Warden subway station is not particularly known for its ease of access nor its pedestrian-friendly design. The 1960s-built station at the corner of Warden and St Clair avenues is bunker-like in its appearance, surrounded by wide roads, above-ground subway tracks, greenery, and not much else; it is very much a station designed for bus transfers and vehicular access, with no regard for accessibility.

Looking east to Warden station, existing conditions, image retrieved from Apple Maps

This, however, is set to change. As part of the TTC's Easier Access program, which is systematically renovating nearly every subway station across the city to design for universal accessibility and enhanced pedestrian access, Warden station is slated to be completely rebuilt, with an entirely new bus terminal featuring plenty of natural light and more accessible platforms, which includes - yes, finally - elevators.

Massing diagram, image via submission to the City of Toronto

The station must navigate some complicated differences in grade level. The existing two-storey structure is comprised of the bus bays on the lower level and the subway concourse on the upper level, with a bridge connecting the concourse to the subway platform. The subway platform is situated slightly lower than the concourse level, meaning users must descend a staircase to get to both the subway and the buses. An elevator has never been provided at the station, making it impossible to use for those who rely on mobility devices.

Looking south from St Clair, image by Strasman Architects for the Toronto Transit Commission

The project is designed by Strasman Architects and will replace the existing bus terminal building with a new structure, while renovating the existing subway platform. The new building will once again be two storeys, maintaining the bus bays on the lower level and the concourse on the upper level. The advantage of demolishing the old structure, however, is that it provides the opportunity to lower the building, meaning the concourse will now be at the same level as the subway platform. The bus bays will be fully rebuilt so that they meet current accessibility standards, and the station will have four new elevators.

Internal circulation diagram, image by Strasman Architects for the Toronto Transit Commission

The existing pedestrian access to the site will be maintained, but enhanced to provide wider sidewalks and a more pedestrian-friendly public realm. Currently, the station is accessed from Warden to the west; from St Clair to the north via a path along the rail corridor; or from the TTC parking lot north of St Clair via a bridge and then underpass below St Clair. The access points from the north will be maintained and enhanced, while the access from Warden will be shifted further south.

Looking northeast from Warden Avenue, image by Strasman Architects for the Toronto Transit Commission

The building itself is designed as two intersecting volumes: the main north-south volume housing the bus bays, and the east-west volume connecting to the subway platform. A sloping green roof provides visual interest, while plenty of windows will flood the station with natural light. Pops of red are incorporated throughout, bringing some colour to the previously grey station.

Concourse rendering, image by Strasman Architects for the Toronto Transit Commission

Of particular note, an amalgamated bus platform will replace the current nine separate bus bays. While simplifying transferring between buses and the layout overall, the move will free up land to the west at the corner of Warden and St Clair for a potential future third-party redevelopment.

Looking south along the PPUDO and across to the bus platforms, image courtesy of Strasman Architects.

The rebuilding of the station comes at an opportune time, with new developments cropping up nearby that will increase the residential density in close proximity to the station. The TTC parking lot at 705 Warden has been earmarked as a Housing Now development site, while to the south, a 6-tower redevelopment is proposed for 685 Warden. Further density is planned nearby along Warden and St Clair.

Looking north along the PPUDO and across to the bus platforms, image courtesy of Strasman Architects.

The project is phased, as the station will remain in operation for the duration of construction. A preliminary schedule aims to start work on the first phase in 2022 with completion planned for 2026.

We will keep you updated as the project progresses, but you can join in on the discussion by checking out the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided below.

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