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Transit Fantasy Maps



Okay in light of new election promises concerning transit got me thinking of all the new expansion/extension projects that could be done. Here's my ideas:

1. Eglinton-
elevated structure between Avenue Rd and Bayview Ave. Continues underground west to Black Creek Dr and east to Don Mills Rd.

2. Eglinton East-
new RT west to Victoria Park (eventually connecting to Don Mills)

3. BD East-
extension to Kingston Rd (eventually converted to Eglinton Line)

4. SRT East-
extension to Toronto Zoo via Malvern/ Morningside Hts. Possible conversion to subway technology but run on surface or elevated.

5. Sheppard East-
conversion to LRT east of Fairview Mall. Runs full length of
Sheppard to Meadowvale (Zoo).

6. BD west-
extension to Sherway Gardens. MT terminal relocated from Islington to Sherway.

7. Yonge North-
extension to Steeles (possibly to Lanstaff GO)

8. Weston-Geogretown Corridor Transit-
new RT from Waterfront (Toronto Portlands-Exhibition) to Eglinton and beyond.

9. Eglinton West-
extension from Black Creek to Renforth and Pearson Airport.

10. Queen-Lakeshore-
a new line originally between Ronchesvalles and Broadview. Extensions west via Queensway and Lakeshore to Long Branch and east to Warden/Kingston Rd.

11. Don Mills-
an eastern leg of the WGCT line running up Lakeshore East GO to Gerrard Sq then up Pape, Millwood, Overlea and Don Mills to Steeles with provisions to head into YR eventually.

12. Spadina North-
extension into Vaughan and in long term Woodbridge.

13. Hwy 27 Rocket-
new RT line linking north Rexdale, Albion Mall, Humber college, Woodbine Racetrack and Fantasy Fair, and a new GO station to Eglinton RT and further south Etobicoke Civic Ctr to BD line.

14. Sheppard West-
Fills missing link between Yonge and Downsview possibly further west to Weston.

15. Kingston RT-
In conjuction with local bus service the RT only stops at major transfer points from Queen/Coxwell to as far east as Highland Creek before following Lawson/Port Union to Rouge Hill GO.

If the funds and resources were available which of any one of these projects would you approve of and why?
Yonge North,
BD Sherway,
increased GO Georgetown-Woodbine/Pearson (VIA rail stop too)-Weston-Union rather than B22 or LRT unless it was on 427 to serve Etobicoke/BD/Queensway LRT.
15 - None of the above.

Reason? I think the problems that face Toronto are much larger than what just a few subway lines or LRT's can address. There needs to be a whole new way of organizing and thinking about transit and better systems for moving people around an ever growing geographical footprint.

It is for this reason that I would actually put rebuilding the Lakeshore train corridor, from Oshawa all the way to Niagara Falls, as my number one priority. Seperate passenger and freight traffic so that GO/VIA and any other services that want to operate don't have to deal with trying to find space on a congested track. As soon as you open up the capacity on the Lakeshore corridor than all the branch lines that feed into it can absorb more capacity. And by electrifying the corridor you could run quieter trains with quicker acceleration, less environmental impact, and many could be smaller in size allowing areas that are not financially feasible with current GO stock to be served by something more appropriate.

I am sure some would say this provides more benefit to the suburbs than it does Toronto. I would disagree though arguing that by better connecting the city center with the surrounding areas you once again make Toronto a more desireable place to locate businesses that operate on a regional scale and may only have one office in the GTA.

Second on my list would be rebuilding the Weston Corridor and providing a proper rail connection between downtown and Pearson that could be used by GO, VIA, TTC or even a private operator if one wanted to undertake such a project.
"DRL, aka numbers 8 and 11." doubt about it.
I would vote for doing the following, in this order. This list would balance the needs of inner suburb commuters and city residents. Addressing the needs of outer suburb commuters is not included.

1. Buy more streetcars to increase capacity on existing lines. Purchase more articulated vehicles to put on the over capacity downtown lines such as College.

2. Build modest extensions to the existing lines (Yonge north to Steeles, BD west to Sherway, BD east to Lawrence East). The Sherway extension would extend the TTC to Mississauga and a major destination. The eastern extension would replace part of the Scarborough RT line, allowing the remaining cars to run over a shortened track, extending the life of the system.

