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We Need the Sheppard Subway Extension


Sheppard Avenue East needs its subway extension, and we need it a lot sooner than Doug Ford will build it. With the Provincial election right around the corner, I’ve launched a campaign to convince him and every party leader that our neck of the woods is worth investing in right now.



Click on the image above to visit the website and take action to support the Sheppard Subway extension.


Before the pandemic, the Sheppard Subway was delivering over 16 million rides a year. With an extension to McCowan, we could create a functional loop with massively increased ridership potential. The real question is why we haven’t already done this when we know how worthwhile it is. I was recently chatting with a young adult in Don Valley North who didn’t know how we ended up with a famously short Line 4. It’s quite a story, so let’s review. I’ll try to be brief. When the Sheppard Subway was first approved all the way back in 1986, it had an interesting route. Planners thought that the suburban city centres would be the fastest-growing centres of employment, so the proposed Sheppard Subway would have travelled out to Kennedy and then veered south at a diagonal to end at Scarborough Town Centre. The Provincial government was set to fund most of it, with North York and Scarborough chipping in for their respective portions.


A map of "Network 2011", the transit plan proposed in 1986 that listed the Sheppard Subway as top priority.


Then, Mike Harris was elected premier. The Sheppard Subway was already well underway and the Eglinton Subway had just broken ground, but Premier Harris was shocked at the transit investments that were envisioned. He hadn’t run on investment, he had run on cutting costs. He shut down the Eglinton project in its infancy and ordered the Sheppard Subway to end at Don Mills before the costly tunnel under the Don Valley Parkway could begin. By the time a different premier and a new mayor were re-envisioning transit mobility, the original Sheppard Subway route didn’t make sense. Employment was moving back into the downtown core and there were new and improved transit options available. Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mayor David Miller saw light rail transit as a more viable option, as LRTs had become much higher performing and less expensive to build. The plan was to revitalize and extend the Scarborough RT up to Sheppard Avenue East & Markham Road, and build a Sheppard LRT that would connect at Markham and extend out to Meadowvale. Work began on these projects until another political change stopped the work.

A map of the "Transit City" LRT plan proposed by Mayor Miller in 2007.


Mayor Rob Ford didn’t know that the Scarborough RT replacement was entirely off-road and out of car traffic. He was not a great reader of reports. He cancelled the Scarborough RT replacement and Sheppard expansion, sinking $140 million already spent to widen Sheppard Avenue to accommodate the project. The Province took control of the Sheppard and Eglinton projects shortly after. Many of you already know that there was a lot of political infighting for years after that. What matters, in my view, is the stalled position we’re in now.


The lack of an actual subway extension hasn’t stopped developers from speculating along Sheppard. We’ve seen many buildings go up based on the assumption of future transit along this corridor, and this pattern is continuing. There is now enough housing and ridership along Sheppard to fully support the Sheppard extension being a subway. Despite this, Premier Ford’s plan doesn’t note whether his planned Sheppard extension is a subway or an LRT. The Sheppard extension also appears to be dead last on the list of priorities, with no details or timeline.


If you talk to Metrolinx, the Province’s transit project agency, they’ll tell you that we can expect the Sheppard extension around 2040. Here in Toronto, we know that every transit line takes longer than proposed. 2040 becomes 2050, and a few blizzards and supply chain problems later, opening day becomes 2060. We’ve already waited 30 years for this extension. We can’t wait any longer.

Our community is growing now, and we need answers. When Provincial candidates come to your door in the coming weeks, I want you to ask every single one of them to commit to prioritizing the Sheppard Subway extension. It’s not enough for them to stand on our doorsteps and promise we’ll get a subway. Demand that they tell you when you can expect to ride it. We know that subway lines take a minimum of 12 years from the first design to the first rider, so we need to get started now. Premier Ford needs to promise that, if re-elected, he will start designing the Sheppard East extension immediately. It’s the only way we can hope to see this line open by 2035. For candidates from other parties, the pitch is simple. Any other party is sure to tweak Doug Ford’s plan, as incoming governments always do. Make them promise that they will make the one tweak that makes the most environmental and economic sense: get the Sheppard Subway extension underway on day one. Imagine what life could be like with a real investment in transit infrastructure in our suburbs. If we can connect Line 4 out to Scarborough, we’re really starting to talk about suburban journeys that are faster by transit than by car. This would radically change mobility in the east end of our city and create a job and economic uplift that would be off the charts. The residents of North York, Scarborough, and all transit riders in Toronto have waited long enough for the Sheppard Subway extension. Let’s get it built now.

