Ford’s government isn’t known for doing many smart things. He does, however, have one plan that might be able to improve his reputation and revitalize the city, especially in the areas of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park.

The planned route for the Ontario Line. Image from Metrolinx [2]

The Ontario Line, one of the four new transit projects in design, is a rail line that would be slightly different from the subway on lines 1, 2 and 4. The line would run from the Exhibition Grounds (the venue for the CNE) and northeast to Queen St, and then through the downtown core connecting with Line 1. It would rise in East York and connect with Pape Station on Line 2, the station many students take a bus to and from. It would head north to make a stop in Thorncliffe Park and continue towards Flemingdon Park Station. The line would terminate at the future Science Centre station connecting to Line 5 at Eglinton and Don Mills. [3] 

 

A significant portion of the line is elevated (route shaded in pink above), especially outside of the downtown core. This change is one of the main differences in the city’s plan for a “Relief Line.” The city’s Relief Line (South) plan was half of the route only running from Line 1 (Osgoode) to Line 2 (Pape), be fully underground and uses the current train sets and track-type that on Lines 1, 2 and 4. It would also be much more expensive to build on a per-kilometre basis and would take longer to build than Ford’s Line due to the bigger trains, stations and tunnels. [4] The Ontario Line would use a train type commonly known as “light-metro,” being used in Vancouver’s Skytrain and the Docklands Light Railway in London, England. If built right, it can be just as good as a regular subway and be made by 2027 compared to 2029 for the Relief Line South.[5]

 

Benefits for the Ontario Line can include trains arriving every 90 seconds at stations during peak times. Autonomous operation of the line improving punctuality and reliability of vehicles. Platform-edge doors preventing debris from getting on track and prevents injury. It also gives residents and students in Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park the highest quality rapid transit option sooner; if the city’s plan were chosen, it would be at least 2040 until Thorncliffe and Flemingdon get rapid transit stations. [7]

 

The Ontario Line looks excellent. It’s better than the city’s plan in every single way, and it will bring transit options to neighbourhoods that currently need it most. The provincial government has promised to pay most, if not all, of the transit expansion costs and the Liberal and Conservative federal leaders also promise to back them. Even John Tory is on board with the plan, and we keep our city’s transit budget for general maintenance and day-to-day tasks. [8] We’d get a transit system to keep up with our rapidly growing population and to make our city less car-dependent. It’s what we need, and we need it now!

 

[1] Thumbnail Picture: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2019/04/12/doug-fords-transit-plan-good-bad-quizzical-and-brazen.html

 

[2]Conceptual Route Map, Page 29 of Business Case

http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/projectevaluation/benefitscases/20190725_Ontario_Line_IBC.PDF (Initial Business Case of Ontario Line by Metrolinx)

 

[3] Description of Route, Page 30 of Business Case^

 

[4] Breakdown of Costs, Page 78-79 of Business Case^

 

[5] Breakdown of Costs and Timeline of Ontario Line, Page 5 and 78-79 of Case^

 

[6] Picture:

https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2019/07/25/mayors-approve-surrey-to-langley-skytrain-but-funding-shortfall-stops-at-fleetwood.html

 

[7] Original Relief Line North timeline, Page 15 of Case^

 

[8] Trudeau set to support Ontario Line 

https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2019/10/16/trudeau-liberals-set-to-back-new-ontario-line-subway.html