The TTC will tomorrow night unveil a $60-million overhaul of two key west-end subway stations.
The Kipling Station and Islington Station Improvements project will switch the terminus for Mississauga Transit and GO Transit bus services from Islington to Kipling, and free up land to be sold to SNC-Lavalin.
Those SNC-Lavalin funds will help pay for the remake of the stations. The engineering giant will build an office at Islington, bringing 1,400 jobs to Toronto, said TTC chair Adam Giambrone.
â€œSNC-Lavalin is moving its headquarters for the GTA and some elements from across Canada,â€ said Mr. Giambrone. â€œThat will be a major commercial development with 1,400 jobs coming into the City of Toronto.â€
Stephanie Rice, urban planner and manager of the project for the City of Toronto, said the project puts the TTC buildings on a hydro corridor instead of prime city real estate, and will add about 100 parking spaces between both stations, bringing the total number of spaces to 2,870.
â€œThis project really got jump-started when last year the city was approached by the developer for the Islington lands, thatâ€™s SNC-Lavalin,â€ said Ms. Rice.
â€œTheyâ€™re developing on a portion at Islington station. There are lands that are occupied by our existing bus terminal, and thereâ€™s an adjacent property, the former Legion building thatâ€™s owned by the city of Toronto. The Legion building lands are going to be developed by SNC-Lavalin.â€
The transit commission will hold an open house on the designs tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Islington United Church, 25 Burnhamthorpe Rd.
Construction will begin next year.
The TTC says the project will make it easier for pedestrians and private cars to get to the stations, improve the flow of passengers through the stations, and make bus operations at both hubs more efficient. Both stations will remain open while the construction work is under way.
Currently Mississauga Transit terminates at Islington station, an unnecessary four-kilometre round trip into Toronto for the suburban buses.
The project will move the terminus for Mississauga and GO bus services to Kipling at the Bloor subwayâ€™s western limit.
The Kipling redesign will also add new car entrances and two passenger pick-up and drop-off areas for the public, and replace the existing commuter parking lots with lots on Kipling Avenue and Aukland Road. The projected tab for Kipling: $37.6 million.
A new Islington TTC bus terminal will be built north of the existing subway station, on land that is also a hydro corridor. It will include a larger passenger kiss-and-ride facility, and new elevators to provide barrier-free access to all levels of the station. The projected tab for Islington: $22.44 million.
â€œOn a whole, itâ€™s great that the city and the TTC are going to invest in the stations, specifically because theyâ€™re the end stations,â€ said Matthew Blackett, publisher of the Toronto urban design magazine Spacing.
But Blackett urges the TTC to preserve the Islington station interior as part of the cityâ€™s architectural heritage.
â€œThe Bloor-Danforth line is actually an amazing time capsule of a certain time -- of Modernist, clean, aesthetic design,â€ Blackett said. â€œDonâ€™t mess with the tile design. Clean it up, touch it up.€
â€” Story by Will Tremain, National Post