Erik- Moderator 00:03
Hello everyone, and welcome to Metrolinx and the City of Toronto’s virtual, online TownHall meeting. Today’s TownHall is to consult on the new SmartTrack GO Stations in accordance with the transit project assessment process. My name is Erik, and I will be co-moderating the webinar this evening with Jim Faught. You can stream this event live today on your computer by visiting SmartTrack.to/TownHall. You can choose to listen to the event over your computer speakers or by calling into our toll-free number, listen on SmartTrack.to/TownHall. Please ensure your computer does have Flash enabled. And if you are having an issue viewing the live presentation window, simply click on the window and press allow if a pop-up appears. During the TownHall today, we will provide an update on the work underway, including environmental studies, for the SmartTrack GO stations, and you will also have an opportunity to ask a question and provide comments about the project. To get involved and ask a question, please press three on your phone’s keypad at any time or simply type your question into the question chat window online. I’m going to introduce my co-moderator to start the event, Jim Faught. Currently, we have a lot of people joining us right now, so I’m going to hand this over to you, Jim, to begin the event. Please, go ahead.
Jim Faught – Moderator 01:17
Thank you so much, Erik. Welcome to tonight’s online TownHall all new SmartTrack and GO stations planned for Toronto. My name, as Erik said, is Jim Faught from Lure Consulting. I’m a third-party facilitating firm that will be moderating this evening’s call. Tonight’s meeting will focus on two new SmartTrack stations in Scarborough, Finch-Kennedy, and Lawrence-Kennedy. There are two more online TownHalls this week. Wednesday night’s meeting will focus on Gerard-Carlaw and East Harbour SmartTrack stations and Spadina-Front GO Station. Thursday night will feature St. Clair-Old Weston and Liberty– King-Liberty SmartTrack station as well as Bloor-Lansdowne GO station. Tonight’s meeting will be– will there be a brief presentation, our presenters this evening will be Greg and Shannon. Greg Tokarz is a Program Manager with the Transit Implementation Unit in the City Planning at the City of Toronto, will provide a brief project overview and update on station design work. Shannon McNeill is Manager of Environmental Programs and Assessments at Metrolinx and she will focus on transit project assessment process, the environmental assessment, and the environmental findings. We also have Scott Haskell Manager of Project Development Coordination, Strategy, and Service Planning at TTC. He’s available to answer any TTC related questions. At the last meeting, held in March 2018, the project team heard a variety of comments and questions on two Scarborough stations including general support for more transit in the community and the proposed new stations. Some concerns about commuter parking, passenger pick up and drop off areas, and traffic, the importance of maintaining operation Line 3, the Scarborough rabbit transit until the Scarborough subway extension is operational. Which currently is slated for 2026. We also heard concerns about safety at level process with increased train frequency and the need for more grade separations along the Stouffville Corridor. There were concerns about noise, potential property impacts on surrounding residences and local businesses and fair integration. Before I turn it over to Greg, a reminder that the call-in number tonight for the questions is 1-800-457-6180 or by joining the meeting at SmartTrack.to/TownHall. If you can get to the SmartTrack.to just click the get involved button and that will take you to the TownHall meeting. So, with that, I’ll turn it over to Greg and he can start the presentation.
Greg Tokarz 03:51
Thanks Jim. This slide, uh, shows a map of the proposed SmartTrack and GO stations planned in the City of Toronto. The dark blue line represents the SmartTrack Corridor which runs along the existing Stouffville, Lakeshore East, and Kitchener GO Corridors. The stations we’ll focus on for tonight’s meeting are circled in red Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack stations which are situated in the Stouffville Corridor in Scarborough. What is SmartTrack? Uh, the SmartTrack program builds on the Metrolinx Regional Express Rail Initiative by making better use of the existing GO network to bring more transit options to communities across Toronto. SmartTrack program will include greater service frequency with train service every 6 to 10 minutes during the peak periods and 15 minutes off peak. It also includes share integration, providing seamless connections between local and regional transit. Together SmartTrack program will provide more frequent and affordable transit service in the city. I’m going to turn this over to Shannon now to talk a little bit about the Metrolinx RER program.
Thanks Greg. Uh, tonight I just wanted to take a few moments, before we talk about the environmental assessment, to talk about the GO Transit expansion. Metrolinx as a provincial agency is embarking on a transformation of the existing GO Rail System to provide four times the number trips outside weekday rush hour period and that includes evenings and weekends. Place the number of trips during weekday rush hour period as well as line extension to new communities. From this diagram that you see on the slide, you will see that there are quite a few different projects on the GO in order to make GO transit expansion happen. This includes new trains, new track up to 150 kilometers as well as 10 railroad grade separation. Also, this includes 22 new, uh, stations on the systems including the two stations that we’re here to talk about tonight, Finch-Kennedy and Lawrence-Kennedy. The Transit Project Assessment Process or TPAP is currently what stations are being assessed under. You may be familiar with this. We have been out in the public, uh, a few times now speaking about the environmental assessments. We want to take a moment tonight to walk through some of the technical reports as well as the process. The TPAP includes a suite of technical reports, uh, such as noise and vibration, cultural heritage, traffic, and transportation. Uh, all of these technical reports document the existing conditions as well as determine any significant features that valuate agent field work on the specific sites at the station. Once we can determine the existing conditions, we assess the potential impact of the project and, also propose mitigation measures as well as monitoring, in order to deal with the impacts. The technical studies are then summarized in an Environmental Project Report or EPR which will be, uh– is currently being prepared and will be available for public review in Jan– uh, July 19th of this year. This next slide provides you a timeline of the Transit Project Assessment process. We have been out for consultation, for two rounds of consultations, uh, in October and November of 2017 and then more recently in February, March of this year. Uh. Since we last left you we have issued our notice of commencement which officially starts TPAP process in 120 days. Right now, we are consulting on our environmental findings for the TPAP and looking for feedback and comments and questions on the technical studies and the field work that has been done. After we leave you, this summer we’ll be doing– we’ll be issuing our notice of completion of the EPR which will start the formal 30 days of public and stakeholder review. Which will then lead to the 35-day Minister’s review and formally end the process with a Statement of Completion. I’m going to turn it back over to Greg to talk about station design.
