1.0 Introduction and Background
The City of Toronto and the TTC are undertaking a study, known as the “Relief Line Project Assessment” to establish the preferred technology, alignment, and station location options, for a new rapid transit line linking the downtown core with the Bloor-Danforth Subway, between Broadview and Coxwell subway stations. The main purpose of this new rapid transit line is to relieve overcrowding on the Yonge Subway line, address congestion at the Bloor-Yonge transfer station and to provide new transit capacity to relieve overcrowding on the surface transit network in the study area.
The Downtown Rapid Transit Expansion Study (DRTES), Phase 1 Strategic Plan (2012), assessed the need for additional rapid transit capacity into Downtown Toronto. DRTES found this initial section of a future Relief Line between Downtown Toronto and the Bloor-Danforth Subway east of the Don River would provide the greatest and most immediate benefit to relieving overcrowding on the Yonge Subway line. The initial section of the Relief Line could reduce southbound transfers at Bloor-Yonge Station by approximately 30%, reduce Yonge Subway line demand by 12% and a have a peak hour demand of 11,700 transit riders (based on 2031 projections). During the study, it was determined that there is enough capacity in the west to support the projected demands in 2031, specifically on the University Subway Line south of St. George Station. In the context of relieving pressure on the Yonge Subway corridor, the east section of the Relief Line is the highest priority. Discussion of the key findings of DRTES is provided in the background section of this Terms of Reference document.
Ultimately it is envisioned that the Relief Line would connect the downtown core with the Bloor-Danforth Subway, following a “U” shaped route. To the west, the new line would connect with the Bloor-Danforth Subway somewhere between Lansdowne and Keele. To the east, the line would connect to the Bloor-Danforth subway somewhere between Broadview and Coxwell, and would continue north to connect with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. Detailed route options and station locations have not yet been studied for the western and northern expansion areas. Future potential alignments in the western and northern expansion areas for the Relief Line will be assessed at a conceptual level in this study.
Significant inbound transit capacity deficiencies exist today in the morning peak period on the Yonge Subway and on many GO rail lines. Streetcar routes east and west of the downtown are similarly constrained. To address these deficiencies and to manage growth in the near to medium term, the TTC is increasing the capacity of the Yonge Subway line through the acquisition of new, larger Toronto Rocket trains, and implementing an Automatic Train Control system. Together these improvements are expected to increase line capacity by 35%; and increasing the capacity of the downtown streetcar network through the acquisition of new, larger articulated streetcars.
Metrolinx is also implementing significant increases in peak hour train service on most GO rail lines, contingent on funding availability, including service improvements in the Lake Shore corridors and two-way, all day GO railservice on all other lines. Even with planned TTC and GO improvements, the Yonge Subway is forecast to be at, or over, capacity for trips destined to Downtown Toronto by 2031.
The proposed northerly extension of the Yonge Subway from Finch Avenue to Highway 7, and the extension of the Bloor-Danforth Subway to Sheppard Avenue, planned for completion by 2023, will further exacerbate the capacity shortfall if no further action is taken to relieve overcrowding on the Yonge line.
1.2.1 Downtown Rapid Transit Expansion Study – Phase 1 Strategic Plan
In January 2009, Toronto City Council approved an Environmental Assessment Study for an extension of the Yonge Subway linefrom Finch Avenue to Highway 7 and this project is currently in the Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan. In conjunction with that approval, City Council also passed a number of motions related to concerns that such an extension would exacerbate the already significant crowding conditions that occur on the Yonge Subway line at peak times. In particular, City Council approved the following motions:
- “Metrolinx be requested to prioritize the Downtown Relief Line within its 15- year plan . . .”;
- “Metrolinx be requested to prioritize the Downtown Relief Line in advance of the Yonge North Extension in order to accommodate capacity issues resulting from the extension of the Yonge Subway”; and
- “The Toronto Transit Commission be requested to commence the proper studies, including Environmental Assessments as required, to evaluate the merits of the Downtown Rapid Transit Line . . .”;
- “The Toronto Transit Commission be requested to come up with a more inspiring name for the Downtown Relief Line that reflects communities and neighbourhoods that it will serve…”; and
- “The Toronto Transit Commission be requested to proceed with the studies necessary to construct the Downtown Relief Line”.
