Apr. 21, 2019

Ford's Transit Plan - Apr 10'19

Premier Doug Ford announces that the province will invest $5.6 billion to build the Yonge subway extension from Finch Station in Toronto -"King-Vaughan MPP Stephen Lecce (far left) attended the announcement - Apr. 10, 2019 - Courtesy of Stephen Lecce

The Yonge subway extension from Finch Station to Highway 7. - VivaNext

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After more than a decade of waiting, Richmond Hill is finally forging ahead to construction of the Yonge North subway extension.

Premier Doug Ford announced on April 10 that the province will invest a portion of the $5.6 billion to build the Yonge subway extension from Finch Station in Toronto over the next 10 years.

Stretching 7.4 kilometres, the extension will include five new stations and two intermodal terminals at Steeles and Richmond Hill Centre Station.

It will also add 2,000 commuter parking spaces near Yonge Street and Hwy. 407.

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“This is a game changer,” said Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow. “This puts us in direct connection with the rest of Greater Toronto Area, obviously Toronto south, east and west to our neighbours Markham and Vaughan, and almost a second way of getting down to Toronto.”

Barrow said the subway extension provides a critical missing link to the transit network in the GTA and will create businesses and jobs in York Region.

The subway is going to move two riders every second of the day and lead to additional housing for up to 88,000 residents in the area, according to a press release from Richmond Hill.

With more than $91 million dollars already invested in the project, the mayor said he's "thrilled" to get the green light from the province to make the subway a reality.

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Subway, local employment key to solving Richmond Hill's traffic congestion
The subway, to be built in conjunction with the downtown relief line, now expanded and called the Ontario Line, will replace the 2,500 bus trips per day currently servicing this segment of Yonge Street, Barrow noted.

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Map of the Yonge North subway extension

More than two thirds of Richmond Hill residents drive to work, while 15 per cent use public transit, according to the 2016 census.

Close to half of the residents had to travel to Toronto and other GTA municipalities to work.

They also spent more time commuting to work compared to residents in the rest of York Region, as more than 60 per cent the Richmond Hill commuters spent at least 30 minutes on the road to work.

The subway is the "best solution" to the traffic woes that have been plaguing Richmond Hill for many years, according to an analysis on YorkRegion.com.

Meanwhile, Richmond Hill is growing fast, with its population anticipated to reach 277,900 by 2041, according to its economic development strategy, last updated January 2017.

Most recently, Richmond Hill has officially changed its status from town to city, becoming Canada's newest city.

As the second subway line in York Region, the Yonge subway extension is going to significantly reduce congestion and help improve the environment, said Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan riding, who is also the parliamentary assistant to the premier.

“We’re gonna get the shovels in the ground. We’re gonna get this subway built,” Lecce said. “People in York Region have waited far too long for the subway extension and they deserve this, and we’re gonna get it.”

This investment came as part of Ontario’s $11.2-billion funding commitment to expand the province’s transit network through four projects, which are projected to cost a combined total of $28.5 billion.

The Yonge subway extension is anticipated to open soon after the completion of the Ontario Line which is expected to be delivered by 2027.

Currently, the project is at the preliminary planning, design and engineering phase, which is expected to be completed within the next 12 months, according to Ash O’Malley, Richmond Hill spokesperson. It includes geotechnical and hydrological investigations, infrastructure design and updating the estimated cost.

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Sheila Wang
by Sheila Wang
Sheila Wang covers municipal politics and general news in Richmond Hill and King Township. In addition to English, she speaks Mandarin. She loves reading, travelling and exploring nature with her dog Bear. She joined Metroland Media York Region in July 2018 after moving from Utah. She went to the University of Missouri and lives in North York. Follow her on Facebook @JournalistSheilaW or Twitter @SheilaWang7.

Email: swang@metroland.com Facebook Twitter
Tags: Hyper Local, Local News, Politics, Provincial News, Travel, News
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