The Scarborough Subways Extension project has now reached an important stage – the search for experts who want to build the stations, lay down the tracks, and install all the technology that connects them. In this feature, we look at what the ‘Request for Qualifications’ announcement means, as well as how an extended Line 2 subway will create a more connected and reliable transit experience.
Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario today (Sept. 17) released a Request for Qualifications in a search for teams interested in building the stations and the remaining work along the Scarborough Subway Extension.
Each station on the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension will be more than just a place to get on or off the Line 2 subway – they will be important hubs that connect to surface routes, helping passengers to move seamlessly through a broader transit network.
The Request for Qualifications asks industry experts to share their qualifications to bid on designing and building the stations, laying down the track and installing and launching the systems that will be used to operate the line. It’s part of the project’s Stations, Rail and Systems package.
New to the Scarborough Subway Extension conversation and want to know more? Just go here.
The contract for tunnel construction was awarded on May 25, 2021 to Strabag and work is already well underway at the launch shaft site.
Metrolinx projects that by 2041, 83 per cent of passengers going through the three new stations at the busiest hour of the day will be transferring from a bus to the subway, or from one bus route to another.
“Scarborough has a wide geographic area and large parts of Scarborough rely on buses to get to the subway,” said Michael Hodge, program sponsor.
“We are building stations that will be important connection points, with buses coming in from all parts of Scarborough.”
The new terminus station at Shepperd and McCowan will offer links to bus routes north of Highway 401.
This station will shorten the time people spend riding buses on congested roadways, allowing them to enter the subway system sooner.
Over the long term, the Shepperd Subway (Line 4) could also be extended to this station, closing a loop and giving riders a new way to navigate the subway system.
Scarborough Centre subway station
Moving south down the extension, the Scarborough Centre subway station will be a particularly important spot for connections.
The current Line 3 Scarborough Rapid Transit station at Scarborough Centre already offers connections to TTC buses, and that role will continue to grow as the regional transit network expands.
Hodge was quick to point out that Metrolinx is designing the new station to be more than a subway stop.
“We are putting a lot of focus on to the Scarborough Centre Bus Terminal to allow for efficient connections to bus routes.”
The terminal will also offer connections to GO buses and the proposed Durham Region Transit bus rapid transit line.
The station will be a transit hub with bus connections to both the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus and Centennial College’s Progress Campus, which provide education and employment opportunities to almost 30,000 students and staff.
Of course, there is a lot of activity right around the station – and not just in the Scarborough Town Centre mall. The Scarborough City Centre has office towers, high-rise condominiums, a library, and an outdoor skating rink. The new Street Eats Market food truck festival in the mall parking lot is also emerging as a popular attraction.
The new station at Lawrence and McCowan Road will be used by Scarborough residents accessing health care or visiting loved ones in the hospital.
It will be next to the Scarborough Health Network’s General Hospital, offering new convenience to frontline health care workers, patients and their visitors. The hospital is a major employer in Scarborough, with more than 2,000 employees and 500 volunteers.
With the subway extension meeting up with the Crosstown LRT at Kennedy Station, Scarborough residents will have a new transit option, going through midtown Toronto, along Eglinton Avenue, all the way to Mississauga.
This will also continue to be the site of an important connection to the Stouffville line GO train line, which will see expanded service in the years to come.
The Ontario Line
The subway extension is just one way Scarborough residents will benefit from upcoming transit expansion improvements. When the Ontario Line is in place, riders coming from Scarborough will be able to transfer at Pape to reach Queen station and the Financial District, eliminating the need to take Line 2 all the way into the crowded Bloor-Yonge station and on to packed Line 1 trains.
Hodge also pointed out the extension is more than a link to downtown Toronto as it will make it easier to move around Scarborough.
“Maybe people want to go to visit a friend at Scarborough General,” he said. Or, they could be headed towards Scarborough Centre to go shop at the mall, get a taco from a food truck, or drop a form off at the nearby federal government office, and the subway extension will help them to get there faster.”
And again, you can visit the Scarborough Subway Extension webpage to learn more about the project and keep up with all the progress being made on the project.
Story by Mike Winterburn, Metrolinx News senior writer