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Spadina subway study nearing finish

Advocates can select preferred routes online

Subway to link York University to Downsview


Time is running out for public transit enthusiasts to select their preferred route for a Spadina subway extension.

The last public workshop to discuss the pros and cons of four possible routes for the proposed extension was held yesterday at an education centre in the city’s west end.

But transit advocates who missed the meeting can still have their say with a click of a button, thanks to a new online service launched on the TTC website Tuesday.

The deadline for submissions is June 1.

“The online commentary is great for us,” TTC chief engineer Tom Middlebrook said.

“The information is put in and we don’t have to interpret what the participants submitted into the computer like we do with handwritten forms.”

The workshop is part of Phase II of a $3 million environmental assessment study of the project, which is designed to link Downsview Station with York University and beyond in York region, one of the fastest growing regions of the GTA.

Members of the public will also get a chance to comment on the locations of the proposed stations along their chosen routes, and any additions or modifications they think will enhance the service.

The four currently proposed stops are: Downsview Park, Keele and Finch station, York University station, and Steeles station between Jane St. and Keele St.

Christian Quezada, who took part in yesterday’s workshop, said he was looking forward to travelling on the new subway extension if the proposal goes through.

“I bike all around the city all the time, but I can’t go too far with my bike,” Quezada said.

“With the new extension, I can go wherever I want.”

But the 22-year-old airport employee said he will recommend that the last proposed stop, currently planned near the northern edge of York University, is built at the Jane and Finch intersection.

The last and third phase of the study is expected to conclude this fall.

The results will be sent to the TTC board for approval. The Ministry of the Environment will then have seven months to review, and approve or reject the study’s findings, Middlebrook said.

York University had lobbied hard for a new subway but was less enthusiastic about a busway currently under construction and expected to open in 2006.

Middlebrook said the university administration supports the choice of York Commons as the campus stop on the line.

“When we did our study we looked at student movement, concentration and convenience,” Middlebrook explained.

“The centre of the university was at the commons and so that was pretty much a slam dunk.”

Middlebrook said the cancellation of a project to build a football stadium helped more than it harmed.

“For our planning purposes the stadium was inconsequential,” he said.

“It actually frees up space for possible high density and commercial growth.”