Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting #2 – Meeting Summary

Stakeholder Advisory Group Meeting #2
March 1, 2018, 6:30–8:30pm Meeting Summary

Meeting Overview

On March 1, 2018, the City of Toronto (City) hosted the second Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) meeting for the Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT). The meeting was held at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), Campus Arts and Administration Building, Council Chambers, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON. The meeting structure was:

6:30–6:55pm        Arrival + Introductions
6:55–7:30pm        Presentation
7:30–8:15 pm       Q&A, Group Discussion
8:15–8:30pm        Wrap-Up

This second meeting of the Eglinton East LRT SAG focused on the findings of the technical project work and recommendations for Council. The SAG members were provided with an introduction of the project, overview of the technical challenges studied in phase 1 of the project, and review of the recommendations to Council. SAG members were sent invitations for the meeting. Ten (10) SAG members attended the meeting.

SAG Attendees

Organization Name
Cedar Ridge Creative Centre Wayne Gratton
Centennial Community & Recreation Association / Scarborough Community Renewal Organization Jennifer McKelvie
Connect Sheppard East Jennifer Robinson
Guildwood Village Community Association Brian Smith
Guildwood Village Community Association Ralph Van Putten
Highland Creek Community Association Lydia Lampers-Wallner
Transport Action Ontario Andrew Schulz
University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Andrew Arifuzzaman

Project Staff

Organization Name
City of Toronto David Sit
City of Toronto Hussain Tamimi
City of Toronto Josh Bassett
City of Toronto Kristin Olson
City of Toronto Mike Logan
City of Toronto Nithya Vijayakumar
TTC Dominic Ho
Metrolinx David Phalp

Project Consultants

Organization Name
Dillion Consulting Karla Kolli
Dillion Consulting Christian Jattan

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, the study context and process, updates on the key issues/areas along the corridor, the recommendations to be put forward to Council, and next steps for the project.

Question & Answer Period

The discussion captured during the question and answer period following the presentation is summarized below. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with a “C” and answers with an “A”.

Q: What does the 5% design of the Eglinton East LRT include?
A: City Council has directed that project staff advance the Eglinton East LRT to a minimum of 5% design which is a high level concept plan. This level of design is intended to inform a “Class 4” cost estimate, whereas “Class 5” cost estimates have the highest level of uncertainty or risk, and identify only track length and number of stops. “Class 4” estimate narrows that range of uncertainty with respect to cost. Grade separations, earthworks, new structures would be identified in “Class 4” estimate.

Q: What level of design is the Scarborough Subway Extension? Why is the EELRT not on the same timeline as Scarborough Subway Extension?
A: Currently the Scarborough Subway Extension is in development towards 30% design. The next report to Council will provide an update on the 30% design and updated cost estimates.

Q: Does the Eglinton East LRT project have an Environmental Assessment (EA) component?
A: Yes, the Eglinton East LRT is based on the previously approved 2009 Scarborough-Malvern LRT EA. An EA Amendment to the 2009 EA is required for the approval of the Eglinton East LRT. This is following the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) which is the EA process for transit projects in Ontario.

Kennedy Station Q&A

Q: What is jet grouting and why is it being used for the Eglinton East LRT project?
A: Jet grouting is a versatile ground modification system used to stabilize and protect structures. Grout is generally composed of a mixture of water, cement, sand, and sometimes fine gravel. Grout will be injected in the soil around the subway tunnel where the alignments cross to stabilize the future structures of the Eglinton East LRT while protecting the subway tunnel.

Q: Are the active construction sites west of Midland Ave near Kennedy Subway Station related to the LRT?
A: Currently there are works being completed for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT terminus at Kennedy station.

Q: Could the bridge on Eglinton Ave that crosses Line 3 to Kennedy Subway Station be removed? The bridge is not a hospitable environment for pedestrians.
A: It is not possible to remove this bridge. However, implementation of the Kennedy Station Mobility Hub Study may address the public realm issues around the bridge as it includes policies to improve the pedestrian environment.

C: The current state of Kennedy Station creates confusion for travelers and the lack of wayfinding makes it difficult to navigate between the subway and the parking lot. Improvements are required immediately to remedy the situation.
A: Construction makes things difficult. TTC to take this comment into consideration.

