In the West, it would be very nice if they could also connect with the Liberty Village GO station on the Kitchener Line. This would likely be by just continuing west along Queen/Richmond and curving south on ~Dovercourt, with N-S aligned stations at Liberty and Exhibition.

    One final point – I think Eglinton Construction has shown Toronto that TBM construction is the clean, hassle free construction it was touted to be. I say we look at cut-and-cover again – with a modern twist. Cut-and-cover gives us shallower stations which greatly reduce the cost, and construction duration. Then use pre-cast tunnel components (which didn’t exist when Yonge was built) for the cut-and-cover portions to speed this potentially disruptive process.

    Steve: The whole idea of the Ex and East Harbour transfers appears to be related to a concern that Union Station will fill up, and that riders on the Lake Shore GO corridor should be diverted, at least in part, to a separate line across downtown. It is not for people to change from OL inbound to GO, but vice versa. That said, the scheme would still depend on there being no fare differential for a trip taken with a transfer between the two lines, as opposed to just staying on GO or on the OL as the case may be.

    I’m not sure about the depth of stations on the Riverdale segment of the Relief line. At Broadview, the elevation is dictated by the depth of the river crossing and other local features quite separate from whatever might happen further east. Without question, the proposed connection at Pape is a mess, and one might argue that the original plan to go north further east, along the west side of Greenwood Yard had merits. That decision is long in the past.

    The downtown crossing on Queen has problems, and for a time there was a route via Front/Wellington that was considered. However the line was pushed further north for a combination of political and technical reasons.

    As for bored tunnels vs cut-and-cover, did you mean to say that TBM construction is not what it was touted to be? Otherwise, you seem to say it’s a good, not a bad thing. What you don’t take into account is that some of your alignment is not directly under streets, and therefore demolition at the surface would be needed. Also I am not sure just how easy it would be to get precast segments into position along the alignment.

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  6. Wonder if a supply of napkins and crayons will be supplied? If they supply refreshments, they better have an extra stack of napkins, in case we bring our own crayons.

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  7. 1. Agree that Metrolinx goal is to have transfers from GO to OL – but if that’s the case than a Liberty Village station would make sense to catch the Kitchener Line as well.

    2. I looked up the profile, Broadview Station (top of rail elevation) is ~21m below grade (at about the same elevation as the track directly under the Don. At Carlaw Station, this is 30m below grade. At Gerrard, this becomes 40m below grade, because there was not enough opportunity to raise the profile after leaving the Carlaw corridor. It does it’s best to raise at a rather steep 3.36% until Pape, which is 30m below grade with a slightly high 7m from underside of B-D Line station box to top of OL station box. Somehow I sense those 2 intermediate stations could have been raised by about 10m and 20m if the Carlaw alignment was not used.

    3. I have always though that Wellington should be reserved for a GO tunnel. I understand the political desire to use Queen, and that’s where I thought maybe Richmond would serve the same general area as Queen, but make disruption of the Queen streetcar much less. Eglinton has shown us that public disruptions and complaints are a factor when construction lasts 5+ years.

    4. Oops – I left out the “TBM is NOT the clean process”.

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  8. Is that “John” a bot or shill for the Cons and Construction Interests/Devilopers?? Because it is a rather dumb comment about the climate link – it’s really stupid to build such a disastrous over-build in to Scarborough at such great cost and incredible material demands – concrete is NOT measured in EAs nor in the CIty’s GHG profile – and it will only overload the Danforth end of Line 2 more, if it gets built, and if it attracts more riders at c. $1.5 M each new rider.
    As for the overall project, it should be reset again to focus on surface transit up to Eglinton, in a triage attempt, via surface in Don Valley and yes, bypassing any link with Line 2 and Riverdale making fast transit to core, perhaps leaving Don at Gerrard area. If we had a smart provincial government worried about squeezing billions and climate vs. Morontario, possible connection to GO at north end via what is now a Rail Trail. Some form of this surface relief was in OP of Metro c. 1995, but hey, it’s transit vs. more roads/cars, and we’re dominated by the ‘carservatives’, who tend to be in all political parties, sigh.

    Steve: I believe that “John” is one of many pseudonyms used by a normally very insulting Scarborough/Ford booster whose posts are usually deleted.

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  9. Is there any reliable listing of how deep various Toronto subway stations are below grade, to give us a feel for the depths being discussed?

    Also, I fail to see the point of trolling this blog as do certain individuals who generally proclaim the Splendour of Scarborough. The first time someone posts in a way that sounds confused and unclear on the facts, people will try to respond as if they are dealing with someone it’s worthwhile engaging with. By the fourth or fifth post — and they all have a certain, immediately-identifiable style — regular readers know that they are worth a one-line rebuttal, if that. And I imagine regular readers make up a lot of the traffic here.

    Steve: Almost all of the Splendour of Scarborough posts include insulting, sexist, racist or otherwise inappropriate material and they are deleted. On rare occasions, one comes in from a recognizable source that is actually temperate in language and I let it through.

