The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) sent an open letter to Mayor John Tory, providing recommendations on the report Developing Toronto’s Transit Network Plan to 2031, which will be considered by Toronto’s Executive Committee today.
OSPE recommends that Toronto take immediate action to advance new transit projects that will enable the rapid movement of riders to the downtown core. Furthermore, OSPE believes it is critical that the City prioritize the advancement of the Relief Line project ahead of all other recommended actions in order to shape a well-planned and functional future for Ontario.
Beyond providing relief to the extreme overcrowding at Bloor-Yonge station, the Relief Line offers a number of other potential advantages:
- Creation of a multi-modal hub in the core
- Creation of an interchange at Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall
- Creation of a strong connection to the Financial District, including universities, hospitals and public institutions
- No addition to already substantial pedestrian congestion at Union Station
- Shorter crossing of the Don River, which minimizes soil stabilization needs and results in relative cost savings versus other options
- Future development potential; optimization of line via extension to Sheppard Avenue
The Relief Line is an example of an evidence-based subway expansion project that will enhance local and regional economic growth and improve quality of life for riders.
- Council should authorize the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning and the Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Transit Commission to work in partnership with Metrolinx to confirm station locations for optimal connections between the Relief Line and SmartTrack/Regional Express Rail, including future extensions of the Relief Line. Connection optimization will be more readily achieved if clarity regarding the core purpose(s) of the Relief Line is/are decided (i.e. line relief [rapid rider movement] meaning fewer stations, or local economic development meaning more stations).
- Council should support commencing the Environmental Project Report (EPR) for the Relief Line and issue the Notice of Commencement for the Environmental Assessment (EA)/Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP).
As the voice of Ontario’s engineering community, OSPE’s open letter stands as just one of many actions we have taken to encourage the City of Toronto to retain expert engineering input on the topic of transit infrastructure to guarantee short and long term transportation planning that best serves the region.