Metrolinx Contemplates Relief

At its meeting on February 14, 2014, the Metrolinx Board will receive a presentation on the Yonge Network Relief Study. Despite the need for better regional transit links (and by that I mean links that do not take people to downtown Toronto), the elephant in the room has always been the unstoppable demand for more capacity into the core area. Planning for and debates about catching up with the backlog of transit infrastructure cannot avoid this issue, and it skews the entire discussion because the scale and cost of serving downtown is greater than any other single location in the GTHA.

Conflicting political and professional attitudes across the region colour the view of downtown.  Toronto suburbs, never mind the regions beyond the city boundary, are jealous of downtown’s growth, and for decades have wanted some of the shiny new buildings and jobs for themselves. But the development, such as it was, skipped over the “old” suburbs to new areas in the 905 that could offer lower taxes possible through booming development and the low short-term cost of “new” cities.

Strangling downtown is not a new idea, and politicians decades ago foretold of gleaming suburban centres to redirect growth together with its travel demand. The transit network would force-feed the new centres, and downtown would magically be constrained by not building any new transit capacity to the core.

Someone forgot to tell GO Transit where service and ridership grew over the decades. Downtown Toronto continued to build, and that is now compounded by the shift of residential construction into the older central city.

Thanks to the early 1990s recession, the subway capacity crisis that had built through the 1980s evaporated, and the TTC could talk as if more downtown capacity was unneeded. To the degree it might be required, the marvels of new technology would allow them to stuff more riders on existing lines. A less obvious motive was that this would avoid competition for funding and political support between new downtown capacity with a much-favoured suburban extension into York Region. Whenever they did talk about “downtown relief”, the TTC did so with disdain.

Times have changed. Long commutes are now a burden, not a fast escape to suburban paradise. Every debate starts with “congestion” and the vain hope that there is a simple, take-two-pills-and-call-me-in-the-morning solution. Top that off with an aversion for any taxes that might actually pay for improvements, or sacrifices in convenience until that blissful day when transit arrives at everyone’s doorstep.

Many schemes compete for attention, each with advocates eager for their “solution” win the day, establish their vision for decades to come, and entrench their one technology to rule them all. This is hopelessly blinkered, and adds a layer of “only my solution” rivalry to an already complex problem.

Metrolinx plans a detailed study of the options for serving not just central Toronto, but the region in general with a focus on the Yonge corridor. Where is the demand coming from and going to? Where will the growth occur? What combination of services will address demands in the short, medium and long term?

The Metrolinx work will parallel with Toronto’s own Relief Line Project Assessment whose short-term goal is a better definition of routing options between the Danforth subway and the core area. Toronto Council’s real priorities are clear, however, from the funding dedicated to this study at a level one tenth that of preliminary engineering for the Scarborough Subway.

Over the coming year, Metrolinx will go through the typical Environmental Assessment process to review options [see diagram, page 6]:

  • Problem Statement, Long List of Options, Evaluation Framework. This is always the most tedious part of any EA because nothing much actually happens to engage debate. However, this step can be critical if the “problem” is stated too narrowly, or if the “evaluation framework” has a built-in bias to reward progress to specific goals. Indeed, this is a case where there will be multiple goals, and they will not all be achieved at the same rate or to the same degree. (Winter-Spring 2014)
  • Long List reviewed and filtered through Evaluation Criteria. During this stage, some options will fall off of the table either because they are impractical, or because they do not make a substantial contribution to the goals. (Summer-Fall 2014)
  • Short List and Draft Recommendations. (Winter-Spring 2015)
  • Transit Project Assessment (Spring-Summer 2015)

Public consultation and input will occur along the way, and there will be the small matter of elections at the municipal and, almost certainly, provincial levels to complicate the debate. Recent experience shows how transit priorities can be skewed by the need to win votes in key ridings, and actual “planning” has little to do with the outcome.

Both the Yonge Subway and GO Transit services within Toronto are operating at capacity, and the subway, even with planned improvements, will still be full in 2031, a date that in planning terms is at best the day-after-tomorrow.  Metrolinx will address two key questions:

  • What is the full range of alternatives that needs to be considered?
  • What is the optimal phasing with other Next Wave projects including Yonge North Subway Extension and GO Rail Expansion ?

To these I would add an important third question:

  • What is the practical capacity of various network components including tracks, stations, control systems and delivery of passengers to and from the rapid transit network?

Too much discussion from The Big Move and other studies has been little more than drawing lines on a map without thought to the limitations each location and technology presents, not to mention the problem of network access. The GO model of providing acres of parking for inbound commute trips is not a viable way to build a regional network for all-day, two-way commuting, much less strong off-peak local travel.

Metrolinx proposes six broad goals for the study [page 9]:

  • [Transportation] Improve service quality, increase transit choice and ridership, increase network flexibility and meet local and regional transit travel needs for existing and new passengers through measures such as new infrastructure, operations or policy direction;
  • [Financial] Are fundable and provide value for money in the short and long term;
  • [Environment] Enhance and protect our natural environment and contribute to minimizing the impact on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions;
  • [Economic Development] Encourage regional economic development, improve access to downtown, major employment generators, employment, leisure and local businesses by sustainable modes;
  • [Community] Help foster an equitable society by contributing to the creation of inclusive, accessible, livable and connected communities; and
  • [Deliverability] Are feasible to build and operate, do not place undue pressure on other parts of the transportation network, and are financially sustainable.

These are the obvious goals of any transit project, but as stated, they are motherhood definitions of a “good” system. The details are key:

  • What is meant by “value for money”? Shorter travel times? Stimulus for or enabling of continued development? Reduced personal cost of commuting? Reduced burden on governments to provide capacity for auto travel? Access to employment and leisure activities from a wider regional community?
  • What is meant by “financially sustainable”? How will this contrast with the cost of a “do nothing” or “do little” option? Will there be political recognition that nothing is free whether it is paid for directly by public levies and fees, or indirectly through development charges or private sector partnerships?
  • How will the Yonge corridor projects, important though they might be, relate to the broader transportation network especially for east-west travel within Toronto and with the much larger GTHA?
  • If a project is intended to stimulate development, will this recognize the need for feeder and local services to handle travel that is not directly on the rapid transit network?
  • Will a one-size-fits-all evaluation matrix be used? Will a project that is “good” in a regional sense necessarily serve local requirements, or should these be evaluated independently? A project could have value for something beyond its contribution to Yonge corridor relief.

