Metrolinx Contemplates Relief (2)

This article is a continuation of a previous commentary on the Metrolinx Yonge Network Relief Strategy.

On February 14, 2014, the Metrolinx Board considered the presentation on the Yonge Network Relief Study, but little information was added in the debate.  One question, from Chair Robert Prichard, went roughly “shouldn’t this have been started two years ago”, but it was left hanging in the air without a response.  Two years, of course, has brought us a new Provincial Premier and a recognition that her predecessor’s timidity on the transit file wasted a great deal of time.

Moreover, there is a long overdue acknowledgement that Metrolinx cannot simply plan one line at a time without understanding network effects including those beyond its own services.

Originally, I planned to leave the next installment in this discussion until public consultation sessions began, but I have now decided to make some brief comments on the various options that will be on the table.  (See Yonge Network Relief Study, page 11.)

The most important point about these proposals is that they address at least three separate types of demand and distinct network issues.  They cannot, and should not, be evaluated only in the narrow context of “what does this do for Richmond Hill”, or “what does this do for Bloor-Yonge”.

Some proposals are only tangentially related to the Yonge corridor per se, but they have crept into the list because they are also part of the City of Toronto’s study of the Downtown Relief Line.

The three types of demand are:

  • Regional travel from the 905 to the core area (classic GO transit commuters).
  • Travel from the outer parts of the TTC network to central Toronto (a larger area than the core around Union Station).
  • “Local” travel within the old City primarily in areas served by the streetcar network and the Bloor-Danforth subway.

The evaluation of each transit proposal must be appropriate to the type of demand it is intended to serve.  For example, better streetcar service will serve the “shoulders” of downtown and connect them to the growing residential and commercial neighbourhoods in the old City.  This has little to do with subway relief for the Yonge line, but does interact with any future stops a “relief” line might have between downtown and the Bloor-Danforth subway.  If we only care about a hypothetical rider from Richmond Hill, improvements to unrelated parts of the network, though necessary in their own right, will be downplayed.

As I said in the previous article, a vital part of this study will be to understand the physical limitations of each proposed route and its technology, not to mention the compound effect of multiple proposals on common facilities such as Union Station.

Fare Proposals

Four possible changes are listed:

  • Fare integration
  • Lower off-peak fares
  • Fare by distance
  • Fare by transit mode

The behaviour of any network with TTC, GO and local 905 systems such as VIVA will depend in part on the fare structure.  Pressure for subways to the 905 rests on a combination of presumed service level and fares.  Offer someone a premium-fare GO train running a few trips a day versus a subway giving a single TTC fare ride every five minutes until after 1 am, and the decision is simple, especially when the cost differential is not borne by the transit rider.

Any demand simulation must take into account the fare structure especially with services running parallel to each other such as the Richmond Hill subway and more frequent and faster GO trains.  This problem also exists with respect to the GO and TTC services in Scarborough where a cheap, frequent subway service is much more attractive than the expected frequency and fares for GO improvements in the same corridor.

Notable by its absence from this list is a time-based fare even though this is now under study by the TTC, and is a commonly used fare structure for local transit services.  This is a serious omission.

I won’t get into a discussion of specific fare schemes as that has been the subject of other threads here beyond warning that “fare by transit mode” is a slippery slope in a region where we are trying to integrate travel and the use of available facilities, not drive people away from faster parts of the network with higher fares.  Indeed, as GO evolves into a regional rapid transit network, not just a commuter railroad, higher fares on GO especially for short trips may waste GO capacity and drive riders to other routes.  If premium fares extended to the subway, there would be a major dislocation of travel and demands for parallel surface routes that would completely defeat the purpose of an integrated subway-surface fare structure.

Getting to the Rapid Transit Network

The very GO-centric nature of this study appears in a set of proposals relating to GO station access.

Earth to Metrolinx: Rapid transit network access is an issue inside of Toronto for the subway (or whatever technology) lines, not just for GO.  Indeed, when the subway pushes into the 905, then station access is not a TTC problem, but one for York Region.  Riders in both the 905 and 416 grapple with the problem of surface route frequency and speed.  Up in York Region, Metrolinx is building VIVA bus-only lanes in specific areas where they will fit, but in Toronto we will be lucky to see some white paint on roadways in a vain attempt to produce “transit only lanes” on roads with considerably more bus service than York Region is likely to operate.

Service levels and speed for access to the rail network are important throughout the region, not just for GO stations.  Without better operating subsidies and without more aggressive transit priority (especially in locations where BRT-scale rights-of-way are not available), the ability to exploit new rapid transit capacity will be limited.

