Ontario Line Downtown Construction: III – King/Bathurst & Queen/Spadina Stations

This is the third article in a series about the anticipated effects of construction through downtown of the Ontario Line. Because the stations at King/Bathurst and Queen/Spadina are similar in their construction technique, I have grouped them together.

Two of the four corners at each intersection will be used for excavations down to the tunnels which will exist by the time station construction begins. The plan is to avoid road closures that would disrupt transit service, not to mention capacity on the road network.

This may sound good in theory, but transit service will suffer from new pinch points in the road network, and pedestrians will attempt to make connections between transit routes walking along roadways adjacent to construction zones. Although there are no formal cycling lanes on streets at either station, a substantial volume of cycling traffic now uses curb lane space that will disappear.

In both cases, construction is planned to run from July 2022 until mid-to-late 2029.

  • July 2022 to June 2023: Setup, utility relocation and enabling works
  • July 2023 to March 2026: Excavation
  • March 2026 to September 2027: Below grade concrete work
  • Fall 2026 to Fall 2027: Exterior station work
  • June 2027 to September 2028: Interior station work
  • March 2028 to March 2029: Station fit out and testing

There is no plan to selectively re-open parts of the street once the major works of excavation and concrete pours are out of the way.

An obvious issue for the long term is that no sooner will subway construction decamp from these sites, but new building construction will move in. The loss of sidewalks and road space could continue well into the 2030s.

When I asked the City of Toronto about this, they understandably have no information on the time frame or effects of potential developments of these “Transit Oriented Community” sites to be developed by Infrastructure Ontario.

[…] although these sites have been flagged as TOC’s we don’t currently have any details around these and their construction impacts. If lane closures are required for their construction then reports will need to come forward to City Council at the appropriate time which will spell out the occupations required and impacts.

Ashley Curtis, Director Transportation Planning & Capital Program. Dec. 2, 2021.
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Ontario Line Downtown Construction: II – Osgoode Station

This continues the series reviewing the construction plans for downtown stations on the Ontario Line and their effect on roads and nearby properties.

Like Queen/Yonge station described in the previous article, Osgoode connects with the Line 1 subway in a new two-level station. However, the construction approach will be completely different.

The expanded Osgoode Station will be dug from two excavations at opposite corners of the station rather than from access pits in the middle of Queen Street. The primary entrance to the expanded station will be at the northeast corner of University and Queen, a space now occupied by part of the park in front of Osgoode Hall.

A second entrance to the station will be built at Queen and Simcoe and will use the existing bank facade for its exterior.

The diagram below shows a much larger portion of this park to be occupied for construction than was previously thought to be threatened. Compare the orange hatched area below with the next drawing from the June 2021 round of consultations.

This drawing shows “Station Building 1” occupying about half of the frontage on University between Queen Street and the gate to the walkway across the front of Osgoode Hall. In the diagram above, the entire width of this area is taken for construction as well as part of the area north of the walkway along the street, and the lawn in front of the Hall.

Given the effect any work within the Hall’s grounds will have on the park, this is not a trivial change. Quite bluntly, I believe Metrolinx showed the smaller scope in the drawing above because proposing to take so much of the park, even temporarily, would have produced an uproar. They stick handled their way around any discussion of Osgoode Station during the consultation sessions. This has the smell of deliberate misrepresentation.

If anyone is considering a design based on a proposed reallocation of lane space on University and expansion of the east side pedestrian realm, they have been very quiet about it. Conveniently for Metrolinx, this is not a residential neighbourhood with the usual population of critics quick to leap on their proposals.

All of the trees at Osgoode Hall in the photo below lie on lands shown as the construction zone for this project. Civic vandalism in the name of “progress” does not begin to describe this proposal.

University Avenue Looking North at Queen, June 2021 / Google Street View

Early Works

The main construction work begins in July 2023 with station excavation running to March 2026. The station exterior would not be complete until Fall 2027, and the lane closures would not be undone until sometime in 2029. (See the city’s report for details.)

