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TTC: Yonge North Subway Extension (Finch-Richmond Hill) (Unfunded/Planned)

afransen

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If the expectation would be to upgrade Don Mills LRT to subway, why not just use BRT until there is subway. LRT can be fine, but if the idea is to upgrade in 20 years, that seems like a massive waste. Finch LRT is fine, maybe, because we won't have a Finch subway in the foreseeable future. But then maybe BRT could have done the job.
 

ARG1

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If the expectation would be to upgrade Don Mills LRT to subway, why not just use BRT until there is subway. LRT can be fine, but if the idea is to upgrade in 20 years, that seems like a massive waste. Finch LRT is fine, maybe, because we won't have a Finch subway in the foreseeable future. But then maybe BRT could have done the job.
I think that's the biggest take away from Transit City. Most of the lines would've been better off as cheap BRT routes that would serve to build up ridership until the "real" rapid transit solution came in years later. One of the biggest aspects for LRT construction is that permanent infrastructure gives a sense of finality to the service, that the transit will be there for a long time untampered, which makes investments in those parts of the city more attractive, however its also a double edged sword. A Don Mills LRT with its own ROW including a tunneled segment and possibly an elevated/guideway segment along the Don Valley also means that the political will to replace it any time after opening is also extremely slim. If you build a Don Mills LRT to Pape, then build a DRL to Pape as well, there wouldn't have been a northern extension of the DRL for another 20-30 years being generous, and unless they built a western extension, the DRL would've remained a Pape-Osgoode shuttle rather than using its capacity to be a proper arterial to bring people downtown, you know, the thing metros are really good at.
Oh, it was much, much worse than that. There was no DRL at all in Transit City, just a Don Mills LRT from Steeles to Pape Station. And even that was never prioritized.
Ye I made that comment before Metro6 made that video on the Don Mills LRT. I thought at the time that the DRL was part of it since I saw a few maps of TC that featured the DRL, so I assumed that while it wasn't part of Transit City, it was something that was being worked on alongside Transit City, and in hindsight it looks like I was giving TC too much credit.
Compared to the EWLRT and SSE, they are value engineering this project, the one project that needs as much capacity as possible. The other two do not.
I know you blocked me a long time ago, but this really needs to be called out.

No the Ontario line doesn't "need" as much capacity as possible, and it especially doesn't "need" full length TRs, at least for 40-50 years after opening. In Conjunction with projects like the Stouffville Line RER, the Ontario Line can easily run at its fullest capacity for several decades before capacity really becomes a problem, and at that point, it would just make more sense to build another relief line going along Victoria Park or something, instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket.
It's kind of amazing that Miller is getting the blame here. Every transit project recently completed and currently under construction were/ Miller projects.
Miller gets a lot of blame because Transit City itself was not a good transit plan for numerous reasons. As a "missing middle" transit plan at best, it was okay, but it was the worst type of value engineering where the usability and upgradeability of the infrastructure was a serious concern. Even without Eglinton West being buried, the central tunnel section is long enough that the idea of replacing it with higher order transit if the demand becomes high enough is completely out of the question. Unless you want to shut down the entire line for 5 years to raise the platforms to high platforms so that you can run light metro stock like it should've from the start, you're stuck with low floor LRVs basically for the next 50-60 years, and that corridor will have capacity constraints 10-20 years after opening. People like to compare Transit City to the old streetcar network, about how it was meant to be a temporary solution until higher order transit is built, similar to the old Yonge and Bloor-Danforth Streetcars, but even then that's quite inaccurate. Building a subway under a surface streetcar route is easy. Building a subway that replaces an already underground streetcar line, not as much.

