4.2 Options Analysis
4.3 Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study and Traffic Studies
4.4 Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study
List of Figures
Between January and March 2019, the City of Toronto, along with their partner the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), completed Phase 2 community engagement for the Eglinton West LRT. Engagement during Phase 2 focused on finalizing the solutions for the Eglinton West LRT, including the Options Analysis, Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study, traffic studies, and Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study.
Through this phase of engagement, the Project Team provided in-person and online opportunities to get involved including a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) meeting, two (2) Public Meetings, and an interactive online map and survey. Many comments received during Phase 2 focused on the Options Analysis.
1.1 Approach to Public Engagement
Community input is an essential part of planning for the Eglinton West LRT. Throughout each Project phase, local community members, stakeholders and the public have shown how much they care about how transit is planned and developed. The City of Toronto, along with the TTC, has been committed to engaging the public in a way that is transparent, timely, inclusive, respectful, educational, and supports community building. In order to make it easy for individuals to get involved in Phase 2, a number of tools were used, including:
- Newspaper advertising to inform people about Phase 2 engagement activities and opportunities;
- Updated Project website content where users can learn more about the Eglinton West LRT, review materials from the Public Meetings, and provide comments or sign up for Project updates;
- Updated Social Pinpoint content to allow individuals to provide comments online related to the Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study;
- A SAG meeting to provide SAG and Community Working Group (CWG) Members the opportunity to review and provide comments on the preliminary results of the Options Analysis, Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study, traffic studies, and the Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study; and,
- Two (2) Public Meetings held in Etobicoke (York Humber High School and Martingrove Collegiate Institute) within the study area, giving community members the opportunity to discuss the Eglinton West LRT, ask questions and provide feedback prior to the City’s presentation to Council in Spring 2019.
1.2 Presentation Materials
Clear, easy-to-understand and engaging materials were developed for Phase 2. The focus of these materials included:
- Project Overview/ Background – including a history of the Eglinton West LRT, and the potential project benefits;
- What We’ve Heard/What We’ve Done – including the engagement activities completed since Phase 1, the benefits and concerns heard from the public and an overview of what’s happening now;
- Options Analysis – including an overview of the design options, options analysis considerations, and result summaries for each option;
- Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study and Traffic Studies – including a summary of potential traffic impacts of LRT on the surface, a proposed solution to improve the Eglinton and Martin Grove intersection, traffic optimization along Eglinton, and next steps;
- Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study – including the preliminary concept plan for Eglinton West, design moves for Building, Greening, and Travelling, and preliminary recommendations for each segment along Eglinton West; and,
- Next Steps – including actions following Phase 2 consultation and Project Team contact information.
1.3 Engagement Questions
The focus of engagement during Phase 2 was to gather feedback on the Eglinton West LRT and the preliminary results of the associated studies. The key questions used to gather this feedback include:
To receive feedback on the key benefits of the Eglinton West LRT:
- How else will the Eglinton West LRT benefit you?
To receive feedback on the Options Analysis:
- Following your review of the design options analysis, we encourage you to tell us what you think!
To receive feedback on the Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study:
- Are you supportive of the proposed changes to the Eglinton and Martin Grove intersection?
To receive feedback on the Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study:
- Do these Design Moves capture what you feel is important for the future of Eglinton West?
- Are there other corridor-wide key matters that should be captured?
- Are there any other opportunities that should be considered in the Conceptual Streetscape Plan?
- Do the preliminary recommendations align with the emerging vision for the segment?
2. Engagement Tools
A number of communication and engagement tools were developed for Phase 2 to share information regarding the Eglinton West LRT and associated studies. The subsections below provide details on these tools, including the development of notices and website and social media content.
