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Province picks site of fourth stop on Yonge North subway extension – Toronto Star

After previously considering up to six stations on the Yonge North subway extension, the province is now proposing stops at Steeles, Clark, Bridge and High Tech.

By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter

Fri., July 16, 20212 min. read

Article was updated 24 mins ago

The province has decided where it will add the additional stop on its proposed $5.6-billion Yonge North subway extension.

The Ministry of Transportation and Metrolinx are expected to be joined by federal and municipal officials Friday morning to announce the 8-kilometre project will include a fourth station at Clark Avenue in Thornhill, the Star has learned.

“The Yonge North Subway Extension will strengthen connectivity across the region, reduce travel times and greenhouse gas emissions, and provide more people with access to rapid transit. The new Clark Station is the clear choice to support all those key benefits,” Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney is quoted as saying in a draft press release reviewed by the Star.

The long-planned extension would push TTC’s Line 1 subway north to Richmond Hill, and has strong political support from elected leaders in York Region. The Ontario government and Metrolinx, which is the provincial agency in charge of transit expansion in the GTHA, had previously planned a version with up to six stops.

But in March the province announced that in order to stay within the project’s budget, the number of stations was being reduced to four, and a section of the line would be built above ground. Three “core” stations were announced at the time, with the province saying the fourth would require further study.

The stations previously announced were an underground stop at Steeles Avenue on the border with Toronto, and two above-ground stations: one at Highway 7 and Highway 407 called Bridge, and another at High Tech Road, near Richmond Hill Centre.

The options for the fourth station were Clark Avenue or Royal Orchard Boulevard in York Region, or Cummer Avenue in Toronto.

According to a copy of the Metrolinx station analysis obtained by the Star, the agency determined Clark was the best choice because it “offers more benefits at lower costs with less complexity of construction.”

The version of the extension with Clark is projected to attract 1,250 new daily riders compared to the three-stop base case, and the extra stop would cost about $250 million including capital work and property.

Provincial officials believe adding a fifth station could be possible if more funding became available.

Like the previous three-stop version of the plan, the costs of the four-stop design will outweigh its benefits. Metrolinx predicts every $1 spent on the project would return 60 cents worth of benefits, like improvements to local travel times and congestion. Provincial officials, speaking on background, said the government believes the project is still worth doing because of indirect benefits it would deliver, including construction jobs.

The selection of Clark will leave unusually long gaps between stops on the 8-kilometre extension. The two northernmost stops at High Tech and Bridge would be roughly 400 metres apart, with Clark about 3.5 kilometres to the south. Steeles station would be one kilometre south of Clark.

The province hopes to start construction on the extension by 2023, with completion scheduled for 2029 or 2030 following the Ontario Line entering service.

In May, the federal government announced it would help fund Yonge North as part of a $10.7-billion contribution to Premier Doug Ford’s Toronto-area transit plans.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation for the Star. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr