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April 12, 2014 Consultation Event Highlights

This concise Highlights Report has been prepared by Lura Consulting to provide the City of Toronto with a snapshot of the feedback collected during a public meeting held on April 12, 2014.

Introduction

On Saturday, April 12, 2014, the City of Toronto, City Planning Division (Transportation Planning) and TTC hosted a public meeting as part of the Relief Line Project Assessment at the Church of the Holy Name, on Danforth Avenue in Toronto. The purpose of the City/TTC portion of the public meeting was to gather feedback on the proposed study process (i.e., proposed Terms of Reference and draft Public Consultation Plan) for the Relief Line Project Assessment.

Following a presentation by Tim Laspa, Director, Transportation Planning, City of Toronto, participants had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in facilitated discussions about the proposed Terms of Reference and draft Public Consultation Plan. Notes were recorded at each discussion and participants were encouraged to record their individual notes in a discussion guide.

Approximately 50 people signed in at the public meeting, including the following elected officials: Councillors Paula Fletcher and Mary Fragedakis, and MPP Peter Tabuns.

 

Highlights of Participant Feedback

Questions of Clarification

The discussion captured during the question and answer period following the overview presentation is summarized below. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with “C” and answers with “A”.

Q. I believe it will take several years to get the necessary approvals to the complete this project. The Yonge subway line needs a short-term solution to reduce the congestion; it will become much worse in the coming years.

A. The City of Toronto and the TTC understand that there is a serious congestion problem on the Yonge subway line. In terms of short-term solutions, the new TTC rocket trains have a 10% increase in capacity, automatic train control will increase capacity by 25% with reduced signal failures, and the Spadina subway extension will divert demand. The process developed for the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) will ensure a robust consultation process while speeding up the Environmental Assessment and reducing overall approval timelines.

Q. What are the levels of funding for the Downtown Relief Line Project?

A. The project is currently unfunded. At this point it is earmarked for Metrolinx/Provincial funding.

Q. Has the City of Toronto considered at grade or above grade transit alternatives?

A. The City of Toronto has considered all transit options including light rail, streetcars and buses. Due to high number of downtown transit commuters, we believe a subway line will best meet these demands, however the upcoming study, along with information from the earlier TTC/City study will confirm this.

C. It is extremely important to have public meetings that allow the public to hear each other’s opinions. This meeting’s format does not enable us to speak to each other and learn about the community concerns. The City of Toronto should consider facilitating a town hall meeting that allows for full public consultation. I feel that the Sheppard Ave. subway expansion is more important than the Downtown Relief line because it moves commuters east to west.

Q. What is the East Bayfront Line?

A. It is a Light Rail Transit line that would run along Queens Quay in East Bayfront. The City is considering this in future planning, but it does not exist at this time.

Q. Could you provide more detail on the Broadview Ave. extension?

A. This improvement was first identified in the City's Central Waterfront Plan. It is a connection line the City is considering to meet the future transit demands and provide network options in the Port Lands area.

Q. As part of the study, did you review population density?

A. The City of Toronto considers all aspects of the communities within the Relief Line Project Assessment Study Area. We have very detailed population projections which were used in the earlier TTC/City study, and which will be carefully considered as part of this study going forward.

 

Small Group Facilitated Discussions

Terms of Reference

1. How can we improve the study process or Terms of Reference?

  • Review best practices from comparable transportation infrastructure project from other cities.

2. Is there anything missing from the study process?

  • More focus on local construction impacts and mitigation practices (e.g. road closure notices, street cleaning, updated travel times). 
  • Focus on sustainability practices throughout the design and implementation of the project (e.g. solar panels, LEED buildings).
  • Ensure that GO transit users and student commuters are identified as key stakeholders. 
  • Consider a business advisory committee with local Business Improvement Areas.

3. Do you have any other comments or suggestions for the Relief Line project study?

  • Expand the scope of the study area to include Main Street. and Kennedy Rd.
  • Ensure that wiki users can track changes on the Terms of Reference.
  • Rethink the Downtown Relief Line label and marketing because the project affects all of the GTA.
  • Ensure that businesses will not be negatively impacted by construction.
  • Ensure the consultation process is transparent and open.

 

Public Consultation

1. How do you want to be involved in the Relief Line Project study process?

  • Consider using more town hall style public consultation formats.

2. Which engagement tools would you find most useful to learn about and provide input to the study?

  • Consider using town hall style public consultation formats.
  • Keep the roundtable format for public meetings so more people can provide their feedback.
  • Consider a design charrette component to engage the youth community. 
  • Ensure that all consultation is available in multiple languages.
  • Advertise public consultation meetings in local newspapers and on transit.

3. When (time of day) should public meetings be held regarding the Relief Line Project?

  • Host business consultation events during weekday mornings. 

4. Where should public meetings be held regarding the Relief Line Project?

  • Ensure that all public meetings are held in neighbourhoods within the Relief Line Project Assessment Study Area.

5. What outline and/or social media tools would you use to provide input to the Relief Line Project?

  • Consider a live stream video of Downtown Relief Line public consultation meetings.
  • Consider using twitter to address online questions and concerns during consultation events.
  • Develop an executive summary on the project website with key project objectives.

 

Next Steps

A more detailed report will be prepared for review by the project team and for distribution online. The report will incorporate any additional feedback received through subsequent public meetings and the online participation tool by April 17, 2014, which is the closing date for comments for Phase 1A.