February 22, 2018 | 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Joseph J. Piccininni Community Centre | 1369 St Clair Avenue West

Meeting Summary

Participants

Deborah Annibalini, Corso Italia Business Improvement Association
Matt Park, Davenport Village Community Association
Afzal Khan, Consolidated Bottle Corp.
Adi Purnomo, Gradwood Developments
Scott Dobson, Friends of West Toronto Rail Path
Kelly Graham, Weston Consulting
Sam DeCaria, i2 developments
Mike Mattos, Mount Dennis Community Association
Michael Tedesco, Tedesco Engineering
Kevin Tikaprased

Elected Officials and Staff

Christina Martins, MPP
Councillor Ana Bailao
Councillor Cesar Palacio
E. Betowski
A. Nanoff
Geno Orsi
Brandon Leal

Project Staff

Stella Gustavson, City of Toronto
Jade Hoskins, City of Toronto
Ed Presta, City of Toronto
Robyn Shylitt, City of Toronto
Scott Haskill, TTC
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Georgina Collymore, Metrolinx

Project Consultants

Brendan Agnew-Iler, Argyle
Shirven Rezvany, Argyle

1. Opening Remarks and Overview

Brendan Agnew-Iler welcomed participants to the second St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack station Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack station. Stella Gustavson provided an overview of the new SmartTrack/GO stations project and presented refined station designs. James Francis highlighted the key considerations and findings of the environmental studies. Ed Presta then presented information on the St. Clair West Transportation Master Plan.

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.

C. With regard to the rail path, please use the correct terminology. A cycling path is on the street. A multi-use path can be used by many users.

Q. Who is in charge of the construction of this station?

A. The plan is that a project consortium will be doing the construction.

C. When the grade separation was constructed further south, many felt they had to chase after the people doing the work when there were issues about cracks in foundations and so on. There are a lot of houses close by, and I’m hoping people won’t have to go through the same process.

A. It is expected that there will be some construction nuisance effects. But lessons learned from past projects will be important.

Q. What is the timeline for the additional track?

A. It should be in place by the end of 2019.

Q. How does Metrolinx address situations where there are cracks in the foundation?

A. As station design advances, there will be an updated vibration assessment to reflect the specific planned approach to construction. A zone of influence, where there may be vibration impacts, is then identified. A pre-condition survey is then completed, where permissions are provided by property owners, to document the existing conditions. During construction, vibration will be monitored to ensure we are not reaching threshold levels. If there are vibration impacts, these are addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Could you elaborate on the cultural heritage of the bridge at St. Clair Avenue and Keele Street? It is where everything bottlenecks; it’s a negative thing. This could disappear. It has a negative cultural significance.

A. The bridge has been assessed and meets some of the criteria for local heritage under the Ontario Heritage Act. This is based primarily on the age of the bridge, and that it has some attributes of 1930s concrete construction. As we move forward in design, a heritage impact assessment will be completed to see how the attributes will be reflected, preserved or incorporated in the replacement that is to come. The replacement bridge will be planned to be sympathetic to the heritage attributes of the existing bridge.

Q. One of the issues in the past is pile driving, is this expected?

A. Metrolinx has not yet confirmed this level of detail for construction. Construction equipment used will depend on soil conditions and other factors. Mitigation measures will be implemented to minimize or avoid construction-related noise and vibration effects.

Q. Has the conversation happened between Metrolinx and the City to have the multi-use trail along the tracks? Was it part of the EA?

A. The City’s cycling group is working on this. We will need to get more information on this.

C. I talked to your department about this three years ago, this is not a new question.

Q. When in 2019 will the additional rail be constructed?

A. The expectation is that by the end of 2019 it will be in place.

Q. Is there a rider count along St. Clair? Can we know what percentage of riders are on the streetcar just before it hits where this station?

A. The TTC has detailed rider counts for all of our routes. We can send these along after the meeting.

Q. How do we connect the Rail Path trail from Cariboo Avenue? The Rail Path is expanding south to Liberty Village and hopefully connecting to the Barrie Line. It is substantial. There is a connection issue between the proposed trails in the St. Clair Master Plan and the Rail Path.

A. In the south, Cariboo Avenue connects to Osler Street, and Osler connects to Davenport Road – and we have bike lanes on Davenport Road. So there is in effect a north-south connection. And with the Davenport extension, it continues north to the station.

Q. Sorry, I did not ask about bike lanes. I am curious why the multi-use trail has been discounted. Why is it impossible for the Rail Path to run further north?

