The Scarborough subway is advancing into the planning phase after City Council approved its construction in October of 2013. The subway is set to run roughly from the existing Kennedy Subway station, northeastward to Scarborough City Centre, and terminating at Sheppard Avenue where it will connect to the planned Sheppard LRT. Two public meetings will be held on Saturday, January 30th at Jean Vanier Catholic school at 10 AM and Monday, February 2nd at Scarborough Civic Centre, at 7 PM.
The City of Toronto's Planning Department will consult the public on the initial possible corridors for the project, confirm the study approach, and develop a process for how the study will move forward. The initial portion of the project, the environmental assessment, is expected to advance through design for completion by the mid 2016. By the end of 2015 the alignment and station locations will have been decided on, and the environmental assessment can move on to the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP), which involves a 4 month design period and 2 month period for the Ministry of the Environment to review the submission and either approve or deny the project. Upon completion of the TPAP process, the subway can move into detailed design, which will then transition into construction in 2018 towards ultimate completion of the project in 2023.
The study area for corridor options runs from the west at the Uxbridge rail subdivision where the existing SRT and Stouffville GO lines run, to the east at Markham Road, and from Eglinton Avenue in the south to Sheppard Avenue to the north. The study area has been extended eastward from its original area to better account for the new SmartTrack project and how it may impact the ridership of the line, and if it may be better to run the line further east to account for it. It is important to note however that the study is using the larger area for possible corridors only, and that the study will consider the use of the line to reach destinations outside of the study area.
The first phase of the project will look at all possible corridors based off of a wide variety of factors, varying from ridership, affordability, environmental effects, social equity, city building, creating a proper transit network, and rider experience. Questions will be asked of each corridor option on development potential, ridership, ease of use, how it will create healthy neighborhoods, how it could reduce social inequalities, impacts on the environment, etc. Terms of reference for the subway, and possible additions and removals of these study criteria will also be looked at.
The second phase of the study, beginning in the spring of 2015, will select a preferred corridor from the list, by first identifying a shortlist of more viable corridors, before ultimately choosing the preferred one. Upon completion of the second phase, the project will move on to detailed corridor analysis to decide on the preferred exact alignment through the corridor. This includes the locations of stations, exact location of the tunnels, and other more detailed design features. Upon completion of this phase, due sometime in late 2015, the project will move into the previously mentioned TPAP process for the ultimate completion of the environmental assessment in mid 2016.
Ridership for the line in initial projections put use around 9,500-14,000 PPHD (peak people per hour in the busiest direction). Note however that this number is preliminary and is subject to change during the study process, especially given the introduction of the SmartTrack and GO RER projects. This compares to the level at which a subway is usually considered justified at around 10,000 PPHD. This is also higher than the LRT's projected ridership levels, which sat at 8,000 PPHD, due to the faster travel times and elimination of a transfer that the subway will provide.
If you wish to join in on the discussion for the project, feel free to leave a comment below or in our Forum thread here. For more information on the subway extension you can visit the projects website at scarboroughsubwayextension.ca, where you will find information on consultation dates and how to contact the project team.