South Etobicoke's transit future is getting clearer

News Sep 22, 2016 by Rahul Gupta Etobicoke Guardian

Wayne Murray just wants an answer to what he feels is a straightforward question:

When will new transit come to South Etobicoke?

“Why can’t they give me a date?” said the longtime resident. “When’s the earliest date we’ll see improvements to the Park Lawn and Lake Shore area?” 

It’s an answer that planners and elected officials can’t seem to answer, to the continued frustration of Murray and fellow South Etobicoke residents who have watched new development spring up in the area, creating more traffic and congestion and transforming the “Sunday drive along Lake Shore” into rush hour conditions at all hours of the day – but little improvement in local transit. 

Murray’s concerns are shared by the community healthcare agency Lakeshore Area Multiservice Project, or LAMP. LAMP organized a transit discussion as part of its annual general meeting Thursday, Sept. 15 at Humber College’s Lake Shore campus, giving residents like Murray a chance to vent in the process. 

Peter Milczyn shares Murray’s frustration. But the Liberal MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore points to Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion of GO Transit, which locally includes expansion of Mimico GO station’s rail operations, with the aim of boosting the commuter service into TTC-style subway frequency run by faster, electric trains.

“I get why people are frustrated when they hear study, study, study, but in this case there’s a huge need and a great opportunity,” said Milczyn.  

With $9 billion in funding in place and the continued progress of new lines like the Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West LRT plans, not to mention unprecedented cooperation between all three levels of government, Milczyn insists change is happening.

“There are big projects which are going to transform the city, and they’re under way,” he said. “It’s not just talk. It will happen in South Etobicoke for no other reason than the need is really there. Nobody can deny the need.”

The city of Toronto recognizes the need, and at the meeting city planners Edward Presta and Robyn Shyllit presented an update on a study under way determining the future building of transit connections, as part of a master plan for Park Lawn Road, Lake Shore Boulevard, the Queensway to the north and Humber Bay to the east.  

With a mind toward speeding up planning work, study head Presta said a report with recommendations will be presented to Toronto council for approval in 2017. 

The study will include long term recommendations for improving local streetcar service, relocating the Humber transit loop and adding a dedicated lane for transit. Also under study is integrating new proposed waterfront light rail connections. The study is also looking into better integration of the TTC with GO and SmartTrack. 

In the meantime, multiple community consultations are planned over the fall to satisfy provincial requirements and to get a good measure of community feedback.

But while it will likely be a decade at least – and that’s if the recommendations are approved by council in short order and funding secured – before major improvements are completed, Presta said there are “quick wins” to improve traffic in the short term, like adding more turn lanes at key intersections and adjusting signal timings.

“Those are quick wins once the study is done we might be able to move forward with. We’re taking a phased approach,” he said.

Planning South Etobicoke’s transit future has to take into account the area’s rapidly changing demographics, which is trending older, said Glenn Miller from the Canadian Urban Institute.

Echoing national trends, 25 per cent of South Etobians will be at least 65 by the year 2041, he said, with many of those seniors over the age of 85. 

“We have more seniors today than school-aged children,” said Miller. “We’re moving to the point where there will be more seniors than those of working age, and that has huge implications.”

Metrolinx station planner Richard Borbridge said the provincial transit planning agency is seeking to answer such questions to improve and make GO stations fully accessible. 

With the province having committed to complete the RER improvements within a decade, he said planning is taking place “holistically”, taking into account present and future needs of the local population, with a fixed amount of funding to do it.

“All of the planning is taking place at once, and that’s our challenge,” he said. “We’re working on stations simultaneously, and we’re trying to be efficient and effective with the money we have while meeting the needs of the community.” 

Milczyn said he and other local officials have had reassuring conversations with First Capital, which purchased the former Mr. Christie's factory site at Park Lawn and Lakeshore, making him more confident a new GO station will one day get built on the land, satisfying a longtime desire of the community.

“I’m a lot more optimistic today than I was six months ago,” he said.

