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 25, 2015. A more detailed report of the feedback captured during this phase of consultations will be prepared in the coming days.
On Thursday, June 25, 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 Riverdale Collegiate, 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 with a focus on the Relief Line Project Assessment given by Tim Läspä (Director, Transportation Planning, City of Toronto) and Stella Gustavson (Program Manager, Transportation Planning, City of Toronto) at 7:00 PM, participants had the opportunity to ask questions of clarification as well as provide feedback.
Approximately 60 people attended the public meeting, including City Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30).
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, Stella Gustavson and Paul Millett (Chief Project Engineer, Engineering, Construction and Expansion Section, TTC).
Q. With regard to the Eglington feasibility study for SmartTrack, nothing was mentioned about the Phase 2 Eglinton Crosstown LRT plan. Is that work being considered as the base case?
A. Yes, it is the base case. We will compare the heavy rail options to it to give context for the feasibility of those options, and will report our findings to Council.
Q. You mentioned that Queen and Degrassi have been taken out of the study as a potential station location for the Relief Line. Why does it remain in the SmartTrack study? What would be the difference between the elevated SmartTrack system in terms of the reaction you already got from the community?
A. We are working closely with Metrolinx in terms of station options for SmartTrack. Metrolinx is currently evaluating new station options and will be reporting on the results of that evaluation in the fall. The community input received as part of the Relief Line process will also be taken into account as part of SmartTrack. The City is starting to help Metrolinx sift through some of the options now.
Q. How would the corridors actually connect with the existing Yonge-University subway line?
A. The PATH system connects with the subway in the downtown core. We will either plan the new station to be directly below an existing station, or use the PATH to create a good connection to an existing station. All stations will be barrier-free.
Q. An RFP to work on a redevelopment policy in the Carlaw and Dundas area has been issued by City Planning, but it seems like you are not looking seriously at that intersection as a station option. Why did that area score so low? Can you expand on the evaluation criteria that was used?
A. The project team would be happy to walk you through the details of the evaluation criteria after the presentation.
Q. What infrastructure is going to be required above ground for the stations? How do you deal with existing underground infrastructure downtown such as underground parking lots, etc.?
A. Downtown stations will not necessarily have much impact on the surface – it will be restricted to small entrance buildings, electrical substations and possibly venting. Emergency exit structures may also be required along the route, depending on station spacing.
In the downtown area, we are cognizant of existing structures and opportunities for integration with future development and the PATH system. You are right that there are significant constraints downtown because of foundations. We are in the process of identifying where the structures are , which will determine where the subway structures could be placed.
Q. Will there be any holistic planning in terms of cycling connections at the stations? Will you be considering prioritization of cycling corridors as you determine station locations?
A. In the detailed evaluation criteria you will see that ensuring cycling and pedestrian access is a key consideration in our evaluation for a preferred alignment and stations. Once we identify station locations, we will be doing some more preliminary planning around station areas. Pedestrian and cyclist access will also be key considerations in the design process that will follow the Project Assessment.
Q. Pape is a very residential area with low density and very few commercial or industrial uses. How will a station at Pape affect the quality of life for residents during and after construction in terms of vibration, noise, ventilation, emergency exits, etc.?
A. As part of the Environmental Assessment process we must develop mitigation plans for issues like noise and vibration for the construction period and after the line is operational. We'll be developing those strategies once a preferred alignment and station locations are identified. Keep in mind that with respect to noise and vibration, track design has advanced significantly since the Bloor Danforth line was built.
Emergency exits are required around every 750 metres. There is a lot of flexibility with respect to where the exits could be located. Once we have a preferred alignment and station locations, we will provide examples of possible designs and will work with community to determine locations.
Q. Of the four transit projects presented tonight, the Relief Line is the only project that is not yet funded. When is this project expected to break ground and become operational?
A. We want to proceed with planning for the Relief Line so that when funding becomes available the project can move forward. Everyone understands that the crowding conditions on the Yonge subway exist today and we have to find solutions.
Several people indicated a strong preference for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT extension to the ACC and Pearson for its better local service. The routes by way of the 427 corridor were questioned for the additional travel time required.
Through a dotmocracy exercise at the meeting, the majority of the meeting participants indicated that they 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 cumulative dotmocracy exercise at the public meetings a majority of the meeting participants indicated a preference for Corridor B and D, with Corridor D being generally preferred by as indicated in the photo below.
A more detailed report of all consultation activities will be made available after this phase of consultation. 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.