We believe that a high quality transit system is one of the key components that make up a global city, and our architect Rosario Varacalli has often spoken about the importance of transit and how essential it is for the survival of a city. So naturally, we were pleased to learn about the current Union Station revitalization project.
Serving more than 250,000 passengers daily, Union Station is the busiest transit hub in the country, which means its role in the life of the city has never been more crucial. According to the City of Toronto, the three main objectives for the revitalization are: to improve the quality and capacity of pedestrian movement; to restore heritage elements; and to transform Union Station into a major destination for shopping, dining and visiting.
There are a lot of mini-projects underway in order to fully revitalize Union Station, including renovations to the GO Station, TTC Subway platforms, VIA lounges and spaces. Metrolinx and the City are also working on impressive projects including a new rail link to the airport and a mall, respectively. With a $665 million budget, Union Station Revitalization is no small project.
Here’s a glimpse of what to expect when the project is finally completed in 2016:
- The Union Pearson Express will get travellers from Canada’s busiest airport to the City of Toronto in 25 minutes. Creating a fast and efficient travel option into the heart of the city isn’t a new idea, many European cities already have transit systems like this in place. For example, the Heathrow Express is the fastest way to get into London at 15 minutes.
- New station entrances, including several new PATH connections. As early as next year, commuters will see a new connection to the PATH system off of York St. Other connections in the works include a tunnel to Union Plaza, Air Canada Centre and Maple Leaf Square.
- Sustainable design. With Toronto being Canada’s third most sustainable city, it’s no surprise that the revitalization of Union Station includes incorporating sustainability. Deep-lake water cooling, district heating and energy-efficient technology is in the plan.
- New Union Station GO concourse. This will make it easier for travellers to get to and from their designated train.
- A new TTC Subway platform. The west half of the subway platform is nearly complete, marking the project half-done. This additional platform is much-needed to handle the rush-hour commute.
- A new mall below the tracks, heralded by the City of Toronto – making Union Station not just a train station but a comfortable oasis while traveling.
Like the construction of the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT, we believe that the revitalization of Union Station will usher in a new era for Toronto’s public transit system.
Images courtesy of City of Toronto.