All Over The Waterfront (Update 4)

Update 1, March 17, 5:50 pm:  More details have been added about the various alignment options for the Waterfront West line through Parkdale.

Update 2, March 24, 7:55 pm:  Feedback from the TTC about Parkdale alignment details.  Details of Queen’s Quay public meetings added.

Update 3, March 25, 6:00 am:  The preferred option for the Kingston Road line is BRT.

Update 4, March 28, 11:10 pm:  The presentation from the March 25 public meeting on the Queen’s Quay redesign is now available online.  Note that this file is almost 18MB for those of you with slow network links.  The document is quite extensive, and I will review it in a separate post.

Transit planning on Toronto’s waterfront leaves much to be desired thanks to the patchwork of overlapping studies and projects for two decades.  Options for the portion between Parkdale and Bathurst Street have changed with the recent cancellation of the Front Street Extension, but no planning based on ths possibility has ever been conducted.

Throughout its history, planning for the waterfront has been fragmented and compromised to fit around whatever other projects had real political clout.  To help focus discussion of the waterfront as a whole, this post gives an overview of all of the projects and schemes from Long Branch to West Hill.

The Central Waterfront and Queen’s Quay

The original Harbourfront line (originally route 604, now 509) opened in June 1990.  This included the Union Station Loop, a substandard arrangement for transfer to the subway that the TTC originally claimed had a capacity of 7,000 passengers per hour.  Needless to say, demands far lower than this quickly overwhelmed the station.  Plans are afoot to substantially modify this loop (see details later in this article) in anticipation of major new demands from both the western and eastern waterfront.

The Harbourfront line operates from Union south and west to a loop at Spadina and Queen’s Quay, although service trackage connecting north to King via Spadina was installed as part of the Harbourfront project.  All of the original track predates the current standard for track construction with welded rails and acoustic isolation between the track and its surroundings.  This track is scheduled for replacement sometime in 2010 according to the TTC’s 5-year plan for trackwork contained in the current capital budget.

This could co-incide with construction activities to reconfigure Queen’s Quay itself as planned by Waterfront Toronto (see below).

East of Bay, the proposed LRT route will initially operate to Parliament Street pending the connection of Cherry Street through to a re-aligned Lake Shore and Queen’s Quay.  I discussed this scheme in my previous post on Harbourfront transit, but since then, more details have emerged about the street design east of Bay.

At a recent stakeholders meeting for community representatives, Waterfront Toronto presented details of the revised configuration for Queen’s Quay and its transit service from Bathurst east to near Parliament.  The materials from this meeting are not yet available online, but I can report on a few major issues:

  • The preferred design for Queen’s Quay, based on the international design competition concluded last year, is for the streetcars to remain roughly where they are today west of Bay, although there will be some changes in stop locations.  Queen’s Quay traffic will be reduced to the northern half of the existing street with some selected widening.  An outstanding debate is over a two-way versus a one-way option for this road.
  • The new eastern portal will bring streetcars to the surface for a stop at Freeland Street (one block east of Yonge).  From this location, the line will run along the south side of a narrowed Queen’s Quay in a design not unlike what is proposed west of Bay.
  • The south side of Queen’s Quay including what are now the eastbound lanes plus the sidewalk will be reconfigured for pedestrian and cyclist use.  Special arrangements are needed at a few locations near Bay (access to the Harbour Square condos) and Yonge (access to the Harbour Castle hotel).

Two public meetings are planned for this project :

Page 1 of 7 | Next page