February 24, 2016 – Highlights Report
Toronto Transit Consultation Meetings
February 24, 2016
This concise Highlights Report has been prepared to provide the City of Toronto, TTC and Metrolinx with a snapshot of the feedback captured at the public meeting held on February 24, 2016. A more detailed report of the feedback during this phase of consultations will be prepared in the coming days.
On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, the City of Toronto, City Planning Division (Transportation Planning), the TTC and Metrolinx, hosted a public meeting on seven key transit projects currently being planned. The meeting was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto.
The public meeting focused on the various transit projects being studied as part of a network approach to transit planning undertaken by the City, TTC and Metrolinx, including:
Six and Fifteen Year Transit Planning: Show the potential development of Toronto’s rapid transit system over the next 6 and 15 years
Scarborough Transit Extension: Present a proposed approach to optimizing the transit network in Scarborough, including the development of an express subway to Scarborough centre, SmartTrack and the extension of the Crosstown LRT eastward to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.
Relief Line: Present the results of the corridor evaluation and the preferred corridor.
Waterfront Transit Reset: Introduce a new initiative to improve transit options along the waterfront.
SmartTrack / GO Regional Express Rail (RER): Present current work to develop GO RER and to integrate it with SmartTrack on the Stouffville and Kitchener corridors.
SmartTrack Western Corridor Feasibility Study: Present the results of a study considering feasibility of SmartTrack heavy rail western corridor options connecting Mount Dennis and the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre. A heavy rail option will not be recommended due to significant community impact, higher cost and lower projected ridership compared to the LRT.
GO Electrification: Present recent work on plans to electrify Metrolinx-owned rail corridors.
The meeting featured a series of panels and interactive feedback activities for each project. Participants could freely move between display panels and activities at their own pace, and speak with project staff from the City, TTC and Metrolinx.
Following an introductory presentation on Coordinated Network Transit Planning given by Hilary Holden (Director, Transit and Sustainable Transportation, City of Toronto) and Hans Riekko (Senior Planner, Transit Implementation Unit, City of Toronto) at 7:30 PM, participants had the opportunity to ask questions of clarification as well as provide feedback.
Approximately 170 individuals attended the public meeting, including Ward 33 Councillor Shelley Carroll.
Highlights of Participant Feedback
Questions of Clarification
The discussion captured during the question and answer period following the overview presentation is summarized below. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with “C” and answers with “A”. Answers were provided by Hilary Holden, Hans Riekko, and Paul Millet (Transportation and Operations Specialist, TTC).
C. I am concerned that only one downtown station between the existing Queen and Osgoode Stations is being considered for the Relief Line. This would not provide direct connections to the existing network and would compromise the network benefits of this project.
A. The benefits of locating the station between Queen and Osgoode Stations include providing connections to the PATH network, surface pedestrian routes, and the Bay St. bus route, while alleviating congestion on the Yonge University line south of Queen Street. Constructing a station in between the Queen and Osgoode stations would be easier and faster than constructing an interchange station on the Yonge University line.
Q. For people traveling downtown from the east who want to travel north to Eglinton or Yorkdale, an interchange station on the Yonge University line would provide a direct connection.
A. We still need to complete our analysis of the benefits of a single station or two direct connections. We will be able to report on this more fully in the coming months.
Q. Is the intent of the transit initiative on the King St. corridor to remove vehicle traffic?
A. The purpose is to prioritize surface rapid transit on King Street, which in part means to reduce conflicts between transit and other traffic. This is consistent with Toronto’s Official Plan. We have just begun work on that project; more information will become available as work progresses.
Q. When can we expect to get started and who are you consulting with?
A. The project and consultations will be completed as part of the King Street Visioning Study, which is a component of the TOcore work currently underway.
For more information, see http://toronto.ca/TOcore
Q. One of the potential corridors for the Relief Line is along the existing railway line. This option would preclude future development along the alignment. What is the advantage of this alignment?
A. The advantage is that it would potentially be quicker for transit users to travel between Pape Station and the downtown core, because it is shorter. Development potential in this area isn’t a concern because subways only encourage development around stations, and not along the alignment.