At the outset of Phase 2, newspaper and digital TTC screen notices were developed to advertise the Phase 2 Public Meetings to the public and were published in the following locations:
- Project website (www.eglintonwestlrt.ca);
- Traditional newspaper;
- Etobicoke Guardian (February 21 and February 28, 2019)
- Project mailing list (600+ contacts) (February 19, March 5 and March 7, 2019);
- Emails to stakeholders advising them to inform their networks (from February 12 to March 5, 2019)
- TTC stations (February 19 – March 7, 2019); and,
- Social media posts on Twitter (@CityPlanTO and @CityofToronto) (from February 19 to March 7, 2019).
The Phase 2 Notices are included in Appendix A.
2.3 Project Website
The Project website – www.eglintonwestlrt.ca – is an up-to-date source of information and an online public engagement tool. During Phase 2, the website was updated to reflect key messaging and activities taking place during Phase 2 engagement. Webpages updated during Phase 2 include:
- The Project – About Eglinton West LRT;
- Project Materials;
- Get Involved; and,
- Get Involved – In the Community.
From December 18, 2018 to March 11, 2019, the Project website has had 2,939 sessions, 2,078 new/ unique visitors and 8,416 page views with an average session duration of three (3) minutes and nine (9) seconds.
2.4 Social Media
City of Toronto Twitter (@CityPlanTO and @CityofToronto) accounts were used to complement the Project website, to reach a larger audience who may otherwise be less engaged in traditional in-person engagement methods, and to share information about the Eglinton West LRT. Social media posts were developed to promote Phase 2 Public Meetings and provide the link to the Project website.
Social media posts related to the Eglinton West LRT published during Phase 2 are available in Appendix B.
3. Engagement Activities
As part of the communication and engagement strategy for Phase 2, the City provided a variety of ways for interested members of the public and stakeholders to get involved in the Project. The subsections below describe activities that took place between January 1 and March 7, 2019, including the collection of comments and questions through the Project email address, Public Meetings, the Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting, and online engagement.
3.2 Email Comments
During this phase of the study, 167 emails were received through the Project email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and by Project Team members. These emails include general comments, questions and concerns regarding the Eglinton West LRT and Phase 2 engagement activities, and additional ideas and thoughts for consideration related to the LRT. Detailed comments received by email are available in Appendix C1, with personal information redacted.
3.3 Public Meetings
Two (2) Public Meetings were held during the Phase 2 engagement period for the Eglinton West LRT. Each event was identical in format (Open House) and featured display boards for participants to view and provide comments on. The purpose of these Public Meetings were to provide information and gather feedback on the findings related to the Options Analysis, Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study, traffic and modelling studies, and Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study before presenting recommendations to Council in Spring 2019.
Upon arriving at the Public Meeting, attendees were greeted and encouraged to sign-in at the welcome table. A comment form was provided to attendees to submit their feedback at the conclusion of the event. The attendees were also informed that the meeting would follow an Open House format, and were encouraged to view the 36 display boards in sequence, as they were displayed in groups, and speak to members of the Project Team.
The Public Meeting materials, including display boards and comment forms, are provided in Appendix A.
Subject matter experts were stationed at each display board grouping to answer questions and receive feedback from attendees. Twelve interactive engagement points related to each topic on the display boards encouraged attendees to “ Tell us what you think!” about a particular Project-related question or discussion point. Subject matter experts and members of the Project Team and Consultant Team encouraged attendees to provide their feedback by posting their comments directly to the ‘ Tell us what you think!’ display boards, speaking one-on-one with staff and using the comment forms provided. Following the Public Meetings, many post-it notes covered the ‘ Tell us what you think!’ display boards and 60 comment forms were submitted to the Project Team. The completed comment forms, with personal information redacted, are provided in Appendix C2.
3.4 Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) Meeting #4
3.4.1 Objectives and Format
SAG Meeting #4 for the Eglinton West LRT was held on Monday, February 25, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Father Serra Separate School on 111 Sun Row Drive in Etobicoke. The purpose of the SAG is to endeavor to:
- Foster cooperation and dialogue between community leaders, the Project Team and technical experts;
- Inform community leaders about the initiative and provide an opportunity to hear opinion from experts and other community groups on a regular basis; and,
- Solicit feedback, address concerns and incorporate input from local interests into the study.
