University of Toronto Scarborough Options Report

University of Toronto Scarborough Options Report

Introduction

A study has been undertaken to analyze potential alignments of the LRT through campus. This is to ensure the integration supports the objectives of the EELRT as well as UTSC’s vision for a walkable, transit-oriented urban node. As part of this study, additional LRT design requirements were addressed to meet the technical specifications of the Eglinton East LRT. These include:

  • Extended platforms (90m) to accommodate 3 car train consist
  • Track work required to accommodate the service concept
  • LRT interchange with other transit routes (12 in total)
  • Local TTC buses
  • GO Regional buses
  • Proposed Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit (DS-BRT)

A detailed analysis of options has been undertaken. For a copy of the full University of Toronto Scarborough Options Memo, please email us or call us at 416-338-2848.

Background

At UTSC, the 2009-approved Scarborough-Malvern Light Rail Transit (SMLRT) concept included a stop at the southeast corner of Ellesmere and Morningside Ave, a side-running LRT guideway on the south side of Ellesmere Road, a stop on the southwest corner of Ellesmere and Military Trail, and a centre-running LRT in a semi-exclusive right-of-way along Military Trail through North Campus.

the 2009-approved Scarborough-Malvern Light Rail Transit (SMLRT) concept included a stop at the southeast corner of Ellesmere and Morningside Ave; a side-running LRT guideway on the south side of Ellesmere Road,; a stop on the southwest corner of Ellesmere and Military Trail and a centre-running LRT in a semi-exclusive right-of-way along Military Trail through North Campus
SMLRT concept through UTSC

This concept is not compatible with the draft Secondary Plan submitted as part of the University’s Official Plan Amendment (OPA) application and currently under review by the City. The University’s proposed Secondary Plan includes a realigned Military Trail between Ellesmere Road and Morningside Avenue. This realigned Military Trail would accommodate an at-grade LRT concept and allow the conversion of the existing Military Trail alignment into a pedestrian corridor, supporting UTSC’s vision for a walkable, high-quality public realm. The concept is shown in the figure . In this concept, the LRT would stop at the southeast corner of Ellesmere and Morningside Ave; on the southwest corner of Ellesmere and Military Trail; and another stop in front of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC).

The review process concluded that:

  • Running the EELRT at-grade (Modified Base Concept) as indicated in the Secondary Plan application is expected to be technically feasible, but serious pedestrian barriers and potentially unacceptable operational constraints at the realigned Military Trail and Ellesmere intersection would be likely;
  • The significant number of bus bays and facilities required by TTC and GO to both serve the campus and connect to LRT services would result in a single traditional facility with negative impact on the placemaking objectives articulated in the proposed Secondary Plan; and
  • Aligning the LRT in the centre of the realigned Military Trail would require widening the street and creating barriers to keep pedestrians off of the LRT guideway which does not align with the proposed Secondary Plan.
Figure 2: Proposed UTSC Secondary Plan street and block pattern, including proposed alignment of the EELRT
Figure 2: Proposed UTSC Secondary Plan street and block pattern, including proposed alignment of the EELRT

Options Development Process

Following this review, five alternative concepts for how the Eglinton East LRT could better integrate with campus were developed. These concepts consider not only the routing of the LRT but also the associated stops and their integration with the UTSC.

The 5 concepts are as follows:

  • Option 1 – At-grade running along Morningside, Ellesmere and New Military Trail with a pedestrian underpass connecting North Campus and South Campus.
  • Option 2 – As option 1, but grade separating the LRT through the intersection of Ellesmere and New Military Trail.
  • Option 3 – Fully tunnelled concept through campus under the current alignment of Military Trail, to best meet the objectives of the UTSC’s proposed Secondary Plan.
  • Option 4 – At-grade running directly along Morningside.
  • Option 5 – Elevated concept direct along Morningside Avenue with enhanced pedestrian connections into campus.

The 5 concepts were then compared using evaluation criteria consistent with the City’s Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework (RTEF).

 

Detailed Description of the Options

Option 1: Enhanced At-grade Concept

This concept is similar to the concept proposed through the UTSC Secondary Plan but includes a pedestrian underpass connecting north and south campus below Ellesmere Road and the LRT alignment.

