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Union Station's $100M facelift

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AARON LYNETT/TORONTO STAR
It�s a tight squeeze now, but a second subway platform and bigger and better walkways are some of the improvements future commuters will see at Union Station. The $100 million worth of work on the historic downtown landmark is scheduled to start next month.

$100 million will make commuters’ lives easier

Construction work gets underway June 5

May 24, 2006. 05:15 AM
KEVIN MCGRAN
TRANSPORTATION REPORTER

Union Station commuters will enjoy bigger, better walkways and a second subway station platform under a $100 million plan that gets the go-ahead today.

Provincial, federal, city and transit officials will make the big announcement for the project � which has been on the books for six years � at the moat between the historic Union railway station housing GO Transit and the subway system’s part of Union Station to the north.

Construction is to begin June 5 when workers begin a year-long project to move a sewer, which is located in the spot where the new subway platform will go. Commuter and pedestrian traffic won’t be affected until 2008 when concourse and subway platform work is due to begin. But during construction the current platform will remain in use while the second platform is built.

Planners also hope to give GO Transit passengers their own route to the underground PATH system. Currently, the 100,000 GO commuters who use the main station every day must pass through the TTC station � used by 80,000 people daily � on their way to the underground system.

“It’s very complicated today,” says TTC project manager Sylvano Florindi. “Right now, to go from GO to the PATH system, you have to walk right through the TTC station. Everybody uses that same passage.

“We’re separating that.”

To that end:

  • A new western pedestrian corridor will be created so that GO patrons can connect to the underground walkways without passing through the TTC station.

  • The centre corridor will be enclosed as a TTC “paid fare zone.”

  • The eastern corridor will be widened.

TTC patrons will get a second platform south of the existing platform servicing the Yonge-bound trains. The fully accessible station will feature wider stairs, new escalators, and new pedestrian corridors.

In addition there will be:

  • Improved connection to the Harbourfront streetcar line.

  • New automatic entrances from the BCE tunnel.

  • Wider subway platforms.

Florindi says forecasts for growth � through waterfront redevelopment, employment growth, and new streetcar and GO Train plans � have double the number of people using Union Station in the next 15 years.

“Right now the station is at over-capacity,” said Florindi. “This will fix that problem. It will keep us going for the next 15 years.”

Most of the money is coming from the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp., which is co-funded by the federal and provincial governments. The money was promised to the city back when Jean Chr�tien was prime minister and Ernie Eves was premier.

The TTC’s Union subway project is separate from the Union railway station revitalization plan that collapsed in April when Union Pearson Group, the private consortium selected to do the work, announced it could not meet the city’s May 31 deadline to finalize the deal. Union Pearson Group, which had been awarded a 100-year lease to renovate and operate the historic train station, had planned to transform Toronto’s Union Station into a transportation showpiece.




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