by Markus O'Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

As the City begins to advance work on Yonge Street following the Council vote in December, there are other major infrastructure projects in the works that need to be carefully monitored and coordinated with this work.  Metrolinx, Ontario’s provincial transit agency, continues to advance work on the Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE) with several reports passing through Council in recent months. The YNSE is one of four priority transit expansion projects that were taken over by the Province of Ontario in 2019.

Metrolinx continues to target the opening of the YNSE by 2029-30.  We expect public consultation meetings to be scheduled over the next few months as Metrolinx completes a preliminary business case to determine the final configuration of the line and total number of additional stations. We will announce any notices through John’s newsletter, but updates can also be found online here via Metrolinx.

In addition to coordinating the eventual construction work with REimagine Yonge and the Beecroft North Extension to minimize disruption, we must also keep an eye on another transit project, the Ontario Line (formerly the Relief Line).  John has repeatedly ensured that it is the City’s policy on record that the YNSE would not open until the Ontario Line, running from the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place, has been completed to address overcrowding on Yonge. The Ontario Line planning is currently tracking about 9 months ahead of the YNSE, but this could take a turn as the planning involved in the Ontario Line is likely to be more complicated.

John was concerned this week when recommendations went to Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee asking that any road or sidewalk closures related to the NYSE, up to a year in length, be at the discretion of City staff without the local councillor even being notified. John believes that the public should expect that its elected representative would have input on decisions of this magnitude.  He’s also aware that by having some input on these closures, we can ensure that pressure from the 905 doesn’t accelerate the NYSE timeline before capacity issues are addressed.

Expanding our transportation network is a much needed, and long overdue project to help support the thousands of new residents who will continue to move into our community. Ensuring that the construction disruptions are coordinated and mitigated to any extent possible, is critical for the tens of thousands who live here already.