Scarborough Subway Extension

Phase 1 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Minutes

 

Date of Meeting
February 9, 2015

 

Start Time
5:00 PM

 

Project Name
Scarborough Subway Extension EA

 

Location
Bendale Branch, Toronto Public Library, 1515 Danforth Rd


Regarding Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting

Minutes Prepared By
Jake Murray, AECOM

 

On Monday, February 9 2015, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the City of Toronto and TTC hosted a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) meeting for Phase 1 of the Scarborough Subway Extension project assessment study. The purpose of the SAG is to provide organizations representing a broad range of interests with the opportunity to learn about and provide input into the study.  This first meeting focused on:

 

  1. Study process and timing
  2. Evaluation process and criteria
  3. Potential corridor options
  4. The role of SAG members in engaging Torontonians in the study

 

Nineteen SAG member organizations were represented, as well as ten staff members representing the City of Toronto, TTC and consultants.

 

The format of the meeting included a presentation focused on the project background, scope, process and opportunities for public engagement, followed by a Q&A session. The SAG members then participated in group discussions about the evaluation criteria and possible station locations and corridor options.  The minutes below outline the questions, comments and feedback received from the SAG meeting.

 

Attending

                 

Organization

 

CodeRedTO

Cameron MacLeod

Sheppard Subway Action Coalition

Lai Chu

Pat Sherman

Toronto Centre for Action Transportation

Asher Mercer

Toronto District School Board

Jeff Latto

Mario Silva

Transport Action Ontario

Bruce Budd

TTC Riders

Shaun Cleaver

Brenda Thompson

Sheppard East Village BIA

Ernie McCullough

CD Farquharson Community Association

Sheila White

Glen Andrew Community Association

Gary Comeau

Mike Ehlers

North Bendale Community Association

Jason Rodricks

James Burchell

Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto

Mr. Alan Lam

Centennial College

Shannon Brooks

Jelena Vulovic-Basic

Dorset Park Community Hub (Agincourt Community Services)

Laura Harper

East Scarborough Storefront

Shane Beharry

Ajeev Bhatia

Eglinton East-Kennedy Park-Ionview NAP

Femi Doyle-Marshall

Tesoc Multicultural Settlement Services

Sithambarapillai A Suresh

Kevric Real Estate Corp Inc

Mike Zenker

Oxford Properties

Johann Schumacher

Scarborough Hospital

Robert Biron

City of Toronto

Deputy Mayor Glenn De Baermaeker

Office of Councillor Raymond Cho

Hratch Aynedjian

Staff

TTC

Gary Carr, Project Manager

City of Toronto

David Cooper, Senior Transportation Planner

City of Toronto

Michael Hain, Transportation Planner

City of Toronto

Charissa Iogna, Transportation Planner

City of Toronto

Kate Kusiak, Senior Public Consultation Coordinator

City of Toronto

Mike Logan, Senior Transportation Planner

City of Toronto

Gary Papas, Transportation Planner

City of Toronto

James Perttula, Program Manager

AECOM

Scott Thorburn, Vice President

AECOM

Jake Murray (note-taker)

Also Invited

BILD GTA

 

Evergreen

 

Pembina Institute

 

Toronto Association BIA

 

Toronto Catholic District School Board

 

Toronto Region Board of Trade

 

Urban Land Institute

 

Kennedy Road BIA

 

Curran Hall Community Association

 

Dorset Park Neighbourhood Association

 

Midland Park Community Association

 

Scarborough Village Neighbourhood Association

 

Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

 

Scarborough NAP

 

 

 

 

Agenda Item

1.    Introductions

  • James Perttula opened the meeting providing brief introductions and referred attendees to the documents that were distributed prior to the meeting and at the sign-in desk
  • All attendees and meeting staff stood up and introduced themselves with their name and organization
  • James noted the importance of the group, explaining that purpose of the group is to be a key contact for the project.  The City wants to establish a strong working relationship with the Group in order to understand the social, economic and environmental issues in the community
  • James asked how many people attended one or both of the recent Public Information Centres and explained that this is the first of several stakeholder meetings that will take place at times between Public Information Centres
    • About 25% of people raised their hands