Greg Tokarz 08:05
Thanks Shannon. In this slide we’ve, uh, pictured the Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack station. Station design has not changed since we presented it at the March consultation. So, if you were at one of those sessions you’ll recognize this. Uh. If you’re not familiar with it the station is located beneath the Lawrence Avenue overpass between Kennedy Road to the west and Midland to the east. Picture it here in white– is the existing Lawrence East Station on like three. Lawrence-Kennedy has been designed to keep the Line 3 fully operational, both during construction and operation until the Scarborough subway is complete. The station will have a main entrance on the eastside of the rail corridor beneath the overpass pictured here in red. Uh. The inset at the top right shows where passengers will travel from the 54 Lawrence bus and vertical connection from the stairs and elevator from the overpass to the SmartTrack platforms. This slide shows the planned Finch-Kennedy SmartTrack station which is our most northerly SmartTrack station. The station design does not change from when we presented it at the March consultation, however, we are working to finalize the location of access roads to the station. The Finch-Kennedy station is located north of Finch Avenue between Kennedy Road to the west and Midland Ave to the east. Today, Finch Avenue East crosses the Stouffville Rail Corridor at grade. One feature of the station is that Finch Avenue will be grade separated and, in the future, will pass under the rail corridor. This station will serve the busy Finch bus routes with vertical connections from Finch up to the station platforms that straddle the road. This station also includes a northern entrance which will serve wheel trans and informal pick up and drop off. I’m now going to pass this back to Shannon to talk about the results of the environmental studies.
Thank you, Greg. As mentioned earlier the TPAP has a number of technical reports that assess the project. As you can see from this slide, uh, natural environments, archaeology, and cultural heritage is both socioeconomic and land use are three of those studies. This slide provides an overview of some of these findings of these reports. I will say that overall the, uh, impact that we are seeing as part of the assessment that we’ve done are very typical for a construction project within the City of Toronto. Some of the potential impacts that we are seeing are the potential to impact nearby water sources, at Finch Station there is the Marcum Branch of the Highland Street, and at Lawrence Station there is the Southwest Highland Creek. In terms of mitigation, we will look to best management practices such as erosion and sediment control in order to ensure that we’re mitigating any potential impasse. In terms of archaeology and cultural heritage, a stage one has been completed for both of the stations and has identified a number of different areas that will require stage two, an archaeological assessment to be completed. And this is committed to when the EPR is done before construction. In terms of socioeconomic, overall the stations will increase access to the rail network, uh, for the existing surrounding communities as well as improve mutli-model connectivity and public [inaudible]. Overall, on this slide you will see that there’s a number of future commitments, few future reports, and mitigation measures that we’ll be making when implementing the project. The next slide goes over three additional technical reports that we complete as part of TPAP, this is; noise and vibration, air quality, and transportation. In terms of impact with these stations are our team. There are, uh, some potential nuance in, uh– sorry, nuisance impacts during construction such as noise from construction equipment, dust from construction, and traffic impact to surrounding areas. The mitigation that we’ve identified, uh, is such things as limiting night time construction, uh, also including a traffic management plan, and working with, uh, TPC and the municipalities, as well as notifying residence when there would be potential traffic impacts. As well, we are also looking at monitoring during construction for noise and vibration to ensure that we are aware of any impacts that may arise. In terms of operation, the noise levels are not anticipated to be to significantly increase due to the stations themselves, as well, air quality will meet provincial standards and future commitments such as cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will be looked at before the implementation of the project.
Two aspects of the TPAP I would like to focus on tonight are climate change and trees. In terms of the TPAP, we do consider climate change as part of the process. The administrative environment in climate change provides guidance that proponents should consider both: mitigation, which we see effects of the transit project on climate change; and adaptation, which is considering effects of climate change on transit project construction and operation. In terms of mitigation, the climate change mitigation, we have looked at what the impact of the station may have in terms of, um, greenhouse gas emissions as well as vegetation and energy consumption. Overall, the reduction of GHGs emission– we expect reduction of GHG emission due to less congestion on the road with new riders on these lines. As well, we’re also looking at how to mitigate any tree removal, such as compensation that I will speak to you, uh, shortly. As well, in terms of adaptation we look in the TPAP to consider how we will affect the climate change will m-m– effect the project. The EA looks at the post-mitigation to, to negate impacts, such as increase air temperature, increase precipitation, such as aversion and sediment control to deal with storm water and ensuring that we have, uh, storm water management designs, um, that will adhere to this.
