News   Jul 19, 2024
 319     0 
News   Jul 19, 2024
 1.5K     4 
News   Jul 19, 2024
 602     1 

"Downtown Core Line" - Possible Alignments?

What is your prefere alignment for a new E/W subway through Downtown

  • Total voters
A while ago, someone here mentioned the idea of splitting the YUS line (can't find the reference).. is this crazy talk or actually doable? I am not so well versed in subway affairs but this sounds interesting to me, as YUS is basically two lines going to Union anyway. You could have transfer points at King, Union, and St Andrew; continue the Yonge line on westward from St Andrew and University/Spadina eastwards from King.

The King alignments you talk about are impossible. Splitting the YUS, while tricky, isn't impossible.
Wellington would divert King ridership... Queen, much less so, it depends a lot on demographics and said demographics' sensivities to distance from stations.

Well, we'll just have to wait and see. I am not wedded to the idea of a Front/Wellington alignment, that's where it looks logical to be on the map. But let's see when the studies come out.

Because one subway stop provides vastly less service than a network of LRTs through the neighbourhood(s), which means it isn't reasonable at all to ask one to replace the other, especially when the master planning has come as far as it has already - it's a good plan - and that access to the whole district can't be adequately provided by a single station anyway. The neighbourhoods are designed to be transit oriented through the LRTs, and are therefore an essential part. Furthermore, these neighbourhoods don't require the capacity of a subway anyway - the demand levels will remain well within the capabilities of LRT. Check the studies by BA Group.

We'll have to see. It may still be cheaper to have a subway stop and a few buses feeding the neighbourhood than a whole LRT mini-network. Moreover, given the densities being projected for these neighbourhoods, I am skeptical that LRT will be enough. Queen's Quay and Lakeshore are going to become a dog's breakfast (my apology to dog lovers) with the amount of LRT that might be needed to serve all these areas.

Maybe you aren't worried about it... but GO Transit is, and so is the TTC, since they're building a second platform for a reason. This is a complex problem that goes well beyond Bloor-Yonge.

The redesign doesn't provide unlimited capacity at Union Station. However, the Metrolinx projections show that the demand is going to go beyond what the renovations are designed to accomodate, and this is a really serious concern. If Liberty Village has a GO station added to it, and connects to a DRL there, the DRL can take a decent chunk of the load off of Union Station, then Union Station has a chance of coping well by keeping people away from it.

If that's the case it certainly hasn't been publicized heavily. The DRL only came up as a condition of the Yonge extension. And if GO was pushing for a TTC DRL how comes it ended up in the 25 year plan. If there's one agency you'd think would have influence on Metrolinx you'd think it would be GO.

Please do put up your sources for this. It's news to me that Union would max out after the upgrades....seems to me that would make the upgrades poorly designed.

It can and should do both. If there are so many people using it in one direction that it becomes unusable for the opposite direction, then that is a problem and is not sustainable. Businesses could also suffer from overcrowding in the PATH. If the demand is taken off the PATH, it can continue to do the job it was designed to do, but if everything comes into Union, then PATH's ability to perform is threatened.

Again, I have never heard any official say we need the DRL to relieve the PATH. If you do have stats and articles please post. I do want to read about it.

But most of them won't be bound for Front, more would be bound for King, and many would also be bound for Queen. Just check out the TTC ridership figures. Union is at 80K... King and St.Andrew are at about 60K each, 120K combined. Queen isn't far behind either. Even Dundas has high demand, although Osgoode's isn't as high as the others.

That's as present. What happens once all those developments come in along the waterfront. How will those ridership numbers change? That's the question. What do you do if you have a job at the Portlands, West Donlands, East Bayfront? How would a subway on Queen help ya?

You still don't seem to realize that the capacity of a hub does have limits, and that's why I wouldn't run a DRL through Union... it would push the demand above the hub's capacity limit. Divide and conquer is a critical component in the design of this line.

Fair enough. Like I said, I haven't heard of Union maxing out. If it's true that should be a concern. But till the TTC or Metrolinx or GO starts talking about the upgrades being inadequate it'll be your word against that of the authorities.

