> Yonge North Subway Extension LIVE (Richmond Hill) - April 21, 2021 | Metrolinx Engage

Yonge North Subway Extension LIVE (Richmond Hill) - April 21, 2021

On April 21, 2021, Metrolinx hosted a presentation and live question-and-answer session with members of the Yonge North Subway Extension project team focused on the city of Richmond Hill and the Bayview Glen community. During the event, we answered the top-voted questions that had been submitted by participants through Slido, our interactive online platform. Our team answered questions about the latest plans for the project, including the updated route, the proposal for a train storage facility at surface level, and the solutions available to reduce or eliminate noise and vibration during construction and when the extension is up and running.

You can find written answers to these questions and others we didn’t get to below. If you weren’t able to join us, the video recording is available for you to watch any time.

 

 

Virtual Open House – April 21, 2021 Outstanding Questions

When you say you will work with residents, what exactly does that mean? Can you provide some specific activities and tasks?

The input we’re getting from communities is vital to our work and is top of mind as we refine the plans for the extension. These insights will play an important part in shaping the project as it moves forward and there will be many more discussions as we move forward together on this important project.

We’ve already started to collect your feedback through the virtual open house events we’ve been hosting. We’ll be reaching out for input from the community as we prepare an updated environmental assessment for the project. All of the input we collect from the public and Indigenous communities, as well as any actions we take as a result of that feedback, will be documented in a draft report that is expected to be published this fall.

We will also set up working groups with members of your community and our project team called Community Liaison Committees. These groups will be a venue to review designs, hear concerns, answer questions, and keep the community updated on the project at every turn. We’re looking to launch the committees in Fall of this year.

What will the benefit be for residents and businesses on the Yonge corridor?

The Yonge North Subway Extension will cut commute times in York Region, Toronto and beyond by giving customers one seamless subway ride between Richmond Hill and downtown Toronto. It’s just one part of a massive expansion of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s transit network that will open up new travel possibilities in every direction.

One way the extension will do this is by bringing as many as six major rapid transit lines together through a new station in the northern section of the route – tentatively referred to as “Bridge Station.” Placed on the existing railway corridor at surface level between the Highway 7 and Highway 407 corridors, Bridge Station will offer fast, easy transfers to downtown Toronto on Line 1, and act as a launchpad to explore the entire region through convenient connections to the regional transit network.

The project is expected to serve 94,100 riders each day by 2041, cutting the time spent commuting in Toronto and York Region by a combined 835,000 minutes each day and saving riders as much as 22 minutes on a trip from Markham to downtown Toronto. The extension will also ease traffic congestion as more people get out from behind the wheel in favour of using transit, saving more than 4,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. New opportunities for employment will help the community thrive – a total of 22,900 employees will be within a 10-minute walk from a transit station along the extension.

How many construction jobs will be created for this project?

During construction, the Yonge North Subway Extension is expected to support the equivalent of 4,300 full-time jobs each year.

Will the contracts related to this project have a social benefit integrated into it such as employing members of the community?

We want to make sure the Yonge North Subway Extension becomes a valued part of the community. Transit projects like this deliver significant benefits in the form of better access to transit, shorter journeys across the city, better access to jobs, and less traffic on our roadways.

Metrolinx understands we have a responsibility to help connect communities, in more ways than one. We are committed to ensuring that our vital transit projects also provide benefits for the communities in which they’re being built. That includes searching out and recruiting the best local talent, providing training and apprenticeship opportunities for people living in those communities and looking for local suppliers and procurement opportunities where possible.

The federal budget did not include money for this project. Will this result in delays?

On May 11th, the federal government announced a $10.4 billion funding commitment to Ontario’s four priority subway projects, including the Yonge North Subway Extension. We remain committed to an in-service date of 2029-2030, after the Ontario Line is in service.

Are you able to build stations along the extension after it is complete?

Yes, it is possible to build new stations once the extension is complete but doing so would be complex in terms of maintaining existing service and limiting disruptions. This is something we’ll be looking at as we advance our designs.

Will High Tech and Bridge stations be set up at-grade like Davisville or Rosedale stations? Or will they be more like underground stations?

The platforms for High Tech and Bridge stations are planned to be at surface level (at-grade) along the CN railway corridor.

Your business case gives Clark Station the highest rating so why not include it as the fourth station?

