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A rapid transit subway under Eglinton?

This week, various media and local politicians have speculated about the possibility of a subway — rather than a Transit City light rail line — under Eglinton Avenue between Toronto Pearson Air Terminal and Kennedy Station.

The speculation stems from Metrolinx’ green paper on transit options for the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. Although that document supports the LRT on Eglinton, it does offer alternative scenarios for developing more rapid transit lines — including:

  • building a subway under Eglinton;
  • building a subway along the King Street / Queen Street corridor in downtown Toronto;
  • extending the Sheppard subway west to Downsview and east to Scarborough Centre; and
  • extending the Yonge subway north to Richmond Hill Centre Terminal.

Since the City of Toronto and TTC would likely build a tunnel to carry Eglinton Crosstown LRT vehicles under Eglinton between Laird and Trethewey Drives, local politicians have jumped on the issue, asking if, since the line would be underground, building a full-fledged subway would be more practical.

The cost of building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT would likely be around $2.2 billion, while a subway would likely cost around $6 billion.

Building a subway under Eglinton is not a new idea. The TTC’s Network 2011 plan contained a proposal for just such a line between Eglinton West Station and Black Creek Drive, with a future connection along Eglinton to Renforth Drive and then to the Pearson Air Terminal.

Work had already started before the Ontario government withdrew funding for the project in 1995.

You can find James Bow’s history of the failed Eglinton West subway project in the Transit Toronto archives here.

You can read the Globe and Mail’s article on the possibility of an Eglinton subway here.

You can read Metrolinx’ green paper on transit options in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton here.

Steve Munro comments about the Eglinton subway idea on his website here.