Toronto Transit Commission Finch West LRT
|Number of Branches|
|Distance||11km (Finch West Station - Humber College)|
|Types of vehicles used||Alstom Citadis Spirit|
The Finch West LRT is a planned light rail transit line that will run from Finch West Station west to Humber College’s North Campus. Connections would be made with the Spadina subway extension and proposed Jane LRT.
As part of a master agreement with the City of Toronto, Metrolinx is responsible for project delivery and the Toronto Transit Commission will be responsible for the line's operation. The line is scheduled to open in 2022.
The line was introduced in 2007 as the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT as part of the Trancit City light rail plan. Identified as one of three priority lines, the first phase was funded and scheduled to begin construction in 2015 and begin operation in 2019.
After the election of Rob Ford as the new mayor of Toronto, he quickly declared the cancellation of Transit City. On March 30, 2011, the government of Ontario announced $12.4 billion in funding for a revised Eglinton Crosstown LRT and for the TTC to extend the Sheppard subway line in both directions. The Etobicoke-Finch West LRT was cancelled and enhanced bus service with potential subway service in 10 years are being looked into for the future.
However, at the end of January 2012, a report by a Toronto law firm, solicited by councillor Joe Mihevc, stated Rob Ford did not have the legal authority to cancel Transit City without city council approval. The report declared the mayor's memorandum of understanding with the province invalid without council approval. The TTC chair Karen Stintz filed a petition for a special meeting the following month asking council to renew their support for the Transit City plan. Her petition had the support of 23 other councilors. Council voted 26-18 in favour of Stintz' proposal which restored the Finch West LRT. It was scheduled to open in 2020.
The design and consultation phase began in 2014. By 2015, the opening date of the Finch West LRT was revised to 2021. Preliminary construction, which includes utilities relocations, was scheduled to begin in 2016. However, this did not start until early 2017. Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx released a request for proposal (RFP) in February 2016 to companies shortlisted to design, build, finance and maintain the Finch West LRT. The RFP was paused over uncertainty of Bombardier's ability to deliver vehicles on time. Metrolinx was to receive two pilot Flexity Freedom LRVs from Bombardier by the end of 2014. This was revised to the fall of 2015 and then again to spring of 2016. As that deadline passed with no delivery, Metrolinx expressed concern that the timeline for Toronto's LRT lines would be affected. In May 2017, Metrolinx announced that they had entered into an agreement with Alstom that would see the supply 61 Citadis Spirit LRVs, 17 of which will be used on the Finch West LRT. According to Metrolinx, the delay in the RFP meant the line would be completed in 2022.
The RFP closed in December 2017, and the contract was expected to be awarded in the spring of the following year. In May 2018, Infrastructure Ontario announced that Mosaic Transit Group, a consortium of ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Aecon, and CRH Canada Group Inc., was awarded a contract valued at $2.5 billion to design, build, finance and maintain the Finch West LRT. Completion of the line was pushed back one year to 2023.
Metrolinx and Mosaic Transit Group marked the start of major construction for the Finch West LRT with an event at the site for the maintenance and storage facility on November 15, 2019. Work sites were created beside the Highway 400 bridge in preparation for the construction of two new bridge decks. Initial work also began on the LRT portion of Finch West Station.
In 2020, utilities relocation work began around the future Humber College Station. Major construction work began at the Maintenance and Storage Facility, with the steel well underway by August 2020. The Highway 400 Bridge decks were replaced using a rapid replacement method. Through the winter, new decks were constructed near the highway. The existing decks were demolished, and the new decks were put in place by the Summer of 2020.
In October 2020, crews began to install the tracks at the MSF. An 1,800-metre section of track (from the MSF to Sentinel Road) has to be in place to test the LRVs. By early 2021, guideway work was underway. The MSF welcomed the first Citadis Spirit LRV at the end of July 2021.
By May 2022, 35 per cent of the track for this project had been installed. This included approximately four kilometres of track on the main line, all rail at the MSF, and the connection down York Gate Boulevard.The mainline section between Sentinel Road and the MSF was used for testing the LRVs beginning on May 20, 2022. Vehicles eventually got up to speeds of 60 kilometres per hour. Testing will continue into 2023 on weekdays between 09:00 and 17:00
The majority of the route will run at-grade in a reserved right of way in the centre of Finch Avenue West. Two through lanes for traffic will be maintained each way. The first phase of the line is 11 kilometres between Finch West Station and Humber College's North Campus. Provisions in the design of Finch West Station will allow an underground transfer between the LRT and subway. The proposed alignment to Humber College will turn south at Highway 27 and Finch, running on the west side of the road, to a terminal station below grade immediately south of Humber College Boulevard.
