Kirby Road Widening EA Meeting

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Welcome to the Virtual Public Information Centre (PIC) for the Kirby Road Widening Class Environmental Assessment Study between Jane Street and Dufferin Street. This presentation will provide an overview of the study, share the alternatives considered, evaluations and recommendations for Kirby Road between Jane Street and Dufferin Street.

The commenting period for the PIC is from June 7, 2021 to June 25, 2021.

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Click on the ‘Survey’ tab on the left side of your screen to complete the online comment form. Once finished, please hit “Submit” to send your comments to the project team. You can also email the project team your comments.

The Kirby Road study area is between Jane Street to Dufferin Street and is situated in the northeast corner of the City of VaughanKirby Road is designated as an east-west minor arterial, under the jurisdiction of the City of Vaughan. The corridor is 4 kilometres and is intersected by three regional roads: Jane Street, Keele Street and Dufferin Street.

The City of Vaughan initiated this environmental assessment study to:

  • Identify local transportation opportunities, needs and issues specific to Kirby Road;
  • Accommodate current and future transportation needs for all modes including active transportation; and
  • Improve operation and safety for all modes of transportation, including active transportation along the Kirby Road corridor.

This Public Information Centre is intended to inform the general public about the Kirby Road Environmental Assessment Study in order to:

  • Identify local transportation opportunities, needs, and issues specific to Kirby Road
  • Gain a better understanding and insight about the project
  • Learn about how the decision-making processes work
  • Provide input on the alternative solutions, evaluation criteria and the preferred alternative

This study is following the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process.

An “EA” is a planning and approval process for municipal infrastructure projects that considers potential environmental effects before an infrastructure project begins. This process follows Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act.

The EA process consists of five study phases, with public consultation activities throughout, as follows:

  • Phase 1 – Identify the project’s problem or opportunity and document existing conditions
  • Phase 2 – Develop, assess and evaluate alternative solutions to address the problems and opportunities, and present the findings at a Public Information Centre.
  • Phase 3 – Develop, assess, and evaluate alternative design concepts for the preferred solution and present the findings at Public Information Centre.
  • Phase 4 – Document the study process, findings, and recommendations in an Environmental Study Report (ESR), which is then available for public and stakeholder review and input as documented in the Notice of Study Completion
  • Phase 5 – Implementation of the project, which typically consists of detailed design, construction and monitoring

Phases 1 and 2 of the EA process were completed through the Transportation Master Plan process. This study will complete Phases 3 and 4 of the EA process. We are currently in Phase 3 of the EA process where we present the design alternatives considered, evaluations and recommended design for public review via this online PIC.

Key features in the Kirby Road Widening Study area include

  • Crossing of the East Humber River Tributary, west of Jane Street
  • Existing jogged intersection at Jane St.
  • Crossing of the West Don River Tributary, east of Jane Street
  • Barrie GO Rail Corridor At-Grade Crossing of Kirby Road
  • Future Kirby GO Station
  • Connection to future Kirby Rd. Extension (Dufferin St. to Bathurst St.) which was completed through a separate EA study

Various planning and policy documents from different municipal bodies and agencies were reviewed to inform the study and recommendations for Kirby Road corridor. The need for improvements and preferred solution, to address Phases 1 and 2 of the EA process for Kirby Road Widening, were identified from the following Transportation Master Plan (TMPs) studies :

  • York Region Transportation Master Plan;
  • City-wide Transportation Master Plan;
  • North Vaughan and New Communities Transportation Master Plan; and
  • Vaughan Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.

As noted the TMP studies identified the following needs and opportunities for the Kirby Road Widening corridor:

  • Maximize the person-carrying capacity of Kirby Road
  • Accommodate the expansion of the Designated Urban Area and projected travel demands
  • Improve walking and cycling facilities and overall active transportation network
  • Improve the efficiency and reliability of transit

To address these needs, the TMP studies reviewed various alternatives and recommended widening Kirby Road to four lanes and constructing to an urban arterial standard.