The last slide here that I’m going to speak, uh, proposed Vegetation Compensation Protocol. Um. As you may be aware trees are very important to the local community and to the City of Toronto. Uh. We will– we do anticipate that there will need to be some tree removal as part of the construction for these projects. At the Lawrence-Kennedy Station, we anticipate about 70 try– trees will need to be removed, and at Finch Station, we anticipate approximately 300 trees will need to be removed. Currently, Metrolinx is establishing a Vegetation Compensation Protocol, that will look to compensate tree removal within the city and surrounding areas for our projects. In terms of municipality and private trees, we’ll continue to work with municipalities in order to develop and meet the current bi-law for trees within Metorlinx’s properties, such as our Rail Corridor, will work with local conservationist authorities, as well as, any– as municipalities in order to finalize compensation plans. Lastly, we’ll also look to develop options for the end use of trees, which ensures that we reuse and recycle the trees that will be reused as part of this project.
Jim Faught – Moderator 16:10
Thank you, Shannon and Greg, for that lovely presentation. I would like to remind those who are on the phone to press three if you have questions and if you’re online there’s the text box you can type your questions in to. We do have some questions coming in already but before we get to that I just want to remind people to provide your comments on the project in a variety of ways. First, you can visit the website www.SmartTrack.to. Submit comments with the new interactive Social Pinpoint map and that’s the same website with the /socialpinpoint. There’s lots of opportunities to comment on the environmental assessments you just heard about from Shannon as well as provide other comments on any part of this project. You can sign up for email updates and review all the project materials on that website. You may submit emails, comments by emails, uh, to us at NewSpaces@Metrolinx.com or at SmartTrack@Toronto.ca. You could call us at the Toronto– City of Toronto 416-338-2848 or at Metrolinx 416-202-5586. We would appreciate receiving your comments by this Friday June 22nd so that they can be included in the environmental project report. Now, I’ll open it up for questions and once again the call-in number is 1-800-457-6180 press 3 if you have a question or you can join the meeting online at SmartTrack.to/TownHall.
Erik- Moderator 17:49
Jim, thank you again for, of course, introducing us to the event and also to all of our panelists. We do want to remind everyone that if you would like to get involved, we want to hear from you. Ask the questions by pressing three on your phone’s keypad at any time or, of course, you can type your question into the chat, uh– the question chat window online. Again, press three if you’re on the TownHall, uh, using your phone and if you’re on the web interface you can type your question into the question chat window online. Now, we do have a– our first question. It’s an online question, comes up from Raymond. Raymond wants to know: when will you confirm the frequency of train service on the Stouffville line?
Jim Faught – Moderator 18:30
Thank you for that question Raymond, uh, that’s a very good question. I’ll turn that over to Greg to answer.
Greg Tokarz 18:35
Uh-huh. Thanks Raymond. Um. You know in our staff report to council in, um– in April. Um, and if you want to check the, uh– check the report online. It’s, it’s, uh, EX33.1 as the number report. We outlined, uh, what the terms were that were decided between, uh, the city and Metrolinx, uh, for service. And that is peak hour frequencies between 6 to 10 minutes and off-peak frequencies of 15 minutes. Um. We also have that specified in the term sheet, um, which is one of the attachments to the report. And a-as we go forward on this project, um, Metrolinx and the city will have terms to, uh, guide the project, um, and set the scope, and, uh, things like the frequency of service. Um. And at that time, um, the m-master agreement will specify those details as well.
Jim Faught – Moderator 19:42
Thank you, Greg. Another question that we’ve heard, um, through our computations is: will the Scarborough Rapid Transit remain operational throughout construction? Very good question, I’ll turn it over to Gary to answer. Please introduce yourself Gary.
Gary Papas 19:56
Thank Tim. Uh, my name is Gary Papis, I work with City Planning. If we could quickly, uh, pull up slide number nine. Okay, great. Um. So, a few objectives of the SST were to maintain continued service of Line 3 until Line 2 extension is complete. So, as you can see here, the Lawrence-Kennedy SmartTrack station has been designed to sit within the existing corridor right away and would preserve the continued operation of Line 3 during construction and operation.
Jim Faught – Moderator 20:35
Thank you, Gary. From the web we have a second question. Uh. What kind of impact will it be for– what kind of impact will there be from traffic on Finch Avenue during construction? Um. Finch Avenue will have some impact during construction so what, uh– so what sort of impact do you think it will get?
Greg Tokarz 20:56
Um. So, the, the– part of the design of the station is to have a temporary diversion road during the construction period so that the, uh, construction of the grade separation where Finch goes under the corridor, um, can be staged. Um, that will keep, um, traffic open on Finch. We don’t have a final construction plan yet, of course, and that will be part of the procurement process where, uh, the successful proponent will have a detailed construction plan. We’ll talk about how they manage construction during th– the entire construction period. But the plan is to have traffic open on Finch Avenue, um, especially for, uh, the very busy Finch bus line.
Jim Faught – Moderator 21:50
Thank you, Greg. Let’s see. We have a live question from Brenda.
Erik- Moderator 21:58
We do have a live question. We’ll go to that in just a second. I want to remind everyone joining us this evening that if you– we want to have you get involved. So, if you have a live question, you can do as Brenda has done and press three on your phone’s keypad. You can also type your question into the question chat window if you’re on the online web interface. So again, using the TownHall, press three on your phone’s keypad, or if you’re on the online interface type your question into the question chat window online. We’re going to go now to Brenda. Brenda, you’re joining us live, please go ahead with your question.
