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UPDATE: Vaughan subway delay receives mixed reaction

V-SubwayConstruction004 October 23, 2012 00:10:00
News that Vaughan commuters won’t be riding the rocket in and out of the city until fall 2016 — nearly a year later than originally expected — is being greeted with mixed reaction.
Cortel Group vice-president Peter Cortellucci, whose firm is developing a massive condominium project complete with shops, restaurants and recreation facilities at the doorstep to the Spadina subway line, isn’t too concerned.
“It’s one of those things, you always have to expect a few slowdowns,” Mr. Cortellucci said. “We’re still motoring along. I’d be a lot more concerned if the shovels weren’t in the ground for the subway. But it’s a real project. It’s a project that’s going to go.”
Vaughan Liberal MPP Steven Del Duca, meanwhile, was “disappointed to hear the news”.
“I think it’s important to recognize that while there is funding in place from multiple levels of government, the TTC has the responsibility for constructing and delivering this project,” he said. “I would hope that they would redouble their efforts and do their very best to try and make sure that the subway is operating as soon as possible. We definitely do need it in Vaughan.”
A similar response played out on Twitter earlier this week.
A question about whether people are surprised or concerned about the delay garnered an array of reactions.
@M_M_F tweeted: “… devastated would be a better description.”
@VaughanResident, meanwhile, wrote: “There’s only so much that can be planned. You can do your best and if it is delayed due to circumstances, it is.”
@VaughanAgent said: “Concerned? Not unless I’m a Condo investor 🙂 Surprised? Not in the least. Lots of time & a few elections between now & then.”
Word that the 8.6-kilometre extension of the Spadina subway line is behind schedule came Monday morning.
TTC representative Joanna Kervin told members of the city’s priority and key initiatives committee that “issues with contractor performance” and a fatal accident last fall at the York University work site derailed construction.
“As a result of those two things happening, we spent a great part of the year looking in detail at the project schedule and evaluating the impact of those particular events,” she said. “Our conclusion will go to the (transit) commission, that the project will not be delivered by December 2015 and that, in fact, given all the circumstances we’ve experienced to this point, will be delivered in the fall of 2016.”
Ms Kervin added that “it’s not unusual for a project of this magnitude to experience these types of delays”.
Provided everything else remains on track, she said, there’s no reason to believe there will be further delays.
“We are currently evaluating possibilities of accelerating different portions of the work that will continue over the next four years to ensure that we can, in fact, meet that fall 2016 deadline,” she said.
It’s unclear, at this point, if the delays will drive up the cost of $2.6-billion project, which is jointly funded by municipal, provincial and federal governments.
“The analysis is being conducted right now by the project team and reports will be going forward to the funding partners as soon as we have that analysis complete,” Ms Kervin said, adding that those reports will probably be finished “early next year.”
Ms Kervin said there are no plans, at this time, to open new subway stations along the line in phases, between now and 2016, because it would increase costs and add further delays to the opening of the entire line.
Planning for the Spadina extension got underway back in 2008.
Once completed it will bring the subway line from the Downsview station up to Hwy.7, into the heart of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, with five new stations in between.
That’s where it will connect commuters with the York Viva bus rapid transit “rapidway” on Hwy. 7, construction of which is slated to start next year.
Completion of that project, which involves widening Hwy. 7 from just west of Jane Street to east of Keele Street, is also being postponed until 2016, Mary-Frances Turner, president of the York Region Transit Corporation, told the committee.
“… The goal of this segment of bus rapidway is to have it open concurrently with the opening of the subway project,” she said.
Viva is planning to hold two community meetings at the end of November to update riders on the status of the Hwy. 7 bus rapidway.

Brandon Lee Cell 416-471-0353, HL/Bayview


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