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Yonge North Subway Extension FAQs

We know you have questions about the Yonge North Subway Extension, and we have answers. Below, you will find answers to the most asked-about topics for this important project.

If you have a question that isn't answered below, please reach out to us at YongeSubwayExt@metrolinx.com so that a member of our team can help you.

Topics

Route

Stations

Engagement process

Property acquisitions

Community and customer impacts

Budget and cost

Next steps

Route

Why have you moved the route off Yonge Street in the northern portion of the alignment?

Aligning the northern part of the Yonge North Subway Extension with the CN rail corridor south of Langstaff Road will create better transit connections, minimize construction impacts, and protect project timelines. It will also ensure the project can accommodate more stations within the approved funding envelope of $5.6 billion.

Running the extension at surface level along the existing CN railway corridor means the project will better serve the Richmond Hill Centre and Langstaff Gateway urban growth centres, which are poised for significant development. Creating stronger connections here will mean better connections to GO trains and buses and York Region Transit and Viva bus services. A major transit hub at Bridge Station will make it easier to travel in all directions, making it convenient for riders to reach destinations across the wider region.

This approach also means we can finish the project quickly by reducing the need for complex, time-consuming, and costly construction of tunnels and underground stations. Minimizing the need for large, disruptive excavation sites for underground stations and exit buildings also allows us to limit property needs in the surface-level section of the alignment. Limiting construction work to areas that are more out of the way will also cut down on disruptions of hydro, natural gas, and water service as we bring you more transit. We’ve included regional and local expertise to design the project in a way that helps the communities it serves to grow into what they want to become.

Why are you not proceeding with one of the other proposed route options studied in the Initial Business Case?

Option 1 or Option 2 could be built with the funding available, however either option would only accommodate three stations. Metrolinx is committed to building the most benefits possible into the project within the available $5.6 billion funding envelope and running the subway along the existing CN railway corridor in the northern end of the route makes it possible to build a fourth station.

This approach will help us bring better rapid transit service to the many people who will live in the Richmond Hill Centre and Langstaff Gateway areas in the coming years, since they are designated as urban growth centres. The existing rail line runs right through the centre of them, so building stations that will make it easier for people to get to existing regional bus and GO train services in that area will mean faster, more convenient transit and less traffic congestion as communities grow.

This route also brings as many as six major rapid transit lines together through a new station in the northern section of the route – tentatively referred to as “Bridge Station.” Placed on the existing railway corridor at surface level between the Highway 7 and Highway 407 corridors, Bridge Station will offer fast, easy transfers to downtown Toronto on Line 1, and act as a launchpad to explore the entire Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area through convenient connections to the regional transit network.

Is it still possible to extend the subway north to Major MacKenzie Drive?

One of the benefits of the latest plans for the Yonge North Subway Extension is that they protect for further extension of the line in the future by positioning the northern end of the project along the existing railway corridor.

How will the extension cross the East Don River?

The subway will be tunneled below the river. The environmental assessment completed in 2009 proposed to have the subway cross over the East Don River on a two-level bridge with vehicle traffic on the upper level and the subway on the lower level.

Our planning and design teams determined that running the subway below the East Don River in a continuous tunnel would eliminate the need for a costly and time-consuming effort to stop, move, and restart the tunnel boring machines on either side of a bridge. This approach also limits the need for traffic closures on Yonge Street and eliminates the need to build a four-lane detour into the river valley.

Building a bridge over the river would also mean potential noise and vibration impacts for the Royal Orchard community, as this would place the potential Royal Orchard Station at a shallow depth that would reduce the distance from the ground surface to the subway tunnel.

Stations

How many stations will there be? Will stations like Royal Orchard and Cummer be included in the final project plan?

The latest plans for the project include four stations.

Steeles, Bridge and High Tech stations were determined to be essential for maximizing the benefits of the project. These stations will significantly improve access to frequent rapid transit and support the growth of the neighbourhoods they serve. Clark Station will offer riders seamless connections to the planned extension of the Viva Orange bus rapid transit line, which serves communities along Highway 7.

