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Several years ago, there was persistent talk about a new downtown, east-west line on the subway

Dear Urban Decoder: Several years ago, there was persistent talk about a new downtown, east-west line on the subway. What happened?—Kip Wotherspoon, Bedford Park

In 1985, back when Art Eggleton was mayor and Lionel Richie was at the top of the charts, the city released Network 2011, its big scheme for the renewal of the subway system. The plan laid out the Sheppard line for commuters from Toronto’s boreal regions, an Eglinton West line for midtown, and the much-ballyhooed Downtown Relief Line, designed to take pressure off the subway system’s busiest area. The latter was to run south from Pape Station on the Bloor-Danforth line, along the railway right-of-way to the waterfront, and then across to Union and lower Spadina. But the recession of the early ’90s and a newly elected Mike Harris cut the $5-billion plan down substantially. Northerners (thanks to lobbying by His Melness) still got their Sheppard line, whereas Eglinton West and the downtown district got diddly.

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