Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Scarborough Centre Public Consultation Meeting - May 10, 2017

The public is invited to learn more about the Scarborough Centre on the Move Transportation Master Plan study and play a key role in determining future transportation network improvements at a second public consultation meeting.
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2017.
Time: 1:30 pm to 9:00 pm Drop-in Session
Place: Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive.

The following details were taken from the City of Toronto Notice of Second Public Consultation Meeting:

This is an excellent opportunity to provide your input on what is important from a transportation perspective in Scarborough Centre. The session's focus will be on c4reating a dynamic forum where productive discussions can take place.

Meeting Overview:
This interactive drop-in session will ask for your input and provide details on the transportation network alternatives being considered, the evaluation undertaken to date, and the preliminary preferred transportation network. Initial recommendations include:
  • Developing a simplified street network and a summary of key moves, including establishing a signalized at-grade intersection at McCowan Road and Progr4ess Avenue;
  • Improving pedestrian and cycling infrastructure throughout the Centre, and,
  • Supporting future transit improvements.
Study Purpose:
Over the next 20-30 years, Scarborough Centre is expected to change significantly through development and public sector investments. The Scarborough Centre on the Move Transportation Master Plan study will guide these changes and establish a transportation network supportive of all users, focusing on building connections within the Centre as well as to the surrounding area and the rest of the city. The study will support the vision and evolution of Scarborough Centre into a walkable and connected urban centre, with an efficient, safe, and balanced transportation network.

Study Area



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Birkdale Seniors are having a Garage Sale.

Birkdale Seniors are 

having a Garage Sale.


Where: Birkdale Community Centre
1299 Ellesmere Rd.
When: Saturday May 6 2017
9:00am – 1:00pm
We will have a used book room, lots of 
household and personal items, raffle draw 
and refreshments for sale
Vendor tables are available for used or craft goods or plant 
sale
$10.00 each
Call Karen @ 416-396-4069

Friday, March 24, 2017

Art Guild of Scarbrough Spring Art Show & Sale


The Art Guild Of Scarborough

Spring Art Show & Sale

Saturday & Sunday, March 25 & 26, 2017

10am to 5pm



Free Admission & Parking

Refreshments



Awards & Official Opening

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 10am



Centennial Community & Recreation Centre

1967 Ellesmere Road

Scarborough, ON

(between Markham & Bellamy)

For further information see our website:

http://theartguildofscarborough.com/events.html

or Call 416-439-6017.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Subway's Coming

Part Three

Written by Lorne Ross, March 2017.


Your Glen Andrew representatives were invited to meet Mayor Tory’s Chief of Staff on February 24th to discuss our ideas for the subway. I attended for Iain McLeod who was travelling out of the country. Joining us were Gary Comeau from Glen Andrew, Gail Doehler from North Bendale and Lai Chu from Agincourt.

The Mayor’s Staff brought in James Perttula from City Planning and Gary Carr from TTC to listen once again to our presentation.

Results of the Meeting

No subway station at Lawrence. Not now. Not ever.

The main reason is because the TTC proposes to tunnel under the creek which runs under McCowan just north of the hospital. That means the subway tunnel is VERY deep when it passes under Lawrence. So deep that it would be incredibly disruptive and expensive to build a station there.  And expensive to operate with quite likely multiple escalator lifts to street level.


We showed them their own plans for bridging over the Don River when they did plans in 2009 to extend the Yonge Subway to Richmond Hill. They looked at tunneling under. Compared it to bridging over. And chose to bridge.

