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Could the Downtown Relief Line finally become reality?

Posted by Chris Bateman / October 19, 2012

toronto downtown relief lineIn case you missed it yesterday, a report published by the Toronto Transit Commission says Toronto needs make construction of a new east-west subway a priority over all other transit projects. Without a Downtown Relief Line, the Yonge subway will be completely unable to manage the projected ridership increases in the coming years, it says.

As city hall watchers will know, the DRL has been long been a dream of writers, transit planners and straphangers caught in the rush-hour crush. The line's history is almost as old as underground transportation in Toronto itself, with origins in the nixed Queen subway line and the 1985 "Network 2011" plan that also called for Sheppard and Eglinton West lines to support the existing subways.

The big question, as it was then, is whether the TTC can actually get the thing built. The report offers several different versions of the DRL, the cheapest coming in at around $3.2 billion to connect King and Pape stations. The most desirable, and most expensive, option - a line from Dundas West to Flemingdon Park via St. Andrew and King - could set the TTC back a gigantic $8.3 billion.

Now that new ways of funding new transit projects are starting to make it onto the table, a renewed push for the line could gain some traction if it's supported by taxpayers. The fact the proposed subway doesn't serve Scarborough and Etobicoke directly could be a sticking point for some, however.

toronto downtown relief lineYesterday, the University of Toronto's Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) published a report outlining some of the lessons Toronto and the wider area could learn from other American cities as it tries to push forward with new transit.

The salient point appears to be that someone at the provincial level needs to take the wheel and steer support, funding, and construction of any new work. Without strong leadership and grassroots public consultation, new projects are unlikely to gain traction, it says.

As always, the core issue is money. City manager Joe Pennachetti outlined 10 ways of securing new transit funds earlier this month with estimates on how much each tool could conceivably raise. Here's a list of the big-ticket items:

  • 1 per cent personal income tax - $1.4 billion
  • 1 per cent sales tax - $1.3 billion
  • 1 cent a kilometre highway toll - $1.5 billion
  • A parking tax of $365 a space - $1.08 billion

If this latest version of the Downtown Relief Line - a connection from Dundas West to St. Andrew, King and Pape at least - is to become a reality one or more of these charges will have to become a reality. The TTC's report says Metrolinx should make the DRL the top priority in its Big Move strategy, a project that's still $2 billion a year short.

The provincial agency currently estimates relief for the Yonge line to be 16 to 25 years off. By then, the TTC says, the Yonge line will have reached critical mass and started hindering access to the city. If something's going to happen, it needs to happen now.

Images: TTC

Discussion

82 Comments

Rob K / October 19, 2012 at 10:13 am
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The short answer is no. It's been talked about ad nauseum without any work done. The TTC has shot itself in the foot in the past by delaying the prep work and advocacy needed to get this on the table. The name, as funny as this may sound, will be a stumbling point with those (Ford, Hudak, et.al) who see this as a downtown thing that doesn't benefit anyone North of Bloor. And then throw in metrolinx who's future is up for grabs and if a new PC gov't were to step in, transit immediately goes back to scratch, Metrolinx will contend with highway maintenance and nothing will get built.
Politics / October 19, 2012 at 10:17 am
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Not likely ever going to happen. It always turns into an endless political temper-tantrum between all involved parties.

Can't wait til all those condos that are under construction get built. If people think the TTC is overcrowded now... LOL just wait.
Rob K replying to a comment from Rob K / October 19, 2012 at 10:22 am
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Oh, and I might add, IF this does get built, a pet project like the Sheppard extension West will be an addendum to this overall 'transit strategy', and will probably be built first to soothe any councillors, mayors, wanna-be premiers fears that downtown gets everything while the rest gets nothing.
Aydin / October 19, 2012 at 10:24 am
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It won't happen because of the Megacity amalgamation.
People who live outside of the old City of Toronto have already proven with their Rob Ford votes that they put low taxes above infrastructure investments. Why would they care if we can commute more easily?
If we hadn't amalgamated, just imagine how many more things would have gotten done in this city! With a municipal government that represents only people who actually live in the city, not folks who drive in to make a living.
nicole replying to a comment from Aydin / October 19, 2012 at 10:28 am
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Completely agree. Amalgamation was the worst thing to ever happen to this city.
jer / October 19, 2012 at 10:29 am
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Developers (and condo buyers in the end) should be paying development fees to support all the infrastructure including transit. There are way too many buildings popping up without the supporting infrastructure (roads/ttc/etc).

