Metrolinx will undertake its own study on a potential downtown relief subway line intended to ease congestion on existing routes.
Leslie Woo from the regional transit planning agency outlined the parameters of the study intended to address how the planned line could relieve overcrowding on the city’s overburdened subway network, particularly along Yonge-University-Spadina, which is projected to be at maximum operational capacity by 2031, as well as the GTHA.
“If we don’t address this issue, the congestion has the capacity to negatively effect the customer experience, as well as ridership growth throughout the region,” said Woo during a presentation to Metrolinx’s board of directors this week. Woo, who is Metrolinx’s vice president of planning, policy and innovation and regarded as the chief architect of the Big Move transit expansion plan, said the study’s core focus would be examining options for the line and how to potentially integrate GO transit into planning.
Metrolinx is already collaborating with the TTC, the city’s planning department and York Region on similar relief line studies.
The TTC has already released three possible alignments and costing scenarios for a relief subway line. As part of the strategy, a preliminary public consultation is planned for this fall, with its findings to be presented to the board in the spring, followed by a more detailed consult in the summer of 2014.
Even though a relief subway line, also known as a downtown relief line, would be part of the existing TTC network, Woo said it was important to determine how it could be employed to address congestion for GO, which operates a regional service out of Union Station.
“We also need to understand what (a relief line) could do for Union Station and GO Transit’s service capacity, and what the time line would be for introducing these improvements,” she said.
Metrolinx has already listed a future relief subway line as a priority for construction within 15 years, with the costs of the project coming from revenues raised by dedicated transit taxes.