Sheppard East LRT to Connect With Subway At Same Level

The Sheppard East LRT site was updated yesterday to indicate that the recommended connection with the subway will be at platform level.

It remains to be seen how this effects the plans for connections with the Don Mills LRT given that the funding announcement for the Finch West LRT has it going as far east as Don Mills and down to Sheppard for a possible connection and through-service with the Sheppard East LRT. The announcement can be seen here.

May 16 update:

The idea of having the Finch West LRT come as far east as Don Mills and down to Sheppard was included in the April 1 funding announcement for that line. This effectively funds the piece of the future Don Mills LRT between Finch and Sheppard, and opens up east-west through-service routing possibilities, but there are a few issues that may be problematic:

  • Finch Avenue is rather narrow between Bathurst and Bayview
  • Having the line turn at Don Mills misses a major trip generator: Seneca College Newnham Campus
  • An underground connection between Sheppard East and Don Mills would be needed (Don Mills would have been on the surface, and non-revenue surface tracks would be built between Consumers and Don Mills on Sheppard)

If the underground part of the Sheppard East line came in at the mezzanine level, it could somewhat easily connect with Don Mills, but coming in at the subway level makes this virtually impossible. The subway level is what is now preferred, as it will provide same-platform changes between the subway and the Sheppard East LRT.

I threw out an idea on Steve Munro’s website shortly after the Finch funding announcement, and with this announcement about the preferred connection between Sheppard East and the subway, I believe my suggestion may have some serious merit.

In the idea, I suggested that the Finch LRT continue as far east as the 404 and follow that right of way down to Sheppard. Since the Sheppard East LRT will be underground at this point, this line will have to go underground and should connect with Sheppard East with a full wye intersection. This would allow some Finch LRTs to head west to Don Mills to use that station to turn back, while others could continue east on Sheppard, missing the Don Mills station altogether.

As for the narrow space on Finch, one idea would be to have the LRT line swing north at Bathurst and follow the south edge of the hydro corridor that is a few hundred metres to the north of Finch. I know that Hydro One is not crazy about transit using their right of way, but this is taking place right now with the construction of the bus way west from Dufferin to York University, and the LRT would be best situated right on the southern edge.

With the Finch LRT running along the hydro corridor, it could continue to a point east of Don Mills where it could turn southeast and pass right through the Seneca College campus,  providing a stop that is central to the campus. Continuing on, it could then follow the 404 down to Sheppard. While this routing is not in line with supporting “The Avenues” as much of Transit City is intended to do, much of this stretch of Finch is not in line with that concept, the benefits of providing such a rapid link (stops would be wider spaced along the hydro corridor and down the 404) should be seriously considered.

I’m not saying this is the best idea, but it does add some useful characteristics that would benefit a large number of people.

One Response to “Sheppard East LRT to Connect With Subway At Same Level”

  1. Michael Forest Says:

    I like the idea of pulling the Finch line east further then Don Mills. Using the alignment east of 404 to get south is a better option then running on Don Mills. As you mentioned, the former option would serve Seneca College much better.

    However, we might consider pulling that line even further east, and using Vic Park or Warden to get south to Sheppard. The further east it goes, the less disruptive it will be for the Finch East passengers.

    Using the hydro corridor for a portion of Finch LRT should be considered as well, if Hydro permits it. Finch East from Yonge to Don Mills is an unlikely candidate for Avenuization. LRT line running in the hydro corridor, would be at a walking distance from both Finch and Cummer / McNicoll, and would serve the Bayview Mall plaza. One option is using the hydro corridor from Bathurst to 404, as you mentioned. Alternatively, I heard a suggestion to build an underground LRT station at Yonge / Finch and align it N-S, parallel to the subway platforms. In that case, LRT will stay on Finch West all the way to Yonge and connect to the southern end of LRT station, but can continue in the hydro corridor east of Yonge.

    I do not know which of the above routes is the best; but since the Finch East add-on has not been discussed at any public meetings, its implementation deserves a debate.

    Cal’s comment: The idea of using VP or Warden is not bad, though I have two concerns. The main one being the funding. Every kilometre further east will need $30-50 million. Using the 404 is close enough that savings from not needing an elaborate underground design for tracks on Don Mills will pay for the distance east of Don Mills, and the underground connection at Sheppard and the 404 would not be a great addition if done as part of the Sheppard East project. On the other hand, using the hydro corridor north of Finch from Bathurst east to the 404 could save enough money (ballasted tie construction instead of concrete encasement) to take the line to either VP or Warden.

    The other concern is about actual operations. Running what is a Finch West service east to Don Mills station is not greatly inconvenienced by having to double back from the 404. Whether a through-service will exist will depend on travel patterns, and it may be more likely that those travel patterns might develop with a more eastern connection such as VP or Warden.

    I have not heard of a proposal for an underground platform on the Finch line at Yonge, but I am aware that one of the proposals is to turn at Yonge and have a north-south platform at street level. Watch for the next round of Finch LRT open houses, as the designs and proposals for all of this will be part of that and open to comments and suggestions.