Downtown Relief Line

The idea of having a "downtown relief line" subway that connects Dundas West station to the Danforth via downtown (Queen St., etc.) is not a new idea. Nor is it something that will happen any time soon.

But it looks like it may be on Metrolinx's long-term plan. Maybe over 10-15 years from now....

In today's Globe and Mail:

A new "downtown core" subway line connecting to the Bloor-Danforth line would run east-west along King or Queen streets.

And in the national Post:

A new subway line running east-west through downtown Toronto is unlikely to be built any time soon, said the head of a provincial agency set to unveil a new regional public transit blueprint for southwestern Ontario at the end of September.

Dubbed the downtown relief line, it would run in a U-shape from Pape Station in the east to Dundas Station in the west, linking Riverdale, Leslieville, the emerging West Donlands neighbourhood, the Distillery district, the Waterfront, the Exhibition, Liberty Village and Parkdale.

Such a subway line was mentioned this year in a discussion paper published by Metrolinx, but Rob MacIsaac, chairman of the body, said the proposal is unlikely to be moved forward from its projected 2020 start date.

"The so-called DRL or the Queen line is a very long-term project and I think both Metrolinx and the TTC are likely in agreement that that would likely be a subway, but it's really so far off in the future that I don't think anyone's too worried about debating it," he said yesterday, responding to reports about a leaked draft of the regional plan.

This would be nice to see eventually. It would make accessing various parts of downtown from our neighbourhood much faster and transfer-free. It would also free up much of the traffic on the Bloor line, especially after the new Transit City lines funnel even more passengers to the subway.

Also mentioned in the Metrolinx documents is increased GO service (every 15 min. all day) on many of the busier lines. This could make our Bloor station even more useful, especially for getting out of town, or as an express service to Union.

Dundas and Bloor could become a SERIOUS public transit hub. Overall, I think a fantastic win for the neighbourhood if any of this actually happens. It's all very far in the future though.

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Downtown Relief Line - Now on Metrolinx's TODO List

Today: Metrolinx Unveils Next Wave of Big Move Projects

Among the list of next "Big Move" projects is the Downtown Relief Line:

"Downtown Relief Line: New subway that will improve access to the regional core for residents from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and provide relief to the overflowing arteries of the Toronto transit system."

Metrolinx Unveils Next Wave of Big Move Projects (but no dates)

Metrolinx Unveils Next Wave of Big Move Projects

TORONTO, Nov. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - At an address today to the Toronto Board of Trade Metrolinx President and CEO Bruce McCuaig unveiled the next wave of projects drawn from The Big Move, the Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), that will continue Metrolinx's ongoing transformation of the region's transportation system.

"The Big Move is our plan to tackle gridlock across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area by building new transit and integrating our transportation system so that it's easier for everyone to get around," said Bruce McCuaig. "We already have over $16 billion invested in projects from The Big Move that are now in progress, but we need to keep moving forward and that's why I'm pleased to unveil the next wave of projects."

The Big Move projects in the next wave include two new subway lines: a Downtown Relief line improving access to the regional core for residents from across the GTHA, as well as a new extension of the Yonge subway line north to Richmond Hill. Light rail transit (LRT) in Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton, and bus rapid transit (BRT) in Durham, Toronto, Peel and Halton, will reduce congestion and serve as a catalyst for development across the GTHA. The next wave also includes transformative investment in the GO Transit rail network, including line extensions, more two-way, all-day service, and electrification of both GO lines and the Union Pearson Express (formerly known as the Air Rail Link).

The next wave of proposed investment extends beyond major rapid transit projects to include resources for local transit, roads, active transportation and other strategic transportation initiatives.

"With our plan in place, it's now time for the big conversation about the best ways to pay for this $34 billion investment," said McCuaig. "Together, let's look to what other world class cities have done to fund their transit plans and then get the job done here in the GTHA."

The Big Move, adopted unanimously in 2008 by the Metrolinx Board of Directors, was developed through intensive public consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders, municipal leaders and professionals throughout the region. An update to The Big Move is proposed that will incorporate the findings of recent, more detailed studies to refine elements of the plan to meet emerging transit needs. The proposed updates will be posted on the Metrolinx website on December 5 for public comment.

Over $16 billion from all three levels of government has already been allocated to a first wave of projects drawn from The Big Move, the largest financial commitment to transit expansion in Canadian history. Major projects in this first wave are now under construction, including the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT, the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension, the Mississauga BRT, the Union Pearson Express and new dedicated bus lanes in York Region.

See the full list of the proposed projects in the backgrounder.

Metrolinx is working to provide residents and businesses in the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area with a transportation system that is modern, efficient and integrated. Find out more about The Big Move, Metrolinx's Regional Transportation Plan for the GTHA. Find out more about GO Transit, PRESTO, and Union Pearson Express, divisions of Metrolinx.

Disponible en français.


The Big Move's next wave of projects will continue Metrolinx's transformation of the region's transportation system by expanding the regional transit network as well as providing resources for local transit, roads, active transportation and more.

