Clark Avenue in Thornhill was chosen as the site for the fourth stop on the Yonge subway extension

The province has chosen Clark Avenue in Thornhill as the location of the fourth stop on the Yonge North $ 5.6 billion subway extension.

Ontario Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney was joined by provincial, federal and municipal officials in the York region Friday morning to announce the decision, which was first reported by Star.

“The Yonge North Subway Extension will strengthen connectivity throughout the region, reduce travel times and greenhouse gas emissions and give more people access to fast transit. The new Clark Station is the clear choice to support all of these important benefits, ”Mulroney said in a statement.

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

But in March, the province announced that to stay within the project budget, the number of stations was reduced to four and part of the line would be built above ground. Three “core stations” were announced at the time the province said the fourth would require further investigation.

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

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

According to a Metrolinx analysis, the agency determined that Clark was the best choice because it “offers more benefits at lower costs with less complexity in construction.” There would be 8,100 people and 1,900 jobs within a 10-minute walk of the stop in 2041.

The version of the expansion with Clark is expected to attract 1,250 new daily riders compared to the three-stop base case, and the additional stop would cost about $ 250 million including capital work and real estate.

Provincial officials believe the addition of a fifth station to the expansion could be possible if more funding became available, with Royal Orchard the preferred option.

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, a longtime boost of the metro plan, said in the announcement that the extra station at Clark at the border between Markham and Vaughan would connect the two communities and serve the area’s development plans.

“A Clark station was always imagined as part of the Yonge North Subway Extension, so we are very pleased that it has finally been approved today,” he said. Scarpitti added that he hoped a station at the Royal Orchard would also be included.

Like the previous three-stop version of the expansion, the cost of the four-stop design outweighs the benefits. Metrolinx predicts that every $ 1 spent on the new station will provide 60 cents benefits, such as improvements in local travel times and congestion.

With 2,500 riders in total expected to use Clark at the busiest hour each day, the stop will also be far less busy than many existing TTC subway stations. Before the pandemic, demand at TTC’s busiest station, Bloor-Yonge, reached more than 28,000 an hour in a single direction.

Provincial officials, speaking on the background, said the government believes the Yonge expansion and Clark station are still worth doing because of the indirect benefits it would provide, including creating construction sites.

In Friday’s announcement, Mulroney said the government’s spending on the project was justified because in addition to providing more transit, it would benefit the region in ways not captured in Metrolinx’s analysis.

“Our government is committed to the Yonge North Subway Extension because we know it will create the connection that the people of the York Region have been looking for for so long,” she said, adding that the subway would improve the quality of life of local residents by to facilitate access to employment and training opportunities.

The choice of Clark leaves unusually long intervals between stops of the 8-kilometer extension. The two northernmost stops at High Tech and Bridge would be about 400 meters apart, with Clark approx. 3.5 kilometers to the south. Steele’s station would be a mile south of Clark.

The province has said they hope to start construction of the expansion by 2023, with completion scheduled for 2029 or 2030 after the Ontario line goes live.

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

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation to Star. Reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr

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