Wednesday, February 28, 2018 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
St. Andrew’s Church | 73 Simcoe Street
John Wilson, Toronto Green Community
Diana Booth, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City of Toronto
Lorene Bodiam, Advocate for People with Disabilities, City of Toronto
Patricia Wood, CodeRedTO
Geoff Kettle, Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations
Stella Gustavson, City of Toronto
Jade Hoskins, City of Toronto
Gary Papas, City of Toronto
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Scott Haskill, TTC
Shirven Rezvany, Argyle PR
1. Opening Remarks and Overview
Jade Hoskins welcomed participants to the second City-Wide Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed new SmartTrack and GO Stations. Stella Gustavson and Gary Papas presented updated station designs for all new SmartTrack/GO stations. Shannon McNeill then presented the highlights of the environmental studies for the new SmartTrack/GO stations.
1.1 Questions of Clarification
Participants were invited to ask questions during the overview presentation. Questions are noted with Q, responses are noted with A, and comments are noted with C. Responses were provided by staff from the City, Metrolinx and TTC.
Finch-Kennedy SmartTrack Station
Q. Will the discussed vertical access from street level to the station be elevators?
A. Yes. The station will be fully accessible. There will also be a drop-off area for Wheel-Trans riders.
Q. Where is the station in relation to the hydro corridor? I am curious about cycling and trying to connect existing paths.
A. The hydro corridor is to the north of the station. The City is examining cycling opportunities along Finch Avenue; in particular, a bi-directional path along Finch Avenue is being considered. Cycling opportunities on Midland Avenue are also being considered.
Q. Is there going to be a roundabout for pick-up and drop-off?
A. The approach for the new stations is to focus on urban design. Early on, it was decided that the City would avoid building commuter parking and drop-off areas, and would instead aim to emphasize connections for transit users, pedestrians and cyclists. However, there is currently a City Council motion to explore commuter parking at this station. The City recognizes that there are people who will want to pick-up and drop-off riders; accommodations for this are being examined for each station
Q. Wheel-Trans will need space, and unloading passengers is a slow process.
A. Wheel-Trans will be provided with the space required to load and unload passengers. The TTC is moving towards a family service arrangement; Wheel-Trans passengers will be taken to accessible stations, stops or buses to connect and continue their trip.
C. The stations should consider car-sharing and ride-sharing. We will need space for these services to make pick-ups or drop-offs.
Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack Station
Q. Will the 54 bus terminate at Leslie Street?
A. It is expected to terminate at the new Science Centre Station located at the intersection of Eglinton Avenue and Leslie Street.
Gerrard-Carlaw SmartTrack Station
Q. Is the station area planning being coordinated with the growth plan for the area?
A. The City is working across departments to respond to the growth plan. The station planning will have to be sensitive to the community context in this area. We have learned this from past stakeholder and public meetings in the community.
East Harbour SmartTrack Station
C. Pedestrian and cycling paths on the west side of the Don River provide access to the Lower Don Trail. There is also a tunnel into Corktown Common. This is a growing community and improved accessibility to this station would be beneficial. Most people will have a hard time imagining walking through the Richmond Hill corridor underpass and through Corktown Common. There is currently a park path but no sidewalk. There may be a need to put a protected path from the station, under the bridges and over to the street corner of Mill Street and Bayview Avenue northwest of the station. The challenge is that this area is part of the flood protection plan.
King-Liberty SmartTrack Station
Q. What is the road with the station’s main entrance?
A. Joe Shuster Way and Sudbury Street provide the main entrances. At a recent stakeholder meeting with the community, existing residents expressed concern regarding traffic on these streets. Context-sensitive design work will be needed.
Q. Is the entrance at Atlantic Avenue above or below track level? Would this entrance include elevators?
A. The entrance is at King Street level, with a plan for both elevator and stair access to track level. The challenge is that space is limited. The City and Metrolinx are currently exploring an above-grade connection, over the tracks. In addition to an above-grade connection, there is also at at-grade connection, via a path along the south side of the corridor that leads to the main entrance.
St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack Station
Q. Is there no opportunity for access from St. Clair Avenue?
A. There will be pedestrian access from both the south and north sides of St. Clair Avenue West. To the east the planned new elevated Davenport Road extension will provide additional pedestrian and cyclist access to the station. Early on in the project, the City considered placing a St. Clair streetcar stop under the bridge for direct access. However, there is not enough room for this, even with planned street-widening. The new roads proposed as part of the St. Clair Avenue West Area Transportation Master Plan provide connections to the station. Runnymede and Davenport buses could terminate at this station. In addition, the Keele bus could connect via the extension of Keele Street. These will provide good connections to the station.