The Next Wave: Key Facts

713 km of enhanced transit
33 million new transit trips by 2031
6,139,344 people will live within 2 km of rapid transit by 2031
800,000 to 900,000 new jobs created between 2012 to 2031
$110 to $130 billion growth to Ontario's GDP between 2012 to 2031
$25 to $35 billion in total Government Revenues between 2012 to 2031

Rapid Transit Projects:

75 per cent of proposed investment is allocated to a transformative slate of regional transit projects:

Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit: 10 km of upgraded transit along Queen Street.
Downtown Relief Line: New subway that will improve access to the regional core for residents from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and provide relief to the overflowing arteries of the Toronto transit system.
Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit: 40 km of bus service running in dedicated lanes, connecting Toronto, Mississauga and Halton.
Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit: 36 km of bus service running in dedicated lanes, connecting Scarborough Centre to downtown Oshawa via Pickering, Ajax and Whitby.
GO Rail Expansion: More Two-Way, All-Day and Rush Hour Service: Introducing more two-way, all-day service, adding additional rush hour service across the entire network, and extending trains to Hamilton and Bowmanville.
Electrification of GO Kitchener line and Union Pearson Express: Upgrading diesel train service to electric propulsion for these two complementary transit services that share a substantial portion of their routing.
GO Lakeshore Express Rail Service - Phase 1 (including Electrification): Transforming GO Transit's backbone from Hamilton to Oshawa into a faster, more frequent and more convenient transit option by beginning the transition to an international-style Express Rail service.
Hamilton Light Rail Transit: 14 km LRT line stretching from McMaster University to Eastgate Square.
Hurontario-Main Light Rail Transit: 23 km LRT line connecting Port Credit to downtown Brampton via Cooksville and Mississauga City Centre.
Yonge North Subway Extension: 6 km extension that will connect the City of Toronto to the Richmond Hill / Langstaff Urban Growth Centre.

Local transit, roads and highways and other projects
The remaining 25 per cent is allocated to local transit projects, as well as roads and highways, active transportation and transportation demand management throughout the region.

SOURCE: Metrolinx

But When?

Its great that this, and electrification of the APL, are on this list but there are no firm dates nor any budgeting. I wouldnt jump up and down too much in these pre-election times.

The minister of transportation told the JT Rail Committee that funding was an issue for these projects and asked us what we would do to raise cash. Its good to see things finally all in one press release but I want to see more detail. Is electrification changeover in 2017 real as been hinted at?

Downtown Relief Line - Recommended by TTC Report

A TTC report came online today, as part of the Downtown Rapid Transit Expansion Study. As expected, the report has put forth a recommendation for a "downtown relief line" subway. The immediate need is in the East end, connecting from Pape (Danforth) to King (Yonge), but ideally it would come west up to Dundas West (Bloor) station.

You can read the report online here:

....and here's The Star's article about this report:

Transit Politics

It is sad that this is such a political football. There may be an opportunity on the completion to the Spadina extension to keep the tunnelling equipment operating, but that doesn't need to be the only consideration. Brining a LRT line down Kingston Road and across King or Queen, perhaps with another line up Don Mills would likely be the logical thing to do.
In one of the articles, a councillor was making the case to keep the boring machines in the North of the city. The Sheppard line was a political concession to Mel Lastman from North York. Currently the operating subsidy for this line is about $8 per ride. Twenty years from now after the current political arguments have past the operating subsidy may be brought down to $6 per ride but I expect the white elephant to be shut down eventually.
One of the graphics for the DRL was on wikipedia. (I think Vic posted all the links so I won't repeat them - but thanks Vic.) It showed fewer stops than the Yonge Line which is probably a good idea. But my guess was at least a couple of those stop proposals were intended to pander to the Mayor. A SkyDome stop is not likely useful, and Ataratiri would be aimed at developers not communities that already are under-serviced.
There is a pretty good chance that the next premier will be Hudak, in which case all transit development is likely to stop. So a city that has some of the worst traffic in the world is likely to distinguish itself further by inaction on the problem.

DRL Could Exist in 3 years!

If Metrolinx made the APL electric they could have a west end DRL in three years with additional stops at Liberty and St. Clair and at a fraction of the cost of building a new line. We have been saying this for years but nobody listens.


Metrolinx isn't listening, but very recently, the short-lived plan put forward by councillor / TTC commish Karen Stintz and others included exactly that.

However.... Right now the main focus of the DRL is on the east end, so our section will flounder for a long time.

Cant see the DRL for the Diesel

Pay some now and save billions later. Too bad nobody in this government or Metrolinx seems to care. The money wasted by the government closing a power plant could have been spent on the DRL right now.People are saying go electric, get more service at a cheaper cost and a DRL but nobody is listening. Maddening.

Website about the Downtown Relief Line

An excellent website about the Downtown Relief Line:

This is a result of a Masters project by Phil Orr, an Environmental Studies-Urban Planning student at York University. The website covers many of aspects of the proposed line: Why it's needed, proposed routing, maps, stagin, costs, and much more.

The proposed design in this case adds a Downtown Relief Line stop at Dundas West station during Phase 2 of construction, and a "Junction" stop near Dupont and Dundas.

It's not like the DRL will happen any time soon, but it seems like a good idea (as opposed to extending other subways into empty suburban fields). I'm glad people are thinking of it and doing the research. Would be interesting to hear what our mayoral and ward 18 candidates think of this.

TTC to study downtown relief line

In today's National Post:

The Toronto Transit Commission plans to seriously study the feasibility of a new downtown subway line, as an idea that's been dubbed the "missing link" in the city's transit network gathers steam.

TTC chair Adam Giambrone said yesterday the analysis of the so-called Downtown Relief Line would start this fall and likely involve public consultations next year before wrapping up in 2011. While studies on the line were carried out in the 1980s, Mr. Giambrone said yesterday more detailed analysis is needed to propel the idea forward.

Full article here: