Yonge subway extension to 905 raises questions
Debate over station locations and alignment already intensifying
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