Thank you. Um. Actually, I was wondering if I could make it, uh, sort of a two-prong question. Uh. First of all, uh, if, if I’m taking a TTC bus and I use my presto card to get on the bus and then I want to get off at Lawrence and get on the Lawrence E-Smart train. Uh, how much would it cost me to do that? And then the other part of my question is: what would be the frequency of the Lawrence E-SmartTrack train and the Finch East as well?
Jim Faught – Moderator 23:06
Thank you for that question Brenda. So, we’ll answer the first p-part of the question first and that’s about, uh, what’s it going to cost to transfer between TTC and the GO SmartTrack?
Greg Tokarz 23:18
Okay, I have a two-part answer. The first is that there was a, a co-fare arrangement agreed to where, uh, passengers using Presto transferring to TTC or SmartTrack or vice versa would pay, um– would get a discount of $2 on their, um– on their transfer. The second part is that, um, a gain announced in the provincial budget, uh, agreement that, um, any, um S-SmartTrack trips within Toronto would be for the value of a TTC fare, so right now that’s $3.00. So, um, I’m not going to do all the math for you but that’s, um– you would basically, uh, pay for one fare and then a discounted second fare.
Jim Faught – Moderator 24:10
Thank you, Greg. We have another web, uh, question from Hayden Poon. Uh. Are we going to have a direct connection between Line 3 Northbound and SmartTrack Southbound or do we need to go up and down the stairs multiple times? I’ll turn that over to Gary for the city answer.
Gary Papas 24:30
Thank you, Hayden, for you– for your question. Um. So, again with, uh, this Scarborough subway extension it will be replacing Line 3 [inaudible] will be operational in two two of 2026. At that point, um, the SRT line will be decommissioned so we are not planning or projecting for a current connection between SmartTrack and the SRT.
Jim Faught – Moderator 24:54
Thank you, Gary. And next we have a live question from Howard. Howard, go ahead.
Erik- Moderator 25:01
Howard is going to be joining us live on the line. Uh. Howard, welcome to this evenings Virtual TownHall. You’re joining us live on the line. Please go ahead with your question.
Jim Faught – Moderator 25:15
Hello. Yes, please go ahead with your question Howard.
Okay, thank you very much for taking my question. The first one, um, it’s a two-part question. The consideration for the SmartTrack is it based on servicing more people in Scarborough or is it based servicing the outer regions of the GTA? And the second part of it is that: um, informing the people of the Scarborough area, where SmartTrack will be serviced, what are the benefits of having SmartTrack versus other forms of transportation within their area?
Jim Faught – Moderator 25:51
Okay, um, thanks for the question. Um. So, uh, the– the SmartTrack program, I think I mentioned in, in, in the presentation, um–
Gary Papis 26:07
So, the SmartTrack program is actually to, to, uh, create better connections for the community of Torontonian, um, so that is what the phase– one of the key phases of the whole SmartTrack program is. So, it is for, um, the people of Scarborough, people of Toronto to have better access to transit and through the fair integration Initiative as well we will better connect Torontonians to transit.
Ok thank you.
Erik- Moderator 26:35
Howard, thank you very much for that question. We do have another, uh, web question. This is an online question, and again, to ask a live question, press three on your phone keypad. To ask a web question press, uh, on your– on your web interface. You can type in your question via the question chat. Now this question is from Dave. He says, “Hi, SmartTrack has been deemed to be within provincial standards for pollution, but it is also running along the same tracks as Stouffville GO trains like Short GO trains and Via Trains. That is a lot of trains. As an asthmatic person, I am very concerned about the collective train pollution. Is there going to be any consideration given to reduce train pollution for nearby residents.
Jim Faught – Moderator 27:18
Thank you, Dave, for that question. We’ll turn it over to James Francis from Metrolinx to answer that question.
James Francis – Moderator 27:24
[inaudible] so thank you for the question. Uh. And so, in the– in the
environmental assessment for the new station we look at all the train traffic, uh, that exist today. So that’s, that’s GO traffic, and Via traffic, also the traffic in the future. And so, for the timeline in which we’re planning the station to be operational, uh, we’re also planning electrification of GO service. And we anticipate on the whole that the air quality will be improved with the introduction of electric trains.
Jim Faught – Moderator 27:54
Thank you, James.
Erik- Moderator 27:57
We have another, uh, online question, I believe coming up. This is also going to be coming up from Jade. Now this question is: the current Scarborough GO station is now located on an overpass. This has created much more noise in neighborhood due to train acceleration and deceleration. Can this station be looked for noise reduction measures especially given there will be many more trains using the station?
Jim Faught – Moderator 28:23
Thank you Jade for that question and it’s about noise, uh, with, uh, the Metrolinx, uh, and the GO station that is, um, there operating now. Uh. Is there a response for this from Metrolinx? About the noise at the stations and the studies that have been made about noise?
James Francis 28:43
Right. So, wit-with the station that, that we’re planning in Scarborough is part of [inaudible]. We have looked at the, uh, noise effect, for those [inaudible] operation and introduction is the [inaudible] anticipated to, uh, result in an exchange of less than one decibel at average noise level. Uh. And so, at Finch-Kennedy and at Lawrence-Kennedy with the introduction of the [inaudible]. We’re anticipating that the change of noise will not be noticeable.
Jim Faught – Moderator 29:10
Erik- Moderator 29:14
We now have another–
James Francis 29:14
Erik- Moderator 29:15
— online question. Oh, sorry. We have another online question. This is going to be coming from Raymond. And Raymond has the following question. In April there were two gusts of wind over 90 kilometers per hour. I would like to know if a person was sitting at the romance, so that should be sucked up to these men, I should be subject to these winds.
