Rapid Transit Expansion Update

There was a lot of news this past month on the transit file, including updates on SmartTrack, the Scarborough Subway, and the Downtown Relief Line. These updates have positive impacts on the future of transit planning in our city and shows a renewed focus to utilize data in making the best transit planning decisions for our city. 

A ridership study has been jointly conducted by the University of Toronto and the City Planning division in order to examine the ridership impacts of different SmartTrack proposals. The results are most positive if SmartTrack trains are operated every five minutes at TTC fare levels. In this scenario, SmartTrack could attract more than 300,000 daily riders by 2031 - more than the entire daily ridership of the GO network. SmartTrack would also ease pressures on both Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) and Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina), providing relief for Ward 18 residents. 

A feasibility review has also been released with regards to SmartTrack's proposed western corridor to the Airport Corporate Centre. Due to the high costs and projected low ridership on this section, it is being recommended that instead of heavy rail such as SmartTrack, an LRT be built from Mount Dennis to the Airport Corporate Centre. This LRT line would be an extension of the currently under construction Eglinton Crosstown LRT and would provide superior transit benefits to this part of the city.

City staff have also reported to the Executive Committee on recommended changes to rapid transit plans in Scarborough. The report recommends that the three stop Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) extension to the Scarborough Town Centre be changed to a one stop extension, terminating at the Scarborough Town Centre. Utilizing these projected savings, it is proposed that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT be extended eastwards to the University of Toronto Scarborough and named Crosstown East. To name a few, this line would directly serve 5 neighbourhood improvement areas, provide rapid transit along 8 km of avenues, connect to two existing GO RER stations, and improve access to rapid transit in an area of the city that currently has none. 

Finally, City Planning has recommended a comprehensive network of rapid transit for our entire City with recommended timelines as to when it should be built over the next 30 years. The proposed network is ambitious and would help transform our city for the better - truly creating a city to live, work, and play. Contained within it are the new proposals outlined above but also a recommended route for the Downtown Relief Line in the east-end and proposals to build rapid transit along Toronto's waterfront. You can download the slide deck in PDF format that outlines all of this by clicking here

On all of these files, I welcome these new developments and look forward to hearing more from City staff on the feasibility of these proposals so we can get to work and actually build the transit that our city desperately needs. To find out more about transit planning in Toronto and to read the reports I have mentioned above, please click here.

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