Wednesday, August 21, 2019




At our June 24th regular Glen Andrew meeting, the Executive received a mandate to tell Metrolinx what we think about their plans to build a dedicated busway on Ellesmere.
President Iain McLeod followed up by sending Metrolinx the material posted on our Blog.
Kirstin Demasi, Senior Planning Officer, Planning and Policy with Metrolinx replied with Responses 1 through 10 as set out below.
Metrolinx thanks Glen Andrew for taking time to consider this project and invites all members of Glen Andrew to their next Stakeholders Advisory Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday August 26th in Committee Room 2, on the main floor of the Scarborough Civic centre.

All Glen Andrew members interested in the future of Ellesmere can reply directly to Ms Demasi at : or join us at the August 26th meeting. You can also comment on this proposal through Metrolinx’ survey at

Lorne Ross for Glen Andrew Community Association.

The Future of Ellesmere: Have Your Say.

By Lorne Ross
Updated August 21, 2019

Note: As some of you may already know, to enlarge the pictures in this article, just click on them and you will get a better view.

Big changes are proposed for Ellesmere Road.
Glen Andrew Community Association will be speaking up.
What should they say on your behalf?

Metrolinx want to build a Bus Rapid Transit route.

From Oshawa
                through Whitby,
                                                                and Pickering,
                                                                                                all the way to Scarborough City Centre.
The portion in Scarborough would run on Ellesmere from Highway2-Kingston Road to McCowan.

What is a Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] route?
       Two lanes of pavement
       Painted so only buses can travel in those lanes.
       Can be along the outside lanes of a road or down the centre lanes.
Metrolinx wants to build it in the centre lanes of Ellesmere from McCowan to Military Trail. 

Response #1: The preferred design for Ellesmere Road has not yet been determined. You are correct that Bus Rapid Transit requires dedicated infrastructure for buses to provide reliable transit service. The current study considers both curbside and centre bus lanes. 
We will also be looking at current and projected future traffic volumes to determine if the road will need to be widened to provide the same capacity for general traffic as it does today; that is, we will investigate if Ellesmere should be a 4-lane or a 6-lane road.
The two pictures below are part of the VIVA system in York Region. While the use of two lanes for buses matches the concept for the Durham-Scarborough BRT, the size and scale of the BRT may not. The design of stops and shelters will be determined through this study.


    Highway 7 BRT in Markham

Highway 7 BRT in Markham 

Metrolinx had lots of land to build the BRT’s on        
Highway 7 in Markham and Highway 2 in Pickering.
Those are Provincial Highways …much more land 
to work with than we have on Ellesmere.   

If they build the BRT, how many lanes will Ellesmere have?
Metrolinx has not decided.
Should they take the two centre lanes and leave us with one lane each way…
should they first widen Ellesmere so we keep two lanes after they build their busway. 

 Response #2: While Highway 7 in Markham does have a wider right-of-way than Ellesmere Road in Toronto, the project team is investigating if there is adequate space to provide for six lanes, two dedicated to BRT and four (two in each direction) for general traffic. This analysis will look at both current and projected future traffic volumes, as well as the level of service provided along the road. The majority of arterial roads in Toronto have adequate right-of-way to allow for six lanes of traffic. ____________________________________________________________________

Centre lane BRT’s have concrete structures that prevent
 vehicles from turning left across the busway                    
    Davis Drive in Newmarket

    Highway 7 BRT in Markham: raised planted centre median barrier.

Impact of centre median busway on our communities
[existing traffic signal are red circles]
From McCowan to Bellamy: No left turns into driveways for Lawson School, 
SRT yard, Parkers Cleaners, Sheridan Nurseries, Grace Church, BA Bakery, 
industrial bldg, Kerala Food ,2 gas stations; 4 homes on south side of Ellesmere. 
Streets cut off: Stoneton for sure. Future of Grangeway uncertain.

Response #3: The project will look at the potential need for a traffic signal at Grangeway to provide adequate access. We will be reviewing site access corridor-wide to determine if other measures are required. Property access is a key consideration and will be addressed in the study.

