Open letter from Sandy Donald of Long Branch strongly opposes “higher order transit corridor” designation for South Etobicoke

A previous post is entitled:

‘Very dissatisfied with outcome of Planning and Housing Committee on Official Plan Change’ – Long Branch Neighbourhood Association

The following message is from Sandy Donald of Long Branch:

It will never be built but will radically change 3 Toronto Neighbourhoods

Hidden in Toronto’s Official Plan Amendment 456, set to be passed by City Council on February 27th, is a plan to designate Lake Shore Blvd. from Park Lawn to the Etobicoke Creek as a “higher order transit corridor.” This means a dedicated right-of-­way.

Figure 1 – Map 4 – Higher Order Transit Corridors – Draft of Official Plan Amendment, City of Toronto, October 2019. Click on map to enlarge it.

There are no studies or any policy papers to support it. All past studies (Waterfront Transit Reset, 2018) have concluded that “high order transit” beyond Park Lawn cannot be justified. Even with reasonable population growth there will never be ridership to justify an extension.

Lake Shore is not wide enough to accommodate construction of a dedicated right-­of-­way. Some properties would have to be expropriated, bike lanes eliminated and retail parking removed. For some sections of Lake Shore traffic lanes could be reduced to one lane each way.

There is no money budgeted and other badly needed transit projects in Toronto take a lot higher priority for at least the next 30 to 40 years. Also “higher order transit” along this stretch of Lake Shore would be in direct competition to GO Transit (stations at Mimico and Long Branch). GO Transit to downtown will always be faster (about 20 minutes). “Higher Order Transit” through Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch will never be built.

The absolute bare minimum of public notice was done. None of the keystake holders in South Etobicoke were invited to participate . This includes the Residents Associations and Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) in the neighbourhoods of Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch

Even reading the Official Plan Amendment ( PH 13.3 Attachment 1) it is difficult to find the “higher order transit “ extension through Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch. It never appears in words -­ only as part of a map labeled Map 4 at the back.

The reality there is NO practical reason given why this extension is included in the Official Plan . There is no realistic reason why it will ever be built.
The question has to be asked if it is never going to be built why is it included in the Official Plan. Who if any one would benefit? The answer is builders and developers.

If this stretch of Lake Shore is designated future “Higher order transit” even if it is never built, then all of Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch (up to 500 to 800 meters from “higher order transit’ corridors) become areas of intensification under the Provincial Growth Plan. The argument will be made that current bylaws do not apply . Lot splitting, higher buildings , higher density (FSI) and intensification will take priority.

Section 4.1 of the Official Plan was intended to protect neighbourhoods from overdevelopment and exploitation. Who put this amendment in and why was it being slipped through. There appears to be a hidden agenda that does not involve public consultation of those most effected .

By a concerned resident of South Etobicoke

Alexander (Sandy) Donald email dsdonald@bell.net

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