A very long list of options (to which there will, no doubt, be additions) appears on page 11. To Metrolinx’ credit, this list touches many parts of a journey and a wide variety of approaches to the problem. Some of them have implications for the entire network (fare policy, for example) while others are only tangentially related to the Yonge corridor itself (waterfront LRT services, improved streetcar services).

This list, for all its strength, remains focused on inbound commutes with the presumption that integration of fares and service for the originating part of a trip is separate from fare integration with the TTC.

The list of potential transit improvements is long, and contains pet projects of every flavour (except Swan Boats on the Don River). All of the options must be included, if only for the purpose of evaluation, so that the “sounds-nice-but” schemes can be excluded from further consideration.

The Toronto region badly needs a hard, technical look at the capacities of its existing and proposed transportation systems.

  • What is the realistic capacity of the subway, what are the constraints to expansion, and how can this capacity be achieved? How robust and resilient will the service be when demand approaches the upper limit of capacity, and should this even be attempted?
  • What is the realistic capacity of the GO Transit lines? Are there physical or organizational limitations that prevent expansion (or even implementation of service) on some corridors? What corridors can benefit from electrification and how soon will this be required?
  • How will “near downtown” areas that are too close for regional, GO-like solutions be served?
  • What is required to improve local transit services in the 905 so that parking is not the pre-eminent form of rapid transit system access?
  • How can the “solutions” proposed for the Yonge corridor be applied to the wider network?
  • What are the financial implications of the growth in transit demand for the region?

Some of these questions will be outside the scope of this Metrolinx study, but the rest of the GTHA won’t be sitting still for the next two decades. The questions deserve answers in a broad, regional context.

This is work Metrolinx should have undertaken at least two years ago, if not more. The announcements, the ribbon-cutting ceremonies of the “First Wave” projects, were just a start, but too much of recent history has been back-patting, “look at what we’re doing” events, while much more challenging problems were ignored. Planning focused on individual projects rather than the network as a whole, and the change shown with the Yonge corridor study should find its way to all of the GTHA’s transit plans.

When the public consultations start in March 2014, this will not be a time for yet another warm fuzzy Metrolinx road show with pictures of smiling transit riders and bold recitations of the “progress” already underway. Transit riders are not smiling, and motorists who might join them are even less entranced by the inaction on network growth.

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Steve thanks you for reading this article, even if you don't agree with it.
This entry was posted in A Grand Plan, Beyond 416, Commuter Rail Electrification, Downtown Relief Line, Elections, Finance, GO Transit, Subways, Transit, Union Station, Urban Affairs, Waterfront, Yonge Subway Extension, York Region. Bookmark the permalink.
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41 Responses to Metrolinx Contemplates Relief

  1. malcolmm says:

    Oh this is going to be fun, every politician and would be transportation planner (which I’m somewhat guilty of) will be coming out of the woodwork to have their say. I want it to go here and there, why doesn’t my village, town, city getting a bus, BRT, light rail and/or subway. All because Toronto needs (rightly so) a new subway.

    Also, it is looking like Metrolinx may have new masters if the politicians want a spring election. So all bets are off there on the direction that agency is going to take.

    Ughh, what a mess

  2. Bob Patrick says:

    Thanks for writing this. I look forward to attending the public sessions.

  3. Glen says:

    Steve:

    But the development, such as it was, skipped over the “old” suburbs to new areas in the 905 that could offer lower taxes possible through booming development and the low short-term cost of “new” cities.

    It should be noted that development skipped over the entire city. Even Downtown. Only after decades of no development and new tax incentives did the climate change enough to warrant new offices downtown. This lack of commercial development happened by decisions made in Toronto. They were not the result of conditions elsewhere.

  4. jeff says:

    It sounds like this new study is looking at a wide range of alternatives, well beyond looking at an alignment of a potential new line. I agree that everything should be on the table for discussion. However, is there a point to this study? The DRL is already on the 15-year list, so hasn’t the conclusion already been determined?

    Logically, I would expect Metrolinx to first look at all options, and then proceed with the DRL if it is the best option. To me, it seems like the current process is a bit backwards.

  5. Andrew says:

    I think that the only good solution is to extend the downtown relief line (or Don Mills line or whatever you want to call it) further north than Eglinton, so that it becomes something like an eastern version of the Spadina subway. It seems weird that this option hasn’t been considered in any of the studies. This would cost a lot of money, but Metrolinx ought to realize that the Richmond Hill line has such a poor alignment that trying to expand service on it is a waste of money (unlike all the other GO train lines, which generally have alignments that are useful). The Richmond Hill line can’t connect to the Bloor-Danforth line and is inconveniently located relative to every major destination on the #25 bus. All it is useful for is a (not very fast) express route from Richmond Hill to Union, and I suspect that the number of people who are doing this commute is small, as most people want to get off somewhere in between.

    If you extend the Yonge subway another 4km to Major Mackenzie (which I suspect has to be underground, unfortunately, because the Richmond Hill line has heavy freight train traffic in this section) and then build even the southern portion of the downtown relief line to Eglinton, my guess is you could safely get away with shutting down the now redundant Richmond Hill GO line. Improving service on the Lakeshore/Milton/Georgetown lines could substitute partially for the part of the DRL south of Danforth, but the Yonge line is severely overcrowded all the way to Finch, so I think that a Don Mills subway is the only effective way of relieving the northern part of the Yonge line.

  6. Malcolm N says:

    Fundamentally, we the voters need to start demanding a harder, more data driven approach. We are ultimately responsible. In the past 30 years or so that which seems popular, seems often to be technically and/or financially ridiculous. Hard divisions between agencies’ roles (GO/TTC/MiWay) and modes need to be examined and possibly softened. Growth in the entire region, means being flexible, integrated, and responsive. Generally that will likely mean being unsexy and unpopular.

    We need to identify the next most important bottleneck, and be moving to a “shovel ready” state on the next project long before the current ones are complete. Even if you have to drive, you should have a deep interest in transit, as they cannot build enough roads in the region to absorb the growth, and you be parking not driving. So you need transit to be a better choice for most of the drivers who would be around you. Enabling transit enables driving.

  7. Robert Wightman says:

    One major problem I see with Metrolinx’s study is it will probably try to balance regional and local needs and will do neither of them well. There is an apparent need for a relief line to keep people off the Yonge subway and to provide relief to Bloor Yonge station. None of the current or future possible GO lines can do this easily or well.