This fourth SAG meeting focused on:
- Eglinton West LRT updates, including preliminary study findings;
The Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study; and,
The format of this meeting included a welcome and overview, a presentation of Eglinton West LRT updates, and a presentation of the Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study followed by two (2) breakout discussion sessions focusing on the Planning and Streetscape Study and the Options Analysis. During the breakout discussion sessions, SAG members had the opportunity to provide feedback on the Project.
The meeting agenda, presentations and minutes are provided in Appendix D.
3.4.2 Participants and Comments
For SAG Meeting #4, 15 SAG Member organizations and six (6) CWG Members attended along with representatives from the offices of Ward 3 Councillor Stephen Holyday and Ward 1 Councillor Michael Ford. The comments identified in the SAG meeting minutes in Appendix D have been included with comments received during the public engagement process in Section 4 of this report.
Many comments and questions were received during Phase 2 through in-person and online engagement tools and activities, demonstrating ongoing community and stakeholder interest in the Eglinton West LRT. These comments relate to the Options Analysis, Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study and traffic studies, Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study and other questions/ concerns. In reviewing this feedback, a number of themes emerge such as: preference for Option #4 – combination elevated and underground LRT, with seven (7) stops; suggestions for alternative options; cost/ funding; and Project timing.
All comments received during Phase 2 engagement are summarized in the subsections below and are provided in Appendix C.
4.2 Options Analysis
The majority of comments and questions received during Phase 2 relate to the Options Analysis, and the four options under consideration for the Toronto Segment between Mount Dennis/Weston Road and Renforth Station:
- Option #1 – Surface-running LRT, with 10 stops on Eglinton Avenue West;
- Option #2 – Underground LRT, with 10 stops on Eglinton Avenue West;
- Option #3 – Combination elevated and underground LRT, with three (3) stops on Eglinton Avenue West; and,
- Option #4 – Combination elevated and underground LRT, with seven (7) stops on Eglinton Avenue West.
The majority of individuals expressed preference for Option #4, followed by Option #2, then Option #1 and finally Option #3. Other results included opposition to particular options, suggestions for alternative options, and comments and questions related to stop locations, cost/ funding, timing, accessibility, and local bus service.
Summaries of these themed responses are outlined below. See all comments received relating to the Options Analysis in Appendix C3.
Preference for Option #4
The majority the individuals who participated in the Phase 2 engagement process expressed preference for Option #4. Many individuals noted that Option #4 offers the best of both worlds, allowing elevated alignments where required as to not disturb natural features such as the Humber River floodplains, and providing fast underground transit with multiple stops through the busiest sections of Eglinton Avenue West. Many expressed preference for Option #4’s faster travel time and lower cost compared to Option #2. Many also felt Option #4 would operate the best under inclement weather conditions, would have the fewest environmental impacts, and would provide the best travel experience in the future without negatively impacting the communities to the north and south sides of Eglinton. Some also noted that Option #4 would have the highest ridership, making the construction worth the higher cost compared to Options #1 and #3.
Preference for Option #2/ Underground System
Option #2 was the second preferred option of individuals who participated in the Phase 2 engagement process. Many individuals stated their desire to have an underground system – whether it be LRT or subway – and stated if the Eglinton West LRT will not be fully underground, it should not be constructed. Main factors for implementing an underground system include providing the most relief to current and future traffic congestion on Eglinton, providing the least amount of impacts on the local community during operation, and requiring less maintenance/ delays due to inclement weather. Many individuals feel the additional cost to construct Option #2 would be worth the long-term benefit and some noted they would be willing to pay higher taxes for this option. Some community members expressed that a surface-running LRT would negatively impact their daily commutes, be a safety concern for those crossing the street, and cause increased noise.
