Keeping track of the city’s transit priorities has become a difficult task – even for those of us who vote to set the priorities. However, an update on one of the most critical files at City Hall:
The new Line 1 subway extension from the Sheppard West Station (at Downsview) to Vaughan Centre is expected to open by the end of this year.
Construction is underway, via Metrolinx, for both the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch West LRT (from the new Finch West station to Humber College) with openings planned for 2021.
Funding has been approved for detailed planning of SmartTrack. This project builds upon Metrolinx’s GO Regional Express Rail program including significant increases in off-peak service on existing lines and adding six new stations in the City. Completion is expected around 2025.
The much-debated one-stop Scarborough Subway extension received Council approval to move forward through the detailed planning stage. John has not supported this subway, much preferring the LRT option which served far more riders, with many more stops, at much less cost. This project will go another round at Council again before funding is finalized.
In June, Council approved funds to undertake design work for an east “relief line” to ease congestion on the Yonge St. subway line. This new line would run between Pape station on Line 2 (Danforth) and Queen/Osgoode stations on Line 1 (Yonge/University). Council also requested a report on extending the relief line north to Fairview Mall.
Also in June, Council approved moving forward with design work on an extension of the Yonge line north to Richmond Hill. In doing so, Council also adopted John’s motion requiring that the relief line be in place before the Yonge North extension adds more riders to the already-crowded system.
There are no plans however to extend the Sheppard Subway west along Sheppard to connect with the Sheppard West station. When looking at a map, this may appear to be an obvious missing link but the high cost (especially to cross the West Don Valley) relative to the small increase in new ridership or added capacity makes this a very low priority with transit planners. Support for it has been encouraged by land speculators who think they’ll be able to get approval for bigger buildings on Sheppard West if a subway is running underneath it.