The Downtown Rapid Transit Expansion Study (DRTES), Phase 1 Strategic Plan (2012), was initiated by TTC in 2010 in response to City Council’s request. The study assessed the need for additional rapid transit capacity into Downtown Toronto in the context of the proposed Yonge Subway Extension and other planned transit improvements serving Downtown Toronto.
DRTES found that the Yonge Subway line, and much of the GO Rail network, will be at or over capacity for trips destined to Downtown Toronto by 2031, even with improvements currently being implemented or planned by the TTC and GO Transit.
The most significant capacity issues are related to long and medium distance trips from the east and north. There is a complex relationship between the level of demand for rapid transit into the Downtownand the capacity of the system to provide for those demands, and there are a number of key issues that will need to be addressed in the next 20 years:
The Yonge Subway line will reach capacity. Even assuming a significant increase in the Yonge Subway linecapacity with the implementation of Toronto Rocket trains and Automatic Train Control signalling systems, the Yonge Subway line will still be approaching capacity by 2031. Capacity will continue to be constrained south of Bloor-Yonge Station. There will be little spare capacity on the Yonge Subway lineto accommodate further increases in transit ridership beyond those forecasts for 2031. In addition, if the Barrie and Stouffville GO lines do not have adequate future capacity to accommodate potential demand, some GO riders will want to divert to the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway line, adding further demand to the line and exacerbating its potential capacity problems.
The proposed extension of the Yonge Subway line, from Finch Avenue to Highway 7, is forecast to result in ridership exceeding the capacity of the Yonge Subway line before 2031 if no further action is taken to relieve overcrowding on the line.
Bloor-Yonge Station has limited capacity for passenger transfers. Bloor- Yonge station is currently a key transfer point in the subway network. Today, virtually all demand from the east and significant demand from the west on the Bloor-Danforth line destined to the downtown core transfer at Bloor-Yonge station, resulting in very large transfer volumes at this station. The northerly extension of the Bloor- Danforth Subway from Kennedy stationto Sheppard Avenue, planned for completion by 2023, will add to this demand.
The situation is exacerbated by full trains on the Yonge Subway, resulting in increased dwell times on the station platforms. With the currently- planned rapid transit network and services, by 2031 the critical passenger transfer movements at Bloor-Yonge transfer stationare expected to increase by 45% and will require substantial improvements to be made at Bloor-Yonge transfer stationto increase passenger capacity.
TTC Union Station and other downtown subway station capacity is an issue. Although the TTC is implementing improvements to Union station, the significant growth in passenger flows at this and other downtown subway stations (such as King Station) may approach or exceed station capacities in the future, during peak periods.
Quality of surface transit operations in mixed traffic needs improvement. With the new larger streetcars in operation, surface services can provide adequate capacity to accommodate the forecast demand from the “shoulder” areas adjacent to the downtown only if the current quality of service provided in mixed traffic can be maintained and improved. Typically, such quality improvements can be achieved only through significant traffic operational changes ranging from increased parking and turning prohibitions up to providing various types of transit rights-of-way.
Relief Line Concept
DRTES evaluated the benefits of a new subway-like transit service operating in a tunnel to relieve congestion on the Yonge Subway line and at the congested Bloor-Yonge transfer station.
Conceptually, and in its full configuration, the “Relief Line” would connect the Downtown with the Bloor-Danforth Subway at two locations, one to the east of Downtown and one to the west. The eastern connection was assumed to be somewhere between Broadview and Coxwell subway stations. An extension of the east line to Eglinton Avenue (in the vicinity of Don Mills Road) was also evaluated. The western connection was assumed to be somewhere between Lansdowne and Keele subway stations. The “Relief Line” would provide alternative access to the Downtown Torontoallowing some passengers to avoid the congested Bloor-Yonge transfer station.