Jim Faught – Moderator 29:35
Well, thank you for that question Raymond. This is about space and design and, uh, protection from the elements. Uh. So, uh, we’ll turn it over to a Metrolinx [inaudible’. Please introduce yourself?
[inaudible] Natalie. So, um, basically there will be shelters, waiting area both on the other side where the bus, um– waiting areas as well as at the station level on [inaudible] and a station building with a waiting are below the underpass. So, there will be protection from wind within those [inaudible] area.
Jim Faught – Moderator 30:11
Thank you for that. From previous consultations we have another question that has come in regarding what will be done to minimize the impact of construction on local residents during construction of the stations for SmartTrack? We’ll turn that over to James from SmartTrack
So, we need environmental [inaudible] before the new contract obligations. We look at both on construction related effects and operational effects and so we go into a fair amount of detail about how we’re planning to mitigate construction related effects in our draft technical reports. And those are now available, uh, on our website. I-If you go to the [inaudible] website th-there going to be up for a review, uh, in broad stroke. In terms of, of local resident impact. We’re looking at mitigation to, uh, reduce, uh– reduce construction [inaudible] and reduce vibration. Uh. And we’re looking at a whole host of measures to, to [inaudible] including using broadband backup beepers and avoiding concurrent use of any [inaudible]. Specific details that any specific impact that you may be interested in are available on our website in the technical report.
Jim Faught – Moderator 31:21
Thank you and I want to remind everyone that you can visit the project website www.SmartTrack.to to submit your comments and use the new interactive Social Pinpoint mapping tool which is also on that same, same website. Uh. Each station is highlighted with all the environmental assessment work that’s been done and impact, so you can probably comment on any one of those topics within the environmental assessment. As well as, there is at the very top of that screen you can drag down a pin, drop it anywhere in the project area and provide comments on the SmartTrack program. So, uh, back to the questions that we received previously. With, uh, trains running on the corner, will there be an increase in noise with more trains running on the corner. Will there be an increase in noise level? Let’s go to James Francis from Metrolinx.
James Francis 32:14
If you think– thanks [inaudible] we got a fair amount of interest in this question. Uh, and Julia it’s something that we looked at in a fair amount of detail in our– in our [inaudible] and vibrations study. And, um, not only do result show that, uh, future noise with the introduction of the– of the introduction of the station is within one decibel of the existing noise level. So were not anticipating that this will be a noticeable change. Uh. In terms of– in terms of [inaudible] for the future operation where we’re planning to [inaudible] on these corridors and electric trains are generally quieter than [inaudible] train. And so, we think that on a whole, they’re able to get increased service and, and, uh, not a noticeable change in noise.
Jim Faught – Moderator 32:53
Thank you, James. I’ll turn it back over to Erik to introduce another question that’s coming in live on the phone lines.
Erik- Moderator 32:59
Thank you, Jim. We do have another live question. And quickly again for everyone joining us on the event today. To get involved and ask a question please press three on your phone’s keypad to ask a live question or simply type your question into the question chat window online. We’re going to go now to Brandon. Brandon, you’re joining us live please go ahead.
Hi, it’s, it’s, uh– I ray– but– I’d–I’d like to ask you people to be responsible in the way you answer this question, it’s been asked twice. Uh. Brenda’s already asked. We’re looking for the frequency of SmartTrack service at the Lawrence station. The answer given previously was that city council had approved under the understanding that there– this is being negotiated. They anticipate 6 to 12, 15-minute service but that’s in the whole SmartTrack system. Whereas, this evenings discussion is dealing specifically with the Stouffville line. Uh. The Metrolinx Chairman is on the record saying it is 15-minute service on the Stouffville line, city council has no say in how fast or how quickly trains operate on the Stouffville line. Um. And the answer to say the council approved of the SmartTrack bill, uh, 33.1 expecting, uh, more frequent service than 15 minutes is kind of unreasonable at this point when we’re entering the TP– TPAP process. Um. When– what is the problem in telling the public, and beyond that, in the March meeting this question was asked. Specifically, under what assumptions the, uh, 9,000 riders that Lawrence was– uh, riders that Lawrence was to be established. Because frequency is a major factor in the number of riders that will be using the station. And, uh, uh 9,000 is off the mark–off the charts in terms of, uh, uh, uh, frequency of service certainly would not within 15-minute service. So that the– the, the importance of properly answering and addressing the question of the frequency of the Lawrence– of the SmartTrack at the Lawrence station is critical. Also, at the Finch station this is all relevant to the TPAP and people are not addressing– well it’s our– my perception that were not let it be that the frequency is not properly being addressed so can you go into detail as to how close you can say what the frequency of service is? What the mitigating factor is? What is the worst-case scenario in these negotiations? There is a penalty if Metrolinx fails to meet– fails to do better than 15 minutes service but there’s a physical impossibility of the number of trains, um, Metrolinx can run under the railroad signaling system of the Stouffville line, uh, we’re hitting a, a physical impossibility versus a political agreed upon frequency and we would like clarification.
Jim Faught – Moderator 36:01
Okay. Thank you very much for that question. So, we will, um, take this, um, dig a little deeper into the answer for that to make sure that we answer the question. So, what is the expected frequency at Lawrence station and he also asked about Finch station? So, what is the expected frequency for those stations. We’ll turn it over to Gary.