From Bellamy to Markham Road: Left turns at driveways cut off at 1920 Ellesmere medical bldg –Fedrick’s and Terry’s restaurants; +\- 80 businesses in 8 multi-tenant industrial buildings, small plaza on south side at Bellamy. 

Response #4: The study will look at the need for a traffic signal at Dolly Varden Boulevard, and the potential need for an additional mid-block crossing. Note that there are other areas in the City where centre-medians or turn restrictions are in place over stretches of roadway like this. The traffic analysis will consider the change to access in the area with a centre median, should that be the preferred design.

From Markham Road east to St. Thomas Moore Church and School: Left turns at driveways cut off at Shell gas station, two apartment blog’s; Woburn Collegiate; St Thomas Moore church and school; Panchvatti supermarket, Pizza  Nova; Masjid Al Jannah

All these businesses which will lose left turn access help pay the city’s taxes, employ Glen Andrew people, and provide services. The three places of worship and the schools are important to a strong community.

With left turns cut off you will have to do a U Turn at the 6 traffic signals along this part of Ellesmere, horrendously busy intersections like Ellesmere-Markham Road or Ellesmere-McCowan Road, if you still want to work there, shop there, see your Doctor, attend services or drop your kids off at school

Response #5: As noted for the other segments, additional traffic lights, mid-bock crossings and an analysis of the impacts of turn restrictions will be evaluated as we develop the preferred design. The intent is to find a balance between ensuring priority and reliability for transit service, and maintaining local access for the community. 

We have several questions about this proposal.

Question 1:
Aren’t there already lots of buses on this part of Ellesmere?
Answer:  There are three TTC bus routes along this part of Ellesmere today including an express bus to the U of T campus at Military Trail. Morning rush hour trip on the York Mills 995 Express bus takes 15 minutes from McCowan-Ellesmere right onto the campus.  A trip of the same distance down the middle of St. Clair Avenue west on the famed LRT takes 28 minutes!

TTC Highland Creek bus runs the whole length of this part of Ellesmere.
TTC Neilson 38 bus runs east as far as the hospital then north up Neilson.
Region of Durham runs buses into the U of T campus from the east.

Response #6: The TTC services listed above are correct. DRT service currently ends at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, and is planned to extend to Scarborough Centre. This is a logical extension of the DRT PULSE service and will connect passengers in the corridor directly to Scarborough
Centre and the subway). The exact mix of future bus services is being reviewed. Express services would likely use the dedicated BRT lanes, whereas local bus services may continue in mixed traffic in the curb lane. The primary objective of the study is to look at both physical infrastructure and transit operating considerations.

Each corridor has its own specific issues. St. Clair Avenue is not direct comparable to this project. For instance, streetcars have different acceleration and deceleration characteristics than buses. The operating characteristics of the Don Mills diamond lanes would be a more accurate comparison.

Question 2:
How many people will ride the buses if they build the busway?
·         Metrolinx forecasts a total of 7,500 people will ride buses on this part of Ellesmere in the 2 hour morning ‘rush hour’ by the year 2041.
·         If they did nothing…if they did not build the busway… there would be 6,100 people riding the buses.
·         So for $59Million construction cost and the loss of two lanes on Ellesmere and cutting off left turns to dozens of properties, their busway will attract maybe an additional 700 riders per hour in the morning rush.

Response #7: Improved transit service provides benefits beyond the number of people who take the bus. Rapid transit is designed to help ease future congestion, by making transit more comparable to driving in terms of travel time and reliability. By reducing the number of cars in the corridor, there will be less congestion in the future for those people who continue to travel by car. That means fewer emissions and more reliable travel times for all modes. Rapid transit service is a key element to effectively encouraging a  shift toward transit use. Once rapid transit is in place to provide the backbone of a multi-modal system, other alternative modes, such as cycling, walking, car share and bike share can be supported to encourage even greater mobility choice. 

The current ridership modelling numbers above are correct. The improved reliability and convenience of the BRT service is in part responsible for the increase in ridership. All riders in the corridor will benefit from the improved level of service. This will save transit users time as each trip is faster, and more importantly, more reliable. 