Four “phases” of the relief line were tested:
- Option 1 – easterly connection from Downtown Torontoto Bloor-Danforth Subway only
- Option 2A – easterly and westerly connections from Downtown Torontoto Bloor-Danforth Subway
- Option 2B – easterly connection from Downtown Torontoto Bloor-Danforth Subway plus northerly extension to Eglinton
- Option 3 – easterly and westerly connections from Downtown Toronto to Bloor-Danforth Subwaywith northern extension to Eglinton
The study concluded that all four options would:
- provide increased transit capacity to relieve the pressure on the Yonge Subway line;
- provide relief to the Bloor-Yonge transfer station;
- provide flexibility for the TTC subway system; and
- Improve transit service to the downtown shoulder areas and relief to congestion on the streetcar network.
DRTES also concluded that, as an initial phase, Option 1 (easterly connection from Downtown Torontoto Bloor-Danforth only) provides the greatest and most immediate benefits to relieving overcrowding on the Yonge Subway.
1.2.2 Metrolinx Yonge Relief Network Study and Co-ordination of Studies
DRTES recognized that improvements to GO Rail corridors to the north (i.e. Stouffville, Richmond Hill, and Barrie) could potentially achieve some of the benefits of a “Relief Line”. Discussions with Metrolinx, while DRTES was underway, concluded that a detailed analysis of such options was beyond the scope of DTRES.
Metrolinx recently initiated the Yonge Relief Network Studyto investigate and evaluate options to relieve the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway and provide the greatest system wide benefits. The Relief Line is a priority project identified by Metrolinxin The Big Move and part of the Next Wave list of projects in the investment strategy. Options to be considered include: improvements to GO Rail corridors; optimization of existing transit infrastructure;potential policy interventions (e.g. fare changes) and new infrastructure such as the Relief Line. The study will assess which alternatives will provide the greatest net value and system-wide benefits.
The conclusions of this study would address:
- The timing and priority for a new subway line in DowntownToronto; and/or
- Other GTHA network capacity improvements and policies (such as GO service and fares). This would also require a phasing of priorities.
The conclusions of the study will either confirm the need for the “Relief Line”, as recommended in DRTES (Phase 1), and/or recommend an equally effective alternative suite of solutionsto relieve overcrowding on the Yonge Subway line.
The City/TTC Relief Line Project Assessment and Metrolinx Yonge Relief Network Study will be coordinated as two separate but interrelated initiatives under the umbrella of a Regional Relief Strategy. During Phase 1A of the Relief Line Project Assessment which took place in Spring 2014, The City/TTC hosted joint public meetings with Metrolinx to introduce both studies to the public. The City/TTC solicited feedback on the draft Terms of Reference
and proposed Public Consultation Plan in Spring 2014. Metrolinx consulted on the preliminary list of regional network options to address capacity issues on the Yonge Subway line. The City/TTC and Metrolinx staff are working collaboratively and coordinating efforts on their respective studies.
2.0 Project Description
2.1 Purpose of the Study
The City of Toronto and the TTCare now jointlyproceeding with the analysis of the alignment, technology and station location options for the initial phase of the “Relief Line” as recommended in DRTES (Phase 1), noted as the study area. This study, which is the second phase of DRTES, is being referred to as the “Relief Line Project Assessment”.
The study will evaluate options to connect the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway in Downtown Toronto to the Bloor-Danforth Subway between Broadview and Coxwell stations. Figure 1 shows the Relief Line Project Assessment study area and secondary expansion study area.
A secondary study area encompassing the area of the western connection to the Bloor-Danforth Subway line and the area of the northern connection to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line, as well as areas to the east (e.g. Main Street) will be considered for the purposes of considering suitability with future rapid transit network linkages.
2.2 Study Team Organization
A Project Team has been formed to provide ongoing direction to the consultantsand monitor overall study progress. The Project Team includeskey City and TTCstaff and technical resources, as well as project consulting resources. The City was responsible for the overall management and administration of the study for the initial phase of consultation (Phase 1A) on the Terms of Reference and draftPublic Consultation Plan. The Terms of Reference and accompanying Public Consultation Plan will be submitted to City Council in June 2014 for approval, to commence the organization of the remaining phases of the project assessment work will be Relief Line Project Assessment.
The Project Team will steer a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) comprised of staff from a relevant TTC and City Divisions having expertise required to ensure the successful completion of the initial phase of the project. The TAC would also include representation by Metrolinx to provide ongoing coordination with their Yonge Relief Network Study. Similarly, The City of Toronto and TTC have been participatingon Metrolinx’s TAC for the Yonge Relief Network Study.