Gary Papas 36:19
Thanks. Um. Yes, the, the expected frequency is 6 to 10 minutes in, uh, at– in peaks and 15 minutes off peak. A-And I can’t speak to any other statements that were made and, uh, any other calculations that have been done about the capacity of the Stouffville line. But i-it, the planned frequency is, uh, 6 to 10 in the peak and 15 minutes off peak.
Jim Faught – Moderator 36:49
Great. So, uh, thank you so much for that answer. Um. Let’s go to, um, the, uh, turn it over to Erik again to, uh, have a question from Dave from coming in on the web– the web, uh, page. Erik.
Erik- Moderator 37:07
Jim, thank you very much. We do have another question from Dave and the question is as follows. Currently there is a level crossing at Danforth Road and Midland Ave. It is, uh– it has a gate to restrict traffic. With the increase in trains, has any consideration been giving increasing safety for drivers and pedestrians?
Jim Faught – Moderator 37:29
Thank you, Dave, for that question. So, the question is about the safety at level crossing, uh, at– especially at the, uh, Danforth. So, uh, we’ll turn it over to, uh, one of the colleagues from Metrolinx to answer that question. Please introduce yourself.
Hi, I’m Azeem from Metrolinx Community Relations Stouffville quarter. So, to answer your question about safety at the level crossings. Um. Safety is the number one priority and, um, a lot of these crossings were working with their partners at the city, um, from the municipal gov– municipal government to ensure that we have improvements if we can’t get great separations, like we do at Finch Avenue. We look at improved gate crossings, um, and this is still an ongoing process. Um. And th-th-th-the Danforth and Midland areas actually, um, earmarked or created separation, uh, which will be– which will be coming, and we don’t have a timeline at the moment but that’s one of the busier, you know, sections. So that intersection we are looking at.
Jim Faught – Moderator 38:26
Thank you Azeem. Turn it back over to Erik for a question from Berry, I mean in on the web.
Erik- Moderator 38:33
Correct. We do have another online question. And again, if you would like to ask an online question you can type it into the question chat window online. This question is from Berry, he wants to know will all GO trains and SmartTrack stop at SmartTrack stations? Will SmartTrack trains be identified or will they be GO train?
Jim Faught – Moderator 38:52
So, thank you very much for that question Berry. Let’s go to the second question first. Will SmartTrack trains be identified or will they be GO trains? I think that’s the easier question and [inaudible] to answer that one first.
Greg Tokarz 39:04
Um. So, the, the SmartTrack program builds on the Regional Express Rail program. So, the intention is that the trains that will be serving those states SmartTrack stations will be GO trains. Whether they will be identified as such or not, um, hasn’t been determined yet that’s something that will be worked out in the future. Uh. But they will be GO trains.
Jim Faught – Moderator 39:30
Thank you and the second part of that question was: will all trains, uh– will both trains stop at all SmartTrack stations? That’s sort of service– the service–
Greg Tokarz 39:40
That’s right. Correct. So, the original service plan that Metrolinx had or the SmartTrack stations was all stops, which means all trains stop at all stations. But now there is going to be, um, local trains stopping at the small SmartTrack stations and then there will be express trains that come in from, uh, the 905, uh, from the regions that will express down to Union Station. And so, they’ll, they’ll bypass those stations so people coming from those regions will go to Union and people in Toronto stop– be able to stop at all the SmartTrack stations.
Jim Faught – Moderator 40:18
Great. Thank you, Greg. Next, we’ll turn over to Erik for a question coming in from Hayden on the web.
Erik- Moderator 40:25
Correct another online question coming from Hayden. He says, or his question is, the Scarborough junction will be very congested in the future and the trains will need to cross each other. Is it even possible to have a six to ten-minute frequency, like, um, while Lakeshore East have at least eight trains per hour or do we need a grade separation for trains, either in overpass or in underpass?
Jim Faught – Moderator 40:50
Thank you very much for that question Hayden. The Scarborough junction, it is going to congested. But we’ll turn it over to Brian from Metrolinx to answer that question.
Thanks very much. Uh. Hayden, you’re absolutely right about, uh, your observation. That with the number of trains passing through Scarborough junction it’s probably not physically possible to make the system work without, uh, a grade– a grade separation and therefore trains. So, what we call a rail-rail body great separation. So, we are in the process of, uh, doing the final and investigations and examinations on that. But it appears that we in fact will be creating a great separation for the, the, the two lines.
Jim Faught – Moderator 41:36
Thank you, Brian, for that. That clears that question up initially. I’m going to turn it, uh, over to one of the questions that we received previously from our consultation. And what it is the schedule for construction completion of SmartTrack. And what it is, the schedule for SmartTrack, I know you covered it in your– you and your slide there. But what is start times and approximate start times, and the schedule for completion of the SmartTrack phase? I think everyone has it, on their question, on their mind. Well, I’ll turn it over to Shannon to answer that.
Okay. Thanks very much for the question. So currently we anticipate the construction will start in early 2020 and that in service will be at– either at the end of 2024 or 2025, uh, which will coincide with the delivery of regional [inaudible].