    I think that everyone needs to realize that Yonge does not, and will not ever, have the capacity to be a rapid transit reincarnation of the Richmond Hill radial car. There is too much loading within the 416 to absorb all the loading from York region. Yonge should go to Steeles and end there forever. York can do whatever they want north of there except run equipment onto the Yonge line. Any rail connection to downtown should either be GO, the thing to Vaughan or an extension of the DRL up Don Mills, that York pays for.

    GO will never have the capacity to be a larger service provider unless they completely change their operating paradigm. Union Station is a bottle neck and most of the actions being taken just make it worse. Metrolinx has just rebuilt all of those beautiful and horribly inefficient double set of double slip switches on both sides of Union. When a train uses one of these it effectively blocks off all the tracks it crosses for a long time because of the need to set and reset switches AFTER the interlocking is sure they are clear. These should have been removed and a more rational use of platforms set up so lines from east and west were through routed: Barrie with Richmond Hill and Kitchener with Stouffville. This would have eliminated the need for using most of these switches. Any trains that didn’t match should be sent through to the far side yard to reverse or wait for further use.

    The platforms at Union are too narrow to be safe. Tracks 3 and 6 should have been removed and wider platforms put in between tracks 2 and 4 and between tracks 5 and 7. Track 1 already has a fairly wide platform and direct access to union station. This would allow the use of wider stairs and escalators to clear the platforms faster. The signal system needs to be redone to allow closer headways, not the ridiculously long ones that result from the need to accommodate 12,000 foot long freights on lines that see only a couple of trains a week. This is a result of Transport Canada regulations that need to be changed. Perhaps PTC (positive train control) could help with that problem.

    Even if GO were to electrify there is not much room to run further service in the peak of the a.m. rush hour because of the limitations imposed by the signalling system and the problems at Union Station that will still exist after all the money is spent.

    I was in Europe for 75 days this fall and saw examples of much more modern signalling, equipment and operating rules and many examples of doing the same dumb things we do, like storing and servicing trains on a main line platform. Poland was the country that impressed me the most. They are rebuilding the stations in Krakow and Katowice with 11 m wide platforms with lots of wide stairs, escalators and elevators. These platforms emptied very quickly. They are also building bus and LRT stations into these stations. They also have very large shopping malls, Krakow’s was twice the size of the Toronto Eaton Centre with not much parking.

    The biggest impediment to improving regional transit is the antiquated set of rules imposed by Transport Canada and the US FRA. At least the FRA is granting exceptions to some of their dumb rules. The worst ones are buff loading strength requirements and requiring all main line signal systems to accommodate really long trains and stop times.

    I have ranted long enough. Keep the illegitimati honest.

  8. Deb says:

    “. . . entrench their one technology to rule them all . . .”

    (With apologies to the shade of J. R. Tolkien:)

    One Technology to rule them all, One Technology to find them,
    One Technology to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In condo-towered Toronto where the Shadows lie.

  9. This may be the first step in creating the rapid transit network that Toronto needs 20 years from now … or perhaps, needed 20 years ago.

    Andrew said:

    I think that the only good solution is to extend the downtown relief line (or Don Mills line or whatever you want to call it) further north than Eglinton, so that it becomes something like an eastern version of the Spadina subway. It seems weird that this option hasn’t been considered in any of the studies. This would cost a lot of money, but Metrolinx ought to realize that the Richmond Hill line has such a poor alignment that trying to expand service on it is a waste of money.

    The original rail plan for Toronto would have given us 3 corridors radiating out from Yonge and King. The proposed corridors are quite obviously shorter and slightly different from what Toronto needs today … but it’s hard to argue the fundamental value of these corridors.

    It will be interesting to see what Metrolinx concludes from this study. I hope they will be including the DVP and road corridors, not just the Yonge line and Richmond Hill line.

    Cheers, Moaz

  10. Glen identifies decisions made elsewhere.

    On the cusp of a Hudak election drive, it is important to remember that the decisions “elsewhere” were made by Mike “I Hate Toronto” Harris who entrenched very unfair education taxes across Ontario. GTA (not just Toronto) homeowners pay excessive education taxes that have resulted in the overpayment being spent elsewhere in the province. However, the burden on homeowners was far exceeded by the unfairness of the assessment on business in Toronto. No wonder that business decided to escape Toronto and build elsewhere. Dalton “Time For a Change” McGinty has only partially reversed the excesses of downloading and the Harris education tax formula.

    I am proud to pay my taxes (and believe that business can pay taxes commensurate with the benefits of being in a vibrant urban area.) However, neither I nor business should be subject to subsidising others who are not less fortunate – but equally or better fortunate – which is the case in Toronto.

  11. JW says:

    Steve said:
    “Toronto suburbs, never mind the regions beyond the city boundary, are jealous of downtown’s growth, and for decades have wanted some of the shiny new buildings and jobs for themselves. ”

    Steve, your expertise and credibility is unmatched and your blog is the definitive voice for transit issues in Toronto as you often bring a voice of reason to a city that often seems insane, but as a former resident of the Keele/Finch area, I find this comment shocking. Why would you make such a polarizing and divisive comment?

    Steve: I make this comment based on decades of watching the wrestling match between suburban and city politicians regarding how the city would grow, and the idea that too much development downtown isn’t giving the suburbs their fair share. This sort of comment comes up regularly at Council. I am not making this up, and I find such comments “polarizing and divisive” to use your terms. What is most troubling is that the voices are often those of suburban, right-of-centre Councillors who would normally lecture us about how the private sector is the solution to all of our problems. However, that private sector chooses to build where it sees a market. I am as tired of suburban politicians who, for their own purposes, fan the divisions between parts of the city as you must be of we “city folk” and our stereotypical view of what the suburbs are all about.

    People from the outer 416 have never been “jealous” of toys and such things. What they have always asked for in public transit is that it is fast, cheap and reliable to get them to their jobs – regardless of that job’s location. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but the cost of affordable housing in the inner core isn’t cheap. For some, it may be a choice to live on the outer ring. For others, it definitely isn’t a choice. For some, they are actually living as close to their job as they can possibly afford. And even if it was a choice, as a transit advocate you certainly shouldn’t imply (as many who comment on your site do) that if we don’t like our non-rapid transit options apart from the automobile that it is “too bad” and “if you don’t like it, move closer to your job”. Not when the unemployment rate is 7.2%. Not when half the labour force is working part time jobs. Not with the massive surge in temporary/contract work and a change to the traditional employer/employee relationship which is already well under way. Jobs are not permanent contracts for life. The days of forming a 25 year relationship with an employer are winding down. Jobs today are fluid and flexible. I suspect that if we were required to move to where our jobs are in a constantly changing workforce, the only ones that would be happy about it would be real estate agents.