    As for depth of stations, no I don’t know of a public listing of this info. It is certainly on the City’s detailed maps for utility and construction planning, but (a) that would be organized by site, and (b) I don’t believe this is open for free access.

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  10. Regarding Station Depths, I found some plans that were posted a few years back, and are listed as preliminary – and I only found Allen Station to Laird (8 stations total). These vary from 16m to 23m (ground level to track level), with Chaplin and Mount Pleasant being the shallowest and Avenue being the deepest. Also, there is 4m between the Yonge Line and Eglinton Line station boxes.

    These numbers should give you an idea of how deep those Relief Line stations were planned to be. Also, based on the limited info I have from the YUS intersections, Yonge/Eglinton, Queen, and Osgoode stations are all about 10m or 11m deep. This gives an idea of how much deeper TBM construction is compared to cut-and-cover. Another thing to remember, soil pressure varies, just like water, with depth, so not only is there more concrete and more levels to construct, there are also thicker structural members, with more reinforcing steel and more time to construct.

    Steve: Sorry, I thought you were looking for existing station depths on the network, not for new build stations where there are plans as part of the EA process. The Relief Line stations and tunnel profile were detailed in public documents, and these are reproduced in my article from April 2018.

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  11. Yes, just wondering how the new stations would compare to the ones we are using right now. I know that St Patrick and Queen’s Park are bored stations and pretty deep, although I don’t use them that frequently. Dundas West has a long haul up to the mezzanine, even though, a short distance west, the tracks come aboveground and then are elevated.

    Stations don’t quite seem as deep if the platform to surface journey has several legs, but that just increases the cost of installing escalators or elavators. I assume that, unlike Dundas West, there would need to be escalators in both directions. (Dundas West has only escalators going up from the platform to the mezzanine. I don’t actually remember how many escalators there are between the mezzanine and the streetcar/bus platform and the station building [and McDonalds!].)

    Steve: There is a single up escalator between the eastbound and westbound platforms and the mezzanine, and a single up escalator from the mezzanine to street level.

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  12. The Ontario line should be build to accommodate/ upgradable to fit current subway technology in case down the future Ford’s vision is a total disaster. Avoiding, what happen to the SRT should be a learning lesson for everyone. Once we dig the tunnels, we cannot make them wider. In event of poor design or poor political vision, we can at least demolish above grade track and realigned the route by replacing it with a tunnel in the future. But again the tunnels are pretty much permanent. We can use the same approach with the Eglinton crosstown. If this is a requirement then perhaps shortening the route to Queen to Ontario Science Centre should be considered to save money.

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  13. Is the plan still to have the Ontario line using technology and gauge that is incompatible with the rest of the subway system? Insanely stupid…

    Steve wrote: “The name Ford is synonymous with delay, not with progress, but I didn’t want to be too nasty about it.”

    No kidding. Transit City would have been completed right now if it had not been cancelled by Rob Ford. That would have fundamentally transformed Toronto for the better.

    Interesting how I keep using the words, “Insanely stupid.”

    And not just Toronto. The Hamilton LRT would also have dramatically transformed Hamilton for the better. Last month’s cancellation of the Hamilton LRT after spending 11 years and $184 million on design work and property acquisition of 60 full properties was … yes … insanely stupid.

    As to being nasty, my relationship with the Ford brothers took a permanent turn for the worse when I was labelled as a “Pinko, bicycle riding, latte-sipping member of the downtown elite.” Pinko? I guess that 1950’s insults should be expected from people who just do not understand how cities work in the 21st century.

    After the last provincial election, I wrote an article about how Doug Ford would keep some of his more mathematically incoherent promises about cutting $10 billion in taxes without cutting any government employees or programs AND, at the same time, eliminating the deficit and balancing the budget.

    Steve: You are obviously not a fan of Don Cherry and his insulting introduction of Rob Ford’s reign at City Hall.

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  14. “No kidding. Transit City would have been completed right now if it had not been cancelled by Rob Ford. That would have fundamentally transformed Toronto for the better.”

    Don’t forget McGuinty. If he had promptly resumed the process when Council reversed Ford’s cancellation in 2012, the Sheppard line would have been open now for several years and the SRT replacement would be well along (maybe even open; I don’t remember all the details). Ford caused a less than 2 year delay; the rest is McGuinty and his government dragging their heels.

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  15. I won’t be able to attend any of the open houses. I wonder if any attendees will discuss alternative western alignments. Turning down Bathurst rather than continuing west seems bizarre to me – so many lost opportunities.

    Steve: I will be surprised if anyone from Metrolinx is capable of doing anything beyond saying “here is the plan, isn’t it great”, never mind discussing alternatives. The schedule for this project has no room for changes. That’s part of the Doug Ford way of getting things done without intervention by the pesky public.

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  16. Likely Ford’s reasoning for saying “here is the plan, isn’t it great” is because the only comments received by any opponent has been to revert back fully to the previous Relief Line proposal.

