Scarborough’s appointed “champion” for the Bloor-Danforth subway extension says that extension must be improved.
“It’s no use having a subway if no one one can get access to it,” Glenn De Baeremaeker said of the $3.56-billion proposal last week.
A Scarborough Centre councillor who threw his support behind the extension instead of the light-rail line Toronto council previously approved, De Baeremaeker this month was named Mayor John Tory’s Scarborough deputy.
Part of that job for De Baeremaeker, Tory announced, will be to keep the ‘Scarborough subway’ on track.
But though he’s sure it’s going “full steam ahead,” the councillor said the three-stop project is flawed without another stop at Danforth Road and Eglinton Avenue.
He and his Scarborough colleagues, he said, have less than a year - and perhaps only six months - to convince the TTC and council this fourth stop is “common sense.”
De Baeremaeker said he expects Scarborough councillors, plus local MPPs Mitzie Hunter and Brad Duguid and Scarborough Centre MP Roxanne James, to co-sign a letter backing the fourth stop next month. “That’s what I’ll be doing early in the New Year.”
The extension, meant to run alongside the aging and obsolete Scarborough Rapid Transit line to McCowan Road before replacing it in 2023, is supported by promises from three governments and plans for 30 years of municipal property tax hikes.
De Baeremaeker said his Danforth-Eglinton station, halfway between the extension’s start at Kennedy Road and its next stop at Lawrence Avenue and McCowan, will cost a minimum of $100-150 million.
It was often argued by supporters of the LRT line, which had seven planned stations, that it would serve more people for less money than the subway.
De Baeremaeker said its greater number of stops would give people more access to the LRT, but he argued the subway is more convenient, so more people will use it, particularly if the fourth station is added.
That station will also create a “dramatic improvement” for Danforth and Eglinton, boosting property values and attracting new businesses, he said.
De Baeremaeker acknowledged some people will want a station near them and some won’t.
During the municipal election campaign, some small business owners interviewed along the Danforth Road corridor said they might not survive the years of disruption subway construction will bring.
The TTC will be hosting a first round of public consultations in late January or early February - locations and times still to be determined - on where the subway route should go.
Though McCowan Road has most often been mentioned, De Baeremaeker said routes along the SRT line, Midland Avenue, Brimley Road, Bellamy Road North and Markham Road will also be considered.
After the route is chosen, the actual alignment and locations for stations must be chosen, hopefully, by the end of 2015.
On Dec. 9, the TTC board approved $30 million for design of the subway tunnel, so engineers will be ready to move quickly on the next steps, De Baeremaeker said. “The day that we have picked and got council approval for the corridor, they can start.”
Raymond Cho, a councillor whose ward borders the expected terminus at McCowan and Sheppard Avenue, said he isn’t satisfied with the proposed 2018 start of construction.
“I am going to push to see if they could start earlier,” said Cho, who also wants to see a Sheppard subway built eastward into Scarborough instead of the approved Sheppard East LRT.
The Scarborough-Rouge River councillor didn’t sound enthusiastic when told of De Baeremaeker’s plan for an extra Bloor-Danforth station Monday. “That’s new to me,” he said, declining to comment further.