Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

$9B transit plan revealed

with 14 comments

The Toronto Sun has ashort teaser piece ahead of a major announcement by the Ontario government for new transit investments in the centre of the known universe.

Just to throw gas on the flame wars raging in the comments section of this blog, most of it will go to LRT. Toronto does have subways – but obviously surface LRT is a lot more affordable and gets much greater coverage.

A new rapid transit line will carry passengers along Finch West from the Yonge Subway line to Hiwy. 27 and Humber College and east to Don Mills Station.

The Scarborough rapid transit line will be upgraded and extended.

There’s also more buses, stations and dedicated bus lanes for York VIVA Bus Rapid Transit.

There is also “The Eglinton Rail line will run 31 kilometres from Kennedy Station to Pearson Airport, and includes a 13-kilometre underground stretch” which appears to me to be a departure from earlier ideas to utilise exisiting surface rail that runs in the general vicinity of the airport and had been looked at before.

This does seem to me to be more of a firm commitment than the equivalent “plan” that the province likes to think it has for Metro Vancouver – and certainly has a tighter timeframe. Even so “all the projects are still subject to environmental and other approvals” – and hopefully the Ontario process is a lot more effective than the sham we have here.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 1, 2009 at 10:26 am

Posted in transit

14 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. “His government has just overhauled the board of its regional transportation body, Metrolinx, removing politicians and bringing on experts who can implement transit plans.”

    Hmm, sounds familiar…


    April 1, 2009 at 10:44 am

  2. Just a bit of background for your Vancouver readers:

    The Finch line and the Eglinton line are both to be surface LRT lines, but the Eglinton line will tunnel under the older parts of the city where the roadway is very narrow.

    The comprehensive plan calls for links to Pearson Airport from all directions. The Eglinton line will approach from the southeast, the Finch line from the northeast, and the mainline railway is going to approach from the east when it’s complete.

    The Scaborough RT currently uses Mk. 1 skytrain technology, but it might be converted to LRT and interlined with Eglinton.

    And yes, the province essentially TransLink’d our regional authority the other day. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Andrae Griffith

    April 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

  3. Just a note, I have been told that the cost to upgrade the Scarborough ICTS (Vancouver ALRT/ART) line to accept Bombardier’s MK.2 light-metro cars is more than converting it to LRT. There is mention that the guide-way is near being life-expired (?) and a major refit is in order. I don’t know if this is just accounting ‘life-expired’ or that the guide-way is indeed having problems.

    This line was an original UTDC ICTS line and the guide-way is ‘lighter’ than our ART – Bombardier standard.

    TransLink has experts on it’s board? Who? Or is it as I thought, friends of the Liberals.


    April 1, 2009 at 11:45 am

  4. This is good, I hadn’t seen any serious funding when the budget was first announced and I thought maybe the project had been dropped from the provincial radar in the face of massive deficits, but I’m glad to see that’s not the case.

    Also props to Andrae for turning Translink into a verb.


    April 1, 2009 at 11:49 am

  5. Actually, the tramway along Eglinton Avenue has always been meant to have its western terminus at the airport. This doesn’t mean that the plans for main-line trains to the airport along existing tracks are dead – those are to be expresses to the city centre with at most one or two intermediate stops.

    David Arthur

    April 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

  6. From the Toronto Star:

    Viva rapid bus on Hwy 7 – $1.4B – ready in 2011
    SRT upgrade and extension to Malvern – $1.4B – ready in 2015
    30km Eglinton LRT line (with tunnel in midtown) – $4.6B – ready in 2016
    Finch LRT (Hwy 427 to Don Mills) – $1.2B – ready in 2013.

    Ron C.

    April 1, 2009 at 12:04 pm

  7. Excuse my lack of knowledge of Toronto’s geography, but where would the LRT lines be in relation to the Quebec-Windsor corridor? Links to Pearson is great, but if rail starts taking market share away from airlines, a concentration on airport connections might be a mistake.


    April 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm

  8. And $1.4B for rapid bus?



    April 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm

  9. Both new LRT lines are north of downtown Toronto. Eglington represents midtown while Finch is further north, above the 401, in what used to be the separate municipality of North York. They are not even close to downtown where VIA trains stop at Union Station.

    There is heavy rail near Pearson International, but connecting to the airport itself would require a new branch line. Many major cities have trains connecting their airports with their main train stations, but not in the great white north.


    April 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm

  10. Corey, the LRT lines would be well north of any likely Quebec-Windsor corridor. They are meant to provide great transit service to the inner suburbs, and aren’t core-oriented by design.

    The Quebec-Windsor corridor would presumably go through Union station, a hub for:
    – all of Toronto commuter rail
    – Yonge-University-Spadina subway line
    – Harbourfront West streetcar
    – future Harbourfront East streetcar
    – future Waterfront West LRT (not in this announcement)
    – future relocated Greyhound coach terminal
    – potentially, future Downtown Relief subway line

    Leo Petr

    April 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm

  11. Discussion at Steve Munro’s website:

    Ron C.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm

  12. Don’t worry, the Eglinton Avenue line isn’t at all airport-focused: its function is to provide local service through that neighbourhood. The airport just happens to be one of the major points at its westernmost end – I expect a large portion of the passengers travelling there will actually be airport employees, rather than people who are flying.

    To give you a sense of where Eglinton Avenue is located, when Toronto built its first metro line back in 1954, Eglinton Avenue was its northern, suburban terminus. The trip into the city centre, which had been 35 minutes in good traffic by streetcar, was reduced to less than 15 travelling underground. (The plan was to run two-carriage trains except during peak hours, but fortunately the TTC ‘over’-built, because ridership was so much higher than expected that they were soon running eight-carriage trains at all times.)

    The problem with the Scarborough RT guideway is largely that the curves don’t accommodate larger Mark II trains. In fact, it was originally designed for trams, and so had trouble with even the Mark Is at first. Initially, trains at the southern terminus actually had to run around a compact track loop in order to turn around, rather than just using a crossover switch; this was renovated almost immediately, when the trains started derailing, but they still have to make a pointless 90° turn when entering and leaving the station. It’s also arranged horribly for people changing between the elevated and underground lines. I understand the current plans call for the construction of an entirely new elevated station to simplify the interchange.

    The cost of the rapid buses does seem a bit high to me too, but we’re talking about the installation of a full system of separate reserved lanes with signal priority and the like, not just a new bus route. (The buses have already been running in mixed traffic for a few years.) This is in York Region, which is as far out as Surrey is from Vancouver.

    David Arthur

    April 2, 2009 at 8:17 am

  13. Corey,

    The VIVA BRT system IS going to be close to a true BRT with reserved ROW’s, nice stations, signal priority.
    I have a feeling it will be a good system. I use VIVA regularly, and the biggest issue, is that it gets stuck in traffic. Other then that, it’s fine for now. Phase 3 is going to be LRT.

    Justin Bernard

    April 2, 2009 at 10:32 am

  14. Info on the Eglinton LRT available here (TTC open house presentation panels):

    Click to access 2008-08-14_open_house_panels.pdf

    Ron C.

    April 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: