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What the new platform at Union Station looks like

Posted by Derek Flack / August 18, 2014

Union Station second platformThis morning was a whole lot different for TTC passengers using Union Station. As reported last Wednesday, the second platform was unveiled to start the work week, and it immediately helped to ease congestion at the transit hub. There's twice the space now, with those headed north to Finch enjoying the brand new boarding area. There was some confusion when many riders first exited trains in the morning, but it was short lived, and there were a lot of staff on hand to provide direction.

Overall, the new platform looks great -- and for $137 million it should. But it's worth noting that there are some rather narrow sections in the middle where the standing area is only about 10-12ft wide. This poses a bit of an issue when the station is packed, but is easily solved by funnelling riders to the wider areas at the ends.

One note about aesthetics. Even though there's still lots of construction in progress around the new platform, I have to say that the TTC did a good job on making this appealing to the eye. The signage is plentiful, the Toronto Subway font looks great (as usual), and the station feels immediately much more modern.


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DarkLordOfEtobicoke / August 18, 2014 at 02:13 pm
It needs a bit more art and character like Dufferin station and Museum station.... A bit more flair needed.
James / August 18, 2014 at 02:16 pm
That is nice. Thank the gods they didn't use whatever colour blind idiot designed the "improved" Dufferin Station's walls.
Nash / August 18, 2014 at 02:19 pm
Nice improvement, but where are the seats for the elderly and those who really could use a sit-down while waiting for the next train?
justaguy replying to a comment from DarkLordOfEtobicoke / August 18, 2014 at 02:39 pm
The art is coming. 500' x 7' glass mural entitled Zones of Immersion by Stuart Reid. Google it for a glimpse of the mural. I'm reserving judgment until the real thing is up and revealed, but there certainly will be tons of colour...
iSkyscraper / August 18, 2014 at 02:53 pm
Porcelain everywhere, which is fine. Too bad that the volume is so unbelievably tiny and squeezed but I suppose there was only so much they could do with all of the site constraints.

The real solution will be to add new trunk lines serving the core and stop trying to pack the entire population of North America's fifth largest downtown office sector (41 M SF of Class A offices) onto a single subway platform. Rob Ford has utterly poisoned the way people understand subways and other forms of transit, but just as the downtown neighborhoods need more streetcars and the inner suburbs need more LRT and the outer suburbs need more GO, more trunk subways are needed to distribute all those people across the built-up city and into and out of the CBD.
meatballs replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 18, 2014 at 03:13 pm
In my experience commuting by subway downtown, most people get off at either St. Andrew or King in the morning, with second place being Queen's Park or College.

However, I agree that anyone who's endured the nasal platform announcer at St George while watching train after train go south with no room will happily support a DRL. Maybe they could even make it run diagonally as opposed to following city streets? They have to bore tunnels now anyway...
Graham replying to a comment from James / August 18, 2014 at 03:16 pm
You are absolutely entitled to that opinion
dsscpu / August 18, 2014 at 03:29 pm
Did they install the "Next Train Arrival" video boards on the new platform? I don't see any in the photos. Not having those would be a joke.
Cathy O'Brien / August 18, 2014 at 03:37 pm
All they need is to add some safety barriers and it would be great.
Kelly / August 18, 2014 at 03:38 pm
To those asking why this and that aren't in the station: you do realize they aren't finished yet?
Skye / August 18, 2014 at 03:39 pm
So what if the cosmetic upgrades (ie, wall art)aren't ready yet? If the TTC waited until the station was showroom-ready to open it, then everyone would be complaining that the platform wasn't ready just because the stupid art wasn't installed yet.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from meatballs / August 18, 2014 at 04:02 pm
You're taking my comment a bit literally, but yes, King and Queen are definitely busier.

Still, it would be a really interesting graphic if someone took the CBD maps of, say, New York, Atlanta, Philly, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Chicago, Boston, SF etc. and worked out the "watershed" of each subway station -- i.e. how many thousands of Class-A office space SF were in the catchment zone of each station within walking distance. (In Toronto this map would show, say, nine little watersheds for the Line 1 stations below Wellesley).

Then, divide those watershed SF by the number of platforms or even the SF of the platforms.

I would be willing to bet that Toronto would take four or five of the top ten spots for office space per subway platform space density. The DRL is sorely needed.
Potrzebie / August 18, 2014 at 04:24 pm
Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: functional and unspectacular.

I'm kind of glad they resisted the urge to do a "Clifton Hill" treatment like Museum station.

Alex / August 18, 2014 at 04:53 pm
It looks really nice. Can't wait for the rest of the union upgrades to finish.
Moaz Ahmad / August 18, 2014 at 05:04 pm
I'm curious to see how they would build a fare paid connection between Union Station and the DRL (assuming it runs to Bay/Wellington as I expect it will).
Dean / August 18, 2014 at 05:26 pm
I am surprised it is as narrow and, small as it seems. Maybe it helps with the traffic flow now, but what about when the rest of Union is finished and the UP train is running, and all the extra traffic next year for Pan Am games, and future growth for more and more people. It seems like they have not planned that far ahead or that their studies show there just will not be that much traffic growth. I was actually surprised when I heard a reporter say a few times that the Union was the third busiest station in the city.
excited / August 18, 2014 at 06:11 pm
How excited must have Derek been this morning to head over to union to take pictures then blog about this useless crap. My guess would be super excited...great job bud and thanks for youre thoughts on this. Now get back to you're actual day job.
Thomas replying to a comment from excited / August 18, 2014 at 06:43 pm
Lol what? I think reporting on news is his job and a job that we all appreciate since we are here commenting. Like what kind of ignorant comment was that anyway?
Jeff H / August 18, 2014 at 09:20 pm
Too bad they stuck with the red EXIT signs instead of using the green running man ( The TTC is using its updated wayfinding signage (with numbered subway lines), but not using the updated building code for emergency exits.
MK replying to a comment from Rob / August 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm
lol Rob, you're totally right !
Reid H replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm
Fairly positive you dont khow what youre talking about. Building a bigger subway platform would force then to actually reroute the subway, costing a least a billion dollars for union station alone. Can you imagine all the digging and replacing of subway lines and re-routing the old ones, just for another few inches of standing space?

Unless a city builds for double its population, public transportation will always be crowded in the late development stage of it.

What you witness now in Toronto is poor planning, and Rob Ford has nothing to do with planning the subway from the 1980's.

Take a look at brampton, where chinguaousy road is 3 lanes wide and is never busy. That is building for the population to come. But to maintain that asset is difficult.
hablahblah replying to a comment from James / August 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm
I like the new dufferin station.
Can't Forget replying to a comment from meatballs / August 19, 2014 at 10:09 am
They may get off at King or St. Andrew but GO bus and train riders get on/off at Union which makes up a large bulk of the traffic as well. As part of the Union station revamp, the Union Terminal is also getting a much needed layout and decor update.
Can't Forget replying to a comment from Reid H / August 19, 2014 at 10:11 am
Actually, they did expand the subway platforms at Union Station... and they are building multilevel tracks at the Union Terminal, similar to St. George station but with additional levels for concourse.
Bernard / August 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm
The platform is too narrow. That's not an improvement. I don't know what they are thinking. I couldn't believe it!!! Can't they make it wider? It's a real disappointment.
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