York University issued the following statement yesterday:
York University took part in a productive meeting with Toronto Transit Commission officials on Dec. 15. At the meeting, the extension of the subway and proposals for an interim bus rapid transit route from the Downsview subway station were discussed.
“The University is pleased that the TTC has put forward a motion to Toronto City Council that identifies York as the top priority for subway expansion,” said Ted Spence, senior policy advisor in the Office of the President. He added that York’s administration is prepared to recommend to the Board of Governors the construction of a temporary bus-only road on York lands during subway construction. The University has already rejected the construction of proposed bus routes through the campus either immediately alongside academic buildings or through an environmentally protected woodlot on the campus for obvious reasons.
“As we have advocated for more than a decade, a subway through York to the proposed York region transit gateway at Steeles Avenue is the only lasting solution to the serious traffic gridlock in this region,” said Spence. “We believe that we have made our case that the previous TTC route options through the campus would have either seriously disrupted the learning environment or had negative environmental consequences. We are very pleased that the TTC now recognizes these consequences and have proposed a lower-impact, temporary solution for a fixed time period.”
To serve its students and the wider community in the short-term, York has agreed to recommend to its Board of Governors that a temporary bus-only route be constructed on campus conditional on a decision to proceed with the construction of the subway to York. The University also made clear that any agreement to build a temporary bus way on lands designated for academic development would be for a fixed term only and would have to be removed once the subway is operational.
“We are concerned about pollution, noise, pedestrian safety and the spatial integrity of the academic core of the campus. York is already the largest transit hub in the city without a subway, with over 1,100 buses on campus on a daily basis,” he said.
The TTC report to the commission also confirmed that there are two possible bus way designs for Keele Street, which would provide a protected operating environment for buses. If no progress is made on subway construction, the University would request the city implement the lower-cost Keele option, which concentrates the construction impacts and widening on the York University side of the road.
As Spence stated, “The subway extension is the only reasonable long-term option for this quadrant of the city. We are confident that the remaining issues will be resolved through political will and constructive dialogue aimed at finding a lasting transit solution, as well as interim improvements.”