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TTC unveils station plans

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SUPPLIED PICTURE
An artist’s rendering of the future Sheppard West station on the planned Spadina subway extension shows green roofs that look like landing strips.

Designs for two Spadina subway extension stops take advantage of their suburban surroundings

Sep 23, 2009 04:30 AM
Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter

It’s the TTC’s version of Operation Runway.

This week, the transit agency revealed plans for the first two stations on the planned Spadina subway extension, including a design for Sheppard West from architectural firm Aedas that resembles twinned landing strips.

“It looks like a wing to me, or a partial wing - something that invokes flight. That’s my impression,” says Andy Bertolo, the TTC’s project manager.

It’s only one man’s opinion, but somehow the rendering does evoke the station’s Downsview surroundings, he said.

The curved ramp that joins the two entrances of the smaller York University station is a similar departure from the utilitarian designs of Toronto’s subway system. The station is being designed by the architectural firm Foster+Partners.

The TTC, which is building the 8.6-kilometre Spadina extension, has opted for high-end architecture through internationally recognized firms to design the six stops that will run between Downsview station and the planned Vaughan city centre at Highway 7.

“Overall, the vision is to keep the stations open to let light penetrate, to make them sustainable to the extent they can be made sustainable, to integrate them with how the area is to be developed,” Bertolo said. The new stations will also benefit from their more suburban surroundings, said TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

“They’re not in a compact urban environment, so there is a little bit more latitude. That’s why you see the green sloping roof, you see quite a lot of features that, no matter how amazing an architect you were, you wouldn’t be able to fit downtown into a station like King.”

The subway system’s design has been evolving since the Yonge line was built in the 1950s, he added.

“Those were very functional stations, if you just need to access track level,” Giambrone said.

The Bloor-Danforth stations were a little bigger. The Spadina line became the first to incorporate art, a factor that became even more prominent on the Sheppard line.

Construction on the Spadina extension is expected to begin late next year or early in 2011, for completion around the end of 2015. Both stations will probably be complete six to eight months before the subway actually starts running. It takes months of tests to commission a subway, he said.

Both stations are already over-budget, according to the reports before councillors on the transit commission. “The project cost of $2.6 billion includes around a 10 per cent, or $260 million, contingency budget,” said Giambrone. “So, while we are eating up good chunks of it, we are still okay.”

Stations on the extension aren’t expected to see the kind of traffic that appears in the downtown end of the system. Sheppard West is anticipated to draw about 11,000 users daily by 2031, while York may handle 40,000, according to the TTC.

That compares with the current traffic of about 113,000 at busy St. George, and about 2,000 at Bessarion on the Sheppard line.




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