The Relief Line is seen on the map in red.
April 2017: The City has announced a new preferred alignment for the Relief Line that will continue along Eastern Avenue and turn north on Carlaw Avenue, instead of Pape. The new recommended alignment will be going to Executive Committee on May 16th and City Council on May 24th.
Original alignment in red, new proposed alignment in blue.
April 2016: Council has asked Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat to continue studying a coordinated, network-approach transit plan that includes the the Relief Line subway. A preferred corridor from Pape Avenue to downtown via Queen Street or Richmond Street was also approved, with preferred alignment and stations to be brought to the June 28, 2016 Executive Committee meeting.
While the pressure and overcrowding at Yonge-Bloor must be addressed in the initial phase, the immediate next phase should be extending the line north to Eglinton.
March 2015: Please click here to watch a new video from Toronto’s City Planning Department about the need for a relief line and further information about the current public consultation process.
It’s time to stop the endless debates. Toronto City Council has a responsibility to use honest, evidence-based and fiscally responsible transit planning rather than rhetorical political posturing. We can’t keep waiting to improve transit and fight gridlock. Toronto needs the Relief Subway Line now.
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/Richmond Streets, and then west to Spadina Avenue. 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 does Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, TTC CEO Andy Byford, Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and City Manager Joe Pennachetti 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.
Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, has identified the Relief Subway as a priority for the next phase of projects to be started within fifteen years.
Toronto can’t wait that long.
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 1944, 1973, 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!
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!
Hon. Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation
3rd Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8
Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
111 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
Please copy my office at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can keep track of the numbers of emails sent.
Contacting Your Local Elected Representatives
Toronto has 22 MPs who represent us in Ottawa and 22 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.
The Mayor and your local Toronto City Councillor need to hear from you about the importance of the Relief Subway Line too.
|Ward 1 Etobicoke North||Vincent Crisanti|
|Ward 2 Etobicoke North||Rob Ford|
|Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre||Stephen Holyday|
|Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre||John Campbell|
|Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore||Justin Di Ciano|
|Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore||Mark Grimes|
|Ward 7 York West||Giorgio Mammoliti|
|Ward 8 York West||Anthony Perruzza|
|Ward 9 York Centre||Maria Augimeri|
|Ward 10 York Centre||James Pasternak|
|Ward 11 York South-Weston||Frances Nunziata|
|Ward 12 York South-Weston||Frank Di Giorgio|
|Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park||Sarah Doucette|
|Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park||Gord Perks|
|Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence||Josh Colle|
|Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence||Christin Carmichael-Greb|
|Ward 17 Davenport||Cesar Palacio|
|Ward 18 Davenport||Ana Bailão|
|Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina||Mike Layton|
|Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina||Joe Cressy|
|Ward 21 St. Paul’s||Joe Mihevc|
|Ward 22 St. Paul’s||Josh Matlow|
|Ward 23 Willowdale||John Filion|
|Ward 24 Willowdale||David Shiner|
|Ward 25 Don Valley West||Jaye Robinson|
|Ward 26 Don Valley West||Jon Burnside|
|Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale||Kristyn Wong-Tam|
|Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale||Pam McConnell|
|Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth||Mary Fragedakis|
|Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth||Paula Fletcher|
|Ward 31 Beaches-East York||Janet Davis|
|Ward 32 Beaches-East York||Mary-Margaret McMahon|
|Ward 33 Don Valley East||Shelley Carroll|
|Ward 34 Don Valley East||Denzil Minnan-Wong|
|Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest||Michelle Berardinetti|
|Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest||Gary Crawford|
|Ward 37 Scarborough Centre||Michael Thompson|
|Ward 38 Scarborough Centre||Glenn De Baeremaeker|
|Ward 39 Scarborough-Agincourt||Jim Karygiannis|
|Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt||Norm Kelly|
|Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River||Chin Lee|
|Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River||Neethan Shan|
|Ward 43 Scarborough East||Paul Ainslie|
|Ward 44 Scarborough East||Ron Moeser|
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.