However, some works must take place in advance of the main project:

  • Utility relocation from March 2022 to May 2023.
  • Other “setup, preparatory and enabling works” from July 2022 onward. It is not clear just what these entail or which areas of the site would be affected.

At various times in 2022 there will be short-term closures of parts of Simcoe Street and University Avenue (see the list of Early Works closures for details).

Street Restrictions

For much of the project, various lanes and parts of sidewalks will be close or restricted:

  • Queen Street road lanes will not be affected.
  • On the east side of University to north from Queen (see photo above), the street is now four lanes wide with the curb lane used for a bike path. In this area, the sidewalk will be taken over for construction and pedestrians will be shifted into what is now the northbound curb lane.
  • NOTE: The report is unclear about whether there will actually be a cycling lane or not, or when. “The existing northbound curbside bicycle lane on University Avenue fronting the Osgoode Hall will be closed for construction staging purposes. However, the northbound travel lanes on University Avenue will be realigned and a protected 2.0 metres wide northbound bicycle lane around the work zone will be provided.” [p 28]
  • On Simcoe Street, the west sidewalk and part of the street will be closed between Queen and the laneway running midblock west from Simcoe. The intent is to use the west side of Simcoe as a staging and storage area.
  • The east sidewalk on Simcoe will be narrowed to leave enough room for one traffic lane and a cycling lane, although that lane is not shown clearly on the drawing above.
  • Pedestrian access will be maintained in front of the bank/second entrance building along Queen west of Simcoe.

Here is what Simcoe Street looks like today. The bank on the left will become the second station entrance.

Simcoe Street Looking North to Queen Street June 2021 / Google Street View

Transit Changes

The only explicit changes proposed for this area are the relocation of the westbound streetcar stop east to a point clear of construction, and closing the existing station entrance north of Queen on the east side of University.

The report proposes a westbound York/University stop on Queen, but this would be closely after streetcars have stopped northbound on York at Queen. With the northeast station entrance closed, passengers transfer passengers are more likely to use the southeast entrance (through the Opera House) and a stop on the north side of Queen does not make sense. Better that transfers walk between the Opera House entrance and the proposed stop at York & Queen along the south side of the street.

The eastbound stop on Queen at University will remain.

Metrolinx has not published diagrams of Osgoode station below street level showing how the existing and new spaces and circulation patterns will work.

In the next article, I will review King/Bathurst and Queen/Spadina stations.

Ontario Line Downtown Construction: I – Queen Station

This is the first of a series of articles reviewing the plans for construction of the downtown Ontario Line stations between King/Bathurst and Corktown Station. The base document is a report at the Toronto Executive Committee’s meeting of December 7, 2021.

This is a long report detailing the effect of multi-year construction at six sites. Beginning with early works in 2022 and continuing to 2029, each of the sites will be at some stage in construction, although the exact timetable varies from station to station.

The project will involve many curb lane closures and associated effects on sidewalks, bike lanes and transit stops. As previously reported, there will be a complete road closure of Queen from Bay to Victoria for the construction of a deep and complex link there to the existing Line 1 Queen Station. Osgoode Station is a less complex project because there are fewer nearby buildings constraining the site, although it has its own challenges.

King/Bathurst and Queen/Spadina are similar to each other in that they will use shafts on two of the four corners of their intersections as the launch points for mining out the station caverns under the street.

Moss Park and Corktown Stations are both cut-and-cover locations, but Corktown has the added complexity of also being a site for the tunnel boring machine launch and for removal of spoil from the tunnel excavation.

Each site has other issues:

  • Volume of spoil from the excavations and the routes trucks will use to move material from six concurrent construction sites.
  • The constraints on emergency vehicles while road access is limited.
  • Local business and residential access.
  • Cycling lane effects.

In all of this, we must assume that traffic, transit, pedestrian and cycling demand will be at least at pre-covid levels, although there are likely to be shifts as some traffic “evaporates” in frustration.

This first article will deal with the most complex project: Queen Station. Next will come Osgoode, to be followed by the two western stations at Bathurst and Spadina, and then the eastern stations at Moss Park and Corktown. I will wrap up with a discussion of issues common to all sites.

