The $1 billion plus renovations and expansions of Union Station have been under construction for what seems like forever with few hints of the coming improvements so far for weary commuters. The work has been occurring behind the scenes however, and will soon bear fruit for those who have endured the construction for all these years. The City of Toronto and Metrolinx are putting the finishing touches on the new York Street Concourse, constructed to the west of the existing VIA Concourse. 

Hallway in the new York Concourse, image courtesy of Metrolinx

While the station will eventually feature a new Bay Street Concourse replacing the existing Bay Concourse, a York Street Concourse, and a retail level below both of them, construction is taking place in phases. When the new York Concourse opens this year, only a small portion of the retail level below it will open, with the rest of the retailers and food purveyors to open gradually. With the York Concourse open, the existing Bay Street Concourse can then close, to be expanded and reconstructed to the same standards as the York Concourse. The City recently issued an RFP for the construction work of the new Bay Concourse along with the renovation of areas still awaiting attention at the historic station.

GO Ticket sales booths in the York Concourse, image courtesy of Metrolinx

When it opens in the coming weeks, the York Concourse will feature a new rank of ticket sales booths, an expanded availability of staircases to the platforms above, a large central escalator and staircase bank between the retail and concourse levels, and more. Below the concourse level a small part of the retail level will initially open, and will consist primarily of food retailers.

A new staircase to platform level, image courtesy of Metrolinx

When the new concourse opens, pedestrian flows in the station will change significantly. While the first phase of the new Northwest PATH extension will be opening in conjunction with the new concourse, most pedestrians using the PATH system from Royal Bank Plaza will have to detour to the west upon passing through the TTC subway station concourse. While the new York Concourse will provide a larger, more modern space for GO Transit users, it will not mark the end of construction woes. Commuters will continue to experience delays and congestion until the station reaches full completion in 2016.

A double-height space features escalators and stairs to the retail level, image by Forum contributor union2pearson

If you want to learn more about the Union Station expansion, click on our dataBase file linked below. If you want to share your thoughts on the project, feel free to make a comment in the section provided or in our Forum thread.

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