Councillor Josh Matlow

Relief Line

Relief Line2019-01-24T20:38:47+00:00

Every day, Torontonians are forced to wait on overflowing platforms as overcrowded trains pass them by. Read about the need for a Relief Subway Line, or click here to take action right away.

What is the Relief Subway Line?

The Relief Subway Line would provide an alternative to our existing subway system that’s already overcrowded during rush hours, curb gridlock on our city’s streets and increase access to jobs and attractions. It is the evidence-based subway expansion project that would be an integral part of a “comprehensive network approach” that would most improve Toronto’s economy and residents’ quality of life.

Following consultation and study, council has approved an alignment that would see a new transit line move from Pape Subway Station south to Queen and west to Bay Street. Along with helping to relieve the extreme overcrowding at Bloor-Yonge station created by riders coming into downtown from the east, the alignment has a number of other advantages. They include:

  • Creating a dynamic multi-modal hub in the core
  • Creating an interchange centre at Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall
  • Creating a strong connection to the Financial District, including universities, hospitals and public institutions
  • Does not add to substantial pedestrian congestion at Union Station
  • Compliments both a planned transit priority corridor along King Street and the Regent Park Neighbourhood Improvement Area
  • Requires a shorter crossing of the Don River and minimizes soil stabilization needs, resulting in significant cost saving compared to other options

While the pressure and overcrowding at Yonge-Bloor must be addressed in the initial phase, the immediate next phase should see the line extended north to Eglinton Avenue. This must be in any plan approved by council.

For more information about the options evaluated by city staff and council, please click here.

As seen on the map above, the next two phases include (along with extending the line north to Eglinton), going west and then north to Bloor near High Park. However, while both should be completed, projected ridership numbers and the introduction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT bringing additional riders towards Yonge Street, suggest that the northern extension serving residents from North York and Scarborough should be a higher priority.

The Relief Subway Line is Toronto’s Real Top Transit Priority

What subway expansion project do the former directors of  Metrolinx, The TTC , and Toronto City Planning all agree is Toronto’s top transit priority? The Relief Subway Line.

This City Council term has unfortunately featured transit debates long on rhetoric and short on facts. The Relief Subway Line is the one line that most transit experts agree is not only justified by high ridership but will very shortly become necessary if we are to avoid crippling overcrowding elsewhere on the subway system and curb gridlock on Toronto’s streets.

As any resident who rides the subway knows, the Yonge line is already at capacity. During rush hour at stations like Eglinton it is common to wait for two or three trains before boarding and once on, you’re crammed in like a sardine.

The overcrowding is most critical at Bloor-Yonge station, which is already overcrowded with another 45% increase in users expected over the next twenty years. Even with signal improvements and the new, larger trains we can’t keep ahead of this growth.

The Mayor says that the relief line is still at least a decade away.

Toronto can’t wait that long.

Relief Subway Line infographic

100 Years of Delays and Inaction

The Relief Subway is a long considered transit route providing an alternative link between the suburbs and the downtown that has taken various forms in City and TTC planning documents over the past century. As early as 1910, City planners recognized the need for a ‘U-shaped’ line linking the eastern and western portion of the City with the core, and produced the map below.

Plans and studies for a Relief Subway Line were also put forward in 19441973, and 1985. Unfortunately, these plans have done little more than collect dust on a shelf. In their 2012 Downtown Rapid Transit report the TTC once again made the case to construct the Relief Subway Line. We cannot afford to let another opportunity leave the station.

Take Action Now!

    Our existing subway system isn’t serving the needs of Torontonians. Every day, we watch overcrowded trains go by while waiting on an overcrowded platform. Sign up to show your support for the Relief line and to hear updates about what you can do to help. Below, see details on writing to the Premier, the Ministry of Transportation and your local representative about the need for a Relief Line now.

    Please write to the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Transportation, and your local representatives to tell them:

    • You are tired of waiting for two or three trains on the overcrowded Yonge line.
    • You want a transit system that will curb gridlock by being a quality and realistic alternative to driving a car.
    • The Relief Subway will mean a faster route in and out of downtown for residents from across Toronto (including Scarborough and North York).
    • The current transit network in and out of downtown will reach capacity by 2031.
    • Tax dollars should be spent on our real transit priorities.
    • Toronto needs the Relief Subway now!