I support money going into DRL
Bob But Not Doug / October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am
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Toronto is sick, and amalgamation was the virus.
AV / October 19, 2012 at 10:50 am
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We in the suburbs will never support this, we don't want to pay for something we would never use. Use the money to fix the Gardiner Bridge!
Franco / October 19, 2012 at 11:09 am
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This always happens, the TTC or some external consultant makes recommendations that involves a new subway line, and the media eats it up. Then the reality of our inefficient city representatives and the inability to secure funding sets in and all this excitement becomes mute. Every six months we go through this transit cycle.
ne / October 19, 2012 at 11:13 am
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The question isn't if this will be built but when.. the need is too obvious and will only grow in the future.

It's like saying we won't get a new sewage plant even when it's overcapacity. This is a basic need for the city. Just wait until a few people die from overcrowding on YUS. Then it will get done.
nb replying to a comment from AV / October 19, 2012 at 11:14 am
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Right, because people from the suburbs never work downtown, and they certainly never go downtown for entertainment (a night out, dinner, etc.) and never, ever take advantage of downtown services.
Jacob replying to a comment from nb / October 19, 2012 at 11:27 am
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Sure they go downtown. They drive on Jarvis and get headaches from bike lanes.
Yan replying to a comment from AV / October 19, 2012 at 11:27 am
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I'm from suburbs and I'm ALL FOR these projects.
BequiaT replying to a comment from AV / October 19, 2012 at 11:28 am
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I used to take the first subway out of main station in the morning - about 6:05am. Do you think I could get a seat?! The train was full of those commuting in from the suburbs into the downtown - they should pay their fair share for the use of the TTC
Danny P replying to a comment from BequiaT / October 19, 2012 at 11:50 am
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I think he's specifically referring to millionaire suburbanites who only drive back and forth to their mansions.
George / October 19, 2012 at 11:53 am
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The fact people still consider the DRL being primarily focused for people living downtown is plain and simple ignorant and retarded. It is a relief line for the overcrowded Yonge and Bloor lines bringing people from the outer suburbs of Toronto and outer suburbs in general to get Downtown (for work, entertainment etc.). I live downtown and do all I can to not have to take the Yonge or Bloor line because of just how much it is crowded with people coming into or out of downtown. And that is great that there is that many people coming into the downtown core everyday, but that is what first and foremost needs to be addressed. Not just adding on more subway lines which only feed the overcrowded Yonge and Bloor lines.
HHH replying to a comment from Danny P / October 19, 2012 at 11:59 am
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Yes, because people who lives in the suburbs that takes transit are not true suburbanites. SUV stands for Suburban Utility Vehicle
Steve / October 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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I only use the subways to go to the suburbs. I have little need for them to move around in the city. In other words downtowners do no need subways suburbanites do.
BequiaT / October 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm
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If you live in the core, chances are you bike or walk to work. If you are in the eastern or western sides of the city, its either the streetcar or the subway. I travel in on the 506 (College streetcar) every day. Good luck getting on once you hit Parliament. People have told me that they might have to wait for 4 or 5 streetcars to go by before they can even squeeze thier way on; we need a relief line, or int he short term, a relief bus/streetcar loop that serves the core only, maybe running Broadview to Bathurst, and looping around via King and College?
YES replying to a comment from Aydin / October 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm
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Couldn't have said it better myself. That is so damn true!
Dave replying to a comment from Bob But Not Doug / October 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm
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I think you mean Toronto has a fever and the only prescription is less amalgamation.
Rob replying to a comment from BequiaT / October 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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What we need to do ban parking on Dundas and run a dedicated, very frequent streetcar line from Dundas West to Pape.
resident / October 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm
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a lot of good ideas here in the comment section. Does Pennachetti mean each year, these items will generate X amount of dollars? how many years will this line take to complete? I am all for the toll on the Gardiner, that is long overdue. Also the parking tax is a great idea, i have a spot in my condo building and would gladly pay a tax to fund public transit.
GRAARG / October 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm
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First, everyone needs to get over this downtown versus the burbs BS.

