Monday, February 26, 2018 | 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Gladstone Hotel | 1214 Queen Street West

Meeting Summary

Participants

Paula Capela
Cam MacKinnon, First Capital
Andrea McKittrick, CityPlace Fort York Business Improvement Association
Valerie Eggertson, Garment District Neighbourhood Association
Tyler McDermott, 55 Sudbury Street
Mandy Ng, 55 Sudbury Street
Kathryn Petersen, 45 Lisgar Street
Karen Beitel, TSCC 2210
Joel Citulski, TSCC 2531
Marco Petrucci, 99 Sudbury Street
Scott Dobson, Friends Of West Toronto Railpath
Charles Campbell, A18
Judy Land, Bloordale Community Improvement Association
Andrew Mifsud, 38 Joe Shuster Resident
Jennifer Arezes, First Capital
Carolina Marteb, Castlepoint
Marco Paganeli, 99 Sudbury
Odessa Lopechuk, The Bridge Condo

Elected Officials and Staff

Christina Martin, MPP
Councillor Mike Layton
Brandon Leal (Councillor Bailao’s Office)

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
Kanchan Maharaj, City of Toronto
Shalin Yeboah, City of Toronto
Scott Pennington, City of Toronto
Scott Haskill, TTC
Manuela Istrate, Metrolinx
Shannon McNeill, Metrolinx
James Francis, Metrolinx
Simon Strauss, Metrolinx

Project Consultants

Brendan Agnew-Iler, Argyle
Shirven Rezvany, Argyle

1.  Opening Remarks and Overview

Brendan Agnew-Iler welcomed participants to the second West Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed King-Liberty SmartTrack station and the proposed Bloor-Lansdowne and Spadina-Front GO stations. Stella Gustavson provided an overview of the new SmartTrack/GO stations project and presented the updated station designs. Simon Strauss and James Francis highlighted the key findings of the environmental studies.

1.1 Questions of Clarification

Participants were invited to ask questions of clarification 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. At the last meeting, the St. Clair-Old Weston SmartTrack station was included in the West SAG meeting. Why is it not included tonight?

A. At the last meeting, it was included to accommodate stakeholders who indicated that they could not attend the dedicated St. Clair-Old Weston SAG meeting.

Q. I am concerned about whether this plan will address the transportation needs in the inner City. Will there be an assessment of transportation needs in the inner city? For example, the Queen streetcar is difficult to board. I want to know if you have the answer – is there space for additional riders?

  1. There are several ongoing projects the City is working on to improve the rapid transit network. This is one of them. SmartTrack is geared towards reduce crowding on transit within the City. Other projects like the Relief Line South, the King Street Pilot and the Waterfront LRT will also reduce crowding.

 Q. West-central Toronto has inadequate transit. The LRTs and the Relief Line do not come here. Is there any place in this evaluation process – the TPAP, EA and so on – to see if what is planned will be sufficient to address the overall needs of transit in this area? It seems like nothing in this process will answer this question.

  1. The overall transit needs of the west-central part of the City are beyond the scope of this meeting. There are several reports that address capacity and other issues. I can direct you to reports that partially answer your questions. The City needs a great deal of transit investment, even beyond these specific stations and this program.

C. Regarding the Bloor-Lansdowne proposed bridge: 6-8 months ago it seemed this bridge could never happen. This bridge is getting intermodal right. Everyone is excited about it. This bridge will connect the Rail Path to No Frills and so on. This is a good example of what can be done when the City, Metrolinx and residents come together. This is getting it right.

Q. Will the trains pulling into Bloor-Lansdowne station be diesel trains?

  1. The plan is to have these stations completed to coincide with electrification.

Q. If Metrolinx goes with hydrogen trains, would this extend the electrification timeline? Would the station be delayed? If electrification is delayed, did the EA cover use of diesel trains? Or would it mean that the station will not be open if there is no electrification?

A. At this time it is difficult to identify potential impacts related to hydrogen fuel cell trains. The EA on electrification was based on trains powered through overhead wires. If Metrolinx decides to go with hydrogen fuel cell trains, there will be an addendum to the EA. The plan in the EA is to complete electrification for 2025. This timeline will be maintained.

The EA for new stations and increased service are based on electrification. If things should change, the EA would need to be updated. Metrolinx has committed to placing a maximum number of trains on the Barrie corridor prior to electrification, and this number will not increase.

