Round 3 Public Meeting #1
February 20, 2019, 6:30–8:30pm Meeting Summary
Public Meeting Overview
On February 20, 2019, the City of Toronto (City) hosted a public meeting for the Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT) project as part of Phase 3 of work on the project. This is the third round of public meetings. The meeting was held at St. Martin de Porres Catholic School, 230 Morningside Avenue, Scarborough. The meeting agenda was:
6:30-7:00pm Arrival and Open House
7:00-7:40pm Presentation from City Staff
7:40-8:15pm Plenary Question and Answer Period
8:15-8:30pm Open House with Opportunity to Speak with Staff
To request a copy of the presentation, please email us or call us at 416-338-2848.
Approximately 38 members of the public attended this event. In addition, Councillor Ainsley and Councillor McKelvie attended the meeting.
Introduction and Presentation
Dillon Consulting provided opening remarks and welcomed members of the public. A presentation was given by the City Project Team outlining the project updates, including findings of the technical work, background on the business case analysis, outcomes from Phase 2 of the consultation program and initial findings from the planning study. A copy of the presentation can be requested by emailing EglintonEastLRT@toronto.ca.
Dillon Consulting facilitated a plenary question and answer period.
Question and Answer Period
The discussion captured during the question and answer period is summarized below. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with a “C” and answers with an “A”. Answers were provided by City staff unless otherwise indicated.
Q. Could the LRT be phased over time rather than done all at once? For example, first build along Eglinton, then along Kingston, then along Morningside, etc.
A. We have developed a number of scenarios in which the project would be phased. The phasing will be explored in the business case analysis. We have not considered ending at Eglinton-Kingston because we need a place to switch tracks and send trains in the other direction. The first phase could run from Kennedy Station to Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside where there is space to switch tracks in the underground station.
Q. I fully support this project. Please go ahead and build it. What was your most recent figure for cost?
A. The most recent cost estimate was 1.67 billion but that was based on the Eglinton East LRT terminating at University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC). The route has been updated since to include the extension to Malvern and a tunnel at Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside. This will impact cost estimates. We will be reporting on a number of transit projects to Council in April. This will include updated costing and funding options.
Q. I’m very encouraged by the amount of support there is for this project. Could construction start in 2019?
A. Construction would not take place in 2019. First we need Council to direct us to complete detailed design and the funding needs to be allocated. It is possible that some enabling works could be started, before the full design is complete, which is a part of pre-construction. Examples of enabling works include moving utilities and land acquisitions.
Q. You’ve received a lot of positive public feedback. Will that be made available to Council? How can people voice their hopes and support for this project?
A. We will report on technical matters, findings from public consultation and feedback on business case analysis to Council in April 2019. Council will be provided with formal reports including consultation records that will include minutes from all of the public and stakeholder consultation. There is also the option for members of the public to make presentations to Council on April 9th at the committee meeting that this project will be reviewed at. More information about this will be posted on the project website in March.
Q. People are supportive of Scarborough transit but you’re reducing the lanes of car traffic from six to four. What about all of the buses? That leaves about one lane of traffic for cars. What is being planned for buses, will there be dedicated bus lanes?
A from TTC. The specifics regarding bus service will not be finalized until about 18 months before the LRT is to open. We are not considering dedicated bus lanes along the LRT route. Some bus routes may not be needed along Eglinton or Kingston as a result of the LRT, however, North-South buses would remain in operation on all of the existing north-south routes that cross or connect to the LRT line. There would also be overnight bus service along the LRT route when the LRT would not be in service.
Q. What will be the impacts on Morningside?
A. We have spoken to Morningside residents about the potential impacts to their properties. The previous 2009 LRT design had significant property impacts on Morningside. With the revised LRT design there will still be property impacts on Morningside, the details of these are still being finalized. We will need to widen Morningside just north of Kingston Road. There are a few different options under consideration for how the LRT and right-of-way will be accommodated. We held a meeting last night with Morningside residents to discuss these options. We will continue to keep residents informed as designs are progressed.
Q. I think this is a great idea. It should’ve been in place in 2015 before Pan Am games. The greater capacity of the LRT will reduce the need for buses. It is a great move to put the LRT underground at Kingston and Lawrence because it is terrible for pedestrians. The extension to UTSC is also really important. The number of buses that currently go to UTSC each day is probably in the hundreds. Is there going to be some way in which the waiting areas at the stops will be sheltered, accessible and offer protection?
A. The details of stop designs and waiting areas are to be advanced in later phases of work but your point is important. All stops would be accessible. The Crosstown has a design excellence program that determines how stops and shelters are designed. It includes considerations for comfort and accessibility. For costing purposes we are assuming the same design as The Crosstown. This would be confirmed in later phases of work. We are looking into options for improved stop designs for waiting areas because these types of considerations are proven to be an important investment that encourage people to take transit.
Q. Morningside was two lanes, it was extended to four lanes, and now it will need to be widened?
A. Yes but we are not touching the Morningside bridge over the ravine that was just recently rehabilitated. The LRT would be on a separate bridge structure. You can review the drawings in the room to see more details. People on Morningside will have access to their properties and we are reviewing options for parking.
C. It’s such a great plan. But it’s not funded. I am with Scarborough Transit Action. We will be presenting at the committee meeting on April 9th. If anyone is interested in signing a petition in support of this project I’ll be outside.
Q. Have you got an outside engineering firm in place?
A. We have a few engineering firms on board who have helped us get to this point. HDR has been doing design updates. We will secure engineering advice to advance the detailed design if we receive approval from Council.
Q. Have the hydro stations been identified?
A. There are traction power substations that would feed electricity to the system. We know approximately where they need to be but we don’t yet know the final details.
Q. To cross over Highway 401 and get to Sheppard was there any consideration of going farther east along Conlins Road? Progress has its own bridge that was built to allow for future transit, could you do that at a place like Conlins rather than impacting the Morningside Bridge over Highway 401?
A. No, we did not consider crossing at Conlins. The Morningside crossing is the appropriate network solution to interface with the Sheppard LRT.
Q. The “No-Stop-Scarborough-Subway” does not serve Scarborough. It serves people outside of Scarborough and takes funds away from this project. We need to make sure that this project does not get pushed off in favour of the subway extension.
A. The Scarborough Rapid Transit Network, endorsed by Council in 2016, includes the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton East LRT. We recognize that the Scarborough Subway Extension does not serve local communities across Scarborough. That’s where the Eglinton East LRT is a partner to the subway because it addresses those concerns. Especially since most people in Scarborough are travelling locally.
Review of Display Materials and Closing
Following the Q&A, attendees were welcomed to stay until 8:30pm to continue discussions with project team staff and review display materials, including maps of the LRT design. Dillon staff acknowledged that some members of the public wanted to hear from Councillors. Attendees were told that they could approach Councillors with their questions at their own discretion but that a Councillor discussion would not be part of the formal group Q&A.
Attendees were also invited to visit the project website, inform decision-makers of their opinions and contact the project team with further comments or questions.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30pm