Province decides to go it alone on transit and give Scarborough a shorter subway, rejecting both the City's subway plan and the original LRT plan.
In an attempt to end years of wrangling and stalled development, Kathleen Wynne’s minority Liberal government has decided to give Scarborough a subway to replace the aging RT line, which is soon going to be entirely unusable. It’s a subway that falls far short of what many might have hoped for, though—many stops short, specifically. The current RT route has five stops, and the subway that the province wants to replace it with will have just two, servicing almost the same length of track.
By contrast, the municipal government’s proposed subway route would have three stops, and the light rail plan both the City and the province had originally signed off on would have had seven or eight.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the proposals:
|LRT Plan||Municipal Subway Plan||Provincial Subway Plan|
|Length||9.9 kilometres||7.6 kilometres||6.4 kilometres|
|Route||Kennedy Station to Centennial College, then east and north to Sheppard.||Kennedy Station to McCowan and Sheppard.||Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre.|
|Stations||Seven/eight: all existing SRT stations, plus Centennial, Progress, and maybe a stop at Ellesmere.||Three: McCowan at Lawrence, Progress, and Sheppard.||Two: Lawrence and the Scarborough Town Centre.|
|Cost||$1.8 billion||$2.8 billion||$1.4 billion|
|Funding||In full, by the province.||Partially by the province. City committed some, but not enough, to make up the remainder.||In full, by the province.|
|Population/employment in walking distance||47,000||24,000||Unknown|
|Projected speed||36 km/h (slower than subway due to more closely spaced stations)||40 km/h||40 km/h|
|Projected ridership||31 million per year||36 million per year||unknown|
|Projected peak demand per hour||8,000 passengers||9,500 passengers||14,000 passengers|
|Transfer at Kennedy||Improved with rebuilt station||Eliminated||Eliminated|
|SRT shutdown required for construction?||Yes, probably three years.||Technically no, but the existing RT might not last through the construction timeline.||Yes, unclear for how long.|
|Status of proposal||EA and preliminary design completed. Construction could start any time.||EA has not been started, nor is there any detailed design. Matching LRT construction schedule would be challenging.||Just announced by the province. Construction timeline unclear.|
Announced today by Transportation Minister Glen Murray, the plan represents a break with the previous provincial strategy of abiding by transit decisions as determined by the City. (Remember when council voted to reinstate the light rail plan over Rob Ford’s objections, and there was some confusion about whom the province would side with? “Council reigns supreme,” Queen’s Park told us then.) Murray had harsh words for both the municipal and federal governments, telling reporters that this plan was the one worth pursing precisely because it required no other level of government to proceed: “We are not asking for any money from the City. We are not asking for any money from the federal government. It’s time to end the conversation and start delivering results.”
Mayor Rob Ford has yet to respond to the provincial announcement, and earlier today TTC Chair Karen Stintz said she’d only learned of the plan by reading about it in media reports.