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Infrastructure Ontario October 2021 Update

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) has issued its project status update for fall 2021 together with an overview letter from their CEO, Michael Lindsay.

Little has changed in the transit projects, but IO and Metrolinx are shifting away from their original, much-ballyhooed model where public contract risk was minimized by a transfer to the private sector. Instead there is more talk about collaboration and mechanisms to make contracts more palatable to would-be bidders. It is no secret that a few years ago a major firm refused to bid on Metrolinx work on the proposed terms.

Building on the experience of the collaborative Alliance model in use for the Union Station Enhancement Project, IO’s partnership with Metrolinx to expand the GTHA’s network of public transit continues to advance and evolve. Last month, Metrolinx and IO launched the RFQ for the Scarborough Subway Extension – Stations, Rail, and Systems project, introducing a Progressive Design-Build approach. Like the Progressive P3 procurement strategy being introduced on hospital projects, the subway extension procurement includes the benefits of working with a partner on design work, addressing and avoiding considerable contract risk prior to signing a final contract to deliver the project. Following considerable discussion and consultation with industry, this complex, multi-billion-dollar project will be contracted as a targeted price versus the fixed price of our P3 models.

Like our contract packaging strategy for both Scarborough Subway Extension and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, we expect to take a multi-package staged approach of delivering the Yonge North Subway Extension. That work would begin with an advance tunnels package that we expect to be procured using a classic DBF contract. Pending government approval, our hope is to have the RFQ for that procurement in market early next year.

Letter from Michael Lindsay, CEO of IO, October 14, 2021

The update contains projects from multiple ministries and agencies, and I have extracted the transit projects in the table linked below. This table shows the status of each project as it appears in the quarterly IO updates with the current changes highlighted in yellow.

Changes in this interation are:

  • The structure of the Scarborough Subway Extension has been changed from “TBD” to “Progressive Design Build” where first a partner is chosen with a Development Phase Agreement, and then a Project Agreement once design reaches the point of locking in the construction phase. Note that “Design Build” does not include operation and maintenance as the SSE will be part of the TTC’s subway system.
  • The Yonge North Subway Extension to Richmond Hill has slipped slightly for issuance of the Request for Qualifications and of the Request for Proposals, but this is offset by moving the contract award up from Fall to Summer 2023.

Several GO Transit projects are listed for award in 2021, but they have not yet been announced.

Beyond the works already in progress, no transit projects are up for award before Fall 2022. This means that if the Ford government is re-elected, they will have batch of ready-to-go announcements, but if not, there would be a last ditch chance to review some contracts either as to content (project details) or future operating principles (private vs public). Whether a Liberal or NDP government (or a coalition) would do this remains to be seen.

Ontario Line Downtown Segment: Consultation Follow-Up

Updated October 14, 2021 at 12:50 am: Metrolinx’ responses to the absence of material on Osgoode Station, and of the suggestion of “ballot stuffing” have been added.

After the recent online consultation session for the Downtown Segment of the Ontario Line (Osgoode to Corktown), several issues came to mind and I wrote to Metrolinx for clarification. They have not yet answered most of them.

The Depth and Complexity of Queen Station

The cross-section for Queen Station included in the presentation shows an Ontario Line deep underground. This station is deeper than the City Hall Station on the Relief Line which was located immediately west of Yonge Street.

Ontario Line

Queen Yonge Cross Section Looking North, Ontario Line. Source: Metrolinx

Relief Line

City Hall Station Cross Section Looking North, Relief Line. Source: Relief Line South Detailed Design

These two drawings are not at the same scale. The illustration below clips portions of each with scales adjusted to match. In both designs, the new structure leaves a gap below the existing station for structural support. However, with the Ontario Line directly under the Yonge Line, the concourse level (one above platform level) cannot share the same vertical “slice” that the Relief Line, offset from the Yonge Line, uses. This forces a deeper station than would otherwise be needed.

