Welcome to May! The snow is gone (we hope), the temperatures are getting warmer, more vaccines are rolling out, and some pieces of the Yonge-Steeles redevelopment jigsaw puzzle are beginning to fall into place. Here are this past month’s updates, mostly related to Transportation:
- Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE)
- Clark Subway Station
- Thornhill Community Coalition (TCC) Formed
- City of Toronto Yonge Street North Transportation Study
- Vaughan Yonge Steeles Working Group
- LPAT Proceedings– Gupta, Salz, and Mizrahi Official Plan & Zoning By-law Appeals
- Helping to Keep You Informed
Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE)
There were many public meetings in the City of Markham regarding the YNSE in April. The Steeles station has been confirmed as a Primary station. The most contentious issue is Metrolinx’s proposed realignment of the northern stations, to tunnel under homes in the Royal Orchard neighbourhood to line up with the CN/GO rail line into the Richmond Hill GO station at High Tech road instead of the original plan to go all the way up Yonge Street and curve at Langstaff. Metrolinx will choose ONE of Cummer, Clark or Royal Orchard as a Neighbourhood station to stay within their $5.2 Billion budget envelope. I invite you to visit the Royal Orchard Ratepayers Association (RORA) website (www.subwayatro.com) to learn more about Option 3. RORA is organizing a peaceful, socially-distanced human chain protest planned for Saturday, May 15th. To register for that, go to https://forms.gle/XNrLFyzrUxGi9w3C6.
[NOTE: SFRA is not taking a position on Option 3 for the YNSE alignment, but is encouraging our members to stay informed on the issue and to decide for themselves.]
Clark Subway Station
Yesterday, SFRA along with other adjacent ratepayers’ groups and local politicians attended a briefing from Metrolinx, arranged by Keep York Moving, another local volunteer organization. We learned that of the three Neighbourhood stations (Cummer, Clark and Royal Orchard), Clark has the strongest business case from Metrolinx’s perspective in terms of potential transit rider use. We also learned that they are considering a small (3-bay) bus terminal at Clark for the feeder YRT/Viva buses in the area, bicycle parking, and perhaps a passenger-pick up/drop off (“kiss ‘n ride”) area. The provincial government is expected to make a final decision on a Neighbourhood station by the end of 2021.
Metrolinx is planning on holding a public meeting for the Clark Station towards the end of May as part of their community consultations. When we get the details, we will provide more information about the public meeting, through our email list, Facebook page, and the NextDoor-Crestwood-Springfarm-Yorkhill group.
Thornhill Community Coalition (TCC) Formed
As part of our continuing advocacy work, we have teamed up with the other ratepayer associations on both sides of Yonge street between Steeles and Highway 407. The Thornhill Community Coalition, comprising SFRA, Flamingo Ratepayers Association (in Vaughan), Grandview Area Residents Association, Ward One (South) Thornhill Residents Inc, Aileen-Willowbrook Residents Association, and Royal Orchard Ratepayers’ Association (in Markham), are united in our concern about the numerous independent proposals for massive developments on both the east and west sides of Yonge Street along the proposed subway extension, from Steeles Avenue north to the Langstaff Gateway lands, and their collective impact on the quality of life for citizens.
This past Tuesday, the TCC sent a letter to Councillors Alan Shefman (Vaughan) and Keith Irish (Markham, Ward 1) requesting that Vaughan, Markham, and York Region Councils direct their respective planning departments to work together, in concert with local residents, to achieve a coherent plan for new development along Yonge Street from north of Steeles to the Langstaff GO station in Richmond Hill. To see a copy of the letter and resolution sent to the local Councillors, Mayors, as well as Regional Councillors, go to Thornhill Community Coalition letter.
City of Toronto Yonge Street North Transportation Study
There is also a City of Toronto virtual public meeting this coming Monday, May 10th from 7-9pm on its Yonge Street North Planning Study and Transportation Master Plan (from Cummer to Steeles). SFRA will monitor to see any implications for Yonge & Steeles. Go to https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/planning-studies-initiatives/yonge-street-north-planning-study/ to register to attend.
Vaughan Yonge Steeles Working Group
On April 29th, our five SFRA reps attended Councillor Shefman’s Vaughan-Yonge-Steeles Working Group. There were presentations from Metrolinx, the City’s Parks Planning staff, and the Yonge-Steeles Landowners Group. We asked some questions and learned a few new things;
Metrolinx – Yonge North Subway Extension
- The Steeles subway station will be built on the south side of Steeles due to the location of the York Durham Sewage System line on the north side, with a primary entrance on the south side and a secondary entrance on the north side of Steeles. That station was fully warranted based on just the current volume of bus transfers, and on density in the Official Plan and Secondary Plan.
- The ridership models to support Steeles station were based on a combination of population AND employment. (two-way travel).
- Toronto will not allow YNSE to operate until the Ontario (relief) line is open – because of overcrowding for their residents down the line.
- Metrolinx prefers to have a joint TTC/YRT bus terminal on the south west corner of Yonge & Steeles (where Centrepoint Mall is) and the province is “working on resolving the two-fare problem” between the two systems.
- A Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Steeles is likely to follow the subway extension. They have indicated that it would be a medianed line (like the one on Centre Street west of Bathurst) instead of just a dedicated bus lane each way.
- The minimum population density for the Steeles station catchment area is 200 persons + jobs per hectare. (note: the average population density for Yonge & Steeles proposals to date is 1,600 persons per hectare)
- Our city planners view our (future) neighbourhood as fully urban, not suburban, and will allocate and plan parkland accordingly.
- The amount of park space proposed is somewhat below the City’s Active Together Master Plan (ATMP) standard of 1.12 hectares per 1,000 residents
- There is a Vaughan Urban Design Guideline standard for minimum sunlight duration for park space of 5-6 hours per day.
Landowners Group – Vision
- The landowners group represents 9.2 ha of lands within the Secondary Plan’s total 25 hectares.
- Their vision is for a new community focused on a comprehensive parks and road network with integrated community facilities
- A linear park system, spines reaching to Yonge and Steeles; street alignments to match the linear park system
- Community amenities are to be distributed throughout
- Parks are to be multi-use, all-season, with a combination of active and passive uses
- There should be synergies between indoor and outdoor Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS)
- Visibility and connectivity to community amenities and park spaces
The Working Group will meet next at the end of May, and we are expecting a presentation by Humbold Properties (72 Steeles West/7040 Yonge).
LPAT Proceedings – Gupta, Salz, and Mizrahi Official Plan & Zoning By-law Appeals
We observed the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) Case Management Conference for these three site-specific appeals, held on April 27th. Most significantly, the LPAT member (i.e. the adjudicator), with the agreement of all appellants, has joined these 3 site-specific appeals together and with the pre-existing Secondary Plan appeal. The LPAT member and appellants also agreed to accept the City’s proposal to set a Phase 2 Hearing on the Secondary Plan for May 9, 2022, including a long list of issues to be resolved. The hearing is expected to last for 10 weeks (!). SFRA is starting its preparations for that hearing.
Helping to Keep You Informed
If you’re not signed up for our email list, you can do so at our website (www.springfarmra.ca) and get notices on NextDoor (if you are signed up for the Crestwood-Springfarm-Yorkhill group). Please forward this message to your friends, neighbours and family to keep them informed.
And finally, wishing all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday.
Jordan Max firstname.lastname@example.org