  • Pedestrian underpass simplifies the intersection of Ellesmere and Military Trail, and effectively connects the campus;
  • Best serves destinations on north and south campus;
  • Effectively connects to key campus destinations, serves intended population and meets city-building objectives;
  • Requires stairs and elevators but best facilitates transfers between the LRT and bus routes including planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line to Durham Region and other through routes; 
  • Presents an efficient stop design.
The Enhanced At-grade concept maintains all three stops, but introduces a pedestrian underpass to address operational issues with the intersection. A bus terminal is wrapped around a potential development parcel.
Option 1: Enhanced at-grade concept (street and block pattern as articulated by the UTSC proposed Secondary Plan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: Enhanced at-grade concept - University stop
Enhanced at-grade concept – University stop

Option 2: Campus Short Trench

Similar to the Enhanced At-Grade concept, except the LRT is below-grade instead of pedestrians.

  • Effectively connects to key campus destinations, serve intended population and meet city-building objectives;
  • Faster speed through UTSC due to grade separation and shorter track. No delay at major intersections;
  • Requires stairs and elevators to access platform and transfers with bus routes including planned DS-BRT and other through routes;
  • High-cost option, particularly for operating costs. Main costs as a result of systems requirements associated with tunneling.
Similar to the Enhanced At-Grade concept, except the LRT is below-grade instead of pedestrians.
Option 2: Short Trech (Street and Block pattern as articulated by the proposed UTSC Secondary Plan)

Option 3: Military Trail (below grade)

A completely below grade LRT alignment through campus, placing an underground station at the centre of North campus. The LRT would have a single stop on campus, with a second stop on Morningside Avenue near the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC).

  • Effectively connects to key campus destinations, serve intended population and meet city-building objectives;
  • Faster speed through UTSC due to grade separation and shorter track. No delay at major intersections;
  • Requires stairs and elevators to access platform and transfers with bus routes including planned DS-BRT and other through routes;
  • Highest cost option due to tunneling requirement. Operating costs also high.
A completely below grade LRT alignment through campus, placing an underground station at the centre of North campus. The LRT would have a single stop on campus, with a second stop on Morningside Avenue near the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC).
Option 3: Military Trail (below grade) (Street and Block pattern as articulated by the proposed UTSC Secondary Plan)

Option 4: Morningside Direct (at-grade) Concept

An at-grade alignment that runs directly up the centre of Morningside Avenue with only two stops near UTSC. The first stop would be located south of Ellesmere Road, similar to options 1 and 2. The second stop would be located adjacent to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

  • This option does not effectively serve the UTSC campus;
  • Steep grades govern where stops can be located and would have long-term impacts on operations;
  • Fastest travel time and least expensive option due to reduced track length.
An at-grade alignment that runs directly up Morningside with only two stops provided to serve the campus. The first stop is located proximate to options 1 and 2, and second stop located adjacent to Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, but with centre-running instead of on the east-side of Morningside.
Option 4: Morningside Direct (at-grade) Concept (Street and Block pattern as articulated by the proposed UTSC Secondary Plan)

Option 5: Elevated Morningside Concept

An elevated alignment that would run directly up the east side of Morningside Avenue before shifting to the centre of Morningside Avenue and returning to grade north of Ellesmere Road. This concept has two stops adjacent to UTSC north campus.

  • The first stop to be located adjacent to Centennial College north of Ellesmere Road. This stop is elevated above Morningside Avenue, but roughly level with the north campus;
  • The second stop would be at-grade north of the realigned Military Trail;
  • An elevated pedestrian pathway would provide a level connection between the Ellesmere LRT stop and the centre of the north campus.

The figures illustrate the area around the Ellesmere stop. Frequent through-service bus routes including the planned Bus Rapid Transit line connecting to Scarborough Centre and Durham Region would need to stop on Ellesmere Road. This would require transferring riders to walk approximately 150m to board the LRT. Terminating surface bus routes would be accommodated adjacent to the LRT stop in a terminal facility constructed on the existing Centennial College parking lot, with additional layby facilities on-street along Morningside Avenue.

This option:

  • Minimizes impacts to traffic;
  • Better serves communities on the west side of Morningside Avenue, which includes a Neighbourhood Improvement Area;
  • Reduces environmental impact on Morningside ravine and woodlot east of the realigned Military Trail;
  • Minimizes construction and operational impacts to UTSC by moving the LRT alignment and bus facilities to the edge of campus; and
  • Provides poor connection to frequent through bus routes.
A partially-elevated alignment that runs directly up Morningside Avenue with only two stops adjacent to UTSC north campus. • The first stop to be located adjacent to Centennial College just north of Ellesmere Road on Morningside Avenue. This stop is elevated above Morningside Avenue, but roughly level with the north campus. • The second stop would be at-grade just north of Military Trail. • An elevated pedestrian pathway would provide a level connection between the Centennial College LRT stop with the centre of the north campus.
Elevated Morningside Concept (Street and Block pattern as articulated by the proposed UTSC Secondary Plan)