    Please copy my office at so that I can keep track of the numbers of emails sent.

    Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek

    3rd Floor, Ferguson Block

    77 Wellesley Street West

    Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8

    Premier of Ontario Doug Ford

    Room 281

    111 Wellesley Street West

    Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1

    Contacting Your Local Elected Representatives

    Toronto has 25 MPs who represent us in Ottawa and 25 MPPs who sit in the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park. It is important to let your local MP and MPP know that the Relief Subway Line is an important issue to you.

    Electoral District MPP (Ontario) MP (Canada)
    Beaches—East York Rima Berns-McGown Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
    Davenport Marit Stiles Julie Dzerowicz
    Don Valley East Michael Coteau Yasmin Ratansi
    Don Valley West Kathleen Wynne Rob Oliphant
    Don Valley North Vincent Ke Geng Tan
    Eglinton—Lawrence Robin Martin Marco Mendicino
    Etobicoke Centre Kinga Surma Borys Wrzesnewskyj
    Etobicoke North Hon Doug Ford Kristy Duncan
    Etobicoke—Lakeshore Christine Hogarth James Maloney
    Humber River-Black Creek Tom Rakocevic Judy Sgro
    Parkdale—High Park Bhutila Karpoche Arif Virani
    Scarborough Centre Christina Mitas Salma Zahid
    Scarborough North Hon Raymond Sung Joon Cho Shaun Chen
    Scarborough Southwest Doly Begum Bill Blair
    Scarborough—Agincourt Aris Babikian Jean Yip
    Scarborough—Guidwood Mitzie Hunter John McKay
    Scarborough—Rouge Park Vijay Thanigasalam Gary Anandasangaree
    Spadina- Fort York Chris Glover Adam Vaughn
    Toronto – St. Paul’s Jill Andrew Carolyn Bennett
    Toronto Centre Suze Morrison Bill Morneau
    Toronto—Danforth Peter Tabuns Julie Dabrusin
    University- Rosedale Jessica Bell Chrystia Freeland
    Willowdale Stan Cho Ali Ehassi
    York Centre Roman Baber Michael Levitt
    York South—Weston Faisal Hassan Ahmed Hussen

    The Mayor and your local Toronto City Councillor need to hear from you about the importance of the Relief Subway Line too.

    Mayor John Tory
    Ward 1 Etobicoke North Michael Ford
    Ward 2 Etobicoke Centre Stephen Holyday
    Ward 3 Etobicoke Lakeshore Mark Grimes
    Ward 4 Parkdale High Park Gord Perks
    Ward 5 York South Weston Frances Nunziata
    Ward 6 York Centre James Pasternak
    Ward 7 Humber River-Black Creek Anthony Perruzza
    Ward 8 Eglinton Lawrence Mike Colle
    Ward 9 Davenport Ana Bailão
    Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York Joe Cressy
    Ward 11 University Rosedale Mike Layton
    Ward 12 Toronto St. Paul’s Josh Matlow
    Ward 13 Toronto Centre Kristyn Wong-Tam
    Ward 14 Toronto Danforth Paula Fletcher
    Ward 15 Don Valley West Jaye Robinson
    Ward 16 Don Valley East Denzil Minnan-Wong
    Ward 17 Don Valley North Shelley Carroll
    Ward 18 Willowdale John Filion
    Ward 19 Beaches East York Brad Bradford
    Ward 20 Scarborough Southwest Gary Crawford
    Ward 21 Scarborough Centre Michael Thompson
    Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt Jim Karygiannis
    Ward 23 Scarborough North Cynthia Lai
    Ward 24 Scarborough Guildwood Paul Ainslie
    Ward 25 Scarborough Rouge Park Jennifer McKelvie

    If you don’t know the name of your electoral district you can search by postal code here and if you don’t know the name of your municipal ward you can search by street address here. You are also very welcome to write or call me at (416 392 7906) for assistance contacting your local representatives.

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