Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Scarborough Civic Centre | 150 Borough Drive
Mike Del Grande, Toronto Catholic District School Board
Denis Lanoue, Heathwood Ratepayers Association
Randy MacDougall, Agincourt Village Community Association
Russell Mustachi, Heathwood Ratepayers Association
Ernie McCullough, Sheppard East Village Business Improvement Area
Alura Moores, Rosewood Taxpayers Association
Gordon Spooner, Maryvale Community Association
Peter Forrest, Purolator Inc.
Councillor Chin Lee
James Perttula, City of Toronto
Greg Tokarz, City of Toronto
Jade Hoskins, City of Toronto
Gary Papas, City of Toronto
Nish Bala, City of Toronto
Itai Peleg, City of Toronto
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Georgina Collymore, Metrolinx
Scott Haskill, TTC
Brendan Agnew-Iler, Argyle
Shirven Rezvany, Argyle
1. Opening Remarks and Overview
Brendan Agnew-Iler welcomed participants to the second Scarborough Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack stations. Greg Tokarz and James Francis presented an overview of the project and consultation process, as well as the highlights of the environmental studies.
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.
Q. Is the concept to still have diesel trains? Electric trains? What we build today may not be appropriate for the future.
A. A critical component of RER is electrification on core parts of the GO Rail network; the Stouffville line will be electrified.
Q. Can regular trains use these rails? That set of tracks, will it have other uses than GO? Will these corridors be serviced by light rail at any point? Light rail trains operate differently; will there be flexibility for different types of trains?
A. This track may have other uses. On the Lakeshore East line, for example, VIA Rail, GO and CN freight trains can use the corridor. Light rail cannot operate on the same rails as heavy rail, like the GO service. In some areas, TTC Line 3 is adjacent to the GO rail corridor, but is on a different set of rails.
Q. When you talk about noise, are you talking about peak noise?
A. In accordance with provincial guidance, Metrolinx examines average noise levels over the daytime and nighttime periods when it studies noise.
C. Metrolinx should consider the number of times the noises fluctuates throughout the day.
C. The amount of noise will certainly increase with the increase in number of trains. Near other stations, we hear the noise of the train and the horns.
A. Metrolinx is examining scenarios with full RER and SmartTrack service. There will be more trains, but they will be electric, moving at slower speeds near the stations, and will be less noisy. Overall, we anticipate the noise in this area to be similar to what it is now.
Q. Level of noise is different than amount of noise. There could be more of a constant noise. Is there measurement of this? The frequency of noise, there should be some measurement of this.
A. The modelling does include all the trains anticipated throughout both daytime and nighttime periods.
C. If would be nice if you could communicate the effectiveness of noise walls, their acoustic shadow and how much they would reduce noise. More information on this would improve credibility, instead of simply stating there will be walls.
Finch-Kennedy SmartTrack Station
Q. Removing 75 trees, how many are you putting back? If you were removing trees on your property, you would be required to plant 3 for every one you remove. Will the City be doing this?
A. Metrolinx will work with municipal partners on compensation ratios. A Vegetation Compensation Protocol for RER is currently being developed. We are certainly aiming to have more trees planted than removed.
C. The area between Midland and Kennedy Road, on Finch, is a no-man’s-land. If you wanted to head downtown, why would you travel by bus a short distance, and then travel by GO downtown – perhaps paying two fares. If there was an opportunity to park or drop-off, this would be preferred. But I would still be using two modes of transportation.
A. Currently, there is a co-fare situation, with a discount. The ultimate goal is fare integration. In terms of parking, our models show that parking would add some ridership but not much. The number of buses connecting with this station will drive ridership for the station.
C. The buses will not provide ridership. That is not how this community works. This station needs more parking to be successful. Most in Scarborough prefer to drive. Taking public transit usually involves taking a westbound bus to the Yonge line. If this station was here, I doubt people will use it. I would go to Milliken with the ample parking. Those of us who live in this community know the transit user behaviour better than those who live downtown. The everyday experiences of commuters in this area will shed insight.
C. At Finch-Kennedy station, there is not one house within a kilometre walk of the station despite the proximity of residences; in the current design you have to walk around to Kennedy to access the station. People who live within the area will most likely drive out to a different station.
C. In the Rosewood community, residents make several drop-offs each morning. Many residents will be dropped off at the Finch-Kennedy Station. Most people will not use a transit connection to use this station.
