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TTC: Sheppard Subway Extension (Proposed)

Streety McCarface

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The lack of a Willowdale station really says everything about how serious the city was in densifying Sheppard at the time. In every urban structure and development sense it would have been far more useful than Bessarion.
North York Centre station was a rough-in too, yet Yonge North got its development. Bessarion was supposed to be a rough-in but was seen to have better development potential due to open land.
That isn't true at all.

Downtown growth has outstripped these areas for decades, and by a very wide margin.

Planners already knew this is how things would unfold when Sheppard was selected as the line to build.
Because the City was already amalgamated and priorities changed. North York City Centre developed heavily throughout the 90s when it was its own city, got a new subway station, and was seen as likely to continue during Sheppard's planning. Just because construction only really started occurring in 1995 doesn't mean planning for the line didn't go back any farther. The line was envisioned in 1985, back when North York Centre's construction efforts were starting to take off.
Why would they be rebuilt? They're not dense, walkable environments. Almost the entire line runs through suburban, single family home neighbourhoods and park land.
The same reason they used to rebuild Yonge north of Sheppard avenue — Because they wanted to. They wanted to build a walkable community and they did. These things aren't that complicated.
 

syn

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Because the City was already amalgamated and priorities changed. North York City Centre developed heavily throughout the 90s when it was its own city, got a new subway station, and was seen as likely to continue during Sheppard's planning. Just because construction only really started occurring in 1995 doesn't mean planning for the line didn't go back any farther. The line was envisioned in 1985, back when North York Centre's construction efforts were starting to take off.

Priorities didn't change, the economy and demand did. There was nothing stopping developers from building at Yonge and Sheppard - there was simply far greater demand downtown, for both commercial and residential projects.

The area developed significantly, building it's own 'downtown', no question. But to say 'development didn't move back downtown' and "They weren't actually favoring the downtown core at the time, quite the opposite" is simply untrue. The city as a whole grew throughout the 80s and 90s, and that included major developments in the downtown core, which continued to see the vast majority of projects.

The same reason they used to rebuild Yonge north of Sheppard avenue — Because they wanted to. They wanted to build a walkable community and they did. These things aren't that complicated.

No, they are complicated. Very complicated.

There are all sorts of considerations that go into any project, especially one of that magnitude.

Care to explain how the city would justify upending long established suburban communities to build dense, walkable environments? How would you explain it to residents, who'd undoubtedly be affected? What amendments to the official plan would be required?

These are just political factors. What about economics? Legal issues?

The reason it didn't happen on Sheppard is the the same reason it won't happen in Scarborough. The subway will do very little to change the suburban nature of the area. Here's what the city said in their own report on the SSE:

"As documented in Toronto's Official Plan, the long term urban structure of Scarborough is envisioned to be dominated by Neighbourhoods and Employment Areas. The Official Plan protects the character of neighbourhoods from change, and there is little desire to increase density in these areas."

What you're suggesting was never going to happen.
 

denfromoakvillemilton

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The number of condos that've been built aren't anywhere close to providing the kind of density necessary to justify a subway in this corridor. Planners knew that when the line was being built. It's not too surprising.

What is unfortunately surprising is that we're continuing to make the same foolish, politically motivated mst




Would it? What does full completion even mean?

This line isn't on the radar at the moment. There's a promise to build it at some undefined point in the future, but it has no funding.

If we can't move on to other important transit priorities until this is done, then the GTA is in trouble.
Terminus at Sheppard McCowan is full completion. I feel that this has hamstrung us for too long.
Wouldn't the Scarborough debate just move it's goalposts accordingly? There is a lot of Scarborough out there, it's a big place.

Build the Eglinton East extension along with some subways, but I wish we could actually prioritize building a BRT network across Scarborough to actually serve the borough and satisfy transit needs for a generation.
I agree. North south transit is key and we just don't have enough of that. I would like to see something done for Markham Road too.
 

Rainforest

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The same reason they used to rebuild Yonge north of Sheppard avenue — Because they wanted to. They wanted to build a walkable community and they did. These things aren't that complicated.

Agreed. Rezoning is possible. It will surely meet opposition in some areas, but that doesn't mean any attempts are doomed. I believe that a stretch of Sheppard East near Yonge is actually rezoned for highrises, but the highrises cannot go deeper into the block.

