> Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Davenport Diamond | Metrolinx Engage

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Davenport Diamond

What is the Davenport Diamond?

The Davenport Diamond is one of North America’s busiest train intersections located just northwest of the Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue intersection. It consists of two lines, Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) North Toronto corridor, and GO Transit’s Barrie rail corridor. Service reliability for both freight and commuter trains on these routes is already impacted. The removal of this crossing is an important part of our region-wide plan to alleviate road congestion by increasing passenger rail service.
 

Why does the Davenport Diamond need to be removed?

The rail-to-rail intersection currently impacts the reliability of the GO service when it has to wait at the intersection for a CP Rail freight train to pass. With the plans to expand service to two-way, all-day 15-minute GO service, this will further impact the reliability of the service for the expected 22 million passengers expected to use this service each year.

What options did Metrolinx review to remove the Davenport Diamond?

Metrolinx reviewed the following options to remove the Davenport Diamond:

  • Lowering or Elevating the CP Rail Corridor
  • Lowering of Elevating the GO Corridor
  • Doing Nothing

The results of the Feasibility Study determined that the best solution is to build an elevated GO rail corridor above the CP Rail corridor. The 1.4 km overpass will extend from north of Bloor Street West to just south of Davenport Road. This option minimized the impacts as much as possible and maximized the benefits and opportunities for the surrounding community. Here are some of the key reasons for choosing the overpass option.

  • Increasing community connectivity by potentially reconnecting streets at Paton Road and Antler Street/Lappin Avenue
  • Creating new public spaces with a  multi-use trail extending from Davenport Road to Bloor Street West and possibly beyond to connect with the West Toronto Railpath
  • Construction completed in about 2 years
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in savings which will be reinvested in expanding transit in the City of Toronto and the rest of the region.

How did Metrolinx arrive at the preliminary design direction presented to the community on January 18, 2016?

Metrolinx convened a team of award-winning urban designers and architects with one mission: to minimize the visual impact of the overpass and to make it the best it could be. The group used the 89 recommendations from the Residents’ Reference Panel to help guide the work and inspire what is possible. The preliminary design direction (Guideway and Greenway) lightened the structure considerably, introduced a skylight element to allow natural light and rainwater below the structure, designing lighting to bring the space to life and used materials such as stainless steel cladding to reflect the surrounding views to be integrate the overpass into its surroundings. This preliminary design direction will continue to evolve as we gather community feedback and work through detailed design.

What are the long-term impacts and opportunities from the Guideway and Greenway concept?

Impacts

  • Will require 2m high noise walls along the Guideway structure
  • No significant vibration impacts. There will be less vibration with the overpass than felt today because the structure absorbs the vibration
  • Once electrified there are no impacts on air quality from this service
  • Visible impacts from surrounding streets, open spaces and adjacent buildings. The structure will be most visible along Wallace Avenue and Dupont Street

Opportunities

  • Will result in two potential new east-west connections, one at Paton Road and one at Antler Street/Lappin Avenue
  • Will result in a new 1.5km multi-use path along the length of the overpass from Davenport Road to Bloor Street West
    • Creates the potential to extend the new trail south to meet with the planned extension of the West Toronto Railpath, and north through Earlscourt Park to St. Clair Avenue
  • Create public space at Wallace Avenue to support and grow the emerging retail strip
  • Significant investment in public realm improvements including a naturalized landscape strategy and new plantings along the length of the overpass and a new multi-use path from Davenport Road to Bloor Street West, including a pedestrian and cycling bridge over the CP Rail Corridor.

​How will construction of the Guideway and Greenway concept impact the community?

  • Approximately 2 years to construct
  • Construction will impact an area of 1.4 km
  • Approximately 3,900 people are impacted who live within 150m
  • Moderate construction noise impacts for 2 years
  • Localized vibration impacts during pier construction
  • Minimal soil disturbance and disposal
  • The Siberian Elms at Campbell Avenue Park can be protected
  • Construction of the overpass will only require a short-term closure of Wallace Avenue, which will be lowered by 0.5 metres
  • Approximately 120 trucks a day at peak construction period expected

How much will the Guideway and Greenway concept cost?