C: Kennedy is the third busiest station in the TTC system and it is challenging to coordinate construction. There have been at least 75 different designs proposed for improving Kennedy Station; changes are not easy to implement. Many years are needed to plan in advance for the future use and expansion of the station.

Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside Q&A

Q: Regarding the Kingston Tunneled option, can pedestrians access the LRT platform by entering the tunnel entrance?
A: Pedestrians will not be able to walk into the tunnel entrances as they are intended for LRT vehicle access only. Pedestrians will be able to access the below-grade LRT platform stop by entering at designated entrances that include stairs and elevators.

Q: Is there an opportunity for the LRT vehicles to make short turns in the Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside area with the Kingston Tunneled option?
A: Yes, the LRT vehicles will be able to make short turn trips if required with a switchback in the tunnel.

Q: The reduction of proposed stops in the available options for the Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside area will decrease access for the local residences. Why is this being done?
A: The extended platforms and track work required at KLM do not fit the 2 stops contemplated in the SMLRT design were relatively close together. Bus services will be rerouted to ensure access.

Q: Pedestrians using the Kingston-Morningside TTC bus will have to walk a significant distance to the proposed LRT stop in Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside area. Will this potential issue be addressed?
A: The Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside area is an important connection for TTC buses. As the road network provides a turnaround loop opportunity for buses, the TTC plans to divert buses to pass by the LRT stop to provide easy access.

Q: Is there an opportunity to provide underground pedestrian access from City-owned residential buildings to LRT platforms below grade?
A: The construction of underground pedestrian paths to access below-grade LRT platforms has not been explored.

Q: How does the Kingston Tunneled option in the Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside impact traffic?
A: Early study findings have determined that there are minimal traffic impacts when the Kingston Tunneled option is compared to the Modified base (Kingston at-grade) option. This needs to be confirmed.

UTSC Q&A

C: The option 2 Tunnel for UTSC only provides one LRT stop within the campus which may be an issue for students as they have limited access options.
A: There is a proposed LRT stop north of UTSC which will provide access to students and local residents. The UTSC secondary plan envisions greater campus development north of Elllesmere.

Q: Is there an option for the Eglinton East LRT to cross the Morningside Park to access the UTSC campus?
A: Morningside Park, which is south of the Ellesmere Ravine, is a protected area and there are environmental concerns which do not permit the Eglinton East LRT to cross the park. Furthermore, there are no significant benefits in taking this route to access UTSC.

C: The option 3 Morningside Elevated for UTSC does not appear to connect to areas where students would be located.
A: From an operation perspective, this option is the most beneficial as it provides efficient travel times for the LRT and enhanced pedestrian connections from UTSC for students. The stops are located farther away from campus buildings.

Q: Why is option 3 Morningside Elevated more expensive than the option 1 with pedestrian tunnel?
A: The elevated Eglinton East LRT platform and stops, along with the pedestrian bridges, contribute to the increased costs.

Q: Could a 4th option be proposed to widen the LRT alignment through the UTSC grounds and allow pedestrians to walk across the tracks?
A: There is a concern about safety due to the speed and length of the LRT vehicles which would not permit this.

Q: Which option is preferred by UTSC?
A: The position of UTSC is option 1 as it aligns with the proposed master plan and vision. (Answer provided by Andrew Arifuzzaman, CAO of UTSC)

Q: Were the residents in the area around UTSC consulted on the proposed locations of the stops for the campus?
A: Yes, the public meetings and website provided opportunities for the public to be informed about the various options proposed and included opportunities to provide feedback.

Q: How do residents located south of UTSC connect with the proposed options?
A: There are many pedestrian pathways throughout the UTSC area which provide opportunities for residents to access the Eglinton East LRT stops located on the campus.

Malvern Extension Q&A

C: I support option 4 which aligns the Eglinton East LRT along Sheppard Avenue East and Neilson Road.

Q: Will there be an opportunity for the Eglinton East LRT terminus station stop at Malvern Town Centre to be extended in the future?
A: Yes, the LRT technology which is at-grade allows for easy future extension and will have the potential to connect with future transportation corridors.

C: Preservation of lands for future extension of the LRT should be considered by the City.

C: The Regional Express Rail (RER) could provide excellent connection opportunities in Malvern and future links for the Eglinton East LRT.