·       James requested that all attendees take information from this session and discuss it with their organization’s members and employees to provide more in-depth feedback

2.    Presentation and Q&A

·       James gave a presentation to the group summarizing the structure of the meeting and the type of feedback that the City is looking to gather

Comment/ Question

Response

Action

Can you clarify the difference between a subway station and a stop? Is there discussion for a fourth station?

When we talk about a stop or a station these are the same thing. There are certainly options for other stations than what is presented on the maps.

 

The project is supposed to make things better for transit riders. Keep in mind that there are two types of transit riders, ones that drive to the station and ones that take the bus or walk to the station. Are we prioritizing certain types of riders?

We are looking at all types of transit riders (i.e. people who drive, take the bus, walk, cycle, etc.).

 

 

The Terms of Reference discusses three separate studies. Will the UofT modelling support all three studies?

UofT has been retained for modelling ridership on the SmartTrack plan and that will also support this project. The modelling work would be customized for the use of each study.

 

The project impacts more than just the 416 area, it should consider the 905 area and we need to consider access to highways. Funding from the 905 region is also important.

Comment noted.

 

 

For slides 17-19 “key criteria”: to what extent will we be able to comment on and mold the criteria?

 

We are looking for any input you have on the criteria. (Following the presentation, each of the tables got into detailed discussion about the criteria on the list and and any that  may have been missed).

 

How will gentrification be incorporated into the criteria?

We will be looking at existing and future development/land uses which would incorporate gentrification.

 

This project should build on other transit projects. How does this fit in the larger scale of Toronto’s transit plans?

 

We have a map that shows existing projects (under construction and funded) and future projects which will allow us to set priorities for building a full network across the city. For the Scarborough Subway Extension, we added the corridors to the east to determine how the extension will interact with SmartTrack. That full future network map is on the project website as part of the presentations from the PICs and will be sent around to this group as well.

Send out full future network map to the group.

Scarborough uses a bus feeding option. Will Scarborough Centre be one of the three stations because of the existing bus terminal and GO station?

That is a preferred option for the extension.

 

 

Will all of the subway extension be below ground?

 

There are a few areas where it could be above ground but it would be separate from the road. Most of the corridors would be completely below ground.

 

We should consider the landscape and streetscape of the extension. I understand this is outside the scope of an EA and will likely be determined later on. Will there be further opportunity to provide input on those types of things?

Some of that will be addressed through the current process (i.e. development around the stations and the corridor should be consistent with avenue studies and design guidelines). We have not yet been directed toundertake separate planning study to address those issues in detail.

 

Will noise and dust be considered for the above ground corridors and will you have to acquire land?

Regardless of the corridor, whether above or below ground, there will likely be some land that will need to be acquired.

 

The contextual relationship between this corridor and things around it like schools. There are opportunities that the City might pursue for youth ridership (i.e. pedestrian and cycling network that could feed into this subway extension)

This is also something that will be considered as part of this plan.

 

 

As part of the plan for the development at Kennedy and 401 (“Metrogate”) where there are a cluster of condo buildings they said there would be TTC connections.

There is an on-going Agincourt feasibility study to create connections to the Sheppard LRT and the Agincourt GO Station. We have not identified this area for a potential subway station at this time.

 

Is litter one of the criteria that will be considered as part of the EA? Transit stops are areas of heavy litter.

It might be best to address this concern through the design of the stations.

 

Do the criteria include the land development potential of areas? Some corridors have more potential for development than others.

We are already looking at existing development and existing land uses to identify those areas where there may be potential. We will look at this in more detail as we get further into the process.