The cross-representation on the TACs will provide close coordination and information sharing between the two studies on technical tasks as well as on public communication and consultation.
2.3 Project Co-ordination
The Relief Line Assessment and Metrolinx’s Yonge Relief Network Study represent parallel strategies for addressing overcrowding on the Yonge Subway line. The Toronto-TTC-Metrolinx Executive Transit Coordination Committee and Program Committee (comprised of senior executives from Metrolinx, the City of Toronto and the TTC), will oversee development, and the Metrolinx all phases of the Relief Line Project Assessment and Metrolinx’s Yonge Relief Networkstudy, to ensure co- ordination on common and consistent base assumptions, study objectives and reporting timelines.
The existing City/TTC Executive Coordination Committee and Capital Co- ordination Committee will provide a similar oversight role for the City/TTC Relief Line Project Assessment.
It is anticipated Metrolinx will report on the findings of the Yonge Relief Network Study to its Board toward early 2015.Findings of both Relief Line Project Assessment and the Metrolinx study will be reported to the TTC Board and City Council in early 2016.
Reporting will take into consideration:
- Metrolinx preferred network solution or combination of solutions;
- Identification of a preferred option for implementing the Relief Line
The end result will be a coordinated recommendation on which project, or projects, should proceed to the Transportation Project Assessment Process Stage.
2.4 Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) Stage
Reports to TTC Board/City Council and the Metrolinx Board on the conclusions and recommendations of the Relief Line Project Assessment and the Yonge Relief Network Study will lead to decisions on whether the Relief Line, and/or an alternative project or projects, will advance to the Transportation Project Assessment Process (TPAP) stage. Any recommended project(s) must complete TPAP before advancing to detailed design and construction.
TPAP is a proponent-driven, self-assessment process that does not require approval by the Minister of the Environment. However, proponents must complete the prescribed steps of the transit project assessment process as defined in sections 6 through 17 of Ontario Regulation 231/08, within specified timeframes. TPAP essentially exempts proponents of all public transit projects from the requirements of Part II of the Environment Assessment Act. The transit project assessment process is a focused impact assessment process that includes consultation, an assessment of potential positive and negative impacts, an assessment of measures to mitigate negative impacts, and documentation.
Tasks that must be undertaken in accordance with TPAP include:
- Preparation and distribution of TPAP notice of commencement;
- Public consultation on the transit project;
- Finalization of the Environmental Project Report (EPR);
- Publication of notice of completion of the EPR; and
- Submission of statement of completion of TPAP to the Minister of the Environment.
This work must be completed in the prescribed four month period. The Minister’s review period follows and includes a:
- 30-day Review Period;
- 35-day period for the Minister to consider
ofimpacts related to matters of
Provincial importance and/or constitutionally protected
Aboriginal or Treaty Rights; and
- Post 35-day Review Period – Minister’s Notice. The project can either proceed unconditionally or with conditions. Alternatively, the Minister can require additional work to be completed.
3.0 Scope of Work
The Relief Line Project Assessment scope consists four phases of activity consisting of technical analysis and public consultation and engagement.
3.1 Phase 1
Phase 1A – Review of Proposed Terms of Reference and Development of a Detailed Public Consultation Plan
Prior to commencing the project assessment, the proposed study Terms of Reference has been taken to the public for review and comment in March and April 2014. As a key component of this review a detailed Public Consultation Plan with input from the public has been developed.
