Wednesday March 21, 2018 | 6:30pm – 8:30pm 

Queen Alexandra Middle School | 181 Broadview Ave.

 Meeting Summary

Project Staff

James Perttula, City of Toronto
Stella Gustavson, City of Toronto
Greg Tokarz, City of Toronto
Nish Bala, City of Toronto
Jade Hoskins, City of Toronto
Ulrica Ho, City of Toronto
Nithya Vijayakumar, City of Toronto
Lorna Zappone, City of Toronto
Brian Anders, City of Toronto
Cayla Baarda, City of Toronto
Kelly Jones, City of Toronto
Scott Haskill, TTC
Brian Gallaugher, Metrolinx
Richard Borbridge, Metrolinx
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Rawle Agard, Metrolinx
Andre Marois, Metrolinx
Jody Robinson, Metrolinx
Nick Faieta, Metrolinx
Sandy Grigg, Metrolinx
Aslam Shaikh, Metrolinx
Michelle Louli, Metrolinx
Jessica Atuahene-Amankwa, Metrolinx

Project Consultants

Jim Faught, LURA Consulting
Alex Lavasidis, LURA Consulting
Shirven Rezvany, Argyle PR
James Jarrett, 4Transit
David Hopper, 4Transit

1. Opening Remarks and Overview

Jim Faught welcomed participants to the third public meeting of the second phase of consultation events for the new SmartTrack/GO Stations. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed East Harbour and Gerrard-Carlaw SmartTrack stations.

Stella Gustavson summarized the feedback received during the last round of public consultation, and provided a high-level overview of Toronto’s rapid transit network and the SmartTrack program. Stella also presented updates to the station designs. Shannon McNeill then provided an overview of Metrolinx’s RER program and the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) . Following this, Shannon presented a summary of the findings of the environmental studies, which included the following disciplines: natural environment and tree inventory; socio-economics and land use; archaeology and cultural heritage; transportation; noise and vibration; and air quality.

2. Facilitated Discussion Period

Following the presentation, participants were encouraged to ask questions and offer comments. 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 and Metrolinx.

Q. As a homeowner with property facing the GO corridor, I have concerns about increasing train traffic on the corridor. Currently there is only a fence blocking the corridor. Will there be safety barriers put in place?

A. During construction, Metrolinx will be installing high security fencing to replace existing fencing. When construction is complete, in areas without noise walls, high security fencing will be retained/installed.

Q. Are there any noise walls along the corridor from Queen Street to the bridge at Dundas Street? How does Metrolinx determine if noise walls will be constructed?

A. Noise walls have been proposed along that portion of the corridor. Metrolinx conducted a study on the noise along the corridor as part of the Lakeshore East Rail Corridor Expansion Project and the results can be found online. Local resident groups have posed similar questions, and if you would like to speak with us after the meeting we can help connect you with them.

Q. Many of the transit infrastructure projects in Toronto are being built using private-public partnerships. All of the future LRTs will be partially privatized. For the SmartTrack stations, there is nothing in writing that states that TTC will be operating them. For the Eglinton Crosstown, a private company will operate and maintain it. The concern is the cost to the taxpayer. When you have privatized service, politicians lose control over cost and service standards. Presto is a good example of this. For the SmartTrack service, the Ontario Government will not contribute to the operating cost at all. The Toronto taxpayer will be paying for it, and 905 riders will be using the TTC for free if fare integration is introduced.

A. The procurement approach that Metrolinx is taking for design and construction is an Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) process. The GO Transit system already has a private operator. The plan is for the TTC to operate the Eglinton Crosstown, though this has not been finalized. Fare integration is key to the development of SmartTrack. The intention of fare integration is to provide more options for riders to move through the City on a single fare..

Q. Will the provincial government provide funding for the operating costs of extra buses, streetcars and other services that riders from outside of Toronto will be using? Is the Ontario Government going to subsidize this? Or will the Toronto taxpayers pay for this?

A. The province does not provide funding for the operating cost of the TTC. Toronto City Council has signalled that this is needed, and noted that the TTC plays an important role in the broader transit system of the province.