South Etobicoke's transit future is getting clearer

City studying master plan for improving transit

News Sep 22, 2016 by Rahul Gupta Etobicoke Guardian

Wayne Murray just wants an answer to what he feels is a straightforward question:

When will new transit come to South Etobicoke?

“Why can’t they give me a date?” said the longtime resident. “When’s the earliest date we’ll see improvements to the Park Lawn and Lake Shore area?” 

It’s an answer that planners and elected officials can’t seem to answer, to the continued frustration of Murray and fellow South Etobicoke residents who have watched new development spring up in the area, creating more traffic and congestion and transforming the “Sunday drive along Lake Shore” into rush hour conditions at all hours of the day – but little improvement in local transit. 

Murray’s concerns are shared by the community healthcare agency Lakeshore Area Multiservice Project, or LAMP. LAMP organized a transit discussion as part of its annual general meeting Thursday, Sept. 15 at Humber College’s Lake Shore campus, giving residents like Murray a chance to vent in the process. 

Peter Milczyn shares Murray’s frustration. But the Liberal MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore points to Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion of GO Transit, which locally includes expansion of Mimico GO station’s rail operations, with the aim of boosting the commuter service into TTC-style subway frequency run by faster, electric trains.

“I get why people are frustrated when they hear study, study, study, but in this case there’s a huge need and a great opportunity,” said Milczyn.  

With $9 billion in funding in place and the continued progress of new lines like the Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West LRT plans, not to mention unprecedented cooperation between all three levels of government, Milczyn insists change is happening.

“There are big projects which are going to transform the city, and they’re under way,” he said. “It’s not just talk. It will happen in South Etobicoke for no other reason than the need is really there. Nobody can deny the need.”

The city of Toronto recognizes the need, and at the meeting city planners Edward Presta and Robyn Shyllit presented an update on a study under way determining the future building of transit connections, as part of a master plan for Park Lawn Road, Lake Shore Boulevard, the Queensway to the north and Humber Bay to the east.  

With a mind toward speeding up planning work, study head Presta said a report with recommendations will be presented to Toronto council for approval in 2017. 

The study will include long term recommendations for improving local streetcar service, relocating the Humber transit loop and adding a dedicated lane for transit. Also under study is integrating new proposed waterfront light rail connections. The study is also looking into better integration of the TTC with GO and SmartTrack. 

In the meantime, multiple community consultations are planned over the fall to satisfy provincial requirements and to get a good measure of community feedback.

But while it will likely be a decade at least – and that’s if the recommendations are approved by council in short order and funding secured – before major improvements are completed, Presta said there are “quick wins” to improve traffic in the short term, like adding more turn lanes at key intersections and adjusting signal timings.

“Those are quick wins once the study is done we might be able to move forward with. We’re taking a phased approach,” he said.

Planning South Etobicoke’s transit future has to take into account the area’s rapidly changing demographics, which is trending older, said Glenn Miller from the Canadian Urban Institute.

Echoing national trends, 25 per cent of South Etobians will be at least 65 by the year 2041, he said, with many of those seniors over the age of 85. 

“We have more seniors today than school-aged children,” said Miller. “We’re moving to the point where there will be more seniors than those of working age, and that has huge implications.”

Metrolinx station planner Richard Borbridge said the provincial transit planning agency is seeking to answer such questions to improve and make GO stations fully accessible. 

With the province having committed to complete the RER improvements within a decade, he said planning is taking place “holistically”, taking into account present and future needs of the local population, with a fixed amount of funding to do it.

“All of the planning is taking place at once, and that’s our challenge,” he said. “We’re working on stations simultaneously, and we’re trying to be efficient and effective with the money we have while meeting the needs of the community.” 

Milczyn said he and other local officials have had reassuring conversations with First Capital, which purchased the former Mr. Christie's factory site at Park Lawn and Lakeshore, making him more confident a new GO station will one day get built on the land, satisfying a longtime desire of the community.

“I’m a lot more optimistic today than I was six months ago,” he said.

