TTC reverts back to original plan on Strathmore
Not all residents pleased with project location
(Written Feb. 4 for Town Crier. Update here.)
After spending over six months investigating alternatives for a second exit at Donlands station the Toronto Transit Commission is back where it started.
The commission has reverted back to their original plan, which involves purchasing or expropriating homes at 1 and 3 Strathmore Boulevard and partial expropriation of about 10 houses on the same street.
The plan drew the ire of residents in the area when it was first announced back in 2010, as many don’t want to see homes on Strathmore removed.
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said a number of alternatives were considered when planners went back to the drawing board, including putting the exit on part of a church redevelopment site on Dewhurst Boulevard.
“There’s a sewer there and there was some original thinking that it could be relocated, but in the end Toronto Water looked at it as well and said, ‘you can’t move that sewer because of risk of back-up into Dewhurst into basements,’” he said.
But Strathmore resident Lisa Dymond isn’t buying it.
She said she obtained documents related to the TTC’s plans and at one point, city staff had agreed to a sewer relocation.
However, it’s possible the plan hit a snag because the church property owner wasn’t willing to sell enough of the site to the city in order to provide clearance for the sewer to be moved.
The TTC also looked at placing a second subway exit near Wilkinson Public School on the northeast corner of Donlands Avenue and Strathmore Boulevard.
But that won’t achieve the TTC’s goals, Ross explained.
The existing exit is across the street on the southeast corner of the same intersection, so adding a second exit near the school will mean two exits at Strathmore and Donlands and no exit on the other end of the platform, at Dewhurst.
Dymond asked the TTC to explore the option of building an exit at 17 and 19 Strathmore instead, but that would have required a longer tunnel for passengers to exit, which would violate a two-minute maximum evacuation rule.
Dymond says she prefers the 17 and 19 Strathmore option, and so did the independent consultant DTAH the TTC hired to examine options.
Building a new exit there would bring consistency to the street as there are other commercial uses around it including a bank, church, garage and restaurant, Dymond said.
She has also raised concerns about a similar second exit project at Greenwood station.
The National Fire Protection Association has a 25-metre requirement on how far the platform should be to the bottom of the stairs of a second exit.
The plan for Greenwood’s second exit is 70 metres from the far right end of the platform to the stairs, she said.
“The TTC says the 25-metre distance from the end of the platform to (exit stairs) isn’t a rule,” she said, adding she obtained a 2005 TTC document that references the 23-metre rule in second exit design principles.
But Ross said the second exit for Greenwood station to be located on Linsmore Crescent meets safety standards.
“We have improved the dead end space which is one of the options and meets the standards of under two minutes (evacuation time),” he said.
TTC Chair Karen Stintz backs up Ross’s statement.
“(The TTC) did compromise on the distance from the platform to the beginning of the exit, but they met overall safety goals at Greenwood.”
Dymond said the TTC bent over backward to accommodate residents’ uproar over possible expropriation of Strathmore homes for the Greenwood station exit and decided on the Linsmore alternative instead.
She just wants the same consideration.
“We’d like them to look at these two stations and give Donlands the fair treatment it deserves,” Dymond said. “It comes down to an issue of fairness of process.”
Stintz says she appreciates that Dymond is holding the TTC to account, but they have exhausted all other options for a second exit at Donlands.