Metrolinx claims that transfer times between the two stations are actually shorter for the Ontario Line than the Relief Line, but this is hard to believe considering that OL riders must walk east or west at the concourse level just to reach an escalator upward from what would have been platform level on the Relief Line.

Note that in both cases, the level of the passageway under Queen Station (the remains of a never-used Yonge Station on a Queen line) connect to the circulation system of the new station. It is not clear, however, that the capacity of the existing passage, stairs and escalators is up to the potential level of transfer traffic. That problem is common to either design.

What Is Happening at Osgoode Station?

The meeting announcement clearly states that Osgoode Station would be up for discussion. This is a controversial site where Metrolinx plans to build a new entrance and access shaft where there is now a grove of trees on the northeast corner of Queen Street and University Avenue at Osgoode Hall. See: Ontario Line v Osgoode Hall. Trees on main streets downtown, let alone on an historic site, are not exactly common, and the Metrolinx plan verges on civic vandalism.

In particular, there is a proposal floating around at City Hall to substantially reconfigure University Avenue by extending the east sidewalk (shown below) into the northbound roadway. The trees at Osgoode Hall are an integral part of the new design.

This locations of station entrances for the Ontario Line are different than in the original Relief Line plans because the OL station box is shifted west. (See the article linked above for detailed layouts.) The Relief Line station ran from just west of University to York, with a new expanded entrance on the southwest corner at University and a completely new entrance at York and Queen. The Ontario Line station runs from west of Simcoe to University with new entrances through the Osgoode Hall lands and through an old bank on the southwest corner of Queen and Simcoe.

This is a controversial subject, and Osgoode Station was included in the announced meeting agenda. This agenda is still online on the meeting page. Clearly when this meeting was announced Metrolinx intended to include Osgoode Station.

That page now claims:

The presentation focused on timely updates for Queen, Moss Park and Corktown Stations. While this presentation did not feature an update on Osgoode Station, the panel welcomed and responded to questions about all four stations within the segment.

That is flatly not true. A few people asked about Osgoode Station’s absence from the presentation, but there was no substantive discussion because no material was presented.

Metrolinx has not yet posted any replies to the questions submitted online, but there is an added wrinkle in that regard. There had been a popular question about Osgoode Hall that ranked third on the list on September 28.

By October 12, this question had gained more support, but also a large number of down-votes pushing it well down the list. One might speculate that this is a question Metrolinx would prefer not to answer. In this age of challenged votes, we cannot tell whether any ballot-stuffing was involved. (See Metrolinx’ reply at the end of this section.)

I asked Metrolinx about Osgoode Station’s absence from the actual agenda, and here is their reply:

The Ontario Line virtual open house on October 7 did focus on the Downtown segment, which includes Osgoode, Queen, Moss Park and Corktown Stations. However, similar to other open houses we have hosted across the alignment, we did not feature an update on all stations in the segment.

As you noted, we did not include new information about Osgoode Station in the October 7 presentation. There are a few reasons we did not cover Osgoode in the presentation. First and foremost, we did not have significant updates to share about the station. Additionally, we aim to keep the presentations to 30-minutes to allow ample time for questions. Given that we had substantial updates to cover for all of the three other stations but not for Osgoode, we did not explicitly highlight this station during the presentation. Nonetheless, we welcomed questions related to all Downtown stations and will post responses for any questions we did not get to answer during the live event in the coming weeks. 

We look forward to bringing new updates and more information to the community about all stations across the Ontario Line as they are available. We also always welcome questions and feedback via email, phone, and social media. Anyone interested in learning more about any station can also visit our website or book a meeting with a community relations team member.

Email from Caitlin Docherty, Community Relations & Issues Specialist – Ontario Line, October 12, 2021

To have no update on a controversial station site, if only to say “we have some ideas and we’re working on it”, suggests avoidance, not merely a desire for brevity. Moreover, there was no suggestion during the meeting of an alternate date when that site could be discussed.

This is not a trivial issue both in its own right, and because Metrolinx operates to a clock ticking quickly and inexorably on a compressed approval timetable. Delaying discussion makes real debate, let alone the possibility of modification, more difficult.

