Board Meeting - September 13, 2004
Declaration Of Interest
Subject: St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Environmental Assessment
It is recommended that the Commission:
Approve the attached joint City - TTC report entitled, St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Environmental Assessment; and
Forward to Toronto City Council the results of the Commission’s deliberations for consideration in conjunction with Council’s deliberation on this joint report.
The total cost of constructing and implementing new reserved streetcar lanes on St.Clair Avenue, installing new centre-pole overhead wiring, installing new streetcar platforms and shelters, undertaking required street, intersection, and signal improvements, improving the appearance of local landmarks, and other related streetscape and city-building initiatives on St.Clair Avenue, is projected to be in the range of $55-$65million, depending on the cost of required property acquisitions and on the details of the final design which will be determined through the ongoing public consultation process. The TTC’s share of these costs has yet to be determined, however it is currently estimated to be in the order of $45 million. The allocation of, and agreement on, cost-sharing with the City will be addressed once the final urban design and total costs have been determined.
TTC funding of $32 million was included under Program 1.2 Surface Track as outlined in the Surface Track and Special Trackwork Replacement Programs ($25 million as included on pages 67-80, State of Good Repair category) and in the Reserved Lanes on St. Clair project ($7 million as set out on pages 81-84, Improvement category) of the TTC’s 2004-2008 Capital Program, which was approved by City Council on April 21, 2004. This original scope included the reconstruction of streetcar platforms and shelters, upgrades to traffic signals, and minor streetscape improvements.
An allowance of additional funding in the amount of $13 million is currently included in the draft 2005-2009 Capital Program, to be considered for Commission approval on November 17, 2004, for improvements associated with this program, such as redesign and reconstruction of key intersections along this route, replacement and upgrading of traffic signals, property acquisition, and additional streetscape improvements.
Upon determination of the final design, any further adjustments to TTC’s share of cost will be addressed in the 2006-2010 Capital Program budget.
At its meeting of December 9, 2002, the Commission approved the staff report entitled, Streetcar Rapid Transit on St. Clair Avenue, which included a recommendation to undertake an environmental assessment regarding the establishment of an exclusive right-of-way for streetcars on St. Clair Avenue.
Subsequently, the City of Toronto Council, at its meeting of February 4, 2003, formally approved the undertaking of this environmental assessment.
The St. Clair EA Study began in August 2003, and has been done by a joint City—TTC study team, with assistance from the consulting firm of Marshall Macklin Monaghan Limited.
The study has followed the Municipal Class EA process, and has far exceeded the requirements of that process for almost every aspect of the study, particularly in the area of public consultation. The study has had over fifty public meetings, workshops, and community or business association meetings, three major surveys pertaining to local travel, shopping, and customer behaviour and needs, and thousands of e-mails, letters, comment sheets, and phone calls.
The study team has been very sensitive to the issues and concerns raised through this extensive public consultation and, as described in the attached City—TTC report, has developed a concept for St. Clair Avenue which it believes satisfactorily addresses all of these concerns.
The 512 ST. CLAIR streetcar route is one of the most-heavily used TTC services, carrying 32,000 trips per day, or about half of all the trips made during busy times along St. Clair Avenue West. However, the streetcar service, which today operates in mixed traffic, is subject to considerable delays and disruption from the other traffic which uses the same road space. This results in large and unpredictable delays, unreliable streetcar service, and the need to short-turn streetcars. In a typical afternoon rush hour, about one out of every five streetcars on St. Clair never makes it to their planned destination because they fall so far behind schedule. Forecasts indicate that traffic volumes on St. Clair Avenue will increase, resulting in a further deterioration of streetcar service.
The need to reconstruct the streetcar tracks on St. Clair Avenue West presents the City and TTC with the opportunity to improve the quality of public transit on this street and to address both local community revitalization objectives and broader city-building goals. However, the window of opportunity is narrow, since the trackwork replacement on St. Clair has already been deferred and is required to address existing concerns with the state-of-good-repair and ongoing maintainability of the streetcar network.
The EA study identified and evaluated nine alternatives for transit improvements on St. Clair Avenue and, using evaluation criteria which the community helped to develop, identified Alternative 6, “Exclusive Transit Lanes”, as the preferred alternative.
