The City of Toronto needs to catch up on 25 years of transit neglect, says Ward 10 Councillor James Pasternak.
One of the first priorities, he said, should be to extend the Sheppard subway line from Downsview station to Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue, thereby connecting the Yonge and Spadina lines north of Bloor Street and bringing rapid transit through the heart of the Jewish community with a stop at Bathurst Street.
Toronto council recently endorsed Pasaternak’s motion to request that the project be added to the list of priorities for public transit expansion in Metrolinx’s second phase of the provincial Big Move transit plan, which outlines a vision for transportation in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Sheppard line currently has five stops, running east from Yonge to Don Mills station.
“[Transit riders] need an east-west option north of Bloor Street. This expansion would take enormous pressure off the Yonge Street line and ease congestion on the roads,” Pasternak said.
“It seems, to me, to be the only logical move. It makes no sense to have a gap.”
He said there’s a “massive” hole at Downsview station where drilling equipment is being stored, so the project is close to being shovel-ready.
“The goal is that by 2016, we will have the equipment moved and the resources in order.”
It’s been estimated that the expansion, with one stop at Bathurst Street, would cost about $1.75 billion.
Pasternak said the subway extension would be a major boost to the Jewish community in Bathurst Manor and Clanton Park.
“The local streets would be relieved of congestion, and property values would go up.”