Second, the part I think the planners have totally missed is their projection for the Yonge line and how busy it is. They are on crack. I think they came up with their estimates by looking solely at spreadsheets and not by actually riding the rails. As a ‘burbanite (the former North York) with a Metropass who rides the Yonge line to and from work downtown every weekday, I am hard pressed to understand how the they conclude the Yonge line will reach capacity by 2030 and there will be 50% more riders.

I challenge one of those planners to hang out on the NB King platform at 5:15pm on a weekday and tell me there is room for 50% more people. Not to mention the train wreck that is Y&B in either the morning or evening rush. And then there are those poor souls buying shiny new condos near Yonge and Eg who are finding out that 3 out of 4 trains rolling through Eg SB at 8:30am are already sardinded so full that most people on the Eg platform can’t actually get on the train.

For all the ‘burb comments, the TTC and its overlords have been the author of the TTC’s own demise for going on 25 years. Far too many grand plans and politicians playing trains (or streetcar) while ignoring the explosive growth within the City.

Third, I had to laugh today at The Star and Roy James advocating ripping down the Gardiner. Awesome idea, let’s do that. And let’s not build a DRL for 30 years. And lets add in 20k more condo units in the downtown core. And let’s see how well the Yonge line works after all that. A**.

Amalgamate the TTC and Metrolinx, slap a road tax on and get digging.
iSkyscraper / October 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm
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Anyone who wants to get serious about this should take a long, hard look at the history, funding, design and construction of the 2nd Ave subway line in New York. It is being built now, but will cost $17 billion and is taking decades to complete. And that was after about 70 years of first arguing about it, starting it, stopping it, and then finally funding the first part of it. Some relevant notes:

- like the DRL, the 2nd Ave subway line is primarily a relief line to take pressure off the overburdened 4-5-6 line that runs under Lexington Ave and has to serve the entire east half of Manhattan Island. You could call it the Manhattan Relief Line.

- like the DRL, the 2nd Ave subway will not be long enough to be a direct line from the suburbs. It will run almost 14 km in its completed form but not cross the river into the Bronx or Brooklyn. Simply costs too much to get out to those inner suburbs.

- like the DRL, the line will have to be built in phases. Just for the first phase, comparable to DRL's King to Pape, it is taking 9 years to build. Nine years!

- the funding for the first phase is primarily via a New York State bond and $1.3 billion from the federal government. Would Queens Park and Ottawa do the same for the DRL?

Toronto residents are quick to support and criticize ideas without any real world context. There is a universe outside the Toronto bubble, and when it comes to the DRL the appropriate case study is the 2nd Ave Line. (There are not exactly many choices, anyway, since the only other subway under construction in North America is the DC metro extension to Virigina, a direct parallel to the Spadina line extension to Vaughan.)
AV / October 19, 2012 at 01:05 pm
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let's do what L.A. did and let the people decide what they want. I bet 100 dollars Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough vote against it. Downtown no longer drives this city, times have changed.
Robert replying to a comment from AV / October 19, 2012 at 01:20 pm
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Yet downtown funds the suburbs
Brent / October 19, 2012 at 01:23 pm
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I have a question: Before amalgamation who ran the TTC (the city of Toronto or the region of Toronto)?

The DRT will probably not be built. Sadly the people of Toronto and its council do not have the will. Unfortunately it always comes down to money and nobody wants to pay for it.

