As Metrolinx advances plans to bring fast, convenient Ontario Line subway service to Thorncliffe Park, teams have been collecting feedback from community members to help shape the look and feel of the areas surrounding the Ontario Line maintenance and storage facility in Thorncliffe Park. Here are the results.
Communities are at the centre of decision making for Metrolinx.
That’s why teams are working directly with the residents the Ontario Line will serve, as plans for the 15.6-kilometre, 15-station subway line advance.
Recent consultations have centred around the design of noise and retaining walls in the Riverside and Leslieville areas, and more recently, the design of the public spaces surrounding the maintenance and storage facility in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park.
In the fall of 2021, between Sept. 16 and Nov. 1, Metrolinx released an online survey to residents in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park to find out what their most pressing concerns are and collect their feedback on some early design options.
The survey presented design options for the public-facing walls around the perimeter of the maintenance and storage facility. The survey also asked the community what they would like to see in the public areas below the elevated guideway that the Ontario Line will travel on between Thorncliffe Park and the Science Centre.
Throughout the six-week survey period, Metrolinx heard from 762 people, with 64 per cent of participants reporting that they live in the Flemingdon Park or Thorncliffe Park neighbourhoods.
“The feedback received through these surveys is vital as we advance project plans and designs,” explains Mark Clancy, Metrolinx senior manager community engagement for the Ontario Line.
“We welcome input from the community and the results of the survey help us understand what is important to them.”
Through the consultation process, Metrolinx will continue to collect requests for community improvements that go beyond the scope of the project and Metrolinx’s mandate.
Perimeter walls, fences and landscaping around the maintenance and storage facility
Survey results found that majority of the participants support greenery lining the maintenance and storage facility, with 43 per cent of them ranking vegetation and greenery as a top priority, followed by 30 per cent who would like to see local art and design features.
Fewer than 16 per cent of participants were interested in seeing the trains in the yard and prefer the facility recedes into the background and feels invisible to the community.
Public areas underneath elevated guideways
One of Metrolinx’s key focuses is to work closely with communities to identify and implement project specific improvements to the public spaces surrounding transit projects, whether it is through the design process or improvements after construction to ensure neighbourhoods are in similar or better shape than before construction.
The creation of gathering spaces under the elevated guideway was popular amongst participants, with 38 per cent of them ranking it as their most important feature.
Greenery and community art followed closely behind at 35 and 33 per cent respectively.
Metrolinx will be establishing community working groups across the area of the Ontario Line project – from Pape Station to the Science Centre Station – to explore opportunities to introduce community enhancements as Metrolinx develops transit infrastructure plans and designs.
The transit agency says it will continue to promote the training of apprenticeships, journeypersons, and other skilled labour through workforce development plans that are managed by the contractors on Metrolinx projects.
Metrolinx will continue to support the implementation of opportunities for training and programs available through a number of partners and stakeholders such as government ministries, unions and other key stakeholders to be developed in conjunction the Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development.
“We are looking forward to working with residents and community groups to make sure that the infrastructure being built to support the Ontario Line will fit into their neighbourhoods,” says Clancy.
“We know this is really important to the community. These design conversations are just the beginning, and there will be many more to come.”
Story by Norando Brown, Metrolinx Ontario Line community engagement specialist