Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting #4

Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting #4

Meeting Overview

On February 13, 2019, the City of Toronto (City) hosted the fourth Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) meeting for the Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT). The meeting was held at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

The meeting structure was:

6:30-6:45pm Introductions + Setting the Context
6:45-7:15pm Status Update on Technical Work
7:15-7:30pm Planning Study
7:35-8:15pm Opportunities Workshop
8:15-8:30pm Next Steps

This fourth meeting of the Eglinton East LRT SAG focused on the project update, findings from the consultation program and planning study. The SAG members were provided with technical updates, background on the business case, and discussion materials related to the planning study work. SAG members were sent email invitations for the meeting and follow-up calls were made to confirm attendance. Ten (10) SAG members and one (1) City Councillor attended the meeting.

Attendees 

Toronto Catholic School Board
East Scarborough Storefront
Toronto Pan Am Sport Centre
1Love Malvern
Office of Councillor McKelvie
Scarborough Transit Action
Code Red TO
Scarborough Campus Student’s Union
Cedar Ridge
City of Toronto Ward 24

Project Staff

Mike Logan, City of Toronto
Kristin Olson, City of Toronto
Francis Kwashie, City of Toronto
Charissa Iogna, City of Toronto
Khatija Sahib, City of Toronto
Dominic Ho, Toronto Transit Commission

Project Consultants

Craig Lametti, Urban Strategies
Merrilees Willemse, Dillion Consulting
Miriam Bart, Dillion Consulting

Introduction and Presentation

Dillon Consulting provided opening remarks and welcomed SAG members. A presentation was given by the City of Toronto Project Team outlining the project updates and background on the business case analysis. The City provided an update on the consultation input received throughout 2018 that informed the planning study. Urban Strategies explained the methodologies and findings of the planning study. Dillon Consulting facilitated two workshop activities that asked stakeholders to provide feedback on findings from the planning study.

Question and Answer Period

The discussion captured throughout the presentation is summarized below. Feedback obtained through the workshop about the phrasing, grammar and language of the strategic directions and opportunities map has been documented by the team and will inform revisions to the planning study. The Q&A discussion documented here is specific to the conversations had during the meeting. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with a “C” and answers with an “A”.

Introductions, Setting the Context & Updates on Technical Work

Q. Will the roads be as wide as they are shown in the figure?
A. The figure shows the ideal dimensions but this may not be achievable in all locations along the route. The design is conceptual so the specifics of road configuration are not confirmed at this point. Our ambition is to see Eglinton and Kingston having amenities like you see in the image, such as street trees and cycling lanes.

Q. What consideration has been given to the location of the LRT poles? The drawing shows single poles in the centre but have you looked at double poles on either side of the tracks like Spadina?
A. The conceptual design shows the poles in the middle rather than on the side of tracks so as to minimize the amount of space required.

Q. Is there anything in the plan to bury hydro towers and lines?
A. It is not included in our cost estimate at this time. There has been some discussion but that level of detail will be for detailed design work.

Q. How will the subway and LRT overlap at Kennedy Station? Will they be on the same level so that people can walk off of the subway train, walk across the platform and get right onto the LRT without having to go to another level in the station?
A. The design of Kennedy station and determination of how the different lines will integrate is a Metrolinx project and out of our scope. The LRT will be on a the same level as Line 2 Bloor-Danforth subway, but passengers who are transferring will have to go up to a concourse level to transfer from the LRT to the subway.
C. The Eglinton-Kingston layout that you have presented appears advantageous. Currently, local transit seems counterintuitive. In some cases you have to go out of your way to get somewhere close. A transfer at Eglinton to go east to get back onto Kingston Road makes sense.

