The PATH network is an integral part of the City of Toronto’s downtown core. The Northwest (NW) PATH extension will add barrier-free connections to the revitalized Union Station, relieving pedestrian congestion, and supporting future growth.
A Municipal Class Schedule C Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project was completed in 2008 approving the construction of a new PATH connection from the west side of Union Station, under Front Street, and travelling north along York Street to Wellington Street. The first phase of the NW PATH project (Contract 1) crossing Front Street officially opened to the public in 2015.
Due to construction complexity and escalating costs to complete the project, City Council terminated the project in 2015 and requested staff to consider alternative alignments to determine if a more cost effective solution is possible. Key aspects of the alignment review include updating pedestrian modeling to reflect the anticipated growth in population and employment in Toronto’s downtown to 2031 and the increase in transit services at Union Station through GO-RER.
Re-considering alignments requires the completion of an Addendum to the 2008 EA for the project. The NW PATH Municipal Class EA Addendum currently underway will consider four alignments starting at Front Street and York Street using the existing Contract 1 segment (see Figure 1):
- Alignment #1 – York Street – This is the preferred alignment from the 2008 EA. It travels north from the end of the existing Contract 1 tunnel, following under York Street to Wellington Street. It connects to the existing PATH system at 100 Wellington Street West and/or 70 York Street;
- Alignment #2 – Front Street – This alignment will travel west from the Contract 1 tunnel, crossing the Line 1 Subway, and continuing west along the north side of Front Street. It will connect to the existing PATH network at Simcoe Place via a new development and concourse at 160 Front Street West;
- Alignment #3 – Building Alignment – This alignment travels east from the Contract 1 tunnel into the Royal York Hotel concourse level. A new connection will be built from the concourse, north under Piper Street, linking up to the existing PATH system at 95 Wellington Street West; and
- Alignment #4 – TPA Parking lot – This alignment will travel northwest from the end of the existing Contract 1 tunnel, travelling north along the east side of University Avenue, re-purposing a part of the existing underground TPA parking lot. It connects to the existing PATH system at 55 University Avenue and/or new connections to 40 University Avenue and 70 University Avenue.
Figure 1: Alignments Under Consideration
Upon completion of a multiple criteria evaluation in line with the existing EA, one preferred alignment will be selected for further design refinement. Design options will evaluate building connections and routing in more detail to determine how to minimize construction related impacts to landowners, PATH users, and others in the area. The Municipal Class EA Addendum process will continue into mid-2018 with construction anticipated to commence no earlier than 2020.
The City of Toronto is committed to developing the Northwest PATH in consultation with stakeholders and the general public.
Opportunities for consultation are upcoming in December 2017 and Winter 2018.