And before someone brings up the fact that in the same post I talk about how the Ontario Line doesn't need the capacity of full length TRs, meanwhile I'm complaining about the capacity on Eglinton, there's a massive difference between complaining about a line not having the ultimate capacity because of vehicles that are slightly narrower than the traditional subway network (Vehicles that form the foundation or play a major chunk of many different metro networks around the world such as Sydney, Paris, and soon enough Montreal), vs complaining about how lines will be run by low floor streetcars that struggle with internal circulation, accessibility, and are prone to delays by having sections interact with streets. The context between the Ontario Line and Eglinton Crosstown is quite different.
He also supported the DRL.
The existence of the DRL put in place the question of whether the Don Mills LRT could or should exist, you can't have both the DRL and Don Mills LRT, you have to choose one, and by the fact that under miller the major thought was that the Yonge Line would be able to handle all of its capacity issues forever, makes me really question this notion. Sounds like something you pulled out of thin air to defend your stance on Miller.
Miller was the only post-amalgamation Mayor who could actually get anything done.
Except he didn't get anything done. To be fair it wasn't exactly his fault since Rob Ford cancelled all of his plans, but is Miller really to credit for Eglinton's existence when the reason it was built came long after Miller left office? It would be like if the DRL was built instead of the Ontario Line, its existence would be credited to the team behind Network 2011 rather than Metrolinx and the Wynne government. Seems sort of disingenuous.
 

nfitz

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I see. So this is David Miller's fault for bringing a motion to fund an EA 12 years ago?
That would have been late in his second term. I thought he also had motions to advance the Yonge extension during his first term, and while he was a TTC board member when Lastman was mayor, back around the turn of the century.
 

Bureaucromancer

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The main thing I'd observe out of the past few days discussion is that I think folks are overly pessimistic about the capacity of a high passenger density low floor train. Yes, all the low floor vehicles in play now are very much tram derived, but between Ottawa, Eglinton, Hurontario and Edmonton the demand for a higher capacity quasi light metro low floor vehicle in a couple decades might be Canada specific, but certainly won't be a painfully small one for a bespoke(ish) design.

Is a 100m walkthrough vehicle with increased door density as good, all around, as a Metropolis set? No, but it's certainly not an impractical concept. Yes, if I had a time machine I'd have built light metro for these projects, but given the environment we operate in I don't see any reason to think that Eglinton or Ottawa will see short term capacity crises; frankly they are both in far better positions to boost capacity than the Canada line is.
 

syn

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That would have been late in his second term. I thought he also had motions to advance the Yonge extension during his first term, and while he was a TTC board member when Lastman was mayor, back around the turn of the century.

For sure.

My point was that in the grand scheme of things that seems like a rather silly thing to blame our current transit predicament on.

Miller wasn't perfect, but as far as transit goes he's been the most successful post-amalgamation Mayor (and certainly the least damaging).
 

Rainforest

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If the expectation would be to upgrade Don Mills LRT to subway, why not just use BRT until there is subway. LRT can be fine, but if the idea is to upgrade in 20 years, that seems like a massive waste. Finch LRT is fine, maybe, because we won't have a Finch subway in the foreseeable future. But then maybe BRT could have done the job.

On Finch, LRT is preferable to BRT. LRT will handle the demand pretty confidently. BRT could work but require lots of buses. LRT costs more, but if the province (and partly the Feds) are willing to pay, then why would you want to reject the offer? The funding saved there wouldn't get re-purposed to build BRT on another street; it would just vanish.

Speaking of Don Mills though, I agree that buidling LRT wouldn't make any sense now. South of Eglinton, the demand will be handled by OL / DRL. And, the general expectation is that the subway will be extended further north, in order to provide greater relief for the Yonge line.

Furthermore, Don Mills already has BRT lite from Eglinton to Finch, in the form of bus / HOV curbside lanes. It is best not to disturb the street and not to spend any funds in the interim, until OL / DRL North becomes possible.
 

nfitz

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Miller wasn't perfect, but as far as transit goes he's been the most successful post-amalgamation Mayor (and certainly the least damaging).
Agreed - but a bit too pro-subway. If he hadn't have pushed Yonge and Sheppards extension as much when he was on the TTC board, and during the first term, and pivoted to LRT sooner, then perhaps more would have been started before someone else came in and stopped it. And perhaps pushing for the Downtown Relief subway line, distracted from his 8 proposed LRT lines.
 