Metrolinx has increased the initial investment of $140 million to approximately $210 million to invest in public realm improvements in the form of integrated art, lighting, multi-use path (Greenway) and structural design (Guideway).

How high will the elevated rail corridor be?

The rail corridor will begin to rise north of Bloor Street West and reach a maximum height of 8.5 metres as it crosses the CP tracks just north of Dupont Street. The rail corridor will then begin to descend, reaching ground level as it crosses the Davenport Road bridge.
 

LocationGuideway Height
Paton Road3.3 m
Wallace Avenue4.4 m (to bottom or structure);
5.6 m to top of rail
Antler Street/Lappin Avenue5.7 m (to bottom or structure);
7.3 m to top of rail
Dupont Street6.4 m (to bottom or structure);
8 m to top of rail
CP Rail Track (diamond)7.2 m (to bottom or structure);
8.5 m to top of rail
Note: Add 7.4 m vertical clearance for electrical overhead catenary system

 

How is Metrolinx engaging with the community?

Metrolinx began the conversation with the community and stakeholders in late winter/early spring of 2015. One key initiative was launched early on to get feedback from the community on how create the most public benefit. A Residents’ Reference Panel made up of 36 random local residents and business owners came together over four full Saturday sessions to draft 89 recommendations to Metrolinx to maximize the public realm opportunities from the transit expansion project. These recommendations have helped inform the current preliminary design direction for the overpass.

Metrolinx has also done the following to engage as many people as possible on the project.

  • Hosted/Participated in four public meetings
  • Dozens of briefings for community groups, elected officials, City of Toronto staff and other stakeholders
  • Mailings to adjacent property owners and over 5,000 residents
  • Ads in community newspapers
  • Door to door flyer drops
  • Facebook Q&A with the Junction Triangle Rail Committee on January 20, 2016
  • Regular e-mail distributions to over 300 subscribers to keep them up to date on the project

​What concerns have been raised during the engagement?

Metrolinx has received a wide variety of feedback for us to do nothing, build a tunnel, commit to a station at Bloor Street West and to make the overpass an asset and not an eyesore. As well, folks are concerned about noise, vibration, air quality and the visual impact from all the options including the preferred option to build an overpass.

All of these concerns are being addressed in the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) and in the preliminary design direction. In fact, the preliminary design direction shortened the exposed open section of the overpass from 847 metres to 570 metres to minimize the visual impact from the Guideway.

How will Metrolinx continue with engagement during the TPAP and post-TPAP?

Metrolinx will continue to engage with the community during the TPAP process to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to better understand the preliminary design direction and to share their feedback. As well, Metrolinx is planning to create a community advisory group to help Metrolinx implement the Greenway component of the initial design to ensure that the unlocked public space is activated and maintained over the long term.

Why is Metrolinx releasing these preliminary design direction renderings now? Why weren’t they made available earlier in the process?

Metrolinx went out very early on in its engagement process before much of the technical work was completed. We wanted to give our stakeholders and neighbours an opportunity to engage before we had all of the answers. In fact, a lot of the feedback we heard have shaped our design and thinking including the 89 recommendations received from the Residents’ Reference Panel.

Why is Metrolinx ignoring the City of Toronto’s request to pause the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP)?

Metrolinx respects all of its municipal partners and works together with them all to deliver the province’s goal to get people moving in the City of Toronto and across the region. However, from time to time, there will be a difference of opinion with regards to a direction or project. Metrolinx will not compromise on building transit projects. Metrolinx has previously delayed the start of the TPAP to provide the City of Toronto more time to review our materials. Any additional delay will mean delays in our ability to electrify the corridor and to deliver the increased levels of service that the province committed to residents would be in place over the next 10 years. The City will still have the opportunity to comment over the next six months during the TPAP process.

