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City, province nudge relief line
closer to reality



This week, both the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto nudged the relief line subway project a few millimetres along its journey from the drawing board to reality.

On the provincial side, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Stephen Del Duca and Metrolinx’ chief executive officer Bruce McCuaig met Toronto Mayor John Tory and the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission Councillor Josh Colle at the TTC’s Greenwood subway yards to announce that the province would help fund planning and designing the route and station locations.

According to an Ontario news release, “Ontario’s transit agency Metrolinx will be receiving more than $150 million to work with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on advancing the planning and design work that will ensure the proposed line is shovel ready…”

The future line would link the east end of the TTC’s 2 Bloor - Danforth subway line more directly with downtown Toronto and, the news release explains, “help manage congestion on the Yonge Subway line.”

Meanwhile, at a public information meeting this week, City planners presented what may be the final alignment for the future line — or at least the alignment they prefer the most.

Approved Corridor.png

Earlier this year, the City approved a general route for the new line — south from Pape Station and then westerly along Queen or Richmond Streets to the area near City Hall. Staff examined six options to refine the general route.

Alignment options east of the Don Valley connect from Pape Station along:

  • the GO corridor (G); or
  • Queen Street (Q); or
  • Eastern Avenue (E).

West of the Don Valley, into downtown, they follow:

  • Queen Street (Q); or
  • Richmond Street (R).

This results in the six options:

  • AQ — from Pape Station to downtown via Queen Street;
  • GQ — from Pape Station to downtown via the GO corridor and Queen Street;
  • EQ — from Pape Station to downtown via Eastern Avenue and Queen Street;
  • AR — from Pape Station to downtown via Richmond Street;
  • GR — from Pape Station to downtown via the GO corridor and Richmond Street; and
  • ER — from Pape Station to downtown via Eastern Avenue and Richmond Street.

The latest version of the plan no longer relies on a single downtown station at Bay Street and Nathan Phillips Square to allow passengers to link with the 1 Yonge - University subway. Instead, it would connect with that line at both Queen and Osgoode Stations, eliminating the need for passengers to walk a great distance to transfer between lines.

Map board_low res.jpg

(Click to enlarge map.)

They also identified sites for potential stations. You can see a detailed overview of 14 possible station sites (for all six possible alignments) here.

At meetings this week, the planners strongly favoured alignment EQ. This option introduces a new station near Eastern and Broadview Avenues, allowing access to future development on the former Unilever site and to possible GO Transit and SmartTrack trains.

Following alignment EQ, the line would extend from Pape Station southward under Pape Avenue to Eastern Avenue, westward under Eastern across the Don River, then proceed diagonally northwesterly and then under Queen Streets East and West to University Avenue.

A line on this alignament would includes stations at:

  • Pape and Danforth Avenues — connection with the 2 Bloor - Danforth subway at Pape Station;
  • Pape Avenue and Gerrard Street East — possible connection with GO and SmartTrack trains;
  • Pape Avenue and Queen Street East;
  • Eastern and Broadview Avenues — possible connection with GO and SmartTrack trains;
  • King Street East and Sumach Street;
  • Queen Street East and Sherbourne Street;
  • Queen Street East and Yonge Street — connection with the 1 Yonge - University subway at Queen Station; and
  • Queen Street East and University Avenue — connection with the 1 Yonge - University subway at Osgoode Station.

EQ.jpg

In moving this alignment closer to the final route, City Planning staff noted that the route:

  • serves the greatest number of future residents and jobs;
  • best avoids negative impacts on heritage buildings, Heritage Conservation Districts and main streets;
  • offers the best transit network connections;
  • offers the greatest relief to overcrowding on the streetcar network with interconnections with the King, Queen, Cherry, and Broadview streetcars;
  • provides the most interchanges with SmartTrack / GO regional express rail at Pape and Gerrard and Eastern and Broadview Stations;
  • could improve passenger transfers at Queen and Osgoode stations and reduce transfer times;
  • would likely attract the highest number of new riders to the transit system by 2031 — and even more by 2041;
  • would attract even more riders if it continued further northward.
  • does not provide as much relief to the Yonge line as the other alignments, but it still provides significant relief when factoring in the long-term extension of the line to the north;
  • provides the strongest opportunity for public - private partnership, with possible capital cost-sharing through the redevelopment at Unilever;
  • has less construction impact on private property, especially for the stations at Broadview and Eastern and King and Sumach; and
  • has the lowest potential for transit- and traffic-related impacts during construction by avoiding high traffic and transit areas, especially at Queen - Broadview.