Rainforest

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Agreed - but a bit too pro-subway. If he hadn't have pushed Yonge and Sheppards extension as much when he was on the TTC board, and during the first term, and pivoted to LRT sooner, then perhaps more would have been started before someone else came in and stopped it. And perhaps pushing for the Downtown Relief subway line, distracted from his 8 proposed LRT lines.

I think Miller could get things moving more smoothly if he made Transit City a mix of subway lines and light rail lines, rather than just light rail. And if that got too expensive, he could split the whole grand plan into Phase 1, 2, 3 etc. Even the LRT-only Transit City got split into multiple phases in practice.

In any case, his efforts moved our transit forward. Some of the subway lines currently in design, moved forward because of Miller's LRT plans. His opponents didn't want LRT and upped the stake by pushing for subways. In the absence of LRT plans, subways could have been waiting for much longer before getting funded.
 

sixrings

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I think that's the biggest take away from Transit City. Most of the lines would've been better off as cheap BRT routes that would serve to build up ridership until the "real" rapid transit solution came in years later. One of the biggest aspects for LRT construction is that permanent infrastructure gives a sense of finality to the service, that the transit will be there for a long time untampered, which makes investments in those parts of the city more attractive, however its also a double edged sword. A Don Mills LRT with its own ROW including a tunneled segment and possibly an elevated/guideway segment along the Don Valley also means that the political will to replace it any time after opening is also extremely slim. If you build a Don Mills LRT to Pape, then build a DRL to Pape as well, there wouldn't have been a northern extension of the DRL for another 20-30 years being generous, and unless they built a western extension, the DRL would've remained a Pape-Osgoode shuttle rather than using its capacity to be a proper arterial to bring people downtown, you know, the thing metros are really good at.

Ye I made that comment before Metro6 made that video on the Don Mills LRT. I thought at the time that the DRL was part of it since I saw a few maps of TC that featured the DRL, so I assumed that while it wasn't part of Transit City, it was something that was being worked on alongside Transit City, and in hindsight it looks like I was giving TC too much credit.

I know you blocked me a long time ago, but this really needs to be called out.

No the Ontario line doesn't "need" as much capacity as possible, and it especially doesn't "need" full length TRs, at least for 40-50 years after opening. In Conjunction with projects like the Stouffville Line RER, the Ontario Line can easily run at its fullest capacity for several decades before capacity really becomes a problem, and at that point, it would just make more sense to build another relief line going along Victoria Park or something, instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Miller gets a lot of blame because Transit City itself was not a good transit plan for numerous reasons. As a "missing middle" transit plan at best, it was okay, but it was the worst type of value engineering where the usability and upgradeability of the infrastructure was a serious concern. Even without Eglinton West being buried, the central tunnel section is long enough that the idea of replacing it with higher order transit if the demand becomes high enough is completely out of the question. Unless you want to shut down the entire line for 5 years to raise the platforms to high platforms so that you can run light metro stock like it should've from the start, you're stuck with low floor LRVs basically for the next 50-60 years, and that corridor will have capacity constraints 10-20 years after opening. People like to compare Transit City to the old streetcar network, about how it was meant to be a temporary solution until higher order transit is built, similar to the old Yonge and Bloor-Danforth Streetcars, but even then that's quite inaccurate. Building a subway under a surface streetcar route is easy. Building a subway that replaces an already underground streetcar line, not as much.

And before someone brings up the fact that in the same post I talk about how the Ontario Line doesn't need the capacity of full length TRs, meanwhile I'm complaining about the capacity on Eglinton, there's a massive difference between complaining about a line not having the ultimate capacity because of vehicles that are slightly narrower than the traditional subway network (Vehicles that form the foundation or play a major chunk of many different metro networks around the world such as Sydney, Paris, and soon enough Montreal), vs complaining about how lines will be run by low floor streetcars that struggle with internal circulation, accessibility, and are prone to delays by having sections interact with streets. The context between the Ontario Line and Eglinton Crosstown is quite different.

The existence of the DRL put in place the question of whether the Don Mills LRT could or should exist, you can't have both the DRL and Don Mills LRT, you have to choose one, and by the fact that under miller the major thought was that the Yonge Line would be able to handle all of its capacity issues forever, makes me really question this notion. Sounds like something you pulled out of thin air to defend your stance on Miller.