Absent from the list is “parking”, no doubt because even Metrolinx must recognize that the passenger volumes of the coming decades cannot be handled with a park-and-ride feeder model, and that the assumption a car is even available for all trips is not valid.  All the more reason to discuss the kind of local transit service that will be needed to feed into whatever new or improved rapid transit might be provided.

Moving Around Downtown

The options in this list address different types of demand.

  • Bloor-Yonge Station Capacity:  Bloor-Yonge cannot handle growing demand, and this affects both the Yonge and the Bloor lines.  Moreover, there are also problems at St. George that will only get worse if there is an inbalance in service between the YUS and BD routes.  The fundamental questions here are how much additional capacity should we attempt to provide, at what cost, and with what implications for the station’s operation during construction.  Moreover, capacity problems will grow at other locations if the Yonge line can deliver riders at a faster rate, notably stations with few exits.  Putting in one additional stairway to meet fire code would come nowhere near the actual needs for passenger circulation at stations like College or Dundas.
  • Extra GO trains :  Depending on where these are provided, they could divert travel to parallel north-south corridors or away from the BD subway and the Yonge-Bloor interchange.  GO riders, even with better service, will tend to come from the outer 416 and from the 905 where the greatest advantage in travel time (net of additional access and waiting time) can be achieved.  However, GO can only serve trips headed to the core area and locations within a short walk or subway ride.  Passengers bound for midtown or further north would stay on the subway as the shortest path to their destinations.
  • Bus routes into downtown (i.e. the express routes in the 14x series):  The fundamental problem with any bus to downtown is that of capacity both for the vehicle and for the distribution loop where many routes converge.  Express downtown routes only work in limited places where the road system provides a fairly quick path, the number of buses required to significantly reduce subway demand would be very high, and the productivity of these routes would be quite low given their point-to-point, one-way services.  Also, should we expect people to pay a premium fare for a service whose purpose is to offload demand from the subway, or make these routes part of the base fare network?  Bus Rapid Transit on the DVP is a variation on this scheme (there already is a 144 Don Valley express bus operating seven trips in the AM peak).
  • Improved streetcar service frequency, reliability and capacity.  The streetcar routes serve areas that, for the most part, have nothing to do with Yonge corridor capacity.  Populations are growing along these routes, a pattern that will continue and accelerate in coming years.  It is a sad commentary on TTC planning and budgets that responses to this growth have focused on a the relief subway line and on GO Transit, to the degree that either of these can actually benefit local trips.  The streetcar system once offered far more service on most routes than it does today and the long-standing problem has been the provision of adequate service.  This is a combined problem of insensitive line management, inadquate fleet size and a general attitude to surface transit that offers just enough service to get by in the name of “efficiency”.

Rapid Transit Services

This list is a grab bag of every scheme put forward in recent years, if only so that each of them can be evaluated and the non-starters dropped from further consideration.

