Thursday March 1, 2018 | 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Morse Street Junior Public School | 180 Carlaw Avenue
Elected Officials and Staff
Councillor Paula Fletcher
James Perttula, City of Toronto
Greg Tokarz, City of Toronto
Jade Hoskins, City of Toronto
Kelly Jones, City of Toronto
Setareh Fadaee, City of Toronto
Laurence Lui, TTC
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
Ryan Chan, Metrolinx
Roanne Arglye, Argyle
Shirven Rezvany, Argyle
1. Opening Remarks and Overview
Roanne Argyle welcomed participants to the second Gerrard-Carlaw Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting and provided a recap of the previous SAG meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed Gerrard-Carlaw SmartTrack Station.
James Perttula gave a high-level overview of Toronto’s current and future rapid transit network, the new SmartTrack/GO stations program and the TPAP process. Greg Tokarz provided a detailed update on the Gerrard-Carlaw SmartTrack station design. Shannon McNeill then presented a summary of the findings of the environmental studies, which included the following studies: natural environment and tree inventory; socio-economic and land use; archaeology and cultural heritage; transportation; noise and vibration; and air quality.
2. 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.
C. There is no access from the southeast corner of Carlaw Avenue and Gerrard Street; if you were in the area of the park, you may cut across traffic on Gerrard Street to get to the station. Pedestrians will cut across.
A. This will be considered in the station design.
Q. Is the station above ground?
A. The station entrances are at grade. The station will be two stories tall. The track level is elevated on a berm. There will be stairs and elevators from the station entrances to the track level.
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.
Do the results of the effects assessment seem reasonable?
Q. Are the species identified in the slides at risk?
A. There is the potential to impact species at risk (SAR). Specifically, there is potential impact to Monarch butterfly habitat. We will work with our partners at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to mitigate potential effects to SAR.
Q. What is the difference between Metrolinx, GO and SmartTrack?
A. Metrolinx operates GO transit, and works on planning and other transit issues in the Greater Toronto-and Hamilton Area. Metrolinx’s responsible ministry is the Ministry of Transportation. SmartTrack is a proposed approach to transit that the mayor proposed during the last election. Council has directed City staff to work with Metrolinx to advance this plan. SmartTrack involves adding extra stations on existing GO rail lines. It was brought to City residents by Toronto City council.
Q. What will the effect of Relief Line construction be on the SmartTrack infrastructure we’re building?
Design work on the Relief Line is advancing and will be reported to council in 2019. Funding may subsequently be set aside to build it. Construction will commence in the mid-2020s. Construction on the Relief Line may start before construction of the SmartTrack station is completed. It will be important to avoid disrupting GO service while the SmartTrack station is being built.
Q. What is the timeline for the Relief Line?
A. The Relief Line is set to be completed by 2031. Planning and design activities are underway for the tunnel construction. The design work is funded and advancing.
Q. Are the two groups working together?
A. Yes. Metrolinx and City teams working on both the Relief Line and SmartTrack are coordinated.
Q. I am concerned that local traffic will be affected by passenger drop-offs at the station. Is there evidence from another station that is pedestrian and connection-focused that this model works? Some evidence would be helpful.
A. These are different than traditional GO stations because they are urban; the stations are designed without the inclusion of parking lots. In this area, a good number of people will have connections from transit, walking and cycling. We anticipate that some people will be dropped off by car. The City is looking to see what is possible for the future redevelopment of adjacent sites, like the No Frills site. We are considering how passenger pick-up and drop-off may be addressed in the vicinity of the station.
Q. There is a stretch of Gerrard Street that branches south of the train track; why can’t there be an entrance there? All the cars will pull over there and wait for pick-ups even though it’s a residential street.
A. The TTC sees this issue at subway stations. This becomes less of an issue as service becomes more frequent. Since trains are frequent, the number of people will be less concentrated and more dispersed. There are also six different entrances to this station. This should disperse traffic.
C. Though transit will be more frequent, there will be also more people.
Q. Which buildings have heritage potential?
A. Metrolinx has a process for this. A screening report is done first that looks to see what properties have heritage potential. Next a Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report is completed for properties identified with heritage potential. So far, a screening report has identified some properties with potential heritage value or interest, mostly on Pape Avenue. We will have more information in the fall. If there are construction impacts, there will be consultation with property owners. They would be notified early.