3. Build a rail link to Pearson.

4. Convert some bus lines to streetcar lines. This is what should have been done with Sheppard. Perhaps Eglinton should be next?

5. Build the downtown relief line, but modify the route to make it not just a relief line for bypassing Yonge & Bloor, but a useful way to move around downtown. ie, run the line along Queen or King instead of through the railway lines and down Front.
I guess another question could be "If you had about $X billion to spend on transit today, what would you do with it?" since some of these projects have wildly different price tags.

"This is what should have been done with Sheppard."

What should have been done with Sheppard was build it from Downsview to STC from day one.
This is my plan, assuming nothing for the east waterfront at this time.

1. Develop the urban frequency regional-rail system. This would include a airport rail link as part of this. First corridors would be Lakeshore (Hamilton to Oshawa), Stouffville (Toronto to Mount Joy) and Georgetown (Toronto to Mount Pleasant). New stations in places like Mount Dennis, Junction, Woodbine RaceTrack, Parkdale, Queen and DeGrassi, would relieve some of the transit needs. Local all stop trains would run every 20 minutes, 30 minutes in evenings, express trains where/when needed. Corridors choosen due to ridership and practicality (Milton would have to wait).

2. Minor subway extensions: Sheppard to Victoria Park (EA all ready done), Finch to Steeles.

3. DRL Phase 1 - Spadina/Front to Pape via Front St, CN Corridor and under Pape.

4. Underground LRT on Eglinton from Laird to Keele, surface elsewhere. Would be built to allow possible expansion to full Metro and underground portion of Queen Car from Jarvis to Trinity-Bellwoods.

5. B-D extension to STC.

6. Expansion of Regional Rail to Milton line (with MCC diversion) to Meadowvale and Bradford to Newmarket.

7. York U, including Sheppard line to Downsview.

8. DRL Phase Two - Spadina to Dundas West

9. DRL Phase Three - Pape to Eglinton/Don Mills via Thorncliffe Park.

10. Sheppard to STC.
Sounds like a good plan, spmarshall, though I'd push the Steeles extension a bit down the list, and I'd build the VCC route (with assurances that VCC would be developed quickly and in a transit-friendly manner) before the Sheppard extension to Downsview.
DRL Phase IV: Eglinton To Finch? That's when the branch really becomes powerful, otherwise it risks being a stubway. (edit - forgot about its mirror, DRL Phase V: up the Weston corridor). The Sheppard line also becomes more than the sum of its parts if extended to Downsview and will be necessary for the York extension to be worthwhile, IMO.

Since people are throwing out lists assuming unlimited funds, I'll change my answer from the DRL (which would be the TTC/Toronto's priority) to a big GO boost (something the suburbs need to be in on to work). Of course, both could be done at the same time :)

If all the GO lines have both way or at least very frequent service, and the DRL is in place, the rest doesn't matter that much.
If all the GO lines have both way or at least very frequent service, and the DRL is in place, the rest doesn't matter that much.

Agree. And the cost might be a lot overall, but, given that upgradig GO alone would probably be a 15 - 20 year project (a fair estimate if all the current lines were upgraded), it would probably be more manageable than some might think. And once you start developing and training a skilled work force and building support systems to perform the upgrades, there may also be the benefits of having construction times speed up as knowledge is gained year after year. It would be nothing short of a fundamental change for Toronto and the GTA if such a project were ever undertaken.
Apart from the DRL that tunnels under King, not next to the rail tracks, I don't think we ever have to worry about subway extensions ever again. For the most part, the suburban arterials that see more than 30,000 passengers/day would benefit from bus ROW and upgraded vehicles, such as 60ft articulated buses running at 5 minute headways with proof of purchase ticketing.