Preference for Option #1
Through the Phase 2 engagement process, Option #1 was the third preferred option out of the four (4) provided. Those who expressed preference for Option #1 noted the comparatively lower cost to construct the LRT, the faster approval and construction period with the least amount of construction disruptions, the ample number of stops, and the increased comfort and experience for individuals riding the LRT with full access to natural light. Some also stated that Option #1 would be the most accessible to everyone due to the 10 stops on the surface, allowing the greatest proximity and connectivity to TTC bus routes, local amenities and jobs. Those who prefer Option #1 expressed excitement for the construction and operation of the Eglinton West LRT and requested it be built as soon as possible.
Preference for Option #3
Minimal feedback was provided on Option #3. The few who supported this option favoured the low cost, the fact that the majority of the line would be underground, and the comparatively fast travel time from Mount Dennis to Commerce Boulevard. Some suggested Option #3 should be chosen with provisions for stops to be added in the future, when required.
Opposition of Option #1
Many individuals expressed their opposition for Option #1, with concerns including:
- Safety for school children, seniors and people with disabilities when crossing the road;
- Difficulty for drivers making left-hand turns at intersections, potentially leading to further traffic infiltration on community streets;
- Additional noise and vibration during construction and operation;
- The LRT dividing the north and south sides of Eglinton Avenue West; slow travel time due to other traffic and traffic lights on Eglinton;
- Longer travel time in the future compared to other options;
- Impacts to the LRT during inclement weather; and,
- Impacts to other traffic during LRT maintenance or breakdowns.
Opposition of Options #2 and #3
A few individuals noted their opposition of Options #2 and #3 and questioned why the options were ever considered. Some suggested tunnelling underneath a floodplain would be impossible and ruled out Option #2 while others thought Option #3 had too few stops to make construction worthwhile. Some individuals stated they would rather the City do nothing than construct Option #3.
Suggestions for Alternative Options
Following their review of the Options Analysis, many individuals provided suggestions for new options and modifications to the four (4) options considered for the Eglinton West LRT. Many suggested the combination of Option #2 and Option #4, with an elevated structure over the Humber River valley and Eglinton Flats as found in Option #4 alignment with the 10 stops included in Option #2. Others suggested the surface-running LRT be aligned to the north side of Eglinton instead of the centre of the roadway or be completely elevated. Some individuals requested stops only be located at major intersections to improve travel time and some requested the City to review Highway 427/ 27 as possible corridors. Some also suggested crossing surface LRT to the south side of Eglinton at Islington Avenue in order to avoid the Martin Grove intersection. A few individuals suggested widening Eglinton Avenue West with the addition of another eastbound and westbound lane instead of implementing the LRT right-of- way.
When discussing the Options Analysis, some individuals questioned why some of the original 2010 Environmental Assessment stops were removed and requested additional stops to be added or removed once the preferred option is identified. Many requested a stop at East Mall as the East Mall corridor includes a large percentage of low-income residents with limited access to transit, who would potentially increase ridership on the Eglinton West LRT, particularly with a strong connection to the 111 East Mall bus route. Some noted concerns for the lack of stops between Martin Grove and Commerce Boulevard (including Renforth Drive) as nearby neighbourhoods are difficult to access. Alternatively, some individuals noted the Widdicombe Hill / Lloyd Manor and Wincott / Bemersyde stops should be removed as they are too close to other stops and are not major intersections. One (1) individual suggested moving the stop at Scarlett Road to the west side with the addition of crossover tracks on both sides of the bridge to allow for easy maintenance.
Some individuals questioned the costs provided at Phase 2 meetings and requested to know more information about Project funding. Many asked if the Project would be funded, and if so, by whom. Some individuals requested clarity on the costs for each option and wanted to know what the capital cost ratios were based on. Some individuals provided suggestions for reducing Project costs, including the implementation of better bus service or subway instead of LRT, and receiving funding from the City of Mississauga. A few individuals noted they are willing to pay extra taxes to help fund an underground system and noted political figures in favour of an underground system. A few individuals also noted concern for the deliverability of the LRT if Bombardier were to supply Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) and noted the financial risk for the Project.
