Kipling and Islington Subway Renovations

In partnership with GO Transit, Mississauga Transit and the City of Toronto, the TTC is set to make drastic changes to both Kipling and Islington Stations. All agencies were present at a very well-attended open house and presentation at Islington United Church last night (Wednesday, November 7). The final plans were presented to the public, and staffers on hand to take questions. (The slides, in PDF format, can now be found here.) Work at both stations is expected to begin as soon as the spring of 2008.

Local residents packed a local church hall to check out the plans, and the questions during the presentations were short, to the point, and mostly enquiring about plan details. Unlike many public meetings of this nature, there was general agreement about the plans and no angry outbursts, but several interesting issues, such as allowing access to the GO station in the event of a TTC strike, were raised. Local councillor Peter Milczyn started the meeting by speaking about the need for the renovations. Burnhamthorpe Road residents were pleased to see most Mississauga buses pulled off their road.

Mississauga Transit is happy as their customers would get a faster link to the subway, and GO Transit would run some bus services into the terminal from points north and west, such as Brampton, Guelph and Hamilton. With the provincial government and Mississauga picking up much of the costs (as well as opportunities for development at Islington) the TTC is ready and able to proceed.

Islington Station will be redeveloped, with a new office complex for the engineering giant SNC Lavalin connected to the revitalized subway station, and an unspecified “Phase 2” development, likely the new offices for the City of Toronto West District. If the city moved here, it would replace the modernist, yet isolated complex at Burnhamthorpe and Highway 427. The current bus terminal is similar to Victoria Park or the old Eglinton terminal, with stairs leading up to each bus platform, and is unsuitable for the demand, mostly from Mississauga operations. The concourse and bus areas are well-worn and showing their age.

Islington will be somewhat easier to reach by foot once the project is complete, particularly from the northwest sector. The new west side entrance will be roomy, and will offer a new elevator as well as bike racks and a small plaza for passengers to sit. All but one Mississauga bus will be moved to the new Kipling terminal, reducing the congestion there. A new entrance to the TTC bus area would also improve bus reliability.

I asked if the unique tile pattern at platform level at Islington would be replaced as part of the work, as are planned or underway in other stations such as Pape, Museum or Osgoode, and there is no plan to do so. (Though the tiles at platform level, shown above, could use a cleaning.)

Kipling, a sea of parking spaces, would see a slightly more pedestrian-friendly environment with better access from Dundas Street, and a new entrance on the east side. However, the TTC is committed to maintaining, and even increasing park-and-ride capacity with the projects. There are still several options for improving pedestrian access to Kipling Station at Dundas (constrained somewhat by hydro towers). In the slides, option B is likely the most attractive as it provides for a public plaza direct from Dundas (rather than a roundabout route via Auckland).

The public is invited to comment on the proposed station sites redevelopment, by internet here, or by snail mail.

14 comments

  1. Seems to be missing the loop for the Dundas LRT that will go from Kipling into Mississauga.

  2. The EA for the Dundas LRT hasn’t even started while the Kipling terminal EA is just about complete. There was one slide at the end of the big PDF file that showed one conceptual plan for looping the LRT into the property at the north end between Dundas and the MT/GO terminal. That’s about as far as they gotten, as an EA for Dundas might even call for an off-street alignment, such as along the CP line. Incorporating a line that hasn’t even entered the design state is somewhat premature, though at least it’s not entirely ignored.

  3. Sean, your posting is ambiguous. Did you specifically ask the TTC to preserve the platform-level tiles and they said no, we’re going to destroy them?

    Because that is clearly what they want to do. I’m waiting for Spacing and other transit fans to begin to care about this.

  4. I think they should take some focus off of the park and ride aspect. I know it’s important for a lot of people but if they made transit routes into the station top-notch, it’d cut down on car traffic by a great deal. I guess it’s easy to say but hard to do.

  5. My goodness, even when people do begin to care, to come around,
    Clark has to get in a patronizing ding on people that seem to be on the same side as him. Case study of one’s-own-worst-enemy. Keep up the good work though.

  6. One of the things I found distressing at this meeting was the huge focus on parking. In particular, they want to turn the green space in the hydro corridor around Aukland Rd. (north of Dundas) into two big parking lots.

    All this talk of surface parking seemed to contradict what they were saying during the recent West District Design Initiative meeting, where they mentioned several times the focus on reducing surface parking to give it a more “city center” feel and better pedestrian focus.

    That area already stinks and is lacking green space. A lady who lives one street over spoke up and was concerned about all the extra noise and pollution from these parking lots that will probably edge right up to peoples’ backyards.

    Also… If you look at the Toronto Bike Plan, this section of hydro corridor is slated to become an off-road multi-use trail. As a trail, this would be a FANTASTIC resource for cyclists and pedestrians coming down to the transit station from the neighbourhoods to the north.

    I spoke to a transportation planner and pointed out the conflict with the bike plan, and he was interested in what I had to say… suggested they could work around this, and even said that they should expand the trail even farther north than what’s called for in the bike plan. The trail could potentially connect to the Mimico Creek pathways, and right up to Eglinton and beyond.