 

3.    Group Discussion – Evaluation Criteria

  • A City of Toronto staff joined each table to drive a discussion around the draft evaluation criteria

Questions and comments from table discussions regarding the draft evaluation criteria

Comment

Response

Action

Is safety included in the criteria?

Yes, this includes pedestrian safety as well.

 

We should prioritize the distance people have to walk or cycle over how far people have to drive to the stations.

Comment noted.

 

If you have all the things from slide 18 (i.e. Shaping the City, Healthy Neighbourhoods, Public Health and Environment criteria), then the other things fall in naturally. Why do they all seem to carry the same weight though?

The detailed criteria are important because they are measureable and they are pulled from the official plan. Some of the detailed criteria are measured differently.

 

When you look at Kennedy and Sheppard, it seems like 4 to 5 stations should be there.

Comment noted. We will discuss the stations in more detail in the review of the proposed corridors.

 

 

There seems to be a lot of discussion about the 500 m buffer around the stations. This seems small. TDSB actually considers 1.6 km a walkable distance.

Comment noted.

 

Evaluating land development potential, is this included in the evaluation criteria?

 

The “Shaping The City” section talks about that and it will be used as a criterion to assess the corridors.

The criteria assessment is not a mathematical formula;we won’t be weighting each criterion with a number but we will be assessing the corridors transparently.

 

The two most eastern routes will make the extension much longer, are you considering cost for those in the screening criteria?

The budget is a key factor, but at the same time the study needs to look at the potential benefits and costs of each corridor in order to identify the preferred corridor.

 

Can the subway go on an angle under houses and not just under roadways?

It can but it is easier to go under the street because the City owns that land. If it were to go under privately owned land there are easements required for the subway tunnel.

 

Questions and comments about the project process and other topics

Comment

Response

Action

Since we have to keep SmartTrack in mind on this project, wouldn’t it be better to wait for the UofT modelling for that before we start this process?

Yes we need that information before we recommend an alignment but we have to keep moving with the selection process.

 

Is the GO Lakeshore line electrification and 15 min interval being considered as well?

Yes this is being considered in the modelling.

 

Why are we considering SmartTrack if there is no funding? It shouldn’t be coming into the decision making process.

 

The report to request authorization to study SmartTrack is being considered by council February 10. Regional Express Rail, similar to SmartTrack, is already on the books from the Metrolinx’s perspective so we definitely need to consider it for the Scarborough Subway Extension. Much of the SmartTrack plan is already being planned by Metrolinx (i.e. electrification and double tracking of the Stouffville Line).

 

Are we not going to eliminate any of the corridors before the process is over?

 

We will compare all of the corridors at the highest level and some will certainly drop off as we go through the process.

Some of the criteria will be applied to all of the corridors and the more detailed criteria may only be applied to a few remaining corridors.

 

What is the timeline for the impact assessment?

 

The impact assessment will be in Phase 3 of the study. The timing can be viewed as quarters (Phase 1 will be wrapped up by the end of February, Phase 2 will be complete by mid-summer and Phase 3 will take us to the end of October).

 

So the first thing we have to choose is where the stations will be?

 

We have identified areas for potential stations, there could be more or fewer. The council direction mentioned three stations but if more are beneficial we will consider more stations.

 

Do you prioritize the location of stations over the corridor/route?

 

You need to look at these in tandem, they are a package. You can pick the stations and then connect them or pick the corridor and then the stations.

 

Do we have to have all the comments ready in one week’s time? We need time to take the information back to our members.

We would like to have all the comments back within a week but understand that it’s a short timeline. It’s best if you confirm with us that you will be providing comments and we can discuss extending the date.

 

 Network connectivity needs to be resilient, people should have choices. We need to connect to other transit lines, schools and institutions, to encourage use.

Comment noted.

 

(Centennial Rep) As the Progress campus continues to grow (adding 740 beds), there is a need to serve our students and faculty with transit. We are maxed out for vehicular parking. Connectivity and efficiently covering the existing gaps in the network is important. 

