This past winter and spring have been a busy time for CodeRedTO and for transit news in the GTHA, so here’s a big update about what CodeRedTO has been up to, and what’s coming next!
See below for updates on these topics:
- Light Rail Projects in Ontario
- Subway Projects
- SmartTrack and GO Regional Express Rail
- Activities in partnership with Move The GTHA
- Supporting Local Transit Advocacy
- Upcoming Events
Light Rail Projects in Ontario
The Finch West LRT in north-west Toronto was recently confirmed as fully-funded and moving ahead by the provincial government. Preparations and procurement have begun including an Environmental Assessment for the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) required for the light rail vehicles (LRVs) that will bring faster, higher-capacity, and more predictable transit to northern Etobicoke. Construction is expected to begin in 2017, with the line opening in 2021. Metrolinx is hosting an Open House for the MSF at 1685 Finch Avenue West from 7-9pm on June 24. Learn more
The Sheppard East LRT in north-east Toronto, which began construction in 2009 (scheduled to open in 2013) but was put on hiatus in 2010, has not resumed construction. The provincial government recently stated that construction would resume after the Finch West LRT opens, in 2021 at the earliest, with the line opening in 2025 at the earliest. Several members of Toronto City Council and MPPs at Queen’s Park continue to push against this project.
The Hamilton “B-Line” LRT was recently awarded full funding by the provincial government in a welcome move to build new rapid transit for Hamilton’s growing population, and is moving ahead with procurement expected to begin in 2017, construction in 2019, and the line opening in 2024. Learn more
Mississauga & Brampton’s Hurontario-Main LRT was recently awarded full funding by the provincial government, although some Brampton councillors continue to push against this project traveling on the approved and more direct route through their downtown. CodeRedTO partners Fight Gridlock in Brampton are building support for this major transit improvement for Brampton. Learn more
Kitchener-Waterloo’s iON LRT continues major construction, with its partner Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line reaching Cambridge residents and businesses (to be upgraded to LRT in future). Operations are expected to begin in 2017 – the first operational light rail line in Ontario! Learn more
Ottawa’s Confederation Line LRT upgrade to its existing east-west BRT Transitway continues tunnel and station excavation and construction, and begins track construction this year. Operations are expected to begin in 2018. Learn more
The Scarborough Subway Extension continues its early stages, with corridor evaluation and future station location evaluation. The precise locations of stations, and estimates of costs above the initial $3.5 billion expected, are still to be determined. CodeRedTO is participating in this project’s “Stakeholder Advisory Group” to contribute to the quality and effectiveness of this council-approved extension. Eight different public meetings are being held June 13-25 to discuss the project and hear from residents and businesses about their preferences. This extension is expected to open in 2023 at the earliest. Learn more
The Relief Subway Line continues the planning process of corridor evaluation and future station location evaluation. The recommended locations of stations, and estimates of costs, are expected to become available in September 2015. This project has been proposed multiple times since the 1980’s as the subway network has become more congested, but has no committed funding. Completing the planning process now allows a faster start in future once funding has been identified. CodeRedTO is participating in this project’s “Stakeholder Advisory Group” to contribute to the quality and effectiveness of this future line. Similar to the Scarborough project, eight different public meetings are being held June 13-25 to discuss this project and hear from residents and businesses and community groups about their preferences and needs. Learn more
SmartTrack and GO Regional Express Rail
Metrolinx is planning to upgrade large sections of its GO Train network to use electric trains instead of diesel, which allows faster and more frequent service, even with additional stops. The term being used for this improved service is borrowed from the Paris RER, but is translated to “Regional Express Rail.” The province recently announced significant funding for this project, with electrified service beginning within the next decade.
Electrified RER is a prerequisite for the SmartTrack proposal from Toronto Mayor John Tory, however there is no funding yet identified for SmartTrack. As part of the city’s planning process, eight days of public meetings are being held June 13-25 to discuss the project options and community needs. Learn more about RER and SmartTrack.
Related to RER and SmartTrack is the Union Pearson Express (UPX) rail line to Pearson airport, which opened June 6th. Priced separately from both TTC and GO fares as a premium service, this line may be absorbed into RER and SmartTrack in future due to overlapping ridership and restricted track space.
Activities in partnership with Move The GTHA
In 2012, CodeRedTO helped co-found Move The GTHA, a diverse group of organizations from health, labour, business, policy, environment, and citizen advocacy working together to build awareness, engagement and education in support of investment in our region’s transportation system. We have worked together to advocate for improved transit investment by the provincial government, to provide support for existing approved projects, and have met with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca to forcefully discuss these issues.
In May, CodeRedTO signed on to a letter to the Premier regarding future carbon pricing in Ontario, advocating for this revenue to be directed toward transit operations and expansion to help decrease our reliance on personal vehicles run on fossil fuels as much as possible. We recently received a detailed and positive response from the Premier, and we look forward to learning more.
Last week, CodeRedTO signed on to a statement regarding the future of the Gardiner East (from Jarvis to the DVP). This section of the expressway supports only 3% of commuters, compared to 72% who use transit, walk, or cycle into the downtown core. Our view is that the large investment required to maintain the Gardiner East would be better spent supporting the many tens of thousands more commuters in our bus, streetcar, future LRT, and subway network. Learn more from our partner organization CodeBlueTO.
Supporting Local Transit Advocacy
Thanks to some funding from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, CodeRedTO has been able to increase our support for local advocates across the GTHA, including Our Place Initiative in Etobicoke who are working for improved streetcar options for their residents, North West Transit Action who are working to build support and community benefits for the Finch West LRT line, Scarborough Transit Action who are pushing back against repeated delays and cancellations of rapid transit for residents across Scarborough, and others. If your organization is working on transit issues please let us know and tell us how we can help!
TTC Riders is holding their Annual General Meeting on June 17th from 5:15-8:30pm at 25 Cecil Street. Their keynote speaker is internationally-acclaimed author Naomi Klein, and you can hear about upcoming plans, get some tasty snacks, vote for new board members, and enter to win some great prizes!
Toronto Transit Alliance is holding the Big Debate on June 16th from 5:30-8:30pm at 227 Bloor Street East. Featuring Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McQuaig, former TTC Chair and Councillor Adam Giambrone and representatives of Ellis-Don and Munro Ltd, debating transit operations and transit network expansion.
Metrolinx is hosting an Open House for the Finch West LRT’s future Maintenance and Storage Facility, at 1685 Finch Avenue West from 7-9pm on June 24th. Learn more
The City of Toronto and the TTC are holding eight days of separate public meetings on SmartTrack, the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Relief Subway Line between June 13th and 25th, to hear from communities about their needs and preferences for these projects.
Metrolinx is hosting an Open House for the MSF at 1685 Finch Avenue West from 7-9pm on June 24th. Learn more
CodeRedTO welcomes volunteers from across the GTHA and beyond (not just TO!) to help us attend public meetings, contribute to “behind the scenes” planning meetings, create new infographics and messaging for improved transit debates, and more. Get in touch! Also, if you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. We’ll do our best to help!