    Steve: I agree that people who think that workers should simply pick up and move to their jobs have a naive view of what the housing and job market is all about. People do not make housing choices individually, but as families, and even individuals may be juggling multiple jobs and/or school trips. It costs a lot of money to live downtown, and everyone cannot do this. The model of living close to work is nice if you can afford it, or are lucky enough to be sitting in the right place with a marketable skill, but we cannot plan on the assumption that populations will rearrange themselves to suit transit corridors.

    There is still a misconception about suburbs using the automobile. Believe it or not, but I know for a fact that it is not everyone’s dream to inch along on the Don Valley Parking Lot every day. They do it because, for all of it’s faults, it STILL provides the fastest way to get back to their home. That speed allows parents to take their kids to hockey practice, music lessons, just to get back to their non-working life in general. That will not be accomplished by sitting on a streetcar waiting for a car in front of you to turn left at a light or sitting on a street car at a red light on a vehicle without right of way or signal priority – like we’re all backpacking through Spain or something.

    Steve: A common misconception about Transit City is that we downtowners were foisting “streetcars” on the suburbs, and that is a flat out lie. The fact that you use the streetcar in traffic analogy in your argument I will take as an indication of misinformation, not misrepresentation. There are LRT lines all over the world that do not sit in traffic as you describe, and they are used by more than backpackers with lots of time on their hands. You undermine your credibility with such an argument.

    The Neptis report states they want to cancel Finch/Sheppard because it won’t do one thing to get people out of their car due to speed restraints … a “fashion accessory” as it was called. And they’re right. So now imagine the Downtown Elites (oh how I hate that term) that tell other parts of the city that they have a vision of grand Paris boulevards along Finch and along Sheppard when all people want is a rapid option to get across the city to their job or their college/university (some of the biggest users of transportation) – wherever it may be and wherever they may live.

    This is supposed to be about Transportation – not a gentrification/social regeneration project. Transit dollars are too precious to waste on delusions of grandeur. If you, or anyone else, can show me one credible report that states gentrification can be tangibly linked to the moment an LRT/Subway line appears in a neighbourhood, I’d love to read it. Keep gentrification dollars for social programs/affordable housing and keep transportation dollars a part of transit planning.

    Steve: There are many errors and distortions in the Neptis report. Transit City was never intended to spur “gentrification”, but to support a moderate scale of redevelopment along suburban arterials. There is a very large growth in population expected in coming decdes and they have to live somewhere. The vast amount of underused space (notably for off street parking) would be a good place to start. The question then is whether the new built form should follow what is already there, or should face out onto the arterials for better access to transit and to provide a commercial presence as part of residential buildings (think Danforth Avenue, not Paris).

    A major debate which the Neptis report joins in is the question of regional vs local travel and where, exactly, folks along those many suburban arterials want to travel. A related part of this is access to service. If we build only a few lines with widely spaced stations, access time to and from rapid transit will remain a major impediment to use of the network.

    Again, you have brought a thread (gentrification) into the debate that is as much an invention of the anti-Transit City politicians as it might be an integral part of the Official Plan which Transit City was intended to support.

    That said, yes, there is a huge problem with people needing to travel long distances across the city, and there is certainly a place for a much expanded network of express buses. Such a plan was proposed years ago, but has been sitting on the shelf. Even now, City Planning is only looking at a scheme for increasing bus priority (mainly through diamond lanes, not physical separation), and any scheme to give express buses dedicated space will run into major opposition from other road users (just as an LRT right-of-way would).

    Earlier you talked about folks in the suburbs getting better transit. You have nobody to thank for the limitations of what is there today but your Councillors who persist in arguing that what’s there today is good enough and we cannot afford to provide better. We have a Mayor whose primary interest in transit is how quickly he can get those damn TTC vehicles out of his way. A lot of work that was in the pipeline to improve transit generally in the suburbs stopped dead when Ford became Mayor and Stintz took over at the TTC.

    The best option I’ve seen so far is the CityRail plan on Urban Toronto’s website. Let’s hope that someone at Metrolinx is listening and will remember that while accessibility is an important part of transit planning, so too is speed and real “rapid” transit.

    Steve: The CityRail concept depends more on using the rail corridors to access the city than it deals with the problem of travel around the suburbs. Notably it does not have an east-west line anywhere near Finch West. It is a very radial network that, with extensive, frequent service on the rail corridors, would transform the way people travel to and from the central city. I am not convinced that its effect on suburb to suburb travel would be anywhere near as significant. Indeed, we would be back to a critique that says if you’re not going downtown, you don’t count as a transit rider.

    The hard parts of a future network to build will be those that do not serve existing corridors where land might be available, or an existing service might be upgraded. These will require tradeoffs in use of space, and may well include expensive infrastructure, not just a few buses and some white paint on the road. If such tradeoffs are beyond the political will of our city, if we continue to hear lectures about how “taxpayer dollars” are wasted running buses around the suburbs, well, transit nirvana will be a long, long way off.

  12. Tom West says:

    Jeff says:

    “Logically, I would expect Metrolinx to first look at all options, and then proceed with the DRL if it is the best option. To me, it seems like the current process is a bit backwards.”

    The advantage of looking at Everything Else is that it can guide exactly *when* a relief can be built, rather than *if* it should be built. The DRL wouldn’t open for a decade, even it got funding tomorrow. There may be changes that can be delivered sooner that will reduce overcrowding/increase capacity into the downtown. (And post-DRL, they will still be beneficial).

    Further, some of those project may deliver benefits beyond those delivered by the DRL.

  13. hamish wilson says:

    Gee if it is all soo messed up – which I think it is – why not have a development freeze? No new buildings till the transport gets fixed up? Or – if that isn’t okay, then – since all that roadspace costs a lot of money – direct user pay on the single occupany vehicles, starting with the Vehicle Registration Tax, some dedication to transit fixes.

    As for the unfairness of that, we don’t allow everyone to plug into the electrical grid for free – loading/power costs the user, though there are inequities there, yes.

    And didn’t Curitiba in Brazil get itself better transit for really cheap by installing bus-only RofWays? Oh, they cleared out the private cars – won’t happen here, right.
    Too carrupt….

