Relief for the TTC’s Line 1

UPDATE January, 2021: Current actions underway to relieve congestion on TTC’s Line 1 include early works and public consultation for the Ontario Line as well as funding commitments for station capacity improvements at TTC’s Bloor-Yonge Station.

The Ontario Line’s alignment will run underground along Queen Street and connect to Osgoode and Queen TTC stations to mitigate over-crowding at Union Station. On December 17, 2020, Metrolinx released the Preliminary Design Business Case for the Ontario Line and two requests for proposals to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the line. The project is underpinned by three critical issues including crowding and capacity, coverage and network resilience, and community growth and development. The planned completion date for the line is now 2030.

All three levels of government have committed to funding the $1.5B station capacity improvements at TTC’s Bloor-Yonge Station, TTC’s busiest station. Toronto City Council has approved the City’s one third share of $500M, permitting the TTC to begin work while awaiting provincial and federal contributions. Early works for the project are expected to begin in 2022 and the new platforms are expected to be open in 2029, before the Line 1 extension to Richmond Hill.

BACKGROUND AND OUR POSITION: Relief to over-crowding on Line 1 is the number one transit priority in the region. Without immediate action, the economic competitiveness of the region will suffer. The Toronto Financial District BIA has been a long-term advocate for the Relief Line. In April 2019, the Ontario government presented their plan for the Ontario Line which continues to address issues of overcrowding on Line 1. The Ontario Line should be built as quickly and effectively as possible.  

Every weekday more than 200,000 people from across the GTA come to work in the Financial District. Eighty per cent of these employees take transit to work. The Yonge subway line (Line 1) is already over capacity at peak hours. Development of significant new office spaces in the Financial District will increase pressure on the TTC system. If the Ontario Line is not prioritized, the economic competitiveness of the GTA will not keep pace with the demands of a global market for investment, jobs and talent.

Completion of the Ontario Line by 2027, in a way that supports growing ridership into the foreseeable future, will help the Financial District and the Greater Toronto Area continue to compete with other global cities.

Principles for a new downtown subway line:

  • Any new transit projects must prioritize improving access to the Financial District, Canada’s largest employment hub. This will improve commute times, employee satisfaction and business’ access to a talented workforce.
  • A high-level business-case must support the construction of a new downtown subway line.
  • Existing traffic and transit to and from the Financial District should continue, as much as possible, without disruption during the construction of a new subway line. This will require coordination with other major capital projects in the area.
  • The project must account for extreme weather events and ensure the overall resiliency of the new subway line.
  • The subway line in the Financial District should run along Queen St. with interchanges at Queen and Osgoode stations to mitigate overcrowding at Union Station. This was the alignment the FDBIA advocated for during planning of the Relief Line.
  • The Ontario Line must open and provide relief to Line 1 before the Yonge subway extension opens. This will ensure the problem of over-crowding on Line 1 does not get worse before a solution is provided.

Updated January 5, 2021