  • Longer trains:  This applies both to GO and to the TTC.  On GO, service has evolved to regard 12-car units as the standard to which all lines aspire.  There are limits on how long a train can be simply for station design and passenger handling, not to mention the length of train a locomotive can haul.  Electrification brings its own issues for train length depending on whether multiple unit cars (EMUs, like a subway train, with each car having its own propulsion) or locomotive hauled trains are used.  On the subway, there is an option to upgrade the YUS to 7-car trains.
  • GO Electrification:  Very frequent service on GO is premised on electrification, although the currently proposed rollout plan is rather leisurely.  Other major problems exist where GO operates over trackage of the CNR and CPR, neither of which regard electrification with glee and could actually block its implementation.  There is no point in talking about fast, frequent electric GO trains unless the host railways are clearly in agreement with this technology.
  • Union Station Capacity:  Essential to all GO proposals is the matter of capacity at Union Station for trains and for passengers, as well as the implications of a proposed satellite “Union West” at what is now Bathurst Yard.
  • Don Mills rapid transit:  This, presumably, is a northerly extension of the Relief Line, although exactly how far we will not know until the study provides more details.  This route would intercept traffic now bound for Yonge from the east much as the Spadina line does from the west.
  • Relief line:  Downtown to Danforth, at least, with the routing options being part of a TTC/City study now underway.
  • Waterfront East streetcar/LRT:  This route would serve new developments on Queens Quay East, connect with the Cherry Street line serving the West Don Lands, extend south into future Port Lands development, and, possibly, hook up with a proposed Broadview streetcar extension to serve the Lever site and to provide a link north to the Danforth Subway (much as the Spadina car does to the Bloor Subway).  This is an important part of development of the eastern waterfront, and its relationship to other proposals is as a local-level service to complement the DRL and/or GO which might have one or two stops in the general area.  Riders need to get around this large neighbourhood, not merely arrive or leave from one or two major stations.
  • Express Service on the Yonge Subway:  This idea comes up from time to time inspired by the “if only we had built it like New York” mantra that forgets the four-track New York tunnels were built when the “city” of Toronto barely stretched to Eglinton.  Any additional subway in the Yonge corridor will (a) have to interface with what is already there and (b) will be extremely difficult to build.  If people think that bringing a DRL through downtown from the east will be a challenge, try building a new Yonge line and connecting it to what is already there.  A major issue is the fact that the subway is not full  just at Bloor (where a split to send trains down a Bay Street tunnel has been proposed by some), but much further north.  Additional capacity is required well north of Bloor, and this problem will only get worse with new demand funelled in at the top end of the line.
  • LRT on the Don Valley rail corridors:  There really is only one rail corridor in the Don because the Don Branch of the CPR (now owned by Metrolinx) ends at Leaside.  The Richmond Hill GO line has major issues related to flooding and its wandering route, but conversion to LRT will not of itself fix these problems.  All that would happen is one technology would substitute for the other with no significant benefit.  If the Richmond Hill corridor is going to play an important role, it should do so as a GO Rail operation and resources should be concentrated on improving the robustness and speed of the line with that mode.
  • New GO Corridors:  There are only two corridors that do not now have GO service on them, and both are owned by the CPR.  One is the Bolton line (part of the Metrolinx 25 year plan) that branches off of the Georgetown line in Weston.  This line is not relevant to the discussion because a more convenient route into the core will be available at Vaughan Centre by late 2016.  The other route is the CPR line through Agincourt to North Pickering, Seaton and beyond.  This would not compete directly with the Yonge line, but it could provide a route to downtown from the northeast for long-haul trips as an alternative to the Scarborough/Danforth Subway and a transfer at Bloor-Yonge.  The line in question is the main CPR route through Toronto and through its yard in Scarborough.  Adding GO service here is possible, but not easy, and would see considerble opposition (for which read “pay us lots of money and we’ll think about it”) from the CPR.
  • Danforth Express on GO:  This scheme includes a new link between Main Street Subway Station and Danfort GO Station.  Leaving aside operational problems of a “short turn” GO train originating at Danforth, there is the much more basic question of why riders would choose to make this lengthy transfer.  If the desire is to shift demand off of the Danforth Subway, this should be done further east and north with better GO service on both the Stouffville and Lake Shore East lines, coupled with good TTC feeder bus routes oriented to GO stations rather than to the subway.  This is a case where fare integration is obviously essential.

Land Use Issues

Although the network issues arise from suburban demand, there is considerable development within the City that needs to be accommodated by the transit network.  I have already mentioned the streetcar lines and the growing density along them.  Unlike a lot of “land use” discussions that focus on nodes or “mobility hubs”, development along the streetcar routes is spread out in many locations.

The largest single district to date is Liberty Village nominally on King West that now reaches from the railway corridor north to Queen.  Demand to and from this area will not be addressed with one GO station or one stop on a “DRL West”.

Another major area lies in the eastern waterfront with developments along Queens Quay, the West Don, the Distillery/Canary districts, and eventually the Port Lands.  Much of this area is remote from the rail corridor, and demand here will not be served by a single GO or DRL station at the Don.  Moreover, if such a stop were located to aid the Lever Bros. site east of the Don, it would be even more remote from current and planned residential areas to the west and south.

The basic point here is that unless one really has a self-contained point development, a node around a rapid transit hub, it is very difficuly to serve a large developing area with one rapid transit station.  That station is not a replacement for local service to the wider area.

Conversely, “land use planning” involves more than the immediate vicinity of subway or GO stations, and planners must deal with developments that will depend on surface transit or will generate new car-oriented travel.  Failure to address such neighbourhoods works counter to the goal of a better transit market share.

Metrolinx spends a lot of time “thinking big”, but their regional network depends on many decisions at the fine-grained, local level.  Any regional study must consider both the “macro” and “micro” transportation demands and the evolution of both the new, middle-aged and old parts of the GTHA.