Comment noted.

 

A subway will reduce bus traffic and ease bus volumes,  it will support existing bus users, and create a connection with the downtown.

Comment noted.

 

We want a solution that minimizes driving and traffic in our community.

Comment noted.

 

Aspire for social equity in Scarborough. There are currently two types of users: drivers to shift to transit, and low income dependent on transit. Station locations will need to consider where they live, but also where they go to work.

Comment noted.

 

 Will the  SRT  remain in operation during the construction of the subway?

It depends on the corridor option selected.  Not viable if an SRT corridor option is selected.

 

 

 

4.    Group Discussion – Corridor Options

  • Each group went to three separate stations where maps of different corridor options were presented by City of Toronto staff members
  • Participants had the opportunity to add specific comments directly on the maps.

Questions and comments related to corridor options and general comments

Comment

Response

Action

SRT Corridor to McCowan

Is the SRT corridor wide enough for the proposed subway tracks?

Some properties may need to be acquired along the southern portion of the corridor.

 

SRT Corridor to Markham/Progress

I like this option because you pick up Centennial College.

There current proposal does not include a station at the college but we will consider that recommendation.

 

It is difficult for anyone north of the 401 to get to The Scarborough Hospital. This is a big concern since there are no hospitals in the area north of the 401 and a large section of the population there does not drive.

Comment noted.

 

There should be another station at Ellesmere.

Comment noted.

 

The potential benefit of this corridor is to provide service to Centennial College, there is great ridership potential with a station at Centennial College.

Comment noted.

 

A station at Centennial College is essential.

Comment noted.

 

This could allow for a further extension to Malvern in the future.

Comment noted.

 

SRT Corridors – General Comments

The Scarborough General Hospital will not be served with the SRT Corridor options. Subway service to the Hospital is important.

Comment noted.

 

It is difficult to access hospitals with transit in communities north of Highway 401.

Comment noted.

 

Consider a station at Ellesmere.

Comment noted.

 

You need to factor in the operating costs of providing replacement buses during the conversion of the SRT corridor to a Subway.    

Comment noted.

 

How frequent will the replacement buses be?

This will be determined at a later date, if a decision is made to follow the SRT corridor.

 

Midland Corridors – General Comments

Shutting down the SRT is a concern.

Comment noted.

 

There could be a duplication of service with the nearby proposed SmartTrack corridor.

Comment noted.

 

You can serve the Scarborough General Hospital with other corridor options.

Comment noted.

 

This option leaves a lot of issues unchanged.

Comment noted.

 

The number of stations on this line is related to the overall benefit and access to this subway extension.

Comment noted.

 

Bellamy Corridor to McCowan

Is there potential for development in the hydro corridor here?

Some areas of the corridor do have potential for development but it is limited.

 

This option is preferred since it goes to the hospital.

Comment noted.

 

Markham Corridor to McCowan

This option services Scarborough better than any other. It runs through the ‘heart’ of Scarborough.

Comment noted.

 

There is a large concentration of people along Eglinton and Danforth; suggest five stations for the Markham option. The stations in the core of the city are 600 m apart. The Bloor Danforth Line is overloaded.

Comment noted. The Relief Line would help with congestion in these areas.

 

Is the proposed fourth station realistic and affordable?

A fourth station is realistic, and through this process, we can determine whether it is necessary, and affordable.

 

General Comments

Development opportunities along the Hydro corridor will be limited.

Comment noted.

 

How does SmartTrack differ from the proposed RER?

The proposed SmartTrack service concept is a bit different than RER, including number of stops, frequency of service and fares.

 

The maps don’t show the existing Scarborough RT

Comment noted.

 

Inquiry regarding the amount of subway station stops that will be built; this will also be an important factor in regards to affordability.

Comment noted.

