Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Bobbi Moore, Chair
A CS virtual meeting via Webex was held on August 6, 2020.
Line 2 Subway Announcements
CS members observed that Line 2 external route announcements on the trains that are heard from the subway platform are inaudible, being too loud and distorted. Milly Bernal will invite the TTC staff responsible to a CS meeting regarding this issue.
COVID-19 – Campaign
Milly Bernal reported that the campaign is geared towards helping customers feel more comfortable riding the TTC. It has been changed slightly to address the possibilities of a second wave in the fall. ACAT will be requested for feedback. There was a lot of discussion around the “be kind messaging” and its challenges.
The campaign will also provide customers clarification around other COVID-19 issues such as the mask exemption policy and having medical reasons for not wearing a mask. There are still a lot of assumptions and people might think they are just being uncooperative. There are also issues around people not wearing their masks properly, e.g. their nose uncovered.
The Communications team will be using colour in posters and is working in increasing an awareness of wearing masks. Mask exemption pins and cards are being made.
CS members asked for details on customer complaints about COVID-19 communications to-date and about accessibility in general. Staff explained that the TTC uses a comprehensive Customer Relationship Management system which contains this information, and a summary could be provided. However, the full details cannot be shared because it would likely contain personal information. Some information about accessibility complaints in general could be also shared at the Service Planning subcommittee.
ACAT Recruitment Communication Plan
CS members discussed various ways to reach more people who might be interested in becoming ACAT members.
A request was made to display the full subway system map on Line 2 trains and for language use to communicate Line 1 directions.
An update on the new TTC website was not done during the meeting but future updates will be given by Milly Bernal.
Questions and Comments from Committee Members
There was a consensus among ACAT members in sending one mass email to Wheel-Trans customers with an active registered email address, asking them to email or mail Wheel-Trans Customer Service if they want to get a paper or an electronic copy of the ACCESS newsletter.
A member asked for an update on the new TTC website. Staff replied that no timeline was shared yet.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Chris Stigas, Chair
DRS virtual meetings via Webex were held on July 22, 2020 and August 18, 2020.
July 22, 2020 DRS Meeting
The Warden Station Redevelopment and Easier Access (EA) Program was discussed. Warden station will be one of the last stations made accessible.
The EA Program plans include:
- A forward motion elevator to connect passenger pick up and drop off to the concourse
- Two single-entry elevators from bus concourse to the station concourse
- New PRESTO accessible fare gates
- Improved signage CCTV security cameras along accessible pathway
- The current washrooms will be upgraded to accessible washrooms
Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members
DRS members asked if there is any way to re-develop the station to only be two levels instead of the current four. Staff advised that this was not likely or possible based on the number of bus routes and site elevation changes.
DRS members asked if the St. Clair to Warden entrance was barrier-free. Staff advised that it is, but that it was currently dark and there is a narrow pathway that they are looking at improving.
DRS members asked why elevators connecting the platform to concourse of the new bus terminal were not forward motion elevators. Staff stated that they would take that back to see feasibility as opposed to single-entry but did point out that there are two elevators.
DRS members asked some questions around bikes and bike parking location and requested that the design team ensure that these areas do not obstruct accessible paths of travel.
A presentation was provided by Steve Stewart on the Easier Access plan for Islington Station. Like Warden, this station will be a complete overhaul development through Create TO. Some unique factors include:
- A Hydro corridor and the layout of the new bus terminal
- A new main entrance
- There will be three forward facing elevators
- Curb cuts for Wheel-Trans
- Tactile attention indicators added to stairs
- Upgraded tactile wayfinding on the subway platform
The redevelopment team was looking for feedback from DRS around an option for a ramp from street level going down about 2.5m with some turnarounds and a 6.6% slope as well as 34m of travel as opposed to an elevator.
DRS members questioned features such as ramp width, ability for two mobility devices to pass each other, the overall length of the ramp, the need for a canopy or weather protection, and the relatively constrained space at the bottom which also appeared to include bicycle parking. The project team was going to come back with more information to address ramp slope, width and other accessibility features.
DRS members suggested that bike parking racks be on street level and not down a set of stairs.
DRS members asked if there was an opportunity for additional accessible elevators because of the amount of traffic at the station. Staff advised that there would be an accessible connection from the planned Create TO development which would effectively become the main accessible entrance to the station and act as a second path of travel from street to concourse level.
DRS members asked if there was an opportunity for accessible washrooms. Staff advised that they are not currently part of the project.
August 18, 2020 DRS Meeting
Staff and consultants from IBI Group presented on the Easier Access Phase 4 study which will look at prioritizing second accessible routes at key subway stations.
Draft prioritization criteria were shared with the subcommittee for review. Different weighting values were then assigned to these criteria.
Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members
DRS members asked if the second elevator could be located at the second entrance instead of beside or near an existing elevator. Staff commented that this is the idea but that funding will dictate the answers to this once the study is finished.