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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, GO Transit, New Streetcars, Spadina Subway, Subways, Transit, Union Station, Waterfront, Yonge Subway Extension, York Region. Bookmark the permalink.
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31 Responses to Metrolinx Contemplates Relief (2)

  1. Steve,

    Regarding express services why are we even looking at such a thing? Much like a subway was planned for Queen St (sort of) in the 40s because it was the main E-W thoroughfare things change. Bloor later became busier than Queen and if we had built something along Queen it would have been a mistake.

    Simply put what may seem like the go to spot right now may not be the go to spot later on. If we start building express stops then we run the risk of them becoming irrelevant later on for all we know. For example Yonge and Eglinton may drop off in favor of Yonge and Sheppard. Express lines do not work.. simply put. Demand changes in favor of certain places depending on a number of factors which is why local is the better option.

    Along the lines of a quick ride from Point A to Point B.. given all the sprawl into the 905 the idea of a short commute is not longer relevant. Simply put it does not take 30 minutes to commute via GO from Barrie to Downtown Toronto.

    While I am not saying we should not look at the quickest options I am saying its starting to become impractical given how far people live from work these days. Unless someone takes a helicopter to work the idea of a 30 minute or less commute is dead. To give you perspective it takes almost 30 minutes to go from finch to Union via the subway.

    Now to turn my attention to Union’s capacity:

    We currently have multiple GO stations in and around Toronto such as Mimico, Exhibition, Danforth, Guildwood, Eglinton, Scarborough, Rouge Hill and Long Branch. I wonder if any thought has been given to terminating some trains at those locations using them as a turnback? It would alleviate some of the congestion at Union especially during the rush leaving more room for trains on the other lines.

    Just my two cents.

    Steve: The problem with any turnback at Union or elsewhere is that current railway operating rules impose a significant time penalty on such moves. This is not like turning a subway train around at a terminal. If a train from well outside of the core ends its trip before it gets to Union, where are the passengers supposed to go? If the turnback is providing local service within the 416 (e.g. the proposed Danforth service, or service to Liberty Village at Exhibition Station), the turning train will occupy platform and track space for a considerable period.

    A more important issue is the degree to which trains will be through-routed at Union so that, say, a train from Georgetown can become a train to Richmond Hill or Stouffville. Obviously this depends on matching service levels.

  2. George Bell says:

    Always wondered why Go/TTC doesn’t run express buses to midtown (Bloor/Yonge) … a lot of people at my office in the area live north/east of that location and come down on the DVP and drive across Bloor … a few express buses from further up the DVP/401/407 that got off at Bloor, and dropped people off around Church/Bloor (or maybe the Canadian Tire parking lot on yonge) would probably be well used.

    (Not thinking of this as a way to provide relief, although other express bus schemes may be able to do that in specific circumstances – i.e. if they extend the brt lanes on the DVP south to Richmond, or on the new Gardiner). Speaking of which was there any discussion of BRT lanes on a revamped lakeshore/DVP?

    Steve: Bus lanes on DVP/Lakeshore? No. The fundamental problem is that the capacity of a bus service will not make much of a dent in the overall traffic flow, and your scheme would further eat up capacity that folks are already fighting over for private autos.

  3. AL says:

    How feasible is the 7-car subway idea on Yonge?

    Thanks Steve.

    Steve: The current proposed scheme would see the existing six-car TR trains shifting from YUS to BD in the early 2020s when the T1 fleet will be ready for retirement. New 7-car trains, probably with one shorter car so that everything still fits on a 500-foot platform (current trains are 450 feet long), would be purchased for YUS. This requires automatic operation for precision stopping, something that would, by then, be standard on YUS. There is also the matter of platform doors (if they are implemented) and the need to maintain the existing spacing for the longer trainsets so that they could operate concurrently with the existing ones. Other locations in the system, notably tracks at carhouses and yards, may not all be capable of handling the longer trains.

    I have yet to see a detailed review of this proposal to know whether it is actually feasible.

  4. Michael Forest says:

    Steve said:

    “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.”

    I am surprised that nobody tries to move Finch LRT to the front of the queue. It is less controversial than Sheppard, and would appear to distribute transit investment more evenly between the eastern and western half of the city.

  5. There is a lot that needs to be said here … starting with saying that I’m pleased that TTC, GO, Metrolinx and City Planning appear to be reading from the same playbook (though not necessarily the same page) when it comes to the Relief Study, but this cooperation needs to be formal, ongoing and consistent.

    On the topic of getting to rapid transit, I’m surprised that Metrolinx would be taking a GO-Centric approach here, especially given the obvious examples of Finch (YRT, VIVA) and Islington (MiWay) as well as future connections at Vaughan Centre and 407 stations.

    On the topic of the connection to broader areas of the downtown core I think there are three important decisions to be made here.