Spadina-Front GO Station
Q. Will CityPlace residents have to go to Spadina to access the station?
A. At present, yes. If the proposed Rail Deck Park is completed, it is anticipated that residents would have direct access from the south side of the rail corridor to the station through the park.
Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station
Q. What is the distance between the station access point and the subway?
A. It is approximately a 3-4 minute walk. At this time, we recognize that the surrounding areas are not supportiveof a direct connection between the subway and the new GO station. If the area were to redevelop, a more direct route could be provided.
Q. Is the extension of the West Toronto Railpath to Earlscourt Park part of the EA?
General Environmental Considerations for All Stations
C. East Harbour is at the mouth of the Don River, and there are concerns about stormwater runoff.
C. The Bird Friendly Guidelines tell us that the stations should be designed to minimize light reflection and light coming out from indoors. There is also an opportunity to make a green-roof building that could be beneficial for the migratory birds moving up and down the Don River Valley.
C. The socio-economic impacts presented to us are all construction-related impacts.
C. Air quality is a big issue these days. There are serious dust mitigation measures that need to be considered.
A. Dust mitigation plans will be required for construction.
C. I am pushing for stronger dust mitigation standards; the provincial standards are not very strong.
Cultural Heritage Considerations
C. Metrolinx has strong heritage standards. This is good.
Air Quality Considerations
Q. Will there be electric trains on this corridor when the frequent service starts? If electric trains are rolling out gradually it would have a dramatic impact.
A. The current plan is to have electrified trains and full RER service levels at the same time. Details of the electric train roll out are still being determined, and Metrolinx has not acquired electric trains yet.
Q. Do you know if some of these new stations will open before electrification?
A. The only station that is anticipated to be operational before electrification is complete is East Harbour SmartTrack Station, in 2023. It is anticipated that station construction and electrification work will be ongoing in parallel.
2. Facilitated Discussion Period
A summary of the discussion period following the presentation is provided below. Questions are noted with Q, responses are noted with A, and comments are noted with C. Responses were provided by staff from the City, Metrolinx and TTC.
Q. How are the City and Metrolinx pulling in community members that are disabled to the consultation process? The City should reach out to these groups, or consider a separate session on this in particular. There are existing community groups and committees that already meet with the TTC and the City. There are resources that can be tapped to hear this group of riders.
A. This is a good idea. There are opportunities to incorporate accessibility considerations into the EA process, during construction and through follow up planning studies.
Q. What do we mean when we say accessibility? We need to make sure this is defined. What about wayfinding, access points and so on. Some may not know how to get the entrance, or how to find where they need to go.
A. The City and Metrolinx will take this back to the Design Excellence team. We are interested in intuitive design approaches for wayfinding.
C. People with disabilities have a lot of trouble with the impact of construction. Communication about where the entrances and elevators are located will be critical. If the City provides up-to-date information, different community groups will find it and share it.
C. You can see in the plans you are trying to fit stations as best you can in the space you have. But the accessibility issues are important for all phases of the station development. If you involve customers along the way it will save time and money.
A. The topic is front of mind in design process, and outreach is ongoing.
Q. Is it not possible to turn the map so that north is up in the presentations and handouts? If not, the speaker should strongly communicate which direction is north, and make the arrow much bigger indicating north.
A. The maps would have to be redrawn. The facilitator will ensure that north is communicated verbally and the arrows will be made bigger.
C. The general public will be very interested in fare integration.
A. One of the principles of SmartTrack is to have one fare system, hopefully at a TTC fare rate. Negotiations on fare are ongoing.
3. Wrap up and Next Steps
Participants were informed of the various ways to give feedback, including project-specific email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org and SmartTrack@toronto.ca) and project websites (www.metrolinx.com/newstations and smarttrack.to/). Participants were encouraged to promote attendance of members of their groups at the upcoming public meetings.
Three public meetings will be held, as follows:
- Thursday March 1, 2018, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (presentation at 7:00 pm), at Lithuanian House, 1573 Bloor Street West
- Tuesday, March 6, 2018, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (presentation at 7:00 pm), at the Scarborough Civic Centre, Council Chamber, 150 Borough Drive.
- Wednesday, March 21, 2018, from 6:15 pm to 8:30 pm (presentation at 7:30 pm), at Queen Alexandra Middle School, Small Gym, 181 Broadview Avenue.