SmartTrack/GO Stations Update
The City of Toronto, Metrolinx and the TTC are undertaking planning and design work as part of the SmartTrack and GO Regional Express Rail Transit expansion program. This project will add enhanced service at 5 stations to move and connect our community, including 3 SmartTrack stations at West Queen West/Liberty Village, Bloor GO/UP Station and St Clair West-Keele, in addition to the new GO Stations at Bloor-Lansdowne and at Caledonia & Eglinton.
Earlier this month, a series of public meeting were held to present revised station designs and an update on this important transit expansion project. I am also happy to share that at the meeting, a preliminary concept for the bridge connecting the Davenport Diamond Greenway and Earlscourt Park was also presented. You can view the complete slide deck and images from the West stations meeting by clicking here.
Davenport Diamond Design Visuals and Public Open House Meeting
Metrolinx recently unveiled the winning art concept for the Davenport Diamond Guideway. Created by Canadian Artist Alex MacLeod, the mural when complete will be the largest digitally printed image in the world. You can find more more images and information about the artist and design by visiting: http://www.metrolinx.com/en/projectsandprograms/integratedart/artwork/secret-park-gate.aspx.
Metrolinx is also holding a public meeting to share more details about the the new artwork and Davenport Diamond Project on Tuesday March 27, 2018 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Casa da Madeira Community Centre (1621 Dupont St).
This new public art is the result of the incredible work done together with residents, organizations and stakeholders and I look forward to continuing this work to ensure our community's vision for a strong public realm and community space is realized!
Metrolinx Plans for the West Toronto Railpath and Adding a Fourth Track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor
January 30, 2018 Update - I have obtained a copy of Metrolinx's conceptual design and layout which outlines the existing and new corridor, pathway and parkland. Please click here (large PDF) to download it.
Metrolinx recently hosted a community meeting to share their plans to add a fourth track on the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor, which forms the western border of Ward 18. As part of the meeting, they also outlined impacts and proposed improvements to the West Toronto Railpath and Bloor GO Station.
In order to accommodate the fourth track, there are sections of the Railpath that Metrolinx is proposing to narrow, with the most significant section from just north of where the Henderson Brewery and Drake Commissary is to Ernest Avenue. The pavement width of the trail would remain the same but would have to be shifted in places, resulting in some areas with less green space. Please click here (large PDF) for a copy of their presentation from the meeting.
As Metrolinx was developing their plans, the City worked together with Metrolinx to ensure that they significantly reduced the amount of land needed.
The Railpath is a cherished asset in our community and disruption from construction will never be easy but there are also some positive aspects of the plan. Some of these include:
- A land swap so that the City can acquire the necessary land to extend the Railpath southwards;
- Green Walls that our community has been advocating for years;
- An underground connection via an elevator and stairs to Bloor GO Station and Dundas West TTC Station from Randolph Ave;
- A new park and other features.
Throughout this process I will be vigilant and work with the Friends of the West Toronto Railpath and stakeholders to ensure that the impacts are as minimal as possible and that there is a long-term benefit for the West Toronto Railpath and our community as a whole.
At the latest Davenport Diamond Community Advisory Committee Meeting, Metrolinx presented their Public Realm Plan, Lighting Concept and Integrated Art Strategy as part of their work on advancing detailed design of the project.
You can find the slides from these presentations and other project details on their project website at: http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/rer/davenport.aspx
If you would like to share your feedback with Metrolinx on the Public Ream Plan, you can do so via e-mail to [email protected] by 5pm on July 10, 2017.
I am continuing to work with community members and other elected officials to advocate for the community requirements that we established together to ensure that our community benefits from this project. In addition to the new station at Bloor and Lansdowne, we have been making steady progress on many of the other community requirements. I look forward to sharing more information on this as it becomes available.
Metrolinx has indicated that they will be holding another public community consultation meeting this fall. Once I have more details on this meeting, I will be sure to share this with you as well.
Metrolinx is also undertaking the Transit Project Assessment Process (Environmental Assessments) for both the entire Barrie Corridor (click here) and the electrification of the GO Train network (click here) and you can click on the links under each item for more information.
As always, you can view my previous updates on the Davenport Diamond project by clicking here.
Metrolinx is carrying out work to expand the north side of the Dufferin Street Bridge at Queen Street which carries the Kitchener GO Transit Corridor. Expanding the bridge will support the ongoing work to bring electrified SmartTrack and GO Regional Express Rail transit service to the West Queen West community. This work will also accommodate the space required for the proposed southward extension of the West Toronto Railpath. Metrolinx expects to complete this project by June 2017.
In order to ensure the safety of the public and construction crews, and to complete the bridge expansion in a timely manner, Dufferin Street will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from Queen Street West to Peel Avenue from September 12, 2016 to December 31st, 2016. During this closure, traffic will detour via the old "Dufferin Jog" route of Peel, Gladstone and Queen.
During this work, residents and businesses in the area can expect an increase in noise and construction activity. Crews will also need to conduct work in the evening and overnight periods when trains are not operating for safety concerns. Overnight lighting will be focused away from homes when possible and noisier work will be undertaken during the daytime to reduce evening disruptions. This accelerated work schedule aims to mitigate community impacts and reduce the duration of work.
