Blue 22 Update


Metrolinx Design Charrette

29 May 2009: Metrolinx is planning a Design Charrette on Saturday, May 30, from 12 to 5 pm, at the Weston Park Baptist Church. We have been invited to attend. Metrolinx will use this Design Charrette to get ideas for the design of a pedestrian bridge over the tracks at John Street. Apparently, although the EA is not yet complete, Metrolinx has ruled out the possibility of keeping John Street open. Metrolinx has advised us that this charrette is co-hosted by MP Alan Tonks, MPP Laura Albanese, and Councillor Frances Nunziata, although Ms. Nunziata denies that she agreed to co-host, and is opposed to the road closure.

Strachan Avenue Bridge

Metrolinx had proposed to keep Strachan Ave open by the construction of a much less expensive but very ugly massive bridge over the tracks which would have severely restricted other roadways, and access and sightlines from other residences. After several weeks of intense public lobbying led by councillor Joe Pantalone, assisted by MPP Rosario Marchese and MP Olivia Chow, Metrolinx has agreed to redesign the bridge, to the community’s satisfaction

Pile Driving

You may have heard about it. You may have heard it. GO transit (having merged with Metrolinx), in defiance of the apparent promise in the EA to limit the noise of the pile driving to 85 decibels, has since January been driving huge steel columns into the ground using an impact pile driver, which produces 135 decibels at the source. You can hear it in Weston, several miles away. The noise is quite deafening. Children are not allowed to play outside at the nearby school, as the noise there is 95 decibels. Dogs are afraid to go for walks. Home-based businesses have been forced to close. Homeowners have reported window panes falling out, and foundation cracks. Again, after public protests, MPP Cheri Di Novo announced yesterday that GO has agreed to use noise-limiting shrouds, noise attenuation walls, and a noise attenuation coating on the pile driving device. They hope to reduce the noise by 10 db. They hope to use this equipment starting June 8. A total of 2100 piles need to be driven in, and work is expected to continue for the rest of the year.

This is important for Weston because walls will need to be constructed for the ‘ditch’ Metrolinx is planning through Weston to keep Church and King Streets open. There are completely silent methods to do this, including augered holes, and the use of a Japanese method called the ‘Gilken’ press-in pile system. We will be demanding that nothing less than the best, most silent methods be used in Weston.

Electrification

This is becoming by far the most unifying issue for the communities along the corridor. Weston will see an increase in train traffic from 50 trains per day to 330. Residents at and south of the Junction will have over 460. Metrolinx plans that all these trains will be diesel, most pulled by 3500 to 4200 HP locomotives. It will be the busiest diesel rail corridor on the planet. The air-rail-link will be diesel, probably refurbished 50 year old BUDD cars. It is touted as making Toronto ‘world class’. Of the top 100 city regions in terms of population on the planet (Toronto is number 50), only Dhaka in Bangladesh runs diesel trains between its airport and downtown. All other such links are electric.

The health risks of diesel pollution are enormous. The mortality rates for those living so near a fossil-fuel burning corridor are 17% higher. A California study showed that children’s lungs, when exposed to the pollution from such vehicles, fail to develop properly. It is reversible (by removing the children from the pollution) up to age 18. After that it is too late. Particulate matter (soot) as well as Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) will be greater than from the cars this project seeks to replace. For the Air Link it will be nearly 10 times greater pollution than from cars. Particulates have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and respiratory diseases. The smallest particles (1.0 micron) actually travel into the blood, carrying heavy metals into our bodies.

The Weston Community Coalition has joined with the Clean Train Coalition in demanding that this project, the biggest of the plans by Metrolinx, be electrified from the outset, including the Air Rail Link. Metrolinx recently announced a ‘study’ of electrification, and invited the Clean Train Coalition to participate. We welcome a study, but want it to be able to change this project, to change the air-rail-link, and to be binding on the province. But Metrolinx officials refuse to consider electrification in the Environmental Assessment.

Final Open Houses

Metrolinx today announced the final round of open houses in the current Environmental Assessment.

The Schedule is:

Monday, June 8
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Weston Park Baptist Church
1871 Weston Road
Toronto, ON M9N 1V9

Tuesday, June 9
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The Lithuanian House
1573 Bloor Street West
Toronto M6P 1A6

Wednesday, June 10
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Mount Dennis United Church
71 Guestville Avenue
Toronto, ON M6N 4N4

Tuesday June 16
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fort York
Blue Barracks Room
100 Garrison Road
Toronto, ON M5V 3K9

Wednesday June 17
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn Select
Caledon Centre Ballroom
30 Peel Centre Drive
Brampton, ON L6T 4G3

Thursday June 18
3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn – Toronto Airport East
The Centennial Ballroom
600 Dixon Road
Toronto, ON M9W 1J1

We urge all of you to attend, to bring friends, neighbours and family, and to demand that this line be electrified from the outset.

Mike Sullivan
Chair
Weston Community Coalition

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