Q. What is the feasibility of adding stations on the Scarborough Subway Extension in the future if they are not implemented now to save money?
A. The City is working with the TTC to understand the costs associated with protecting for future stations and building stations immediately. We are also working to understand the risks associated with adding a brand new station in the future without protecting for it during initial construction.
Q. I live near the Airport Corporate Centre. It is a ghost town after business hours. I hope the Unilever site is developed using a more balanced approach. If the development is more balanced, it may be worth locating a Relief Line station on the Unilever site instead of within walking distance despite a small increase in travel time.
A. There is a station proposed on the SmartTrack/RER line at the Unilever site. There will also be stops on the Broadview rapid transit corridor that would provide north/south connections. It is important to co-locate stations in a growing neighbourhood to provide connections across the network.
Q. The Queen St. corridor is a good choice for the Relief Line for the reasons mentioned. Would an alignment under Richmond St. be less expensive and disruptive than an alignment under Queen St.?
A. There are some technical challenges with an alignment on Richmond St. (e.g., existing utility locations). If the alignment is on Queen St. we would minimize disruption to streetcar service through different construction approaches (e.g., tunneling instead of cut and cover). We cannot avoid disruptions, but they can be minimized.
Q. I appreciate the analysis completed to date for the Relief Line, including potential northern connections to Sheppard Avenue. Has there been any thinking on a potential western connection?
A. The western extension of the Relief Line is factored in our current evaluation, but the northern extension is a greater priority from a network perspective. There are key points that the extension should provide connections to in the west (e.g., Liberty Village, Queen West Triangle, etc.). Our evaluation has suggested that the King St. corridor has more opportunities than the Queen St. corridor.
Q. There was no mention about transit service on the Broadview Extension, can you speak to that too?
A. The Broadview Extension would add a north/south transit corridor and provide connections between the Relief Line and SmartTrack/RER stations, creating a new network to support redevelopment in the area.
Q. Is there any possibility that the Scarborough Subway Extension will not be built, allowing the funding to be used for other transit improvements?
A. The subway is funded, so the subway will be built.
Q. Does this evaluation framework focus on serving existing populations or future populations? The evaluation framework does not appear to include land value capture or potential increases in property value. Is land value capture being considered to help fund the Relief Line?
A. The Relief Line is being planned to accommodate future growth. This will be explained in more detail in the March 9, 2016 report to the Executive Committee of Toronto City Council, using different planning scenarios for 2031 and 2041 (e.g., low, medium and high growth). Land value capture is being studied as part of the business case and financing strategy, which is being completed in parallel to the planning work.
Q. There was no mention of the LRT from Union Station that is being planned to provide service along the eastern waterfront. Can you speak to that?
A. That LRT will be examined as part of the Waterfront Transit ‘Reset’ project. The project will verify whether the work that was done a few years ago is still the best solution for the corridor and help move the project forward.
Q. Has any analysis been done to gauge the regional benefits of these proposed transit improvements from an economic perspective?
A. The wider economic benefits of these projects are central to the evaluation. We are merging elements of the Feeling Congested? evaluation framework with the Metrolinx business case approach, which will take into those types of considerations into account (e.g., travel time savings, agglomeration benefits etc.).
Q. Would the Relief Line operate as a branch of the Bloor Danforth line, or as a separate line?
A. We have considered the opportunity to interline the services but it would not be feasible based on the projected demand.
Q. What revenue tools have been considered to help fund these transit improvements? How much will be based on City funding versus funding from other sources?
A. We are working closely with our finance colleagues to identify potential tools, but that work is still underway.
Q. Can you clarify what you mean by alternative financing? Does that include the tools used in the Union Station redevelopment?
A. I cannot comment specifically on the Union Station redevelopment. There are many different types of alternative financing. That work is being done in parallel with planning by our colleagues in finance.
A more detailed report of all consultation activities will be made available after this phase of consultation. Comments must be submitted by March 4, 2016 to ensure inclusion in this report.