They even did an artist’s rendering of what a double deck bridge over the Don would look like. That’s Yonge Street on top and the subway running underneath.
 We showed them all their own arguments about the benefits of bridging over as opposed to tunneling under a watercourse.  We asked why those same benefits don’t apply to bridging over the humble Highland Creek. No answer.
Then we heard a very unusual word from the TTC engineers. They said their engineers studied it and studied it for over a year and they just “can’t” make a bridge work.
A lot of people in Glen Andrew have worked in the building, design and engineering trades. I bet like me they must be very surprised to hear an engineer say ‘can’t’ when it comes to designing a bridge over a little creek like we have coming out of Thompson Park.
So we said well if you’ve studied it for over a year, can we have a copy of the study to better understand why not. And the answer is: there is no study. They can’t give us anything.
Their second reason for no station at Lawrence is there is not enough ‘walk in’ trade from the surrounding area. 
It’s really difficult to remain sitting down in a meeting when you hear that kind of stuff from TTC-City Planning. They know:
1. The key to getting riders onto a subway station anywhere outside of the downtown is to bring them in on TTC bus routes and Kiss’n’Ride facilities;
2. Subway stations outside the downtown core that have really poor bus service have pathetically low usage. High Park, Donlands, Greenwood, Museum, Castle Frank, Chester, Rosedale, Old Mill, Summerhill and Glencairn subway stations have very low usage and really weak bus service to bring in passengers. 
3. The Lawrence East bus in contrast carries over 36,000 passengers a day. It’s the sixth busiest bus route in the whole city. Once the subway to Vaughan opens, Lawrence East could be the third or fourth busiest bus route in the city;
 4. The TTC is busy building magnificent new subway stations on the Vaughan subway at Pioneer Village, Downsview Park and here’s my favourite, on Jane Street across the road from one of the city’s largest cemeteries. How much ‘walk in trade’ will they generate? How much density is there around Pioneer Village?
5. And here’s the kicker: they don’t want a station at Lawrence because if the subway stopped there it would add maybe 40 seconds to the ride from Scarborough Centre to Kennedy station. I tend to think you would want to stop a subway at a hospital, a nursing home, a seniors’ apartment, lots of other health care services AND ESPECIALLY AT THE CITY’S 6TH BUSIEST BUS ROUTE.  I don’t see any talk about shutting down the stations at Donlands, Chester, Greenwood and Castle Frank, all of which have pathetically low usage. That would ‘save’ Scarborough commuters almost 3 minutes on their trip downtown! And save a ton of maintenance costs. Let those people take the bus to the next station. That’s what Scarborough transit riders do.
The real reason is they simply don’t want a station at Lawrence. They want people to stay on the Lawrence East bus and ride over to the proposed Lawrence Station on the Smart Track-Stouffville GO line. 
ROUGHING IN A SUBWAY STATION: NOT GOING TO HAPPEN
A lot of people want more than a ‘one stop subway’. They want a station at Lawrence, maybe a future station down Danforth Road where it meets Eglinton. A three stop subway. They are hoping the TTC can ‘rough in’ the stations now and come back later to finish the job.
Let’s be very clear about one thing: there is no such thing as ‘roughing in’ a station.  You either build a station now when you build the subway or you forget about it. And the answer we’re getting from the TTC and City Planning is ‘Forget about it.’
THE BIG BEND ALIGNMENT 
The Staff report and Executive Committee decision of March 7th pretty much put The Big Bend Alignment to bed. TTC engineers had another one of those mysterious “Can’t do it” moments. They looked at two tunnels curving out of Scarborough Centre Station: one  was such a tight curve it ran into the foundations of the YMCA; and the other was so broad a curve it ran way out and under 22 homes on the east side of McCowan. 
That’s funny. Did they look at a curve somewhere been ‘too tight’ and ‘too broad’? 
It just might miss the YMCA on the one side and the homes on Stanwell on the other.  
We’ll never know.
We never did get the apples to apples cost comparison to their alignment we’ve been asking for since May last year. No costs were provided to keep the SRT cars running nor for the ‘extensive structural repairs’ required to the SRT track.
 Here’s the plan for the subway and bus terminal recommended by Staff.

