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 18, 2015. A more detailed report of the feedback captured during this phase of consultations will be prepared in the coming days.
On Thursday, June 18, 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 Archbishop Romero Catholic School, 99 Humber Blvd South, 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.
At 7:00 p.m, an introductory presentation on coordinated network transit planning, with a focus on SmartTrack – Eglinton West Corridor, was given by Tim Läspä, Director, Transportation Planning, City Planning Division. After the presentation, participants had the opportunity to ask questions of clarification as well as provide feedback.
Approximately 30 people attended the public meeting, including Councillor Frances Nunziata (Ward 11), and MPP Laura Albanese (York South-Weston).
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 Tim Läspä, Director, Transportation Planning, City Planning Division.
Q. There was a funding announcement made – was that from the City or Province? Are SmartTrack and GO Train the same? Who would be operating the SmartTrack service and will it be affordable?
A. The federal government announced a funding commitment of $2.6 Billion for SmartTrack earlier today. The Province has also previously committed to fund electrification to certain corridors, including the three SmartTrack corridors. The fare system is to be integrated between the TTC and SmartTrack; fare options and structures are being considered in the work on SmartTrack.
C. I have no interest in the Eglinton corridor. The northern corridor would be cheaper and would not put the community through grief. The 427 route that is being studied for SmartTrack was previously considered in 2006.
Q. If the Eglinton portion of SmartTrack is a separate service would it be at grade? Will there be tunnels? Are there considerations for bridges?
A. Those questions will be answered through the feasibility study that we are starting now – what extra infrastructure (tunnels, bridges, etc) would be needed for that option.
Q. Who will be the users of the Eglinton line? The plans propose only 2 stops, each of them being 3 km apart which is quite a distance.
A. There would still be a need for local transit service along Eglinton Avenue.The SmartTrack service would provide a connection to the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre from the existing GO network and downtown. We would need to consider how localtransit would serve the community and possibly connect to SmartTrack stations.
Q. Would you consider BRT on Eglinton? This is a cheaper option.
A. For the purposes of the feasibility study City Staff have been directed to consider heavy rail along the Eglinton corridor. BRT is being constructed on the corridor further west in Mississauga. The Eglinton Crosstown LRT Phase 2 is being used as the reference case for this study.
C. Many people in Etobicoke rely on transit, especially in the north. The LRT would better serve this area. There is a preference to keep the LRT if SmartTrack uses the northern route.
C. Best idea is SmartTrack north with LRT on Eglinton. Perhaps with fewer LRT stops.
C. There is a station proposed at Scarlett, but Jane is a major bus route. There should be a stop at Jane.
Q. The concept of SmartTrack is to serve Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre - to connect people and jobs. So far, the assumed solution is heavy rail. Are you considering other ways to connect to the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre? The heavy rail option will be expensive and disruptive.
A. We have been directed by Council to consider the feasibility of these heavy rail options, using the LRT extension as our base case. The study will consider feasibility from many perspectives and will give Council a full understanding of the issues in the fall. In addition, we are also updating our ridership modeling. This work will be done over the next few months and help us understand how many people are likely to ride SmartTrack, RER, and other proposed routes.
Q. What is the difference between heavy rail and LRT?
A. Existing GO trains and subways areconsidered heavy rail – they have larger and faster trains, and can provide longer distance, regional connections. Light rail – LRT - is more flexible in terms of the configuration of the tracks, train sets and stops. It is more of an urban application.
Q. Are you looking at regional transit connections - like to the Mississauga Transitway?
A. Yes, regional transit connections are an important consideration. We will be working closely with Metrolinx to ensure an integrated local and regional network.
Q. Has an Environmental Assessment been completed for the western extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT?
A. Yes, the Eglinton West LRT EA was completed in 2010 by Metrolinx. Reports are available online at http://www.thecrosstown.ca/the-project/reports.
Q. Are you looking at LRT through to the Airport? Is there an opportunity to extend this LRT to Humber College
A. The current study doesn't contemplate any changes to either the Eglinton Crosstown or Finch West LRT. The extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT as approved is the base case that we will use to compare the heavy rail options.
The options along Eglinton were not supported due to the disruption they would cause and lack of local stops. The base reference case or a modified version with slightly fewer stops was generally supported. A few people expressed interest in the options which connect to the airport.
A few people asked questions of clarification on the Relief Line Project Assessment regarding the purpose of the project and technology selection. There were general inquiries about the study process and what stage the study was currently at, and funding status of the proposed transit line. Some people commented that Pape Station is a better connection to the Danforth subway line compared to Broadview Station. In general, participants were supportive of the results of the station evaluation and the corridor options presented.
Four 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.