"Exceptional" Subways to Bring Toronto Up to Speed

Toronto, a land of cheap gas and unclear traffic reduction policies, has a long way to go in improving public transit, according to one architect. But designers are making progress as they make city's new subway stations as enticing as possible.
February 4, 2009, 12pm PST | Judy Chang
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"As a Londoner and an architect, Will Alsop has a lot to say about public transit.

He's one of those rare birds who both uses transit and designs it. These days, his attention is focused on Toronto, where he's doing two stations on the Spadina subway extension, Steeles and Finch.

In town for a series of briefings with the TTC, Alsop says he likes what he's hearing. The commission's engineers have, he says, "provided very useful feedback."

According to the peripatetic Alsop, "They all want these stations to be exceptional. Every station will be different; they're not taking a corporate approach where everything has the same look."

His goal, he explains, will be to introduce as much light and air as possible into structures that are essentially enormous concrete boxes buried 15 metres underground. He also uses the word "joy" when talking about his stations; it is, he insists, a quality he hopes will be experienced by future passengers.

God knows, that in itself would be a remarkable achievement, and appropriate given that in the decades ahead Torontonians will rely on transit a lot more."

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Published on Monday, February 2, 2009 in Toronto Star
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