transit

Improving the City’s Infrastructure

As Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, I’m pleased to share that the city is engaging in an aggressive program of road construction and watermain replacement to improve its aging infrastructure.

In 2016 alone, we’re investing more than $550 million to maintain and improve our city’s core infrastructure, including $260 million on roads and bridges, $227 million on sewers and watermains and $71 million on basement flooding protection.

This construction work will have real long-term benefits for Torontonians such as improved transportation corridors and better public transit.

While necessary, there’s no doubt that construction causes disruption and inconvenience to road users and other residents that share the public realm.

In recent years, the city has embraced a multi-year capital coordination process to streamline and synchronize capital projects. Leading this process is the Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination Office (MCIC), established in in 2008.

The chief goals of the MCIC are to improve efficiency and delivery rates, avoid conflicts between different projects and minimize disruption for residents:

  • A multi-year perspective ensures that capital work is being completed in the right order. This means, for example, that underground work will precede construction at grade.
  • A multi-agency approach helps achieve efficiencies in construction such as effective work-zone coordination or joint excavation.
  • A multi-stage process further works to minimize disruption for residents by, for instance, coordinating with transit operations and ensuring proper maintenance of equipment.

The bottom line is that the city is taking important steps to ensure that capital projects follow a predictable, logical and cost-effective path to delivery – all to get this needed infrastructure work done with the least amount of inconvenience and disruption.

To stay up-to-date, check out T.O. INview, a web-based mapping system showing the locations and details of planned capital projects.

Metrolinx Crosstown Update

As you know, Metrolinx launched a regional transportation plan – “The Big Move” – in September 2008. One of the first projects in this plan was the Eglinton Crosstown.

The Crosstown, a light rail transit line (LRT), will run across Eglinton Avenue between Mount Dennis (Weston Road) and Kennedy Station – a 19km corridor that includes a 10km portion undergound between Keele Street and Laird Drive.

Construction is well underway and is expected to be completed in September 2021.

Currently, the two Tunnel Boring Machines – named Don and Humber – are respectively just west and east of Bayview Avenue.

Station names were recently approved and finalized. The stops in our area include:

  • Eglinton Station – Yonge & Eglinton
  • Mt. Pleasant Station – Mt. Pleasant & Eglinton
  • Leaside Station – Bayview & Eglinton
  • Laird Station – Laird & Eglinton
  • Sunnybrook Park Stop – Leslie & Eglinton
  • Science Centre Station – Don Mills & Eglinton

Metrolinx is hosting a series of public meetings beginning in the spring to share detailed designs and an updated construction schedule from the contractor – stay informed by visiting this link or by calling the Crosstown East’s office at 416-482-7411.

City-Wide Transit Update

The first month of 2016 saw a number of exciting developments on the transit front!

The City of Toronto and TTC, together with Metrolinx and GoTransit, are embracing a network-based approach to transit, rather than considering transit initiatives as individual projects. The goal is to make Toronto’s residents and neighbourhoods more interconnected.

The newly revised SmartTrack plan sees the western portion of the plan – from Mount Dennis station to the airport – modified from heavy rail to light rail. Staff advise that an LRT (light rail transit) would be more feasible, cost effective and have fewer community impacts.

A study of SmartTrack ridership forecasts, conducted by the University of Toronto, also estimated that frequent service on the transit line could reduce congestion on the Yonge subway line by 17% – that’s a significant reduction!

City staff will provide an update on SmartTrack’s western corridor to Executive Committee in March 2016.

In January we also got a look at a revised plan for the Scarborough subway. City Planning has advised that reducing the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway from three stops to one stop and building a 17-stop, 12 kilometre LRT along Eglinton East – an extension of the Eglinton Crosstown – would better support Scarborough residents’ regional and local needs than the original plan approved by Council in 2013.

City Planning will report to Executive Committee in March 2016 on the results of public consultations and progress on this updated plan.

In February and March, the city and Metrolinx are hosting a series of public meetings for residents to learn more about integrated transit planning.

Click here for the dates and locations of these upcoming public consultations.

I encourage you to attend and share your feedback on our city’s updated transit plans!

Improving Capacity on the Yonge Subway Line

I ride the Yonge line every day and know the delays first hand. Ward 25ers sometimes have to watch two or three cars pass by at York Mills, Lawrence, and Eglinton before finding space to crowd on.

That’s why I’ve been pushing hard for Automatic Train Control (ATC) on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. ATC will replace our existing 1954-vintage signalling system with a state of the art computer controlled system.

ATC is expected to increase capacity on the Yonge line by 25% by cutting train headways from 2.5 to 2 minutes. In other words, ATC will improve train capacity and shorten wait times.

