Last month, City Council overwhelmingly approved the plan to get SmartTrack built. For the cost of a TTC fare, SmartTrack will provide rapid transit service every 6-10 minutes during peak periods and provide real transit solutions to help you move around our city.
With 3 stations on the SmartTrack line in our community at West Queen West (near Queen and Dufferin), Bloor GO Station and St. Clair-Old Weston and two more GO RER Stations at Bloor/Lansdowne and Caledonia/Eglinton, we will experience a massive increase in rapid-transit options over and above the TTC's Bloor-Danforth Line 2. With trains going to Union Station, SmartTrack will be our relief line in the west-end!
To hear more about what I had to say about SmartTrack at last month's Executive Committee Meeting, please click the photo below.
You can also find out more information about SmartTrack here: http://www.SmartTrack.to
On April 5, the Provincial government announced a new initiative to make travel on the GO network more affordable.
I am happy to share that beginning in early 2019, the province will be reducing the cost of GO Transit trips to just $3 for PRESTO users who are travelling under 10 kilometres anywhere on the GO network. This means all GO Transit and Union-Pearson Express trips anywhere within the City of Toronto will be reduced to $3. The $1.50 discount for PRESTO users transferring between the TTC and GO Transit or the UP Express will also remain in effect.
With proceeds from Ontario's cap on pollution, the province will also provide fare integration discounts of up to $1.50 per ride for anyone who travels between the York, Durham, Brampton and Mississauga transit networks and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
This initiative is an essential step towards fare integration for SmartTrack, as it will lower the cost of transferring between transit systems and will make travel easier in and around the GTA for the tens of thousands of people who use public transit every day. Reduced fares will also ease congestion on subways and buses by offering transit users more options for travel.
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.
At the December 8, 2016 Metrolinx Board Meeting, the preliminary concepts for the new SmartTrack and GO Regional Express Rail (RER) stations across Toronto were unveiled. The concepts include those for the approved Bloor-Lansdowne GO Train station and the West Queen West/Liberty Village SmartTrack/GO RER station.
It is important to note that these concepts are highly preliminary and that continued study and work on these stations will likely result in changes to their design. I look forward to working with you and Metrolinx throughout the design process as we work to expand transit for our community.
To view the preliminary design concept for the West Queen West/Liberty Village SmartTrack Station and the Bloor-Lansdowne GO Station, please click 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]
There was a lot of news this past month on the transit file, including updates on SmartTrack, the Scarborough Subway, and the Downtown Relief Line. These updates have positive impacts on the future of transit planning in our city and shows a renewed focus to utilize data in making the best transit planning decisions for our city.
A ridership study has been jointly conducted by the University of Toronto and the City Planning division in order to examine the ridership impacts of different SmartTrack proposals. The results are most positive if SmartTrack trains are operated every five minutes at TTC fare levels. In this scenario, SmartTrack could attract more than 300,000 daily riders by 2031 - more than the entire daily ridership of the GO network. SmartTrack would also ease pressures on both Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) and Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina), providing relief for Ward 18 residents.
A feasibility review has also been released with regards to SmartTrack's proposed western corridor to the Airport Corporate Centre. Due to the high costs and projected low ridership on this section, it is being recommended that instead of heavy rail such as SmartTrack, an LRT be built from Mount Dennis to the Airport Corporate Centre. This LRT line would be an extension of the currently under construction Eglinton Crosstown LRT and would provide superior transit benefits to this part of the city.
City staff have also reported to the Executive Committee on recommended changes to rapid transit plans in Scarborough. The report recommends that the three stop Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) extension to the Scarborough Town Centre be changed to a one stop extension, terminating at the Scarborough Town Centre. Utilizing these projected savings, it is proposed that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT be extended eastwards to the University of Toronto Scarborough and named Crosstown East. To name a few, this line would directly serve 5 neighbourhood improvement areas, provide rapid transit along 8 km of avenues, connect to two existing GO RER stations, and improve access to rapid transit in an area of the city that currently has none.
Finally, City Planning has recommended a comprehensive network of rapid transit for our entire City with recommended timelines as to when it should be built over the next 30 years. The proposed network is ambitious and would help transform our city for the better - truly creating a city to live, work, and play. Contained within it are the new proposals outlined above but also a recommended route for the Downtown Relief Line in the east-end and proposals to build rapid transit along Toronto's waterfront. You can download the slide deck in PDF format that outlines all of this by clicking here.
On all of these files, I welcome these new developments and look forward to hearing more from City staff on the feasibility of these proposals so we can get to work and actually build the transit that our city desperately needs. To find out more about transit planning in Toronto and to read the reports I have mentioned above, please click here.