Remember there's always tomorrow....
vampchick21 replying to a comment from AV / October 19, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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Keep dreaming darling. The suburbs never drive the economic life of a city, no matter what King Ford and his minions tell you. And you can scream and stomp your feet all you want, but the bottom line is that tax dollars ARE FOR SPENDING ON INFRASTRUCTURE. And since folks in the suburbs bought into the idiotic belief that one must live far away from where one works, you are the ones using the infrastructure to get into work and home again, roads, commutor trains, subways, surface transit. All of it is falling apart and needs upgrading, expanding, repair, and needs it yesterday. Pull your head out of King Ford's arse and wake up.
W. K. Lis / October 19, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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According to the DRL report, "by 2031 transit ridership into the downtown is expected to grow by 51%". That alone shows that the DRL MUST be built. The report also says that the DRL should be built BEFORE the Yonge extension.

However, Rob Ford's "no tax increases" means he will be against it. He'll want "private" money to build it, which is not going to happen, if he has his way unless city council sees the light.

BTW. The report says that it should be "subway". However, it does not say if it should be a heavy rail subway or a light rail subway.
pop christine / October 19, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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Why don't we call it the suburb relief line? Or blue-collar worker relief line?
Rob / October 19, 2012 at 01:28 pm
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I wish we could do elevated lines. It seems like it'll be much more affordable.

NIMBYs won't have it though.

Yeah, amalgamation has ruined this town.
GRAARG / October 19, 2012 at 01:37 pm
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Brent:

TTC answered to and was funded by Metro Toronto and not the City prior to amalgamation. Which is one of the reasons everyone droning on about the burbs and amalgamation wrecking the TTC do not know what they are talking about.

"On January 1, 1954, the Toronto Transportation Commission was renamed the Toronto Transit Commission and public transit was placed under the jurisdiction of the new Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto"
Rob / October 19, 2012 at 01:40 pm
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An absolute necessity!

But I'm 30 something now, and will likely be close to retirement before this thing ever gets built...sad. Nothing of note ever gets accomplished in this shit hole, apart from cookie cutter glass boxes. I hate this city (but love it at the same time :S)
Vidar Hansen / October 19, 2012 at 01:47 pm
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YOU DO NOT ?NED THE DRL.

Create jobs in Scarborough/North York/Etobicoke.
That way people from Scarborough/North York/Etobicoke stay in S/NY/E and wont have a need to take the subway to go downtown.

This is better than focusing things downtown which the usual cowards with no integritity whatsoever STeve Munro, TTCriders and so forth will go on.

Making and keeping jobs locally. That way downtowners stay downtown for work, suburbinites stay in the suburbs for work. voila
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Vidar Hansen / October 19, 2012 at 01:55 pm
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Stop posting.
GRAARG replying to a comment from vampchick21 / October 19, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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ah, I think you might find that a lot of people live in the suburbs due to cost. I would suspect from what you wrote that you don't have a large family. Imagine for a moment you had 3 or 4 kids, heck or even 2. Now imagine you are making $80k, which is above average, and you work in the core. Let me know where that typical parent should buy a house/3 or 4 bedroom condo near the core on that salary?
Rob replying to a comment from Vidar Hansen / October 19, 2012 at 02:01 pm
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Cool, just make sure you ask the suburbanites to trim down their lawns to, oh, a half acre to make the room for all the office towers. Then, after you complete this which should take only a few hours, make sure you tell every employer to look up where their staff lives and build a brand new office there. Building a new office tower should take about a week, give or take a day or two.

In less than two weeks, we can have all the transit woes solved.
GRAARG / October 19, 2012 at 02:08 pm
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This thread is a perfect example of why transit planning sucks in Toronto - it's the suburbs fault, no it' the downtowners fault, no you're a snob, no you're a blue collar idiot..... seems City Council is posting on BlogTO today....
Rob / October 19, 2012 at 02:27 pm
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Transit planning sucks because every time I ask someone from Scarborough what they think about traffic, they all want "____ off the damn roads". People in the suburbs, not all, but a large majority, actually think there is nothing wrong with the current transit situation, besides the fact that it takes them too long to get around.