While the Initial Business Case analysis identifies Clark Station as providing the highest incremental benefits compared to the other stations being considered, at this time it is recommended that further analysis be conducted through more planning and design work.

This will allow us to refine the benefits to transit users and communities, as well as further evaluate the potential for development to create transit-oriented communities. Metrolinx is working with our municipal partners to determine the best location for the fourth station as planning work continues. The locations planners are looking at are in line with the previously proposed Cummer, Clark, and Royal Orchard stations.

Why is the train storage facility being built on the surface? It should be underground to minimize impact to the surrounding neighbourhood.

Placing a train storage facility at surface-level is a standard practice, and it’s a critical to keep it at ground level to stay within the $5.6 billion funding envelope.

Cities like Vancouver, Chicago, and New York all have ground level train storage facilities that successfully integrate into residential areas while meeting the needs of their transit networks.

This change brings the proposal in line with the TTC’s five subway train storage facilities, which are all above ground.

The detailed studies and all the consultations we’re doing right now will help us make sure we put all the right noise and vibration solutions in place so there are no significant differences between what’s experienced in the community today and what will be experienced when the extension is in service.

Why are you choosing Option 3 if it has the fewest benefits according to your Initial Business Case?

Through our analysis, we found that Option 1 could be delivered with up to three stations at Steeles, Richmond Hill Centre, and Langstaff within the $5.6 billion announced funding envelope. Option 2 could also accommodate up to three stations in roughly the same areas.

The refined Option 3 alignment has the benefit of allowing for a fourth station, since it minimizes the amount of costly tunneling required for the project. Metrolinx is working with municipal partners to evaluate and determine the best location for the fourth station as planning work continues.

This route also brings as many as six major rapid transit lines together through a new station in the northern section of the route – tentatively referred to as “Bridge Station.” Placed on the existing railway corridor at surface level between the Highway 7 and Highway 407 corridors, Bridge Station will offer fast, easy transfers to downtown Toronto on Line 1, and act as a launchpad to explore the entire region through convenient connections to the regional transit network.

If funding was available for Option 1 or Option 2, would Metrolinx still recommend Option 3 as the best long-term transportation plan?

Option 1 or Option 2 could be built with the funding available, however either option would only accommodate three stations. Metrolinx is committed to building the most benefits possible into the project within the available $5.6 billion funding envelope, and running the subway along the existing CN railway corridor in the northern end of the route makes it possible to build a fourth station.

This approach will help us bring better rapid transit service to the many people who will live in the Richmond Hill Centre and Langstaff Gateway areas in the coming years, since they are designated as urban growth centres. The existing rail line runs right through the centre of them, so building stations that will make it easier for people to get to existing regional bus and GO train services in that area will mean faster, more convenient transit and less traffic congestion as communities grow.

Will you be widening the CN Railway?

We’ll be adding dedicated subway tracks to the existing railway corridor and looking at ways to keep the footprint of the project as small as possible as we build new infrastructure. Further planning and design work is being done to confirm the precise route the subway will take through the CN Railway corridor, as well as the requirements for the two surface-level stations and train storage facility. We will have more details to share when the Preliminary Design Business Case is finalized.

Can you provide data that supports the need for Bridge Station and High Tech to be located so close as they are to one another?

The stations on the northern section of the extension, Bridge and High Tech, are placed the way they are to serve the most people in the future, making it faster and easier for riders to use the subway and connect to transit services across the region, and to better support growth while curbing local traffic congestion.

By 2041, as many as 64,000 people are expected to live in the Richmond Hill Centre and Langstaff Gateway communities and more than 36,000 people could have jobs in the area. Since the neighbourhoods surrounding Bridge and High Tech stations are expected to grow significantly in the years to come, these stations will contribute a large portion of the riders that will use the extension, especially those who transfer to the subway from a bus.

If Bridge and High Tech stations are above ground, will there be development integrated in their design?

If Bridge and High Tech stations are above ground, will there be development integrated in their design?

The provincial government will be exploring development opportunities through the Transit-Oriented Communities program as part of the planning process.

If the four-station option is chosen, what impact will this have on the Richmond Hill Centre proposal; specifically Richmond Hill's plan for development of the area?

The project directly supports the development planned in the Richmond Hill Centre urban growth centre through High Tech Station. While stations at Steeles, Bridge and High Tech are moving forward, Metrolinx is working with partners to determine the best location for the fourth station as planning work continues. The locations planners are looking at are in line with the previously proposed Cummer, Clark, and Royal Orchard stations.

