Without those things the ridership at this terminus station will never be as great as it could have been and the people flowing through the buildings in the area will never be as high as it could have been. It was going to be a Union Station or Shinjuku station of Richmond Hill, but will now be a North York Centre station for Richmond Hill.
I think Arg1 has already done a fine job here: you're simply wrong about a few things. But'll simply concur:
-RH Centre was never above ground;
-Station costs are a HUGE factor and were a driving factor in the new alignment.
-One other thing to bear in mind is topography. Langstaff Gateway is designed to ramp up over the rail corridor to what is today ground level, will be below ground when the subway is built and, yes, there will be underground connections to buildings.
Since I've also seen the Toronto urbanist folk get all hot and bothered, over and over again, I will say that Steve Munro has actually been (relatively speaking) a supporter of the line. He has taken issue with many of the specifics and said the downstream impacts need to be addressed but unlike most of that crowd, he grasps that a subway to Richmond Hill makes sense on a broad level.
It's true that the terminus of the line was pitched as "Union Station North" but there was never a coherent plan for actually having the GO, subway, transitway and local bus service in a single facility. That was always going to be a challenge and, as discussed, particularly from Markham's perpsective, where they had a big "concourse" to get people the distance to that station. What we have now is basically achieving that at Bridge and, yes, it's in the middle of the highway but for the Munros of the world, it's a far more sensible way to handle all the transit service. And for the Mes of the world, it's a better way to achieve density in Langstaff Gateway (and ridership, obviously).
You know, it would probably be funny for me to go back to all the posts I was making back in 2010ish, when a lot of people here had little to no grasp of the RHC and LG plans or the fundamental logic underpinning each. Oh, how we loved to argue the subway shouldn't (and wouldn't!) go north of Steeles, certainly not at first. Oh, how some people loved to argue there was just no reason to go all the way up to Richmond Hill.
Over the next year or two you're going to see those plans become reality. Richmond Hill, for example, is finally putting together their Secondary Plan for RHC, Do you think it will envision less density than they imagined in the 2010 Official Plan or a heck of a lot more? Look around the GTA at what's going on with highrise development. Look at all the 50-storey towers at VMC and the 60-storey proposals coming down the pipe for Yonge and Steeles. Yeah, I suspect the latter.
And I can think of one dude here, in particular, who really just did not care to get it. Oh, he liked to argue and to mock me and call me names, especially about the sci fi "pods" that the Langstaff Gateway plan envisioned as a means for shuttling people from the neighbourhood to the distant subway station. But now it's 2021. That station has moved to the centre of the development and the TTC and Metrolinx are piloting the use of autonomous vehicles at the Rouge Hill GO station. And we're still 8-9 years from the subway actually opening.
The joke ain't on me.
Now the subway is real and soon, as these decade-old, blue-sky plans start turning into actual planning applications, the detailed plans and the scale of what was envisioned will become clearer to everyone. It should be an exciting ride!