Sheppard: TTC subway to nowhere? Then finish it!

“Construction booms, but opinions remain sharply divided as the often-derided Sheppard line turns 5. The futuristic chrome plating in Sheppard-Yonge station already looks a little scuffed. But it was only five years ago – Nov. 22, 2002 – that then-mayor Mel Lastman cut the ribbon to open Toronto’s northern east-west subway line, accompanied by a phalanx of dignitaries, reporters, children and musicians”. Read from the Toronto Star article.

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TTC Sheppard SubwayI could not help myself but to comment on this well written article from the Toronto Star. As always, I still feel that the Sheppard line must be completed before going to Vaughan. VIVA already had a plan for an LRT into Toronto, which would have served the needs to Vaughan residents. As I mentioned before along with going east to Scarborough Town Centre and western portions should be completed also, with the possibility of going north to York University or better yet, west towards Jane and Finch and beyond. The northern portions of the City of Toronto deserve a subway crossing the top of the city from East to West, line the Bloor-Danforth line. I am all for an LRT network, but I also feel that if you start something than it should be finished. Politicians and planners like to talk about intensification and density. If this is the case, please tell me why we are even talking about a subway to Vaughan, better yet to York University? I agree that the Sheppard line could have simply been an LRT; however it is too late for that now. What we have is a subway that should be finished. The problem has always been the cost and unfortunately the longer we wait, the more expensive it gets to dig.

TTC chair Adam Giambrone has been quoted many times saying “Instead of spending a billion dollars to finish the line, we can do (about) 10 times as much LRT for that same amount of money,”.

Sure he is correct! However how is having an LRT along Sheppard, from Malvern to Don Mills station going to provide a seamless mode of transportation for users? Or is it a case of lets just put something there so we do feel so bad about Sheppard? To be honest I understand what they are attempting to do for the city of Toronto. While they are offering the money lets take it and build something quickly before they take the money back. Who knows what will happen if another government gets in power in the future. But lets be honest, are we making the right choices with Transit City? LRT’s can work in the right circumstances if it is done properly, however has anyone noticed the fiasco on the St. Clair ROW? In the end it will be a better option for St.Clair residents, however I beg to wonder if they have really thought out the plan. Not every area has the charm of St.Clair. That’s not to say that other areas are not charming, just different. Streetcars and trams just work well in certain parts of the city where interchanges between stops need to be short in distance.

Looking at the Sheppard line, if it was completed to Scarborough Town Centre, there could have been the opportunity to even go south and connect it to the Bloor-Danforth line. Or better yet, in the not so distant future go west and then south connecting it to the airport? Sure I am dreaming in Technicolor, but I am starting to wonder if they are making the best choices for the city? What about the “intensification” at Scarborough Town Centre? The development that would take place at Scarborough Town Centre would be immense, if the city allows it. There is a large opportunity to allow for high-density development in this part of the city.

I personally believe that they should concentrate on providing upgraded LRT’s for the downtown areas of Toronto, on ROW’s and utilizing “Transit Malls”. In the downtown area “Transit Malls” can work. Queen Street and King Street are early candidates. There are also other routes in the downtown region that could use tram or streetcar type service. In addition, I have often wondered why has Toronto not considered VIVA styled buses for Toronto on BRT’s, instead of LRT’s? VIVA has shown that it can work! Providing people with a comfortable ride and information, as to when the bus will arrive are good options for the city. Don Mills could use a VIVA styled BRT, stopping at only at Steeles, Finch, York Mills, Lawrence, Eglinton, Flemingdon Park and then express to downtown. There are many areas in the city where a VIVA styled system could be used.

Vanhool Extended

In the end we need to finish the Sheppard line and do more with it! Let’s go west with the Sheppard subway line and finish the project; providing fast and convenient transit for other portions of the city. We do not need to go to Vaughan! The city of Toronto needs to take care of its own transit priorities. We can make it work! We just need a politician with vision that will do what must be done!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

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