Why is Metrolinx ignoring the City of Toronto’s motion supporting the tunnel option?

Metrolinx respects the City of Toronto’s decision to support the tunnel option. However, from time to time, there will be a difference of opinion with regards to a direction or project. However, we will not compromise on building transit projects that minimize impacts and maximize benefits while investing taxpayers’ money as efficiently as possible. We will continue to work with our partners and the community to make this the best possible project. There will be plenty of opportunity for further engagement and feedback during the Transit Project Assessment Process.

Why is Metrolinx not listening to the Davenport community as it prefers a tunnel?

Metrolinx has been engaging with the Davenport community for almost a year now. We have heard a variety of opinions on how to remove the Davenport Diamond, including a tunnel option. Also, some people feel that removing the diamond is not necessary at all. We understand that no matter what option we choose to move forward with, it will have impacts. However, our goal is to minimize the impacts as much as possible and maximize the benefits.

Why is Metrolinx not committing to building a station at Bloor Street West as part of this project?

A station at Bloor Street West on the Barrie line has been shortlisted as a potential new station as part of the new station analysis that is being completed. Results of this analysis will be completed for spring 2016.

Why is Metrolinx not committing to building a station at St. Clair West?

A station at St. Clair West on the Barrie line has been shortlisted as a potential new station as part of the new station analysis that is being completed. Results of this analysis will be completed for spring 2016.

The City of Toronto’s Chief Planner has said the Missing Link would negate the need for this project. Has that been considered?

The Missing Link is a study looking at the possibility of building a new corridor that would divert freight traffic off the Milton and Kitchener corridors to allow for the increase of GO train service to communities along the lines. Metrolinx has been working with rail and municipal partners on this study however for it to become a reality it would require competitors CP and CN to work together and agree to share the same corridor, government funding to purchase the line which is estimated to be at least $5 billion, and an environmental assessment. This process could take more than a decade and should all these pieces come together, the increase in passenger train traffic would still result in the removal of the Davenport Diamond to improve reliability and safety.

City of Toronto Planning and Growth Committee Submission

Why is Metrolinx proposing the overpass as the preferred option while the City of Toronto is supporting the tunnel option?

There is no doubt that as a major infrastructure project, any solution to remove the Davenport Diamond rail-to-rail crossing will have impacts where that infrastructure is located. Our goal in deciding how to move forward is to minimize extending community and property impacts while maximizing possible community benefits. The feasibility study, released September 30th, identifies the overpass as the option that best balances the impacts of the infrastructure while maximizing local benefits. While this is a project where all of the options reviewed have impacts and challenges, the overpass would have the:

  • smallest footprint
  • least impact to the community as it can be built within the existing corridor
  • shortest construction period
  • greatest opportunity for north-south and east-west connectivity
  • lack of need to acquire property from the surrounding community
  • best return on investment from a cost perspective

The City of Toronto Chief Planner, in her report to the Planning and Growth Management Committee, has concluded that the tunnel option represents greater long term City building benefits when compared to the overpass. This includes benefits such as removing visual and noise impacts.

While the tunnel minimizes these impacts within the Davenport community, it moves these impacts to the Rogers Road community as a tunnel would require raising Rogers Road by approximately 7.5 metres, almost the same height as the overpass, which would also have a lasting visual impact on residential properties and a local school.

The Davenport Diamond is located just north of Dupont Street and west of Landsdowne Avenue and so when considering how to minimize community impacts we try to keep the footprint or area of impact contained as much as possible. The tunnel and Rogers Road option presents significant challenges when explaining the rationale and decision making behind permanently altering the neighbourhood to residents when the infrastructure in question is not local.

Will the City of Toronto and community still have a say once the TPAP process is completed?

The City of Toronto and the community will continue to be part of shaping the design process and the project during the Transit Project Assessment Process and during detailed design.

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