In a new report, City of Toronto Staff have revealed an updated $3.35 billion cost for the preferred alignment of the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE). Running along the McCowan corridor, the City's favoured alignment would add one additional stop to the TTC's Line 2, with the new terminus planned at the Scarborough Town Centre. 

The estimated cost of the subway extension itself is now being cited at $3.159 billion, with an estimated $187 million of related bus infrastructure improvements bringing the total cost to $3.346 billion. This figure follows preliminary estimates of $2 billion, $2.9 billion, and most recently, $3.2 billion

Potential alignments, with McCowan in red, image via City of TorontoPotential alignments, with McCowan in red, image via City of Toronto

As part of the report, a new business case assessment provides updated ridership figures for the new line. On the McCowan alignment, an estimated 2,300 new net riders would be attracted by the subway extension, compared to the existing LRT. By contrast, a Brimley alternative option would only add an estimated 1,300 new riders. However, both figures pale in comparison to the City's business case estimates from July of 2016, which cited a maximum of 4,500 new net riders for an 'express' one-stop extension on the McCowan corridor. That number has dropped by almost 50%.

Ridership comparison between McCowan and Brimley options, image via City of ToroRidership comparison between McCowan and Brimley options, image via City of Toronto

According to the business case, the changing ridership figures are attributable to the City's evolving transit network. The removal of some GO RER / SmartTrack stations—including Ellesmere—is cited as a reason for the reduced projections. With GO RER / SmartTrack plans reconfigured, the business case argues that "the base network has improved, resulting in fewer net new riders than previously estimated."

The business case also lays out the rationale for choosing the McCowan corridor. According to the City, higher population, employment density, and development potential, make the McCowan corridor preferable to a Brimley alignment. Additionally, the business case concludes that the McCowan corridor would better advance social equity goals, with a slightly greater number (1,700 vs 1,500) of disadvantaged residents served. 

Development comparisons between Brimley and McCowan options, image via City of TDevelopment comparisons between Brimley and McCowan options, image via City of Toronto

Alongside the new subway station, the report outlines plans to rebuild the Scarborough Centre bus terminal. With the introduction of full subway service following the decommissioning of the Line 3 RT, the City's so-called "Triton bus terminal" concept is the preferred of two options studied. According to the report, the improved bus terminal—which is being jointly developed by City Staff and the TTC—would "enable better pedestrian connections in the area and unlock the greatest amount of development potential around the subway station."

The $3.346 billion cost makes up almost the entirety of the $3.56 billion of funding committed by all three levels of government to improve transit in Scarborough. This leaves $214 million of funding for the east extension of the Crosstown LRT to the University of Toronto Scarborough. The cost of that project has most recently been estimated at $1.6 billion.

The future Scarborough transit network (preliminary vision), image via City of TThe future Scarborough transit network (preliminary vision), image via City of Toronto

Combined, the two projects are intended to provide a more comprehensive—and less expensive—new transit network, compared to the previously favoured three-stop SSE (below). Indeed, part of the rationale for building the reduced one-stop extension was to allocate additional funding towards LRT. As it stands, however almost $1.4 billion of that project would remain unfunded. 

A comparison of the one-stop and three-stop subway extensions (preliminary visioA comparison of the one-stop and three-stop subway extensions (preliminary vision), image via City of Toronto

Fleshing out the plans in further detail, the new report will be considered by the City's Executive Committee on March 7th, followed by a full Council review.

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Ahead of the Executive Committee's consideration—which is open to the public—City Staff will be on hand at the Scarborough Civic Centre to answer questions from the public on Wednesday, March 1st. A City presentation will open the dialogue at 7:30 PM. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers. 

A full copy of the report is available here via the City of Toronto, along with the business case. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment in the space below this page, or join one of the ongoing conversations in our Transit & Infrastructure Forum threads.