The decision to build Sheppard Subway is/was controversial, but the subway exists today, and rezoning the areas adjacent to existing stations makes perfect sense.
 

junctionist

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If local residents want to sell their homes to developers at a premium or replace their detached houses with small apartment buildings that they themselves own, how would that be a bad thing? If someone wants to hold onto their detached house, they can do so too. You can't just assume that all residents these neighbourhoods to be 100% detached houses forever. The city could get so much denser, affordable, diverse and walkable if we loosened zoning restrictions in favour of more density in neighbourhoods. Right now, just replacing a detached house with two semi-detached houses is often not possible.
 

syn

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Terminus at Sheppard McCowan is full completion. I feel that this has hamstrung us for too long.

Right...for this line. But what about for the rest of Scarborough? I'm just not sure extending this line will shift focus to other locations.

I don't think ridership for a full Sheppard line would be great, but it's certainly the most sensible option.

If local residents want to sell their homes to developers at a premium or replace their detached houses with small apartment buildings that they themselves own, how would that be a bad thing? If someone wants to hold onto their detached house, they can do so too. You can't just assume that all residents these neighbourhoods to be 100% detached houses forever. The city could get so much denser, affordable, diverse and walkable if we loosened zoning restrictions in favour of more density in neighbourhoods. Right now, just replacing a detached house with two semi-detached houses is often not possible.

Sure - but that's the question. Do local residents want to do that?

Do enough of them want to do it to allow for high density development? Are developers willing to pay a high enough premium?

So far the answer seems to be no.
 

slapped_chicken

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I was speaking about the potential future of the Sheppard extension in the FWLRT thread where it offers a faster parallel crosstown service than Finch, and things got a bit off-topic, so I'll let off some ideas here. I apologize in advance for waking up a sub that has been sleeping for 2 months, but here:

I believe that the best case for the Sheppard line being extended significantly depends directly on the growth of North York City Centre (I'll refer to it as NYCC) into a viable CBD #2 for Toronto, of a much larger scale than it currently is.

With good transportation options in every direction and an effort by the city to rezone and pedestrianize Finch, Yonge, and Sheppard, NYCC should become an attractive option as a second CBD. NYCC can change from a high growth corridor to a true downtown district. It would then justify an extensive Line 4, as Line 4 would be directly connected to a large CBD with tens of thousands of residents and hundreds of thousands of jobs. Today, it currently acts as a feeder for Line 1 downtown trips.
I see potential in the near future with the following projects in study:
  • Line 1 North extension from Finch to Richmond Hill
    • The distances between proposed Finch, Cummer and Steeles stations are similar to the distances between Y-S, North York Centre and Finch stations (0.8-1.3 km). This makes it appealing to have an extension of high density commercial and residential complemented by ground retail in a similar manner to what exists in NYCC, in a reasonably walkable area. This could extend NYCC to the north by ~2 km. Between Steeles and RHC, there seems to be less proposed development to support a continuous corridor, although it is possible.
  • Line 6 (Finch LRT) extension from Finch West to Finch
    • The LRT can spur new development along its entire route. Short stop spacing encourages a walkable corridor (well, one can hope 😕). By interchanging with Finch station, NYCC now has a significant western rapid transit connection. Together with Line 1 and 4, it provides transportation for short and long distances in four directions for NYCC.
  • REimagining Yonge Street project
    • Expanded sidewalks, improved crossing, improved cycling facilities and other streetscape improvements make the corridor more livable and attractive to growth.
Rezoning needs to happen, and Sheppard is densifying, but the ridership remains stagnant due to NYCC or anywhere on the line not being a major destination, and length. Also, the lack of a Willowdale station may have severed the possibility of gradually extending the density of Yonge along Sheppard, but that doesn't kill the possibility. Short, more sensible extensions for Sheppard are ideal:
  • Line 4 west to Sheppard West (~4.5 km)
    • This extension may be difficult by terrain and other factors, but it is a sensible connection to Line 1 and indirectly connects to RER. Sheppard West will be adjacent to a dense residential and commercial area and campus in the future with the redevelopment of Downsview Airport.
  • Line 4 east to Victoria Park (~2 km)
    • As someone mentioned before, Vic Park has a lot of feeder busses and the area has many offices and redevelopment proposals. It is more feasible compared to a full out extension to STC in one big project.
One of the issues with establishing NYCC as a second CBD is the lack of 905 accessibility, as it is only connected by highways to the 905 (It is roughly in the middle of the GTA which is ideal 😁). Without commuter rail, it may never compete with Downtown. So it comes down to the Sheppard Line. Sheppard may have potential to serve as a more affordable subway-commuter rail hybrid akin to REM. This would require a change of technology to more nimble, low-cost trains with smaller turning radii to allow flexible routing and reasonable costs. In the long term, if we are extending Line 4 to far reaches of Toronto and even the GTA, and if we want to establish NYCC as a true competitor to Downtown by doing so, it makes sense to convert the existing heavy-rail subway to a REM/Sydney Metro style technology; at some point, the cost difference of extension with a traditional TR standards will be higher than the cost of converting to a flexible and cheaper technology as we extend further out.

