Three public consultation for SmartTrack were held this week. The city, as well as representatives from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Metrolinx, was on hand to answer questions and give a quick presentation about the stations that would be built in that neighbourhood.
The public consultations are the next step into the planning of what James Perttula, Director of Transit and Transportation Planning, called a new, connected “urban transportation system.” He said the stations, which consist of six SmartTrack stations and two new GO stations, will be built in already developed areas so that it is able to effectively connect with hubs throughout the city.
The presentation given to the public included brief information on the 14-stop SmartTrack plan (and 8-12 stop Eglinton LRT). The city is hoping to provide all-day service along the three rail corridors — Kitchener, Lakeshore East, and Stouffville — with six to 10 minute service during peak hours and 15 minutes during off-peak. Fare integration will be pivotal to the success of SmartTrack. Toronto Mayor John Tory has indicated that he wants users of the TTC and SmartTrack to be able to use the same fare. At a press conference Thursday, he said his goal is to ensure the fares are not only the same, but also low enough for the average rider.
The city was looking for public input into how these stations can integrate into each neighbourhood. The discussion was limited to the design of the station rather than location or the SmartTrack plan as a whole.
Each station is specific to a neighbourhood’s needs, but they are also part of a bigger design for Toronto, including the integration into the Relief Line, the Gardiner Expressway revitalization, and Rail Deck Park.
The city will report to council in the spring of 2018 on all elements of SmartTrack, including cost analysis and ridership information. At this moment, the cost estimate is between $700 million and $1.5 billion. The city will only be paying for the six SmartTrack stops as opposed to the GO stations that are included in the overarching plan.
According to Perttula, SmartTrack should be operational as of 2025, although Tory is still pushing for an early 2020s delivery date.