    1. Finally build those connections between the TTC and GO at places where there are already close connections … Kennedy, Dundas West & Bloor, Kipling, Leslie & Oriole … keeping in mind that these aren’t going to be great connections from anywheee to anywhere … but still useful to have especially for the upper ‘shoulders’ of the core.

    2. Build up the lower ‘shoulder’ areas of downtown by introducing the Waterfront West and East Bayfront LRT lines and develop a better system to feed transit users into these lines. This will also help resolve land use issues associated with development of the East Bayfront, Port Lands, Lever Lands, and future development of the Humber Shores.

    3. Put downtown express bus services into the hands of GO Transit which already provides a premium express service. If the current MCI highway coaches are not appropriate for the service GO can use their new lower-height, shorter double deck buses. The TTC could then focus on expanding express bus service by consolidating E-branch and ‘Rocket’ buses into one expanded network. And while it will not be popular, it is time to put bus bypass shoulders and HOV/HOT Lanes on the DVP and Gardiner.

    On GO Electrification and Union Station Capacity, it really seems that we will first see this (if ever) on the ‘Big U’ running along the Weston and Stouffville lines. This raises two questions:

    1. Is it possible to build a direct, electrified underground connection between the two lines that would compromise the ‘Big U’? I had thought that Lakeshore might be going to a lower platform level at Union but could that change?

    Steve: The underground Lakeshore line at Union is the alternative to the proposed Union West Station. It would be very difficult to build, not to mention expensive. Needless to say this would force the electrification issue, and I am not sure Metrolinx wants to go down that path. The Union West alternative has other benefits related to connection with the northwest corridors and a future DRL as we have discussed here before.

    2. One of the challenges of electrification would be the need (and cost) to build an electrified connection out to Willowbrook for access to maintenance facilities. Is it possible to build separate maintenance facilities along the ‘Big U’ corridor that would serve a small fleet of electrified GO Trains, as this would be easier than building a spur out to Willowbrook. Could it be possible to build such a facility at the Don Yard (for example)?

    Steve: Lakeshore, especially at planned service levels, will need more than a “small fleet” if the Union underground proposal goes ahead. Even the Weston corridor will need a lot of trains. Wherever it may be, the electric shops and yard won’t be small, and given the importance of this technology change, it should also not be viewed as a temporary structure.

    Lastly, have Metrolinx and GO Transit (and CN and CP for that matter) expressed anything (interest? awareness? disdain?) about the proposed changes to railway buff strength requirements in North America? These changes (which would allow the presence of ‘Euro-style’ trains in the GTA) seem to be essential to running a successful electrified service … especially if they are starting on a limited number of corridors.

    Steve: GO may be interested, but I suspect the railways are another matter. At the Metrolinx meeting this week, Greg Percy, now the head of GO Transit, talked about mixed operation and the negative environment for any relaxation of safety standards after the Lac Magantic disaster. Do you want to stand in front of a crowd of GO passengers explaining how you are making their trains “less safe”?

    Cheers, Moaz

  6. W. K. Lis says:

    In 1968, the Bloor-Danforth subway was extended out to Islington and Warden, but it stayed in Zone 1. An extra fare had to be collected from passengers transferring to Zone 2 buses. Passengers could avoid the extra fare by walking to the stations. Zones were eliminated by 1973.

    The Spadina extension is scheduled to open by the fall of 2016. The extension will be in the same “Zone” as the City of Toronto. Passengers transferring to buses at Pioneer Village or north will have to pay another fare. Unless they walk, of course.

    I just wonder how long before the GTA is either be merged into one fare, or some other fare system will be introduced (such as fare by distance)?

  7. Stan Salter says:

    What about a Go route through midtown along the tracks between Dupont and Davenport, Mississauga to Summerhill. Eliminate the bottleneck at Union and Bloor for the people going north to Eglinton or beyond.

    Steve: This is in the long range plans, but the track in question is CPR’s mainline and they are not too happy about giving up track time. Another problem is that Summerhill is a terrible place for the inevitable transfers in the peak (as opposed to counterpeak) direction. The connection is physically possible and provision already exists for it, but there are operational challenges that limit the benefit for peak direction relief.

