October 25, 2012

The following statement is being issued by the Toronto Transit Commission in response to the report released today by the City Ombudsman, “The Investigation into the Toronto Transit Commission Second Exit Projects at Donlands and Greenwood Stations.”
 
TTC CEO Andy Byford thanks the Ombudsman for her report. The TTC accepts and agrees with the Ombudman’s recommendations and acknowledges, without reservation, that these projects were not handled well by staff on two counts: community outreach, consultation and explanations about the technical and engineering decisions made by staff; and how the TTC communicated with residents whose properties were most affected.
 
Indeed, TTC staff acknowledged these missteps in 2010 when issues surrounding insufficient community consultation and poor communications were raised. Since that time, a number of changes to how the TTC communicates with residents and neighbours have been strengthened and implemented.
 
Earlier this year, the Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group was reorganized to include a dedicated department responsible for managing communications, community relations and property acquisition with respect to TTC construction projects, regardless of scope and size. A number of policies and protocols to formalize these endeavours will be coming to the Commission in the form of public reports over the next few months.
 
The second exit program was developed to increase public safety in the event of a fire whereby passengers on a subway train must be off-loaded at a station. If an exit is impassable, then a second exit provides safe egress to street level. The TTC remains committed to the need for second exits in its subway system. It is just as committed, however, to ensuring communities and residents are afforded an opportunity to fully understand the project and provide input early in the process.
 
The construction of second exits at both Greenwood and Donlands stations is on hold. The TTC, however, has committed to meet with residents in the vicinity of Greenwood and Donlands stations to provide them with a project status update and next steps.
 
Mr. Byford will attend City Council when the Ombudsman’s report is discussed. The TTC will reserve further comment until that time, respecting the process of affording Councillors, whose residents are most affected by TTC decisions regarding construction projects, the opportunity to have their questions addressed at Council.

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