If it hugs the rail corridor the whole way, there will be 5 overlapping nodes (Riverdale, Cherry St., Union, Exhibition, Liberty Village). However, if it goes between Queen/King, then it only crosses 2 (Riverdale and Liberty Village), neither of which is Union Station, which allows ridership to be diverted away from Union to reach other high-demand areas of the core.

If our goal then is to relieve Union and GO is that concerned about it, surely 5 nodes are better than 2?

GO has previously talked about frequencies as ambitious as every 5 minutes. That is subway frequency. Such a frequency isn't possible with the current rolling stock as acceleration/braking is too slow, but if only being applied on Lakeshore, the existing stock can be shifted to other lines' service improvements.

I don't think 5 minute frequencies is the goal of Metrolinx. GO can talk all that want. But if there's no plan on the table than we have to use the targets we have. That's not to say that GO can't be upgraded as an alternative to the DRL of course. That's just not the situation at present.

The success of Bloor-Danforth and Yonge subways are rooted in the fact that they were run in already established transit corridors that were bursting at the seams. New development wasn't the main point, the main point was that there was no alternative to providing reliable service in the existing corridor, with growth expected to continue regardless of whether a subway was there or not.
Queen Subway was supposed to come before Bloor, but demand on Bloor shot up high ahead of Queen and the TTC, after a long fight with City Hall, forced a change in the plan to have Bloor go first. It is because of the sky-high ridership that existed before the subway was built that these subways perform so well.

That's fine enough for that era. That does not mean that every subway line has to be built that way though. A DRL on Front/Wellington will divert many of those riders and subsequently reduce demand on those routes. The argument, I guess comes down to how many of those riders are local vs using Queen/King as through routes. The second argument comes down to how much new development will be there and whether that demand would exceed anything that's present on Queen and King right now. I am willing to bet it does. You disagree.

It isn't prudent to focus on just one route though. Yes, Yonge south is the main corridor seeking relief. No one disputes that. However it is worth pointing out that going farther east actually lowers the amount of people that you will divert, not increase, since people hitting the Bloor-Danforth line west of where the DRL connects to it are most likely stay on Bloor-Danforth instead of backtrack, unless routes continue south of Danforth, of which the 64 Main is the only one I'm aware of that does so.

Like I said it should be debated. I have seen arguments that Donlands might be a better terminus....ultimately, of course taking up to Don Mills and Sheppard would yield the best result.
Last edited:
The Spadina subway and the Sheppard subway were built to spur new development... and they don't do so well as a result. So this idealogy is flawed.

How so? Have you driven/walked along the Sheppard subway route lately? And the only reason Sheppard suffers from lower ridership (that what it should have) is because it was not finished to Scarborough Town Centre. Had the line been completed, it would have been a different story.

As for the Spadina subway, how is it not spurring new development. Vaughan is building an entire urban centre planned around one subway stop.

Moreover, are you challenging the fact that York U needs a subway as well? Or that it won't see further expansion because of the subway?

We need to go back to the methodology Bloor-Danforth and Yonge were based on for the DRL in order to ensure it gets the highest ridership. By taking the DRL through the middle of the Yonge line's most heavily used stations (Queen and Dundas to the north, and King, St.Andrew, and Union to the south) gets the maximum relief value, and directly alleviates the streetcars on King and Queen at the same time.

Yet, we would choke Lakeshore and Queen's Quay with streetcars....possibly leaving them off worse than Queen today. And your assumption neglects the fact that a committment to providing a subway stop in those upcoming neighbourhoods would allow us to build even higher densities than planned.

You'll have to justify how it would be billions in lost productivity by putting the line further away from tens of thousands of commuters when those same commuters will still be close to dedicated ROW LRTs and also that tens of thousands of other commuters will be brought closer to the line and provide added alleviation to the existing non-ROW streetcars.

Since neither of us has the ridership numbers to show which is better it would have to be off development. I look at a map and I see most of the greatest densities south of King and even more growth planned along the Lakeshore.

Really? Wow, then you must support the renovation of Bloor-Yonge to make sure as many people as possible get funnelled through that single point. You shouldn't even support a DRL at all if that's your philosophy.

You were referring to crowd control not through flow of passengers. As far as I know the TTC ain't concerned about hostile commuters.