Unfortunately, implementation was recently pushed back to 2020.

As I told the Toronto Sun, the delays and the promises are “just not good enough.”

That’s why I moved a motion at Executive Committee asking for a detailed analysis of the reasons for the delay and options to accelerate its implementation. My motion, which passed unanimously, also asks for a review of the TTC’s structure with a focus on a more efficient, streamlined organization.

For a full copy of my motion, click here.

Crosstown Update

Crosstown construction continues on schedule and work will soon begin on the eastern leg!

As I noted in a previous newsletter, crews have started to relocate utilities along Eglinton between Brentcliffe and Leslie for the next phase of the project.

The soon-to-start next phase involves the construction of a launch shaft to provide access points for Don and Humber, the tunnel boring machines that will dig the 3.25 kilometres of underground twin tunnels towards Yonge Street. Crews will also start building the underground support walls at Laird and Bayview as well as an emergency exit building.

During construction, there will be lane reductions along Eglinton as well as TTC stop and sidewalk relocations.

The Crosstown Community Relations Team is working closely with city staff from Transportation Services on all aspects of the project.

They are keeping track of traffic issues and exploring solutions to keep traffic moving, including posting signs with alternate route information and signal retiming.

You can see all of the Crosstown construction updates online at www.thecrosstown.ca.

If you have any questions about the construction process or any traffic issues, please contact the Crosstown Community Relations Team by phone at 416-782-8118, by email at crosstown@metrolinx.com, or, by visiting their new office at Bayview and Eglinton (661 Eglinton Ave. E in the Sunnybrook Plaza) opening soon.

Relief Line Study

The Relief Line Study is moving full-speed ahead!

The terms of reference and public consultation plan were approved at City Council last week.

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, this joint city and TTC effort is studying possible station locations and routes for the first phase of the Relief Line. The first phase would take pressure off of the overcrowded Yonge line by providing a subway connection between the Bloor-Danforth line and downtown.

Earlier this year, the city and TTC held a number of public consultations to introduce the study and get feedback on how it should proceed.

As part of the next phase, staff will look at the right transit technology for the line and invite the public to participate in a naming contest for the Relief Line. In early 2015, staff will release a long list of station locations and route alignment options for consideration.

For more information, please see http://www.regionalrelief.ca/city-of-toronto/.

Eglinton Crosstown Update

CrosstownTunnel-e1385062126132.jpg

Photo: Eglinton Crosstown

Update – February 2014

In my last newsletter, I reported that Metrolinx awarded the second tunnelling contract to Aecon Dragados for work on the eastern section of the Crosstown between Yonge Steet and Brentcliffe Road. Construction will soon begin on a launch shaft that will provide access points for Don and Lea, the tunnel boring machines that will dig the 3.25 kilometres of twin tunnels.

The first visible phase of construction will take place on Eglinton at Brentcliffe. During the first phase, the work zone will be on Eglinton between Brentcliffe and Leslie Street. Traffic will be shifted to the north side of Eglinton between Brentclife and Leslie and reduced to one lane in each direction to allow crews to begin excavation on the south side. As part of the first phase, crews will be setting up the construction area and installing fences and barriers as well as working to widen the road, relocate utilities, street lights and some trees and build a revised sanitary sewer system.

If you have any questions about the construction process, please contact the Crosstown Community Relations team. You can reach them by phone at 416-782-8118 or send them an email via the online form here.

November 2013

Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown is well underway!

Earlier this month, Metrolinx announced it awarded the second tunneling contract to Aecon Dragados for work on the eastern portion of the line between Yonge Street and Brentcliffe Road. The company will dig approximately 3.25 kilometres of twin tunnels using two boring machines.

The boring machines, named (as is tradition) Don and Humber after the rivers, will begin work after the western boring machines, Dennis and Lea, reach Allen Road. This second phase of construction is slated to begin later this year!

Currently, Metrolinx is looking for feedback on station and stop design for both the western and eastern portions of the Crosstown. I encourage you to visit www.thecrosstown.ca to complete the online survey and sign up for email updates!

Scarborough Transit

Photo:  Jeff Roulston

How to replace the aging Scarborough RT was front and centre throughout the summer.

A series of plans were discussed and debated, including an LRT stretching from Kennedy to Sheppard, an underground Bloor-Danforth subway extension to Sheppard and a subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre using the existing RT alignment. Last week, the federal government announced a new funding commitment.

The debate will no doubt continue at City Council in the fall. In my mind, any and all significant decisions about transit planning should be based on sound evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financials. We also need to act and act quickly – there have been too many delays on the transit expansion file. That is the framework that I will be using when this issue returns to City Council.