 

We need to find ways to balance affordability and access; the subway extension should allow many people to access and have well used stations. The more stations we have, the higher quality of access and choice in transit options, which leads to a better experience for the transit rider.

Comment noted.

 

Consideration for the existing communities needs to happen in regard to City Building; it is important to intensify but at the same time we need to respect the communities that exist.

Comment noted.

 

Employment opportunities should also be created in City Building to help further strengthen Scarborough.

Comment noted.

 

Healthy neighbourhoods are important to preserve when carrying out the City Building portion in transit planning.

Comment noted.

 

Improvements that come with City Building can have both positive and negative impacts, gentrification can push out residents that came to Scarborough for affordable housing at the same time it also improves Scarborough and provides more opportunities, we need to be conscious of this fact and find ways to help Scarborough move through this process.

Comment noted.

 

There should really be a station stop at Scarborough General Hospital, this makes the most sense for people accessing this hospital for both use and employment, and it can become a great hub in and around the area as well.

Comment noted.

 

When will we be having conversations regarding the surface transit networks and how this fits into the subway extension?

Once an alignment and station locations are chosen and approved, TTC will be looking at how to best route the surface transit system to optimize service to the residents and the new stations.

 

Stations should be placed at high traffic/population areas.

Comment noted.

 

The extension should service students at the Progress Campus of Centennial College which is experiencing massive growth and expected to continue (faculty as well).

Comment noted.

 

The SRT should stay open during construction.

Comment noted.

 

Should give more weight to people working for 30 years than going to school for 3-4 years.

Comment noted.

 

The extension should serve hospitals and the medical cluster at Lawrence and McCowan.

Comment noted.

 

The extension should reach more institutions further east.

Comment noted.

 

The preferred alignment should be further east than the proposed SmartTrack/RER to avoid duplicate service.

Comment noted.

 

Advocating (i.e. Forcing) a transfer at Kennedy to prevent overloading Yonge/Bloor.

Comment noted.

 

Should minimize parking and traffic related to Centennial College.

Comment noted.

 

Social equity: we want to improve service for transit dependent people, not just get people out of cars. Serve not just where they live but where they work.

Comment noted.

 

Should capture workers, seniors getting to appointments and schools with youth to build lifetime riders.

Comment noted.

 

A connection to a full network and the GO network is important.

Comment noted.

 

Should consider more stops at Ellesmere and Markham, and Eglinton and Danforth.

Comment noted.

 

Scarborough is not a walking sort of place and there should be lots of parking.

Comment noted.

 

There is a trade-off between cost, development potential and travel time. These are all important (cost most?).

Comment noted.

 

Reduce bus traffic (reduce bunching) and improve service.

Comment noted.

 

Help transit capture riders in east Scarborough – don’t want to see reductions in bus service.

Comment noted.

 

Make transit the better way.

Comment noted.

 

Service market of transit users and grow it.

Comment noted.

 

McCowan Precinct Plan is affected by the extension.

Comment noted.

 

A station creates pressure for condos/development.

Comment noted.

 

Cost more important than affordability.

Comment noted.

 

5.    Wrap-up and Final Comments

  • James closed the meeting and confirmed:
    • The next set of public meetings is anticipated for May and in early May the team will likely bring this group back together
    • The team will also be hosting a workshop with this group and the technical advisory committee
    • The team is looking for this group to spread the word to their members and organizations.  City staff would be pleased to provide any information or support to member organizations.
    • You can contact us directly if you have any needs or more questions/comments

Questions and comments related to the wrap-up

Comment

Response

Action

I am pleased with how well the meeting has been organized.

Thanks!

 

 

Can you distribute the contact information of the group to everyone?

 

Yes, we will distribute this with the draft minutes for your review/comment. If you prefer that your contact is not shared with the group please let us know.

Distribute draft minutes and everyone’s contact info to the group.

 

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Scarborough Subway Extension

Phase 1 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting Minutes (209 KB)