This past December, a huge announcement left Liberty Village with a commitment on changing transportation through the neighborhood. For commuters looking to get in and out of the City of Toronto, the announcement of six SmartTrack stations receiving approval from city council is big news.
Liberty Village SmartTrack, between the borders
How this is going to change life for Liberty Village residents, the truth is that for a long time, residents are not going to see a big change within the borders of the neighborhood. That said, having a SmartTrack station in Liberty Village means commuting has been made that much easier, guiding Liberty Villagers in and out of the community with ease. For Liberty Village residents coming home from work at the end of the day, the savings in time will be significant. For anyone travelling outside of the community, in most cases, SmartTrack will be easier to navigate than the current TTC or Go routes.
What we Know about SmartTrack so far
Toronto has long been obsessed with expanding its transit network as efficiently and intelligently as it can.
The original SmartTrack proposal contained 22 stations across the city however only six were approved (so far). There is little information on what the final SmartTrack Liberty Village will look like however we know that the location has been approved, funding has been approved, and fare integration plans have been finalized ensuring that the SmartTrack station will cost equivalent to TTC rates.
The six SmartTrack stations are set to increase transportation times from Etobicoke through to Downtown Toronto and then out to Scarborough. The six approved stations are as follows – St. Clair-Old Weston; King-Liberty; East Harbour; Gerrard-Carlaw; Lawrence-Kennedy; and Finch-Kennedy.
For Liberty Village commuters, this news is gold
SmartTrack is all about cutting down on transportation times. With a SmartTrack station in Liberty Village, save 1 hour and 13 minutes getting to the Pearson Airport (arrive there in 7 minutes). From Liberty Village to Dundas West, save 22 minutes in transportation (arrive there in 3 minutes). From Liberty Village to Union Station, save 18 minutes (arrive there in 7 minutes). From Liberty Village to Scarborough, save 1 hour and 3 minutes (arrive there in 25 minutes). From Liberty Village to Unionville, save 1 hour and 38 minutes (arrive there in 61 minutes). These are big time savings across the board!
As one would have probably guessed, the confirmed location for the SmartTrack Station in Liberty Village is alongside King Street. There will be two station entrances for the Liberty Village station, one existing at Dovercourt-Sudbury St leading out to Queen Street West and the other at King-Atlantic Avenue. As evidenced in these plans, when completed, the SmartTrack station will better connect Liberty Village within the existing track grid and even better, it’s not going to cost residents more than TTC rates to ride it. Also, the City is currently negotiating with Metrolinx and the TTC to designate transfer connections to assist in guiding residents from SmartTrack and onto surface routes. Though nothing has been announced as of yet, this route has the potential to provide some much-needed relief to the city’s busiest surface transportation routes.
Congratulations, Liberty Village!
When/if completed, the SmartTrack expansion will be the largest rail project expansion in Toronto in over 4 decades. The building of six new stations and the laying of approximately 8.6 kilometres of new track means more development, more jobs, and is the most ambitious North American subway expansion in some time. Current estimates suggest that, once functional, the line will see 36 million transit trips annually, taking approximately 30 million car trips off the road every year.
The responsibility is now on the organizations at play to get this done. Now that approval has been acquired and funding is set, concrete timelines need to be developed on when to expect SmartTrack to be functional. There are some who estimate 2024 though it is unclear on how feasible this is, especially when considering the ongoing challenges surrounding TTC and the limits on financial funding for transportation projects in the city. As Liberty Village residents and the rest of the City await more news on the upcoming SmartTrack station, all of this brings the neighborhood one step closer to its most highly developed transportation link yet.