Crowding chain reactions will be far messier if a single point of failure is created at Union instead of dividing it between 2 or 4 stations. Divide and conquer I tell you! :)

That all depends on the modes of failure. As I have asserted, it would be highly unlikely that Union would becomes a smoldering hole in the ground in one go. Unless that happens, we are looking at single failures on each line. In that case a failure at Union would be no different than a failure at King or St. Patrick in terms of keeping service going. Balancing that risk are other benefits. For example, connecting that line at Union, allows GO commuters the choice of 4 TTC lines from which they move up from Front.

This is seriously flawed logic. If that were true, building the DRL would be completely pointless.
How so? We are adding the DRL to provide extra capacity to accomodate riders from the north. Some upgrades could be required. But going back to the original point. How would upgrades not be required at the interchanges? Were the line to run down King or Queen, we would be creating 2 busy interchanges. Upgrades could well be required. However, all that'll only come out in the EA.

That's actually what makes Richmond-Adelaide so convenient. Although not all, lots of the properties along those two either face the perpendicular streets, or are the "backsides" of the buildings whose fronts actually face Queen or King. Richmond and Adelaide being semi-highway like in nature because of their 4-lane-one-way and DVP-connecting characteristics, make for a bit of a less-lively corridor within downtown (they're not pedestrian friendly streets), and don't have any transit routes on them besides peak-hour only express buses. At the same time, they're right beside two of the liveliest corridors in downtown and two of the busiest transit routes, too.

Surely this is a contradiction for you. Here, you've argued all along that we should minimize the amount people have to walk and build subways only to replace existing heavy demand corridors, than you assert we should build the subway half a block away simply to reduce a year or two of inconvenience.

Disruptions in these corridors would be far less detrimental than the same disruptions on King and Queen proper, no contest. This is similar to how parts of Bloor-Danforth were built... when not expropriating properties by the hundreds, Bloor-Danforth runs under side streets north of Bloor/Danforth propoer, avoiding the detrimental impacts to businesses along the corridor itself during construction.

But Yonge, runs on well Yonge St. and Sheppard on Sheppard. And none of those have suffered long term consequences from construction.

It's critically important that the Queen and King cars be allowed to run during construction. Having them shutdown for construction of stations is not an option.

I would dispute that it's absolutely critical. As long as the blocks are somewhat accessible, they'll survive without cars. They might have bad balance sheets for a year but they'll survive. Moreover, since most of their apparent patrons are transit users on a high demand corridor it's unlikely that they would see demand drop significantly. And hey, we can always avoid disrupting the whole area by just not building a subway there at all!

You're assuming the businesses survive the construction... that's not always a given, and is the big worry that most along the corridor have. Pedestrians tend to avoid construction just like drivers do, when they have a choice.

I am skeptical, folks are going to stop frequenting bars on Queen Street altogether because of construction or that major corporations will suddenly move entire office towers worth of staff because of construction They'll survive. Aside from which, this can't be an acceptable argument against construction. Wherever you plonk down the line, there's going to be disruption. Think about the disruption on Front!

Ultimately this all comes down to the numbers. And like I said we'll all have to wait and see. This is why I haven't voted for a preferred alignment. I will once I start seeing some information. As it stands, I lean towards Front/Wellington because of the all the development that is to come. I don't buy the argument that we should not service new dense neighbourhoods with subways just to service corridors that have maxed out. And I do think that there's more commercial development south of King which would rule out Queen for me (that's why I like Whoaccio's Wellington alignment). Moreover, building a subway further south leaves room to build a Queen subway in the future. The more the DRL moves north the less potency our argument will have for Queen getting its own subway later.

Anyway, we'll just have to wait for more numbers.
Or you could split the Yonge and University lines on the map, while operationally keeping the line as it is.

For many tourists the current arrangement is confusing.

"Go north from Union. No, the correct north".
This is a very important point imho. If the goal is just to get people from Scarborough or Etobicoke to Union more quickly, then the far more sensible option is to integrate TTC and GO physically and fare-wise. While the two agencies have clearly demonstrated that they can't play nice together thus far, the cost of forcing them to do so is far less than the cost of a new subway line. The beginnings of an "express" infrastructure shuttling longer-haul commuters from the 416 and 905 to and from Union are well in place. Downtown Relief may also require finishing the job. The DRL is only part of the Downtown Relief solution.


