The Yonge subway, commonly known as the yellow line, is running red, exceeding its capacity daily at its peak hour by 3000 TTC riders.
Metrolinx, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and Toronto City Council have been discussing and studying the Yonge Relief Line since 2012, and all parties have agreed the line must be a priority. The relief line — which connects downtown Toronto to the Bloor-Danforth Subway east of the Don River — would provide a solution to this problem by diverting an estimated 17,000 Torontonians per day from the overcrowded Yonge subway route.
The city has completed the first three phases of the Relief Line Project Assessment Study, which assesses ideal areas for the ideal line and looks into options for station stops. Important areas of the study included surface transit routes that would correlate well with station stops; supporting equality in mobility for people of various incomes, genders and ethnicities; and, engineering feasibility.
Public meetings were held in March and in June of 2014 to assess possible station stops for the relief line. Further public meetings, where residents can express concerns and opinions on the location of the relief line stops, scheduled for November 2015 have been since moved to 2016.
In the meantime, the city is evaluating corridor options for the relief line, focusing on where to connect at the downtown core and where to make the turn. They are continuing to collect data on alignment and possible stations. Similarly to SmartTrack, the city is also waiting for the results of ridership modelling for the relief line, which is being done by the University of Ottawa.
Experts have said this new relief line will help reduce congestion on the TTC on a long-term basis; whereas the proposed SmartTrack would be a good interim solution. We will be following the city’s progress over the next few months to find out what’s happening behind the scenes with this priority line. The Transit Alliance has been told that the city is working on this transit project every day, and we look forward to getting updates as the project moves forward.
With files from Katherine DeClerq