union station west

This is what Toronto’s future transit map could look like

Toronto has more residents, visitors and daily commuters than its roads can handle right now, if you haven't noticed the past 10 years of crippling traffic congestion.

Public transit agencies —specifically Metrolinx and the TTC — have been scrambling to keep up with the city's explosive growth, and while new subway and light rail transit lines in the city are great, they won't be enough to transform what's been deemed the worst city for commuting in North America.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson International Airport, thinks it has a solution in the form of "Union Station West"—a new major transit hub in the the middle of the GTA.

"We're overdue for a second major transit hub," reads a microsite promoting the project, which is already in its design phase.

"Today, Union Station is the GTA's only major ground mobility hub," it continues.

"About 90 per cent of American metropolitan areas with five to seven million people have at least two major hubs."

The site also notes that the area surrounding Pearson (the "Airport Employment Zone") is Canada's second largest area for jobs, with about one million trips to the zone every day.

toronto union station west

The GTAA wants to connect Pearson Airport seamlessly to numerous rail and bus services throughout the region. Image via Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

It's a massive undertaking, and it will require significant infrastructure investments from government bodies and other transit agencies, especially given that the only high speed link between downtown and the airport right now is the Union-Pearson Express.

That said, things are starting to move forward in the ambitious quest to make Union Station West happen.

Last week, GTAA presiden Howard Eng said at a Toronto Region Board of Trade event that his organization hopes to open the first phase of its new regional transit hub at Pearson "by the late 2020s."

Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster also spoke at the event, noting that the regional provincial transit agency is currently working with the GTAA to study potential connections to Union Station West stemming from the Kitchener GO Transit line.

"By strengthening connections among communities along the innovation corridor between Kitchener-Waterloo, Pearson Airport and Toronto, we will work to deliver faster, more frequent service for our customers" said Verster on Friday.

Eng agreed, calling Toronto Pearson Airport "Canada's gateway to the world" and a key driver of jobs and trade.

"Road congestion is impacting our region's ability to attract investment and also impacting quality of life for our residents," he said.

"Our vision for a regional transit and passenger centre at Toronto Pearson will help to reduce congestion in the area, lower costs for industry and improve productivity for local business."

Here's hoping!

Lead photo by

Greater Toronto Airports Authority

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