Saturday, March 03, 2007

$697M seals subway deal

I cannot put to words how exciting this morning's news was. Toronto is long overdue for large-scale transit projects, and hopefully, when the financial, environmental and political benefits of this project are realized, it will lead to a wave of transit projects in the GTA. Here's how I see it:
  • A subway to York University and Vaughan will reduce the number of trips made to and from the area which are done by car. Vaughan and other northwestern residents will have a transit option instead of driving into the city on the congested highway 400.
  • Overall system crowding will be reduced, as riders on the 36 Finch West, 60 Steeles West and 77 Highway 7 will be diverted onto the underused Spadina Subway and away from the overcrowded Yonge Line. Also, the overcrowded 196 York University Rocket will be eliminated, and the buses used elsewhere on the system.
  • This line will spur redevelopment and intensification around the stations, just as the Sheppard Subway has done in North York. The increased transportation will cause land values to skyrocket, and will encourage the big box stores currently located there to take advantage and sell. Developers will then build higher density to better recuperate the money they spent to purchase the property.
I concede the point that this project does address the transit needs of the entire city or the entire region. However, that it itself should not condemn the project. This subway line will bring rapid transit much closer to the Jane & Finch neighborhood, and will bring rapid transit to areas which are experiencing heavy congestion.

Perhaps even more importantly than the physical infrastructure is the progress we have made furthering the transit issue with the provincial and federal government. That is priceless.

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