Tuesday, October 10, 2017 | 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Scarborough Civic Centre | 150 Borough Drive
James Perttula, City of Toronto
Mike Logan, City of Toronto
Liora Freedman, City of Toronto
Gary Papas, City of Toronto
Nish Bala, City of Toronto
Maria Doyle, City of Toronto
Kristin Olson, City of Toronto
Joshua Bassett, City of Toronto
Alexa Aiken, City of Toronto
Mae Lee, City of Toronto
Kurtis Elton, City of Toronto
Dipak Dhrona, City of Toronto
Alan Filipuzzi, City of Toronto
Victor Gottwald, City of Toronto
Itai Peleg, City of Toronto
Marko Oinonen, City of Toronto
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
Karla Avis-Birch, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Georgina Collymore, Metrolinx
Nadine Navarro, Metrolinx
Stephanie Simard, TTC
Brendan Agnew-Iler, Argyle
Betty Kim, Argyle
Vasi Zobola, Argyle
1. Opening Remarks and Overview
Brendan Agnew-Iler welcomed participants to the public meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed SmartTrack and GO stations within Toronto, with specific focus on the Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack stations. Mike Logan, Shannon McNeill and James Perttula presented an overview of the project, an update on project progress and the evolving station concept, an overview of planned environmental studies and an overview of the planned consultation process.
2. Questions from Participants
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. Responses were provided by staff from the City, Metrolinx and TTC.
Q: When will construction be completed for these projects?
A: It is expected that the stations will be in operation by 2025.
Q: What is the cost of the SmartTrack program?
A: Overall, the province is investing $13 billion in expansion of the GO network. The addition of SmartTrack stations is an additional cost – which the City will be funding. Further investments are being sought from the federal government.
Q: What is the status of the Scarborough subway line?
A: The Scarborough Subway Extension is the subject of a Transit Project Assessment Process. The environmental project report for the Scarborough Subway Extension is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Design work is proceeding concurrently for the planned extension of the Line 2 subway from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Centre.
C: We endorse new transportation in Scarborough. Has the City considered the impact of SmartTrack on the Agincourt community, specifically around the proposed Finch-Kennedy station? Please consider safety measures including grade separation for pedestrians, especially children, and traffic. Noise mitigation and improved community connectivity for children, seniors, the physically challenged, TTC and cyclists are all issues as well. Will you ensure that safety measures, electrification and improved community connectivity happen before SmartTrack is operational?
A: The Transit Project Assessment Process for SmartTrack stations will examine potential environmental impacts, including noise and traffic. The Finch-Kennedy station includes a rail‑road grade separation at Finch Avenue, thereby improving connectivity across the rail corridor. Electrification of core portions of the GO network is one component of RER. Electrification is planned to take place over a 10‑year timeframe. The electrification phasing plan is a work in progress.
Q: How will local businesses impacted by construction be compensated?
A: There is a community plan, where the City and local businesses work together to find ways to mitigate negative impacts of construction in advance, after, and during the station development.
C: Please consider having free bike parking at the SmartTrack stations and more vehicle parking at Kennedy station.
A: Bike access is an important issue and there are plans to include bike parking in the concepts for both Lawrence‑Kennedy and Finch‑Kennedy stations. There are no plans at this time to include more vehicle parking at Kennedy station as part of SmartTrack.
C: My property was damaged and privacy destroyed at Lord Roberts Drive. The community has not been well informed. The impact on residents are being ignored – who is compensating for this? We are not given the information that we want.
A: The Metrolinx community relations team is present in the community, talking to residents and staffing a community drop‑in office at 4142 Sheppard Avenue East, east of the Agincourt GO Station. The Finch‑Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy stations are still in the early concept stages. Property needs will be identified as design progresses, and potentially‑affected property owners will be contacted as property needs are determined.
C: Highly recommend reconsidering the no parking option – there are hundreds of drop-offs and pick-ups at Steeles Avenue and Kennedy Road.
A: 44 parking spaces at Lawrence-Kennedy station will remain and there will be provisions for pick-up and drop-off for Wheel Trans customers and others being driven to the station. Additional parking was not included in the current station concepts to encourage different modes of travel and patterns of development. Public input received regarding parking will be reported back to City Council.
Q: Will there be new GO tracks built, or will trains run on existing tracks? Since Scarborough is losing the LRT, what is the completion date for this system?
A: The RER program includes the addition of new tracks on the Stouffville and Barrie rail corridors. GO tracks will be used to run the SmartTrack service. Metrolinx and the City are working towards a 2025 completion date. The Scarborough RT will remain in operation until the Line 2 subway extension is operational. We are looking at how to phase construction of the Lawrence‑Kennedy station to allow for continued operation of the Scarborough RT.
C: I have concerns with the Lawrence East overpass as transit users must go downstairs to get to the SmartTrack station. Also, for transit riders who are used to the RT running every 4 minutes and paying TTC fares, I have little confidence that SmartTrack will replace the existing access to the transit network.