 

Figure 9 illustrates the area around the main campus stop for Option 5. Frequent through-service bus routes including the DS-BRT would need to stop on Ellesmere Road, requiring transferring riders to walk approximately 150m to board the LRT. Terminating surface bus routes would be accommodated adjacent to the LRT stop in a terminal facility constructed on the existing Centennial College parking lot, with additional layby facilities on-street along Morningside Avenue.
Morningside Elevated: Centennial College stop and north campus connection

Evaluation of Concepts

Each of the concepts has been evaluated using evaluation criteria consistent with the City’s Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework (RTEF). Each concept described above was compared to the “Modified Base” concept, articulated by UTSC through their proposed Secondary Plan.

Concept screening

Option 4 (Morningside Direct, at-grade) was eliminated from further consideration because it does not materially achieve the project objective of integrating with UTSC. The at-grade alignment, matching the existing grades of Morningside Avenue, precludes a stop between Ellesmere and Military Trail. Neither of the resulting stops – south of Ellesmere and north of Military Trail – provide any meaningful connection to UTSC.

Option 2 (Short Trench) is a variation of Option 1 (Enhanced At-Grade), where the LRT is grade separated from mixed traffic and pedestrians. This concept offers many of the same benefits as Option 1 at a much higher capital cost. Therefore, Option 2 is also eliminated from further consideration. 

Option 3 (Military Trail, below grade) has some significant benefit from the perspective of LRT travel time and opportunity to support adjacent development of campus. However, it is estimated to cost significantly more than the other options. For this reason, Options 3 is also eliminated from further consideration.

Option 1 (Enhanced At-Grade), best serves existing and planned destinations at UTSC, both on North Campus and South Campus. By removing pedestrian movements from the Ellesmere Road and New Military Trail intersection, the concept better connects North Campus and South Campus for pedestrians, and improves the traffic conditions for general traffic using the area.

Option 5 (Morningside Direct, elevated) provides the best LRT travel time and best improves traffic conditions for general traffic in the area by grade-separating the LRT alignment to mitigate impacts to the Morningside Avenue and Ellesmere Road intersection in addition to avoiding turning movements at Ellesmere Road and New Military Trail, and Morningside Avenue and New Military Trail. Option 5 best serves residents on the west side of Morningside, creates significant placemaking opportunities and potentially creates Transit Oriented Development opportunities through the introduction of a “campus gateway” between the elevated LRT stop and North Campus.

Direct Comparison of Options 1 and 5

The Table below summarizes the direct comparison of Options 1 and 5, focusing on decision-relevant criteria. Option 1 is preferred primarily due to how its stop locations best serve existing and future destinations on campus.

Summary Preferred option
Rapid Transit Evaluation Criteria Option 1 – Enhanced At-Grade Option 5 – Morningside Direct (elevated)
Choice Preferred option. Provides better connections to all transit services and other modes of travel.
Experience Preferred optionImproves LRT travel time, best addresses traffic operations and improves safety for all modes of transportation.
Social Equity Equal Impact. Stairs and elevators required. However, best supports equity in mobility by gender, income, family status, age class and ability. Equal Impact. Stairs and elevators required. Slightly better service to local Neighbourhood Improvement Areas / equity-seeking individuals.
Public Health & Environment

 

 

Preferred option. Least impacts to natural environment along ravine and no impact to UTSC woodlot.
Healthy Neighbourhoods Preferred option. Removes barriers with pedestrians/cyclists crossing Ellesmere below-grade to avoid operational impacts to key intersection and has significant opportunity for unique place-making.
Shaping the City Preferred option. Best connects to key campus destinations, serves intended population and meets city-building objectives.
Affordability Preferred option
Supports Growth Preferred option. Serves growth ambitions  of UTSC.

* Economic analysis was undertaken in a separate study and used as an input to this analysis. Refer to the report Rapid Transit Evaluation Summary Table, directly comparing the two short-listed options.

Findings

UTSC envisions the build out of its North Campus over the next several years, consistent with their proposed Secondary Plan. Option 1 best serves those growth ambitions, and recognizes the importance of UTSC as a regionally significant destination for transit users. Excellent rapid transit connections between UTSC and RER, SmartTrack and the Line 2 subway via both Kennedy Station and the proposed Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit line are much better achieved by Option 1 compared to Option 5.

Recommendation

Based on an analysis of all concepts, Option 1 (Enhanced Base) is recommended as part of the Eglinton East LRT concept.

For more information

For a copy of the full University of Toronto Scarborough Options Memo, please email us or call us at 416-338-2848.

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