Phase 1B – Problem Statement and Rationale for the Project
The objective of the Relief Line Project Assessment Phase 1B consultation is to:
- Introduce the study to the public;
- Include a synopsis of existing and future conditions;
- Provide background work from the earlier studies including the technology analysis; and
- Conduct a naming contest to confirm a new name for this initiative, consistent with City Council’s direction to establish “…a more inspiring name for the Downtown Relief Line that reflects the communities and neighbourhoods that it will serve”
Phase 1B will present the DRTES Phase 1 findings. Key elements for the public to comment/input on will include:
- Rationale for the project;
- Problem Statement;
- Technology analysis
- Study process; and
- Name for the Relief Line
Phase 1B will also include an assessment of the existing and future conditions. An inventory of the following is being performed to develop the context for next stages of work:
- Background Studies;
- Planning and Policy Context;
- Land Use and Development;
- Existing and Future Travel Demands;
- Socio-Economic Environment;
- Natural Heritage;
- Archaeological and Heritage;
- Opportunities for the utilization of existing right-of-ways as possible route alignments; and
- Examination of comparable rapid transit projects internationally for benchmarking and analysis of best practices
The Public Consultation for Phase 1B is anticipated to commence in July 2014 and conclude in November 2014, jointly with Metrolinx where appropriate. It will introduce the Relief Line Project Assessment to the public, its purpose and objective, study area, technology analysis and synopsis of existing and future conditions. The naming contest for the new rapid transit line will also be conducted during this phase. A Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) will be engaged through local Councillor offices and an application process with a balanced representation consisting of community leaders, advocates and experts at a local and city-wide level who will be involved in the decision-making process throughout the study. A comprehensive list of stakeholders will be shared with the public and will be updated as the study progresses.
Ongoing consultation with Metrolinx will continue to be a coordinated joint effort depending on the range of issues and appropriateness to combine consultations. Communication will be coordinated for both studies under the umbrella of the Regional Relief Strategy.
3.2 Phase 2 – Evaluation Framework and Long List of Options
It is anticipated city planning and transportation objectives will provide the framework upon which to develop the long list of options. As part of this work, options will be developed based on a broad range of guiding criteria, policies and plans at a local and citywide level, having regard for:
- The need to increase transit capacity into the downtown and provide relief to Yonge Subway line, Bloor-Yonge transfer stationand streetcar network;
- Policy frameworks (City, Metrolinx, Provincial), to identify the policy directions from the City, Regional, and Provincial perspective; and
- Future land use, to determine the projected land use and form of the city in and around the Relief Line corridor study area. This will be conducted through review of the Official Plan designations, neighbourhood/community plans, and proposed major developments with consideration for:
- Areas of change and of stability;
- Connectivity to existing transportation facilities/networks (e.g. road, transit, cycling and pedestrian networks);
- Proximity to key destinations; and
- Physical constraints and opportunities.
From this exercise, the long list of options for station locations and transit alignments will be developed and made available for public comment in Public Consultation Phase 2. New options that may be identified by the public through this process will be similarly tested against the aforementioned objectives and if appropriate, will be brought forward for further consideration.
The development of the Evaluation Criteria is based on the City’s list of 8 decision-making criteria that have been identified through the Official Plan review of transportation policies to guide Toronto’s decisions on transportation investments. The intent of adopting these factors for the evaluation of the Relief Line initiative long list options is to have an aligned vision with the City to employ similar criteria in making investment decisions about transportation projects. The 8 broad factors are:
- Social Equity;
- Shaping the City;
- Healthy Neighbourhoods;
- Public Health & Environment;
- Affordable; and
- Supports Growth.
Phase 2 public consultation is anticipated to occur in early 2015,and will provide the opportunity for the public to provide input on the long list of station locations, alignment options, and on the evaluation criteria through drop in open houses, a planning visioning charrette for station locations and online engagement.
3.3 Phase 3 – Evaluation of the Long List of Options
The public input on the evaluation criteria in the phase 2 public consultation will be incorporated and refined. New options identified by the public will be assessed with the initial long list of options for evaluation.
The evaluation of the long list of options will be conducted in two steps. The first step will be determination of “Fatal Flaws” such as physical constraints that present insurmountable challenges for constructability, conflict with major utilities and maintaining existing subway operations or significant geotechnical conditions and constraints. Options that have Fatal Flaws will not be taken forward.
The second step is the remaining potential options evaluated against the guiding evaluation framework. The framework is expanded and developed into more detailed criteria that are specific to the terminal/interchange stations on the Bloor- Danforth Subway and Yonge-University Subway lines, and the in-line stations. They are then applied to the terminal options and interchanges with the Bloor- Danforth Subway and Yonge-University Subway, in which a shortlist would emerge that have been assessed to be the most effective in meeting transit and planning objectives. Similarly, the shortlist options of the in-line stations are identified by evaluating the stations that are the most effective in meeting City planning objectives recognizing the need to protect stable residential neighbourhoods and maximize benefits of the rapid transit line for local communities.From this process, the long list of options will beevaluated to yield the shortlist of options. Routing options will also be evaluated through a high level costing analysis.