Metrolinx will be hosting a community drop-in session at the Carnaby Condominium at 10 Minowan Miikan Lane (formerly 11 Peel Avenue) on September 29, 2016 from 5pm to 7pm with representatives present to answer your questions about this project. You can read the complete project notice for this project by clicking here.
As this work is carried out, I will keep our community informed of any updates to this work. As this is a Metrolinx project, I encourage you to contact Jennifer Capan, Community Relations and Issues Specialist at Metrolinx for any questions or concerns via telephone at 416-202-4732 or through email at [email protected]
Earlier this month, I was pleased to welcome Mayor John Tory and the Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca to the West Queen West neighbourhood as the Province announced the commencement of construction on the Dufferin Bridge Widening Project (you can learn more about this project by clicking here). The expanded bridge will be constructed to accommodate the space required for the proposed southward extension of the West Toronto Railpath to the West Queen West Community and will connect to the park that the City is constructing at Dufferin and Peel St.
I welcome the endorsements of Mayor Tory, Metrolinx and Minister Del Duca for the Railpath extension as an important step forward, which supports the City of Toronto's approved West Toronto Railpath Extension EA and our community's success in securing the incorporation of an extended Railpath into the design of the future 99 Sudbury development. I look forward to working with Metrolinx and all levels of government to secure the extension of this important piece of community transportation and recreational infrastructure.
Earlier this month, the Minster of Environment and Climate Change gave final approval as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) for Metrolinx's Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project. Though the TPAP process has concluded, I will continue advocate to Metrolinx and fight for the community building principles outlined in our community petition and open letter. I will keep you informed with updates to this project as they become available. To view my previous updates on this project please click here.
The issue of bell ringing from GO Transit and Union Pearson Express trains at Bloor GO/UP Station has produced many sleepless nights and early morning wakeups for those who live near the station. With plans to expand transit service along the Kitchener GO Corridor, it is critical the issue of bell ringing be addressed by Metrolinx and Transport Canada, the regulatory body responsible for rail corridors. City Council this month adopted my recommendations to have the City Manager initiate discussions with Metrolinx and Transport Canada to identify best practices and possible solutions that avoids the use of train bells and/or whistles for trains entering and exiting passenger rail stations and to provide a progress report to the Executive Committee by the end of 2016.
This report will include recommendations to City Council about what steps and requests can be taken to eliminate the use of bells and whistles at existing GO Train Stations. I look forward to reviewing these options as we seek to have Metrolinx and Transport Canada move to address this important matter.
As I mentioned last month, Metrolinx announced a new GO Station on the Barrie Line at Bloor and Lansdowne. The station site itself is subject to further analysis of corridor service implications and a commitment by the City to provide an accessible, weather protected, pedestrian connection to Lansdowne Subway station.
In light of this, I moved a motion at City Council that requested the City manager and CEO of the TTC to report back on the financial and logistical conditions imposed by Metrolinx and on potential solutions to finance the investment needed to make this connection, which is included in the City's Official Plan. I look forward to updating you as this issue progresses in order to provide the rapid and regional connections Davenport residents need to access jobs and attract investment into our community.
The City of Toronto's Design Review Panel met yesterday on April 5, 2016 to discuss the Davenport Diamond Grade Separation Project. This is the first time that this project has been reviewed before the Panel and this initial review was meant to be an information session for the Panel. I have been advised that this project will be before the Panel at least one more time for a more full commentary. Once I have those details I will be sharing them with you.
Unfortunately we were unable to get the meeting recorded on video but my office was able to audio record the meeting and you can listen to that recording by clicking here. You will have to turn up the volume on your computer in order to fully hear the discussion.
The City presented first and went through the general background of the project from the City perspective and some of the City Council decision history. The City then highlighted some land use and urban design considerations for the area impacted by the project. Based on our notes, some of this includes but is not limited to:
- The need for a station at Bloor St W and Lansdowne Ave.
- Some development in the area was not originally intended to be so close to the overpass.
- Restoring Dupont St at grade.
- The need to connect to the West Toronto Railpath.
- Issues of focus for the City are the relationship of the overpass to Bloor St W, Dupont St, and adjacent parks with a need for a larger cycling and parks focus.
Following the City's presentation, Metrolinx presented on the project and gave an overview of their public realm plan and preliminary design strategy. After the presentations, the Panel asked questions of both the City and Metrolinx. At the end of the meeting, the Panel then provided their initial comments on this project. All of this is included in the audio recording. Urban Toronto also wrote about the Panel meeting and you can read it by clicking here.
To view the slides from Metrolinx's presentation, please click the image below to download the PDF.
The Design Review Panel is comprised of private sector design professionals – architects, landscape architects, urban designers and engineers – who provide independent, objective advice to city staff aimed at improving matters of design that affect the public realm. This includes matters such as preserving the uniqueness of place, maintaining vitality, ensuring comfort and safety, and making new development compatible with its surroundings. The Panel provides advice for both private development and public projects, including advice on new urban design policy. Advice is based on professional judgment, understanding of good design principles, conformance with the Official Plan and other related documents (design guidelines, secondary plans etc.), and the design quality of the subject project.
Design Review Panel meetings are open to the public, however there is no opportunity for members of the public to ask questions or to make a deputation during these meetings. The public nature of the meetings is intended to ensure a transparent process, while also contributing to public education about design of the public realm. To find out more about the Design Review Panel, please click here.