Updated July 15, 2010 at 11:00 am:
With luck, this will be the last update in this thread.
At the TTC meeting on July 14, there was a long presentation and discussion of the issues at Donlands and Greenwood Stations. The presentation materials are not yet online as the project pages are being updated by the TTC to reflect recent changes.
TTC staff recommended and the Commission approved that the community’s alternative proposed second exit route be used. This route passes through the back yards of numbers 11 and 15 Linsmore rather than through a site now occupied by any house.
The first version of this scheme included the expropriation of the house now under renovation at 9 Linsmore. A newspaper report of the affected landowner gives some idea of the background and suggests that his 7-year renovation project is a long-standing annoyance to at least some in the neighbourhood.
In any event, it appears that other owners on Linsmore may be willing to sell, and one way or another, that’s where the exit will go. The only remaining issue for the TTC is to determine the location of a sewer that may interfere with the proposed route to the exit, and the feasibility of diverting this sewer to suit the new construction.
The situation at Donlands is more complex than at Greenwood. TTC staff did a much more thorough job at the Commission meeting, compared with the public meeting a few days earlier, of explaining the standards and calculations used in evaluating the alternatives. Their target for the path length from the point where an exit stair meets the platform to the surface is two minutes. This keeps the total exit time, including getting to the exit on the platform, within the overall code targets.
The original group of exit proposals by the community fails to meet the exit time criterion. However, a new alternative came to light at the Commission meeting. This would link into the east, rather than the west, end of Donlands Station. The exit passages would all lie under roads rather than houses, and the exit building would be on the north-east corner of Donlands & Strathmore where there is now a school parking lot and a vent shaft to the subway. TTC staff will report back on this option once they have a chance to review it.
The most contentious part of the discussion turned on whether the TTC would give approval to any plans on July 14, or would wait until their August 23 meeting to finalize their choice. The community, understandably, does not trust the TTC, and a deferral would have been a sign of good faith from the Commission. Such an action would not have slowed work because the Council meeting at which expropriation will be considered is not until August 25. A TTC recommendation could be taken to Council as supplementary information, a routine process.
On a split vote of 6-3, the Commission decided not to delay approval, and decided to give staff the authority to proceed with the three proposals now on the table: (a) Donlands & Strathmore, (b) the new TTC alternative with a building in the Dewhurst road allowance and (c) the original scheme using property now occupied by 1 & 3 Strathmore.
Staff assured the Commission that they will report back in August with the outcome of their review. More generally, there is a recognition at TTC that a public consultation process is needed for “small” projects that don’t trigger formal Environmental or Transit Project Assessments.