A: The planned design of the station will see TTC buses stop on the Lawrence East overpass allowing for vertical transfers to/from the bridge to the platform level. The bus stops on the bridge will be designed to include weather protection and ample space for boarding and alighting passengers. The vertical transfers will be barrier-free – likely provided by stairs, escalators and/or elevators. This transfer arrangement allows the Lawrence East bus to reduce the overall total trip time because the bus does not have to go under the bridge and into the station. The Scarborough RT will continue to operate until the Scarborough Subway Extension is complete. Fare integration is a component of SmartTrack and will help to encourage transfers between the TTC and the GO network.
Q: Is there provision for widening the bridge deck to accommodate the bus stops?
A: Details are still being worked out for the station concept. Sufficient space will be provided for bus passenger waiting and circulation areas.
C: During the winter time, traffic backs up on the bridge and cars could slide back.
A: Thank you for this input. We will take this into account in refining the Lawrence-Kennedy station concept.
Q: Are the SmartTrack stations all on the GO train line?
A: SmartTrack stations are integrated with the GO service. SmartTrack stations will be on the Stouffville, Lakeshore East, and Kitchener GO rail corridors.
Q: Are the six stations on the SmartTrack system beyond the new GO stations proposed by Metrolinx?
A: There are eight new stations proposed within Toronto – six are SmartTrack and two are GO stations. There are 12 new stations proposed across the entire GO network, including the six SmartTrack stations.
Q: Are the SmartTrack stations included in the TTC fares? Will there be free transfers? There should be one fare for all transit.
A: Fare integration is an important component of the SmartTrack program. The City, TTC and Metrolinx continue to develop a fare integration policy.
C: Not in favour of the present design for Lawrence-Kennedy station. The design for Finch-Kennedy station is preferable.
Q: Three projects are coming: the Scarborough Subway Extension, Eglinton East LRT and SmartTrack. The congestion will be terrible if road closures and construction of these projects overlap.
A: Construction coordination is a key priority as the design work progresses for all projects in Scarborough. We will develop traffic management plans during construction to help reduce congestion.
Q: What is Metrolinx’s confirmed frequency of service provided for Lawrence-Kennedy station?
A: Currently, the future service levels at the Lawrence‑Kennedy station are being refined. We are exploring phasing options to construct and operate the SmartTrack station while maintaining the operation of the Scarborough RT. We will provide more details on planned service frequency as they become available.
C: Originally Metrolinx did not approve Lawrence-East station.
A: Detailed analysis of each proposed new station is underway, including design refinements and environmental assessment studies. Metrolinx is currently undertaking a specific review of the Lawrence-Kennedy and Kirby stations. Metrolinx management will report to the Metrolinx Board with its recommendations whether or not to proceed with each of these stations and, if so, on what conditions and with what commitments from the City of Toronto and the City of Vaughan. At this time, due diligence data collection is continuing on the identified station sites.
Q: When are we going to get service into the city from Port Union and the University of Toronto Scarborough?
A: Further work is being done with the Scarborough Rapid Transit Network. The Eglinton East LRT, which is the planned extension of the Eglinton Crosstown east to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, is part of that plan. Consultations with the public on the Eglinton East LRT will commence before the end of 2017. The City is also working with Metrolinx on the Durham‑Scarborough BRT that is also planned to connect to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus.
Q: What is the impact of the extension of the Sheppard subway line? Will this provide more access to Scarborough Town Centre?
A: The Sheppard East LRT is planned along Sheppard Avenue, from Don Mills station to east of Morningside Avenue. The Sheppard East LRT would increase transit service to the north of Scarborough Centre.
C: Bringing LRT to Sheppard will make it even worse for business, it should be a subway.
Q: Have you considered getting rid of the Lawrence bridge?
A: We are currently not considering removing the Lawrence bridge.
Q: A recent study showed that 50 per cent of commuters using the Lawrence East TTC station are not going downtown, but somewhere in Scarborough. SmartTrack will not provide the same mobility around Scarborough that is currently provided by TTC Line 3 – what are you doing to address this?
A: There will be different bus routes to accommodate needs. Some buses will continue on Lawrence and some will connect to Kennedy. In the broader context, Lawrence-Kennedy is an integral piece to the Scarborough Transit Network Plan. By enhancing the overall transit network in Scarborough, we are trying to ensure transit riders have ample opportunities to access transit and better connect to their desired destinations.
Q: We were told that services will be increased only after sound barrier walls will be erected along the Stouffville line. You are inconveniencing the residents without the sound walls.
A: Noise walls are being installed along the Stouffville corridor in conjunction with service increases.
Q: What are the projections for surface transit, for example night buses?
A: TTC does have a plan in place to expand bus fleets and it’s expected to be implemented in the coming years. The TTC has an express bus network across the city and will continue to develop the network to provide better service.
C: Please consider a flat fare for all transit in Toronto.
3. Wrap up and Next Steps
Participants were informed of the other ways to give feedback – including a dedicated email address, comment forms and the project website.
Over the coming months, the City of Toronto, Metrolinx and TTC will:
- Refine station concept plans
- Study existing environmental conditions
- Natural environment
- Socio-economic environment
- Cultural environment
- Examine potential impacts and mitigation measures