Through a process of continual improvement and refinement, the preferred design concept has been modified to address the major concerns raised by the public in the public consultation process, those being: possible “barrier effects”; potential loss of on-street parking; threat of adverse effects on businesses; reduced access for emergency vehicles; capacity for current traffic volumes on St. Clair Avenue; traffic infiltration on local streets; and reductions in sidewalk widths.
The attached joint report describes the recommended design concept in more detail. The major feature is that the two centre lanes of St. Clair Avenue West, between Yonge Street and Gunns Road, would be reserved for exclusive use by streetcars and emergency vehicles. These lanes would be raised up by approximately six inches, but would be designed so that all vehicles could access and leave the lanes, if required, at any location. Some of the most important features of the recommended concept are:
- significantly-improved streetcar service under both current and future traffic conditions;
- 93% of current on–street parking is retained, and supplemented by an increase in off-street parking;
- current traffic volumes on St. Clair Avenue are satisfactorily accommodated;
- improvements to major intersections along St. Clair, which would benefit all road users and improve pedestrian safety;
- improved access for emergency vehicles;
- negligible effects on local access for residents, businesses, and visitors;
- urban design improvements, and support of community revitalization plans; and
- overall, a more pleasant and attractive street that enhances the quality of life for all those involved in activities along St. Clair Avenue.
This report, and the attached City—TTC joint report, should be approved by the Commission because upgrading transit service on St. Clair Avenue, by providing streetcars with their own lanes, indicates a commitment to reducing auto dependency and creating a more liveable, people-friendly, attractive, and sustainable city. This initiative strongly supports the City of Toronto’s Official Plan (as approved by Council on November 28, 2002).
August 31, 2004
Attachment: City - TTC Report: St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Environment Assessment (August 31, 2004)
A special meeting of the Toronto Transit Commission was held in the Council Chamber, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario on Monday, September 13, 2004 commencing at 9:15 a.m.
Present - Committee of the Whole
H. Moscoe (Chair), J. Mihevc (Vice-Chair), A. Giambrone, B. Ashton, Mayor D. Miller, P. Li Preti, D. Shiner and S. Bussin (Commissioners), V. Rodo (General Manager – Executive & General Secretary), G. Webster (General Manager – Operations), J. Sepulis (General Manager - Engineering & Construction), M. Stambler (Manager, Service Planning), W. Buffett (Assistant General Secretary) and F. Stanois (Coordinator – Secretariat Services) were present.
H. Moscoe was in the Chair.
In this section
Declaration of Interest - Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
Business Arising Out of the Minutes
Committee of the whole resolution
(See attached deputation list from City)
1. St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvement Environmental Assessment
Vice-Chair Mihevc Moved That Recommendation Nos. 1 And 2 Be Struck Out And Replaced In Lieu Thereof With The Following:
“1. Recommend To The Joint Meeting Of The Planning And Transportation Committee And The Works Committee That City Council Approve The Staff Recommendations In The Recommendations Section Of Report (August 31, 2004) From The Commissioner Of Urban Development Services, The Acting Commissioner Of Works And Emergency Services, The Chief General Manager, Toronto Transit Commission, And The President, Toronto Parking Authority.
2. Forward To Toronto City Council, The Results Of The Commission’s Deliberations For Consideration By The Planning And Transportation Committee And The Works Committee At Its Meeting On September 13, 2004.”
The Motion By Vice-Chair Mihevc Carried On A Unanimous Vote.
Vice-Chair Mihevc Moved The Following Motions:
1. Waive Fees Related To Hosting Community Festivals Along St. Clair Avenue West From 2005 Through To 2007, Covering The Construction Period And One Year After, To Assist Local Businesses To Endure And Recover From The Construction Period;
2. Request TTC Staff To Investigate And Report To The September 22, 2004, Commission Meeting On A Proof Of Payment (Pop) System On St. Clair Avenue West To Begin Immediately Upon The Re-Opening Of The Line, Such Report To Include An Enhanced Enforcement Program To Curb Cheating; And
3. Request TTC Staff To Investigate And Report To The September 22, 2004, Commission Meeting On A Pilot Program To Begin At The Start Of Construction Consisting Of A Time Limited Transfer System On St. Clair Avenue West, Such A System To Allow Riders To Depart And Re-Enter The Streetcar.
The Motions By Vice-Chair Mihevc Carried On A Unanimous Vote.
Staff Response to Commission Inquiries
The meeting adjourned at 12:15 a.m.