Phase 3 public consultation is expected to occur in mid-2015, to provide the public an opportunity to review and provide input on the Fatal Flaw analysis, the long list options evaluation and on the shortlist of options.
3.4 Phase 4 – Evaluation of Shortlisted Options and Recommended Option
Taking into consideration the public input on the shortlist of options, the shortlist is then further evaluated to determine the recommended alignment. The Don Valley crossing analysis is performed to identify the constraints and opportunities to have above-grade or below-grade connections through the Don Valley River. This evaluation of the shortlist station options against the Don Valley crossing options would determine possible linkages that connect downtown and the area east of the Don Valley. From there possible alignments are determined, and based on the guiding evaluation framework, criteria are applied to determine the recommended Relief Line alignment. The final deliverable will include the functional planning and conceptual design of the Relief Line alignment along with a draft environmental project report.
The public’s input on the evaluation criteria and opinions through the evaluation of the long list and shortlist of options will be considered and applied where possible in the functional planning and conceptual design of the Relief Line alignment. There will also be meetings with the Stakeholder Advisory Group throughout the four phases to receive input, guidance and advice.
In addition to determining a recommended solution for the Relief Line, it is possible the Metrolinx study will identify interim improvements that can be applied in the early stages of project phasing. Longer term transit network opportunities will also be confirmed through coordination with the ongoing “Feeling Congested” Official Plan transportation policy update.
Phase 4 public consultation is expected to occur in late 2015 and will provide the opportunity for the public to comment on the evaluation of the short- list and the recommended Relief Line routealignment and station locations.
Note: Timeline has been extended from mid-2015 to late 2015 or early 2016.
3.5 TTC and City Council Approvals
Following Phase 4, the Relief Line Project Assessment process, analysis, consultation and recommendations will be summarized in the Relief Line Project Assessment Environmental ProjectReport. It is anticipated the Environmental ProjectReport would be submitted to the TTC Board and City Council with staff recommendations regarding proceeding with the recommended project, communication to Metrolinx and the Province and if appropriate, submission to the to the Province for the Transit Project Assessment Process.
4.0 Public Consultation and Communications
4.1 Public Consultation Guiding Principles
The goal of the project’s proposed public consultation program is to generate broad participation by integrating residents, businesses, and key interest groups into a participatory public engagement process.
As an initial approach, the scope of public consultation work should consider the following principles:
- Inclusiveness – engage the widest possible audience through multiple consultation opportunities;
- Timeliness – offer early and ongoing opportunities for participation well before decisions are made;
- Transparency – participation will be widely communicated through multiple communications channels;
- Balance – provide opportunities for a diversity of perspectives and opinions to be raised and considered;
- Flexibility – adapt as required to meet the needs of participants; and
- Traceability – demonstrate the impact of participant input on decision making.
4.2 Proposed Public Consultation Plan
The proposed Public Consultation Plan (Appendix B) has been developed through a consultation consultant retained by the City. The proposed Public Consultation Plan has been revised to incorporate public feedback from the March and April 2014 Phase 1A public consulation. A variety of methods will be used to communicate about and consult on Phases 1B to 4 of the Relief Line Project Assessment. These methods are dvidied into five approaches.
Information – the City will share information about the project throughout the study process. Messages will be focused on the key information and actions within each phase of the project. Regular updates will be shared through the project email list, City social media accounts and print material such as newsletters or flyers. The project website will be regularly updated and will act as the hub for information about the project. Key documents produced will also be made available through the project website. The Project Team will look to translate key documents when appropriate throughout the study.
Online Consultation – the City will solicit comments and feedback on key decisions during each phase of the project through the website (reliefline.ca). Online consultation will be one of the primary foci of consultation because it has the ability to engage a large number of people from many different areas in a short period of time.
Live Events – open houses, public meetings and workshops will be held at various key points in the study for local community members and residents throughout the city to learn and provide their input into key decisions of the project.
Community Outreach – the City will proactively educate and solicit feedback from the community in the project by establishing a community planning office and engaging with existing local groups. Community outreach will focus on the local areas where the Relief Line will be located.
