Downtown Relief Line (part 3)
This Thought will discuss routes in the east end of the line.
The goals for this part of the line are:
– to alleviate congestion on the Danforth by transferring passengers south
– to provide a faster route downtown
– to service high-density areas
The DRL Subway Line will cross the Don River as far north as Queen Street, or more likely go through the Athletes’ Village area (West Don Lands) and cross at the old King Street bridge.
Eastern Avenue doesn’t seem like a good candidate street for a subway. It could use a public transit line, but a low-density industrial street doesn’t merit a subway line. Big box stores don’t deserve a subway line. So running the line east on Eastern doesn’t make much sense.
In fact, Queen is the only east-west avenue that would make sense, if any at all. None of the thoroughfares in Riverdale or Leslieville have much density, but Queen has its advantages. Three streetcar routes travel along Queen from Broadview to Kingston Road, and the 504 joins there to cross the river. It’s a serious bottleneck, so any worthwhile subway line will make some impact alleviating this congestion.
But don’t forget: the subway line might go along King! A King subway line would make obselete the 503 or 504, or both, and even using Wellington, one line could be eliminated. Even the Queen streetcars might need less service, if longer-distance travel can be handled by the subway line.
So a station at Queen and Broadview is not 100% necessary, but it seems likely, with few good reasons to put stations on Eastern.
Before we think about stations in that area, it’s important to think about north-south configurations. The original plan for the line went up Pape Avenue. Pape is a good choice for a few reasons. The current plan for the Don Mills LRT has the line’s terminus at Pape station. Pape has little density itself, but it passes through the middle of a string of apartments along Cosburn Avenue. Finally, there is a clear path toward the Thorncliffe Park area that would be quite a detour if the line were to follow Coxwell Avenue. Coxwell doesn’t have much density either, so it’s not great. Broadview is too far west. Although it has density, it doesn’t service as large an area, and is already well-served by streetcars. Donlands is too close to Pape to be a better option.
I think the only decent alternative to Pape is Greenwood. It has less density than Pape, but it does have a clear route to the large Thorncliffe Park area. It makes available the Greenwood subway yard, and possibly most importantly, it would better alleviate congestion on the Danforth line by taking passengers off at an earlier point. These two points make Greenwood at least a decent candidate. Remember, this is all hypothetical, and 25 years away at least, so it’s possible by then that Greenwood would be a better choice.
I’m throwing my support behind Greenwood, but there is a potential snag: the Don River. Depending on environmental assessments and construction requirements, it may not be feasible to cross the river anywhere near there. If that were the case, Pape, if possible, would be the choice. It’s also annoying that Greenwood station is actually a block east, at Linsmore Crescent, but that can be worked around.
Greenwood! All right, but taking the line down Greenwood to Queen wouldn’t be ideal. A diagonal direction would be best here, because you can take a quicker path to save time on the commute. Only a couple of stations would be needed, possibly Queen/Broadview, Dundas/Carlaw, and Gerrard/Jones.
Finally, north of Danforth: only one station south of the river is needed, and it should be at Cosburn, because it’s central in the area. Cross the river to Thorncliffe, and then curve north east to Don Mills Road, where the line will continue north, until at least Eglinton, if not Sheppard. Don Mills is an obvious choice. It’s already slated for an LRT, but as long as I’m dreaming, I may as well make it a subway. If the Don Mills LRT does get built, it would be silly to stretch the DRL to Greenwood, so Pape Station would be the terminus.
Stations in the east end, continuing from the west:
Queen East (at Broadview)
Carlaw (at Dundas)
Gerrard (at Jones)
Cosburn (at Greenwood)
Thorncliffe Park (or “East York Centre”)
Overlea (at Don Mills)
Flemingdon Park (Don Mills at Eglinton)
The 503 streetcar line could be eliminated, and a lot of East York apartments would have excellent transit service, and hopefully could choose transit over driving.
In the next chapter, I’ll similarly analyze the west end of the line.