This concise Highlights Report has been prepared to provide the City of Toronto, TTC and Metrolinx with a snapshot of the feedback captured at the public meeting held on June 17, 2015. A more detailed report of the feedback captured during this phase of consultations will be prepared in the coming days.
On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, the City of Toronto, City Planning Division (Transportation Planning), the TTC and Metrolinx, hosted a public meeting on four key transit projects currently being planned. The meeting was held at the Spring Garden Baptist Church, Toronto.
The purpose of the public meeting varied by project:
SmartTrack: Introduce the SmartTrack concept and study process for the Eglinton West Corridor Feasibility Study, and gather feedback on three conceptual alignments being studied in the Feasibility Study
GO Regional Express Rail (RER): Introduce the GO RER program in Toronto
Relief Line: Collect feedback on the results of potential station area evaluation and potential corridors
Scarborough Subway Extension: Collect feedback on preliminary analysis of potential corridors and potential alignments and station concepts
The meeting featured a series of panels and interactive feedback activities on each project. Participants could freely move between display panels and activities at their own pace, and speak with project staff from the City, TTC and Metrolinx.
Following an introductory presentation on Coordinated Network Transit Planning given by Mike Logan (Senior Transportation Planner) and David Cooper (Senior Transportation Planner) at 7:00 PM, participants had the opportunity to ask questions of clarification as well as provide feedback.
Approximately 25 people attended the public meeting, including York Region Councillor Jim Jones (City of Markham).
The discussion captured during the question and answer period following the overview presentation is summarized below. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with “C” and answers with “A”. Answers were provided by Mike Logan, David Cooper and Paul Millett (Chief Project Engineer, Engineering, Construction and Expansion Section, TTC).
C. The Scarborough Subway route should go up Midland to Sheppard, and the Sheppard line should be linked to form a loop.
A. Thank you for your input. We are considering the Scarborough Subway interface with the Sheppard East LRT.
Q. Regarding the Relief Line, when is construction anticipated to begin and finish?
A. After the Project Assessment is complete and the recommendations approved by Council, a Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) takes a further 6 months which is the final approval under the Environmental Assessment Act. The detailed design phase would likely be another 2-3 years and construction could take 8-10 years. The timeline depends on overall political support and funding. If approval and funding is received the project could be operational in 12-15 years.
Q. I am aware that GO lines are mostly on CN tracks. What are the options for signaling in the future to get the headways down as you expand in order to get more people riding on those trains?
A. Representatives from Metrolinx are here tonight and can speak with you about this in more detail, but generally, there are certain levels of rail operation rules based on the type of the train (diesel or electric). There are complexities when passenger and freight services share a corridor. Metrolinx is looking at which corridors can be electrified through their EA process and other assessments.
Q. Why does the Eglinton Crosstown LRT not continue to the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre?
A. The base case assumption is that the LRT will be continued to the airport employment area – this extension has already been approved but is not funded. City Council has asked the project team to look at the feasibility of a heavy rail corridor instead of the LRT. The study will determine whether or not those are feasible options.
C. SmartTrack should have a spur to Scarborough Centre so that one train could go to Scarborough Centre and the next could go to Markham. The same could be done at the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre (one train going there and the next train going on to Brampton). SmartTrack should be using as much of the existing infrastructure and going many different places rather than being asynchronous.
A. Thank you for your input. That may be an option. The direction from Council was that the Scarborough Subway be an extension from Kennedy Station though Scarborough Centre to Sheppard. RER and SmartTrack currently do not contemplate going into Scarborough Centre. Operating a spur with alternating destination would have implications on the timing of the service schedule and might make it impossible to deliver the 15 minute frequency of service. That is one of the issues that will be carefully considered in the Eglinton West feasibility study. We welcome the opportunity to have a further discussion on this.
Q. Who has the final say on the decision in terms of the final designs?
A. The project team will be completing the studies for the Relief Line and Scarborough Subway Extension. We will then submit a recommended alignment and station concepts to City Council. At that point we will be asking for authority to undertake the final review using the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) which results in the authority to construct. SmartTrack is at a different stage in the process. Council has asked us to look at feasibility of the various options and it will be up to Council to direct us to do further work based on the results of the feasibility study.
Q. Do you have a cost estimate of routing to the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre?
A. The project team will be looking at the cost of the various alternatives as part of the feasibility study.
C. Markham has to grow by 200,000 people over the next 25 years and we have one stop at Markham Centre.
A. In the coming months, the project team will be consulting with the Town of Markham, City of Mississauga, York and Peel Regions.
Q. When I’m on the GO train at Oriole station I have to walk through the snow to get to the Sheppard subway. The stations should be connected so you don’t have to walk outside. The GO train stop needs to be moved.
A. The work being done near the Leslie/401 intersection will result in Metrolinx moving Oriole station north to Sheppard and therefore much closer to the TTC's Leslie Station. Metrolinx will be consulting on that in the coming months.
Q. Will the Yonge subway be extended to Highway 7?
A. Through the Yonge Relief Network Study there is a discussion happening on the next steps. The Relief Line study is also underway and will help us understand more about relieving some of the pressures on the existing Yonge subway, and we will better understand the capacity of the Yonge Subway and the potential to extend the line through our modeling that will be wrapping up over the summer.
Q. Is anyone looking at affordability of fares?
A. Part of the work that Council has directed staff to do on SmartTrack is to review fare structures and integration of fares. We will be modeling various fare structure scenarios with a consideration of a hybrid of a GO and TTC fare and the current fare structure. We will be reporting back to Council this Fall. Metrolinx is also undertaking a more detailed fare integration study.
Through a dotmocracy exercise at the meeting, most of the meeting participants generally agreed with the results of the evaluation for the Connections to the Danforth Subway, the results of the evaluation for Key Activity Areas West and East of the Don River and the evaluation of the Downtown connections.
Through a dotmocracy exercise at the meeting a majority of the meeting participants indicated a preference for Corridor D by a factor of 2:1 over Corridor B.
Five more public meetings are scheduled during this phase of consultations, after which a more detailed report of all consultation activities will be made available. Comments must be submitted by July 3, 2015 to ensure inclusion in this report.
SmartTrack: Feedback received will inform the Eglinton West Corridor Feasibility Study. Draft results of the study will be presented and consulted on in September, 2015.
Relief Line: The project team will use the feedback received to inform the evaluation of potential corridors. The preferred corridor, along with potential alignments and station locations, will be presented and consulted on in September, 2015.
Scarborough Subway Extension: The project team will use the feedback received to help finalize the evaluation of the potential corridors and evaluate the potential alignments and station concepts. The preferred corridor, alignment and station concepts will be presented and consulted on in September, 2015.