A. The City is looking for locations for a safe drop-off area.
C. When the first plan came up, it made more sense. With a parking lot and drop-off.
A. The City is looking to provide parking; however, it will involve new property requirements.
C. We want this station to be successful. Our understanding of your understanding of the community and how residents commute is making us uncomfortable. This could be a ghost station if mishandled. It is unlikely that people of low socio-economic status will take a bus and pay the premium to head south on GO. We need to plan this around how people will actually use the station.
Q. Originally there was going to be over 200 parking spots. Now with the new Council direction, how many are you looking to build? Two hundred was a good number. Neighbours will have people parking in their lots if we don’t provide enough spots.
A. The City is working to determine an appropriate number of parking spaces.
Q. On the first plan, did you have parking? Were you doing the assessment that time? Does it need to be done again?
A. Parking was included in the initial business case. The initial preferred design, which was completed later, does not have parking. There were some other aspects of the original design that have changed. The new design works better for TTC, for example. We are looking to finalize where people can drop riders off safely. We will be back to communicate our solutions to the community and we will have to present the solution to Council. The City has a requirement from Council to integrate parking.
C. Remove the third bullet on slide 21, it notes that there will be no parking.
A. This will be removed for the public meeting and we will make sure the information on passenger drop-offs and parking is much clearer.
C. When will grade separation be done? Will this be after work on Steeles Avenue is complete? Will Steeles Avenue and Finch Avenue be closed at the same time?
A. The work on Steeles Avenue is at the procurement stage now. There is no expectation that they will be in construction at the same time.
Q. Will the grade separation happen at the same time as the station build?
A. Yes, and the plan is to have one procurement process to have both the grade separation and station construction completed at once.
Q. Will Steeles Avenue be closed?
A. The specific construction needs have not been determined. The construction period would be similar to the Sheppard Avenue grade separation.
Q. If Sheppard will be closed, how will the east-west Finch buses run? There are very few streets that go east-west.
A. When the Sheppard grade separation was under construction, the buses were still running. The lanes may be reduced but through bus service will be able to continue during construction.
C. Sheppard was a nightmare. We were told one thing but in reality there were lane closures.
Q. How much time is given to consult property owners about impact?
A. An initial notice will be going to property owners soon. Once the design progresses and we identify which properties will be impacted, Metrolinx and the City will reach out to engage property owners well in advance of any work commencing.
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.
Discussion questions posed to the room: Do the results of the effects assessment seem reasonable? If not, why?
C. Concrete ties increase vibration. The public will ask about mitigation measures for vibration.
Q. Metrolinx has put a line in at McNicoll to the factories in the area on the Stouffville line. Are we going to get freight trains? Can we discuss this at a public meeting?
A. We will have to take this back and find out this information.
Q. What is the tentative vision for the drop-off area for the Finch-Kennedy station?
A. Initially, the desire was to include an informal pick-up and drop-off area. The aim is to design for transit-oriented development around the station. The pick-up and drop-off area has not yet been determined, but the aim is to provide access to the pick-up and drop-off area from either Finch Avenue or Silver Star Boulevard.
Q. How close are we getting to TTC fare for this?
A. What the City and the Province have achieved so far is the $1.50 co-fare deduction. Negotiations are ongoing.
Q. Will there be retail in the area around this station? When you design these things, build for future retail, passenger convenience and other development. Kiosks in subways, for example, were installed after the subways were built. It would be cheaper and more effective to plan it in the beginning. Right now the areas around the stations are empty.
A. The aim is to encourage transit-oriented development in the area around each station. This includes places of employment, residential development and amenities in some places.
C. There needs to be something to block pedestrians from crossing tracks. With increased frequency it will be more dangerous. Kids cross the tracks all the time.
C. Raised tracks will be safer for the entire community. Having an underpass on will be an improvement.
A. There are safety benefits associated with a number of the stations being built. A grade separation will be a big improvement.
Discussion questions posed to the room: Is there anything you would change about the meeting materials?
C. It would be a good idea to show on the website the various ways people can access the station. For example, by car, taxi, or bike – go through the different methods of getting to and using the station, so people can see how it will be used. Approach it from a user-experience perspective. Convince people that it is a good station by showing them how it can be used.
C. These presentations don’t always have context. Part of the context here is that this will not be the old fashioned GO line. It will be more like a subway. We need the big picture, and then get to the specifics. Need to hear about what it will be like when it’s done.
A. Establishing the vision and big picture is important and we will aim to do this.
C. Make sure you do not have a slide that says “no parking.”
C. This is not a convenient meeting location. Need to look at local libraries, Bridlewood Mall, etc. Not this venue.
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.