    Steve: And as I have often said, we can have Curitiba style BRT any time we want it in Toronto if only we would dedicate the road space for the buses and the stations. People say “Curitiba” but what we get is a few white lines in a badly-enforced, peak only “reserved” curb lane. For my money “Curitiba” is code for “don’t build LRT and use this as an excuse”, and then build nothing.

  14. Malcolm N says:

    Interesting issue with regards to the DRL, and funding. My biggest concern is that 7.4 billion price tag will make it a real political football, and as Steve said it will likely not be in service until a decade after funding is received.

    Steve: That $7.4b number is often quoted, but it is for more than a line from Union to Pape and Danforth. I look forward to studies that use consistent cost projections tied to specific scopes of work. It suits opponents of the DRL to use the highest price they can lay their hands on.

    The between then and now possibilities really do need to be dealt with (“Quick Wins?”) Unfortunately many of these really require political will, and common sense more than anything else (and will be called a “war on cars”). I believe that in some areas, we are going to have to provide additional off street parking (political reality, and hard to do), so that we can eliminate on street parking, and no have left turns through the core and beyond. This to permit more frequent, more reliable streetcar service through the core, and help other traffic to flow. I would love to see dedicated centre lane for streetcars and real signal priority on King and Queen (I know it is a dream).

    If city somehow managed to do all that it might actually be able to wait for the DRL, assuming of course it is funded this year.

    As for fixes in the suburb to suburb transit, I think that one of the great advantages of BRTs, is that they can permit buses to jump in and out, so that you can cross a large area quickly and get into local collection or distribution relatively painlessly, however they do not provide the scale of a subway or even LRT. Where we still can these need to be allowed for quickly. I suspect one of the major issues will be figuring out going from where to where?

    Steve: An important point about BRT is that it cannot just “jump in and out” as you say unless the reserved lane is easy to move in and out of. Moreover, if the vehicles run and load at the curb, they must compete with local service for access to stops, not to mention traffic turning at intersections. When I see a plan for real BRT with its own lanes and dedicated stopping areas, then I will believe that this is a debate about BRT vs LRT. Otherwise, the real debate is about how much or little road space transit, whatever the flavour, is going to get.

  15. Christian says:

    “the scale and cost of serving downtown is greater than any other single location in the GTHA.”

    That’s why we should instead use the Downtown Relief line / DRL money to bury the Eglinton Line, to extend the Bloor Danforth subway to Sheppard and McCowan, and to extend the Sheppard subway further east to McCowan (no, we don’t need a single super line but just a fast convenient transfer between the Bloor-Danforth and Sheppard subway lines). All that will cost less than the at least $10 billion dollars needed for the Downtown Relief Line. In Downtown the deep foundations of supertall skyscrapers, pre-existing subways and other tunnels, the path network and other underground infrastructure make it very expensive to safely build further subways escalating the price tag much higher than the approximately $10 billion projected. It is safe to say that a full Downtown Relief Line will cost anwhere from $20 billion to $25 billion after taking into account all potential cost increases. If the don’t bury the Eglinton Line and if we build LRT in Scarborough, then the people of Scarborough will continue to freeze in bitterly cold weathers and the trains will stop running every time there is weather like this. Does anyone remember how many times weather exposed Scarborough RT has been closed the Fall-Winter and winter is not even close to being over with the temperature minus 22 just yesterday morning? I lost count long ago. Let us treat the people of Scarborough fairly and give them safe, fast, effective, and warm transit that does not break down every time there is nasty weather.

    Steve: You have completely ignore the need to move more people into downtown Toronto, and you have vastly overstated its cost. As for the weather-related problems of the Scarborough RT, that is a function of its badly designed technology which is NOT, repeat NOT, “LRT” despite the fact that the Ontario government, for marketing reasons, chose to call it “advanced LRT”. That was bullshit then and it still is today.

    As for warm transit, that will be fine as and when someone in Scarborough makes their way to one of the few stations on the new subway, but they will still freeze in the cold waiting for a bus to get them there.

  16. Glen says:

    Michael Greason,

    No, I am identifying decisions made in Toronto. Yes the B.E.T. is unfair towards Toronto businesses. But to suggest that a difference in B.E.T. rates are what is driving businesses out of Toronto into the 905 regions is only telling a small part of the story. For example, Toronto’s B.E.T. rate is 25% more than Mississauga’s while its own portion of the tax rate is 122% more. The amount of the city’s portion is a decision of city council not the province.

  17. Keith says:

    I’d rather get a proper suburban rail service (GO REX) with all day two-way service than a DRL.

    The entire reason Yonge-Bloor is crowded is because we funnel all riders to the core (from the 416) on to the subway network and make them ride nearly two dozen stops to get there. This is ass backwards. These kinds of trips should be on a suburban rail system fed by the bus/streetcar feeder systems.

    This is not to negate the need for a downtown subway. Just that we shouldn’t be aiming to relieve Yonge-Bloor with a subway. The goal should be to relieve the entire subway network, reduce commute times and build subways in the core that actually serve core travel patterns.

  18. Joe M says:

    I’m not against the DRL by any means & I’m 100% pro Scarborough subway and to accelerate both projects. We shouldn’t be picking who needs what more. Both areas are beyond priority [debates?] at this point.

    The reality is the so called Suburbs help pay for the Core’s transit & get nothing out here in Scarborough to show for it. Even worse those that already have decent transit are voice their opinions on the future of Central to East Scarborough. Please respect our area’s decision and take help us build a system the build Toronto for the future and not divide it further. The subway may not be perfect but will make commuting much better for all of Scarborough than the Transfer City ever could.

    Steve: I would listen to your arguments more if you did not pollute them with political rhetoric. Every passenger on the Sheppard Subway is costing us much more than they pay in the farebox because subways are a very expensive way to provide service. The same will be true of the Scarborough subway extension. That cost will be borne across the city, including by people in other suburbs who will never see a subway at their doorsteps. The core and the suburbs together pay for the transit, and I certainly agree that the suburbs get the short end of the stick thanks to service levels that operate irregularly and at a level barely able to handle demand. We have suburban politicians who don’t want to spend more on transit to thank for that, not penny-pinching downtowners trying to do you out of decent service.

  19. L. Wall says:

    The reality is the so called Suburbs help pay for the Core’s transit & get nothing out here in Scarborough to show for it.

    Million dollar homes in the old city pay more in property taxes than half-million dollar homes out at the edges of the city and should I point out that property taxes owing aren’t tied to the costs of servicing?

