subway

Building the Downtown Relief Line

As you may know, last month City Council voted to move ahead with planning and design work on the Downtown Relief Line.

Throughout my two terms in office, I’ve consistently said that the Relief Line has to be our top transit priority. Each and every day I hear from residents frustrated by the overcrowding and delays on the Yonge line. As a transit user, I’ve also experienced these problems first-hand.

The Downtown Relief Line has now been divided into two projects: the Relief Line South (from Pape Station south to Queen St) and the Relief Line North (from Pape Station to Eglinton or Sheppard Ave).

While planning on the Relief Line to date has focused on the southern piece, I’m pleased to share that the city is now kick-starting planning work on the Relief Line North and will deliver an initial business case in early 2018.

The northern extension of the Relief Line will be a huge win for Ward 25ers who sometimes have to wait for two or three trains before they can get on and get where they need to go. To move this planning forward, I tabled a motion at Executive Committee asking staff to develop a robust community consultation plan, consider naming the new transit line the Don Mills line and look at building the Relief Line North up to the Sheppard line to maximize transit connectivity.

But in the meantime, to deal with the current capacity problems on the Yonge Line, I’ve pushed TTC staff hard on what efforts are underway to improve service and reliability, including the status of the Automatic Train Control (ATC) project. This project involves updating the signalling system so that the speed of and separation between trains will be controlled automatically.

ATC is expected to increase capacity on the Yonge line by 25% by cutting train headways from 2.5 to 2 minutes. In other words, ATC will improve train capacity and shorten wait times.

However, implementation of ATC has been slow going and over budget. That’s why I also moved a motionrequesting that the TTC provide quarterly updates to the Committee on the status of the ATC implementation project and consider all options for acceleration.

Faster, better and more reliable TTC service can’t come soon enough.

Improving Capacity on the Yonge Subway Line

I ride the Yonge line every day and know the delays first hand. Ward 25ers sometimes have to watch two or three cars pass by at York Mills, Lawrence, and Eglinton before finding space to crowd on.

That’s why I’ve been pushing hard for Automatic Train Control (ATC) on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. ATC will replace our existing 1954-vintage signalling system with a state of the art computer controlled system.

ATC is expected to increase capacity on the Yonge line by 25% by cutting train headways from 2.5 to 2 minutes. In other words, ATC will improve train capacity and shorten wait times.

Unfortunately, implementation was recently pushed back to 2020.

As I told the Toronto Sun, the delays and the promises are “just not good enough.”

That’s why I moved a motion at Executive Committee asking for a detailed analysis of the reasons for the delay and options to accelerate its implementation. My motion, which passed unanimously, also asks for a review of the TTC’s structure with a focus on a more efficient, streamlined organization.

For a full copy of my motion, click here.

Relief Line Study

The Relief Line Study is moving full-speed ahead!

The terms of reference and public consultation plan were approved at City Council last week.

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, this joint city and TTC effort is studying possible station locations and routes for the first phase of the Relief Line. The first phase would take pressure off of the overcrowded Yonge line by providing a subway connection between the Bloor-Danforth line and downtown.

Earlier this year, the city and TTC held a number of public consultations to introduce the study and get feedback on how it should proceed.

As part of the next phase, staff will look at the right transit technology for the line and invite the public to participate in a naming contest for the Relief Line. In early 2015, staff will release a long list of station locations and route alignment options for consideration.

For more information, please see http://www.regionalrelief.ca/city-of-toronto/.

Spadina Subway Extension

Twin tunnelling for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension is complete! In November, the tunnel boring machine known as Torkie finished the tenth and final tunnel drive for the project, breaking through the headwall near Highway 7 and Jane Street.

This project is an 8.6 kilometre extension of the TTC’s Yonge-University-Spadina subway line from Downsview Station to the Vaughn Metropolitan Centre. It will have six new stations, including one at York University.

With tunnel boring complete, the second phase of work can begin on the track, traction power, walkways and signal communication systems inside the tunnels. Station construction is also well underway. By the end of last year, you could see the walls and roof of what will be Sheppard West Station going up!  Construction is expected to be completed in 2016. For more information and the latest updates, click here.

York Mills Escalator Overhaul

Both of the escalators at the south entrance to York Mills station have exceeded their 25-year life and are due for an overhaul. The TTC has advised me that starting January 10, it will begin overhauling these escalators.

This means both of these escalators — between Old York Mills Road, the automatic entrance and the passenger pick-up and drop-off to the south end of the subway platform — will be out of service.

Passengers are encouraged to use the street-level and platform-level stairways at to access the south entrance and exit to the station as well as the escalators and stairways at the north entrance and exit, which are still in service.

The overhaul is expected to finish this fall.

For more information, http://ttc.ca/Subway/Stations/York_Mills/station.jsp#ElevatorsAndEscalators_