The round shape on the left with ‘Triton Rd’ written on it is the movie theatres.
The proposed bus terminal is 70% larger than the existing Scarborough Centre bus terminal on Triton Road: this one has 34 bus bays although the plan to the left seems to show 30. It will be the ‘largest bus terminal in the TTC system’. 
It’s a ‘stacked’ bus terminal. The majority of the bus bays are down at the level of McCowan Road. The dark grey shape on the left noted as 12 bay bus platform is up at the level of the YMCA and Borough Drive.
Which means we are going to have a four level subway-bus station, pretty much like we have now at Kennedy Station. The subway boarding level will be way below ground. Above that but still well below ground is the subway mezzanine level. Above that is the first level bus terminal, level with McCowan Road. And the fourth level for 12 or 16 more buses will be higher up still.
They cannot start building the upper level bus terminal until after the subway opens. The SRT guideway is in the way. And their plan is somehow to keep the SRT running until the subway opens.  It may take 2 years after the subway opens to demolish the SRT guideway and open this upper level bus platform for Scarborough commuters.
This stacked station apparently costs as additional $178Million. Councillors once again rummaged under the couch cushions at City Hall and said “YUP! We found it! Carry on.”
This is the point where we finally understand the City Planning Department’s resistance to the Big Bend Alignment. They want the station to be on McCowan Road because it is the catalyst they need to completely rebuild McCowan and Progress north of Town Centre Court.  If the station were where we proposed it, their ideas to change McCowan-Progress would have to stand on their own. This way they are tied into the subway. 
Here’s what they said:
Today, McCowan Road is a challenging environment for pedestrians, including transit users. The road has been designed primarily for vehicles, with grade separated intersections at Progress Avenue and several free-flow access ramps. In order to achieve the vision for Scarborough Centre, it is critical to change the nature of McCowan Road in this area. Pedestrians must be able to access destinations, including the subway station, and they must feel safe walking along McCowan Road and crossing it.
Here’s an illustration from the staff report of McCowan looking north past the lower level bus terminal. The Progress Overpass is demolished. Progress is lowered down to intersect with McCowan at a new signalized intersection. Just north of that is another signalized intersection where a new street runs west from McCowan roughly where Jack Astor’s is today.  All the buildings you see will come along after the subway is built. And I’m sure you eagle eyed Glen Andrew folk will note there’s almost no traffic on McCowan! That’s what we want: two more traffic signals, the city’s largest bus terminal, and all the traffic disappears!
 As an aside, and to tie into my article about Grade Separations, if I found $178Million under City Hall couch cushions  I’d start work immediately on the 4 grade separations we need to keep Danforth, Progress, Huntingwood and McNicoll open once the expanded GO service starts through Scarborough.
Connecting to the Sheppard Subway
As far as ever connecting this subway into a future Sheppard Subway we’ve been told that’s not in the plans. In fact City Planners told us in December that they want to start the process to take the Sheppard Subway out of the Toronto Official Plan this year.
But, not to worry. If it is ever built they said it could come in from the west and they’d just excavate another station underneath this one they want to build on McCowan so you could transfer from one to the other.
This from the folks who ‘can’t’ figure out how to get a bridge over the Highland Creek.
Or, what the heck, maybe the Sheppard Subway runs east all the way to McCowan, then turns south and runs right into this new station they want to build.
Or maybe not.
Lorne Ross.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Emerging Vision for McCowan Road

Part Two

Written by Lorne Ross, March 2017



The City Planning Department invited Glen Andrew to attend a community consultation meeting on
February 7th. I attended for our President Iain McLeod.

 They  have been busy since last July doing something they call the Scarborough Centre Master
Transportation Plan.

 Here’s what they say is the purpose of the study:

 Vision Statement

The Scarborough Centre transportation network will develop in a way that supports the creation
of a diverse, attractive and safe mixed-use community which is easily accessible by all modes of transportation. This will be achieved by creating an easily navigable and fine-grained street network which provides infrastructure and amenities for all street users. This transportation network will be fully integrated into the regional transportation system, including the transit, pedestrian and cycling networks, and provide clear and easy connections to the surrounding communities.

 I especially like the part about improving our centre’s connection to the regional transportation network and to the surrounding community’ . If our centre is ever to achieve its goal as a vibrant downtown’ for Scarborough it will need to pretty much double the number of office buildings and condo towers we have today. You can’t do that unless our Centre is better connected to the broader region. And we in Glen Andrew will never be able to get to our Centre, let alone through it to 401 or northern Scarborough unless we are ‘better connected’.

At the February meeting they showed us their "Emerging Vision" for transportation in our Centre.

Here's the plan.


Pretty hard to read so I plotted the changes they want to make on the west side of the shopping centre around Brimley and the second one around McCowan, as per the air photographs below:




As far as I can figure every one of these will require the City to use 100% city tax dollars to:




A new road right through the middle of the parking lot between Canyon Creek and the multi-tenant commercial building, [Boston Pizza-Bulk Barn-Pier One-etc] , destroying half their parking;

Abandon, dig up and remove +\-300m of existing Progress Avenue, tear out the sewers, water mains, cables and wires that are under the street, take down the street lights, fire hydrants and all other utilities underneath/over the road;

Acquire or expropriate 4,000m2 of land from the big grassy field owned by the shopping centre

Abandon, dig up and remove +\-300m of existing Borough Drive south of Progress Avenue, tear out the sewers, water mains, cables and wires that are under the street, take down the street lights, fire hydrants and all other utilities underneath/over the road;

Rebuild +\-600m of new road, sidewalks, street lights, water mains, sewers, cables- pipes- wires
and hydrants in nice straight lines;

Install three new traffic signals

Loblaws, Canyon Creek, and all the other merchants face costs to redo’ all their driveways
connecting to these new streets.