It is all very well to suggest that people can contact Metrolinx one-on-one, but this is not the same as a published community meeting where whatever claims Metrolinx makes are public and can be challenged. Even in public meetings, Metrolinx makes statements that can be charitably described as misinformed. They can claim to have “consulted”, ticking off a box in the legislated process, but without a public check on their accuracy.

Updated October 14, 2021 at 12:50 am:

Metrolinx has replied further:

Consultation is absolutely planned once we have new significant updates to share for Osgoode. During the virtual open house, we welcomed questions related to all Downtown stations and will post responses for any questions we did not get to answer during the live event in the coming weeks. 

I want to be very direct with the second half of your email. Metrolinx does not manipulate the votes in any way on Metrolinx Engage. We use the votes to gauge community interest and determine which questions we will have time to answer.

Email from Daryl Gonsalves, Community Relations & Issues Specialist – Ontario Line, October 14, 2021

I will take this at face value, but it is clear that somebody really didn’t want to have a discussion about the trees at Osgoode Hall.

More Questions

The following questions to Metrolinx await answers.

Queen Station

  1. At Queen Station, you stated that the transfer with Line 1, although obviously deep vertically, is shorter than from the originally proposed City Hall station on the Relief Line South. This is hard to believe. Can you explain further?
  2. Was there any reason for the change in the OL elevation other than the geometric constraint at Yonge caused by shifting the station eastward?
  3. From a construction point of view at Queen Station do you plan to dig two shafts down east and west of Yonge, and then mine inward from the sides?
  4. With the station at Yonge now being an entire level below the RL plan, what does this do to elevations at Osgoode and Moss Park compared to the original RL designs?

Moss Park Station

  • At Moss Park Station, you talked about meeting the fire code while only having one exit building. I have been trying to figure out the plan in the presentation deck. Am I right in thinking that there are two separate sets of vertical access from the common lobby area leading to different parts of the station? How do you achieve compliance with only a single exit point? This was a known advance question and simply including a station plan would have answered this.

Corktown Station Construction Effects

  • There was a passing reference re the construction disruption at Corktown where you talked about the possibility that the tunnel will be one straight bore from Corktown to Exhibition rather than two separate ones east and west of Yonge Street.
    1. Is this a decision being left to the south tunnels bidders? It obviously has significant effects on construction staging and the length of disruption at Corktown.
    2. On a related note, how do you plan to construct the segment between Corktown and the portal west of the Don River?

Station Finishes

  • There was a question about station finishes where the answer quickly pivoted to the joys of above-ground stations and sunlight. This has nothing to do with downtown, underground stations. Do you plan simple bare concrete stations for the Ontario Line or not?

Ontario Line Oct/21 Consultations: Lakeshore East Joint Corridor

This meeting mainly dealt with the Early Works portion of the Ontario Line and GO Expansion projects between the Don River and Gerrard Street including construction effects and post-completion conditions.

A separate EA looking at the Ontario Line overall including future operations and mitigation of noise and vibration issues will be available in early 2022.

Metrolinx assured everyone that no construction work will begin until the Minister approves the Early Works Environmental Assessment, but that statement is true only as far as it applies to things in the EA.

Other work such as vegetation clearing was approved in the GO Expansion and Electrification EAs, and could start any time. Clearing is already in progress elsewhere in corridor and on the GO network. In the Joint Corridor it will begin later this fall, but specific dates have not been announced. A strange statement by Metrolinx claimed that any removals for the Ontario Line will not take place until the EA is approved by the Minister. This is potentially misleading given that approvals already exist by way of the approved GO Expansion.

Metrolinx appears to be less then forthright about their actual timeline. Meanwhile, they claim that consultation will continue as the project goes into detailed design. That will not occur until well into 2022.

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Ontario Line Oct/21 Consultations: Downtown Segment

On October 7, a meeting date deferred from September 30, Metrolinx conducted a public consultation session on the downtown segment of the Ontario Line. This was (and still is) advertised as including “Osgoode, Queen, Moss Park and Corktown Stations”, but Osgoode was nowhere to be found.

