Over the past few years, I have been working with TTC Chair Josh Colle to find ways to improve transit service on Dufferin Street and have some good news to share with you. You may have previously heard that we were able to secure an express bus route on Dufferin but that it would start in 2021, which we felt was too far from now.
That is why we have been advocating to move-up express bus service on Dufferin as soon as possible to provide real relief for those that use Dufferin every day to move around Toronto. I am pleased to share with you that the TTC has responded to our advocacy efforts and that express buses will be running on Dufferin Street starting this fall.
In addition, we have invested new funding through the 2018 City Budget to add even more buses to Dufferin starting this September to reduce overcrowding at all times of the day, including rush hour. These improvements will help you travel across our city, run errands, get to work and back home to see your family faster.
It will mean reduced wait times, less crowding, a better chance of getting a seat and overall, make for a more comfortable ride on the Dufferin bus.
But, our work doesn't stop here. With additional residential growth pressures along Dufferin, we have requested the TTC and the City to look at exploring new opportunities to improve transit services on Dufferin Street to accommodate the new growth in our communities. I will share further updates with you as they become available.
I look forward to riding the improved Dufferin bus with you this fall.
On April 4, the City of Toronto launched the first phase of the Fair Pass Discount Program. The program was approved by Toronto City Council in 2016 as a poverty reduction initiative to make transit more affordable for low income residents. Other initiatives include making transit free for children 12 years of age and under and implementing a universal two-hour transfer.
The Fair Pass Discount Program is available for Toronto residents receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW) assistance who are not in receipt of any transportation supports equal to or greater than $100.
Eligible residents will receive a 12 month Fair Pass discount programmed onto a PRESTO card. Clients will save $1.00 on the TTC adult fare for a single ride and $30.75 on a TTC adult monthly pass.
To apply for the Fair Pass Discount Program, OW and ODSP clients must complete and sign an application and consent form. Forms are available online, by mail or at any OW or ODSP office. Completed forms can be submitted by mail, fax, or in-person at one of the Toronto Employment & Social Services locations (TESS).
Should you have any questions or concerns, please visit www.toronto.ca/transitdiscount. OW and ODSP clients may call 416-338-8888 (select option 3).
As a daily transit rider, I know firsthand the challenges and frustration many residents face on their commutes. That is why I have been working to improve transit here in our community. Earlier this year, I wrote to the TTC Chair about the Lansdowne Bus and the need to improve service due to the increased population and ridership experienced as a result of developments.
I am happy to share that in April 2018, more service will be added on Lansdowne in the afternoon peak period to reduce crowding and improve frequency.
With major accessibility upgrades at Lansdowne Station starting in 2019, I have been advocating for the installation of an overhead canopy on the east side of Lansdowne Ave. This will add better weather protection for the thousands of daily northbound bus riders waiting to finish their journey home.
I am pleased to let you know that the TTC has responded to our request to bundle these important projects together and has now included this overhead canopy in their project.
We also approved in the 2018 Budget funding for more bus service on Dupont and Dufferin St to address growing ridership, development and residents' crowding concerns along the route. The TTC is also buying new buses and building a bus garage to support the approved Dufferin Express Bus Service coming in 2021.
These TTC service enhancements will build on our efforts to expand our rapid transit network with 5 approved SmartTrack/GO RER Stations to service Davenport. We need to continue this momentum to invest and find ways to improve service. I look forward to sharing further updates with you!
Have you heard? There's a new Mural at Dufferin TTC Station! Earlier this fall, our community came together for a mural unveiling celebration of Ward 18's newest mural, located at the Dufferin Station Russett Ave Exits.
Painted by artist Ted Hamer and local students from the Toronto School of Art, Sonja Clarke, Stephanie Steele, and Maryam Sadeghpour, this mural adds a colourful touch of new vibrancy to the station, adding to the wide range of fantastic murals and street art in the Bloordale neighbourhood.
The mural was created in partnership with my office and a first of its kind mentorship initiative between the Toronto School of Art, TTC, the City of Toronto's StreetARToronto Program and Bloordale BIA to beautify our TTC stations and combat graffiti. Thank you everyone who came together to help make our new mural a beautiful reality!
In May, City Council voted to advance planning and design work on the Relief Line and the Yonge North subway projects. As part of this work, Council approved a motion I moved at Executive Committee to direct staff to report back to Council with strategies to maximise the potential for mixed-income residential development as part of the planning and design of stations for the Relief Line and Yonge Subway Extension.
As we build out our transit network, it is critically important that we maximize the opportunities available to create new transit-integrated housing and communities for everyone in our city.. This means ensuring that we are taking advantage of the station lands and the surrounding areas and are working with our public and private partners to create inclusive communities.
For more information on advancing the Relief Line and Yonge Subway Extension Project, please click here.
The TTC's 29 Dufferin bus route is one of Toronto's most highly used surface transit routes. Over the years, we have secured improvements on this route by introducing longer articulated buses and through service changes to improve speed and service.
However, this important transit corridor is also under pressure from a growing number of current and future developments along the route. If fully built out, the Dufferin Corridor north of Bloor St W to just north of Wilson Ave could see a growth of population of up to 54% if all active and potential residential developments are built out. South of Bloor St W to the CNE Grounds, there is the potential to see residential population growth of up to 69% if all active and potential developments were built out. South of Bloor St W, the possibility of employment related development could also expand the number of jobs there by 41%.
While the growing number of development proposals along the important Dufferin corridor is a sign of the vitality of our city, the lack of any plans for higher order transit along Dufferin St will only increase congestion and crowding. The goals of reducing congestion, creating more livable communities and producing more economic growth and opportunity are important to me and our City. In order to fulfill these goals, it is critically important that we support them with investments that enhance public transit in order to expand access to jobs and move people across our city more efficiently.
