St. Clair-Old Weston and King Liberty SmartTrack Stations and Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station

Online Town Hall

Thursday, June 21, 2018 | 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Meeting Summary 

Project Staff

Stella Gustavson, City of Toronto
Greg Tokarz, City of Toronto
Jade Hoskins, City of Toronto
Gary Papas, City of Toronto
David Brutto, City of Toronto
Richard Beck, City of Toronto
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Georgina Collymore, Metrolinx
Brian Matthews, Metrolinx
Richard Borbridge, Metrolinx
Scott Haskill, TTC

Project Consultants

Liz McHardy, Lura Consulting
Ryan Adamson, Lura Consulting

1. Agenda Review, Opening Remarks and IntroductionProject Consultants

Liz McHardy, Lura Consulting, welcomed participants to the Online Town Hall to discuss the St. Clair-Old Weston and King-Liberty SmartTrack Stations and the Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station. Liz McHardy introduced herself as the neutral-third party facilitator for the event. She then turned the floor over to introductions from Stella Gustavson, Program Manager with the Transit Implementation Unit in City Planning at the City of Toronto and James Francis, Project Manager, Environmental Programs and Assessment at Metrolinx. Stella Gustavson and James Francis welcomed participants to the meeting and thanked them for their time.

2. Presentation

Stella Gustavson provided an overview of the SmartTrack program and described the designs for St. Clair-Old Weston and King-Liberty SmartTrack Stations, and Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station. James Francis provided an overview of GO expansion and highlighted key findings from the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP).

Approximately 4900 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.

Questions of clarification

Q. With regard to St. Clair-Old Weston Station – there are three to four condos planned in the area around Keele and Old Weston. I hope the City will consider the increase in traffic.

A. Concurrent with SmartTrack, we are developing the St. Clair Transportation Master Plan to address traffic in the neighbourhood. The road improvements include the widening and extension of several roads. We are cognizant of developments in the area, and are looking to implement roadway improvements to address increased traffic.

Q. What will be done to minimize construction impacts?

A. In the EA process we look at construction impacts and ways to mitigate these impacts. Detailed information about station-specific predicted construction impacts and mitigation is available in the technical reports that can be found online. We are working to mitigate dust, noise, vibration and other construction impacts such as traffic. This includes limiting nighttime construction, minimizing visual impacts, developing a construction traffic management plan and implementing measures to monitor dust and air quality.

Q. What is the timeline for construction and operation of the stations?

A. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and the stations are anticipated to be open by late 2024 to early 2025.

Q. We want trees replaced and not just removed.

A. We’ve been hearing interest in tree and vegetation compensation throughout our consultation events. We will compensate for tree removal and are in the process of developing a vegetation compensation protocol. We want to ensure the long-term success of our compensation and are working closely with the conservation areas and municipalities in the areas in which we operate.

Q. Why aren’t there any entrances to St. Clair-Old Weston Station on St. Clair West Avenue?

A. St. Clair-Old Weston Station’s design responds to the environmental context. The station is slightly offset from St. Clair due to local constraints, including the grade associated with the West Toronto Diamond grade separation to the south, which precludes shifting the station to the south. The platform cannot be directly adjacent to St. Clair Avenue West, but we are working to achieve the best connectivity possible with proposed ramps and transitions on the east and west side of the rail corridor.

Q. Where will Wheel-Trans serve the stations?

A. All of the stations designs have spaces set aside for Wheel-Trans as well as accessible drop-offs and pick-ups. At St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack station, the accessible drop-off and pick-up is planned to be adjacent to the main entrance. At Bloor-Lansdowne GO station a driveway off of St. Helens Avenue is planned to take Wheel-Trans buses right up to the main entrance. At King-Liberty SmartTrack Station we anticipate a special stop for Wheel-Trans buses on Sudbury Street.

Q. What is the construction start date for the King Liberty SmartTrack Station?

A. The timeline for all the new stations is that construction will begin in 2020 with delivery scheduled for 2024/2025.

Q. How will TTC Streetcars serve King Liberty SmartTrack Station?

A. The 504 and 514 King Streetcars will serve the SmartTrack station from the existing stops at Atlantic Avenue and Joe Shuster Way.

Q. I occupy the business across the street from St. Clair-Old Weston Station. I want to know how my business operations will be impacted during construction and operation of the future station.

A. We recognize the importance of not having our construction and operation impact your business operations. We are happy to work with you one on one. While it is early to speak to property impacts, we will work to maintain good communication as planning advances.

Q. With regard to the King Liberty Station, Sudbury Street is very narrow. Will the street be widened to accommodate the additional traffic the station will bring? There are businesses located at 99 Sudbury Street and what will the accommodations be in relation to these businesses. Lastly, will pedestrians be able to walk over the plaza?

A. Sudbury Street is not planned to be widened. There will be a localized drop-off that will be implemented through a localized widening at the station site. With regards to crossing the corridor, the intent is that the bridge connection at Joe Shuster Way and 99 Sudbury will act as a community connectivity element. It is still too early to know what the impacts will be on individual properties.

