Council orders staff to look at whether subway could be built above ground.
March 31, 2016
Mayor John Tory at press conference on the Scarborough subway Thursday January 21, 2016. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun)
The City of Toronto is now studying whether the Scarborough subway could be built above ground.
Amid a slew of transit planning measures approved by city council Thursday. Councillor Josh Matlow got council to agree to having city staff and Metrolinx study the feasibility of running the subway extension “at-grade” entirely or in portions.
Matlow told council he wants transit planning to be done from with all options examined by experts and costed appropriately.
“What I hear from reasonable people, who’ve not been manipulated by those who perhaps didn’t tell them the whole story, is that want us to do it in a way that is based on evidence and facts, that’s honourable and honest,” Matlow said.
Councillor Jim Karygiannis was a supporter of the original Scarborough subway plan and said he voted against Matlow’s motion because it doesn’t make sense.
“There’s no surface to put it on,” he said of the above-ground option. “It’s not rocket science. Unless you use the (Scarborough RT) tracks that are there and if the were feasible we would have put it there to begin with.”
If council were to decide to change the Scarborough subway it would be yet another iteration of the plan. It was originally set to be a light-rail line but then changed to a subway extension under then-mayor Rob Ford. In January, it morphed — with Mayor John Tory’s blessing — into a one-stop subway extension to the Scarborough Town Centre.
Council agreed Thursday to draw together a number of projects which have been moving along as separate plans. Now planning and analysis for SmartTrack, the Scarborough subway, downtown relief line, Eglinton Crosstown, Finch West LRT and Bayshore LRT projects will all advance together.
Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat called council’s decision to combine the projects under one umbrella a “seminal moment for the city.
“We can move forward with the confidence that we have a strong planning and city building rationale for why we’re proceeding with the projects,” she said.
Tory lauded the move and council for its support. It will push transit forward in a way that the city needs, he said.
“We’ve got to get on with it,” he said. “The fault people find with us isn’t so much that we’ve made mistakes on building transit in the wrong places … it’s that we haven’t built transit.”
This article can be found in its original form at: http://www.torontosun.com/2016/03/31/next-stop-for-scarborough-subway-above-ground