Jim Faught – Moderator 42:19
Thank you. Looking forward to that completion and everybody will be happy to see these extra opportunities to get on the GO service. We’re having another question come in online. And I’m just waiting for that to come up on my screen. So why don’t we do that. I’ll remind people that you can visit the project website www.SmartTrack.to to submit comments. And we’re look for comments for this Friday June 22nd, so they can be included in the environmental project report, which part of the Smart Tracking Environmental Project Report. You can also go to the Social Pinpoint, which is also on the same SmartTrack.to website /specialpinpoint and provide your comments there. You can provide emails to the, the city and to, to Metrolinx place. Also, you can call the city at 416-338-4828 for Metrolinx. That’s 416-202-5586 to provide comments with these texts. So, we’ll go to, uh, Erik to provide an introduction to Dede from the web.
Erik- Moderator 43:30
Correct. We have another online question. This one is coming up from Dede is as follows. Does the TPC have any plans for the Scarborough regional transit and right away, after the RT is decommissioned. For example, will Metrolinx take over the line and add to the SmartTrack still GO line corridor.
Jim Faught – Moderator 43:49
So, the questions about the Scarborough RT and, uh, what’s going to happen to the– to the infrastructure after it’s done. So, we’ll turn that over to Gary so that you need to answer that question.
Gary Papas 44:00
Thank you, Jim. Um. So, we confirm with TPC and they have no future plans for the RT corridor. However, there has been some occupants of possibly turning it into a green waste, uh, nothing is definitive or set in stone but there have been discussions of potentially using that for a good pedestrian cycling connection.
Jim Faught – Moderator 44:22
So, this is a good opportunity for you to provide those comments. Do you see a use that you would like to see that, uh, infrastructure use for, please provide your comments at– through all the methods that we’ve provided with you [inaudible]? Um. The next question we had from previous complications. How will we mitigate increases in noise on the corridor? Will there be an opportunity to mitigate some– what sort of plans are there to mitigate noise? We’ll turn that over to James Francis to answer that one.
James Francis 44:50
Okay. So, it’s mentioned previously, in terms of operations we’re expecting a really minimal change in noise. Uh, in terms of mitigating noise from construction. Uh, we would be looking for our contractor to develop a noise and vibration control plan which spells out specific measures for, for mitigating noise. And we suspect this will include a, a range of measures including the use of broadband, backup features. Uh. We expect our contractors to keep construction equipment in good repair and, uh, to meet [inaudible] limit for construction equipment. And in general, we’ll be looking for them to balance, uh, an expedient– and expedient construction schedule with, with minimizing construction [inaudible]. So, we’ll be– we’ll be implementing a variety of measures to, to control and, and mitigate noise level [inaudible].
Jim Faught – Moderator 45:41
Thank you, James. I think that one of the big questions here is, uh, since this is part of the regional express trail is, how will Regional Express Rail impact Toronto? I’ll turn it over to Shannon to answer that. And I think it’s a– it’s a very good question about the Regional Express Rail and will– impact. And this is part of Regional Express Rail that goes station to [inaudible] and it to go to those stations as well these six SmartTrack stations in the city, so. Shannon, this is– enlighten us a little bit more about the Regional Express Rail.
Great, thank you. Uh. Metrolinx’s RER is the large and complex program that requires significant coordination and partnership between the City of Toronto and Metrolinx. A significant portion of the RER infrastructure improvements will facilitate regional service will be made within the City of Toronto. This includes work in and around Union Station and construction of [inaudible] separation, electrification of the corridors, and modification or replacement of bridges.
Jim Faught – Moderator 46:42
Okay, thank you.
Erik- Moderator 46:44
So, it’s a big program and, uh, this SmartTrack is of course part of that. Once again, you can provide your comments, uh, on the– the best place to do it is on the SmartTrack.to website, and I think for us to continue with the questions here. We have a question, what is the cost of the SmartTrack program? It’s a question that’s always asked. What is the cost of the SmartTrack program and it’s a question that, uh, often ask at our consultation TownHall meeting. So, I’ll ask that question now of Greg.
Greg Tokarz 47:22
Thanks, um, so the city contribution to the SmartTrack stations is $1.195 billion. It was approved at council, um, last month o-or I should say in April. Um. And that’s what or what’s called base station infrastructure. Um. There’s also, uh, $268 million which was approved for, uh, city-initiated station requirements. And this is things that are beyond the, uh, the, uh, base station cost. So, it’s beyond what Metrolinx normally builds in their stations. That’s things like additional entrances to get, um, neighborhood access to various neighborhoods because we’re in an urban context. Uh. It includes, uh, portions of, um, Maltese Trails that are going to connect to the station, um. And, uh, cheeky seat facilities. There’s a couple stations where there are, um, uh, we’re, we’re going to have bus connections to busy TTC routes and it will have, uh, um– there will be bus connections which will be required infrastructure that will be part of that funding. So, um, the total, uh, for that which was, uh, approved at council was $1.463 billion.
Jim Faught – Moderator 48:41
Than you Gary for highlighting what the cost will be. We’ll turn it back over to Erik. There is a question coming in from the web form Tim.
Erik- Moderator 48:49
Correct. We have Tim’s question. It’s an online question. His question is, what will property lines ser– sorry. When will property line survey work start for the home owners backing on to Finch? Will we lose property as happened on the rail corridor?
Jim Faught – Moderator 49:05
Thank you for that question Tim and there’s been of questions about property impact. And I’ll turn it over to Kevin Rockman as the Director of Property Acquisitions at Metrolinx. Kevin please go ahead with an answer to that question.
