In November 2015, staff reported that there was a clear need for a “reset” as waterfront transit planning had been ad hoc and incremental. A comprehensive review of waterfront transit projects was also needed to articulate the opportunities and options that exist and to propose an approach to advance waterfront transit. This work was anticipated to lead to a plan for a continuous waterfront transit network with east/west connectivity, as well as strong integrated north/south connections that would link the city to the waterfront.
At that time, a phased program for waterfront transit improvements was proposed. Council approved funding for Phase 1 of the Waterfront Transit “Reset’s” following work program items:
City Council also directed staff to work with the TTC and Waterfront Toronto on a comprehensive review of waterfront transit options and report back to Council in 2016.
In July 2016, City staff reported on Phase 1 work, explaining that the importance of a comprehensive waterfront transit solution, which had not been realized to date, was reinforced. Phase 1 of the Waterfront Transit “Reset” also identified three main findings/directions, further explained in staff report 2016.EX16.7: Waterfront Transit Network Vision – Phase 1. City Council subsequently directed City staff, TTC and Waterfront Toronto to initiate Phase 2 of the Waterfront Transit “Reset” to further develop the cost of alignment concepts; provide a detailed analysis of transit operations and ridership; identify priority segments; and, create a Business Case and implementation strategy for delivering a coordinated waterfront transit solution. For Phase 2, the primary study area included between Long Branch in the west and Woodbine Avenue in the east, including Lake Shore Boulevard to the west of the Humber River, and the area south of the Queensway/Queen Street corridor to the east of the Humber River.
In January 2018, staff provided an update on Phase 2 work and recommended that City Council endorse that upcoming Official Plan updates be made in accordance with the Waterfront Transit Network recommendations. In addition, staff recommended that City Council authorize funding requests and the further study and design of areas of the Network. City Council endorsed the overall Waterfront Transit Network Plan, and directed staff to proceed with more detailed follow-up planning and design studies.
Although a solution for the underground link to Union Station was not reached during Phase 2, there was a general understanding and agreement that further work was required to arrive at a complete sustainable mobility solution for the section between Union Station and Queens Quay before moving quickly to implement the solution.
In April 2019, staff provided an update on the Union Station to Queens Quay Link and the East Bayfront Light Rail Transit (LRT). City Council approved the streetcar option as the preferred technology for the Union Station to Queens Quay Link and directed staff to undertake the preliminary design and engineering phase of the extension of streetcar service to the East Bayfront.
In December 2020, City staff provided an update about their work on Waterfront Transit Network priority projects, specifically, the Union Station to Queens Quay Link and the East Bayfront LRT, to City Council. Staff reported that preliminary design and engineering work is underway with 30 percent design and Class 3 cost estimate being developed. Further details about the project will be included in future reports to City Council.