August 30, 2018

My Network Transit Plan


TORONTO — August 30, 2018: Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat set out her Network Transit Plan today, and invited Torontonians to compare it to John Tory’s “SmartTrack” plan, which has been rejected by transit experts and will never be built.

“I worked as Toronto’s City Planner for five years”, Keesmaat said. “Toronto has an amazing team of transit experts. It was a privilege to work with them. And if there is one thing I learned from the experience of leading them, it is that we have to stop being distracted by election stunts and mirages like John Tory’s failed signature transit plan. Instead, we need to deliver an integrated, long-term network plan that weaves together subways, LRTs, streetcars, and buses to shorten people’s commutes and ensure there is great transit in every neighbourhood in the city.”

Keesmaat set out her plan for an integrated, long-term Network Transit Plan. It spells out key priorities to fill out Toronto’s public transit system, and to deliver shorter commute times to every neighbourhood. Her priorities include:

  • Getting the Relief Line built at least three years faster than the original completion date. “Without this line, our existing subway system is going to fail for every user in the city”, she said.
  • Making the King Street Pilot permanent. “This was a bold idea from our amazing planning staff to unsnarl one of the worst transit bottlenecks in the city and turn it into our busiest and most efficient public transit corridor. It worked. Now we need to evaluate whether the lessons learned can be applied to other corridors.”
  • Unsnarling the mess in Scarborough. “The provincial government has announced it is going to fund and build the Scarborough Subway with provincial funds. That being the case, it doesn’t make sense to proceed with the eastern remnant of John Tory’s “SmartTrack” plan since the stations he proposed would compete for ridership with the new subway. We will be moving forward with connecting UTSC and Malvern Town Centre with rapid transit.”
  • Extending the Eglinton LRT to the airport. “An integrated Network Transit Plan has to include integrating our whole network with Pearson airport, so that people who don’t live close to the UP Express can more efficiently get to the airport rather than routing through Union Station first.”
  • Implementing enhanced bus service where appropriate. “We can have bus service where it works best, runs on time, and gets people where they’re going faster, as part of an overall transit network designed to do that job.”
  • Designing and building the Jane LRT. “The Jane LRT is a critical part of the network in the city’s west end from the Bloor Subway all the way to North York and we will move forward to get work on the line underway,” Keesmaat said.
  • Completing the Waterfront LRT. “This line will knit together neighbourhoods and rapidly growing employment areas on our waterfront”, Keesmaat said.

Keesmaat noted that taking a network-based approach to transit planning stands in stark contrast to John Tory’s failed signature transit plan as he pitched it to voters in the last election.

“John Tory got elected by promising ‘SmartTrack’ as the solution to all our transit problems. As mayor, he focused on trying to get this plan approved. Almost nothing has come of it. It will never be built. But it’s his plan, and I invite Torontonians to compare his plan — which amounts to adding a handful of GO stations paid for by the City to the existing GO system — to the city-wide network planning approach I’ve outlined today.”


Relief Line

  • Construction will start by 2020.
  • Southern portion (from Downtown to the Danforth) will be completed by 2028, three years before the 2031 deadline, to relieve the capacity crisis.
  • Study of the northern portion (to Sheppard) and western portion (to Bloor and Dundas) will be completed and construction schedules set.
  • Preliminary design work on southern portion (from Downtown to the Danforth) is already two years delayed.
  • No commitment beyond preliminary design.

Finch LRT

  • 11 km at-grade LRT from Finch West Subway Station to Humber College.
  • Scheduled to open in 2023.
  • 11 km at-grade LRT from Finch West Subway Station to Humber College.
  • Scheduled to open in 2023.

Scarborough Transit

  • Province will build 3-stop subway.
  • Regional Express Rail Plan rationalized to avoid cannibalizing ridership of subway by reducing it by one stop. A New GO station at Finch-Kennedy is retained.
  • Eglinton East LRT from Kennedy to UTSC and Malvern Town Centre completed by 2025, bringing 16 km of new rapid transit to Scarborough.
  • Continues to support 1-stop subway.
  • Regional Express Rail Plan includes 2 stops in Scarborough.
  • No plan for Eglinton East LRT completion.

Eglinton West LRT to Pearson airport


Eglinton West LRT Mount Dennis to Pearson airport completed by 2025, bringing about 14 km of new transit to Etobicoke.

No plan for delivery of line.

King Street transit priority corridor


Make King Street a permanent transit priority corridor for streetcars from Bathurst to Jarvis.

No plan for delivery of line.

Jane Street LRT


Study and planning of Jane LRT to be completed by 2022 and construction schedules set.

No plan for delivery of line.

Waterfront LRT


Build missing connections in the Waterfront LRT Network, which include:

  • Improvements to Union Station to accommodate additional streetcar service.
  • The East Bayfront LRT (Queens Quay East).
  • Extensions into the Portlands, Unilever site, and Broadview Extension.
  • Waterfront West LRT extension between Exhibition Loop to the Dufferin Gate Loop.
  • New LRT right-of-way from Dufferin Gate to the Queensway.
  • Improvements to the streetcar corridor on Lake Shore Blvd.

First segments completed by 2025, full projected completion by 2030.

No plan for delivery of line.

GO/Regional Express Rail


Addition of five new GO/RER stations by 2025:

  • Finch-Kennedy
  • East Harbour
  • Spadina-Front
  • King-Liberty
  • St. Clair-Old Weston

Lawrence-Kennedy stop canceled with service replaced by a 3-stop Scarborough Subway.

Only 6 of Tory’s original 22 station “SmartTrack” stations are planned to be built as GO/RER:

  • Spadina-Front

Enhanced Bus Service


Ramp up fast bus service in low density areas where appropriate by 2022.

No plan

Sheppard Loop

The provincial government has stated its intention to complete the Sheppard Loop, connecting the Sheppard Subway with the Scarborough Subway Extension. Detail has not yet been provided as to preferred order of transit or route.

Costs of Network Transit Plan

Projected costs:

  • Finch LRT: $2.5B[1]
  • Enhanced bus service: $1.3B[8]
  • Relief Line North: TBD
  • Relief Line West: TBD
  • Jane LRT: TBD
  • Sheppard Loop: TBD

The provincial government has committed to providing $14 billion for transit expansion in Toronto, including the Yonge Street Extension, which is to be built predominantly outside of Toronto’s boundaries and therefore is not included in Jennifer Keesmaat’s network plan. City’s costs and funding contributions will be determined through the design-build phases of the individual projects in collaboration with the City’s federal and provincial counterparts.



[3] note: cost estimate increased to reflect extension to Malvern



[6] Note: cost adjusted to reflect reduction of one station.

[7] note: cost projection increased due to two added stations.

[8] Estimate based on costs of similar enhancements in other jurisdictions.