The downtown core has put two and two together, the suburbs hasn't.
Rob / October 19, 2012 at 02:29 pm
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I can find two hundred suburban residents who think there's no need for transit improvements before I find just one inner core resident who thinks the same.
mark / October 19, 2012 at 02:50 pm
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I think we can all agree on the need for this. Though it has to be an above ground lrt system. As those opposed to the Sheppard subway constantly told us, LRT's are superior to subways and the way of the future. I'm sure all you downtowners won't mind lrt's running through your neighbourhoods as opposed to subways.
Alex / October 19, 2012 at 02:53 pm
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If you want transit improvements then write your MP, MPP, Councilor, and Mayor and tell them you want transit improvements. Tell them what you want exactly, in this case the DRL if that's your primary concern (I know it's mine). Tell them how you are willing to pay for it, if you support a 1% sales tax, income tax increase, or what programs/services you are willing to go without to pay for it. If you're going to cut services though please mention one you actually use, obviously we'd all be willing to go without something other people rely on.

Then tell everyone you know who lives in the GTA to do the same. If you have the time and are good at organizing then join an existing group advocating for this, or start your own. Politicians just do what we tell them to do, and if the majority of people tell them what they want and how to pay for it then they'll do it.

The next federal and municipal elections are a few years away. Simply tell your Mayor, Councillor and MP that unless the DRL is underway by then, you won't be voting for them. The next provincial election is probably pretty soon, so tell your MPP that they could get your vote by supporting a motion for the transit initiative or something.
Etobicoke / October 19, 2012 at 02:53 pm
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So where does the money from the Development Charges for all of the new condos actually go (cuz it's not clearly going to transit, but is supposedly levied for "infrastructure"?).

Like the recent articles on the "missing" Section 37 funds, a full accounting of how the Development Charges are being spent should be demanded.

Developers are paying a lot of money per unit (which in turn effectively gets passed onto the buyer as a hidden tax") to develop these condos, but no one seems to ask what happens to it once it gets to City Hall!
acv66 / October 19, 2012 at 02:57 pm
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the majority of subway are downtown , i think a the Sheppard line extension was a hood idea , but it should of also went west. the finch lrt needs to be built and the eglinton lrt should be a subway line like the one they stared building in the 90s
Alex replying to a comment from Etobicoke / October 19, 2012 at 03:21 pm
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In Mississauga at least the development charges ended up in general revenue and were used to keep property taxes steady. Once development started ending there they realized there were some issues with that approach that are now being addressed. I imagine Toronto is being equally short sighted.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from GRAARG / October 19, 2012 at 03:21 pm
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None of that answers the need for infrastructure.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from mark / October 19, 2012 at 03:24 pm
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I have a Go Train/Via Rail track running right by my house downtown. And I live a couple blocks up from the Queen West streetcar line and a few blocks down from the Dundas West streetcar line. So frankly, it wouldn't bother THIS downtowner to have an LRT line in my hood.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from acv66 / October 19, 2012 at 03:25 pm
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That's the one that the "Common Sense Revolution" under Mike Harris cancelled outright. Please note that Daddy Ford and WhoDat were part of the cancellation.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from mark / October 19, 2012 at 03:37 pm
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mark, nice trolling but it won't work. No one ever, ever said LRT are superior to subways; they said they are superior value to subways in contexts where their capacity (which of course is far less than subways) is sufficient and space is available to create dedicated lanes. An LRT on suburban Finch West acting as a feeder to a subway line makes sense, just as it does in Paris, in London, in New York. A subway on downtown King West acting as a trunk line makes sense, just as it does in Paris, in London, in New York. Now go back to playing toy trucks and ferris wheels with your pal Robbie in the limited time you have left before you are booted from office.
James / October 19, 2012 at 03:38 pm
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The piss poor attitudes on here and in politics in general will never move this city forward. The downtown vs uptown mentality is ridiculous. The province should put together a provincial transit plan for the next 20 years and move forward with that plan. Take it out of municipal politics hands because they can't make a decision on anything.
Svej / October 19, 2012 at 04:23 pm
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If the politicians with the power to make this happen were the ones who had to ride the subway daily, construction would have been underway already.
P Maitland replying to a comment from Etobicoke / October 19, 2012 at 04:27 pm
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Etobicoke (above),

The money collected by development charges go to all the things that you would think they should (Infrastructure, Transit, Parks, Social Services) for new development, but the problem is that the fees are too low.

