TORONTO – A new report from city staff is suggesting the plan for the $3.6-billion Scarborough subway extension be reduced from three stops to just one.
The line would run directly from Kennedy station to the Scarborough Town Centre and skip Lawrence Avenue as originally intended. The idea to extend it to Sheppard Avenue would also be set aside.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said Thursday that revised plan would connect the Bloor-Danforth subway to the economic hub of Scarborough, where more than 600,000 people live.
“This is about providing more transit to more people in Scarborough for approximately the same funding envelope that has been provided for the original proposal,” Tory said.
“I am satisfied that the other two stations on the original Scarborough subway are not justified at this time.”
A major part of the revised plan includes an extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT with 18 additional stops further east through Scarborough.
Original estimates suggest that both could be built for approximately the same cost as the original subway plan.
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, an outspoken supporter of the subway plan, said he believes the proposal is a good compromise.
“When you look at some subway, some LRT, and some SmartTrack, that package is better than what we had on the table and it costs the same amount of money. That’s a pretty good deal for Scarborough and a pretty good deal for the City of Toronto,” said De Baeremaeker.
“We had people on council who were doing everything they could to stop Scarborough subway. Now I think we’ll have a peace treaty.”
TTC Chair Josh Colle said the city loves “drawing lines on maps” but at the end of the day somebody has to operate all of the lines and the TTC is the best suited to do so.
“I think that’s why we need to advance the conversation beyond capital and expansion dollars,” he said.
“So we open up a new line, cut a ribbon and everyone’s happy? Well that puts a burden on the TTC and that’s why it’s important to continue to fund those operating dollars.”
The initial approval of Scarborough subway extension has been a major point of contention at City Hall for years.
Some councillors favoured the project as a means of servicing a part of the city in need of more transit. Others have argued that it was a waste of money when it could be better used.
The introduction of SmartTrack would add more transit service through the GO train rail corridors of Scarborough as well.
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