  8. Andrew says:

    As for local bus service into downtown: There is a fair amount of room to improve local bus service that parallels the Yonge line. For instance, 141 (Mount Pleasant) and 142 (Avenue Road) could be made all day and more frequent and have the extra fare removed, and 97 Yonge service could have all day service extended south of Davisville, or the 19 Church bus that was eliminated in the 1990s could be restored. I am surprised how little the existing bus service is used, e.g. 5 Avenue always has seats in rush hour even though it is fairly frequent in rush hour (infrequent the rest of the time). Other cities like NYC or London have heavily used bus services that parallel subway lines, unfortunately the relief this will provide is fairly small. The most effective way by far of relieving the Yonge line remains extending the Don Mills subway north of Eglinton.

  9. Kristian says:

    The CPR corridor through Toronto already has space from West Toronto Diamond to Yonge Street for two (and in much of it three) additional tracks. Most of the bridges are already in place but not currently in use. The limitations kick in beyond this section primarily due to lack of bridges. Metrolinx seemed perfectly happy to add umpteen bridges to accomodate the ARL and for the expansion of the Lakeshore West line. Who knows if they’ll have the same appetite to do this again elsewhere. Would a connection to the subway at Dupont Station improve access versus Summerhill or is the Vaughan extension going to eat up all the capacity of the Spadina Line?

    Steve: There is a difference between widening bridges for a peak only service (that’s what Metrolinx sees the North Toronto sub as hosting), as against a major corridor for the airport link and a future frequent service on the Georgetown and Lakeshore lines. Also, some of the neighbourhoods this passes through would be quite vocal in opposition to adding tracks. If you think the folks in Weston were noisy, try dealing with the Annex and Rosedale.

  10. Steve said:

    GO may be interested, but I suspect the railways are another matter. At the Metrolinx meeting this week, Greg Percy, now the head of GO Transit, talked about mixed operation and the negative environment for any relaxation of safety standards after the Lac Magantic disaster. Do you want to stand in front of a crowd of GO passengers explaining how you are making their trains “less safe”?

    Oliver Moore of the Globe & Mail tweeted about this on Friday in the context of driverless operation of the Union-Pearson Express. I understand that driverless operation isn’t likely to happen. Frankly it sounds like a red herring given that UPEX trains will cross from east-side track at Union to westside track at the airport spur.

    At the same time I certainly hope Metrolinx/GO don’t use the Lac Megantic disaster as an excuse to avoid moving forward on passenger rail in the GTA … especially on lines that see few (if any) freight trains. As I recall, while the tank cars on that train were older and weaker they still met the existing strength regulations. So did that VIA Train that derailed in Burlington. And right now I can’t think of any train-train crashes involving passengers since that GO bump-up at Union Station some years ago.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: Metrolinx may want to move forward, but the regulations are federal. There is a lot more GO/Metrolinx should be doing that does not require changes to these regs, and advocates should not get hung up on proposals that won’t work without those changes.

    By the way, that conversation about driverless operation arose directly from the Star’s article about unattended operation in the subway saving piles of money (vastly more than a realistic figure as discussed here in another thread). This is an example of how the Neptis paper, slavishly promoted by the Star, shows up in the words of a Metrolinx director asking an ill-informed question. He wanted to save money on UPX operation, something that would be better asked in the question of the whole design of that service rather than simply the crews on the trains.

  11. Kristian says:

    Steve, I think you may have missed my mild sarcasm about the UPX vs North Toronto. If Metrolinx considered the North Toronto Sub a priority on the level they did the poorly-implemented UPX then they would do it anyway just as they rammed the UPX up everyone else’s, uh, ‘corridor’. The physically difficult portions of the North Toronto Sub happen to be in the most politically sensitive areas, although we’re not talking about cutting off local roads like in Weston or erecting massive walls of questionable value. An equally ambitious example on the UPX would be the bridge widening over the Humber River and a Golf Course.

    The easy portion I cited could at least go through with virtually no alteration because the bridges and trackbeds are already present from earlier days. The majority of the central section runs through industrial/commercial backyards on one side and a mostly ugly, dirty hydro corridor on the other. More tracks and a few more short trains in the peak on this busy corridor would likely go unnoticed for the most part.

    Your point about the well-off areas stands fine, but that wasn’t the part I was discussing. That said, yes, they probably would manage to kill any such proposal, at least for the foreseeable future. A new line project is always the sum of all its parts – As you keep saying, Metrolinx likes to draw lines without considering the limitations, physical or political, of every portion of the route.

  12. Ross Trusler says:

    “Union West”? Surely you mean “Macdonald Terminal”.

    Steve: With a gin bar on track 1, no doubt!

  13. Tom West says:

    Richard White says:

    “Regarding express services why are we even looking at such a thing?”

    This is on the initial “long-list” – which is intended to include everything anyone ever would or could suggest. I would be very surprised if it made past any short-listing process, for all the reasons articulated here.