In addition to road widening and urbanization (curb and gutter) within the 36.0m designated right-of-way, the Preferred Solution for the Kirby Road also includes:

  • Grade separation of Kirby Road at the Barrie GO railway crossing
  • Elimination of the jogged intersection at Jane Street to improve traffic flow
  • Improved walking and cycling facilities (active transportation)
  • The Kirby Road EA study completed an updated transportation and traffic analysis to re-confirm the TMP recommendations. The findings include:

    • Traffic congestion and delays are experienced at the Jane Street and Keele Street intersections. The existing two-lane road will be congested in the future. Re-aligning Kirby Road at Jane Street and providing four travel lanes (two in each direction) are proposed to serve the anticipated vehicular demand.
    • No new traffic signals are proposed; improvements to existing signalized intersections are recommended.
    • Existing sidewalks are discontinuous and there are no cycling facilities. There are opportunities to improve conditions throughout the corridor and at intersections.

    The Kirby Road Widening EA study team has consulted with the community and interested stakeholders through direct mail notices, postcard and online survey, stakeholder group meetings, newspaper notices, City of Vaughan social media posts, project website updates, e-mails and meetings with technical review agencies.

    An online survey took place from July 28, 2020 to August 21, 2020 to inquire about the public’s thoughts on existing concerns and proposed improvements in advance of this PIC. 379 responses were received. Key feedback included:

  • Support for separated cycling and pedestrian facilities
  • Concern that road widening will increase congestion
  • Desire for traffic signals to replace stop signs
  • Concerns with speeding, steep slopes and truck traffic
  • When asked for the top priorities for improvements, the survey participants identified:

    1. Continuous sidewalks
    2. On-road cycling (bike lanes)
    3. More space between pedestrians/cyclists and vehicles

    Public feedback is an important consideration in the study. Key comments from the survey and how we have considered them in the study are listed which include concerns for lack of sidewalks / cycling facilities, no physical separation from vehicles, aggressive driving / speeding, traffic delays and traffic operations at intersections, and safety.

    As part of the EA study, various technical studies are carried out to inform the evaluation of designs and to identify impacts and mitigation measures for the proposed improvements. These studies include:

    • Transportation and Traffic Analysis
    • Natural Heritage
    • Fluvial Geomorphology
    • Agricultural Impact Assessment
    • Archaeological Assessment
    • Cultural and Built Heritage
    • Contamination Overview
    • Safety Assessment
    • Noise Impact
    • Drainage and Stormwater Management
    • Geotechnical Assessment
    • Arborist/Tree Inventory
    • Socio-economic Assessment
    • Hydrogeological Assessment
    • Air Quality

    Evaluation criteria was developed to measure alternative designs against their ability to address the problems and opportunities identified for the study corridor. The evaluation criteria were built upon four primary criteria:

    • Transportation Service
    • Natural Environment
    • Social Environment
    • Infrastructure Design and Economic Environment

    Additional sub-criteria under each of primary criteria were developed to shape the overall evaluation criteria of alternative solutions.

    Three alternative designs were considered for widening Kirby Road to four lanes. These alternatives are:

    • Alternative 1: Widening About the Centreline – This alternative provides additional lanes to both sides of the street to balance the impacts on both sides of Kirby Road
    • Alternative 2: Widening to the North – This alternative shifts the road centreline so additional lanes and associated impacts occur on the north side of Kirby Road
    • Alternative 3: This alternative shifts the road centreline so additional lanes and associated impacts occur on the south side of Kirby Road

    Of the three road widening alternatives, widening about the centreline is recommended following a best fit approach as it maximizes the use of the existing right-of-way and balances property impacts on both sides. With this option localized shifts in the road centreline and varying boulevard widths are used to minimize impacts to the natural environment and avoid residential displacement.

    Four alternatives were considered to determine how to best accommodate pedestrians and cyclists along Kirby Road. These alternatives are:

    • Alternative 1: Cycle tracks and sidewalks on both sides of the study corridor
    • Alternative 2: Multi-use paths on both sides of the study corridor
    • Alternative 3: Multi-use paths on one side, and sidewalk on the other side of the study corridor
    • Alternative 4: Bike lane and sidewalks on both sides of the study corridor

    Of the four alternatives, Alternative 1 and Alternative 2 were carried forward for evaluation.

    Alternative 1 - Boulevard Cycle Tracks and Sidewalks on Both Sides is recommended as it provides separation and eliminates conflicts amongst users while providing access to adjacent lands

    The existing jog at Kirby Road and Jane Street causes significant delay for drivers during the AM and PM peak hours. Re-aligning Kirby Road at Jane Street provides an opportunity to improve operations and accommodate other users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

    Three alternatives were considered to re-align Kirby Road at Jane Street: a northern alignment (Alternative 1), a new central alignment (Alternative 2), and a southern alignment (Alternative 3).

