Backgrounder: SmartTrack Project Update, November 21, 2017
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The report EX29.1 “SmartTrack Project Update & Next Steps” will be considered at the November 29, 2017 Executive Committee Meeting. This report provides an update on three components of the SmartTrack Project.
The three components are:
- SmartTrack/Regional Express Rail (RER) Integration
- Eglinton West LRT Extension “Toronto Segment” and “Airport Segment”
- Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail (RER) Program
This report also includes the City’s response to Metrolinx’s Draft 2041 Regional Transportation Plan for the GTHA for Council consideration.
Updates on SmartTrack Project components
SmartTrack/Regional Express Rail (RER) Integration
- This report seeks Council’s approval to authorize the City to act as a co-proponent with Metrolinx in the Transit Project Assessment Project (TPAP) based on the concepts for the six SmartTrack and two GO RER stations.
- If approved, the TPAP process will commence in Q1 2018. The next staff report to Council in Q2 2018 will include refined cost estimates based on preliminary design, an updated funding and financing strategy for the stations and ask for authority to seek procurement and construction of the new stations.
- Acting as co-proponents in the TPAP process ensures that the perspectives of both the City and Metrolinx will continue to be brought to the design of the stations and public consultation efforts as well as Environmental Project Reports (EPRs) which look at the natural, socio-economic and cultural environment of study areas.
- Station designs as presented with this report consider connectivity with TTC transit network, locations for accessible transit pick up and drop off, pedestrian and cyclist access and the need to coordinate with related infrastructure projects.
- Public and stakeholder consultations regarding station concepts were held in the fall of 2017. That input was factored into the proposed designs. The next round of public engagement is planned for Q1 2018 to review environmental studies and updated station designs.
Eglinton West LRT Extension
- This report seeks Council’s approval of recommendations for the “Toronto Segment” of the Eglinton West LRT as it is currently further advanced than the “Airport Segment.”
- If approved, City staff will provide a report in Q2 2018 which will include recommendations to Council on the alignment of the LRT from Mount Dennis Station to Pearson Airport and an updated business case.
- “Toronto Segment” – this extension would run from Mount Dennis Station to Renforth Station. At the request of Council, staff have further reviewed potential stop locations and possible grade separations which would allow different modes of transportation to be separated by overpasses or underpasses. Staff are recommending 10 at-grade stops.
- City and Metrolinx staff have determined that there are low benefits and high costs of creating grade separations and recommend no further consideration of them.
- In order to minimize the traffic impacts of an LRT in this corridor, staff are examining alternative opportunities to mitigate traffic impacts, including signal optimization and changes to traffic operations.
- The City has initiated a comprehensive traffic modelling study in the Martin Grove Road area. Further public and stakeholder consultation will be undertaken as this work develops. All of this data will be considered in the recommendation of the final alignment of the LRT to City Council in Q2 2018.
- “Airport Segment” – the City is supporting Metrolinx in its study of a potential extension of the LRT from Renforth Station to Pearson Airport in partnership with the City of Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA).
- In November 2016, City Council requested that the City of Mississauga and GTAA confirm their interest in this project between Renforth Station at Commerce and Pearson Airport, including a commitment of resources of the planning, design, construction and delivery of the project. There has been no confirmation of funding commitment received from the City of Mississauga or GTAA to date.
Regional Express Rail (RER)
- RER is a program to substantially expand GO service by 2024/25 which includes electrification of five GO corridors and enhancements to Union Station. This program requires significant coordination and partnership between City and Metrolinx.
- This report seeks Council approval to allow City officials to work with Metrolinx to fund additional City resources.
City’s Response to Metrolinx’s Draft 2041 Regional Transportation Plan for the GTHA for Council Consideration
- The Draft Plan is a high level document outlining Metrolinx’s proposed vision and goals to transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
- The City and TTC agree that the Draft Plan is largely compatible with the City’s 2031 Transit Network Plan considered by City Council in July 2016.
- The City’s response is primarily supportive of the Draft Plan and illustrates alignments with the City’s plans and opportunities for the City to provide support and/or leadership to help make the Plan a reality.
- The City’s response highlights for Metrolinx’s consideration:
- Including the Relief Line West and Bloor-Danforth West Extension within the Final Plan, as well as explicitly naming SmartTrack as part of the broader RER program.
- Factoring in the crucial role that local transit systems play in achieving regional transit objectives. For instance, TTC streetcars move a high-volume of commuters each day.
- Addressing City Council’s request to Metrolinx and the TTC to accelerate a single fare for rides with the City of Toronto.
- Reconsidering the need for a Transportation Planning Policy Statement which may potentially conflict with the recently revised Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
- Overall, the City requests that the Final Regional Transportation Plan provide key details related to implementation such as governance and decision-making, roles and responsibilities, funding, and the process for prioritizing transit expansion projects.
This report does not have any financial implications. In November 2016, Council approved the costs associated with the planning, design property acquisition, enabling works, Alternative Financing Procurement and TPAP preparation.
An updated SmartTrack funding and financing strategy will be provided to Council for its consideration in Q2 2018 for the SmartTrack/RER integration concept once Class 3 estimates are available. Class 3 cost estimates for the full Eglinton West LRT extension are anticipated for Q1 2019. Class 3 estimates are based on completed preliminary design documentation and form the basis for budget authorization and set initial control estimates against which project deliverables are measured.
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Media contact: Wynna Brown, Manager, Media Relations & Issues Management, 416- 416-392-8937 (office), 416-919-6503 (mobile), Wynna.Brown@toronto.ca