For at least 22 years, the City of Toronto and other local governments have been studying options for improving
- Steeles Avenue East between Midland Avenue and Kennedy Road.
A key component of any project to improve the street must also include a “grade separation” — a bridge to let the Metrolinx tracks cross over or under the roadway. (The tracks carry GO Transit trains along the 71 Stouffville line.)
Now that Metrolinx is planning to introduce regional express rail (RER) services along the Stouffville corridor — and the City may add its SmartTrack service to the mix — the City is advancing its project. More trains along the line means that the current street-level crossing will no longer be effective — since frequent trains without a bridge would constantly block traffic on Steeles.
“The project under study includes a long-awaited grade separation for trains across this busy section of Steeles, which is home to the Milliken GO station.
“Toronto owns both sides of Steeles, but agreement on widening this section and building a bridge stalled for years over how much Markham and Toronto should pay.
“The province’s plan to expand GO train service in the Stouffville corridor seems to have pushed the project forward.
“The city has scheduled an open house on options for the grade separation, road widening, and accommodation for cyclists and pedestrians…
“A presentation is planned for 7 p.m.
“Widening Steeles east of Kennedy has also been tied in with proposed expansions or redevelopments of shopping mall properties on both sides of the Toronto boundary.”
Municipalities have studied the issue of the Steeles Avenue East railway crossing at least twice before.
The former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto started an environmental study of the crossing back in 1994. Significant redevelopment of the nearby area resulted in more traffic along Steeles Avenue and greater conflicts between rail and road traffic.
That study recommended building an overpass (road over rail), widening Steeles East from four to six lanes with streetscaping and bicycle lanes was also recommended to help reduce traffic congestion.
In August 1996, Metro Council put off building the bridge crossing on hold due to the costs for acquiring property, potentially fewer trains along the rail line and questions from nearby property owners about the design.
In 2004 the City of Toronto revisited the design, comparing the underpass and overpass in more detail. That study concluded that GO Transit and freight service on the rail corridor had increased since 1993, meaning a bridge crossing was even more necessary. However, this study recommended an underpass (road under rail) for the crossing.
The City, Region and Metrolinx are now proposing to build an underpass for Steeles East, meaning the trains will cross above the roadway. They’ll also widen the road to six lanes — three lanes for traffic in each direction.
You can review their plans during a public meeting:
You can learn more about the project here.
You can view the presentation for the meeting here. (.pdf)
You can view the display boards for the meeting here. (.pdf)
You can comment about the proposals on-line here.
L’Amoreaux Community Recreation Centre
2000 McNicoll Avenue
From 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Getting there by public transit:
- Westbound TTC buses operating along the 42 Cummer route to McNicoll Avenue at Kennedy Road. Cross Kennedy at the signal and walk west to the community recreation centre.
- Eastbound buses operating along the 42 Cummer route to McNicoll Avenue at Kennedy Road. Cross McNicoll at the signal and walk west to the community recreation centre.
- Southbound buses operating along the 43 Kennedy route to Kennedy Road and McNicoll Avenue. Walk west along McNicoll to the community recreation centre.
- Northbound buses operating along the 43 Kennedy route to Kennedy Road and McNicoll Avenue. Cross at the signal to the northwest corner. Walk west along McNicoll to the community recreation centre.