There is also a need to consider the expected population and employment growth along the corridor in the future. This growth will require reliable transit connections to key destinations including the subway, and major institutions such as university and college campuses and hospitals. 

As noted above, the number of general traffic lanes on Ellesmere Road has not yet been decided. Two options will be considered: • 1 general traffic lane per direction and 1 dedicated bus lane per direction, and,  • 2 general traffic lanes per direction and 1 dedicated bus lane per direction. 

The options will be evaluated using a framework specific to this project and will consider the environmental, cultural, and socio-economic impacts of the options. These options will be presented at Public Information Centre #2, where we will ask the public to provide input on the options. You can take a look at the evaluation criteria on the project website at: (scroll to page 22 of the PDF).

Question 3:
If you built a Busway down the middle of Ellesmere for express buses…
                But express buses only stops at major streets….
                                What happens to all the regular TTC buses?
Do they still run in the curb lanes?
Answer: we don’t know but that’s what appears to be happening in Markham and Newmarket busways.
Response #8: Correct – express buses will most likely use the BRT lanes to take advantage of the new infrastructure. . There is the potential to look at additional stop locations to allow buses to use the BRT lanes, although this may mean changes to local service. The options and the evaluation will be presented for public input through the course of the project.

The number of stops and the locations of the stops will be analyzed as part of the project. Connections to other area bus routes, major destinations, and locations where it is safe to cross the street when boarding or alighting will also be considered.
Question 4:
Could you widen Ellesmere east of McCowan? Make it three lanes each way plus a centre left turn lane?
Answer:                               Yes.
The city owns exactly the same width of property along Ellesmere east of McCowan as they do along Ellesmere west from Brimley all the way to Warden.
Response #9: The 7-lane cross section shown in the first image is wider than what is being considered for the BRT, while not providing a high degree of priority for transit riders. In the short term the widened road will perform well, but as we have seen in other parts of the city, adding more lanes for general traffic still means buses are stuck in traffic.

The Glen Andrew Executive needs to hear from you, the people who live in our great community, before they speak to Metrolinx and to our City Councillors.

Here’s what I think Glen Andrew should say:
1.       Widen Ellesmere from McCowan to Military Trail to 3 lanes each way plus centre left turn lane [same as Ellesmere west of Brimley];
2.       Run whatever buses you want in the curb lanes for 3 or four years;
3.       Come back later with a new study if you still want a busway.
Response #10: Implementing transit at the same time that the road is modified provides both economies of scale and reduces the impact of construction on the neighbourhood. A six-lane road is not built in the same way a 4-lane road with two BRT lanes is built, as there are stops, additional medians and utility works that are required.  
The project will look at staging the implementation in sections, that is, different segments of the corridor may proceed earlier than others to provide relief where transit riders will see the greatest benefits, where road right-of-way ownership permits and to meet funding availability.
Thank you again for your taking the time to consider the project and your blog post. We hope to see you and other members of the Glen Andrew Community at upcoming project meetings.

You can email your thoughts to Glen Andrew’s President, Iain McLeod at
to the two Scarborough Councillors who represent people and businesses along this part of Ellesmere:
·         Michael Thompson at
·         Paul Ainslie at
directly to Metrolinx at

Lorne Ross.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Toronto Raptors - Jurassic Park Scarborough

Councillor Michael Thompson teamed up with the Scarborough Town Centre, Oxford Properties, CUPE Local 416, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and Rogers to bring Jurassic Park to Scarborough for the NBA Finals! On May 30th, Raptors fans took over Albert Campbell Square to watch the game on the big screen for the first time.  Jurassic Park Scarborough will be permanent for the remaining games. The Scarborough Town Centre will continue keeping its food court and washrooms open late to accommodate Raptors fans.

