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Where should Toronto’s relief subway line go?

Those of you from Toronto might be aware that the city is currently assessing the possibility of a “relief subway line” that would connect the downtown core back up to the Bloor-Danforth subway line in the form of a stretched out “U”.

The reason this line is being called a “relief line” is that – in addition to providing local service all across downtown and its “shoulders” – it would also relieve much of the pressure that the Yonge-Bloor interchange is facing today. Instead of always having to connect at that location, passengers coming from the east and west would be able to do so sooner as a result of this new subway line (bypassing Yonge-Bloor).

For those of you who are regular readers of ATC, you might know that I’m a big supporter of this relief line. I believe it should be our number one transit priority. It’s going to cut through areas of the city that have some of the highest population and employment densities, and so it’s an area where I think subway makes sense. The ridership would be there.

Many people at the city also seem to agree:

Given that an assessment is currently underway, the city is looking for feedback from the public. One of the ways you can do that is by clicking here. The site will allow you to comment on the potential station locations (shown below using purple circles). I did it this morning and I would encourage you to do the same if you’re from Toronto.

For clarity, this current study is only for the eastern portion of the relief line (study area is outlined in red below).

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Once you’ve given this some thought, I’d love to have a discussion in the comments about where you think the relief subway line should go (or if you even think it’s a good idea in the first place).

My initial thought is that it should connect into King station, run along King Street East, merge with Queen Street East near the Don Valley, go through Riverside and Leslieville, and then start making its way north to Danforth Avenue.

My reasons are as follows:

  • King Street East is the most vibrant pedestrian street on the east side of downtown. There isn’t enough commercial activity further south.
  • King Street would allow it to eventually cut right through the Financial District when it heads westward.
  • The connection to Union station (for GO Transit, VIA Rail, and the Union-Pearson Express Train) would be manageable from King Street. Plus, SmartTrack may feed directly into Union.
  • King Street is roughly the midpoint between Queen Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. And if you place it too far south, it would take away from the proposed Queen’s Quay LRT line.
  • Having it merge into Queen Street near the Don Valley would allow it to service both Regent Park to the north, as well as the West Don Lands neighborhood to the south. It would also allow for a connection to a Cherry Street LRT line servicing the future Portlands neighborhood.
  • Queen & Broadview is emerging as a major node with a significant amount of density in the pipeline. And further north, Dundas & Carlaw is similarly seeing a lot of intensification.

But I may have missed a few things. These are just my thoughts. What are yours?

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