    We’ll see….but I’d like to put some pressure on all parties to make sure cycling amenities are not forgotten (or paved over for parking!) when they re-design the whole Islington / Kipling / Six Points area.

    I wrote up a couple of articles on I Bike TO about all of this:

    Etobicoke: West District Design Initiative
    Kipling and Islington TTC Station Revitalization

  7. Joe: Thank you for your question to clarify what I said. I asked specifically about the tiles, whether they were going to be replaced. I was told that what was “damaged” or removed would be replaced (such as with the new corridors to the bus terminal and entrances), but I was told specifically that a Pape or Museum-like treatment is not planned. But yeah, I wouldn’t put it past the TTC to replace it.

    Thanks Vic for pointing out about the bike plan issue. There were a number of sites for potential parking lots (they are one of the slides in the big PDF file), as the TTC has said that they want to maintain or even increase parking (which seems more like a GO Transit attitude). One of the sites includes that hydro field behind the Wendy’s/Tim Horton’s. Peter Milczyn assured that any new parking proposals would be subject to community consultations. I personally would hope, if the TTC felt that maintaining parking lots was the priority, than the vacant Westwood Cinemas lot shoud be where any parking should go.

  8. Some of the Westwood lands will be used as temporary parking during construction, but eventually there are much bigger plans for Westwood / Six Points. The whole intersection is being flattened, streets re-aligned, and the land developed into various commercial, residential, and civic buildings.

    Lots more about that here: http://www.toronto.ca/business/wddi.htm

  9. Hey, Judy (if that is your real name), since your new métier is blogstalking me, why don’t you schlep yourself down to Leslieville sometime so I can buy you a coffee and get you to tell me what irks you so much about you to my face?

    Ready for that, Judy?

    No?

    Sean’s posting was ambiguous on the issue I queried.

  10. I’d like to ask for some clarification, although it sounds like they are supposed to be for the TTC, who are these parking lots for?! The design scheme looks like the style of GO Transit, as already pointed out by another, and it would make sense as this is a GO Train station, but it is also a subway station and that makes it a different category. Does Danforth GO have parking? No. Bloor GO? Nope. Kennedy GO? None that wasn’t already there and the TTC’s before the station was made. GO Train stations along major subway lines don’t need this volume of parking and Kipling functions in a unique way that most other stations in the GO network don’t, where a very large volume of people get on in both morning and evening periods, and a very large volume of people also get off in both morning and evening periods (most non-Lakeshore stations are virtually peak-only direction). Kipling does not need this level of parking for GO because of the subway and high bus feeder presence. The TTC should be concentrating on maximizing the station’s connection to a pedestrian-focused Dundas Street, as walk-in ridership is a very important characteristic of a successful subway station (although Kipling being a terminus, it should have more feeders than other stations). I hope Option C goes through as it brings the station access right to the Dundas streetside proper where it belongs.

  11. As an avid walker that commutes on his feet, I am also surprised by the number of parking spaces. On the other hand, I would rather see people drop their vehicle at this transit hub rather than drive all the way downtown. Particularly since this is the furthest west subway stop, sufficient parking is probably required to get some of these people out of their cars. I certainly agree that the parking lots should not interfere with the bike routes and prefer plan C so they are not an eyesore on Dundas.

    P.S. Joe, cool off.

  12. I see that bicycle parking is incorporated into the plan. It would be nicer if the post & ring parking points were covered so that parked bicycles are protected from rain and snow. I don’t imagine it would cost too much more and it would be a welcomed feature.

  13. I was under the impression that Islington is actually more convenient for MT than Kipling.
    While it seems counterintuitive, I heard that some routes would actually have longer trips (time, distance?) if they used the bus lanes on Dundas compared to accessing Islington via Burnhamthorpe.

    The upshot: will MT riders get shorter trips? (They would certainly have a better chance at finding a seat in the subway, as all those Kipling-boarding Etobians no longer get a one-stop lead on them.)

  14. I keep getting the feeling that Kipling Station is simply being redeveloped as the old Islington Station – with its emphases on incredible amounts of surface parking and limiting pedestrian connections. Kipling seems to likely be redeveloped with considerable importance put on drivers instead of pedestrians and cyclists. I guess we should not worry too much though, as redevelopment in 30 years will see buildings atop all this parking, and the parking placed underground – funny, much like what will be happening at Islington. Islington seems to be growing at the epicenter of a truly urban environment while Kipling continues to sit in acres of cars, that will fill these parking spots for fewer than 8 of the 24 hours in a day…. Jane Jacobs will be rolling in her grave!

    Also…. does anyone know if the Legion Building on Bloor at Islington is to be incorporated into the SNC Lavalin building design? Etobicoke lacks historic buildings, notably in that area. It would be nice to see some type of heritage preservation, as I see that building being very unique in character for the area as well as incorporating architectural significance.

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