The City of Toronto’s Planning and Housing Committee is bringing forward a proposal that would see density in the area surrounding Long Branch Station increase from a maximum of 0.35 to a minimum of 0.60. This would impact residents in the southwest part of Alderwood as well as those in western Long Branch.
This was discussed at a meeting of the Planning and Housing Committee on October 18th. Members of the committee heard presentations from the LBNA and one Long Branch resident in opposition to this proposal, which is just one part of a proposal covering 11 transit stations across the City.
The density increase is being driven by the Province and its Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which is a policy document that places requirements on municipalities to plan where and how they intend to achieve the Province’s growth targets. AMong other things, the Growth Plan suggests increasing density in the area around “major transit stations” and that the municipalities need to identify which transit stations are major.
So, the question we have is whether Long Branch truly qualifies as a major transit station?
GO Station Usage
The truth is that the ridership at Long Branch GO station is the third-lowest in the entire GO network. According to Metrolinx, the organization that operates GO Transit, 1,000 people board GO trains at Long Branch each morning while 200 get off to connect elsewhere. Compare this with Clarkson Station, where 5,150 people board the train each morning. or compare with Kipling Subway Station, where 20,000 people board in the morning while 30,000 get off.
Transit Usage Vs. GO Network
Kipling is definitely looks like a major hub but Long Branch, by comparison, does not look anywhere near major in scale.
People in City Planning have painted a picture of the 501 Streetcar line as a major route connecting Long Branch with Downtown. They even proposed last year to upgrade the streetcar to an LRT connecting to the new Park Lawn GO Station.
We don’t see much merit in this proposal. Going to City Hall from Long Branch Loop via the 501 takes 91 minutes, compared with 35 minutes by GO train and walking from Union Station. This doesn’t make TTC look like “The Better Way”.
In addition, the roadway through much of New Toronto and Mimico is too narrow to allow for two dedicated LRT rights of way plus one lane for cars in either direction without expropriating land on one side of Lakeshore Boulevard or the other. This would leave no room for on-street parking, on which businesses along Lakeshore rely and expropriate would eliminate the land and buildings on which at least half of those businesses are located. Either way, a Lakeshore LRT would decimate small business in South Etobicoke.
What Can You Do?
Since this is being driven by the Province of Ontario, we suggest you express any concerns you may have about this to our MPP, Christine Hogarth, at her office at (416) 259-2249 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
As a courtesy, I you email Ms. Hogarth, we suggest you copy Councillor Mark Grimes at email@example.com so that he is aware you have contacted her.