Q: How will the Sheppard East LRT connect to the Eglinton East LRT stop in Malvern?
A: There may be a future opportunity to connect the two LRT lines on Sheppard Avenue East. 

Q: The Malvern extension is a valuable section which should be included in the Eglinton East LRT as there are many students who live in Malvern and travel to UTSC. Will the additional track length for Malvern increase costs and cause political issues for approval?
A: City staff are currently looking at a business case which evaluates the time saved by commuters as well as the economic benefits of the Malvern extension. This will be reported to Council in early 2019.

C: The importance of the projected 60-year operation costs need to be included in the conversation as it informs people about the benefits of the Eglinton East LRT project for the City.

C: Students that commute to school and work spend significant amounts of time on long distance trips between Malvern and the downtown core. The need for rapid transit options and more connections such as the ones proposed by the Eglinton East LRT are important in saving time and improving quality of life.

Q: Is the funding available for the Eglinton East LRT coupled with the Scarborough Subway Extension?
A: The funding available for the Scarborough Subway Extension and Eglinton East LRT cannot cover the construction for both systems. City staff are currently working on a business case analysis for the Scarborough Transit Network. These findings will be presented to Council in Q1 2019. Council has identified the project as a priority for the future of Scarborough transit.

C: The public’s understanding about available funding for these projects is not clear and there is a desire to know where funding will be directed.

C: The maps presented today are at different scales for the UTSC and KLM project areas. It is difficult to understand walking distances when comparing the two areas.

Q: How does the operating costs of a bus compare to a subway train or LRT vehicle?
A: The operating costs for a 60-year life cycle will be compared in the business case and are not available at this time.

Q: Why is the system life cycle estimated in 60 year intervals for the Eglinton East LRT?
A: There are substantial investments in capital costs, and a need to capture the benefits of the project over the lifetime of the infrastructure. If shorter life cycles are used for the Eglinton East LRT, then the benefits are not fully accounted for in the business case. The business cases are evaluated on a 60-year life cycle at net present value to provide a more accurate picture of costs and benefits in today’s money.

C: City staff have completed great work the Eglinton East LRT in a short amount of time and their efforts are appreciated.

Engagement Q&A

C: The engagement sessions would benefit from more rendering images on key intersections and cross sections as they would be helpful for people to see how the Eglinton East LRT will interact with the neighbourhoods.

C: Another SAG meeting prior to the next public consultation phase is supported.

C: The promotion of the Eglinton East LRT project has not received enough attention from the media.

Q: Will the recommendations discussed today be presented to the executive committee?
A: Yes, in April 2018.

C: The executive committee needs to know and appreciate the value of the ongoing consultation process and all the feedback provided by participants from the public and the SAG.

C: Future presentations need to review the connections between the Eglinton East LRT and the Eglinton GO as well as the Guildwood GO station.

Wrap-up and Next Steps

SAG members were invited to visit the project website and encourage their communities to participate.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Appendix: SAG Invite List

Organization
Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit
Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough
Cedar Ridge Representative
Centennial College – Morningside Campus
Centennial College Student Union
Centennial Community Association
City Youth Cabinet
CodeRedTO
ConnectScarborough
Connect Sheppard East
Cornell Community Representative
Coronation Community Association of West Hill
Curran Hall Community Association President
Cycle Toronto
East Scarborough Storefront
Eglinton East – Kennedy Park – Ionview Neighbourhood Action Plan (NAP) Committee
First Capital
Guildwood Village Community Association
Highland Creek Community Association
Pan Am Path
Pembina Institute
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities
Scarborough Community Renewal Organization
Scarborough Neighbourhood Action Plan (NAP) Committee
Scarborough Residents Unite Neighbourhood Association / Scarborough Village Community Association
Scarborough Rising Residents Association
Scarborough Transit Action
Seven Oaks Representative
Social Planning Toronto
Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB)
Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC)
Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
The Guild Renaissance Group
The Hub – Mid-Scarborough
Toronto Environmental Alliance
Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre
Transport Action Ontario
University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC)
Urban Land Institute
UTSC Student Union President
Walk Toronto
Youth Engagement Strategy
YWCA Toronto Employment Centre
1LoveMalvern
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