Will your plan allow for a new southbound platform for two-way GO train service on the Richmond Hill GO line?

We know there is demand from all communities to see as frequent service as possible on this GO train line, which is why we are continuing to add service where we can on the Richmond Hill corridor.

Metrolinx is introducing more weekday rush-hour service – every 15-30 minutes in the morning and every 15-30 minutes in the afternoon – to give people more options to get around. With the addition of a new GO station at Bloomington Road, customers will be able to travel further, too.

Did Option 1 not look at the benefit of building at Bridge Station?

The route identified in the Initial Business Case (IBC) as Option 1 represents the previously studied alignment that included Langstaff Station in the northern section of the route, on the western boundary of the Langstaff Gateway community. A modified version of this route – called Option 2 in the IBC – was studied that included Bridge Station in a location slightly west of the CN Railway corridor.

Will there be more details regarding Bridge Station to better integrate with the Viva Purple and Orange BRT rapidways, to serve Markham and Vaughan?

Bridge Station will make it easier to get around the region by connecting the subway with regional bus services, including the Viva Blue, Purple and Orange bus rapid transit routes. We are working with our municipal partners to explore how we can strengthen the connections between these lines to give riders more travel options and improve the customer experience. We will have more details to share when the Preliminary Design Business Case is finalized.

Is there a future plan to extend the subway further north beyond the High Tech station?

Yes, project plans protect for future extensions.

One of the benefits to running the alignment along the existing CN railway is we can protect for an easier extension of the subway north in the future. This is because we are positioning the northern end of the project along a pre-existing rail corridor.

How can we trust you will be using the best and latest technologies?

Our aim is to make sure there are no significant differences between the levels of noise and vibration experienced in your neighbourhood today compared to when the Yonge North Subway Extension is up and running.

We’re going to be using noise and vibration solutions for the project that are proven to work. They’ll be based on modern and up-to-date industry standards, which have significantly improved since the first subway lines in the GTA were built many decades ago.

The detailed studies we’re doing right now will help us make sure we put all the right noise and vibration solutions in place to keep things peaceful and quiet.

Have you completed studies of the soil to determine how effective mitigation can be?

We are preparing an addendum to the existing environmental assessment (EA) that will cover off any changes to existing conditions since that EA was completed and evaluate the updated route. This involves studying things like noise and vibration, soil and groundwater quality, the natural environment, and land use, and will build off the work done on previous environmental studies. Crews are already undertaking field studies along the route to inform this work. We expect to issue a draft environmental report this fall, which will be available for public review and feedback. In the meantime, we’ll be reaching out to the community to gather input and insights that will support our work and help us make sure we have the right noise and vibration solutions in place.

Is Metrolinx planning on building a parking lot in high-density developments to promote subway use?

The next stage in planning for the Yonge North Subway Extension includes the release of the Preliminary Design Business Case (PDBC), which will further refine the project's design, alignment, and benefits. Parking will be evaluated in more depth through the PDBC.

The Yonge North Subway Extension has been designed to support vibrant urban development along the alignment that creates faster, easier connections to rapid transit so that people can get out from behind the wheel. Those connections include local transit routes, TTC bus service, York Region local and VIVA express bus service, Richmond Hill GO service, Highway 407 GO bus service, access with PRESTO (which automatically applies transfers and gives the user the lowest cost of a ride), as well as active transportation like walking and cycling.

What is the timeline for this project?

The planned date to begin the main construction on the project is late 2023. We will have more information about construction timelines as we progress through the next phase of planning and design, but we remain committed to an in-service date of 2029-2030, after the Ontario Line is in service.

 

 

Meet the Speakers

Photo of Raj Khetarpal

Raj Khetarpal

Acting VP for Community Engagement – 905 Region

Photo of Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Program Sponsor for YNSE

Photo of Adrian Piccolo

Adrian Piccolo

Vice President of Subways Project - YNSE

Photo of Nasim Bozorgmehr

Nasim Bozorgmehr

Senior Advisor for Rapid Transit Planning

Photo of Monika Stade

Monika Stade

Senior Manager, Property Acquisition

Photo of James Francis

James Francis

Manager, Environmental Planning Assessment

Photo of Charlie Hoang

Charlie Hoang

Global Lead, Transit Architecture, Technical Advisor

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