Q. What will happen to the No Frills site?
A. The City and Metrolinx are aware of the concerns about the No Frills and the daycare sites. There will be impacts on the Riverdale Plaza site, though the specific impacts are still being determined. The owners of the plaza, Choice Properties REIT, are aware of the property requirements. They are interested in opportunities for development on the site.
C. This will be a large transit hub. The presentation tonight does not communicate the future potential of the site. This area will look very different once the station is put in. The station itself is a small piece. The whole area of Carlaw Avenue and Gerrard Street is undeveloped. Residents will see a transformation of that area, including a better use of the REIT land. It is a mixed-use development in the making; people will want to live there given the transit connections. This area will be a transit hub, so beautification will also be important.
A. There is potential funding in this project for improvements to the public realm, such as tree planting and adding benches to make the site more attractive.
Q. What will the design look like? What is the process for this? What are the opportunities for engagement? I find the bridges appealing, and I think the new designed stations should be culturally sensitive to the community. Is it possible to reflect the bridge design?
A. Both the City and Metrolinx have design review panels. As the design work will progress, there will be opportunity to give input.
Q. Where are the riders coming from?
A. Trains here will be stopping on two corridors. Riders will be travelling on the Stouffville rail line, which extends to Lincolnville, or on the Lakeshore East line, which extends to Oshawa. The City and Metrolinx undertake modelling on the anticipated numbers of riders and model their travel patterns. Modelling considers factors such as employment and population centres. Metrolinx service planning is also looking to have trains passing through Union Station, rather than terminating there. Over the course of the day at this station, projected ridership is up to 13,000 riders per day, provided we have fare integration. This is a projection to 2031.
Q. What will be the impact from noise and vibration during construction? Will there be pile-driving?
A. The specific construction methods have not yet been decided. The City and Metrolinx can include language about this in the contract we prepare with the consortium. Typically, we don’t pursue pile-driving; it’s invasive and there are better means. The tender document will include language requiring mitigation of noise and vibration effects.
C. Getting advanced communications about the construction work would be very helpful for the neighbourhood.
C. Flood lighting is very disruptive as well.
A. A lighting plan is included in the tender document as well. Metrolinx has experience with this issue from other projects. Language will be included requiring contractors to aim lighting away from residents, use blinders, and so on.
Discussion on Council motion on station area planning study: What type of planning information would be useful for you?
C. The neighbourhood designation is sacrosanct in the community. It would be nice to have a sense of how much flexibility there is for the station area – mixed-use can mean many things. Making this tangible would be helpful. There is already development in this area; for example, the Beer Store building is six stories, 58 units. This is already happening and will accelerate. Giving people information on what this mixed-use area could look like would be helpful. This is what I want to talk about for the next meeting. Given that there is transit, it could be towers.
A. Mixed use is different in different parts in the city. Typically, mid-rise would be appropriate for this area. But given the infrastructure coming in, it may be higher.
C. Addressing community services and amenities would be important to people in the community.
C. Affordable housing is important. We don’t want transit to be a death-sentence for affordability. Many people moved here for its affordability. If this neighbourhood could be a model for affordability, it would be good. Concessions in terms of height could include affordable family units. Transit can’t be the end of affordability; that is just wrong.
A. The City has been looking at what Transport for London does. Transport for London has affordable housing objectives that they must achieve as part of their development for transit. The City is exploring ideas like this.
Q. What are the boundaries for the terms of reference? What is the area you need to study as part of the Council motion?
A. The City would like your feedback on this. It is up to the City to determine.
Q. Does Metrolinx identify this as a mobility hub?
A. It is not identified as one right now. It is not a typical mobility hub. In the updated growth plan, there are targets for residential and employment development around major transit areas. It is unclear if this is a major transit area, but we must consider what type of development we want. For GO stations, it’s a minimum 150 combined residents and jobs per hectare. There will also be a soft-site analysis, understanding what sites could support development and what kind.
C. We need to consider what this neighbourhood will become – what will we want to retain? Local character, heritage, the dog park and so on.
C. There is opportunity here. Jones Avenue is developing, but the bridge is a barrier. People will want to go back and forth. We will need to beautify.
A. Councillor Fletcher is working with public works on beautification of all nine underpasses in the area. The focus right now is the Carlaw-Dundas corridor.
Q. Is it worth walking the site together?
A. This could be done.
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 www.smarttrack.to/).Participants were encouraged to take the information presented back to their groups and encourage members of these groups to attend 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.