Kevin Rockman 49:16
Hi, Tim. Thank you for your question. Survey property line, uh, survey worker or survey work, uh, is likely to commence, uh, during the late summer. However, it will not start until after every property owner, where survey work needs to be done, has first been contacted by a Metrolinx representative and/or negotiator. As far as property acquisition, similar to the rail corridor, at this point along Finch, it does not appear as though residential properties along the south side will be affected. However, I caution you that, that subject could change. The impact however, if there are any, will be minimal.
Jim Faught – Moderator 49:59
Thank you for that.
Kevin Rockman 50:00
Jim Faught – Moderator 50:00
[inaudible] I think that answer quite clearly. Next, we’ll go to, uh, parking. We have a lot of questions about parking at these stations. And one of the big questions is, why is there no parking at Finch? Finch is one of the, uh, main areas where people feel there should be some additional parking and I’m thinking of these [inaudible]. We’ll turn it over to Gary from the city to answer that one.
Gary Papas 50:24
Thank you. So new parking is not recommended at any SmartTrack station because the stations are designed to integrate with or actually the whole program itself is designed to integrate with the local TPC network. However, potential for commuter parking is being looked at in the context of new development around the station, which was the council to [inaudible], um our December, uh, council.
Jim Faught – Moderator 50:50
Thank you, Gary. Turn it over to the, uh, Erik to go to Rhonda, uh, who has a web question.
Erik- Moderator 51:00
Well, we do have this question coming up from Rhonda. Rhonda’s question is, will grade separations or safety measures be in place at all grade crossings on the Stouffville line before the first SmartTrack train leaves the station?
Jim Faught – Moderator 51:16
Very good question Rhonda and we’ll turn it over to Azeem to sort of fill us in on that, uh, response.
Thank you for the question Rhoda. This is Azeem from Metrolinx communications. We are doing studies for all the crossings on the, uh– on the solo corridor at the moment. Um. In terms of actual grade separations, most likely not every crossing will get it, however our team is doing, uh– are doing studies on each of the crossings, um, from priority A and B. Um. In terms of safety measures as I mentioned, you know, in the earlier question. Uh. We are looking at, uh, safety improvements with working alongside our friends at the city. Um. So, while I can’t, uh– can’t guarantee that we will see safety improvements, right, right away. It is something that we are looking actively on.
Jim Faught – Moderator 52:01
Thank you Azeem. Um. From the web we have another question, it’s from Barry. And Erik please introduce that.
Erik- Moderator 52:10
Well, I know that we actually have, uh, this question is coming up from Dave. And Dave wants to know, with regard to Scarborough station, the term grade separation has been mentioned. Can you clarify what exactly is meant by that?
Jim Faught – Moderator 52:23
So, what is meant by grade separation? That’s fantastic. That’s a great question because it’s kind of a technical term used by those who work in the real industry. So Azeem just explain what grade separation is, yeah, because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to some people.
Sure, sure. Glad to answer that. Grade separation, uh, would mean where roads intersect with the existing corridor. Where right now they’re on a grade level where there’s, um– where there is a gate. So, grade separation would indicate that the corridor, the real corridor, would either go under the existing street or it would go over the existing street. Uh. So that essentially is what a grade separation is.
Jim Faught – Moderator 52:59
Do you see those? Yeah, it’s either an underpass under the railway corridor or it’s an overpass over the railway corridor is a grade separation. So that you don’t have to stop and have the bells and whistles go, uh, with the crossing and you don’t have to stop and wait for trains. These are over or under the train corridor. So, uh, next we have a question from Berry. Berry’s question is, what is the proposed start date for the Finch underpass construction? I think we highlighted a little bit. We don’t really have an exact date yet for construction.
Erik- Moderator 53:32
Jim Faught – Moderator 53:32
But it’s coming up roughly and when?
So, um, what we have to date is this first construction date for the Finch station which is 30, 2020.
Jim Faught – Moderator 53:42
And the completion and operation date which is end of 2020 to beginning of 2025. Within that period, um, the grade separation will be scheduled with that. We don’t know or the detail [inaudible].
Jim Faught – Moderator 53:55
Okay. Thank you. So, so, early 2020 is the estimated start for construction and you’ll certainly see lots of other notices and communications from the SmartTrack team as we get closer to construction dates and further consultation on what’s going to happen during construction. So that brings us to, uh, very close to the close. And I want to thank you all for all your questions tonight. Those were excellent questions and I’m glad we were able to answer them. Um. Thank you to Shan-Shannon and Greg for their presentation. You can– once again, you can visit the project website at www.SmartTrack.to and submit your comments using the interactive Social Pinpoint map. For email updates to new stations at Metrolinx.com or SmartTrack@Toronto.ca. You can call the City of Toronto at 416-338-2848 or Metrolinx at 416-202-5586 to leave your comments. And once again we’d appreciate receiving those comments by June 27th– sorry 22nd, this Friday so they can be included in the environmental report. Uh. Th-That’s up for u-us for speaking and I’ll turn it over to Erik to close off.
Erik- Moderator 55:11
Thank you again to everyone for joining us this evening. Again, there are a variety of ways that you can provide us with your input on the project. You can visit the project website SmartTrack.to/socialpinpoint and submit comments using the new interactive map. You can also sign up for email updates and view all project materials on the website SmartTrack.to. You can submit email comments by emailing us NewStations@Metrolinx.com or SmartTrack@Toronto.ca. Lastly, you can call us at the City of Toronto 416-338-2848 or at Metrolinx 416-202-5586. Thank you again to everyone and participating. Have a great night.