Yonge subway plan rolls on
Crisis in Ottawa may prove good for extension planners
The political turmoil on Parliament Hill isn’t likely to derail the Yonge St. subway extension, transit officials say.
Instead, federal dollars may flow, helping the project down the line to completion, YRT vice-president Mary-Frances Turner said Wednesday.
“I think the general view is that this is the time for investment and the right place to make investment at times like this is in infrastructure,” she said. “So I think the project is extremely well-positioned, once they figure out who’s in charge in Ottawa, . . . as a very ready project to mobilize and create jobs.”
York Region held its final public meeting north of Steeles recently to discuss details of the proposed subway extension and gather feedback. More than 450 people attended the meeting, said Dale Albers, chief communications officer for York Region Rapid Transit.
Turner said the public’s engagement has been extraordinary.
“Obviously this is a subject that they really care about,” she said. “What they really say to us quite often is, ‘Is this really, really, really going to happen this time?’
“Most people do express the view that this is something that should have happened a long time ago.”
Participants at the meetings have expressed support for the subway extension because they see it as a way to improve mobility and relieve congestion at the same time, Turner said. But not all feedback has been positive.
“We heard . . . in one of the Vaughan communities that they don’t like the parking under the hydro corridor,” she said. “That’s the community immediately south of the hydro corridor. But we have to put a parking lot in place.
“I would say that is probably the most negative feedback we’ve had.”
The 6.5-kilometre Yonge subway extension plan is expected to cost between $1.6 and $2.4 billion and could be ready to accept its first passengers in 2016. Six subway stations are planned: at Cummer Ave., Steeles Ave., Clark Ave., Royal Orchard Blvd., Longbridge Rd. and Richmond Hill Centre, with 1,900 parking spaces in the hydro corridor at Longbridge.
After the final public meeting in Toronto, which was set for Dec. 3, subway planners will prepare to file an environmental project report by Feb. 5, Turner said. A 65-day public review period will follow before the province makes a decision on approval.
“That would put us in a position to see the project approved by late March, early April,” she said.
For more information on the region’s plans for the Yonge subway extension, visit www.vivayork.com.
Vaughan Today In print: December 5, 2008, page 6 Online: December 7, 2008 [link]