The Government of Ontario will work with York Region and the City of Toronto to explore innovative funding solutions that may come forward for Royal Orchard and Cummer stations as part of the planning process.

Why are Bridge and High Tech stations so close together? Wouldn’t it make more sense to build one of those stations somewhere else?

The stations on the northern section of the extension are placed the way they are to serve the most people in the future, making it faster and easier for riders to use the subway and connect to transit services across the region, and to better support growth while curbing local traffic congestion.

By 2041, as many as 64,000 people are expected to live in the Richmond Hill Centre and Langstaff Gateway communities and more than 36,000 people could have jobs in the area. Since the neighbourhoods surrounding Bridge and High Tech stations are expected to grow significantly in the years to come, these stations will contribute a large portion of the riders that will use the extension, especially those who transfer to the subway from a bus.

Located between Highway 7 and Highway 407, Bridge Station will create vital connections between the subway and the Richmond Hill GO line, as well as GO bus, Viva Bus Rapid Transit and local bus services that run along the two major highways. It’s also worth noting that the station at High Tech Road would put the subway within walking distance for more than half of the residents expected to live in the Richmond Hill Centre area by 2041.

Engagement process

How will my input be considered?

Community input is essential to the work we do.

Metrolinx will pull back the curtain through the planning and construction process to create connections between the people we serve and the innovative work being done to bring this project to life.

If you’d like to connect with us about our plans for the Yonge North Subway Extension, please join us at our virtual open houses that will be held throughout the course of the project.

To get the most up-to-date information on the project and to share your input, you can visit Metrolinx.com/YongeSubwayExt.

There, you can sign up for our e-newsletter and submit questions and comments through our engagement portal.

You can learn more and provide your comments to be included the latest environmental studies for the Yonge North Subway Extension by visiting MetrolinxEngage.com/YongeSubwayExt.

Property acquisitions

How many properties will you be acquiring? How will I know if my property is impacted?

We are still determining impacts and confirmation of properties through further environmental assessment and design work.

Metrolinx only acquires properties that are absolutely necessary for projects. Our goal is always to affect the fewest number of people by minimizing the footprint of our land requirements through careful planning and design.

We understand that residents and businesses want specific details about impacts to their properties, and we will reach out individually to property owners as soon as we can.

Learn more about the property acquisition process.

Community and customer impacts

How will these plans impact the Royal Orchard community now that you will be tunneling under homes there?

Our goal is to ensure there are no significant differences between the noise and vibration levels experienced today and those experienced when the extension is in service.

As our analysis states, the subway is proposed to be built at a depth where there would be no direct impact on the homes above. The tops of the tunnels will be at least 14 metres below the surface in the Royal Orchard community – roughly the height of a four-storey building.

The tunnels will be surrounded by thick reinforced concrete and will be built to strict design and engineering standards. We’re confident that high-quality, modern tunnels built to the latest industry standards will ensure future subway services won’t be a disruption for the community.

We’re also going to be using noise and vibration solutions for the project that are proven to work. A big benefit is that they’ll be based on up-to-date industry standards, which have significantly improved since the first subway lines in the GTA were built many decades ago.

The detailed studies we’re doing right now will help us make sure we put all the right noise and vibration solutions in place so neighbourhoods like Royal Orchard stay sought-after places to live in.

What technology will you use to limit noise and vibration while the extension is in service?

Our early analysis shows that using floating slab track technology in the underground part of the route will cushion the tracks from the tunnel walls and bring levels of vibration down in the Royal Orchard community to a point where they are nearly undetectable through human senses. These studies also show that noise levels would be lower than the standards and guidelines Metrolinx follows for operation of the subway.

As we learn more through our upcoming soil investigations about the layers of earth beneath the surface, we can better customize our solutions so that they reduce levels of noise and vibration even more.

Floating slab subway track has been used around the world, including on the recently completed Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. We will have more detailed information about the solutions we’ll be putting in place in the coming months as further design work is refined and we conduct and consult on environmental assessments.