DRS members asked if TTC could add the criteria of third-party elevators (i.e. the only accessible entrance is through a third party) and TTC staff said they would consider this.
DRS members asked if the study could include the number of users in an elevator as opposed to only the number of people using elevators with mobility devices. Staff said the total number will be used.
The study criteria will include the length (duration) of the alternative accessible route that must be used when an elevator is out of service. DRS members asked that the study not just look at alternative surface routes, but also include travel time for when customers must travel further on the subway and then backtrack due to an elevator outage.
DRS members highlighted that the ridership potential for a second entrance needs to include all users and not only Wheel-Trans registrants. Staff agreed.
DRS members suggested changes to some of the weight values for criteria to the study, which staff will consider.
A DRS member raised the issue of third-party entrances and elevators and Matt Hagg advised that the Property Planning and Development Team will attend an upcoming Service Planning subcommittee meeting to provide more details on the TTC’s Entrance Connection Policy which is being rewritten to attempt to address accessibility issues that ACAT has raised.
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair
A SPS virtual meeting via Webex was held on August 12, 2020.
A presentation on Bus Lanes Priority was given by Sierra Buehler, System Planner, Dominic Ho, Transit Planner, and Stephanie Simard, Senior Planner-System and Policy.
Bus Lane Priority:
- Eglinton East is scheduled for 2020
- Jane is scheduled for 2021
- Dufferin, Finch East, Steeles West and Lawrence East scheduled for 2022 and beyond.
The discussion revolved around the Eglinton East priority bus lanes, their benefits, the concept design, the stop criteria, the proposed stops and service options. Public consultations are planned for late August to seek feedback on the four service options. This includes the spacing of stops.
A curb priority lane will be used for TTC and Wheel-Trans buses, and cyclists. The Jane Priority Bus Lanes project needs more design work and will be done after Eglinton East is completed. Monitoring and collection of data include transit travel time, wait times, ridership, demands and bus lane compliance.
The committee requested best practices and clear messaging, and also raised concerns of buses and cyclists sharing Priority lanes. A request was made that items be referred to the Design Review subcommittee regarding project design, including bus shelters and bus lane impact on persons with disabilities.
Concerns were raised regarding the impact of services on persons with disabilities on the Jane Street route. Some concerns were the distance to bus stops, bus shelters and increased wait times.
A.J. Takarabe, Operations Planner, gave an overview of the work between the TTC and the City of Toronto to accommodate Wheel-Trans.
Concerns were shared regarding patios for restaurants creating barriers along locations i.e. Danforth which has a lack of available curb spaces and curb ramps for accessibility. Along Yonge Street, there is a need for curb ramps to access sidewalks. Presently, persons using scooters and/or wheelchairs have difficulties gaining access to sidewalks and access for Wheel-Trans boarding and deboarding of vehicles.
Information regarding the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit was presented by Matt Hagg who indicated it will be done online. The panel will include ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Operations Kirsten Watson, Head of Wheel-Trans Dwayne Geddes, Head of Service Planning and Scheduling Mark Mis, and Senior Planner, System Accessibility Matt Hagg. The Public Forum is scheduled for October 1, 2020, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The next SPS meeting is scheduled for September 9, 2020.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) - Sam Savona, Chair
A WTOS virtual meeting via Webex was held on August 20, 2020.
Mizan Rahaman, Senior Business Analyst, and Sarfraz Hooda, Manager of Enterprise Architecture, provided a presentation on the new self-registration portal.
The Self-Serve portal is an online solution for Wheel-Trans applicants to fill out and submit a Wheel-Trans Eligibility application. Although WTOS members were pleased with the idea that people will be able to apply or re-register online, they had concerns, such as printing the medical form portion and scanning it after the medical professional fills it out. Staff took these concerns into consideration.
Staff reported that the Wheel-Trans Customer Handbook is being updated as the last update was done in 2018. The distribution date will be late 2020, early 2021.
Staff reported on the Wheel-Trans self-booking web site. The answers to the COVID-19 screening questions will be saved for 12 hours. This will allow customers to book rides without answering the screening questions each time they book within the 12-hour period.
Staff reported on the concern that the WTOS members had with the question if a customer answered “No” to wearing a mask. Customers who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition must call Reservations to book rides. A database is being set up and, once it is completed, all customers will be able to book rides on the self-booking website. A flashcard and pin will be mailed to customers who identified as not being able to wear a mask. The pin and flash card are also available at TTC Head Office.
Marco Iorfida, Wheel-Trans Scheduling and Policy Specialist, presented the latest updates on Wheel-Trans Stops and Landmarks. He went through the list that Angela Marley had provided about what was needed to be addressed.
The next Wheel-Trans Subcommittee meeting will be on September 11, 2020.