  20. Kevin Love says:

    Steve wrote:

    “People say ‘Curitiba’ but what we get is a few white lines in a badly-enforced, peak only ‘reserved’ curb lane.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    I have frequently complained to Toronto Police about the lack of enforcement of the Bay Street bus lanes. Including to police officers who were there seeing the violations with their own two eyes.

    Their response? A flat out refusal to enforce the law, plus hate-filled slurs against cyclists.

  21. Malcolm N says:

    Steve said

    “An important point about BRT is that it cannot just “jump in and out” as you say unless the reserved lane is easy to move in and out of. Moreover, if the vehicles run and load at the curb, they must compete with local service for access to stops, not to mention traffic turning at intersections.”

    I was thinking in terms of how the Ottawa Transitway was east of downtown when I lived there. {1987-1988} A completely dedicated road, with several points entry and exit for the buses, so that they could get in or out every mile or two. I believe for a BRT to work {or very well for the rapid part}, they need to have complete control over their portion of the roadway. The area across downtown in Ottawa worked much less well as a consequence, as they had a dedicated lane obstructed by turns etc. However, in the reserved road areas buses could run a local route, get into the busway go a few miles and get out in the downtown core having covered the distance between very quickly.

    If you could walk to a stop in the dedicated roadway portion of the transit /busway, it was as fast as a subway.

    Steve: The problem with a dedicated roadway is that there are few locations where space to build one is actually available, and where it is (hydro corridors) there is (a) resistance from Hydro to such projects and (b) the basic problem that such corridors are great for express operations, but not for serving local demand.

  22. Jonathon says:

    Ottawa really illustrates the problem with BRT. The Transitway was supposed to have a tunnel downtown from the start, but this was cut to save money. Ottawa likes to play fast-and-loose with the term Transitway now, applying proper design standards where there is space, money and political will, and running local bus routes every 15-30 minutes and calling it Transitway service where there isn’t.

    Steve: See also service levels on new BRT corridors in the GTHA. We have provincial money for construction (where the lanes will fit), but to operate frequent service?

  23. Kevin Love wrote:

    I have frequently complained to Toronto Police about the lack of enforcement of the Bay Street bus lanes. Including to police officers who were there seeing the violations with their own two eyes.

    Their response? A flat out refusal to enforce the law, plus hate-filled slurs against cyclists.

    I can believe that, though I suspect that some of it comes from the fact that if police were to clamp down on enforcement of bus lanes, they would also have to clamp down on illegal actions by cyclists (e.g.: not stopping for stop signs and red lights, travelling wrong way on one-way streets, using pedestrian crosswalks without dismounting, etc.).

    Still, police should be doing a better job at enforcing all traffic laws.

  24. Malcolm says:

    The issue of no space available is huge. I think the hydro corridors could be useful as longer distance links. The thing really is that in the few areas where a transit corridor can still be grabbed this needs to be done now.

    If 30 years ago we had decided that one day [one] would be required just north of Finch it would have been easy to assemble. This is something that needs to be drawn in plans. What happens when this area is no longer at the periphery? Of course this level of vision is probably unrealistic and means 30 years from now we will looking at 50 km tunnels.

    Steve: A related issue is one of land use. It is pointless to assemble corridors that are separate from the arterial grid, but then concentrate development on the arterials. Conversely, hydro corridors might be good for long hauls (like an express route from the subway to a suburban university), but not for local development which, almost by definition, does not co-exist with the corridor. A similar problem exists along expressways which are hostile to transit, pedestrians, and walkable connections to development. Too many planners make no distinction between express and local corridors, nor do they recognize that pedestrians and transit riders do not move around the same way as motorists. The existence of a “corridor” does not make it automatically a viable transit route.

  25. Robert Wightman says:

    Joe M says:
    February 13, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    “The reality is the so called Suburbs help pay for the Core’s transit & get nothing out here in Scarborough to show for it. Even worse those that already have decent transit are voice their opinions on the future of Central to East Scarborough. Please respect our area’s decision and take help us build a system the build Toronto for the future and not divide it further. The subway may not be perfect but will make commuting much better for all of Scarborough than the Transfer City ever could.”

    I have no problem with your decision that you want a subway but please realize that your population density does not warrant nor will it support a subway so you are eating up a lot of precious resources for a limited return on the dollar. Those LRT lines would have helped speed up a lot more service for a lot more people at a lot less money than those subways ever will. Most people in Toronto have no idea what an LRT line is. They only know the downtown street car network which even with Spadina and St. Clair is not true LRT.

    I wonder if you would be as happy with the subway decision if it were to build the Finch West LRT as a branch of Spadina and forget Scarborough. Also realize that the people who benefit the most from the subways into the core are the suburban commuters who at least have a chance of getting on the train and if they are real lucky they might get a seat. Try getting on at St. Clair or Wellesley. Your getting a subway in Scarborough takes service away from other people in Toronto but then the politicians wanted to win a seat in the area or garner votes so they all jumped on the bandwagon with no real study.

    Steve: Another example of resource limitations was evident in the federal infrastucture announcement this week. The vast majority of the allocated funds that will come to Toronto for the next ten years will go to one project, the Scarborough Subway. Those are very, very expensive votes, and people elsewhere in Toronto have good reason to ask whether this is a good use of limited federal dollars.

  26. Robert Wightman says:

    Andrew says:
    February 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    “I think that the only good solution is to extend the downtown relief line (or Don Mills line or whatever you want to call it) further north than Eglinton, so that it becomes something like an eastern version of the Spadina subway. It seems weird that this option hasn’t been considered in any of the studies. This would cost a lot of money, but Metrolinx ought to realize that the Richmond Hill line has such a poor alignment that trying to expand service on it is a waste of money (unlike all the other GO train lines, which generally have alignments that are useful). The Richmond Hill line can’t connect to the Bloor-Danforth line and is inconveniently located relative to every major destination on the #25 bus. All it is useful for is a (not very fast) express route from Richmond Hill to Union, and I suspect that the number of people who are doing this commute is small, as most people want to get off somewhere in between.”

    I agree, Yonge cannot be extended north of Steeles because there are too many passengers who cannot get on now and who would not be helped by any DRL. If there is too be a new rapid transit line into Markham then let it be the DRL. Both it and the extension to the Vaughan Corporate Centre should have been in open cut but we cannot have a visual “eye sore” into the pristine regions of York. If York wants rapid transit service into downtown Toronto then let them pay the construction and operating costs for it. Every York rider, like every other 905 rider, who ventures into Toronto are being subsidized by the rate payers of the 416. If we are to have an integrated fare system then let Ontario subsidize the cost, not Toronto.