The City reviewed the rates about 4 years ago and found that they were quite low compared to neighbouring municipalities, and recommended that they be raised gradually over a few years. Since then, it took some time for a new bylaw to be passed, and rates were basically frozen (I think they even went down one year). Now, they are starting to go up to where they should be. Unfortunately, years worth of extra fees during a building boom were missed because of the delay.
Joe / October 19, 2012 at 04:52 pm
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The DRL should have been built 20 years ago. If it were built tomorrow it would be running close to capacity, instead the conservatives wasted taxpayer dollars on the Sheppard line which will never be full in our lifetimes. Time to stop voting in the same right wing politicians who are against public transit.
Aaron / October 19, 2012 at 05:34 pm
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Yawn.. I'll wait to see what next years plan looks like..
JunctionJim / October 19, 2012 at 05:56 pm
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Now's the time to ensure our next Premier, MPPs, Councillors and mayor that this is a priority that is needed to fix Ontario's engine.

It's up to us, the voters to put this on the front burner NOW and not later, it will never get cheaper.
Aaron / October 19, 2012 at 06:19 pm
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So 3.2 billion in 2012 dollars will be how much in 2085 dollars?
charalique / October 19, 2012 at 07:35 pm
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it's funny that i was just discussing this with a coworker today.

i didn't know the drl is proposed to run from pape station. that's just awesome because i live right there!

to tell you the truth, with the way rush hour is now (especially at yonge and bloor) and how many commuters are projected to be using the ttc within the near future, i couldn't care which station it start or stops at...just build the darn thing already!!!
getyourheadoutofvaughansbehind replying to a comment from vampchick21 / October 19, 2012 at 08:48 pm
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and pull your head out of adam vaughan ass, and i really do hope he runs against ford, so we can have a good mayor for another 4 years. I do not want my money being spent on subway that benefit you hipsters downtown. I want it spent in the suburbs, for too many years under miller the money was only spent down town. Now it is a new day, and ford will be re-elected with high support from us in the suburbs. We will vote for anyone that does not favour downtown.
jim replying to a comment from vampchick21 / October 19, 2012 at 08:53 pm
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Stuck up downtown hipster, you are a good example why downtown is hated!
Gul Jassad replying to a comment from jer / October 19, 2012 at 09:34 pm
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A lot of these condos should really have been/be built in Scarborough and North York, anyway. Way too many are being built in downtown Toronto, with the stress on transit and traffic to become apparent in years to come.

While we need the DRL, we also need Transit City built as was originally intended, and for EVERYBODY to contribute taxes towards the building of these much-needed projects-grumbling about 'being overtaxed' and 'public transit is a waste of money and should be privatized' should be dismissed and people should commit to this endeavor, even if they don't take public transit. (And no, we don't need those new stinky articulated buses, either!)
Matthew Fabb / October 20, 2012 at 12:58 am
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The Milton GO line currently goes from Kipling Station to Union Station. It only goes into Toronto during the morning and out during the evening, following the rush hour traffic. I've never understood why this line isn't used as an almost TTC express line. No infrastructure needed, just need to work out a deal with CN Rail, to use that line to transport people both ways during the day. It's 15 minutes from Union to Kipling, faster than you will ever be able to pull off in a car, but it isn't used at all.
Daniel / October 20, 2012 at 02:46 pm
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Of the 87 transit plans I've seen so far this year, this is my favourite. Nice colours, bold graphics, multiple dots. Looking forward to next week's plan!
Eric26 / October 20, 2012 at 03:26 pm
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We need Harper to give us a couple billion dollars. He won't see it as the investment it is, unfortunately. It's just that we snobby downtowners want more expensive subway lines because we LOVE riding the TTC, it's the best part of the day!
steve replying to a comment from getyourheadoutofvaughansbehind / October 20, 2012 at 07:08 pm
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So what are you missing int he burbs? How are you suffering? If you were to pull your head out of your ass you would see that a higher portion of budget expenses is spent per capita in the suburbs. A higher portion of capital is spent 'downtown' but that makes sense since the city generates its largest portion of revenues per capita from the city core.
MER1978 replying to a comment from Matthew Fabb / October 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm
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@Mathew Fabb... "The Milton GO line currently goes from Kipling Station to Union Station. It only goes into Toronto during the morning and out during the evening, following the rush hour traffic. I've never understood why this line isn't used as an almost TTC express line."