Won’t running the extension on the surface cause unnecessary noise and vibration in residential neighbourhoods?

We are committed to addressing any noise and vibration due to construction and operation of the extension to ensure the project improves the quality of life in the communities it serves.

We will work with communities to ensure a comprehensive array of measures are in place to address noise or vibration impacts and to ensure designs are sensitive and respectful of our neighbours.

As plans for the project are finalized, our design teams will have several tools to choose from to mitigate noise and vibration while the extension is in service, including:

  • Devices called rail dampers that are attached to the sides of rails to dissipate vibration energy which would otherwise radiate from the rail as noise when trains pass over them.
  • Highly resilient fasteners are clips that hold the track onto the foundation below the rails. They are effective at absorbing vibration and have been used successfully on the TTC subway network.
  • Noise walls could be used in certain areas to block and absorb sounds. These walls can be designed with a combination of solid and transparent panels, and have been installed across many parts of the Metrolinx rail network.

Through the construction phase, Metrolinx will reduce impacts by keeping equipment well maintained and fitted with muffling devices wherever possible, and coordinate construction schedules so that noisier work occurs when it makes the most sense.

Metrolinx will monitor noise and vibration throughout construction and will introduce new mitigation measures whenever and wherever necessary.

Why have you changed the proposal from building the train storage facility underground to placing it at surface-level? What kind of disruptions can neighbours expect while it is in service?

Placing a train storage facility at surface-level is a standard practice, and it’s a critical to keep it above ground to stay within the $5.6 billion funding envelope. Cities like Vancouver, Chicago, and New York all have ground level train storage facilities that successfully integrate into residential areas while meeting the needs of their transit networks. This change brings the proposal in line with the TTC’s five subway train storage facilities, which are all above ground.

The facility needed for the Yonge North Subway Extension will be used to clean subway trains and perform light maintenance.

Metrolinx will identify potential noise and vibration impacts throughout the design and assessment phases, as well as study possible ways to mitigate these disruptions. We are committed to working with our neighbours to address any concerns and develop mitigation plans.

What are you doing to limit the potential of crowding on Line 1?

The Yonge North Subway Extension won’t come online until the Ontario Line goes into serice, which will significantly reduce crowding on Line 1.

This project and the many others underway across the region are designed to spread demand across the transit network as it expands. System improvements throughout the TTC network will also help ensure more frequent service and ease congestion on platforms.

Budget and cost

What is the project budget and who is responsible for funding it?

The 2019 provincial budget estimates capital costs for the Yonge North Subway Extension to be $5.6 billion.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario are moving the project forward under the Subway Program, which includes three other rapid transit expansions that will get the region moving — the Ontario Line, the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, and the Scarborough Subway Extension.

The provincial government has committed almost $17 billion toward the Subways Program, as a whole.

York Region has pledged to contribute proportional funding to the capital construction costs of the project through a preliminary agreement with the provincial government. The final contribution from the region will be subject to further refinements to the project’s budget and scope.

On May 11th, the federal government announced a $10.4 billion funding commitment to Ontario’s four priority subway projects, including the Yonge North Subway Extension.

Next steps

How will you be determining the impacts of the changed alignment? Don’t you need to do more studies before you move forward?

We are preparing an addendum to the existing environmental assessment (EA) that will cover off any changes to existing conditions since that EA was completed and evaluate the updated route. This will build off the work done on previous environmental studies and will involve studying things like noise and vibration, soil and groundwater quality, the natural environment, and land use. Crews are already collecting ground samples along the route to inform this work. We expect to issue a draft environmental report this fall. In the meantime, we’ll be reaching out to the community to gather input and insights that will support our work and help us deliver the best project possible.

When will construction begin?

The planned date to begin the main construction on the project is late 2023. We will have more information about construction timelines as we progress through the next phase of planning and design, but we remain committed to an in-service date of 2029-2030, after the Ontario Line is in service.