Metrolinx pushing ahead with 12 new GO Transit stations, plus a Park Lawn stop
List includes 6 SmartTrack stations, but also controversial Kirby station in Vaughan
Metrolinx will consider adding a stop at Park Lawn, in rapidly-growing south Etobicoke, and is also forging ahead with plans to study 12 new GO Transit stations.
That list includes the controversial Kirby stop, in Vaughan, which was put under review over concerns about political interference. It also includes six SmartTrack stations, including one at Lawrence-Kennedy that had been placed under review.
The stations are expected to cost some $2.1 billion and Metrolinx estimates they will generate more than $6.7 billion over a 60-year lifecycle. The transit agency hopes to complete full business cases for each new stop by the end of the year, at which point it hopes to start the construction work with the goal of opening them by 2025.
"I see them as critical stations," Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster told reporters.
"I struggle to think about a future Toronto, 10, 15 years from now, without those stations in development."
Verster played down concerns that five of the eight stops proposed for the city still have costs that outweigh the benefits, noting that some areas are expected to develop in the coming years while the transit agency can also consider tweaking its service to make things work.
Mayor John Tory welcomed the new Metrolinx report, seizing upon the facts that the SmartTrack stations remain on budget and are expected to generate significant economic benefits when all the stations are looked at together.
"The latest Metrolinx analysis makes it clear the case for SmartTrack is getting stronger," Tory said in an email statement.
"We are getting on with building SmartTrack because it can be done quickly, and will provide relief faster for TTC riders on the Yonge-University-Spadina line."
Park Lawn planning underway
Toronto city council recently approved asking Metrolinx to consider a Park Lawn stop, and Verster says its potential exceeds that of seven additional stops municipalities had suggested.
"Park Lawn has just arisen in terms of its benefit-cost ratio above any of the other stations," he said.
Transit for Humber Bay Shores residents is critical ! All levels of gov't in the area agree - thrilled that Metrolinx sees the importance of Park Lawn GO as a priority ! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ward6?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ward6</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TOpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TOpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/QWL3HxIrfx">https://t.co/QWL3HxIrfx</a>—@Mark_Grimes
However, if built, the station may function differently than others. Verster suggests it may feature a shorter, urban-style platform, while trains may alternate between stopping at Park Lawn and the nearby Mimico stop.
Coun. Mark Grimes, who represents the area, says that may be a challenge in the future but the announcement that another station may be coming will be "music to the ears" of his community. For now, the rapidly-growing area is still served mainly by a single streetcar line.
One unknown is what will be built on the former Mr. Christie plant site on Lake Shore Boulevard West. If it is more condos — something the city is fighting against — that will mean more potential transit users. But Grimes says even if the city preserves the land for industrial use, that will also require easy access.
"No matter what goes in there needs transit," he said.
Report notes some challenges ahead
The construction of some stations may require considerable work, including building trenches to run trains below highways in some places.
Metrolinx is also grappling with how to add stations, particularly those close to the city, without significantly slowing down commuters travelling to or from the network's outer reaches. On some lines express trains may run for long-haul commuters.
The full list of proposed new stations is:
- East Harbour (Don Yard/Unilever)
- King Liberty (Liberty Village)
- St. Clair-Old Weston
- Breslau (Township of Woolwich)
- Kirby (Vaughan)
- Mulock (Town of Newmarket)