Except he didn't get anything done. To be fair it wasn't exactly his fault since Rob Ford cancelled all of his plans, but is Miller really to credit for Eglinton's existence when the reason it was built came long after Miller left office? It would be like if the DRL was built instead of the Ontario Line, its existence would be credited to the team behind Network 2011 rather than Metrolinx and the Wynne government. Seems sort of disingenuous.
If you believe that building the don mills lrt would be a waste because in a couple decades you would have to upgrade to subway then how can you say the OL is a good idea while admitting in a couple decades it too would be at capacity.

your solution seems to be well we should just build a second drl then. Well why isn’t the same logic used to say if don mills lrt starts over flowing then we simply build another lrt on Victoria park.
 
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ARG1

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If you believe that building the don mills lrt would be a waste because in a couple decades you would have to upgrade to subway then how can you say the OL is a good idea while admitting in a couple decades it too would be at capacity.

your solution seems to be well we should just build a second drl then. Well why isn’t the same logic used to say if don mills lrt starts over flowing then we simply build another lrt on Victoria park.
The Don Mills LRT is a different story because it wouldn't work as a relief line period. As it turns out, absolutely nobody is going to sit on a median LRT to get places when sitting on a subway is the alternative. What you're getting with the DRL + Don Mills LRT combo is a subway that goes to pape, then a subway that will be stuck at pape, and too expensive and politically unviable to do any further extensions after that. People on here like to complain that the Ontario Line is bad because it doesn't go far enough, the best case scenerio for the DRL with Transit City being built is just reaching Danforth and nothing else, the end.
 
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Rainforest

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If you believe that building the don mills lrt would be a waste because in a couple decades you would have to upgrade to subway then how can you say the OL is a good idea while admitting in a couple decades it too would be at capacity.

your solution seems to be well we should just build a second drl then. Well why isn’t the same logic used to say if don mills lrt starts over flowing then we simply build another lrt on Victoria park.

The reason to upgrade Don Mills LRT wouldn't be the capacity, but rather the need to extend the subway further north to divert more riders from the Yonge line. Two parallel LRT lines would be less effective at doing that, even though they would have enough capacity.

Furthermore, the busiest section of Don Mills transit is south of Eglinton up to Danforth. With that section overtaken by the subway, the remaining route from Eglinton to Steeles is less busy, and can be handled by buses. BRT lite, in the form of curb lanes, already exists from Eglinton to Finch.

I feel the OL in its current form is not a prudent long-term investment. We are losing 30% of potential capacity compared to a full-scale subway, while only saving ~ 15% in costs. However, I take it as a glass-half-full situation, given the tremendous difficulty of getting any progress on the downtown relief in the past. If OL comes into existence, it will be a very substantial new transit stream into downtown, supporting more jobs and more economic activity. It can carry the system forward for the next 20-30 years. After that the system will get crowded again, and another relief line will be needed. But the risk of cancelling the OL now and causing a very long delay in getting any relief at all is, IMO, greater than the downside of accepting the suboptimal / undersized relief option.
 

sixrings

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The reason to upgrade Don Mills LRT wouldn't be the capacity, but rather the need to extend the subway further north to divert more riders from the Yonge line. Two parallel LRT lines would be less effective at doing that, even though they would have enough capacity.

Furthermore, the busiest section of Don Mills transit is south of Eglinton up to Danforth. With that section overtaken by the subway, the remaining route from Eglinton to Steeles is less busy, and can be handled by buses. BRT lite, in the form of curb lanes, already exists from Eglinton to Finch.

I feel the OL in its current form is not a prudent long-term investment. We are losing 30% of potential capacity compared to a full-scale subway, while only saving ~ 15% in costs. However, I take it as a glass-half-full situation, given the tremendous difficulty of getting any progress on the downtown relief in the past. If OL comes into existence, it will be a very substantial new transit stream into downtown, supporting more jobs and more economic activity. It can carry the system forward for the next 20-30 years. After that the system will get crowded again, and another relief line will be needed. But the risk of cancelling the OL now and causing a very long delay in getting any relief at all is, IMO, greater than the downside of accepting the suboptimal / undersized relief option.
Considering the costs of subway keep going up much higher than we anticipate a 15% at the cost of an extra 30% ridership seems like a massive loss to me.

