Updated April 7, 2022 at 9:45 am: Metrolinx has responded to a query about possible errors and inconsistencies in the EA. See the Errata section at the end of this article.
The Draft Environmental Assessment for the Ontario Line was published on February 7, and it is a very, very long read. In addition to the main report, there are appendices dealing with Natural Environment, Heritage, Archaeology, Socio-Economics and Land Use, Air Quality, Noise and Vibration, and Transportation and Traffic.
In this article, I will primarily review the alignment drawings provided in the EA and some of the information about station form and construction, to the extent that Metrolinx has provided this.
Notable by their absence from these documents are drawings of the actual structures above or below ground. This makes it almost impossible to assess, for example, the on street presence of the elevated structure between the north end of the Leaside Bridge and Science Centre Station, nor of new station buildings wherever the line is above ground. Underground structures, essential to an understanding of how the stations will connect to neighbouring buildings and to other transit lines, are also not shown.
I wrote to Metrolinx asking about this, and they initially referred me to the Neighbourhood Updates segment of their engagement website. There is less information there, in most cases, than in the EA or other already-public presentations (which could be out of date). I wrote again, and they replied:
Hi Steve – those additional images will be posted as soon as they are available.
We know folks are anxious to see those images and we are working to get that information available.
It is baffling how people are supposed to assess information in the EA if they cannot see what Metrolinx proposes to build.
On a similar note, there is a general problem along the line in that significant incursions on green space have yet to be detailed, and by the time the plans are actually published, it will be impossible to adjust the design. Metrolinx misled communities giving the impression that tree inventories and replacement plans would be available during the consultation period, but it is now clear that this was never going to be the case.
For additional background, please see my recent article An Ontario Line Tour and the associated webinar.
In future articles I will turn in more detail to issues such as Natural Environment, Noise & Vibration and the effects on buildings and structures along the route.Continue reading