Metrolinx, the public transport authority of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, has presented the latest analysis on the way Toronto’s Yonge North Subway extension will make commutes faster and easier for tens of thousands of people travelling between York Region and Toronto.
The release of an updated business case is an important step forward for the project, which calls for roughly 8 km of new metro service on TTC’s Line 1, extending north from Finch station to Richmond Hill.
The planning teams investigated three options for the route, or alignment, the extension will follow. One of the more noticeable and innovative changes in the updated plan is how the line will run at ground level in the northern part of the extension, linking up with the CN rail route in the area of Langstaff Road, instead of tunneling all the way to Richmond Hill. Adjusting the route of the line in this area will better position the project to serve the Richmond Hill Centre and Langstaff Gateway urban growth centres, which are poised for significant development. Creating stronger connections here will mean better connections to transit, including the Richmond Hill GO train line, and less traffic congestion as communities grow. This shift will also ensure the project can be built in less time by minimising lengthy and disruptive excavations, in turn reducing inconveniences to neighbouring communities.
The adjusted plans also protect for further extension of the line in the future by positioning the northern end of the project along a pre-existing rail corridor. Since building above ground is also less costly, this approach maximises the number of stations included in the project. It also positions the northern stations at sites that provide better transit connections and more opportunities for nearby communities to grow and evolve.
The station previously referred to as Richmond Hill Centre has been tentatively re-named High Tech station and moves slightly south-east of the original site. It will be built at surface level. The Langstaff station mentioned in the previous proposals now moves east and slightly north, to be built at surface level between Highway 7 and Highway 407. This station is tentatively called Bridge station that will provide a convenient connection to the Richmond Hill GO train line and many local and GO Transit bus services.
While all six previously envisioned stations were studied in the business case, detailed analysis shows that the CAD 5.6 billion (USD 4.45 billion) funding envelope announced for the project can accommodate four stations, if the extension follows the newly proposed alignment.
Steeles, Bridge and High Tech stations were determined to be essential for maximising the benefits of the project which will significantly improve access to frequent rapid transit services.
During construction, the project is expected to support the equivalent of 4,300 full-time jobs each year, leading to new opportunities for businesses and workers that provide the services and equipment needed to build and operate the extension.
The Yonge North Subway extension will have a capacity of 94,100 boardings per day and put 26,000 more people within a 10-minute walk to a station. The project is expected to reduce commute times to downtown Toronto by as much as 22 minutes.
It’s predicted that the metro extension will reduce the total distance travelled by cars during the morning rush hour by 7,700 km, leading to a reduction of 4,800 tonnes in road-related greenhouse gas emissions each year.