Almost by accident, Ford’s budget squeeze pays off for Donlands residents opposed to second subway exit

Almost by accident, Ford’s budget squeeze pays off for Donlands residents opposed to second subway exit

Donlands Station (Image: Danielle Scott) 

As part of the spirit of restraint that’s come over the city since Rob Ford came to power, the TTC has had to tighten its belt. One project that’s been dropped from the TTC’s budget is also one that raised many hackles: the second exit planned for Donlands subway station. City council voted Wednesday to put the Donlands’ plan on a deferral list, meaning that the exit, along with three other planned exits, won’t get built until at least 2013.

The deferrals seem to have nothing to do with community outcry, and instead are all due to budget limits. Local activists seem to be guardedly happy with the outcome, but we can’t help but note that it’s almost an afterthought. There’s got to be a term for “accidental positive outcome,” but we can’t think of it (“collateral advantage”? “Drive-by wooting”? Plain old “serendipity”?).

Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC, says that the second exits are all still planned to be built and that design work is ongoing, but for now, the TTC doesn’t have the money to go ahead with them. The concern for Lisa Dymond, a local resident and one of the voices against the second exit at Donlands, is that there are still too many questions about the TTC’s process. For starters, why was Donlands (and only Donlands) not on the initial deferral list, when there are other stations that had much firmer consensus behind them?

We asked Ross, who said in an e-mail, “It’s just the placement of capital projects on our list—Donlands is now placed with Greenwood, Woodbine and Wellesley…in the same envelope, if you will, as Donlands, which wasn’t slated to begin construction until 2013.” So the three non-Donlands stations were effectively “deferred” onto the same bureaucratic schedule as Donlands, and now all four will likely be delayed until the TTC finds more cash.

None of this clarifies how the list was drawn up. We kind of wonder if it was organized alphabetically (D before G or W). Still, for now, Dymond says she’s happy for the breathing room this deferral provides. She hopes the local community can get the TTC to take another look at their proposals for an alternative exit.

• TTC slams door on second exit at Donlands subway [Toronto Star]