Some individuals requested to know when the LRT would be built, how long the construction process would take and when operations would begin. Some noted concern for the length of the construction process, especially if Bombardier is supplying the light rail vehicles (LRV). Some expressed urgency for the Eglinton West LRT, requesting it be built as soon as possible, and asked the City to choose the option that could be built in the shortest amount of time.
A few individuals provided comments related to accessibility of the LRT. Some noted that senior’s homes are located far from public transit and require LRT access more than other demographics. Some requested to know which option would provide the most accessibility to all individuals and some stated that Option #1 is preferred as it is the most accessible. One (1) individual noted excitement for the Eglinton West LRT as they feel west Etobicoke has been lacking accessible public transit for too long, relying on bus routes that take a long time to travel from Point A to Point B.
Local Bus Service
When discussing the Options Analysis, some individuals noted concern for the local bus service in Etobicoke. Some questioned the need for the LRT and suggested relying on local buses or introducing bus rapid transit (BRT) instead. A few individuals stated that buses are a safer option, especially for children and seniors as buses stop directly at curbs.
4.3 Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study and Traffic Studies
Some comments and questions received during Phase 2 related to the Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study and the traffic studies including the traffic infiltration study, left-turn analysis, and corridor traffic optimization. Most individuals who commented on these studies were concerned with traffic congestion surrounding the Eglinton and Martin Grove intersection, traffic infiltration on community streets and the left-turn analysis.
Summaries of the themed responses related to the Eglinton and Martin Grove Study and associated traffic studies are provided below. See all comments received relating to these studies in Appendix C4.
Traffic Congestion at Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road
The majority of comments received related to traffic congestion at the Eglinton and Martin Grove intersection noted the congestion is getting worse and needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Some suggested the Eglinton West LRT would make traffic worse and proposed an underground solution or the addition of another eastbound and westbound lane on Eglinton to help with congestion in that area. Some noted they believed the current traffic projections displayed are outdated and require revision to provide accurate results/ future projections. A couple of individuals stated that the City should not try to improve traffic so that more drivers are encouraged to use public transit, taking more vehicles off the roadway.
Traffic Infiltration on Community Streets
A few individuals noted concern for traffic infiltration on community streets due to current traffic congestion, particularly at Eglinton and Martin Grove. Some individuals warned that commuters use The Westway, Rathburn, and Princess Margaret instead of using Eglinton Avenue due to congestion. Concern was expressed that this diversion would worsen during LRT construction as this will create further delays on Eglinton.
A few individuals noted confusion and concern related to any potential Michigan lefts. They stated their opposition for Michigan lefts and asked whether any would be implemented on Eglinton with the addition of the surface-running LRT. One (1) individual noted the preferred solution for the Eglinton and Martin Grove intersection did not address the left-turn issues at the intersection and should be reconsidered.
Purpose of the Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study
A few individuals questioned the purpose of the Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road Functional Planning Study and requested the focus be on local community members instead of commuters who use Eglinton and Martin Grove to travel to and from the airport or work. Some requested to see statistics related to users of Eglinton West (e.g., local users versus commuters to or from Mississauga).
4.4 Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study
Some comments and questions received during Phase 2 related to the Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study. During Phase 2, individuals were provided details relating to the preliminary concept plan for Eglinton West, including the preliminary recommendations for each segment of Eglinton Avenue. Comments on the Planning Study related to the major study themes of Building, Greening, and Travelling. The majority of comments received related to safety for cyclists and pedestrians on Eglinton Avenue West and impacts to development potential in the community.
Summaries of the themed responses related to the Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study are provided below. See all comments received relating to these studies in Appendix C5.
