No respite for Pape station?

There is major change in the air for East York’s Pape subway station. The station that first opened in 1966 was the first stop in the subway network to get a major overhaul as part of the TTC’s current modernization project. The renovation, which started in late 2009, is set to be completed at the end of 2013.

The completion of the project will come as a relief to many of its residential neighbours. It will mean an end to the armada of construction trucks with their irritating beeping reverse gears, the noisy drilling through metres of concrete and the resulting dust and dirt that permeates the air. In short, the subway station will be once again at peace. Or will it?

New plans put forward by Metrolinx earlier this month are envisioning the relatively quiet subway station becoming a major regional transit hub, similar to the current hustle and bustle at Yonge-Bloor. Pape station was chosen as the connection point of the busy east corridor of the Bloor-Danforth line to the new downtown relief line leading commuters from the east end to the heart of downtown Toronto.

What does this mean for the many residents around Pape station looking forward to some peace and quiet at the end of the coming year? Enjoy your serenity, because it may not last for very long. Metrolinx plans to open the first $3.2 billion portion of the downtown relief line running from Pape to St. Andrew station in the next 10-15 years.

So only a few years after construction stops on Pape’s current renovation project, the drill may have to come out again as an even bigger overhaul with a new subway tunnel and platforms looms. One can’t help but wonder why the two projects could not have been better coordinated to save the taxpayer valuable funds for redundant drilling and the neighbours a few more of their nerves.

The increased importance of Pape station in the TTC network will certainly be of long-term benefit to the area, but why couldn’t it have been done in a more efficient way?