    I suggested various alternatives above, and I am sure they will be ignored. But maybe someone with some clout should have said that the Ford plan had merit, but maybe a closer look was needed for a few short stretches. Since it never happened, we won’t know what could have been.

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  17. Steve said (speculating on Metrolinx’s POV): The schedule for this project has no room for changes.

    Ugh. It almost seems like the bigger our public projects get, the less thought behind them.

    Missing out on a Liberty Village and/or Junction with the Kitchener Line, if GO relief is the intent, is criminal. Although arguably it could be rescued by a short extension.

    Regardless of terminus, a route along Queen or King seems so much more worthwhile long term than Bathurst.

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  18. Is the OL intended to relieve GO, or to relieve Line 1? Usually, when you try to do too much, you end up achieving none of the objectives very well. The alignment should be developed to ensure, first and foremost, that relief of Line 1 is achieved. Other issues, such as costs, impacts on other parts of the network, including GO, and development opportunities are part of the more detailed analysis of the project as it evolves. Trade-offs can only be assessed properly when the initial objectives remain clear and focused. While I do not have confidence that the OL alignment came about through this process in the first place, it worries me even more that other objectives appear to be creeping into this project. I still can’t quite figure out how spending a lot of money on the western connection to Exhibition Place will contribute proportionately to relief of Line 1.

    Steve: The Exhibition extension has nothing to do with Line 1 relief. I am sure that it is born of mixture of making Ontario Place a viable site for something, plus GO relief. Of course the OL does not actually serve Ontario Pkace, but the “Ontario Line” moniker certainly was concocted with two “Ontario” destinations at either end in mind.

    A particular annoyance in all of the hype is the suggestion by the province that Toronto was somehow missing the boat by only looking at the Relief Line South when much more “relief” is available by continuing north. The fact that the Relief Line North study was under Metrolinx control, and it stopped dead in its tracks, never to be restarted, when the election was called, seems to have escaped them.

    Between The Ontario Line and John Tory’s Smart Track, planning for transit in Toronto has been badly gerrymandered for several years.

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  19. I really hope Verster shows up so I can let him have it, but I doubt it since he’s a douche who likes to hide.

    Recently I spent a week enduring the world’s most inefficient transfer (Canary Wharf tube to Canary Wharf/Herron Quays DLR). If they are still proposing such a transfer at Eglinton then I think they need lobotomies. It’s in their presentation decks for how elevated stations can be beautiful when integrated into buildings but I doubt for a second any of them realize that it is 250m from the west street-level entrance of Canary Wharf tube station to the escalators inside a building that lead to the DLR station. Herron Quays (mistakenly underused) is 100m away, but these measurements are assuming you could walk in a straight diagonal line… they don’t take into account you have to zigzag outdoors (or even longer indoors if you use their PATH-like underground walkways), nor do they take into account that the Tube station is arguably 2-3 stories below the earth (the concourse is actually quite high up the train platform and one level down from street), and the DLR runs at least one level above ground. Nor do they tell you in the aerial shot of the Canary Wharf tube station that the station is so wide because they have a 3rd middle track which they use for trainset turnbacks.

    The deck they used for their September meetings and discussions (mostly internal) is literally a grade 2 student’s copy and paste job of photos to supplement their arguments for elevated rail. There are pictures of some other I believe Japanese and Korean elevated lines but Metrolinx stupidly forgets that Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul have a land availability problem – those cities are so densely built that one needs to be creative. Toronto is wide-open and monorail/Skytrain like structures aren’t needed at this time. Not to mention you have to tear down the entire station if you want to make the platform longer when ridership demand unsafely exceeds space. Which is why as much as we shake our heads for the TTC overbuilding the Line 4 platforms (for 6-car trainsets), that was actually the smartest move since the Prince Edward Viaduct was built 75ish years earlier.

    The argument for elevation in the north end is silly. You use an elevated structure to go through areas with limited space. One can argue that with the “province” building it and the OSC being “provincial land” that they could cut & cover up Don Mills once the track curves onto it as Don Mills is wide enough and they are only sacrificing a section from Overlea to Eglinton. It might actually be the fastest and least PERMANENTLY disruptive way to build the line (trust me, an elevated structure up the middle of Don Mills is as ugly and stupid as it gets … and with Ford and the PC Backroom cronies only having a kindergarten-level education, you can’t expect more from them). If they coordinated the contracts appropriately, that cut & cover section of Don Mills could actually be built in <18 months, and depending on its exact alignment, one can safely presume that Don Mills will still have one lane per direction open on the east side of the street.

    When did Metrolinx become a provincial b*tch? Makes you wonder when it will run independently and tell the province what to do and has to pay for rather than the other way around. Might as well abolish it. I respect the CRTC much more than them!

    Steve: Metrolinx is a willing participant in this. The idea of “independence” doesn’t work. Metrolinx can wring its hands, privately, about political interference, and the pols can point to professional advice for whatever they do. Each gets to hide behind the other as needed.

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  20. Someone also needs to blast Verster for his actions on the Davenport grade separation if his cronies even so much as hint at the elevated guideway being beautiful once it’s dressed up.

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