The first public consultation for SmartTrack was held last night in Scarborough. The city, as well as representatives from the Toronto Transit Commission and Metrolinx, was on hand to answer questions and give a quick presentation about the stations that would be built in that neighbourhood.
There will be two other consultations held in the next two days, one at Riverdale Collegiate Institute and the other at New Horizons Tower on Bloor.
The public consultations are the next step into the planning of what James Perttula, Director of Transit and Transportation Planning, called a new, connected “urban transportation system.” He said the stations, which consist of six SmartTrack stations and two new GO stations, will be built in already developed areas so that it is able to effectively connect with hubs throughout the city.
The presentation given to the public will include brief information on the 14-stop SmartTrack plan (and 8-12 stop Eglinton LRT). The city is hoping to provide all-day service along the three rail corridors — Kitchener, Lakeshore East, and Stouffville — with six to 10 minute service during peak hours and 15 minutes during off-peak. Fare integration will be pivotal to the success of SmartTrack.
Over the next week, the city is looking for public input into how these stations can integrate into each neighbourhood. The discussion will be limited to the design of the station rather than location or the SmartTrack plan as a whole.
Each station is specific to a neighbourhood’s needs, but they are also part of a bigger design for Toronto, including the integration into the Relief Line, the Gardiner Expressway revitalization, and Rail Deck Park.
Toronto Mayor John Tory spent Wednesday morning in Leslieville/Riverdale talking to residents about SmartTrack. At a press conference, he said the area would be the best transit-served neighbourhood in the city.
The city will report to council in the spring of 2018 on all elements of SmartTrack, including cost analysis and ridership information. At this moment, the cost estimate is between $700 million and $1.5 billion. The city will only be paying for the six SmartTrack stops as opposed to the GO stations that are included in the overarching plan.
According to Perttula, SmartTrack should be operational as of 2025.