Safety for Cyclists and Pedestrians
When discussing the Planning and Streetscape Study, some individuals expressed concern for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. They noted the importance of existing cycling lanes and multi-use paths and requested these remain and become better/ more accessible in the future. Some individuals suggested that traffic lights should provide cyclists with the priority and that signalized intersections should include lights for regular traffic and cycling traffic. One (1) individual requested more user-friendly wayfinding signage be implemented on Eglinton Avenue West.
Design Moves for Travelling
Comments provided on the ‘Design Moves for Travelling’ display board related to maintenance and pick up/ drop off locations. A few individuals requested the platforms be heated to melt snow in the winter, and requested the City commit to a certain level of snow removal along Eglinton to ensure efficiency of traffic and pedestrian paths. A few individuals also requested the implementation of pick up and drop off areas at LRT stations to allow for more accessibility.
Impacts to Green Space and Wildlife
Some individuals noted the importance of green space and preservation of mature trees along Eglinton for recreational use and wildlife. A few individuals requested that channelized parts of Mimico Creek be restored for recreational use and that significant planting along Eglinton and Highway 427 to Renforth be implemented to help dampen noise and alleviate pollution.
Impacts to Development Potential
Some individuals expressed concern related to development in the study area. Some requested to know why land on Eglinton was sold to developers instead of being used for transit expansion where others noted interest in how the LRT would alter the City-owned stretches of land. A few individuals noted the Richview Cemetery as an important property and stated that it is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. One (1) individual asked what the development potential for the Church site at Eglinton and Islington would be and if it could be used as part of a development parcel.
When reviewing the Eglinton West Planning and Streetscape Study, a few individuals commented on the design of LRT stations. One (1) individual requested to know the lane width based on the design and another requested the stations be designed to match the aesthetics of the surrounding residential area (e.g., brick patterns).
A few individuals expressed the need for parking within the study area. Individuals requested accessible parking at West Deane Park and at the underpass leading to Mimico Trails. One (1) individual suggested commuter parking should look like the Lakeshore West corridor.
The majority of other comments received related to the Phase 2 engagement process. While some individuals were pleased with how the information was presented, others were disappointed in the lack of presentation and lack of final results displayed at the Phase 2 Public Meetings. Additional comments received that were outside of the Phase 2 scope are also outlined below. See all other comments in Appendix C6.
Regarding the engagement process, many individuals who attended the Public Meetings expressed confusion or disappointment and requested clarity about the change to the meeting format from a presentation to an open house. They also requested takeaway information such as large printouts of maps and more information on the Options Analysis. Some questioned why the City continues with public engagement when many community members have already expressed preference for an underground system and felt the information displayed at Phase 2 meetings was unchanged from Phase 1. Others suggested the City host public meetings during the day or on weekends to allow more diverse feedback from youth and other members of the community. Some individuals questioned next steps and when the report to Council would be available for review. A few individuals thanked the City for the information, noting they learned a lot from the materials and are excited for the Eglinton West LRT.
Other comments received during the Phase 2 engagement process ranged from concerns about maintenance of the LRVs to construction complications. Some individuals requested different comparisons be made including the travel time between Option #2 and Option #4 using the same number of stops and the travel time difference between a streetcar and LRV. A few individuals compared the Eglinton West LRT to the St. Clair Streetcar – some requesting the City not make the same mistakes that were made with St. Clair in terms of construction delays and cost increases. A few individuals also expressed concern for the lack of emphasis on connecting to Pearson Airport and connecting to jobs, and noted concern for the deliverability of the Project.
5. Next Steps
With the information provided and gathered during Phase 2, the Project Team will finalize the solutions and present the recommended Eglinton West LRT concept to Council in Spring 2019.
Figure 5 1: Eglinton West LRT Work Program Schedule
*Note that appendices to the Phase 2 Consultation Summary Report are not yet available online.
If you would like to review the appendices, please email email@example.com to receive a copy.