 



Planning & Development Updates

Prepared by Tom Gleason, Chief of Staff

Coming to North York Community Council: April 20, 2022

A few months ago, a new development application popped up in BlogTO. Block Developments has purchased a run of semi-detached houses along Greenbriar Road, just south of Sheppard, and are looking to replace them with a 24-storey residential building. The Preliminary Report, which outlines the application and only requests for City Planning to come out to consult with the community, is available here. The community meeting is currently being scheduled for May or June. For questions on the specifics of the application, you may contact the City's Planner reviewing the application directly: Michelle.Charkow@toronto.ca

 

As mentioned several months ago, Tribute Communities has submitted a development application for 2135 Sheppard Avenue East that would change their Ontario Municipal Board-approved 4-storey commercial building into a 12-storey mixed-use building. Through advocacy, Shelley was able to prevent a premature appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal and preserve the space for the grocery store that was committed to during Tribute's last proposal on this site. The Preliminary Report, which outlines the application and only requests for City Planning to come out to consult with the community, is available here. The meeting is currently being scheduled for May. For questions on the specifics of the application, you may contact the City's Planner reviewing the application directly: Philip.Liu@toronto.ca

 

Notices for both community meetings mentioned above will be mailed out by the City Clerk and we will include the registration details in a future E-Blast. Should you have any questions about the process for these applications, please don't hesitate to be in touch. You can also sign-up for site-specific updates at the links in the titles above.

 

Fourth Dose Eligibility

Appointments for fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are now available to:

  • Residents age 60 and older

  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members age 18 and over

Book your fourth dose appointment through the Province's online COVID-19 vaccination portal (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/) or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Eligible residents can book their fourth dose if at least five months have passed since receiving their third dose.


For more information, visit the link below:

Upcoming Vaccine Clinics in Don Valley North

Parkway Forest Community Centre (55 Forest Manor Rd.)

North York General Hospital is running a vaccine clinic at Parkway Forest Community Centre every Wednesday in April from 4:30 - 7:30 PM. First, second, and third doses of Pfizer and Moderna are available, and all ages (5+) are welcome. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome while supplies last. For more information, visit the link below:



Oriole Community Centre (2975 Don Mills Rd. W.)

North York General Hospital is running a vaccine clinic at Oriole Community Centre every Wednesday (12:00 - 3:00 PM) and Thursday (4:00 - 7:30 PM) in April. First, second, and third doses of Pfizer and Moderna are available, and all ages (5+) are welcome. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome while supplies last. For more information, visit the link below:


 





Meet Brad Fonseca, our Don Valley Northerner of the Week! Brad is a perennial advocate in the Brian Village neighbourhood. Thanks to his advocacy, the crossing guard program at Brian Public School was improved to help students and their parents get to school safely. It’s clear in everything Brad does how much he cares about his community, whether he’s championing public libraries or getting the ball rolling on an issue for a neighbour.





Nominate a Neighbour! Do you know someone in your neighbourhood who makes a difference? Someone who is committed to bettering their community and always there to help out their neighbours? Nominate them for Don Valley Northerner of the Week! To submit a nomination for Don Valley Northerner of the week, please send the following information about the person you are nominating to councillor_carroll@toronto.ca:

  • Name

  • A short blurb (~100 words) about why you are nominating them (how they support/contribute to the community, etc.)

I know so many of you help out your friends and neighbours in a number of ways, so please nominate anyone in your community who you feel makes a difference. My team will contact you if we select your nominee as Don Valley Northerner of the Week!

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