NEWS November 9th, 2011

By Karolyn Coorsh

Final touches for Vic Park station

$36M and three years of work, but still some problems

It’s a gateway to Scarborough and the primary transportation for many families living in Crescent Town and Dentonia Park, but not all residents living near Victoria Park subway station have been able to take full advantage of its new design.

The station recently underwent a three-year, $36 million renovation and now features a green roof, new elevators, a reconfigured open-air bus terminal and public art.

But some residents of Teesdale Place, a cluster of high-rise buildings located northeast of the modernized station, are wondering why a new exit/entry point at the northern end of the subway platform remains closed to the public.

If the automated turnstile was open, residents could shave several minutes off their outdoor walk to the buildings, and bypass an elevated walkway altogether, says Confort Tshilombo, a Teesdale Place resident.

“It’s not convenient,” she says of the newly designed station.

Currently, passengers disembarking from a subway must walk down stairs and around the station to get to the Teesdale north walkway. Tshilombo, a frequent TTC user, says what should be a shorter, safer walk to her building takes about 10–12 minutes.

When she has large parcels, or when she’s with her three-year-old son, Tshilombo must wait for her partner to come and help carry the packages up the stairs and across the walkway. In the winter, weather conditions make the walk that much harder, she said.

TTC project manager Malcolm Mackay says a wiring problem at the automatic entrance has caused a delay, and it is expected to be fixed and ready for operation this month.

The opening of automated entry is the last piece of the modernization project, which began in 2008.

The station’s roof now features a green garden, an environmentally friendly addition that serves to keep the station cool in the summer.

“This is an open-cut station,” MacKay said of the above ground station. “That made it easy to do something like this.”

The parking lot on the south end of the station also received a major facelift as part of the bus terminal layout re-design. It has room for 183 commuter spots.

Once a dingy enclosed space, the new bus terminal is now L-shaped and open concept.

Victoria Park subway station opened in 1968.

Several older subway stations, including Pape and Dufferin are currently undergoing similar renovations.