I too want to see transit built but I’d much rather the drl be built with subway capacity even at the cost of having eglinton lrt west of Jane be at grade. I say that as a eglinton resident.
 

tsm1072

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The reason to upgrade Don Mills LRT wouldn't be the capacity, but rather the need to extend the subway further north to divert more riders from the Yonge line. Two parallel LRT lines would be less effective at doing that, even though they would have enough capacity.

Furthermore, the busiest section of Don Mills transit is south of Eglinton up to Danforth. With that section overtaken by the subway, the remaining route from Eglinton to Steeles is less busy, and can be handled by buses. BRT lite, in the form of curb lanes, already exists from Eglinton to Finch.

I feel the OL in its current form is not a prudent long-term investment. We are losing 30% of potential capacity compared to a full-scale subway, while only saving ~ 15% in costs. However, I take it as a glass-half-full situation, given the tremendous difficulty of getting any progress on the downtown relief in the past. If OL comes into existence, it will be a very substantial new transit stream into downtown, supporting more jobs and more economic activity. It can carry the system forward for the next 20-30 years. After that the system will get crowded again, and another relief line will be needed. But the risk of cancelling the OL now and causing a very long delay in getting any relief at all is, IMO, greater than the downside of accepting the suboptimal / undersized relief option.
The next form of relief after the OL could be an upgraded Richmond Hill GO line, with extra infill stations, and using the Leaside spur and Don branch to shorten the travel time. It would require investment to improve transfers and build stations, but would provide a connection to Line 1 at Langstaff, the OL at Thorncliffe Park, and Line 2 at Broadview. Probably through-running to the Barrie line to create an outer-U.
 

afransen

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Considering the costs of subway keep going up much higher than we anticipate a 15% at the cost of an extra 30% ridership seems like a massive loss to me.

I too want to see transit built but I’d much rather the drl be built with subway capacity even at the cost of having eglinton lrt west of Jane be at grade. I say that as a eglinton resident.
Given how much subway costs (in Toronto), I am doubtful we're only saving 15%.
 

ARG1

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The next form of relief after the OL could be an upgraded Richmond Hill GO line, with extra infill stations, and using the Leaside spur and Don branch to shorten the travel time. It would require investment to improve transfers and build stations, but would provide a connection to Line 1 at Langstaff, the OL at Thorncliffe Park, and Line 2 at Broadview. Probably through-running to the Barrie line to create an outer-U.
If it was as easy as you say it is, it would've already happened. The problem with this (and the reason why Richmond Hill RER will likely never be a thing) really comes down to 2 things. 1) CP, 2) Interchange accessibility. The first issue is how do you get the Richmond Hill Line trains on to the CP Mainline. Even if we were to assume that the existing bridge is still in good condition and that physically getting onto the tracks is easy, you still have to deal with sharing tracks with CP for a 3+ km section, which if the Milton Line is anything to look at, wouldn't be the most convenient setup at running any form of RER. Best case scenerio you build the missing link, somehow manage to convince CP to use the York Sub (which is its own nightmare), and then you can have full access for the Richmond Hill Line, and even then you're still stuck with a few problems. First being these proposed interchanges. Sunnybrooke Park can work, Langstaff can work, Broadview though, uhm, good luck with that:


Finally then you have to grade separate Doncaster Diamond, and find a way to share tracks with CN north of said diamond which is certainly possible but altogether this project would be the most expensive RER project in the region, and what you get is at best an "okay" RER line. There would generally be a better cost to benefit ratio just to build another proper relief line, and do note I am saying this as someone whose closest GO line is the Richmond Hill line and would absolutely benefit from a Richmond Hill RER.

P.S. Metrolinx is planning to build a major GO RER MSF right at the foot of the bridge to the CP tracks, and plans to use the existing tracks to park their trains (although Via apparently wants to use that corridor for VIA HFR so this might be subject to change).
 
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