Q. There is a proposed bridge for King-Liberty, can you explain how this would work?

A. The City is determining what it can do with the proposed bridge. The intention is to have community connectivity across the bridge and to service the station.

Q. Who designs the bridge? Who is the consultant? Can we use the bridge to mitigate some of the potential property acquisition needs?

  1. The area is constrained, and spatial constraints are informing how the design proceeds – where we can fit stairs, access, and so on. There are developments on Joe Shuster Way, hydro constraints and other constraints. The City wants to minimize property impacts. We are working with a consortium called 4Transit on the design work.

 Q. So there is no design where you have the station building on the north side of the tracks? How far along is the design work?

  1. The design presented today is how far we have progressed.

C. The bridge would connect to the Rail Path, which will continue to St. Clair Avenue. This would be the largest intermodal transit corridor in the City. We need to look at this as a network.

Q. When would construction start in King-Liberty?

A. Early 2020.

Q. Since the station was moved further west, has there been consideration of the geothermal lines running on both sides of the tracks?

A. The City and Metrolinx are coordinating design with adjacent utilities.

2. Roundtable 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. Questions and comments are grouped below by station.

All stations

Q. Would fares be consistent with current TTC fares? Or higher? If it is higher, then this project seems to be for suburban commuters.

A. The intention is to have a seamless connection from TTC service to the new stations, at a price point where Torontonians do not have to pay more.

C. None of the planning studies will tell us if this project is adequate. You say it’s going to help, but not if the solutions aren’t good enough.

A. The City has noted that it is behind on transit. Even when this project is done, there is still more work to do. By putting in the stations and improving services, the City will address some but not all the transit issues.

Q. What is the funding priority?

A. A Stage Gate process is being used for this project, along with a funding envelope. The April report to council will have the latest cost estimate. Council will decide to fund elements of these stations based on this report.

King-Liberty SmartTrack Station

C.  At King-Liberty, there is a berm on the south side of the corridor adjacent to Joe Shuster Way; different condo corporations own all that land. There is also a dog park.

C. Having this area as a construction zone, especially as we’re finishing 1100 King Street, will be a challenge. Residents are fatigued by the construction, traffic, and road closures.

Q. Why was there no assessment done at Joe Shuster Way, where the entrance will be? What about traffic considerations? Traffic is a big concern for this community.

A. The City and Metrolinx will have to update their studies as design and planning progress. Some of the work was done based on the prior station design, but the EA scope included this whole area. These are being designed as urban stations with no parking or pick up and drop off areas. The stations are being designed to not draw new vehicular traffic. The area north of the corridor is being examined for informal potential pick up and drop off areas.

C. Traffic is a challenge. Even if you don’t anticipate traffic, there will be cabs, Uber and drop offs and so on. At present, the traffic backs up from Joe Shuster Way to Dufferin Street; there is always a line of cars. This is what the City should review.

C. Joe Shuster Way is two lanes wide, with parking. If one driver stops for 30 seconds to pick someone up it would cause traffic problems. We envision that people from outside Toronto will come in to the area for events on King West and so on. These people will take an Uber or cab from the station.

C. It should be noted that when the Kings Club condo opens, their driveway access is at the station entrance.

C. In traffic studies we should be looking at special event days. If the street is packed during an event, emergency vehicles will not be able to enter the area.

A. Typically the City looks at peak hours and greatest surge during that time.

C. Looking at peak hours only is a mistake, special events in the area will have an impact. This area has many events, the traffic and station use will be similar to the Exhibition grounds.

C. It is very important ensure access to this station from Liberty Village. The station is moving further west, making it harder to use.

C. Access to UPX at this station is desired as well.

Spadina-Front GO Station

C. There is concern about traffic issues around the new station, as well as the ability for pedestrians to exit and get around the busy streets. There is no southern crosswalk at Spadina and Front.

C. We need to balance pedestrians and others coming for special events and the existing traffic from the Gardiner. This will be challenging. We will also need wayfinding for people getting off the train.

Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station

C. Bell ringing, vibrations and train operation noise are a consistent issue in this area; it is a residential neighbourhood.

C. The connections to the West Toronto Rail Path are appreciated.

C. There is a need for transit-oriented development around the Value Village site. There is a desire for mixed uses and affordable housing in the area.

C. There is a need to further understand how passenger pick-up and drop-off areas will be designed and operated in this residential area. There is potential for traffic, noise and other disruptions.

C. There is concern about construction impacts, especially with regard to noise and air quality.

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.