    Alignment 2, re-aligning Kirby Road through a central alignment at Jane Street is recommended..

    Kirby Road crosses the Barrie GO Rail Line west of Keele Street.

    In the future, Metrolinx’s GO Expansion Project’s two-way all-day rail service along the Barrie GO line will include 15-minute train service which will increase the number of trains from 12 today to up to 120 trains by 2031.

    The City’s Kirby GO Transit Hub Sub-Study, 2016, identified a need for grade separation of Kirby Road at the Barrie GO Rail line and preliminary recommendations to accommodate a GO station access at Kirby Road.

    The need to separate Kirby Road from the Barrie GO Rail tracks (grade separation) was made to:

    • Enhance safety for all users
    • Reduce traffic delays
    • Accommodate increased transit frequency

    Three alternative designs were considered for the Barrie GO Rail Crossing. These alternatives are:

    • Alternative 1: At-grade crossing
    • Alternative 2: Underpass - the rail crosses over the road
    • Alternative 3: Overpass - the road crosses over the rail

    Alternative 2 – Underpass (rail crossing over the road) is recommended as it mitigates vehicle queuing from increased GO train service while maintaining access to adjacent lands and accommodating pedestrians and cyclists.

    In summary, the key features of the recommended design for Kirby Road between Jane Street and Dufferin Street include:

    • Widening to four lanes and urbanize (curb and gutter)
    • Boulevard Cycle Tracks and Sidewalks on both sides
    • Crossrides at intersections
    • Re-aligning Kirby Road about a Central Alignment at Jane Street
    • Underpass at Barrie GO Rail Crossing
    • Structural Modification / Replacement at West Don River Tributary
    • Illumination and Streetscaping

    Construction is anticipated to commence in 2026 following Detailed Design.

    The Recommended Design is based on the following typical sections. In some locations in the corridor, the width of the boulevards and area for street trees / landscaping are further reduced than shown below to minimize impacts to properties and sensitive natural features. A typical section of the underpass structure at the rail crossing is also shown where Kirby Road would be below the rail tracks.

    Please click to view the Recommended Design plan of the proposed improvements for Kirby Road between Jane Street and Keele Street. Complete the online comment form or email the project team to share your thoughts on the design.

    Please click to view the Recommended Design plan of the proposed improvements for Kirby Road between Keele Street and Dufferin Street. Complete the online comment form or email the project team to share your thoughts on the design.

    Following this PIC the project team will review the feedback collected, update the preferred design plan based on the feedback received, and document the study and decision-making rationale and consultation process in the Environmental Study Report (ESR). The ESR will be made available for public review and Notice of Study Completion will be issued to inform those interested on where to access the report and how to provide comments. Please complete the survey and submit comments to the project team on this PIC by June 25, 2021

    The City of Vaughan encourages public consultation as part of the environmental assessment process. The project team welcomes any comments or feedback related to the Kirby Road project by contacting the City’s Project Manager via e-mail or phone. PIC materials are provided at the City’s website at www.vaughan.ca/KirbyWidening with an on-line survey. We encourage you to complete and provide your comments and feedback to the project team.

    Thank you for your participation in the Virtual Public Information Centre for the Kirby Road Widening Class Environmental Assessment Study.

    Please review the PIC display materials and then fill out our survey to share your feedback – it should take you about 10 minutes. Once finished please press “Submit” at the bottom of the survey to send your comments to the project team.

    For questions or comments, please contact us below or visit the study website:

    Hilda Esedebe, P.Eng.
    City Project Manager
    Infrastructure Planning and Corporate Asset Management
    Email: hilda.esedebe@vaughan.ca

    Michelle Mascarenhas, P.Eng.
    Consultant Project Manager
    Transportation Planning
    HDR Corporation
    Email: michelle.mascarenhas@hdrinc.com

    Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Municipal Act, 2001 and will be used for the purpose of administering the Kirby Road Widening Environmental Assessment Study (Jane to Dufferin Street). With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record. Questions about this collection can be directed to the Manager, Transportation Planning, City of Vaughan, 2141 Major Mackenzie Drive, Vaughan, ON L6A 1T1, 905-832-8585.

    Thank you for your response.

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    Title Slide

    Slide 1
    Rollplot from Jane to Keele
    Rollplot from Keele to Dufferin