Feb. 15, 2016

Downtown Relief Line

I am a huge proponent of subways for Scarborough (as most of you know), but this statement in 2013 by then TTC head Andy Byford was (and still is) right on the money:


Let's slow down, use our heads (because they have it all wrong right now), and do it right - The correct solution and sequence for transit in the east part of the city is as follows:



1 - Take the time to rethink the current transit proposal for Toronto for now [because they have it wrong (remember the gas plants scandal!)] - Let's not rush into it (just because John Tory is trying to save face because he promised to deliver), and make sure we get it right



2 - Plan and build the Downtown Toronto Relief Line, and Three-stop Scarborough (McCowan) Subway Extension, first; (If something has to be sacrificed; it is the SmartTrack that should be sacrificed - There already is an existing GO train along that route for fast and express service with plans to electrify it and double the scheduled number of stops

Like everything else they have been talking about a DRL for decades ..... actually, let me look it up ..............; ah yes here it is - Over 10 decades:


Link - Downtown Relief Line - 1910 to Present

They are working on a plan for a Downtown Relief Line, but they are working on plans for Scarborough first - Although I'm a staunch supporter of having the Scarborough (three-stop) subway extension built, the Downtown Relief Line should be built first – This not just good planning; it’s common sense – Building the Crosstown East LRT extension to the Scarborough UofT campus years ago would have taken pressure off of Scarborough for a few years and given them time to scratch up the dough for a proper three-stop subway, but they have left it too late; the existing Scarborough RT is at the end of its life and will cost 100s of millions of dollars just to stretch its life long enough to build the subway – The powers that be know this, and they are scrambling to do something even at the risk of getting it wrong – They were on the right track with the proposal for the three-stop Scarborough subway extension along McCowan Road – They have veered off and heading down the wrong track again – Also; the DRL would relieve pressure off the Bloor-Danforth line and the Yonge and Bloor subway station, before the Scarborough subway extension comes on lineThe Scarborough subway should be extended from Kennedy and Eglinton along McCowan Road to McCowan and Sheppard (consisting of 3 or 4 stops) - The McCowan subway could later be extended north one stop at a time towards McCowan and Steeles Avenues, the Town of Markham, and Markville Shopping Centre as the demand and population density requires it - The Three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension and the DRL need to be built concurrently, with the DRL opening first


Link - Finally coming to their senses and realizing the the city needs the DRL before they start feeding a shitload of new transit into the network:




3 - Plan and build the Downtown Toronto Relief Line, and extend the Crosstown East LRT to Malvern as per the latest planning update - The Crosstown East LRT is a great idea and the right thing to do



4 - If required; build SmartTrack later, with stops at Kennedy and Eglinton, Ellsmere, Sheppard, Finch, and Steeles - A Kennedy and Lawrence stop would be optional - Ellesmere buses could stop at Scarborough Centre and continue through to and from Kennedy and Ellesmere from there



5 - Build a high-capacity parking node at McCowan and Sheppard (See my blog page entitled "LRT vs SHEPPARD AVENUE SUBWAY EXTENSION" for more information on my proposal for a high density parking node at McCowan and Sheppard)



6 - Have the McCowan subway branch off at McCowan and Sheppard and loop back to connect the Sheppard subway to the Scarborough Centre including a high-capacity subway station at McCowan and Sheppard * - This extension would add at least 3 new stops and require a retrofit of the existing Don Mills and Sheppard subway station - The cost to retrofit the Don Mills and Sheppard subway station would actually be far less than the cost of building a transitional station if an LRT were to be built [My guesstimate would be $150 to $250 million for a subway retrofit versus almost a$1 billion for a transitional LRT station (Mr. Tory; have your planners give you a thumb-suck number on that one; my guesstimate is free] *



 7 - Pickering needs another rapid transit option to better connect it with the rest of the GTA - Plan for a future mode of high-capacity rapid transit to connect the Scarborough and Sheppard subway lines with Pickering at the Scarborough Centre subway station, (If planned now; the line could turn north into a separate track parallel with the Scarborough Centre subway station, and then come back south, turn west along Ellesmere and connect with the GO train station at Kennedy and Ellesmere [and then eventually (50 to 60 years down the road) even further west along York Mills to connect with the proposed DRL at Don Mills and York Mills, and the Yonge and York Mills subway station] – I did notice that the latest published plan for transit in the GTA does show a future Additional RT line from Pickering (now THIS would be a SmartTrack) - [It is unlikely that a subway could ever be justified east of McCowan as the greenbelt, Rouge Park ,and Metro Zoo east of Scarborough would never have the density to ever justify it, however; another mode of rapid transit (such as SmartTrack between Scarborough Centre and Pickering would make sense here]



Building a new high capacity station servicing 2 subway lines while incorporating a tight t/y-shaped branch and future connection for a Pickering Rapid Transit line (which would provide more local service than the existing GO train) is going to be tricky - The track from Scarborough Centre to the Sheppard subway line would have to start curving north of the McCowan and Sheppard subway station - It would have to be a gradual curve and turn back west south west before straightening out at Sheppard Avenue



My apologies to the West GTA - As a long time resident of Scarborough; I am not as familiar or knowledgeable about the transit issues in that area of the city, however; I will try and tackle the west GTA at some point in the future - P.S.; I started this blog on Feb 2'16, so it's only a few days old, I am starting from virtually from scratch, and I have lots still to do just to address issues in my end of town - The only thing I have been doing over the past few years is e-mailing public officials, planners, politicians, the media, and other interested parties; to no avail




Pickering - Check out Big Changes Set To Come To Toronto Transit: http://indie88.com/big-changes-set-to-come-to-toronto-transit/



The maps of my proposal for public transit in Scarborough are ready - The maps illustrate all or most of my key proposals and ideas - You can find the maps on this site, or at www.SmarterTracks.com, or download a PDF at https://ln.sync.com/dl/aebaf8ed0#uvk9zqg3-cz7bwzj4-9d4xtffy-q3jc335b - The PDF is interactive - After downloading it; you can scroll through the pages and see the progression of the various phases of the plan

* Please be sure to Write a comment; or Share on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ *

Also visit www.SmarterTracks.com for complete details on my SmarterTracks plan

And finally; STAY TUNED to www.torontotransitblog.com - My next step is take a look at the west portion of the GTA - I will start posting my ideas over the next few weeks and months