A staff report presented at a public information session last week outlined the altered route down Carlaw Avenue between Gerrard Street and Eastern Avenue.
The report said the alignment is preferred as the Queen-Carlaw station would invite a high level of activity supporting the emerging higher density and mixed area use of Carlaw and Dundas.
“The impact will be less in terms of disruptive impact on neighbourhoods and more sensible in terms of the outcome given the quite different character of Carlaw and Pape,” Mayor John Tory told reporters during a press conference at Queen and Carlaw Wednesday morning.
Staff also said that both stations, including the one on Gerrard Street, would be better integrated into the “existing urban fabric” by offering better connectivity with SmartTrack and surface transit.
The original route design had the north-south portion of the relief line run down Pape Avenue from Bloor to Eastern Avenue with the southern subway tunnel going under a low-density residential neighbourhood.
The Carlaw option would now travel down a mixed-use street with mid-rise buildings, including residential, retail and offices.
“This subway will be 18 to 25 metres deep. So it’s not like the one on the Danforth. It’s very deep. It’s more like the one on Sheppard,” Ward 30 councillor Paul Fletcher said.
“So it’s new technology and it will be tunneled. So there won’t be anything happening on the street. There will be where the stations will be constructed.”
The guidelines used by staff to evaluate both routes favoured the Carlaw option due to factors such as population and business growth, health and environmental concerns, and commuter experience.
The new change is expected to increase construction costs but no dollar amount was released.
The Ontario government committed $150 million last year to advance the planning and design work for the project which is estimated to cost $6.8 billion with construction to begin in 2025.
The route proposal will be debated at the city’s next executive committee meeting on May 16 before heading to council for approval on May 24.
VIDEO: Ontario announces $150M for planning, design of proposed subway downtown Relief Line