The New Queen Subway Line in Toronto
In April of 2019, Premier Doug Ford announced provincial government plans to construct a brand new “free-standing artery” to connect downtown Toronto with the rest of the city and free Torontonians from congestion that threatened to cripple the subway lines. Nearly 3-years from the announcement, these plans have become more of a reality as Metrolinx, the city’s transport agency, has announced four new subway stations while preliminary construction work on the line has already begun.
Despite its cost, the new subway line benefits the whole city greatly. Infrastructure Ontario explains how, upon project completion, over 255,000 Toronto residents will “live within a 10-minute walk” of an Ontario Line station, providing Toronto with “faster, more frequent and reliable access to rapid transport.”
They allude to how the new line will improve Torontonian’s quality of life, providing them with reduced travel/commute times, reduced crowding at stations, a reduction in road congestion, greenhouse gasses, and an overall improvement in the environment of the city.
As Toronto begins to recover from the pandemic, the creation of jobs that the project will bring should also be greatly welcomed. Moreover, Infrastructure Ontario estimates that as many as 57,000 jobs will be made more easily accessible (with less than a 45-minute transit) for Toronto residents due to the project.
However, Toronto’s downtown area will likely benefit most from the ambitious project.
Metrolinx announced a particular emphasis on providing the city with a “more rapid transit to downtown Toronto with the Ontario Line.” This has since been confirmed by announcing four new (or improved) downtown stations that are set to be constructed as part of the project.
Specifically, Osgoode and Queen will provide a vital connection point between the new Ontario Line and the existing Line 1. Perhaps more significantly, Moss Park and Corktown will connect east downtown Toronto with the rest of the city via the subway for the very first time.
As a result of these new stations, travel throughout the downtown area will vastly improve. Metrolinx has explained how these stations have been intentionally designed to form an “integrated transit network,” ensuring that customers are close to popular streetcar/bus/subway routes.
Traveling to and from the downtown area will also see significant improvements. The new stations provide the area with unprecedented connections to the rest of the city and other “major transit routes.”
With help from the ‘Downtown Segment’ of Metrolinx’s official ‘Project Ontario Line’ website, here’s a breakdown of the four planned stations and the impact that they’ll have on the downtown community.
Linking the Ontario Line to Line 1, this station will provide the downtown area with a key connection point to and from the existing subway network.
Located on the Northeast and Southwest Corners of the University Avenue and Queen Street Intersection, the new station entrances will help avoid congestion from the increased capacity of the station while providing travelers with easy and safe access to streetcar stops.
Like Osgoode, this station will provide a vital attachment point for Line 1 and the Ontario Line. This will allow for the “seamless transfer” of travelers and provide downtown Toronto with a connection to the city’s “heart.”
Notably, this station will connect approximately 5,100 households without a car to the rest of the city.
This station will provide a unique, unheard subway connection for east-downtown Toronto. Approximately 7,300 people are projected to use the station during its busiest hour of travel.
Primarily, Moss Park will aim to alleviate the congestion experienced on existing routes, such as the “75 Sherbourne bus and 501 Queen Streetcar”.
Unfortunately, the station’s construction is set to disrupt the parking area. However, the station will be located on the boundary of the park, which will minimize disruption to existing businesses, residents, and streetcars within the area.
Metrolinx has ensured residents that they will work alongside city partners to provide any space used for construction is subsequently revitalized upon completion of the project.
Corktown station will provide Toronto with a gateway to the Distillery District and further connect the east downtown area to the existing subway network. Similar to Moss Park, the station will also help to relieve existing “surface routes” of congestion.
Metrolinx is asking the public to contribute toward the station by ranking themes that accurately reflect the rich history of the local community in the Corktown area. These themes will contribute to the design throughout the new station building.
So, there you have it… It may be expensive, but the Ontario Line and its new and improved downtown stations will better connect the downtown area, its restaurants, nightlife, and iconic attractions with the rest of Toronto.