Making the case for one big city's subway extension

The Scarborough subway extension doesn’t seem to generate much support outside of Toronto’s eastern suburbs and City Hall, but one Durham Region brokerage owner believes that Toronto’s most immediate eastern suburb is the right place for the city’s next below-grade transit project.

Dan Plowman, owner of Dan Plowman Team Realty Inc., believes Scarborough is the right place to build a subway extension because it will service all of Durham Region – and, in the process, put property values on an upward trajectory.

“Scarborough is already growing, but I know for a fact there’s already talk of people buying near where the subway is supposed to go simply because of the subway,” said Plowman. “There’s already a frenzy. When you bring something on this magnitude to an area, you will increase property values.”

He added that Scarborough still has more developable land than Toronto does, and the result would homes sprouting en masse around a subway line.

“You have to look at areas that came after subway stops,” he said. “You’d see the homes increased drastically after the infrastructure came into play. You already had massive growth in Scarborough, and there’s still a lot more land than downtown pockets and it will fill up.”

Toronto is a world-class city with a world-class skyline – not to mention world-class gridlock – however, the city’s underground transit system leaves much to be desired. Dan Plowman Realty operates in the entirety of Durham Region, so he understands first-hand the exasperation commuters face daily driving to and from Toronto. Not only does Hwy 401 move at a snail’s pace, so does the Don Valley Parkway.

“They coined ‘Don Valley Parking Lot’ when I was a kid – and that’s 30 or 40 years ago,” said Plowman, who added that, in spite of its sometimes unflattering reputation, Scarborough is one of the city’s major growth centres.

“I talk to people in Scarborough regularly and they’re already noticing that, since the subway plan was announced, Scarborough is becoming a more viable place to live. Public transit helps places grow up. The convenience of moving from the downtown core to home as quickly as possible is what people look for.”

While a subway will doubtless make Scarborough a more attractive place in which to invest, prices are still low enough, especially compared to Toronto, that investors can make a good return on their investments.
However, the property value boost should extend east of Scarborough, too, to all of Durham Region.

“It will benefit all of Durham.” Said Plowman. “I know people already commute, but if they can get off at McCowan Rd., instead of driving all the way into Toronto, and get off to take the subway directly, you’d see a lot more people doing that.”

He added that in spite of Go Train access, a subway will have more connectivity to the rest of the city, decreasing the number of cars on the road.

Durham Region’s population was 337,000 in 1986, and grew to 661,000 by the end of 2015. The exponential growth Plowman says he’s seen in the last decade make Scarborough ripe for development. Moreover, it won’t get any cheaper.

“The downside to six kilometres is it’s billions of dollars to do it in today’s cost, but if you think about your kids, my kids and their kids to come, we have no choice. That’s the kind of thinking this city has lacked and that’s why we’re in this mess of not having a world-class subway to go along with a world-class city.”

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COMMENTS

  • by Odane 2017-10-18 11:13:22 AM

    Definitely makes sense. Unfortunately, people have small minds when it comes to spending and don't see the overall impact. As Dan stated, a subway project is one of those "if you build it they will come" things. But all some in charge with the decision see is there aren't enough people CURRENTLY living there to justify a subway. If you look at Eglinton LRT, there is much being built around it only because of the LRT's presence. The same will happen in Scarborough.

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