South Etobicoke's transit future is getting clearer

City studying master plan for improving transit

News Sep 22, 2016 by Rahul Gupta Etobicoke Guardian

Wayne Murray just wants an answer to what he feels is a straightforward question:

When will new transit come to South Etobicoke?

“Why can’t they give me a date?” said the longtime resident. “When’s the earliest date we’ll see improvements to the Park Lawn and Lake Shore area?” 

It’s an answer that planners and elected officials can’t seem to answer, to the continued frustration of Murray and fellow South Etobicoke residents who have watched new development spring up in the area, creating more traffic and congestion and transforming the “Sunday drive along Lake Shore” into rush hour conditions at all hours of the day – but little improvement in local transit. 

Murray’s concerns are shared by the community healthcare agency Lakeshore Area Multiservice Project, or LAMP. LAMP organized a transit discussion as part of its annual general meeting Thursday, Sept. 15 at Humber College’s Lake Shore campus, giving residents like Murray a chance to vent in the process. 

Peter Milczyn shares Murray’s frustration. But the Liberal MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore points to Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion of GO Transit, which locally includes expansion of Mimico GO station’s rail operations, with the aim of boosting the commuter service into TTC-style subway frequency run by faster, electric trains.

“I get why people are frustrated when they hear study, study, study, but in this case there’s a huge need and a great opportunity,” said Milczyn.  

With $9 billion in funding in place and the continued progress of new lines like the Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West LRT plans, not to mention unprecedented cooperation between all three levels of government, Milczyn insists change is happening.

“There are big projects which are going to transform the city, and they’re under way,” he said. “It’s not just talk. It will happen in South Etobicoke for no other reason than the need is really there. Nobody can deny the need.”

The city of Toronto recognizes the need, and at the meeting city planners Edward Presta and Robyn Shyllit presented an update on a study under way determining the future building of transit connections, as part of a master plan for Park Lawn Road, Lake Shore Boulevard, the Queensway to the north and Humber Bay to the east.  

With a mind toward speeding up planning work, study head Presta said a report with recommendations will be presented to Toronto council for approval in 2017. 

The study will include long term recommendations for improving local streetcar service, relocating the Humber transit loop and adding a dedicated lane for transit. Also under study is integrating new proposed waterfront light rail connections. The study is also looking into better integration of the TTC with GO and SmartTrack. 

In the meantime, multiple community consultations are planned over the fall to satisfy provincial requirements and to get a good measure of community feedback.

But while it will likely be a decade at least – and that’s if the recommendations are approved by council in short order and funding secured – before major improvements are completed, Presta said there are “quick wins” to improve traffic in the short term, like adding more turn lanes at key intersections and adjusting signal timings.

“Those are quick wins once the study is done we might be able to move forward with. We’re taking a phased approach,” he said.

Planning South Etobicoke’s transit future has to take into account the area’s rapidly changing demographics, which is trending older, said Glenn Miller from the Canadian Urban Institute.

Echoing national trends, 25 per cent of South Etobians will be at least 65 by the year 2041, he said, with many of those seniors over the age of 85. 

“We have more seniors today than school-aged children,” said Miller. “We’re moving to the point where there will be more seniors than those of working age, and that has huge implications.”

Metrolinx station planner Richard Borbridge said the provincial transit planning agency is seeking to answer such questions to improve and make GO stations fully accessible. 

With the province having committed to complete the RER improvements within a decade, he said planning is taking place “holistically”, taking into account present and future needs of the local population, with a fixed amount of funding to do it.

“All of the planning is taking place at once, and that’s our challenge,” he said. “We’re working on stations simultaneously, and we’re trying to be efficient and effective with the money we have while meeting the needs of the community.” 

Milczyn said he and other local officials have had reassuring conversations with First Capital, which purchased the former Mr. Christie's factory site at Park Lawn and Lakeshore, making him more confident a new GO station will one day get built on the land, satisfying a longtime desire of the community.

“I’m a lot more optimistic today than I was six months ago,” he said.