Dieter Janssen’s TTC fantasy map. Click here to view the full-sized version.
Dreaming up ways to improve the TTC is a popular pastime in Toronto. And while most of us just daydream about additional stations and routes, Dieter Janssen, a professor of architecture at the University of Toronto, is turning ideas into possible blueprints for the future. Janssen hopes that his fantasy map (above), which he developed while doing research for the urban infrastructure and design class that he teaches, will invite debate over the future of Toronto’s transit system. “It’s painfully obvious that infrastructure, at least in the GTA, has to be much more developed than anything that they’re proposing,” Janssen told Torontoist. “The TTC needs to properly address its future…people actually rely on the system and that needs to be properly respected.”
Janssen’s map introduces four new subway lines and extends all of the pre-existing ones; some of the new stops on the map include Pearson International Airport, York University, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Toronto Zoo. Although the map includes the much-sought-after downtown relief line, the biggest additions are to the city’s edges. “Without creating a system that just favoured the downtown core—which definitely needs more service than just streetcars—I wanted to create something that was more comprehensive for the GTA,” explained Janssen. “Places like Scarborough, Downsview, and Willowdale…they’re incredibly isolated, and unless you own a car, it’s going to take forever to get anywhere…That just doesn’t work.” The map also incorporates some of the TTC’s Transit City plans, but ignores other projects, like the Spadina extension, which, according to Janssen, is just another band-aid that fails to take into account long-term geographic considerations.
To pay for his proposed expansion, or any other large-scale developments, Janssen believes that the TTC should raise fares and reinstate fare zones. “If people truly value a system like this, they’re going to have to understand that it costs money and they’re going to have to pay for it. There’s one way of doing it which is by fares, and another way which is by taxes. I think fares just seem like a more honest way of doing it.” (Though, he admits, a fare hike probably wouldn’t come close to covering the costs.)
“I realize asking for the 2030 date is asking for a heck of a lot,” concluded Janssen. “At the very minimum I think the downtown relief line, in its current form, needs to be revisited and started as soon as possible.”