They can and should do that... but really all that changes is outside rush hour transit use... which isn't really a problem... a DRL line would directly affect rush hour transit use.
gricer1326 replying to a comment from Matthew Fabb / October 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm
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The Milton line runs in CP's (not CN's) only mainline through the city, an incredibly busy corridor that extends all the way to Chicago. Any suggestion of running any more frequent GO service than their currently is will cause their heads to explode.
gricer1326 / October 21, 2012 at 12:25 am
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This is the single worst plan for a downtown relief line i have EVER seen. Sure, let's built it entirely along the existing street grid, which requires a 100% underground alignment, many more years of construction and twice the cost that it needs to be! Building down King is a no-brainer, you just have to dig incredibly deep to avoid the foundations of all those big office buildings which increases the size and the cost of stations! And that Roncesvalles section will be easy - nobody will mind having relatively new utilities, sidewalks, roads, streetcar tracks, landscaping completely torn up for six years!

Looking at the initial portion of the line from Downtown to Pape, we have a much cheaper and easier alternative. The line would begin underground at Danforth avenue and continue in a tunnel until it meets the railway corridor near Gerrard, where there will probably be a station. Either before or after the station, it can rise to an at-grade or elevated alignment along the side of the railway corridor, with stations at Queen and Sherbourne before ending at a station built overtop of the Union station go bus terminal. Further extensions west can be done alongside the railway corridor at grade or on elevated structures in places where each is appropriate.

