York region residents concerned about traffic congestion near new subway stops

When the new Toronto-York Spadina subway extension opens later this month, some York region residents are concerned about the traffic congestion it might cause near the new stops.

There will be TTC commuter lots at the Pioneer Village and Highway 407 stops. There will also be a private commuter lot at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

Residents who have done the math figure it would be cheaper to drive to the new subway stops and park the car for the day at a commuter lot, than it would be to take a two-way York transit bus trip between home and the subway.

"People do the calculations very quickly," says Fred Winegust, a local resident and member of the South Central York Region - Congestion Relief Committee.

The group is concerned it will add traffic to Hwy 7, Jane St, Keele St, and Steeles Ave.

"There's no other way to get in (to the commuter lots), there's no other side roads," Winegust says. "So all the traffic going in and going out is going to jam into a very concentrated area."

The TTC says its new commuter lots will be free until March, and there is no word on the pricing they will choose afterwards. Many other TTC lots cost between $5 and $7 for the day, which is less than a two-way trip on York transit. The private lot at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will cost $12 between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which could entice some people to use York transit instead of driving.

Winegust and other residents are calling for fare discounts for those who transfer between York transit and the TTC, to make transit more attractive to commuters.

Metrolinx has been working on regional fare integration, but spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins says there is still quite a bit of work to do to make that a reality.

"Getting consensus across the region of just how you would make fare integration work is a tough task," she says.

The idea would be to allow Presto card users to seamlessly make their way from one municipality's transit system to another.

They have been making progress on fare discounts between GO and some municipalities. Starting in January, commuters transferring between GO transit and the TTC will get a $1.50 discount.