A. Our understanding is that there is no room in the rail corridor to accommodate the path. This project provides a north-south cycling connection that is not there otherwise. I can give you the name of our cycling group person and you can speak with her directly.

C. This is not the first time we have talked about this. There has not been information presented that shows why it cannot continue north. I would expect you to have more information on this than provided tonight.

Q. Will elevators move people from St. Clair up to the platform?

A. The existing bridge will be demolished to accommodate extra traffic lanes on St. Clair, the additional Metrolinx track and a second CP track. St. Clair will be under the rail corridor; we did consider elevators and stairs under the bridge for direct access from the streetcar but determined it was not possible. When you look at walk time and additional cost, having a streetcar stop directly under the SmartTrack station was difficult to support. There will be an AODA-compliant ramp and staircase on the northeast corner of the St. Clair and the rail corridor. Metrolinx is looking for access from the northwest, and exploring a pedestrian bridge. Metrolinx and the City are conscious of the challenges of the bridge and connections to the station, and we are working together to find solutions.

From March to May, will property owners will be contacted around all the streets?

A. The City will reach out to the affected properties first, before going out to the wider public. The City is cross-populating lists for outreach between the SmartTrack program and the Transportation Master Plan, so we’re not duplicating efforts.

Q. What percentage of the design is done?

A. For the St. Clair Transportation Master Plan, the City is at 30% design. This involves looking at planned roads, profiles and cross sections. We also look at subsurface utilities as well, what has to be moved and how. This helps better assess cost. The new station is at 10% design but will be ramping up very fast. Metrolinx is aligning the TPAP process to coordinate with the Transportation Master Plan study.

Q. I represent a property just east of the bridge on St. Clair Avenue, between the two projects. Do you consider the impacts all together – especially noise and vibration?

A. The contractors who construct the projects will be working together, and will be required to consider the whole of the project and their impacts holistically.

C. Coordinating construction between developers and transit construction needs to be done too. There will be impact from developers.

A. The City recognizes that the transit investment could lead to increased private development. The City is considering station area planning work, precinct planning and other considerations around the stations. The City is open to conversations with adjacent property owners. The City is trying to work with developers to mitigate construction-related impacts.

Q. Some of the bus route changes seem to loop around. The 168 Symington could easily enter the station, why isn’t that one changing?

A. All bus routes will be reviewed to identify potential connections. The 168 Symington bus could go up Davenport Road; it would have to turn back out from the station, and would result in looping around.

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.

Q. Is there funding for these projects?

A. SmartTrack is undergoing a Stage-Gate process where City Planning go to Council at key milestones to present work completed and gain approval and funding to move forward. Costs estimates will be presented to Council at these times. Council has authorized a funding envelope of approximately $1.2 billion for all these stations.

Q. What about funding for the widening of St. Clair Avenue and the Davenport Road extension?

A. There is about $30 million in budget now for the Transportation Master Plan. Metrolinx and the City will be sharing the cost to modify the St. Clair Bridge. The remaining funding is yet to be determined. By next year we should know when funds are available. If procurement is planned for 2019, it would have to be in the 2019 capital budget.

Q. Can some of the infrastructure be funded from development charges?

A. The City’s finance group is looking at a comprehensive funding strategy. As part of this, they are looking at a range of funding tools, including development charges. Whether this will be part of their recommendations is still to be determined.

Q. Is the cost of the station being shared?

A. The City will be funding the six SmartTrack stations. The province and Metrolinx are funding many of the improvements that are the backbone of the program, such as the track improvements. The two new GO stations are paid fully by Metrolinx.

Q. It’s an election year; what is the risk this won’t proceed?

A. These transit investments are large commitments. A substantial amount has been already invested in the project.

C. Our business is located in the area, and we just need to know the firm timing so we can move out of the way.

A. By the end of the summer there will be greater clarity on timing, and by the end of the year there will be an RFP for a Project Consortium to deliver the project.

Q. What is the cost of the St. Clair Avenue bridge itself?

A. The costs is estimated to be tens of millions, though we do not have a firm number on hand.

Q. For this station, who is ultimately in charge?

A. There is quite a significant project team that includes staff from planning and other departments. Ultimately the City Manager’s Office is in charge.

Q. Are there plans for public art or other community improvements?

A. The City and Metrolinx have design excellence teams that are considering this. Metrolinx has an integrated art program as well, where a certain percentage of a project budget is spent on public art and public realm improvements.

Q. Is there a need for a new garage to service this area?

A. No, this does not change our existing plans.

C. It would be great if the UPX stops at this station. The UPX is basically a SmartTrack service.

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 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.