The only part of the line that has to be underground is the section directly south of Danforth avenue and north to the East York town centre. Everything else can be elevated or at grade.
Matthew Fabb replying to a comment from gricer1326 / October 21, 2012 at 02:48 am
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Thanks gricer1326 for the clarification. I guess that makes sense why it can't be expanded more.
ShutUp replying to a comment from jim / October 21, 2012 at 06:14 pm
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You are a f**king idiot and a perfect example of why this city is going to shit. People with the same stupid mindset as you running the show.
H / October 21, 2012 at 07:54 pm
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The people in this city don't have the chutzpah to make eye contact with one another, let alone manage billions of new infrastructure. A city of serfs (either legacy Anglo ones or present-gen ethnic ones) can't be expected to manage itself. Accomplishing anything will require once more a governor with a spine and from a culture not so anxious to mutilate itself.
t / October 22, 2012 at 12:56 am
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people in the inner toronto suburbs can't exactly be counted as "suburbanites". how ignorant do you have to be to use this dumb dichotomy? i mean who equates the inner suburbs with mansions and white picket fences? the burbs have a lot of potential, if only they're made more accessible. so many great neighbourhoods, parks, ravines... people need to start considering the city as a whole - the point is any bit of extra transit helps everyone. we need a relief line and a lot more if we're gonna connect this city, physically/mentally/politically.
Gul Jassad replying to a comment from H / October 22, 2012 at 03:27 am
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If you feel that way about Toronto, then why do you still live here? Why not go live in Montreal?
Nick / October 22, 2012 at 09:19 am
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I may be a bit biased but is the east side of the proposed DRL more in need of this than the west? As someone who lives at King/Strachan, I find that hard to believe. There were probably well over 60 people at the Strachan stop going eastbound today on King, and 3 streetcars went by and didn't even stop because they were already full, so I had to walk up to Queen to get one. And though that is worse than usual, it unfortunately isn't uncommon and happens a couple times a week. With Liberty Village growing the way it is, along with the tall towers coming to King between Simcoe and Spadina (many already under construction), why isn't the west side the first priority? I apologize for my ignorance of the east side's daily commute on the King streetcar, but I would be surprised if it is as bad as it is for us west siders.
Alex replying to a comment from Nick / October 22, 2012 at 09:49 am
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I think it's because the Yonge subway line is much busier than the University one. The downtown relief line is supposed to take the load off the Yonge line. They should just build the whole loop though, since like you said the west side is very congested too and by the time this ever gets built it will need it as much as the east side.
Dave K / October 22, 2012 at 11:12 am
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Wouldn't a DRL be pointless unless it actually provided an alternative to the Yonge line? Why bother if you're not going to built it out north of Bloor? I used to take the Yonge line downtown from Eglinton and could barely fight my way onto a train in the morning. Southbound trains are essentially full from the time the last person boards at Eglinton until you arrive at the mad rush at Bloor-Yonge.
RealityCheck / October 24, 2012 at 11:23 am
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I am all for transit improvements that make a difference (rather than merely replicate existing service but in a much more costly way... like many of the LRT lines approved by Council in Spring). But this proposal smacks as a self-serving costly plan by the very people who were saying we have no money for subways just a few months ago. It also seems oblivious to existing infrastructure, and too focused on just the needs of the folks near bloor. Once again, we get a plan that leaves large portions of Scarboroug without rapid transit (and no, the LRT lines approved in Spring are not Rapid Transit). The western portion of the proposed DRL could be done away with completely if the Pearson to Union link that we are spending billions on were refashioned as a multi-stop rail line within TTC. As for the growing needs along King west, a much much cheaper solution would be to make portions of King and Queen (say to Parliament) one way and put in Streetcar ROWs there. (And for those who say they don't like one-way streets, other cities... like Montreal and New York use them because they work.) As for the Eastern Portion of the DRL, there are numerous old surface rail lines that could be used... and would mean cheaper construction costs. The Eastern Portion also does not go far enough North to meet the needs of the northeast portion of the city. What I find most frustrating about this new plan, however, is that just a few months ago, we had Councillors approve a plan that they said would meet the needs of Toronto for decades to come. Maybe they spoke to soon.
Gul Jassad replying to a comment from RealityCheck / October 25, 2012 at 12:24 am
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Nice try,but we probably still need those heavy rail lines to haul freight in and out of Toronto, and quite possibly also to haul people IF and WHEN Canada ever gets around to building any high-speed rail lines (I don't see any heavy lift shuttles or transporters from Star Trek being developed to carry freight, do you?)
RealityCheck / October 25, 2012 at 03:20 pm
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Response to GulJussad, the options are there and are not negated by the use of your word "probably", they were even looked at by the former Town of Scarborough Council decades ago, but rejected, a move that the then Mayor says was one of the actions he most regrets about his term as Mayor.
MikeMurko replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / October 26, 2012 at 12:30 am
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Great comment. I would like to point out that NY's population is 4x the size and the American government has the usual 10-1 ratio of revenue/spending with Canada. So the feds giving 1.3 billion to a subway line isn't worth as much to them as it would be to Queen's Park or Ottawa.
MikeMurko replying to a comment from MikeMurko / October 26, 2012 at 12:35 am
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Am I the only one who thinks there aren't enough stops? Spadina to Strachan is quite a hike (20 min walk). If you compare the distance on the Bloor line it seems there the distance between stops is double.

Further question for any transit experts out there: Why is it that other cities across the pond have much more intricate and connected subway/rail systems? London Underground lets get absolutely anywhere because of the myriad of connecting stops and just the vastness of their system. Is it just a funding discrepency? A head start in years? Popular opinion towards transit?
Rob replying to a comment from MikeMurko / October 26, 2012 at 09:23 am
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Initially, a head start in years. Costs were lower, labour laws more lax.

Now, it's a funding discrepancy which allows them to continue to build while we don't. So it's technically both, but we don't have the luxury of KMs of cheaply (relatively) built track.

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