Now, regionally I'm much more concerned. Although I'm confident that the city of Toronto will, with some financial difficulty and a lot of time, manage to put out a viable and sustainable transit system for the future, I don't see anything that will knit together the over 4 million people who live in the rest of the GTA. The single best expansion we could pursue right now is, as sean and Antilooop have said, a real regional rapid transit system through an expanded Lakeshore line. This would be a major project because over 100km of rail would have to be electrified and expensive signaling and switches would have to be installed to allow for 5 minute frequencies, and different types of trains: expresses, locals, skip-stop service. It would probably need to be quadruple tracked for its entire distance. In addition, it would have to knit existing town centers along the way and therefore we can't have stations like Oshawa that end at the edge of an industrial park with an ocean of parking. Rather, we would have to find a way for the line's alignment to target all the regional downtowns en route: Oshawa, Pickering, Toronto, Port Credit, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton. The second line would form a "V" from Georgetown through Brampton, Weston, Toronto Union, Scarborough, Agincourt, Markham, Stouffville. Each of these stops would become a mini urban-center based around a major rail stop, sort of like the commuter suburbs of major European and Japanese cities. We would make every station into a major transportation hub, combining regional bus services, taxis, auto share companies and bike rentals into one facility, usually attached to a shopping mall.

We have to turn the GO train system from a highway decongester, which is basically what it is today, to the artery of a city region of 8 million people.
Just to expand a bit more on what AlchemisTO said. Not only is a project of that scale necessary both in terms of the amount of construction and upgrading needed and in terms of regional coverage beyond the current GO boundries, but it also needs to be examined through an economic point of view.

One criticism that I have of transit advocates is that too often their arguments are framed in social or transportation terms only. But the economic benefits of projects like the one AlchemisTO describe are rarely discussed in terms of their economic benefits.

Take the hypothetical example of an expressway north of the 407 (I believe such a plan is reffered to as the 413). The argument for such a road is easy to imagine. It will relieve congestion, it will open up new lands for development, it will be critical in the expansion of the GTA. And this for the most case would be true. As soon as surveyors began to plan out the route developers would be scrambling to buy up land and claim as many prime locations as possible. The inevitable suburbs and subdivisions by interchanges would appear. Construction would boom. Housing starts would help the economy. Etc, etc.

But how often do you hear and see the kind of economic analysis done and put forward when it comes to public transit? The only example that comes to mind are the few references that are given to the Shephard subway and its role in fueling condo development along its length. But besides that, most of the arguments focus on giving up cars, the environment, and other social aspects.

It would not be hard to begin to determine the economic benefits to Toronto and the GTA of a proper regional rail network. In terms of the GTA better mid and long distance public transport would help reduce or at least stall car usage and ensure the regions highways don't become more congested than they allready are. The development that would take place near new and existing stations would help boost the construction industry to even higher levels. Businesses would benefit by greater access to talented and skilled workers and being able to locate in more strategic locations. And of course Toronto, being at the center of this transportation system and becoming several fold more accessible by all people in the region, would most likely see itself gain strength by being more attractive to businesses looking for 'the' central location. It would create a situation where 'all rail lines lead to Toronto' and by default in many cases, people would simply find themselves being thrust into the city.

Perhaps I am wrong in thinking this would be the case, so, I will add this question to the discussion. What public transportation proposal do you think would create the greatest economic impact and spinoffs for Toronto, and why?
I agree with all three of you, Alchemist, Antiloop, and samsonyuen. GO improvements are probably the most beneficial to the region of all the possible transit projects.

European countries (even Britain) always look at the economic spinoff effects of public transit projects. Unfortunately, that isn't the North American practice. Projects are built as if they should be a money-making venture.

I do think, though, that the recommended route for the DRL (from Spadina along Front to Union and then moving to the south side of the rail corridor) is better than tunnelling under King for a number of reasons. First of all, it's much cheaper. Though the TTC is allergic to it, Front Street might be suitable for cut and cover construction while King is probably too narrow. Perhaps most importantly, it serves Union Station, which is the critical transit junction in the city, even more so if your proposed GO improvements were built. The Front/Railway alignment also better serves a lot more existing trip generators than King, including the SkyDome, Convention Centre, Cityplace, the CN Tower, the Air Canada Centre, and the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. Finally, it is much better from a development standpoint. While a King alignment could spur demolition of stable residential neighbourhoods east and west of downtown, the Front/Railway route would very effectively serve new development in the West Don Lands, East Bayfront, Port Lands, and "Studio District".