    If you don’t include such wild and wonderful ideas, someone will inevitably complain that it wasn’t included. If you include, then you can reject it in two lines of text (“vast cost, less benefit than DRL”), and move on to more practical solutions.

    Steve: “Do you want to stand in front of a crowd of GO passengers explaining how you are making their trains ‘less safe’?”.

    *sigh* adopting European-style regulations would not make things less safe (hence why the FRA is planning on adopting them). They are specified in fundamentally different ways. The old FRA regs simply gave some key strength requirements (i.e. how to build it). European regs specify how it should behave in an accident (bodywork not deform, carriages not ride up over another, etc.).

    It is perfectly possible to operate freight and passenger services along a common line in a safe manner, and further, it already happens in Canada. There is a myth that long North American freight trains pose greater risk than shorter European freight trains. However, when collisions occur, it’s only the first 10 or so freight cars that are actually involved in the collision – everything after that is moot. (Google Great Heck rail accident … UK passenger trains hits car, derails into path of fully-laden coal train, with a closing speed of ~230km/hr. Only the first nine coal cars actually collided in any way with the passenger train.)

    Steve: As and when the FRA adopts the European standards, then Metrolinx can present itself as following world practice, and even then will require Ottawa to follow suit. Going first invites all sorts of criticism, bogus or otherwise. Folks in the Weston corridor electrification fight did no end of damage to their credibility with outlandish, inaccurate and scare-mongering claims about “cancer trains” on the basis of a study that didn’t even apply to the situation in question. Imagine the timidity of a federal government that doesn’t really care about passenger trains being urged to relax standards before the USA.

    Meanwhile, if Metrolinx makes plans that only work with the new standards, they could be accused of hobbling planning for “the real world”. What is needed is a concrete example comparing both scenarios fairly. Whether we will see that given some of the cock-and-bull stories that came out of the electrification study is quite another matter.

  14. Malcolm N says:

    Steve well said. In details I like the idea as previously noted of a northeast LRT from the end of the (your) Don (Mills) subway. While we are beating our heads against the wall to put a LRT in the rail corridor maybe we could bang our heads against the Hydro wall as well. The corridor that they will resist sharing appears very close to the Don Mills and Eglinton although I think it may be a little too far south (I think) for serving the Northeast corner.

    I think a well designed Don Mills LRT with proper direct signal control, extended North of 7 could act to move significant demand from the Yonge, and maybe this would be a better alternative, for a more appropriate order of transit to the Northern suburbs. Those headed for North York city centre could grab the west bound Sheppard s(t)ubway, those headed to Scarborough centre east on the Sheppard LRT, those headed elsewhere could continue south and it would end at a point where there would be real alternatives, west or east on the Crosstown, south on the DRL.

    To me the point of a serious review should be to look at as Steve says, the impact on each project on the entire Network. It also needs to look at how to bring service to as many areas as reasonably possible. I am concerned in my own thinking that I may end up trying to push too much onto the DRL, where a loaded Crosstown, loaded Malvern, and loaded Don Mills LRT all dump 60-70 % of their load onto a Don Mills subway that needs to be available further south.

    Also Steve if you added a 7th car on the Yonge line, and moved the 1st car so that its 1st door aligned with the end of the platform, would the 7th car have its rear doors on the platform? Again however, even should this and other solutions work, we cannot continue to look at the Yonge line as being the answer for all extension. I think we need to look at distributing traffic elsewhere, and looking at the scheduling of other services. Also my own background is economics, and Steve has a strong point with regards to fare structures etc. One of the potential ways of buying time on Yonge and elsewhere would be too have a dual fare structure, on and off peak.

    Time of day, and critical route fares would have a way of redirecting traffic away from overloaded routes. Might help encourage people to travel early or time shift where they can, would also encourage employers that can offer further time flexibility to employees to do so. This would further extend the capacity utilisation, allowing the network to deliver more people cost effectively.

    Steve: A 7th car on the YUS trains would be shorter than existing equipment so that the entire train would fit on the platform. There would be issues with yard, turnback and carhouse tracks, not just platforms, if trains were longer than 500 feet. I believe that there are even places where going from 450 to 500 feet presents a problem, but have not seen an inventory to confirm or deny this, or the cost implications.