Progress will no longer be a through route between Kennedy Road and Markham Road and over 401 to
Sheppard: it will effectively be broken into two segments at Brimley Road.

None of these changes help people who live and work in our Centre get to any of the arterial roads or the 401. It does nothing to better connect our Centre to the surrounding communities.

AND AS AN ADDED BONUS: the transportation experts planning Smart Track are proposing to dead end Progress between Midland and Kennedy. They have Billions to improve GO train service but nothing to keep our roads open.


             

So here’s the question: If you had millions and millions of tax dollars to spend in our Centre to improve how people move around, is this what you would do with it?




This portion of the emerging vision would require the City to:

1.   Demolish the Progress overpass over McCowan Road;


2.   Demolish the Progress westbound to McCowan northbound on ramp;

3.   Rebuild +\-200m of Progress Avenue as a straight east-west street which, rather than rising up to go over the overpass, would be dropped down to cross McCowan at a new traffic signal;

4.   Demolish the southbound McCowan to Progress off ramp;

5.   Purchase or expropriate +\-3,200m2 of the shopping centre’s east parking lot to extend Borough Drive straight north from its present terminus under the SRT guideway beside the YMCA to where it runs into existing Progress northbound;

6.   Purchase or expropriate 1,400m2 of the mall’s property through Jack Astor’s parking lot;

7.   Purchase or expropriate land from the shopping centre’s La-Z-Boy parking lot to straighten out’

the Corporate Drive-Progress/new Borough Drive intersection as a “T” intersection;

8.   Require the shopping centre to ‘redo’ all of its driveway systems/parking layouts on the east

side of the mall;

9.   Dig up and rebuild/relocate whatever sewers, water mains, fire hydrants, pipes-wires-conduits, street lights and other utilities which are in the way of these new-relocated streets.



Every one of these proposals will require 100% city funding. None of these changes improves our Centre’s connection to the regional transportation system. None of these changes improves our centre’s connection to surrounding communities like Agincourt, Malvern, Glen Andrew and North Bendale.


There are no cost estimates. So if I throw out a figure of say $75Million. If you found that kind of money under the couch cushions at City Hall, is this what you would spend it on to help our Centre grow?




McCowan Gets Two More Traffic Signals

Everyone knows, even the Planning Department knows, that McCowan Road from Ellesmere north to the 401 ramps is running way over capacity today.

Traffic is stop and go north from Ellesmere until you pass where all the buses come out onto McCowan at Triton. Sometimes you can’t even ‘clear the intersectionon a green light. Then its clear sailing north to the traffic signals at the 401 ramps.

The emerging vision puts an end to that. They want two more traffic signals on McCowan Road: one at the proposed new level intersection with Progress and another about where Jack Astor’s is located today.
  

AND: The most recent plans from the TTC-City Planning place a
34 bay bus terminal just west of McCowan between Progress and Town Centre Court.

That’s a 70% increase over the existing Scarborough Centre bus terminal, 10 new bus bays for TTC.



And as far as I can determine, all the buses will enter-exit from McCowan Road.
 AND: One of the bus bays proposed for our Centre is for something called Durham Bus Rapid Transit. This is a $500Million project to run buses from Oshawa’s downtown through Whitby and Pickering downtowns into the U of T Scarborough campus and on to our Scarborough Centre along Ellesmere. The bus is supposed to travel in its own dedicated ‘bus only’ lane. As we all know Ellesmere east of McCowan is two lanes each direction today. So here’s the question: will they spend the money to widen Ellesmere to three lanes each way from McCowan to Military Trail, and widen Military Trail from one lane each way to twoadding a lane for the Durham bus…or will they take out an existing lane. Let me see: that’s almost 7 kilometers x two new lanes = 14 kilometers of new lanes and all they need in our huge new bus terminal is one bus bay?


 So to add it all up, here’s the ‘emerging vision for transportation in and around our community:

Dead end Passmore, McNicoll, Huntingwood, Havendale, Progress and Danforth Road at the
Stouffville GO tracks;
Break Progress again at Brimley and again at Corporate Drive;
Put in two more traffic signals on McCowan between Ellesmere and 401;
Build a 34 bay bus depot on the west side of McCowan with all the buses running on McCowan;
 Maybe reduce Ellesmere between McCowan and Military Trail to one lane each way for general vehicle traffic so the Durham bus can run in its own lane.
  
That should really improve our Centre and our community!

Lorne Ross
Saratoga Drive, Scarborough