The Relief Line plan is stirring up questions in the eastern part of Toronto at the many public consultations being held in June surrounding the preferred alignment that was recently approved by City Council on March 31.
I attended the June 2 meeting for the Relief Line at Riverdale Collegiate (1094 Gerrard St. E). The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) provided ample information for the chosen preferred alignment and favoured station options to the public. Alignment Option EQ would go from Osgoode and Queen Stations and then deviate to Eastern Ave. before redirecting back to Queen St. and heading north to Pape Station.
The TTC discussed various reasons for the preferred alignment to help the community understand why Option EQ came out on top. The Relief Line team explained that Queen emerged as a better option because of the impact of traffic on Richmond during construction. The deviation to Eastern Ave. also made the Unilever GO station accessible. Currently, the Corktown region has limited transit options and the Relief Line will help open up the community.
After the presentations, the community brought up concerns about placing the new subway on Pape Ave. This avenue is a two-lane street and is quite narrow. Many people expressed that they would rather see the subway line on Carlaw Ave., which is a four-lane road. The TTC representative explained that Carlaw has turns in the street, which makes it untenable for building whereas Pape Ave. runs straight northward from Queen to Pape Station. No other northbound routes were alternatively proposed for the Relief Line.
Another key concern that arose at the meeting was noise pollution. The community is worried about the high level of noise from the subway if the route is built on such a narrow corridor. The Relief Line team explained they would be required to do a noise and vibration study to stay within certain confines, which will effectively limit noise. They also emphasized that the newer subways being used in future transit projects are much quieter than the subways used along Line 2.
Additionally, the proposed stations are Pape/Danforth, Pape/Gerrard, Pape/Queen, Broadview/ Queen, King/ Sumach, Queen/Sherbourne, Queen/Yonge, and Queen/University. The King/Sumach station would connect the Corktown community to the Relief Line and Queen/Sherbourne would provide the marginalized Moss Park area more transit options. Questions came up concerning the close proximity of the stations, and the team clarified the station locations were chosen based on the high concentration of pedestrian traffic along the preferred alignment.
Though the TTC attempted to respond to several questions, many of the detailed concerns around design could not answered. The Relief Line has an approximate timeline of eight years for design and implementation, and certain elements such as noise pollution and how the subway will be constructed along Pape Ave. are yet to be determined. The TTC did promise to communicate more effectively for future meetings in June, including a mail drop for residents along Pape Ave.
More public meetings are set to be held in the east end about the Relief Line on June 15 at Matty Eckler Community Centre (935 Gerrard St. E) and June 20 at Calvary Church (746 Pape Ave).
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