Okay, that's my TED talk, see y'all next year ✌💜
 
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Undead

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I doubt NYCC will become a major employment area any time soon. Although that's been the vision for many years, it's never come to fruition. Offices just prefer to locate downtown as the last 10+ years have shown. NYCC will likely remain a vertical suburb with good transit access and that's a perfectly acceptable outcome for it, imho. That being said - line 4 west, YNSE, Finch West phase 2 and improving the pedestrian experience will help.
 

slapped_chicken

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They did envision this for many years and it may have failed due to the narrow strip of land allocated for development, and lack of extensive rapid transit in the west, north, and the east too (Sheppard is fairly short to have much of an impact). Although it did make a transit-friendly and walkable corridor, and it still is a distant second-place to Downtown in terms of employment.

One of the key reasons downtown is so immensely popular for office developments is the access to commuter rail. While having a large, walkable area also helps, there is a clear pattern with the largest office developments in Toronto. They are almost all congregated in short walking distance of Union Station! Being close to Union ensures an office is 1-1.5 hours from most of the 7-million-person GTA. Compare that to Yonge-St.Clair, Yonge-Eg or NYCC, which require a lengthy subway transfer and are more attractive to the 3 million residents already in Toronto (You can see the scale of office development is, well, scaled back here). NYCC has decent local rapid transit but it has poor regional transit to the 905, and as such the only access for most 905ers would be the 401. The existence of the 401 is the only reason why it is a larger node than Yonge-Eglinton (as much as I would hate to admit that :oops:).

This is why I am leaning towards a reconfig of Line 4 to operate as a cheaper, nimble hybrid subway-commuter line; a small network centered around NYCC on a single line under or around Sheppard in Toronto which then branches off as 2-3 lines in the west to the airport/Mississauga and Brampton, and in the east, it could continue to Durham as a single line. It can serve as a smaller-capacity, easy-to-implement frequent commuter rail system at its ends which provides the needed 905 access that appeals to office tenants. With actual fast regional transit, it at least unlocks some of the GTA to be within 1 hour commuting distance from NYCC 😁 Oh, and I guess it kind of gives us the 'missing link' too!
 
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north-of-anything

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I think it would be a lot more cost-effective to develop south-central Richmond Hill into a new downtown like Vaughan's, since all the rail infrastructure you would need for that already exists. It would be much cheaper to either leave Line 4 with its current technology or convert it to a Crosstown-style LRT.

The most important thing to do for Sheppard, in my opinion, is to close the gap between the Yonge and Spadina branches. Not everyone goes to work in a "downtown", anyways.
 

allengeorge

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If NYCC is (essentially) a vertical suburb, it seems like the best thing to do is reconfigure the streets to be more ‘livable’ and double down on it being a great, fun place to live. This could generate a virtuous cycle, where people are more interested in staying and spending in the area, which would make it more attractive to businesses, which would...

I’m a strong believer in designing good ‘bones’ into communities and seeing what happens. If the above is the vision, then transit should be designed to support that.
 

duffo

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Extend the Finch LRT eastwards to Yonge, have it turn down Yonge and run at-grade to stimulate pedestrianization of the corridor, and then enter a tunnel portal near Sheppard and turn left to continue east through the Line 4 tunnel (now converted either with catenary for existing vehicles or new bi-mode catenary/third rail LRVs) until a portal near Victoria Park to bring it back to at-grade street operation until STC. Would pass Agincourt Mall which is slated for a big redevelopment, Agincourt GO which will be on the RER network, and obviously STC which is a growing city hub as well.
 

Bureaucromancer

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I've actually become a convert to something similar, although my version exits the Finch West tunnel into the York busway corridor, turns south on Dufferin and runs in a surface ROW on Sheppard as far as room can be found for it before entering the tunnel.

Which has led me to think that any rapid or quasi rapid service on Dufferin should continue to Sheppard W via Transit Rd.
 
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duffo

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I've actually become a convert to something similar, although my version exits the Finch West tunnel into the York busway corridor, turns south on Dufferin and runs in a surface ROW on Sheppard as far as room can be found for it before entering the tunnel.
Additional benefit of being able to re-purpose the TRs currently on Line 4 to increase capacity on Line 1 once ATC is implemented without having to do a new procurement, although the schedules probably wouldn't line up to allow for it
 

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