Q. In the Riverdale area, the noise and vibration mitigation being proposed is misguided. Metrolinx should send a sound engineer to come and take into account the fact that there are four types of trains passing through the neighbourhood – including both electric and diesel. How will this affect my home and the homes of others along the corridor?

A. Metrolinx is meeting with a group of affected residents on this issue next week. Residents have been asking for more information for some time. The meeting is 6 p.m., March 27 at the Ralph Thornton Centre.

C. Metrolinx is only doing appropriate mitigation for people who are speaking out and getting organized.

C. The Gerrard-Carlaw station is essential and must be interoperable with the new subway system. The Dundas streetcar must be taken across Carlaw to the new station. And buses must stop at the station as well. Do this even if you have to expropriate the Riverdale Mall.

C. Metrolinx should help sound insulate and air condition all the houses along the corridor. Pearson did this for neighbouring homes as they increased flights.

C. In terms of sound mitigation there is an obvious error. Around Union Station there are hills. The trains are still accelerating at Booth Avenue at 100% throttle. If you put the East Harbour Station at Sunlight Park Road, the increased noise will travel to at least Carlaw or further. The plan did not look at the gradation of the ground and does not understand what diesel sounds like.

Q. I live on Broadview Avenue south of Queen Street and I am curious if the streetcar will be extended south. Where would I be able to find the vibration and noise study on this? Currently, there is very little noise south of Broadview.

A. The extension of the Broadview streetcar is part of the overall extension of Broadview Avenue. The next phase of the environmental assessment on that extension is underway. The City’s transportation planning team is just beginning these studies. We can put you in touch with staff working on this.

Q. There is City Council direction to study the area and plan for density. Do you have any idea of the density we’re expecting? What area is being studied?

A. Councillor Fletcher’s response: The terms of reference for this study is currently being drafted, and this document will outline the geographic zone that will be studied. This will be completed before the end of June. This area is anticipated to encompass Gerrard Square, Riverdale Plaza and some parts of Gerrard Street. These documents will be made public and you will have a chance to comment.

C. History has shown that privatizing transit though private-public partnerships (P3) in London and Australia was a disaster. The better route is to keep transit public. Presto is a good example of the failure of P3s, forced on the City by the province, and 40% of the gates do not work. The TTC is losing money.

A. Councillor Fletcher’s response: The presenters work for Metrolinx, they are not the decision-makers. Metrolinx has an AFP model. The Eglinton Crosstown was supposed to be built by the TTC, but was farmed out to private interests to be built. This was done by the Ontario Government. Presto was forced on the City by Metrolinx and it is old technology. Adam Giambrone, former TTC chair, wanted to be able to tap your credit card to pay fares. The TTC, even though it is the largest system in the province, is not leading this project. It is the province, because they are paying for it. I encourage you to come to city hall and raise these issues.

C. I want to point out the noise info sheet provided is flawed. There is no baseline noise measurement, the sheet only discusses increments. In my community, we currently measure at about 70 decibels during the day. The Ontario Government’s maximum level is 55. But because the incremental noise increase in our community is below 5 decibels, we do not quality for mitigation. Other places have a larger incremental increase, but the baseline noise is very low. What is Metrolinx doing to change this approach to noise mitigation?

A. Metrolinx is currently exploring a network-wide approach that considers aggregate noise levels instead of looking at Ministry guidance, which indicates mitigation should be explored for incremental increases of 5 decibels or more. Noise is a real concern for many communities. Metrolinx is exploring solutions and mitigation that could work network-wide. As we work this out, information will be shared publically.

C. Metrolinx has already started to increase service in the area, and your model only looks at one train when we have four.

A. Train service has increased. This increase does not itself trigger the need for review by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. With the community committee, we will look at these concerns and work on a noise mitigation approach.

3. Wrap up and Next Steps

Participants were informed of the various ways to give feedback, including project-specific email addresses (newstations@metrolinx.com and SmartTrack@toronto.ca) and project websites (www.metrolinx.com/newstations and smarttrack.to/).

This was the final public meeting for the second phase of consultations. The next phase of consultation is anticipated to commence in spring/summer 2018.