April 10, 2018

SmartTrack Stations & RER Implementation

 The report “Implementation of the SmartTrack Stations Program and the Metrolinx Regional Express Rail Program” will be considered at the April 17 Executive Committee Meeting. This report addresses the City’s SmartTrack Stations Program and Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail (RER) Program including the Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP).

These Programs are foundational to achieving an integrated regional transit network, and are being coordinated with existing local transit services and future network expansion plans across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

Subject to the necessary City Council approvals, it is anticipated that the SmartTrack Stations Program will be operational by 2024/25 as part of the Metrolinx RER Program. The Union Station Enhancement Project is anticipated to be complete by 2022.

SmartTrack Stations Program

The SmartTrack project includes two components: the SmartTrack Stations Program, which this report addresses, and the Eglinton Crosstown LRT extension.

The Eglinton West LRT component of SmartTrack is currently at an earlier stage of development than the SmartTrack Stations Program component. Per City Council’s December 2017 direction (EX29.1), further work is underway with a community working group to investigate other potential grade separation and tunnelling options for the Toronto segment of the Eglinton West LRT.

The SmartTrack Stations Program includes six new SmartTrack stations on the Kitchener and Stouffville/Lakeshore East GO corridors. SmartTrack service will cover these six new stations and the eight existing stations on these corridors.

In November 2016, the parties agreed to a Summary Term Sheet that established a Stage Gate Process for phased decision-making on the project. The SmartTrack Stations Program is now at Stage Gate 5, which seeks City Council approval to commit to funding the project.

The business case analysis to date has concluded that the SmartTrack Stations Program demonstrates a positive benefit-cost ratio.

  • East Harbour and King-Liberty benefit from their proximity to current or proposed major employment nodes, supporting population and employment growth; and
  • Finch-Kennedy, Gerrard-Carlaw, Lawrence-Kennedy and St. Clair-Old Weston stations are expected to attract boardings from nearby residential areas and provide overall transportation user benefits.

The station designs incorporate two categories of infrastructure:

  1. Base Station Infrastructure which is defined as the elements required to implement a fully functioning station such as main station entrances and platforms.
  2. City-Initiated Station Requirements to enhance station access and ensure seamless connection to TTC services. Examples include the creation of bus loops and underpasses.

Recommended funding of this project includes a capped capital funding amount up to $1.195 billion for the procurement and construction of the Base Station Infrastructure, as well as up to $268 million for City-Initiated Station Requirements. The City’s funding contribution is subject to the terms and conditions outlined in Attachment 1 of the report, which provide terms related to governance, service concept, real estate and procurement, and other matters.

The SmartTrack Stations Program will be delivered by Metrolinx on behalf of the City. The City will continue to have a role in supporting the final design, procurement and construction phases of the Program.

Metrolinx as the owner of the asset, operator and delivery agent of the program, will be responsible for future operating and maintenance costs such as snow removal, facility cleaning and provision of customer services. Metrolinx will also be responsible for all lifecycle maintenance costs and will retain all revenues associated with the SmartTrack Stations Program.

Following completion of the stations there will be no long-term financial impact from the SmartTrack Stations Program on behalf of the City.

It is anticipated that SmartTrack will be operational in 2024/25.

Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail Program

Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail (RER) Program will provide increased service on core portions of the GO Rail network by 2024/25 and includes electrification of five GO corridors (Barrie, Stouffville, Lakeshore East, Lakeshore West and Kitchener), enhancements to Union Station, grade separations, new stations and upgrades to existing stations.

The Program also includes plans to build new tracks, bridges and tunnels, procure new trains, and renew existing infrastructure in order to improve GO frequency and service.

There are currently 19 GO stations within the City of Toronto. An additional eight stations will be added within the City (six SmartTrack and two RER).

This report recommends delegated authority to senior City staff to approve the transfer of City-owned property required for RER infrastructure for a nominal fee as long as the lands meet specific criteria, including that the lands are not required for any current or future City purposes.

Metrolinx’s Union Station Enhancement Project

Metrolinx’s Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP) is part of a program of planned improvements which are required to support RER. The project includes the construction of a new south platform and a new concourse below track level on the south end of Union Station to help accommodate increased capacity requirements. It is expected the project would be completed by 2022.

USEP is south of Union Station and is separate and distinct from the current work underway as part of Union Station Revitalization Project (USRP) at the York and Bay concourse.

The City of Toronto is the majority owner of Union Station and the properties and air rights that would be required to complete this project however, there is no financial impact to the City associated with the USEP recommendations in this report. Full funding will be provided by Metrolinx to the City to undertake the necessary studies and associated project work for USEP.

Northwest PATH – Phase 2

The original approved route (2008) for the NW PATH extended from the west moat of Union Station up York Street to 100 Wellington Street West and 70 York Street and included a combination of cut and cover tunneling and at-grade surface improvements for pedestrian access.

Phase 1 construction of the NW PATH across Front Street began in Q4 2014 and was opened to the public in Q2 of 2015.

Recognizing that RER will create significant demand on Union Station’s access points and pedestrian routes, and with the construction of a new south concourse as part of USEP, there is a need to complete the NW PATH connection to the York GO Concourse to ensure efficient flow of passengers in and out of Union Station.

This report seeks Council approval to negotiate terms of agreements with Metrolinx to support Metrolinx’ USEP including the NW PATH and an updated cost-sharing agreement for its completion.

The route for Phase 2 will be the subject of an upcoming staff report to City Council for approval in 2018.

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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