    The latte sipping, bike riding, long haired pinko commie creeps who live in the downtown are subsidizing the suburban riders who come into the downtown, not the other way around. Just to be totally honest I chose to live in Brampton in 1975 because I had convenient GO transit service to my job in Toronto and my wife had a job in Bramalea. I later got a job in Peel — I am a physics and math teacher, as there was more room for advancement than in Toronto. I never complained about the fact I had to pay 2 transit fares to get to my job as it was a choice I made with my eyes wide open. I would love to have a subway service at least as far as the Bramalea GO station but I know Toronto has more important priorities. It is time that others realize that the residents of the 416 or the core are not responsible for subsidizing their choices. I realize that not everyone can afford the real estate prices in the core but you made a choice so live with it.

    Christian says:
    February 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    “the scale and cost of serving downtown is greater than any other single location in the GTHA.”

    “That’s why we should instead use the Downtown Relief line / DRL money to bury the Eglinton Line, to extend the Bloor Danforth subway to Sheppard and McCowan, and to extend the Sheppard subway further east to McCowan…”

    The DRL is not designed to serve the residents of the downtown but to get the residents of the outer 416 to their jobs faster. The residents of the downtown are better served by their surface transportation network than by the downtown relief line.

    Kevin’s comment:

    “I have frequently complained to Toronto Police about the lack of enforcement of the Bay Street bus lanes. Including to police officers who were there seeing the violations with their own two eyes.”

    The Toronto Police have NEVER enforced any transit only lanes at anytime in Toronto. Their view is that it is for by-law enforcement officers. Unless they are ordered to do it AND penalized for not doing it, it will never be done.

    Steve: But By-law Enforcement Officers don’t issue tags for moving violations, and so they are not hanging out on Bay Street looking for offenders. There is a fundamental problem with police attitudes to traffic management that it is somehow less important than their other work. I might actually agree, if we had a force of traffic officers who were visibly managing and policing traffic in congested locations all of the time.

  27. Michael says:

    Any indication that Metrolinx hasn’t forgotten about the possible acceleration of the Sheppard and Finch LRT construction schedules?

    “In related news, Metrolinx advises (through a separate email) that they are “approximately 3 months away from making [a] formal recommendation on Sheppard and Finch” LRT lines, and the possible acceleration of these projects.”

    Steve: My understanding is that Sheppard is on the back burner thanks to pressure from the Scarborough Liberal Caucus, and I suspect Finch is in a similar position. While Metrolinx may be doing work on these projects, nothing politically is going to happen until the status of the government at Queen’s Park is settled with an election.

  28. malcolm says:

    Re Steve’s comment with regards to traffic enforcement. I have always found it odd that Police prefer to enforce speed rules over all others. Enforcing designated lane rules etc might actually have a major effect on coffers both in reduced or delayed transit investments and as revenue tool. A month of heavy enforcement on the lane exclusions might rise a meaningful portion of those DRL costs.

  29. Gil says:

    Regarding Police enforcement along Bay St. and downtown in general:

    The odd time they do an enforcement blitz for driving in the bus lane or making illegal turns the police wind up aggravating the problem further as there is nowhere along Bay St. to pull over and issue the warning and/or ticket. At some intersections there are no turns allowed during rush hour, which is usually when the most infractions occur. I’ve confronted a few drivers seemingly oblivious to the turn restrictions who try to run me over for blocking their turn.

    If a cop tells you to turn right at an intersection with a no turn sign in effect could they fine you for that as well?! The result is that the bus lane winds up being tied up by the offending driver (the police officer has parked their cruiser on the sidewalk!) and all the traffic gets squeezed onto the other remaining lane.

    If the lane and turn restrictions could be properly and consistently enforced (cameras, either mounted or simply have an officer standing there photographing the infraction and then mailing you the fine) with a percentage of the fines going to transit infrastructure then perhaps Toronto could get a better handle on the projects it wants to get done.

  30. Gil asked:

    If a cop tells you to turn right at an intersection with a no turn sign in effect could they fine you for that as well?!

    No, they cannot. Instruction of a police officer supercedes the letter of the Highway Traffic Act. The Act actually imposes a fine not less than $200 and not more than $1000 if one obstructs or interferes with a police officer performing his or her duties, which would include not making that turn when ordered to do so.

    In some parts of the Highway Traffic Act, there is an explicit exclusion for orders of a police officer. For instance, if you were ordered to stop in a no stopping zone, you could not be charged with stopping as the HTA specifically defines stopping with the words, “except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or of a traffic control sign or signal”.

    All that said, there should be a better way to fine people who make use of restricted lanes. Given that, in the case of transit priority lanes, we are talking about transit vehicles that need the space, and given that most (if not all) are now equipped with cameras including one that faces out the window, I wonder what it would take to allow them to be used for ticketing purposes?

    It would be nice if the operator could press a button that would create an index to the current spot in the recording when an offence occurs so that it would be easy to find them later and generate tickets by mail to the offender.

  31. Nick L says:

    Calvin Henry-Cotnam said:

    It would be nice if the operator could press a button that would create an index to the current spot in the recording when an offence occurs so that it would be easy to find them later and generate tickets by mail to the offender.

    Unfortunately, such a modification would be quickly associated with photo radar or called a cash grab by popularist politicians resulting in it getting killed off regardless of how effective it is.

  32. Calvin Henry-Cotnam said:

    If police were to clamp down on enforcement of bus lanes, they would also have to clamp down on illegal actions by cyclists (e.g.: not stopping for stop signs and red lights, travelling wrong way on one-way streets, using pedestrian crosswalks without dismounting, etc.).

    Based on the way things go it is more likely that we will be seeing some of those laws change before the police start enforcing them. For example I’ve been told that the “stop-cyclists-dismount” signs on multi-lane roadside trails in Mississauga are being removed thanks to a recent bylaw change that allows cyclists to continue through without stopping and dismounting.

    Cheers, Moaz

  33. malcolm says:

    Calvin suggest tickets from a bus. I like the idea, although it must be done so as not to distract the transit driver.

    Again could raise a lot of revenue, and would also cause drivers to treat the lane around buses like they do speed limits around police. This should make them very effective after a couple billion have been raised (about what it would take before people all got the idea locked in their minds).

    Imagine making so the TTC management had no excuse other bad management for headway issues.