Osgoode will be a complex station including an interchange with the University Subway (Line 1), and as originally proposed it includes a new entrance on the lands of Osgoode Hall. There was no information about this station in the presentation, and only a vague confirmation that there would be a future meeting to deal with this site.

Queen Station and its construction was covered in some detail, followed by Moss Park with rather less and Corktown with almost nothing. A major problem for Metrolinx is that they expect, nay demand, that the public comment on their plans with a short timeline because moving projects forward is so important. However, their procurement strategy leaves unveiling of many details well beyond the point where anything could actually be changed.

As in past articles of this series, I have reordered the presentation and Q&A session to group topics together for clarity.

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Ontario Line Sept/21 Consultations: Eastern Segment

This article continues a series begun with Ontario Line Sept/21 Consultations: Western and Northern Segments to summarize Metrolinx open houses for the Ontario Line.

The fourth session on the downtown segment, originally scheduled for September 30, has been deferred to October 7. A new consultation to deal with the just-released Draft Early Works EAs for East Harbour and the Joint GO/Ontario Line Corridor has been scheduled for October 5.

Updated Sept. 28 at 6:30 pm: A small section of text that was still in rough draft form when this article was published has been updated to “fair copy”.

Updated Sept. 28 at 11:30 pm: Minor revisions and sundry typos corrected.

Scope

This meeting was complicated by having two major reports land only a few hours before it started, and that skewed a lot of attention to material that community attendees were not able to read and digest in time, not to mention some confusion by Metrolinx itself about some of the fine details. Metrolinx keeps scoring “own goals” like this by claiming to want debate and discussion, but acting in a way that precludes this happening.

As if that is not bad enough, some of the key issues the community expected to hear about such as tree clearing along the corridor are still under study and there is not yet an inventory of what will be affected. With the billions available to Metrolinx, this late delivery suggests that it was a recent add-on to their workload, not something they could have undertaken months ago.

Needless to say, Metrolinx really does not want to talk about the “hybrid” scheme to route the Ontario Line from East Harbour Station to an underground alignment that would travel north on the already-approved Relief Line Carlaw-Pape route. More about this later.

According to the two Early Works documents, the combined scope of work is:

East Harbour

  • reconfiguration of the existing Lakeshore East GO tracks to accommodate station facilities and future Ontario Line tracks;
  • construction of station facilities such as platforms and entrances;
  • replacement and expansion of the existing Eastern Avenue rail bridge to accommodate four Lakeshore East GO tracks and two future Ontario Line tracks; and
  • site preparation activities such as grading, demolition of existing structures where required, and utility relocation or protection.

Joint Corridor: Eastern to Pape

  • Reconfiguration of existing GO tracks to support future Ontario Line infrastructure;
  • Replacement of the existing rail bridges at Queen Street East, Dundas Street East and Logan Avenue;
  • Construction of new bridges at Dundas Street East and Logan Avenue to support future Ontario Line tracks;
  • Construction of the foundations for GO Overhead Catenary System (OCS) poles and supporting infrastructure to accommodate future fourth GO track;
  • Construction of retaining walls; and
  • Construction of noise barriers, including east of Pape Avenue.

Reconfiguration of existing GO tracks involves more than just side-to-side realignment to fit in four where there are now three. Metrolinx plans to change the elevation of the rail corridor so that there will be a consistent 5m clearance under all of the bridges. This requires not just new bridges, but a change to the level of the railway between the bridges. The change is greatest at Eastern Avenue reduces gradually north to Gerrard.

An important note about the “Early Works” reports: With the exception of an Operational Noise and Vibration Study that looks at post-opening conditions for expanded GO and Ontario Line service, the Early Works reports consider only the effect of those specific works, mainly the construction activity, not of the permanent change to the neighbourhood or the effect of future GO or OL construction. That information will not show up until the final Environmental Assessment by which time it will be almost impossible to alter the plans.