Q. What will Metrolinx do to reduce noise caused by ringing bells when a trains enter a station?

A. Currently, Metrolinx crews follow the Canadian Rail Operating Rules, which are overseen by Transport Canada. They require operators to sound the bells when entering, leaving or passing through stations. We have worked hard to address concerns related to bells including hardware adjustments on the UP Express. We will continue to work with the federal government towards bell alternatives. We are considering a feasibility study for bell alternatives at stations and a review of practices to reduce bell noise.

Q. How will fares work between GO, TTC and SmartTrack for a trip that may use all three?

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. What are the anticipated timeline for construction and completion?

A. We anticipate construction will begin in 2020 and be complete by the end of 2024 or early 2025.

Q. What does a Stage Two archeological assessment involve?

A. Archeological assessments are conducted in stages. We have completed stage one and the reports are available on our website. In stage one we looked at the historical context around the station and previous archeological assessments conducted in the area. We also examined indicators that might indicate archaeological potential. In stage two we begin to explore these sites through manual excavation. Stage two will either identify the need for further archaeological work or will indicate that all necessary archaeological work has been completed.

Q. Can the St. Clair-Old Weston Station handle an increase in TTC service in the future?

A. The station currently has enough space in its bus terminal to service at least three bus routes. We anticipate that we will run the 41 Keele, the 71 Runnymede and the 127 Davenport buses into the station. Additionally, the 61 Symington bus will continue to operate nearby. The 512 St. Clair Streetcar will also continue to be operational.

Q. Can someone explain what crime prevention through environmental design principles are and how they will be applied to the station design?

A. Any areas within the public realm will be carefully planned to positively influence human behaviour in order to prevent crime and improve safety.

Q. What is the status of the West Toronto Rail Path extension?

A. The detailed design is currently underway from Dundas and Sterling (where the rail path currently terminates) to Sudbury and Abell, where the design is being coordinated with the King-Liberty SmartTrack Station. Consultation for the extension is planned for later this summer and the completion of the detailed design is anticipated for the second quarter of 2019, which will make the project shovel-ready.

Q. Will the transportation network around the St. Clair-Old Weston Station be improved?

A. We are working on the St. Clair Transportation Master Plan, which suggests four road network improvements. Including the widening of St. Clair Avenue, and future extensions of Gunns Road, Davenport Road and Keele Street.

Q. What are some mitigation measures that will be put in place to mitigate the effects of dust during construction?

A. We will implement a variety of measures, including dust suppression measures such as the application of water, use of dump trucks with covers, the washing of machinery, mud mats and other measures.

Q. For the Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station, does the diagram have an entrance off of Wade Avenue?

A. The Station design, as currently shown, does not have an entrance off of Wade Avenue. However, the multi-use path would provide good connectivity to allow for access to the station from Wade Avenue.

Q. Has the City of Toronto completed their plans to ease congestion in the St. Clair area?

A. The work is ongoing. We are developing a future conditions traffic analysis for the study area as part of the Transportation Master Plan.

Q. Will additional trees be planted to replace the trees being removed?

A. We are planning to compensate for tree removals. We are working with our municipal partners and conservation authorities to ensure that we are ensuring the long-term success of tree replacement.

C. Please clarify fares between TTC and GO Transit.

A. Integrated fares between TTC and SmartTrack service is fundamental to SmartTrack. The idea is that Presto card holders would be able to travel within Toronto on the GO network for $3.00. Upon transfer to TTC services, the individual would pay $1.50 – for a total cost of $4.50

Q. I cannot find anything about the Bloor-Lansdowne Station on the website. Additionally, will all station entrances be accessible?

A. Materials for the Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station will be made available online. Materials used as part of these online town halls will be available next week on our websites. To answer your other question, accessibility is very important to us at Metrolinx. All our stations will support universal access.

Q. How much parking will be created around the new St. Clair-Old Weston Station?

A. The short answer is that there is no parking planned. However, these stations are not your typical suburban stations. These are urban stations that are designed to encourage the use of transit.

Q. How will the King Highline be implemented into the King Liberty design?

A. The King-Liberty SmartTrack station design proposes two pedestrian bridges to span across the rail corridor. The two bridges will include provisions for the developer-proposed King High Line bridge, allowing pedestrian and cyclist access to the station platforms and communities to the north and south of the rail corridor.

Q. What is the overall cost of the implementation? Is it covered by the province, the feds, or municipal government?

A. In April 2018, Toronto City Council approved the contribution to build the SmartTrack Stations which will be funded one hundred percent by the City. The price tag on that is $1.463 billion dollars. An additional $268 million will be contributed for station connections to integrate the stations into the surrounding community. The actual cost of the stations will be determined following the procurement process. Funding for the project will come from Federal government contributions, development charges, incremental municipal tax revenue from new development along the SmartTrack corridors and City Building Fund allocations.

Q. Will the presentation be available online following the online town hall?

A. Yes, the presentation will be available to download as a PDF. It should be available online next week. Transcripts and meeting summaries will also be made available.

5. Wrap Up and Next Steps

Liz McHardy thanked participants for their input and time and invited participants to submit comments via Social Pinpoint (smarttrack.to/socialpinpoint); by email to newstations@metrolinx.com or SmartTrack@toronto.ca; or, by phone to City of Toronto 416-338-2848 or Metrolinx 416-202-5586.