Updated February 16, 2021 at 10:00 pm: The discussion of the new design for Union Station has been updated with additional info from the Waterfront Transit Team describing the smoke control design of the station as well as a clarifying of the change in elevation of the tracks. Thanks to them for these details.
Updated February 18, 2021 at 6:00 pm: Additional and revised drawings from the public presentation on February 17 have been added to this article.
Waterfront Toronto, the City of Toronto and the TTC will hold an online public meeting on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm with updates on design work for the eastern leg of the Waterfront LRT to Cherry Street and associated changes to Queens Quay East.
The presentation deck for this meeting is online, and there are introductory videos by Nigel Tahair, the program manager in City Planning, available from the project’s website. All drawings in this article are taken from that presentation, or from the condensed version used at the public meeting.
[Full disclosure: I have participated in Advisory Committee meetings for this project, but have not published info from these discussions as they were works in progress.]
This project has been in the works for a very long time. When the Cherry Street service began in June 2016 (itself the subject of a long design process for the West Don Lands), the intent was always to continue south and link up with a line on Queens Quay East. Design work for that branch of the LRT is finally underway. Along the way it has been diverted by issues such as appropriate method of linking Union Station to the waterfront, development options in the Cherry/Queens Quay neighbourhood and the role of the proposed Ontario Line.
The current work arises from a motion at Executive Committee on December 10, 2020:
City Council direct the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning and the Executive Director, Transit Expansion Office to report back on the recommended schedule and funding requirements for the Union Station to Queens Quay Link and the East Bayfront Light Rail Transit section of the Waterfront Transit Network, including phasing options and an updated business case, as part of an update on Waterfront Transit Network priorities prior to the 2022 Budget process.”
The study covers three segments of the line:
- Area 1: The existing Bay Street tunnel and the future junction at Bay & Queens Quay.
- Area 2A: The original scope of the surface section extending to just east of Parliament Street.
- Area 2B: The extended surface section from east of Parliament and north to Distillery Loop on Cherry Street.
Note that in the map below, the alignment of Cherry Street is the “new” street that will be built as part of new Port Lands across what will become Villiers Island. The new street jogs west south of the Gardiner Expressway rather than east.
Because expertise in underground construction lies with the TTC, they are designing Area 1. Waterfront Toronto is responsible for Area 2.
The study is also looking at staging options that could extend the scope south and east into the Port Lands.Continue reading