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Letter: It's time to build Queen St. subway

Underground link missing

Letter, June 18.

While I totally agree with J. Robert Verdun’s viewpoint that the federal minister responsible for infrastructure and communities, John Godfrey, is mistaken in citing the new opera house as an example of a development done right, I offer an answer to that beyond the extension of the PATH system.

Incredibly, for a city whose focus has been on public transit, little has changed in the way we transport people along Queen St. We still use the streetcar, regardless of the time taken or the delays endured by its use in mixed traffic.

What must be given priority now is the serious work required to revitalize the downtown core and attract tourists to Toronto. The idea of a Queen St, subway is the answer.

Originally planned in 1911, the idea was reintroduced in 1944 by the Toronto Transit Commission. Subsequent studies in 1964, 1966, 1968 and a final report in 1969 recommended construction of this vital subway line.

But with the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway in the 1960s, Metro felt the need for a Queen St. subway was no longer warranted.

Ultimately, in 1974, a transportation plan review recommended against construction of the Queen St. subway in favour of more lines into the suburbs along Eglinton and Sheppard Aves.

Today, with the growing downtown condominium boom and the construction of artistic and cultural attractions such as the new opera house, a vital new public transit link must be established to reconnect Torontonians with their city.

The Queen St. subway would extend underground between University Ave. and Church St. with the open sections extending west of University Ave. and east of Church St. respectively.

The currently unused Queen subway station structure, about 100 metres in length, built as a result of city of Toronto approval in 1946 to build the Yonge line, is the central starting point, and is essential to assist in the implementation of the new Queen St. line.

A new Queen St. subway would not only bring patrons directly to the new opera house, but also reduce traffic congestion at street level, thus becoming an environmental plus by significantly eliminating excessive pollution in the downtown core.

It is regrettable, however, that no politician at any level of government has the courage or the imagination to step up to the plate and assume civic responsibility to better our city by promoting the idea of the Queen St. subwayas an instrumental part of our vital public transit infrastructure and the role it would play as a long-term investment in our community.

Bruce H. Bryer, Toronto