Waterfront Transit Reset
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The City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto, is undertaking the Waterfront Transit “Reset” study, including a comprehensive assessment of needs and options for transit improvements for the waterfront area. A Phase 1 study was completed in 2016 and the Phase 2 study was completed in 2018. On January 31st, 2018, City Council endorsed the overall Waterfront Transit Network Plan, including directing staff to proceed with more detailed follow up planning and design studies according to priority.
Toronto’s waterfront is currently undergoing a significant transformation, with rapid growth in many precincts along the water’s edge including Mimico, Humber Bay Shores, Liberty Village, Fort York, King/Spadina, City Place, South Core, and King/Parliament. Growth in several more precincts along the waterfront is either underway or planned, including Lower Yonge, North Keating, Port Lands, South of Eastern, and the emerging East Bayfront and West Don Lands neighbourhoods. With this growth, a number of key recreational and cultural destinations have emerged along the waterfront.
The Waterfront Transit Reset study area extends from the Long Branch GO Station and the Mississauga border in the west to Woodbine Avenue in the east, and south of the Queensway/Queen Street corridor to Lake Ontario. The primary study area was refined at the conclusion of the Phase 1 work
While the integrated network solution for Waterfront transit will be focused on this area, some assessments particularly related to travel patterns may include areas as far north as Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue in the north, and Scarborough to the east.
The integrated network solution for waterfront transit is being coordinated with the directions emerging from other major transit initiatives that are currently underway, including Smart Track, Relief Line, Scarborough Transit Planning, and the Metrolinx Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion program.
Numerous studies have been undertaken for segments of higher order transit that would connect to/complement the existing 509 Harbourfront LRT and 501 Queen Streetcar; some Environmental Assessments (EAs) have been approved but not implemented (e.g. East Bayfront LRT); some EAs were started but never completed (e.g. portions of a western waterfront LRT); and other studies, some completed and some in progress, include provisions for higher order transit or service upgrades (e.g. Central Waterfront Secondary Plan, Proposed Park Lawn Loop).
At its meeting of November 3 and 4, 2015, City Council directed staff to work with the TTC and Waterfront Toronto on a comprehensive review of waterfront transit initiatives and options (Item EX 9.9). An external consultant, Steer Davies Gleave, was retained to assist staff with the review. The study area is from Long Branch in the west to Woodbine Avenue in the east, and south of the Queensway/Queen Street.
The Waterfront Transit “Reset” was divided into two phases. Council approved funding for Phase 1 of the “reset” for the following work program items: review all relevant background material; create an overall study vision with related objectives; develop a preliminary list of improvement concepts; consult with the public and stakeholders; identify preferred concepts for further study; and develop a scope of work for Phase 2.
The completion of the Phase 1 work has reinforced the importance of a comprehensive waterfront transit solution from Long Branch to Woodbine Avenue, which has not been realized to date. This is supported by the public and stakeholders, by previous studies, and by recent trends in population and employment growth in the waterfront.
The Phase 2 work provides a plan for a resilient Waterfront Transit Network that can adapt to 21st century mobility and placemaking trends. The overall plan and directions for the network were generally well received by the public and stakeholders. Although a solution for the underground link to Union Station was not reached during this phase, there is general understanding and agreement that further focused work is required to arrive at a complete sustainable mobility solution for this area, and then to move quickly to implement the solution. In view of these findings, staff recommend that City Council endorse that upcoming updates to the City’s Official Plan be made in accordance with the waterfront transit network recommendations, and authorize identified funding requests and further study and design of areas of the network according to priority. There is an overall public expectation that completing the next steps and implementing solutions will be a key priority for the City, the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto.
November 3 and 4 2015 – City Council direct City staff, working with the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto, to undertake a Phase 1 review of waterfront transit initiatives and options, and provide a status update to Executive Committee in the first quarter of 2016, such review of waterfront transit initiatives and options to include the proposed ShoreLine (closing the gap on the dedicated streetcar right-of-way between St. Joseph’s Hospital and Exhibition Place), the relocation of the Humber Loop, the Park Lawn – Lake Shore Transportation Master Plan currently underway, the possibility of a new GO Transit stop at Park Lawn, the proposed Legion Road extension, the proposed AM peak turning restrictions on Park Lawn Road from the Gardiner Expressway, the Mimico By the Lake Secondary Plan (Mimico 20/20), the Long Branch Avenue Study, and 2150 Lake Shore Boulevard West (former Mr. Christie bakery site).
July 12-14, 2016 – City Council direct the Deputy City Manager, Cluster B, and the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto, to initiate Phase 2 of the Waterfront Transit “Reset” for further development and costing of alignment concepts, detailed analysis of transit operations and ridership, identification of priority segments, as well as the creation of a Business Case and implementation strategy for delivering a coordinated waterfront transit solution.
Upcoming consultation events for Waterfront Transit Reset will be posted once scheduled.
The plan for a continuous waterfront transit route and network will consider and coordinate with the directions emerging from other major transit initiatives that are currently underway, including Smart Track, Relief Line, Scarborough Transit Planning, and the Metrolinx Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion program.
September 2017 Public Meeting
In September, we held a public meeting that included a presentation of the study findings to date and a range of options.
May 2016 Public Meeting
On May 25, 2016 we held a public meeting that included a presentation of the study progress to date and a range of preliminary transit concepts under consideration.