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Everything you need to know about the proposed SmartTrack transit plan (MAPS)

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Yasmin Aboelsaud Oct 11, 2017 1:59 pm 728

This week, the City of Toronto is hosting public consultations regarding its massive transit proposal for SmartTrack.

The project is in partnership with the TTC and Metrolinx, and is proposing six new SmartTrack and two new GO Stations in Toronto. And this transit project isn’t new. The City and the transit agencies have been working together to develop SmartTrack and its integration with Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail (RER) program since 2015, when Council initially approved the joint program.

Currently, this is what a map of our transit system looks like.

Our Rapid Transit Network Today/City of Toronto

With the SmartTrack proposal, this is what the future of transit may look like in Toronto.

Our Future Rapid Transit Network/City of Toronto

So what exactly is SmartTrack?

SmartTrack is described as an enhancement on the Metrolinx RER program in the City of Toronto. That enhancement includes an integrated fare structure for local TTC and regional transit fares, up to six new stations in Toronto on the Kitchener, Lakeshore East and Stouffville GO Corridors, and 2 new Regional Express Rail (GO RER) Stations on the Barrie GO Corridor.

The system would use existing rail corridors that run through the city of Toronto, and would require no tunnelling.

The SmartTrack stations proposed within the city are at Finch East, Lawrence East, Gerrard Street East, and East Harbour (Unilever) on the Stouffville/Lakeshore East GO Corridor, and Liberty Village and St. Clair West on the Kitchener GO Corridor. Meanwhile, the 2 GO RER stations on the Barrie Corridor are the Bloor-Lansdowne and Spadina-Front stations.

New SmartTrack and GO Stations in Toronto/City of Toronto

In total, SmartTrack includes 14 rail stations and 8 to 12 LRT stops, when the existing/planned rail stations and the Eglinton West LRT are taken into account.

Last year, the province announced four new GO Train stations along the Barrie and Kitchener GO Transit lines as part of Metrolinx’s RER program – one each in the areas of Bloor and Lansdowne, Spadina and Front, Liberty Village, and St. Clair West and Keele in Toronto to support SmartTrack.

The benefits of the new transit system, according to the City, include better use of the existing rail infrastructure along these GO rail corridors in Toronto, more rapid transit for commuters, and all-day two-way service with trains operating every 6 to 10 minutes during peak periods.

Something is missing

For those who remember John Tory’s 2014 mayoral campaign, this may look a little different than what was initially proposed. At the time, Tory proposed the $8 billion SmartTrack line as a 53 km, 22-station surface subway relief line.

Tory’s initial SmartTrack proposal / smarttracker.ca

And that cost has since fluctuated, but the estimates are unclear at this time. So are the costs of fares to riders, and what this ridership will look like in terms of numbers.

In January 2016, a council report based on SmartTrack having 23 stations stated that it would be capable of capturing significant ridership assuming a TTC fare, regardless of the growth scenario or the horizon year. “For example, using the base case scenario, forecasts for 2031 indicate daily boardings ranging from 282,990 to 321,436.”

But since revising the number of stations significantly, that ridership number is now inaccurate and actual revisions have yet to be released.

Public consultations

Currently, the City and Metrolinx are undertaking a Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) under Ontario Regulation 231/08 to assess the potential environmental effects of each of the new stations. During this time, they are also hosting a series of public consultations for the project.

City of Toronto

The public consultations will provide updates on the project progress, and an overview of planned environmental studies and concept schematics. The City will also be seeking public input on the proposed concept plans and key elements of the project.

There is no firm date on a potential opening of this new transit system, although, through the consultations this week it has been estimated to be in the early 2020s.

The details for this week’s upcoming meetings are as follows:

Wednesday, October 11
Where: Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard Street East
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Presentation begins at 7:00 pm

Thursday, October 12
Where: New Horizons Tower, Auditorium, 1140 Bloor Street West *Note, venue changed
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Presentation begins at 7:00 pm

See also

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Yasmin Aboelsaud
Senior Staff Writer, music aficionado, fueled by coffee, travel & Drake.

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