The second phase of the Finch West LRT would see an extension east with ten stops to the Yonge subway. Other extensions considered included east and then south to Don Mills Station and westward to Pearson Airport or Mississauga via the now-cancelled Woodbine Live development.
|Station name||Date opened||Connections||Notes|
|Humber College||BT, MiWay & YRT (at Humber College bus terminal)|
|Milvan Dr/Rumike Dr|
|Jane St||Jane LRT (proposed)|
|Finch West Station (Keele St)||YUS line|
|PHASE TWO (unfunded)|
|Finch Station||YUS line|
Maintenance and Storage Facility
Located at 50 York Gate Boulevard, the 8200 square-foot maintenance and storage facility (MSF) will have a capacity for 26 light rail vehicles (LRVs). LRVs will access the facility from Finch Avenue via York Gate Boulevard. A landscaped area, parking lot, and office building will front Finch Avenue.
Vacant land along Finch Avenue between Norfinch Drive and York Gate Boulevard was identified as the location for the MSF for the Finch West LRT and proposed Jane LRT. Other sites that were considered were one near Chesswood Drive, one near Weston Road, and one at 120 and 130 Arrow Road.
In July 2014, Metrolinx initiated an environmental assessment and public consultation for the MSF. The environmental assessment for the MSF was not included in the one completed for the Finch West LRT. Community feedback revealed a desire for an improved public realm and better integration with the street edge. In addition, a public art component could be a possibility. There was also a desire for the property to be mixed-use with amenities for the surrounding community.
A request for qualifications was issued in September 2015. Three teams were shortlisted and were invited to submit proposals in February 2016. The contract is expected to be awarded in the fall of 2017 with construction to begin later in the year. The award was later moved to spring of the following year. In May 2018, Infrastructure Ontario announced that Mosaic Transit Group, a consortium of ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Aecon, and CRH Canada Group Inc., was awarded a contract to design, build, finance and maintain the Finch West LRT.
Since 2016, Metrolinx and the surrounding community engaged in discussions about reserving a portion of the MSF site for community use as well as public realm improvements in the area. The construction of the MSF would create an opportunity to provide new social and economic benefits to the area. In July 2020, the councilor for the area, Anthony Perruzza, revealed that Metrolinx had notified him that they would be instead selling the land that was promised for community use. According to Metrolinx, they were obliged to sell the land in accordance with the Ontario government’s realty directive due to the land's high value. Both the Ontario Liberals (who this project was initiated under) and Ontario NDP urged the ruling Progressive Conservative government to reconsider the sale of the land.
Alstom Citadis Spirit LRT Mock-Up for the Finch West LRT on display at the Fusion of Taste Festival on July 7th, 2019.
- Queen’s Park and city have a $12.4B TTC deal, thestar.com, retrieved on 2011-03-30
- Finch commuters to get subway, Ford vows, torontosun.com, retrieved on 2011-03-31
- Kalinowski, Tess (29 January 2012). Mayor Rob Ford had no authority to cancel Transit City, lawyers say. Toronto Star (Toronto). Retrieved on 2012-01-30
- (6 February 2012) Toronto council to debate transit future. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Toronto). Retrieved on 2012-02-06
- Kalinowski, Tess; Rider, David (8 February 2012). Special transit meeting: Council approves plan put forward by Karen Stintz. Toronto Star (Toronto). Retrieved on 2012-02-08
- 5 Year Strategy Progress and 2015/16 Business Plan. Metrolinx. Retrieved on 17 August 2016.
- Rapid Transit, Capital Project Group Quarterly Status Report Q4 2015/16. Metrolinx. Retrieved on 18 August 2016.
- Metrolinx statement on Alstom/Bombardier. 12 May 2017. Press release. Metrolinx.
- Infrastructure Ontario. (07 May 2018). Contract Awarded for Finch West Light Rail Transit Project. Press release.
- "Finch West LRT Year in Review." Metrolinx.
- [http://www.metrolinx.com/en/greaterregion/projects/docs/finchwest/2020-0005-What-to-expect.pdf "What to expect - Finch West LRT." Metrolinx.
- "New timelapse video captures entire Highway 400 bridge lift for Finch West LRT project." Metrolinx, 20 July 2020.
- [https://mailchi.mp/community/toronto-west-project-e-news-august-8729096?e=243e86c6c0 "Finch West LRT Progress - August 2020." Metrolinx.
- Spurr, Ben. "Metrolinx reneges on plan to donate land for Jane-Finch community centre, will instead sell to highest bidder." Toronto Star, 22 July 2020.
- "Ford Turns His Back on Jane and Finch Families". 23 July 2020.
- "NDP MPP urges Ford government to honour commitment to land, community hub in Jane and Finch". 23 July 2020.