Stakeholder Advisory Group – the City will be establishing a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) consisting of community leaders, businesses, advocates and experts who will be involved in the decision-making process throughout the study.
Prior to each round of public consultation, it is anticipated local City Councillors, and TTC Commissioners, could be briefed on the study’s progress and findings to date. They would also have an opportunity to preview material to be presented at upcoming public and stakeholder meetings.
As previously noted consultation can be a joint effort or coordinated with Metrolinx, depending on the range of issues and appropriateness to combine consultations.
4.3 Stakeholder Advisory Group
As part of Phase 1B the project team will establish strong ties with community leaders and organizations to help reach as many organized groups, (and their networks), as possible.
A Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) will be established to collaborate with the project team throughout the study period. The SAG will help to build dialogue and understanding, and foster a sense of ownership amongst members.
The SAG will have three main goals:
1. Foster cooperation and dialogue between community leaders, the project team and experts.
2. Inform community leaders about the initiative and provide an opportunity to hear opinions from experts and other community groups on a regular basis.
3. Solicit feedback, address concerns and incorporate input from local interests into the study.
SAG members will represent a broad range of interests. They will be drawn from ratepayer associations, Business Improvement Areas, property owners, representatives of other local interest groups and advocacy organizations. Experts in urban planning and transit will also be represented, including academic experts, government agency representatives and professional advocacy groups (e.g. Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, Ontario Professional Planners’ Institute). Local City Councillors representing the study area will also be able to appoint up to three citizen representatives with particular knowledge about their ward.
Up to 75 members will be selected through an application process. Applicants will be selected by the City to ensure a balance of interests are represented.
At least one formal workshop will take place during each phase. A typical workshop will include:
- A formal presentation by the project team or other experts (e.g. Provincial Government officials, academic experts, etc.) on an issue for consideration;
- Short question and answer session;
- Working sessions designed to solicit feedback about the issue and report-back if appropriate; and
- Informal networking
The City may also consult the entire SAG or some portion of the SAG (e.g. all business representatives or all citizen representatives) during the study when appropriate. Agendas, materials presented and outcomes of all meetings will be made public to ensure transparency and assist SAG members’ communication with their constituents.
A stakeholder roster will be compiled, in consultation with local City Councillors, and may include, but not necessarily be limited to: ratepayer groups/associations, other local interest and/or advocacy groups, Business Improvement Areas, professional associations, and industry experts.
The project team will update a growing frequently asked questions section that will be provided on the project website. An issues management tracking system will be created and maintained by the project team to ensure that feedback provided by the public will be incorporated at the appropriate phase.
4.4.1 Project Website
A project website (reliefline.ca) has beendeveloped and maintained for the Relief Line Project Assessmentproject. The website will mirror face-to-face consultations at public forums. All material displayed and presented at public open houses has been andwill continue tobe posted on the study’s website. It will also include any published background reports and public notices. A project specific email address has been established to provide
for direct online communication between the public and the study team.
The project website will evolve as the study progresses where interested residents and stakeholders will be able to provide feedback through online surveys, discussion forums, social media, interactive mapping for route alignments and station locations and more. Crowd sourcing web tools such as Wiki’s will be used when appropriate to solicit feedback from the general public throughout the study.
A common web portal for both the City and TTC work and the Metrolinx Yonge Relief Network Study has been implemented (regionalrelief.ca)to provide the public and stakeholders with easy access to all information pertaining to the development of alternative strategies for addressing overcrowding on the Yonge Subway line.
4.4.2 Public and Stakeholder Meeting Consultation Summary Reports
At this point it is proposed that summary reports be prepared for all public and stakeholder meetings, consisting of the following:
- the purpose of the meeting;
- a description of the meeting venue, format and number of attendees;
- a general description of the meeting participants and/or name(s) of the stakeholder group(s);
- notes identifying the questions raised and the responses to the questions; and
- summary of recurrent themes, comments or recommended directions documentation of presentation material (e.g. print and visual).
Individual summary reports of the April 2014 public meetings are provided on the project website. Individual summary reports will be consolidated into a single public consultation document at the conclusion of each round of consultation, and posted on the project website.
The proposed Public Consultation Plan for the Relief Line Project Assessment can be found here.