Yonge sub­way ex­ten­sion to 905 raises ques­tions

De­bate over sta­tion locations and align­ment al­ready in­ten­si­fy­ing

Richmond Hill Post - - NEWS - by David Olsen

The an­nounce­ment by the Prov­ince of On­tario re­gard­ing ex­tend­ing the Yonge sub­way line north to Rich­mond Hill Cen­tre has mem­bers of Markham City Coun­cil ques­tion­ing both align­ment and sta­tion locations of the project.

A mo­tion about to be put be­fore Markham coun­cil by re­gional coun­cil­lor Jim Jones will re­quest that the prov­ince col­lab­o­rate with lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to as­sess the align­ment of the sub­way north of Long­bridge, as well as the lo­ca­tion of the pro­posed Long­bridge and Rich­mond Hill sta­tions.

The mo­tion was due to be put be­fore coun­cil at a May 14 meet­ing but was de­layed to in­cor­po­rate re­vi­sions wanted by Mayor Frank Scarpitti. The cur­rent plan is for the route to veer east off of Yonge Street just be­fore High­way 407 and head to­ward a Rich­mond Hill Cen­tre sta­tion lo­cated near the Sil­verCity cinema, which would be in­te­grated with the pro­posed bus rapid tran­sit sys­tem 407 Tran­sit­way and Go Tran­sit.

“I’ve never liked Sil­verCity as a sta­tion, in­te­grat­ing the 407 Tran­sit­way, the Go Sta­tion, the bus and the sub­way up there,” said Jones. “So I said keep it on Yonge Street, keep the 407 in its own trans­porta­tion es­tab­lished cor­ri­dor. And keep the Rich­mond Hill Go sta­tion where it is, and it saves about 835 mil­lion dol­lars.”

The mo­tion also asks for a re­view of the en­vi­ron­men­tal assess­ment so that Long­bridge sta­tion can be re­lo­cated north from near Holy Cross Catholic Ceme­tery to the Langstaff Gate­way, a condo project at Bayview Av­enue and Langstaff Road.

“Hav­ing a sub­way sta­tion lo­cated as close as cur­rently planned to a ceme­tery is not ideal,” said Markham Ward 1 coun­cil­lor Keith Ir­ish, who sup­ports Jones’s mo­tion and is in­volved, with Jones and Scarpitti, in the re­vi­sion. “Those peo­ple will not be rid­ing the sub­way, so you want to put it where you have the den­sity.”

Ir­ish said mov­ing Long­bridge sta­tion north makes sense due to the re-in­clu­sion of Royal Or­chard sta­tion on the line. Af­ter orig­i­nally be­ing in­cluded in the orig­i­nal en­vi­ron­men­tal assess­ment in 2009, Ir­ish said the sta­tion was later re­moved from plans due to pro­jected low rid­er­ship.

“One of the first things I did was ask our se­nior staff to re­con­sider that no­tion,” said Ir­ish. “What we ended up do­ing was hir­ing a con­sul­tant who de­ter­mined that, based on cur­rent and fu­ture pro­jected den­sity in the area, that in fact it would war­rant a sub­way sta­tion at Royal Or­chard.

Jones’ mo­tion will also seek to in­crease den­sity in the area by ask­ing the prov­ince to con­sider bury­ing hy­dro lines along High­way 7 and High­way 407 and re­lo­cate a nearby storm pond in or­der to open up land for de­vel­op­ment.

Coun­cil­lors want pro­posed Long­bridge and Rich­mond Hill sta­tion locations as­sessed

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