York aims to protect academy as it awaits TTC analysis of its bus route proposal

Edward Spence, senior policy adviser to York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden, yesterday issued the following statement on behalf of the University. 

York University has championed the concept of a subway to York’s campus and into York region as well as a new rapid bus transit route to the campus, as an interim solution to serious transportation challenges on behalf of the entire northwest quadrant of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Currently the University has a difference of opinion with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) officials regarding the appropriate route for the dedicated bus lane running from the Downsview subway station to York. We have questioned TTC proposals that would run a bus-only express route through the south part of the academic core of the campus because they are too close to classrooms and libraries and would disrupt studies, or would run through one of the University’s protected woodlots.


Above: Map showing alternative routes for a dedicated bus lane to York’s Keele campus

For the sake of our students, York will not allow the proper academic functioning of the University to be disrupted due to an avoidable transportation arrangement. York has undertaken studies which have been shared with the TTC documenting the University’s concerns and environmental issues related to proposed TTC routes.

We have put forward alternative designs for an express route on Keele Street that would direct buses onto York’s campus via York Boulevard. We have indicated our willingness to give buses priority on York Boulevard, the main entrance to the campus.

We want to avoid turning York’s inner campus into a major traffic route with all the attendant noise, pollution and pedestrian safety issues. In addition to TTC buses, the express bus route will also be used by Go Transit and York Region Transit and may even be used by private operators like Greyhound and Casino Rama.

No one can say that York has not done its share for transit on behalf of our students. We are already providing the necessary space and support for one of the largest transit hubs in the city, with 1,100 buses a day from all parts of the GTA serving the campus. In recent years York has developed a bus-only area in the centre of the campus and we have established 23 bus bays. The University is committed to further expansion of the bus-only precinct to better separate buses, pedestrians and cars. York has worked actively on these issues for more than a decade.

On behalf of the over 60,000 York University community members, we are committed to working constructively with all transit providers to realize our goal of a subway extension to York and interim transit improvements to rapid bus transit that are compatible with the interests of our students. We look forward to having the TTC’s full analysis of York’s compromise proposal at the Commission’s upcoming meeting on Oct. 20.