Category Archives for "Urban Transit"

Aug 20

Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Discussion Paper – Comments Submitted

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Urban Transit

In late June, Ontario released its long-awaited Greater Golden Horseshow Transportation Discussion Paper for public comment. Following a situation analysis, it described three visions for 2051: (a) getting people moving on a connected transit system (b) enhancing capacity and performance on congested roads (c) efficiently moving goods across the region. It also provided 7 near-term goals and sample actions.

Transport Action Ontario has provided detailed comments to the Ministry of Transportation on this paper, identifying positives, concern areas, and additional topics to include.

  • TAO supports some of the road infrastructure policies and plans, particularly managed lanes and demand management. However, we feel that there is too much emphasis on construction of new 400-series highways, including the GTA-West corridor, Highway 404 extension and Garden City Skyway twinning. Non-road options are usually a better investment and should either replace or augment new highways.
  • TAO supports the listed ideas for goods movement, but recommends also to work with CN/CP to expand rail corridors or remove constraints where needed to benefit both passenger and freight rail. The cooperation agreements between Metrolinx and CN on the shared-use Halton Sub and on Burlington-Hamilton are good examples.
  • The Plan needs to discuss funding sources to finance these many investments, including parking fees, road pricing, federal cooperation and financing, and providing new revenue tools for municipalities.

Our full submission can be viewed below.

MTO’s discussion paper can be found at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/towards-greater-golden-horseshoe-transportation-plan-discussion-paper

Jul 27

Improving Scarborough Bus Connectivity

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Major Reports , Urban Transit

As a result of the impending shutdown of the Scarborough RT, there will be a need to reconfigure many of the TTC bus routes in Scarborough. This offers a major opportunity to improve passenger convenience and connectivity by emphasizing a more grid-based bus network.

Karl Junkin, C.E.T., of Transport Action Ontario has designed a reconfigured bus network. It has been submitted to the TTC and will be discussed with TTC staff.

Karl’s report can be viewed below.

Jun 25

Cut-and-Cover Option for Yonge North Subway Extension

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Controversy continues in York Region over the routing of the proposed Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE). The preferred option from Metrolinx is Option 3A, which involves deep tunneling below 60 homes to reach a surface station at the GO line (“Bridge Station”). Both Markham and Vaughan Councils have voted against Option 3A.

In April, Transport Action Ontario submitted an alternative – Option 2A, involving cut-and-cover across vacant lands. Metrolinx is evaluating this option. We have now supplemented our proposal by also recommending cut-and-cover under the northern portion of Yonge St. This offers cost savings and simplifies the elevation transition from a tunnel under Yonge St to a surface station at the GO line. Metrolinx has indicated they will evaluate this option.

Our submission can be viewed below:

May 01

Yonge North Subway Extension – TAO Suggests Alternate Route

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Resident outrage over the recommended route for the Yonge North Subway Extension continues. See our post of April 27 for background. Transport Action Ontario has now suggested an alternate route, known as Option 2A. It has been submitted to Metrolinx, who have indicated they will comment back. Our submission is given below.

Hi Steve….thank you to you and the Metrolinx team for participating in the lengthy Markham Development Services Committee meeting on April 25.  It is clear there are many residents with big concerns about Option 3A.  As you recall, I offered to write up what I called “tweaked Option 2”, or Option 2A, involving a cut & cover route across Langstaff to reach an at-grade Bridge Station. You agreed to evaluate this option and report back.

This idea has been developed by Transport Action Ontario, a citizen-based NGO focusing on public transportation, of which I am currently the President. 

As a preamble, just as with Option 3A, Option 2A is not perfect.  Compromises may have to be made, including potentially a need to adjust the development plan (Secondary Plan) for the Langstaff Gateway Regional Centre. Fortunately, no recent new development has occurred at Langstaff yet, although it may be imminent.  As our ideas are very high level, feel free to adjust them to make them more workable. 
The Figures below show two route concepts. 

Option 1 – From Yonge St at the cemetery, using tight curves of 600 feet radius (same as on Line 1 at Union), we believe Bridge Station can be reached for an across-platform interchange with GO Trains.  This route would almost certainly incur a maintenance penalty. 

Option 2 – From Yonge St at the cemetery, using curves of larger radii, a point 75 meters west of Bridge Station can be reached.   This could easily be incorporated into the Station, as per the rough hand-drawn sketch. The 75 m area between the subway and the GO line would make good retail space. 

We presume that cut & cover would be used to construct this portion, so track slopes should not be an issue. The Bridge Station sketch shows the subway at one level below the at-grade GO tracks, which can readily be incorporated in the station design. The bus concourse would be one level above the tracks, as proposed in your Option 3A. 
Pomona Creek is in a culvert 3 mbg near the proposed subway crossing.   Engineering would have to figure out how to best cross this culvert (over/under) or otherwise alter the creek. If the Holy Cross Cemetery could be persuaded to allow access to a corner of parkland at their northwest corner, the curve radius could perhaps be increased. 


Transport Action Ontario looks forward to your review of theses ideas.  We will be happy to answer any questions. 
Best regards, 


Peter Miasek

President, Transport Action Ontario

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Apr 27

Yonge North Subway Extension – Controversy Develops!

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Residents in the Thornhill neighbourhood in York Region were blindsided in mid March when Metrolinx finally released its long-awaited Initial Business Case for the Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE).  The best-performing option proceeds north from Finch Station about 5 km, and then turns sharply east and tunnels under 60 homes, one school and a creek to reach the GO Richmond Hill corridor. It then gradually reaches the surface and remains at grade within the corridor to a terminus in Richmond Hill Centre (RHC). Three stations are proposed – underground at Steeles Ave,  at-grade between Highways 7 and 407 (“Bridge” Station) and at-grade at RHC. The main positive feature of this option is that Bridge Station will be located in the heart of two planned dense communities – Langstaff Gateway Centre and Richmond Hill Centre.  It will also be well located for connecting bus routes.   Because the capital cost of this option is below the funding envelope of $5.6B, a fourth station is being studied at one of three candidate locations.

This controversial alignment was approved by the Metrolinx board months ago and is called the “Approved Reference Alignment”.  However, residents only became aware of it in mid March. Naturally there is plenty of concern about noise, vibration, property values and construction disruption. Metrolinx is moving ahead rapidly with community and public engagement as well as field testing. It expects to go to the market with a Request for Qualifications this Fall,  and is predicting completion of the work by 2030.

Transport Action Ontario (TAO) supports construction of this subway “missing link”. It is essential to the orderly growth of the northern GTHA. As taxpayers, we also support getting the best value for our capital dollars. Therefore it is concerning that, despite its width, the portion under Yonge Street is slated for tunneling rather than the much cheaper cut and cover.

Resident concerns also need to be heeded.  Metrolinx has not provided solid answers about why the eastward piece cannot be constructed using cut & cover under the currently-undeveloped lands slated for the Langstaff Gateway Centre. TAO intends to submit a proposal to Metrolinx showing that such a route appears technically feasible.

There is also resident uncertainty about how well noise/vibration mitigation will work, and if Metrolinx will compensate them for any property devaluation resulting from subway infrastructure on their properties.  Lastly, residents need to be assured that there will be at least one, hopefully two, stations in Thornhill as compensation for all the disruption.

TAO will continue to actively monitor this project and may issue further statements as more information becomes available.

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