Exactly. I question the need for a DRL to relieve the YUS loop in the peak-direction. Fare and service integration with GO would accomplish that so much better. Then we would have the flexibility of designing a subway line purely for the core. It boggles my mind that I have to take a bus right past a GO station and spend an extra 40 mins on subways to get downtown from Scarborough when a GO train could do the job in half the time and at marginally higher costs (if fares were integrated).
The Spadina subway and the Sheppard subway were built to spur new development... and they don't do so well as a result.

Uh, what? Have you been around Sheppard recently? The place is booming with construction. Spadina obviously can't do that as well, but that's because it's in the middle of a Highway. You seem to believe that Queen/Richmond/Adelaide is the best alignment so blindly, that you are unable to see how obvious other choices are. Personally, I'd prefer a DRL along Front/Rail/Wellington, and a Queen line built sometime in the next 40 years. So if we do DRL on Queen NOW, it will screw up the system in the future. What you fail to see is that the DRL will alleviate non-local crowds from all the east-west streetcar routes because there will likely be a station where the streetcars can pretty much empty, and then continue to serve local traffic between the DVP and Ronces. As many here have stated, by the time this line is built, I am betting that all the Waterfront Development will create grater need for better transit service than Queen. A Front/wellington/Rail alignment is also very close to King, and by running the subway under Wellington through the loop, there will be 5 station to disperse passengers. Refer to the maps above and on the last few pages. So, in essence, your argument that Union will be impassable is not applicable.
I also favour a Queen Street Subway at some point, so I agree that building the DRL along or near Queen would be too far north. It should be along Front or Wellington, as long as it passes through Union (and I mean properly passing though, i.e. a St. George-type transfer, which I think is the best kind. If I'm transferring from one line to another, St. George has the simplest arrangement to do so).
Operations says, emphatically, "are you nuts?" :D Fit 3000m radius turns into your alignment and see where you get.

3000 metres? The minimum turning radius of the existing subway fleet is around 115m.

Regardless, the point of my map is to get people thinking outside of the box. The point of the DRL is to provide a more convenient transit route for existing users, and that won't be accomplished if you're forced to transfer back to YUS to get to your destination.

Personally, I'd rather see the DRL directly serve destinations like Ryerson, U of T, Chinatown, or the financial district. Subways play a huge role in city building, however their most important job is to move as many people as possible. As far as new development is concerned, it will be spurred all along the DRL's path no matter what the specific route may be.
The problem is not the turning radius per-se, the problem is your discussion route would go right through the foundations of several buildings - which means that the tunnel would have to be cut 7 stories underground - or you would likely destabilize the foundation of some large buildings.

Actually, I just saw a show about a tunnel being drilled under Jakarta (I think) that is using a special drill four stories in diameter, which has two levels of traffic, and one level of flood control - which during major typhoons would be cleared and the entire tunnel would be used for flood control. I know that we would never do anything in Toronto - but it would be interesting if we could cut a tunnel like that through - two levels of traffic, one level of transit - coming in downtown - which would then allow the expressway to be torn down and replaced by local streets :rolleyes:

It would definitely open up some interesting possibilities if it could ever be done feasibly ....
3000 metres? The minimum turning radius of the existing subway fleet is around 115m.
... and experience has taught operations not to ever accept that again.

How often do you think the rails between Union and King / St Andrew are replaced?
Just to correct myself: although 3000m is operations' target, they will accept as small as 600m without a restraining rail, and 300m with a rail and some pretty onerous justification requirements. Union curves are between 150 and 200, for reference.

These are service limits; yard limits are less onerous.

Still, it would be tough to fit those curves into the tight grid downtown. And the point about missing the existing foundations is valid, as well.
I don't think it would it be necessary to serve Queen with both a subway and a streetcar... doubling up on the service might make the TTC's pockets cry louder than they already are.

I think is is necessary.
It seems that subway stop spacing is at least *750m[edit] everywhere else except Toronto and Montreal. The streetcars have stops at almost every intersection. It would then make sense for the streetcars to do the job they were designed to do by funnelling local traffic and let a subway do the job its supposed to do by transporting people over longer distances. Rapid transit needs to be called so for a reason.

[edit] Link to a Metronauts article concerning subway stop spacing.
Last edited: