UTSC will have a rail connection (we hope)
For many, the commute to U of T’s Scarborough campus means facing a long ride on the 198 express bus from Kennedy station. However, the city is now promising that bus will be rendered obsolete by a new rail link, bringing transit relief—just in time for when your kids go to university.
Late last week, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced a compromise on one of Toronto’s most controversial transit challenges: how to bring modern rapid transit to Scarborough.
The plan passed under Rob Ford’s term included a three-stop extension to the Bloor-Danforth line at Lawrence, Scarborough Centre, and Sheppard. Although Ford got the provincial and federal governments in his court, the plan has since received massive criticism for its cost efficiency, and the lack of service deeper into Scarborough, a major problem for low-income residents and students alike.
With the help of city planner Jennifer Keesmaat and a team of transit experts, last week’s proposal is a compromise where the subway extension would only include one stop, stretching from Kennedy to Scarborough Centre.
With the money saved, there are plans to extend the Eglinton Crosstown (to be known as Line 5) past Kennedy and include 17 extra stops into Scarberia, ending around UTSC. The line will run through five neighbourhoods (Eglinton East, Scarborough Village, Woburn, Westhill, and Morningside) underserved by Toronto’s existing transit grid.
In terms of seeing these new lines in action, don’t hold your breath. In 1994, the newspaper trumpeted the start of construction on the Eglinton Subway “after 30 years of planning” but a lack of provincial funding doomed the project. Now over 20 years later, the Eglinton Crosstown is supposed to be completed in 2022. The rough estimate for its eastward extension to UTSC is 2028, so long as the city doesn’t change plans again or the project falls behind schedule or over budget. Those things are of course a rarity with Toronto transit.