SOS Vision 2012

Throughout the recent history of Toronto, transit plans have been created, started, and then thrown out in favour of something else. The end result is that only a small fraction of the original plan ever gets built. This cycle needs to stop.

This is why SOS has decided to support various elements of Transit City. But it must be stressed that we do not endorse the plan as a whole, and we would still like to see changes made to the plan in order to make it more efficient. Below is a brief summary of each of the 4 Transit City lines, as well as other projects, and our position on them.

  • Eglinton LRT
  • Scarborough LRT
  • Finch West LRT
  • Sheppard East LRT
  • The Downtown Relief Line
  • Expansion of GO Transit

Eglinton LRT

SOS supports a modified version of the Eglinton LRT, as proposed in Transit City. The biggest change that we would like to see made has to do with the surface portion along Eglinton East. We would like to see the surface LRT grade-separated at major intersections, so that it ‘ducks under’ them. This would make the line much more efficient, and would reduce the negative impacts on traffic flow on the respective North-South arterials.

This type of grade-separation is already planned for the intersection of Eglinton East & Don Mills Rd, so it is very likely that the same design principle can be applied further east along Eglinton.

While it would moderately add to the overall project cost, we believe that this would be a worthwhile upgrade to make to ensure the efficient and un-interrupted flow of the entire line.

The second change that we would like to see to the line is for the section of the line from the tunnel portal just East of Laird to the Don Mills portal. Instead of the line running in-median as per the current plan, we would like to see it run along the south side of Eglinton, so that it does not impact the Eglinton & Leslie intersection.

We would also like to see the future western extension of the line built in the right-of-way reserved for the cancelled Richview Expressway, as opposed to in the median of Eglinton as was first proposed.

Scarborough LRT

SOS supports an interlined SLRT with the Eglinton LRT as a short-term transit solution. The refurbishment and extension of the SLRT is a project that will greatly benefit Scarborough.

However, if possible, we still favour an extension of the Bloor-Danforth Subway to Scarborough Centre via an Eglinton-Danforth-McCowan alignment. We believe that this option will provide superior connectivity for Scarborough residents wishing to access areas of Toronto west of Scarborough.

We are still very weary about the potential negative impacts that a 4 year shut-down of the SRT will have on Scarborough transit users.

Finch West LRT

While we do not necessarily disagree with the Finch West LRT project, we believe that the transit solution for Finch as proposed in the Stintz plan delivered a greater increase in the efficiency of service for ALL residents along Finch, not just the western portion of Finch West.

SOS favours a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor along Finch, similar to what already exists along Highway 7 in York Region. This type of busway could be delivered along the entire Finch corridor for the same cost as LRT, and would serve many more people.

The delay for this project compared to the Finch West LRT would not be severe, given that the busway can be built in stages, with high demand areas being built first.

Sheppard East LRT

The Sheppard East LRT is the one part of the Transit City plan that SOS absolutely does not agree with. It would create a forced linear transfer at Don Mills that would inconvenience thousands of commuters for decades to come. In addition, the SELRT does not address the raison-d’etre of every single rapid transit plan for the Sheppard corridor that came before it: a connection between North York Centre and Scarborough Centre. The SELRT completely by-passes Scarborough Centre, the anchor of Scarborough, and arguably the entire eastern GTA.

SOS supports two alternative visions for the Sheppard East corridor. The first is a subway extension to Victoria Park, coupled with BRT east of Victoria Park out to Meadowvale (again, much like Highway 7 in York Region). In addition, a BRT connection would be provided from Sheppard to Scarborough Centre via McCowan. This could be built for the same cost as the Sheppard East LRT, with $800 million for the subway extension, and $150 million for the busway.

The second vision is a completed Sheppard Subway to Scarborough Centre. However, since SOS does not endorse ‘stealing’ money from other transit projects in order to pay for the Sheppard Subway, as was proposed by Rob Ford, we support alternative financing in order to get this line completed. By alternative financing, we are referring to a re-introduction of the Vehicle Registration Tax, as well as additional revenue generators like Peak Period Expressway Tolls, and a Parking Space Tax. While these measures may not be popular, it is the only way to get additional funding to complete the Sheppard Subway.

Private investment will not cover this cost, and any deal that did involve a majority of private funds would be a bad long term deal for Toronto taxpayers.

The Downtown Relief Line

SOS is strongly in favour of the construction of the Downtown Relief Line (DRL). The DRL is concept that dates back all the way to the early 1900’s, then referred to as the Queen Street Streetcar Subway. The modern version first appeared in the Network 2011 Plan in the 1980s, the same plan that first conceived the Sheppard Subway.

The basic idea behind the DRL is to provide relief for the overcrowding at Bloor-Yonge Station by providing a ‘by-pass’. The line would run from Eglinton & Don Mills down to PapeStation, where it would then continue southwest into Downtown Toronto, connecting at either Union, King, or Queen Stations.

We believe that once the alternative financing measures that were put in place for the completion of the Sheppard Subway have funded that project, the funds collected can then be put towards the construction of the DRL.

Expansion of GO Transit

To most Torontonians, GO Transit is seen as ‘a 905 service’. However, we at SOS believe that GO Transit can be just as useful to Torontonians as it can be to ‘905-ers’. We believe that the implementation of an S-Bahn type system along the existing GO lines in Toronto would benefit Toronto much more than almost any subway extension could. For those unfamiliar with the S-Bahn, it is a commuter rail system in Berlin, Germany that serves both the suburbs and Berlin itself, offering quick and frequent trips downtown. Paris’ RER is a similar type of service.

With the existing GO lines electrified, more tracks added in key areas, and more stations added inside of Toronto, an expanded GO system could revolutionize transit in Toronto, and we at SOS firmly support its implementation.

We encourage all of those who read this to familiarize themselves with the current transit plan, the alternatives, and the benefits and drawbacks of each. Toronto needs informed citizens in order to make informed decisions on the future of its transit system. We encourage everyone to learn, discuss, and share their thoughts on how transit can be improved.

The plan described above is only our suggestion as to how we think transit planning should unfold in Toronto. It is merely our opinion, and people are free to disagree with us. If you do agree with us however, please help spread this, and demand that these alternative options be studied, so that they at least become part of the discussion.

Facebook: group.php?gid=153481132879 Twitter: saveoursubways FeedBurner: SaveOurSubways

Latest Docs

Latest Maps

Latest Promos

Latest Tweets

Designed by MEBIUS