Moreover, staff determined, the stations generally:

  • offer excellent transit-oriented redevelopment opportunities for some older commercial areas; and
  • complement plans for growth and redevelopment.

Some stations on this alignment especially benefited transit riders. For example, the station at Pape - Gerrard could:

  • reconnect neighbourhoods to the north and south by helping overcome the barrier of the GO rail corridor.

The station at Queen and Pape could:

  • if well designed, integrate entrances in the surrounding residential area and improve transit service in Leslieville.

The station at Eastern - Broadview could:

  • improve city-wide transit access to the significant new employment area on the Unilever site.

The station at King - Sumach could:

  • offer a key opportunity for more social infrastructure and community space while bridging the West Don Lands and Regent Park in Corktown;
  • help integrate Corktown communities by reducing the north-south barrier effect of the Richmond / Adelaide overpass and serve northern parts of the West Don Lands.

Alignment AQ — Pape Station to downtown via Queen
  • Fastest route from Danforth to downtown among the options;
  • Greater impacts to transit operations during construction, especially at Queen - Broadview;
  • Indirect connection to Unilever and Portlands from a potential Broadview streetcar extension;
  • Greater impact to main streets and heritage along Queen; and
  • Fewer development opportunities.

AQ.jpg

Alignment GQ — Pape Staton to downtown via GO corridor and Queen
  • Shortest option from Danforth to downtown, but not fastest;
  • Greatest impacts to transit operations during construction, especially at Queen - Broadview;
  • Track and station alignment at Gerrard-Carlaw may impact Riverdale Shopping Centre and reduce redevelopment potential;
  • Indirect connection to Unilever and Portlands from a potential Broadview streetcar extension;
  • Greater impact to established main streets and heritage along Queen;
  • Fewer development opportunities;
  • No station possible in Leslieville.

GQ.jpg

Alignment EQ — Pape Station to downtown via Eastern and Queen

This is now emerging as the likely route for the subway.

  • A station at Eastern - Broadview would serve future employment and integrate with new development;
  • A station at King - Sumach would connect to Cherry and King streetcars, reduce the barrier effect of the Richmond / Adelaide overpass in Corktown and serve the area north of the West Don Lands;
  • The route would impact transit and traffic less during construction than other options; and
  • The route would impact heritage and main streets less than other options.

EQ.jpg

Alignment AR — Pape Station to downtown via Richmond
  • No station possible in Corktown or Leslieville;
  • Connects with Queen and King streetcars at Queen - Broadview;
  • Indirect connection to Unilever and Portlands via potential Broadview streetcar extension;
  • Greater impacts streetcar impacts at Queen - Broadview;
  • Fewer opportunities for development.

AR.jpg

Alignment GR — Pape Station to downtown via GO corridor and Richmond
  • Shortest option from Danforth to downtown, but not fastest;
  • Greatest impacts to transit operations during construction, especially at Queen - Broadview;
  • Track and station alignment at Gerrard-Carlaw may impact Riverdale Shopping Centre and reduce re-development potential;
  • Indirect connection to Unilever and Portlands from a potential Broadview streetcar extension;
  • Greater impact to main streets and heritage along Queen;
  • Fewer development opportunities;
  • No station possible in Leslieville.

GR.jpg

Alignment ER — Pape Station to downtown via Eastern and Richmond
  • Opportunity to serve future employment at Eastern - Broadview and integrate station facility into new development
  • Station at King-Sumach would connect to Cherry and King streetcars, reduce barrier effect of Richmond / Adelaide overpass in Corktown, and serve the north of the West Don Lands
  • Serves Leslieville (Queen-Pape)
  • Fewer impacts to transit and traffic during construction compared to ‘A’ and ‘G’ options
  • Less impact on heritage and main streets.

ER.jpg