Where are they now? A guide to Toronto’s on-again off-again public transit projects
July 14, 2016
Torontonians can be forgiven for feeling a little confused over their tangle of transit projects, the many light-rail lines proposed, killed and under construction across the city, or the six-year discussion over how to help transit-starved Scarborough.
Two major projects, the Scarborough subway and the growing demand for a new line to relieve downtown crowding, saw major changes following a council vote Wednesday.
City councillors greenlit a one-stop, subway express line from Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre, rejecting a seven-stop LRT line the province originally committed funds for in 2010 (Mayor Rob Ford later cancelled that LRT line). Council also voted for the first phase of a 7.5-kilometre subway relief line connecting Pape Station to the downtown core via Pape Avenue, Eastern Avenue and Queen Street.
Where do the projects fit in the grand scheme of transit planning in the Greater Toronto Area? There are many projects that have undergone fits and starts in recent years. Here’s where they all currently stand:
Funded and under construction
York-Spadina subway extension (TTC)
- To run from Downsview Station to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre at Hwy. 7 and Millway Ave.
- Service expected to begin by end of 2017.
Eglinton Crosstown LRT (Metrolinx)
- To run from Mount Dennis (Weston Rd.) to Kennedy Station.
- Estimated completion by 2021.
Funded but not yet being built
Scarborough subway extension (TTC)
- $3.56 billion in funding from provincial and federal governments.
- In January, the project morphed from three-stop to a one-stop express from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Town Centre.
- On Tuesday, city council approved the much-discussed, express extension.
- No date announced for the start of construction.
Finch West LRT (Metrolinx)
- To run from Humber College’s north campus to the new Finch West stop on the York-Spadina line (near Keele St.).
- Construction to start mid-2017.
Sheppard East LRT (Metrolinx)
- To run from Don Mills subway station to east of Morningside Ave.
- Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig acknowledged Finch West LRT will be built first, citing a limit on how many major projects can proceed at the same time.
- Construction to start in 2021.
Largely funded with approved plan
GO Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion (Metrolinx)
- Includes 12 new GO stations, eight within the GTA.
- The province has agreed to put up $13.5 billion over 10 years.
- Additional costs could mount for station construction.
- Plans and estimates to be finalized Nov. 30.
Funding and plans unclear
Eglinton East LRT (Metrolinx)
- To extend Crosstown LRT from Kennedy Station to University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus and serve local areas missed by Scarborough Subway Extension.
- Was to be funded with savings from shift to one-stop Scarborough subway. Subway escalations have since consumed most of that money.
- No timeline.
- Originally a 22-stop surface rail transit system proposed by Tory as part of his election campaign.
- To use existing GO lines to provide more frequent service within the GTA.
- Has since shrunk to potentially 14 stations, including six new ones at locations shared with GO RER expansion.
- Costs for new stations estimated between $700 million and $1.1 billion.
- City of Toronto must commit to funding by Nov. 30 Metrolinx meeting.
No funding and still being studied
Yonge Relief Line subway (TTC)
- Received $150 million from province for engineering study.
- Phase One route approved from Osgoode Station east underneath Queen St./Eastern Ave. and then north to Danforth Ave.
- Mayor Tory estimated it would be completed by 2031.
- Phase Two planned to connect with Sheppard Ave. by 2041.
Eglinton West LRT (Metrolinx)
- To extend Crosstown LRT from Mt. Dennis Station to Pearson Airport.
- A business study for the line suggested construction could start by 2020, finishing up in 2024.
Waterfront Reset (TTC)
- Series of projects to connect waterfront communities from Long Branch GO station to Woodbine Ave. in the Beach.
- Studies ongoing.
Yonge St. extension to Richmond Hill (Metrolinx/TTC)
- In June, Ontario pledged $55 million to advance the project’s design plans