Location: Albert Campbell Square

Game Schedule:

Game 2: Sunday June 2, 8:00 p.m.
Game 3: Wednesday, June 5, 9:00 pm
Game 4: Friday, June 7, 9:00 p.m.
Game 5: Monday, June 10, 9:00 p.m.
Game 6: Thursday, June 13, 9:00 p.m.
Game 7: Sunday, June 16, 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Open Letter to Scarborough Councillors - December 2018

Dear Councillors McKelvie, Lai, Karygiannis, Thompson, Ainslie and Crawford

Many of you support building the Sheppard Subway and the Scarborough Subway Extension. So do we.

But none of us want to see huge parts of our city destroyed by the TTC for 5, 6 or 7 years while they build stations with their ‘cut and cover’ technique.

We want you to please move a motion at the next TTC Board meeting.

Please ask Staff to report back on the issues and opportunities raised in this letter.

This is how the TTC builds stations
on a subway line. 
Can you image this along Sheppard…
at Victoria Park, at Warden, at Kennedy…
all at the same time…for 5, 6 or 7 years!
Is there a better way?
Can we get a subway system without destroying our communities and businesses?
The answer is YES and experts in the TTC and their tunneling consultant Hatch know all about it.

Edward Poon of the TTC and experts from Hatch went to the North American Tunneling Conference in Washington D.C. this past June. They presented a paper advocating a better way to build subways. Their conclusion:

While the cost of a large diameter running tunnel between stations is higher
compared to twin tunnels, the savings in the avoidance of cut and cover construction (stations
and track cross-overs) more than offsets the larger tunnel cost in the running structure.
The estimated project cost saving at this very preliminary stage was approximately 25%
of the capital cost.

What are they talking about? We call it the Barcelona Technique because that’s who pioneered it.

The TTC has typically built our subways by boring out two tunnels running parallel using tunnel boring machines [TBM’s] of 6 meters diameter. That’s how they built the recently opened Spadina-Vaughan subway extension. For the Scarborough Subway Extension they are thinking about using a single larger TBM of around 10.7 m diameter.

                   Twin 6m Diameter Tunnels                                       One 10.7m Diameter Tunnel

The single 10.7m TBM excavates maybe 60% more earth but saves the cost of building passageways between the twin tunnels for cross over tracks, service and emergency passages.

The Barcelona Technique takes this one step further. It uses a 13m diameter TBM. That’s wide enough for trains to run side by side, do all the cross over tracks and emergency passages they need AND… the key benefit…at stations, one train can run on a deck above the other, as shown in the diagram below.  

There are three HUGE advantages

1.       No ‘cut and cover’ excavations at stations = ZERO disruption to the street above;

2.       A large part of building each station takes place INSIDE the tunnel. The rest takes place BESIDE the street;
3.       With a little forethought future stations can be opened later if there is not sufficient demand today.
None of this is possible with the TTC’s ‘cut and cover’ station building technique.

This is a picture from Barcelona’s Line 9 under
 construction. They are building the deck within the tunnel so one train can run above the other.  This will become a station when they’re done.

They can build major portions of the stations while the TBM continues up ahead excavating the rest of the tunnel.
 They can build major portions of the stations while the TBM continues up ahead excavating the rest of the tunnel

How do people get down to these new stations? You acquire a property next to the street and excavate down and then laterally into the station. The shaft handles escalators/elevators, emergency stairs, plus all the pipes and wires needed for the new station. ZERO disruption to the street.

Picture on the right is how Barcelona did it.

They are excavating the shaft down to track level beside the street for the escalators, elevators and emergency stairs.

Canadian tunneling companies are way out in front of this industry: they just pioneered boring a diagonal shaft for escalators down to the Moscow subway. Can we do that here?

What do other tunnel building experts say about the Barcelona Technique?
Here’s what AECOM’s chief tunnel engineer Verya Nasri says:

Both the time savings and minimization of roadway right- of-way disruptions, due to cut-and-cover construction, translate into significant construction cost savings and a more manageable public relations effort.

Here’s what Michael Schatz, Managing Director of Hatch says:

You get a better solution for less cost. 

Is any other city using the Barcelona Technique?
Yes. Just this past year alone, the cities of Calgary and San Jose-Bay Area Rapid Transit systems researched everything you could possibly know about subway building and chose the Barcelona Technique. They did not want to tear up their downtowns for 5, 6 or 7 years.