  34. Nathanael says:

    I didn’t manage to do my quotation right on that last one.

    I have frequently complained to Toronto Police about the lack of enforcement of the Bay Street bus lanes. Including to police officers who were there seeing the violations with their own two eyes.

    Their response? A flat out refusal to enforce the law, plus hate-filled slurs against cyclists.

    You still have private prosecutions in Canada. Get some folks together, hire a lawyer, and make an example or two of some violators. Show up the corrupt police.

    This is something we can’t do in the corrupt US, where the public prosecutor has the power to let people get away with murder. Literally.

    Steve: That is not as easy as it sounds, as the cost of the prosecution must be borne by those who launch it, and in at least some cases (I will leave this to the legal beagles reading this blog) the Crown must consent for the case to go forward.

    And, by the way, this is not a case of “corrupt” police, merely a force whose priorities do not lie with traffic enforcement. Toronto is a place where there is real corruption we can read about every day, and the word should not be used lightly.

  35. Joe M says:

    Robert Wightman says:

    I have no problem with your decision that you want a subway but please realize that your population density does not warrant nor will it support a subway so you are eating up a lot of precious resources for a limited return on the dollar.

    The population density would be much different if the future of Scarborough included an integrated Subway network. People will want to live here for the access to move around the entire City. Short sighted politics is what has defined Scarborough to this day.

  36. Robert Wightman says:

    Joe M says:
    February 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    “The population density would be much different if the future of Scarborough included an integrated Subway network. People will want to live here for the access to move around the entire City. Short sighted politics is what has defined Scarborough to this day.”

    Your claim does not seem to be backed by existing re-development or the lack of it at many points along the Bloor Danforth and parts of the University Spadina line. Where re-development has occurred there was more at play than the proximity of the subway. Most happened in areas that had other draws beside the subway. An integrated subway network in Scarborough would be very expensive and would come at the lack of service elsewhere.

    The subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre will come at the cost of no improvement for the majority of residents in Scarborough or elsewhere in the city. It comes because we have dumb gutless politicians who worry about re-election more than about smart planning.

  37. Joe M said: The population density would be much different if the future of Scarborough included an integrated Subway network.

    The 3-stop Scarborough extension proposed by Karen Stintz and embellished by politicians of all stripes hardly qualifies as an integrated subway network. Even if the Sheppard subway were extended to Scarborough Town Centre or even to McCowan and Sheppard we could hardly call that ‘integrated’ since most of the city east of McCowan and west of Keele would not be accessible by subway.

    An integrated LRT network, on the other hand …

    Joe M said: People will want to live here for the access to move around the entire City. Short sighted politics is what has defined Scarborough to this day.

    The assumptions behind the first sentence reflect the reasons for the second. Ever since Scarborough City Council chose ‘modern technology’ (the ICTS) instead of the CLRVs the die was cast. The choice of a 3 stop subway is just the latest example of that short – sighted thinking.

    If MPs, MPPs and councillors representing Scarborough want an integrated subway network they should have a ‘bed-in’ at Scarborough Centre because honestly, they are dreaming. If they want an integrated rapid transit network they need to put aside their subway dreams, wake up and force Metrolinx and GO Transit to the table with a plan for LRT and GO expansion that will truly connect Scarborough to the entire city.

    Cheers, Moaz

  38. Malcolm N says:

    I would argue that people do not locate because of access to a subway, but rather access to high frequency, rapid transportation to where they want to go, and local services that are readily available. If I can ride a bus or an LRT to where I want to go, and it is faster and easier than a subway, than that is the way I am going. I do not really feel that different about riding the C-train, or the Sky-train than I do the subway in Toronto, or the Metro in Montreal. If you can build a high frequency LRT that goes where you want at speed, and have 6-10K passengers/hr, then this is as good as a subway. I understand the fear of being on a bus, or streetcar, stuck in traffic crawling along.

    Until we show people that an LRT will not be that way, there will be a push for subway. Of course this will require the politicians, and transit operators to have the will to show that it can work and will work. That is actually implement working light prioritization schemes that will allow LRTs to move at steady 50-60km speeds except when loading, and a small headway (under 5 minutes). Metrolinx and the TTC need to make sure that these first couple of LRTs (especially Eglinton) are done well and work flawlessly providing high order transit, and strong positive rider experience. If they work as well as they have in the best implementations elsewhere people will arguing for local LRT not subway for their neighbourhood.

  39. malcolm wrote:

    Calvin suggest tickets from a bus. I like the idea, although it must be done so as not to distract the transit driver.

    I agree. My suggestion came out of an experience one day while chatting with a YRT operator I know. The situation in that case was one of these drivers who makes a right turn from the through lane around a bus as it is starting to move. The operator wondered why they don’t use the new cameras (at that time) to ticket these people.

    Thinking about it further, what if the activation of the bus’s horn were to be used to create an index point? Many situations, such as the right-turn-cutoff or someone moving into a reserved lane, would likely prompt a horn honk from the transit operator as a matter of course. This would provide a passive way to implement this. ;-)

  40. Malcolm N said:

    Until we show people that an LRT will not be that way, there will be a push for subway. Of course this will require the politicians, and transit operators to have the will to show that it can work and will work. That is actually implement working light prioritization schemes that will allow LRTs to move at steady 50-60km speeds except when loading, and a small headway (under 5 minutes).

    And the TTC *could* do that now making a few changes to the Queensway right-of-way and calling it an LRT test. They could run the first LFLRVs on a pseudo-507 route for one weekend … something like the launching of the Harbourfront LRT but with low floor ‘modern’ (though not necessarily better thsn PCC) streetcars … to give people a feel for what LRT is like.

    Of course they would probably receive a lot of criticism from some people for using taxpayer money to stage an unnecessary show but that is part for the course.

    The Queensway ROW is the closest thing we have to an LRT operating in Toronto (especially considering all the projects that are will be taking place on the Harbourfront ‘LRT’ that will keep service unreliable well into 2015.)

    Cheers, Moaz

  41. Malcolm N says:

    The problem with a weekend demonstration is 2 fold,

    1 – the public will discount it, as the ‘TTC will never run it this way’ and
    2 – it is not seen as interacting with major cross streets etc.

    It might help however, if you got light priority at the far end. Better still if you had somewhere at the downtown end you could go.

    To me the biggest concerns I have with Waterfront west are

    1 – it not being done, and
    2 – connectivity to a good route other than just downtown. If a west end LRT were located to meet it, this would also make it much better.

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