It is critical that new developments be considered with respect to their impacts on transit capacity and mobility in Toronto. That is why this month at City Council, I moved a motion with TTC Chair Josh Colle in order to address this issue on Dufferin. We have requested that the TTC and City Planning examine what improvements can be made to this route in order to accommodate the projected growth and improve the transit experience for the many customers who rely on this route each and every day. I look forward to reviewing their recommendations with you as we move forward to enhance transit service along Dufferin.
The City of Toronto is asking residents to be part of the important decisions that are being made to improve Toronto's rapid transit network, including current plans for SmartTrack, Scarborough Transit, the Relief Line and Waterfront Transit Reset.
Torontonians and residents of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area can provide input on these projects online or at public meetings the City is hosting in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto, and in co-ordination with Metrolinx.
Details about the four key studies currently underway follow, along with the schedule of public meetings.
SmartTrack/GO Regional Express Rail
Updates will be presented for integration of SmartTrack and GO Regional Express Rail to improve rapid transit service on three GO corridors in Toronto. SmartTrack plans include more frequent service, additional stations and an integrated TTC fare. Options for the extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT west to Pearson Airport will also be discussed. Input on the plans can be provided at http://www.smarttrack.to or at an upcoming public meeting.
Scarborough Transit Planning
The Scarborough Subway Extension would extend the Bloor-Danforth Subway (Line 2) north from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Centre. This extension will support the continued development of Scarborough Centre as a vibrant urban node. Updates on the evaluation of options for the Scarborough Subway Extension will be presented. Input on the plans can be provided online at http://www.scarboroughsubwayextension.ca or at an upcoming public meeting.
To improve transit access within Scarborough, options for an LRT are being examined to connect Kennedy Station and the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus along Eglinton Avenue, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue. This project would help to create complete communities within the corridor and would improve access to jobs and other destinations for people living near the corridor. Input on the approach can be provided at http://www.toronto.ca/transitTO or at an upcoming public meeting.
The Relief Line
A new subway line is being planned to connect the Bloor-Danforth Subway east of the Don River with downtown. This line will support city-building and relieve crowding on the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway (Line 1), at Yonge-Bloor Subway Station, and on the surface transit routes coming in and out of downtown. Results of the evaluation of alignment options will be presented, along with proposed locations for station entrances. Input on the proposed route can be provided at http://www.reliefline.ca or at an upcoming public meeting.
Waterfront Transit 'Reset'
This study will establish a vision for a comprehensive waterfront transit network and identify current and future transit needs. A range of preliminary concepts will be developed and evaluated to help determine a preferred east-west waterfront transit solution that will integrate north-south transit and active transportation, linking people from across the city to the waterfront and its nearby destinations and attractions. Torontonians are asked to provide feedback on the vision at http://www.toronto.ca/transitTO or at an upcoming public meeting.
The following public meetings are scheduled on the four key initiatives, and a concluding meeting will address all the projects combined:
Waterfront Transit 'Reset'
Wednesday, May 25 (Toronto-East York)
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 6 to 8:30 p.m. Presentation at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 26 (Etobicoke)
Waterfront Transit Reset West, John English Junior Middle School, 95 Mimico Ave., 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Presentation at 6:30 p.m.
Scarborough Transit Planning
Tuesday, May 31 (Scarborough)
Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr., 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Presentation at 7 p.m.
Thursday, June 2 (Toronto-East York)
Riverdale Collegiate, 1094 Gerrard St. E., 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Presentation at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 1 (Toronto-East York)
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Blvd., 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Presentation at 7 p.m.
Saturday June 4 (Etobicoke)
York Humber High School, 100 Emmett Ave., 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Presentation at 10 a.m.
Transit Network Planning (all projects)
Tuesday, June 21 (Downtown)
Members Lounge, City Hall, 100 Queen St. W., 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Presentation at 5 p.m.
On social media, use #TransitTO when providing comments and follow @CityPlanTO on twitter.
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.
The TTC has made significant service changes to the 501 Queen Streetcar in order to make it more reliable and more frequent. This includes 10-minutes-or-better service and service increases. With regards to these recent service changes, it means that extra morning peak period trips have been added, that service is to be operated every 10 minutes or better, and the route has been split into two in order to provide more efficient service. The Queen Streetcar is one of the busiest routes in the city, carrying approximately 43,500 people per day and it is also the longest streetcar route. I have been active in advocating for better service on the Queen Streetcar to the TTC and will continue to advocate for better transit options for those living in Ward 18.
To find out more about the 10-minutes-or-better service please click here.
To find out more about the service increases on the 501 Queen Streetcar please click here.
Metrolinx has facilitated a new paratransit agreement promoting easier and more convenient cross-boundary travel for people who use mobility aids.
The paratransit agreement, which is now in effect, eliminates the need for mobility aid users to undergo multiple eligibility processes when they cross municipal borders.
If you are a mobility aid user registered with a paratransit agency in the municipality you live in, you are now automatically eligible for paratransit services with the following seven other transit agencies as well:
- Burlington Handi-Van
- Durham Region Specialized Services
- Hamilton D.A.R.T.S
- Milton access+
- Oakville care-A-van
- Peel TransHelp
- TTC Wheel-Trans
- York Mobility Plus
Customers can also use paratransit service to get to and from an accessible conventional transit service, like GO Transit, VIVA or Züm.
As the regional transit authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), Metrolinx is dedicated to making the services it provides fully accessible to people with disabilities.
For more information about the agreement, or to learn how Metrolinx is meeting our accessibility goals, please visit: http://www.metrolinx.com/en/aboutus/accessibility/cross-boundary_travel.aspx?utm_source=accessibility_group&utm_medium=email_mx&utm_campaign=cross-boundary_travel