The Waterfront Transit ‘Reset’ plan is open for discussion under the “motherlode” transit plan, beginning with public consultations in February and followed by a report being prepared for the City Executive Committee and Council with recommendations for the area.
The transit plan for the Waterfront has been identified as one of the top five unfunded transit projects in the city. Phase 1 study includes developing a vision and strategy for implementation of the waterfront transit network.
In November 2015, city council assigned staff to work with Waterfront Toronto and TTC to assess waterfront transit options. The funding was allocated from the amount set aside for the East Bayfront Transit in the Waterfront Revitalization Initiative and cannot exceed $250,000.
The possibilities being considered consist of coordinating SmartTrack with the waterfront, and connecting the transit lines from Lakeshare Blvd. to the rest of the city. The Waterfront West LRT, also known as the proposed ShoreLine, would close the gap between St. Joseph’s hospital and Exhibition Place. The East Bayfront LRT were identified as the eastern portion of the project. It also considers a possible GO transit stop at Park Lawn.
The Waterfront West LRT would connect the streetcar from the Exhibition GO station where it currently ends to the Humber/Long Branch streetcar. Currently, waterfront transit terminates at the Exhibition grounds and leaves commuters stuck in a large park area without viable transit options. The East Bayfront LRT would connect Parliament in the eastern portion of the waterfront to Union station where the waterfront streetcar currently terminates.
The coordinated transit plan released on February 2016 outlined the timeline for the waterfront transit “reset”, beginning with public consultations in February followed by a report to City Council in March. In April 2016, further public consultations will take place. A second report will then be released in May or June 2016 and a Metrolinx board meeting will be held to discuss the possible integration of SmartTrack with the Waterfront.
The next steps after Phase 1 study is complete include obtaining approval from council and proceeding with phase 2, environmental assessments of the area. The Waterfront Transit “Reset” is far from being a reality, but it is good to have the plan back on in council and moving forward.