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A Very Busy GO Corridor (Sept. 2021 Update)

Updated October 20, 2021: A table has been added as a postscript showing the numbers underlying the charts in the article that consolidate GO and Ontario Line traffic.

Back in May 2021, I wrote about the total number of trains that Metrolinx plans to operate in the corridor between East Harbour and Gerrard Stations. See A Very Busy Go Corridor.

Metrolinx has released a Noise & Vibration Study showing, among other things, a revised table of service levels for the routes that will operate in this corridor. See LSE-JC N&V Operations Report issued as Appendix C to the Ontario Line Lakeshore East Joint Corridor Early Works Report. The detailed breakdown of services by motive power type, express and local, and track assignments begins on page 60 of the Operations Report.

The new numbers differ from those published previously:

  • There is an increase primarily in the number of GO express trains.
  • The new report includes Ontario Line maximum service levels for 2060 and beyond.

During a recent online consultation for the East Segment of the Ontario Line, Metrolinx claimed that the count of trains cited by the community is too high (at about 1,500 per day) and that the number is around 900.

Quite bluntly, Metrolinx staff should read their own reports. Too often they give misinformed answers to communities to blunt criticism while being out of touch with their own proposals. Whether this is deliberate misrepresentation or simple incompetence is a debate for another day.

The tables in the Operations Report show very clearly the projected counts of GO, Ontario Line and other trains. (Note that there is no provision for the addition of a proposed High Frequency Rail service on top of this.) The numbers in the spreadsheet below are copied from the Operations Report. The only change is the addition of totals.

The grand total of trains on the expanded GO corridor will be 691 of which 581 will operate between 7am and 11pm, and 110 will operate between 11pm and 7am. (See LSE OnCorr Tracks, East Harbour to Danforth – Combined Table, p62.)

The number of Ontario Line trains begins at 912 per day in 2030 (per the Preliminary Design Business Case), ramps up to 984 by 2040 (again from the PDBC) and to 1130 by 2060 (Operations Report).

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Ontario Line Sept/21 Consultations: Western and Northern Segments

Updated September 22, 2021 at 6:50 am: Minor editorial corrections for typos and references between sections.

Updated September 22, 2021 at 12:05 pm: The date of the Downtown segment consultation has been changed by Metrolinx to October 7.

Updated September 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm: There are separate public engagement meetings related to “Transit Oriented Communities” organized by Infrastructure Ontario: Corktown (September 27), King/Bathurst (September 29), Exhibition (October 4), Queen/Spadina (October 6).

Throughout September, Metrolinx is conducting a second round of consultations covering four segments of the Ontario Line. The Western and Northern segments were the subject of recent meetings, while the Eastern and Downtown segments will be dealt with on September 23 and October 7, respectively. The Early Works Report for the Eastern segment is also expected to be released on September 23.

Videos of the past sessions are available on the linked pages together with a log of questions posed by participants. Some questions are answered in the video, and (eventually) those that were not covered in the online session are answered on the event page. (As I write this, only the Western segment page includes replies.)

A common part of all four sessions is a short presentation on the Station Design Principles for the Ontario Line. Although interesting in its own right, this diverts attention from some of the burning issues in specific neighbourhoods. Indeed, it is clear that Metrolinx treats some neighbourhood concerns as settled issues that will not be debated further.

For example, discussion of the Maintenance Facility in Thorncliffe Park now looks at superficial topics such as how it will be designed to fit into the community, but completely avoids the issue of site selection. Based on Metrolinx replies to queries from the City of Toronto, it is likely that the same tactic will be taken with the over/under alignment question in Riverside.

To a casual observer, this can give the impression that any residual grumbling is just sour grapes from those who are not willing to give up their fight.

In this article, I will deal with the two past sessions and issues of interest raised in them. Yes, gentle reader, I have watched over three hours of video to spare you the experience.

The Q&A information below has been reordered from the sequence in the online session to group related items together. In some cases, I have my own comments on the issues and these are flagged as such separate from the voices of participants in the meetings.

Questions about station design are included in that section of the article unless they are specific to an individual station.

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