What’s the catch? If TTC Engineers know all about this why haven’t they told us?
It costs more to excavate a large diameter tunnel. The savings come when you build stations.
It’s a clear winner for extending the Sheppard Subway with perhaps 5 or 6t stations along the way to Scarborough Centre.

For the Scarborough Subway Extension, they have knocked out all possible stations along the route.
Take away the stations and there can be no savings! But no-one in the whole world has ever gone to the expense and disruption of excavating a 6 kilometer subway tunnel…and built no stations along the way! We will be the laughing stock of the world subway building industry.

Serve the people of Scarborough: put the stations back on this line at Lawrence and at Eglinton-Danforth. If someone persuades you there is not enough demand at present for these stations, the Barcelona Technique allows you to ‘rough’ them in. They can be opened later with minimal disruption when demand warrants. You can’t do this with the TTC’s inflexible cut and cover technique.

You need to hear from Edward Poon, Verya Nasri, Michael Schatz, the people from Calgary, San Jose/BART, and Barcelona. They believe the Barcelona Technique is the ‘better way’ to build subways.

Please put this letter on the agenda of the next TTC Board meeting.
Please move a motion directing staff to give you a full and fair comparison of the Barcelona Technique versus the TTC’s typical ‘cut and cover’ way of building subways

Yours truly,

Lorne Ross for the Glen Andrew Community Association.

CC: Luke Robertson, Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Big Plans for Scarborough Town Centre Mall

 Report From Lorne Ross

The mall has filed plans to tear down the Cineplex building and build a new one to the north of the former Sears store. At the same time, the old Sears store will be converted into three levels of smaller retail outlets.

Below is an artist’s rendering of what it will look like. The view is looking north toward 401, with the existing Sears store on the left and the new Cineplex on the right.


Demolishing the existing Cineplex clears that part of the mall property for the city to build the new much larger bus terminal along Triton Road. The new cinema will be further away from all the construction noise and vibration for the 6 or 7 years it will take the city to builds the new subway station/bus terminal.

What’s really interesting to Glen Andrew people is that in filing this application the mall owners have shown the city their long term vision for developing all the land they own around the shopping mall. With the exception of the former Scott House [now Baton Rouge] they own all the land north of Triton Road between Brimley and McCowan. All the existing stores like Best Buy, Jack Astor’s and Canyon Creek are tenants.

Below is a drawing they filed with the city. It is very difficult to understand, in large part because all the existing buildings we might know today are gone AND they have bought into the City Planning Department’s idea of changing most of the roads.

The coloured shapes are 35 hi-rise apartment towers.

Green =               3 buildings at 20 storeys.

Grey =                  5 buildings at 30 storeys.

Brown =               21 buildings at 40 storeys.

Red =                    4 buildings at 50 storeys and two at over 60 storeys.

Total 35 hi-rise residential towers.

 In addition there are +\- 15 buildings along Progress Avenue and the west side of the mall in the 6, 8, 12 and 15 storey heights. 

And one 25 storey office tower in the south east corner, on the north side of Town Centre Court near the YMCA.

The light green areas are possible public parks.

This is a VERY preliminary plan.

The owners have NOT asked for approval.

It is simply an illustration of the owners’ present thinking. It would take years for any of it to be approved and built.

If you wish to see the original drawings and reports filed to support demolishing-rebuilding the Cineplex, you can read these on-line or save them as you wish.

Crank up your internet and go to:

The studies and reports for all applications in Scarborough Centre Ward are available at:

1.       Click on “Application Information Centre”.

2.       When the new page comes up, click on the blue square that says “Application information Centre”;

3.       When the big map of Toronto comes up, click on the ‘Ward’ box and chose ‘Scarborough Centre’ then click on ‘Search’;

4.       A whole bunch of blue pins will appear on the map.

5.       Zoom in and click on the one you want to see.

6.       Click on ‘Learn More’ and a box will come up.

7.       Click on ‘Supporting Documents’ and a list of all the reports that the owner filed will come up.

Lorne Ross for Glen Andrew Community Association.