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Route adjusted for planned Yonge North subway extension amid criticism from residents

Click to play video: 'Anger growing over planned subway route under Thornhill neighbourhood' Anger growing over planned subway route under Thornhill neighbourhood
WATCH ABOVE: (May 11) Anger growing over planned subway route under Thornhill neighbourhood – May 11, 2021

The CEO of Metrolinx says the planned route for the Yonge North subway extension has been adjusted amid concerns from some residents about the line travelling under their neighbourhood, though the new plan still has the route going under several homes and properties.

Phil Verster said that over the past eight months, consultations have been held with municipalities and communities, including Thornhill’s Royal Orchard neighbourhood.

“In response to that feedback, and through our well-established process for improving designs as we advance our transit projects, Metrolinx has refined plans for the subway extension that will result in deeper tunnels and a route that travels under far fewer residential properties in the Royal Orchard community than the previous route,” Verster said in a statement Wednesday.

Read more: Anger growing in Thornhill neighbourhood atop planned Yonge North subway extension

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The Royal Orchard neighbourhood sits about a kilometre south of Highway 407, between Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue. In March, the province’s transit authority, Metrolinx, detailed plans to shift a portion of the planned Yonge North subway extension under the neighbourhood.

Plans originally saw the transit route following its namesake street until just north of Highway 407, but rising cost projections were among the reasons Metrolinx cited for shifting the tunnels under Royal Orchard.

Residents voiced their concerns, asking Metrolinx and the Ford government to reconsider the route or come up with a less disruptive alternative for their area.

New route still goes under 20 homes, 15 additional properties

In Wednesday’s update, Verster said the previous route went under 40 homes and an additional 23 properties. The new plan sees the route go under 20 homes and 15 additional properties, Verster said.

He said the tunnels below the neighbourhood will now be at a minimum depth of 21 metres and go as deep as 50 metres.

“These refinements will keep things peaceful and quiet in the neighbourhoods along the route while still delivering all the benefits of the subway extension for York Region,” Verster said.

“While we already expected that noise and vibration levels would not be significantly different to what residents experience today, these refinements will make them even lower.”

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He said studies based on the new route show that noise and vibration from the subway will be “so faint in the Royal Orchard community that they’ll be practically imperceptible to human senses.”

Verster said Metrolinx has begun reaching out to residents whose properties are directly above the planned extension.

— with files from Matthew Bingley

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