Q. Can you describe the corner at Eglinton and Markham? This is the main spot for traffic and pedestrian transfers on the bus. For the buses that come from the east along Kingston Road heading westbound, is the plan that they head west along Eglinton, and then make a left hand turn south onto Markham and then loop back onto Kingston Road with a left turn at Markham and Kingston? Is Eglinton and Markham the planned transfer?
A. Eglinton and Markham is the planned transfer but the buses would be doing a clockwise turn so that the buses go south on Kingston, just past Eglinton, and take a right onto Markham Road and head north to Eglinton. Then the buses would turn right on Eglinton to go back to Kingston Road. This route reduces left hand turns and would create a single place where all of the transfers for buses and LRT could overlap at Markham and Eglinton. This also provides an opportunity for public realm improvements to include seating, lighting and other tactics to enhance the user experience in this very active area of connections.

Q. How does the LRT go back at the terminus station at Malvern Town Centre?
A. The LRT vehicle can travel in both directions, it does not need to turn around. When it gets to the end of the line it switches directions and heads back without having to make a loop.

Q. How does the LRT get from Morningside to Neilson?
A. Along Sheppard.

Q. The LRT goes north on Morningside, along Ellesmere, and then left on a street that does not exist?
A. That is a realigned Military Trail. The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus has submitted an Official Plan Amendment application (through a proposed Secondary Plan), which would see Military Trail realigned. The LRT is planned along the proposed realigned Military Trail.

Q. Will the Maintenance and Storage Facility south of Hwy 401 be in the works yard that currently exists?
A. It would be on that land and the adjacent vacant land and the operations of the works yard could be maintained.

Q. Are you looking at other maintenance facilities to enable phasing of the project?
A. Yes. The maintenance facility location will depend on the extent or implementation phase of the line, the need to accommodate Sheppard East LRT rolling stock, and capital costs of building the Maintenance and Storage Facility, among other considerations. The location of the Maintenance & Storage Facility and the implementation phasing of the EELRT are currently being evaluated through a Business Case Evaluation.

Q. Will these plans allow for the Sheppard East LRT?
A. Yes. The Eglinton East LRT would use the same tracks along Sheppard from Morningside to Neilson.

Business Case Analysis Scenarios

The City project team presented the business case scenarios that will be presented to City Council. Attendees were asked if they had any questions. No questions or comments were made.

Planning Study

The initial findings of the planning study were presented by Craig Lametti from Urban Strategies.

Q. These are good ideas but I am wondering about the costs. Are these ideas incorporated into the cost of the LRT or are those funds coming from another source?
A. Some of these are directly tied to the LRT. For example, there are some public realm opportunities that relate specifically to the design of the stops and waiting areas for riders. Other investments would require additional funds. Funding sources may include the City but there could be other funding opportunities with other organizations. In addition, some of the opportunities identified could proceed regardless of the LRT as they have been identified as needed, even if the LRT is not built. Identifying which opportunities would be funded as part of the LRT and which would require additional funding is part of the planning process. A key finding that came up through this process is that there are a lot of projects going on. One of the objectives we have is to support more integrated planning and decision-making.

Q. It would be best to locate City services close to the LRT and start planning that now. For example, a new library is going in that will not be located on the LRT line and there’s a new recreation centre going in on Sheppard east of Morningside. Neither of these will be right on the LRT line. That shouldn’t happen; part of planning these new services going in should include consideration for transit connections. The challenge will be to overcome the siloes of City divisions. How do you get this on the radar of staff in multiple divisions, such as, community centres, parks, transportation, employment, etc.?
A. Staff across City divisions have been a part of the planning and design considerations for this project and are advising on opportunities to integrate. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) comprised of representatives from other City Divisions, organizations and agencies is regularly briefed and solicited for comments/feedback throughout the EELRT project.
C. By the time this project gets built, so many other land uses will already be established. This project needs to be built now or else the LRT investment will miss out on opportunities to integrate uses. This needs to be about integrating current plans with long-term plans.

Wrap-up and Next Steps

C. The project team should bring a replica of the LRT to the public meetings. People need to see one to understand.

Q. Will this presentation be the same on the 20th and 27th?
A. It will be similar but not the same.

Closing

SAG members were welcomed to stay until 9:00pm to continue discussions with project team staff. They 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.

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