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.