Finch-Kennedy & Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack Stations
Online Town Hall
Monday, June 18, 2018 | 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Stella Gustavson, City of Toronto
Greg Tokarz, City of Toronto
Jade Hoskins, City of Toronto
Nish Bala, City of Toronto
Gary Papas, City of Toronto
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Georgina Collymore, Metrolinx
Brian Gallagher, Metrolinx
Azim Ahmed, Metrolinx
Kevin Rachman, Metrolinx
Scott Haskill, TTC
Jim Faught, Lura Consulting
Ryan Adamson, Lura Consulting
1. Agenda Review, Opening Remarks and Introduction
Jim Faught, Lura Consulting, welcomed participants to the Online Town Hall to discuss the Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack Stations. Jim Faught introduced himself as the neutral-third party facilitator for the event. He then provided an overview of feedback received at the previous public meeting for the new SmartTrack stations in Scarborough (March 6, 2018 at Scarborough Civic Centre). He then turned the floor over to Greg Tokarz, Program Manager with the Transit Implementation Unit in City Planning at the City of Toronto and Shannon McNeill, Manager, Environmental Programs and Assessment at Metrolinx.
Greg Tokarz provided an overview of the SmartTrack program and described the proposed designs for the Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack Stations. Shannon McNeill reviewed the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) timeline and provided an update on the environmental studies and findings for the stations.
Approximately 100 people participated in the event.
3. Questions of Clarification
A summary of the Question and Answer period following the presentation is provided below. Questions are noted with Q, responses are noted by A, and comments are noted by C.
Q. When will you confirm the frequency of train service on the Stouffville line?
A. In the staff report to council, EX33.1, terms of service are outlined by Metrolinx. The frequency will be approximately every six to ten minutes during peak service and every fifteen minutes during off-peak service. The master agreement will specify further details.
Q. Will the Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT) be operational during construction?
A. Yes, the SRT will be operational during construction and operation of the SmartTrack program. The SRT will be decommissioned once the Line 2 extension to Scarborough Centre is in operation, slated for Q2 2026.
Q. What will the impact be for traffic on Finch?
A. A Construction Traffic Management Plan has not yet been developed, but will be completed prior to the start of construction. Currently, the plan is for Finch Avenue East to remain open during construction.
Q. If I take a TTC bus and use Presto to pay that fare, get off at Lawrence East Station and then get on SmartTrack – how much would it cost to make that transfer?
A. The City, TTC and Metrolinx entered into a discounted fare agreement whereby Presto users would receive a $1.50 discount upon transferring between TTC and GO or the UP Express. The 2018 Ontario budget introduced additional measures that will improve access to the GO Rail network including further discounts to fares.
Q. Will there be a designated underground connection between line three and SmartTrack?
A. No, the SRT will be decommissioned following the completion of the Line 2 extension.
Q. Is SmartTrack about servicing the outer regions of the GTA or serving the people of Scarborough? What are the benefits of SmartTrack versus something else?
A. SmartTrack is about providing better transit connections and access for Torontonians.
Q. There are a number of trains operating on the Stouffville line. I am concerned about the increase in trains due to SmartTrack and the related pollution. I am concerned about my asthma.
A. Metrolinx is in planning for the electrification of the Stouffville rail corridor which will significantly reduce the emissions from rail operations.
Q. The noise of GO trains at the current Scarborough GO station overpass is quite loud. Can you explore options for noise reduction?
A. We are aware of noise concerns and are working to address these issues. The change in noise level with the introduction of SmartTrack is anticipated to less than 1 decibel. Further detail is provided in the draft technical reports, which are available for review on the project websites.
Q. Have you considered wind exposure at stations? Toronto has had some significant wind events recently.
A. Stations will have shelters to protect passengers from the elements.
Q. What will be done to minimize construction effects?
A. Technical reports that outline potential effects related to construction, as well as recommended mitigation measures, are available for review on the project website. We are looking at a host of measures to reduce construction effects, including noise, vibration, dust and traffic impacts.
Q. What is the projected increase of noise on the rail corridor?
A. The increase in noise is anticipated to be within one decibel of current levels. Further detail is provided in the draft station-specific noise and vibration reports, which are available for review on the project websites.
Q. What is the frequency of SmartTrack service at Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy Station?
A. The expected frequency of service is six to ten minutes during peak service and approximately fifteen minutes during off-peak time.
Q. What is being done to preserve driver and pedestrian safety at level crossings, such as the proposed Danforth crossing?
A. Safety is a top priority. We are working with our partners to ensure that grade separation and improved crossings are considered. The rail crossing at Danforth Road near Midland Avenue has been identified for a potential future grade separation, which would address concerns regarding driver and pedestrian safety at that crossing.
Q. Will all GO trains stop at SmartTrack stations? Will SmartTrack trains be identified as such?
A. SmartTrack builds on the RER program. GO Trains will be serving SmartTrack stations. Specific identification for SmartTrack has not yet been determined. The original service plan was that GO Trains would make all stops; however, service levels are still being determined.
Q. The Scarborough junction already has a lot of trains operating on it. It will become congested with SmartTrack Service. Is a grade separation being considered?
A. This is likely. Metrolinx is in the final stages of assessing a potential grade separation at this location.
Q. What is the schedule for completion?
A. Construction will commence in 2020 and the stations will be operational in 2024 or 2025.
Q. Does the TTC have plans for the SRT Right of Way once the SRT is decommissioned?
A. TTC has confirmed that they have no future plans for the corridor. The City, through the Scarborough Centre Transportation Master Plan, has considered options of reusing the corridor as a greenway, but no plans have been confirmed at this time.
Q. What is being done to mitigate noise?
A. We anticipate a minimal change to noise during operations. We will mitigate noise from construction using a suite of standard mitigation measures, and will develop a noise and vibration control plan prior to construction. Further detail is provided in the draft station-specific noise and vibration reports, which are available for review on the project websites.
Q. How will RER affect Toronto life?
A. Regional Express Rail (RER) will further facilitate ease of travel through Toronto. We anticipate that RER will improve transit access, accessibility and convenience.
Q. How much will SmartTrack cost?
A. The City contribution is capped at $1.463B. Actual costs of the project will be determined following the procurement process.
Q. When will property line survey work begin for properties that back onto Finch? Will we lose property?
A. Property survey work will commence later this summer. It does not appear that residential properties on the south side of Finch will be affected. We note that this is subject to change. However, any impacts are anticipated to be minimal.
Q. Why is parking not being considered for the new stations?
A. Parking is not recommended for these stations. They are being designed to integrate with existing TTC infrastructure. Potential parking is being considered in new developments, consistent with council direction provided in December 2017.
Q. Will grade separation and other safety measures be put in place before the first SmartTrack train leaves the station?
A. Safety measures and improvements are being examined. Metrolinx and the City are working together to ensure that all safety improvements are considered.
Q. What is a grade separation?
A. A grade separation is where railways intersect roads, railways or walkways at different heights (grades) so they do not disrupt one another. A grade separation would be implemented either by an overpass or underpass to avoid conflict.
Q. What is the proposed date for the Finch overpass?
A. The construction process will begin in approximately 2020 and is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2024 or early 2025.
4. Wrap Up and Next Steps
Jim Faught thanked participants for their input and time and informed them that additional Online Town Halls have been scheduled for the remaining stations on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 and Thursday, June 21, 2018. Participants were invited to submit comments on the project via the Social Pinpoint map at smarttrack.to/socialpinpoint; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or SmartTrack@toronto.ca; or by phone to City of Toronto 416-338-2848 or Metrolinx 416-202-5586.