  15. DavidC says:

    One of their Long list Options is the Queen’s Quay East Streetcar/LRT. I keep hearing snippets of hope that this is actually still a viable fairly short-term option and in December 2013 Waterfront Toronto awarded Ernst & Young a contract for “financial Advisory Services for Light Rapid Transit in the East Bayfront ” Do you have any information on what they are hoping to do? (Pity that they are not working on the Union Station streetcar loop right now while that line is out of commission – closing it again to do this very necessary work will not be popular!)

    Steve: The last I heard, there are moves afoot to cobble together money for this project. I am going to follow this up with folks at Waterfront Toronto in the next few weeks when I get a chance to talk with them in person. One big wrinkle in this could be a spring Provincial election. If Glen Murray is no longer Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, some of the personal impetus for this project may evaporate.

  16. Nathanael says:

    LRT on the Don Valley rail corridors: There really is only one rail corridor in the Don because the Don Branch of the CPR (now owned by Metrolinx) ends at Leaside.

    The “CPR” Don Branch corridor continues.

    (1) It parallels the CPR’s mainline through Leaside. There is room to add a separate pair of tracks (think something similar to the GO tracks to Oshawa).

    (2) North of Eglinton Ave., the corridor continues on what is called the “Leaside Spur Trail”. As you can guess this was a railroad line called the Leaside Spur. It should be again. The “destroy rails to make trails” people would be unhappy, but it would be more useful…. You’d have to bridge over the CPR mainline from the south side to the northside to connect from the Don Branch to the Leaside Spur, of course.

    (3) At Bond Park, just south of York Mills Road, it merges back into the CN Don corridor.

    This is a better route than the flood-prone route at the bottom of the valley; it also has a lot more potential for stations to serve actual people, since it goes through places with actual buildings. It would certainly be expensive to reinstate it, but it wouldn’t be outrageously expensive for what you’d get (a faster, straighter, less flood-prone route with more stations in areas with more people).

    (I agree that there seems to be no particular point in operating this Don Valley route as LRT vs. GO.)

    Steve: You have absolutely no hope of resurrecting this line for several reasons. First off, yes, it is a trail and has not seen any rail service for a decade. The line passes through a well-to-do neighbourhood, and makes a level crossing with Lawrence Avenue, not a good place for a frequent, bi-directional GO train to interrupt a major street. Grade separating this would be quite a challenge. Then there is the small problem that even when this did have track, it was only single, not double track. Finally, any train hoping to go up the Don Sub and then the Leaside Spur would have to cross over the CPR mainline from the south to the north side. Bridging ovet the CPR mainline is not practical given the grades in the area and the approach distances involved.

    Metrolinx is looking at regrading the Bala Sub both to raise the level of the tracks and to make a more robust structure for them so that floods, when they occur, will not have as catastrophic effect as in past years. This is much more practical than your scheme for the Don Sub.

  17. Nathanael says:

    Other major problems exist where GO operates over trackage of the CNR and CPR, neither of which regard electrification with glee and could actually block its implementation.

    This is a much shorter list of areas than it was 10 years ago. Areas where GO operates over CP trackage:
    - Milton line, Keele to Milton. I believe proposals exist for separate GO tracks here.
    - Lakeshore West line, final section to Hamilton. This is not going to get separate tracks due to narrow ROW and is arguably the most problematic for electrification.

    Areas where GO operates over CN trackage:
    - Georgetown line, Halwest to Georgetown. I’m absolutely sure there were plans for separate GO tracks here, I remember reading about it.
    - Lakeshore West, Burlington to (just outside) Hamilton. This is also genuinely problematic.
    - Richmond Hill line, Doncaster to Richmond Hill. Passenger demand on this portion of this line are simply not high enough to worry about electrification and probably never will be, and the line has other problems further south which need to be solved before even thinking about electrification. Anyway, there’s room for separate GO tracks if it ever comes to that.
    - Lakeshore West, Hamilton to Niagara Falls. Also a serious issue, but only if GO commits to all-year Niagara Falls service to replace the axed VIA services. (Sigh.)

    Areas where GO operates over GEXR trackage:
    - Georgetown line, Georgetown to Kitchener. Unfortunately GEXR leases the line from CN, if I remember correctly. GEXR is friendly. But it would be *extremely wise* for Metrolinx to buy the underlying fee title from CN now, while CN doesn’t consider the line valuable; if it reverts to CN, CN might start demanding blackmail prices to sell it.

    GO or Metrolinx now owns everything else. In short, the only area where the freight railroads are a serious obstacle to electrification is the tail end of Lakeshore West.

    Electrification might be a panacea… if not for the state of Union Station. The current arrangement and usage pattern at Union Station is seriously wasteful, as a previous commenter mentioned. It needs wider platforms, through-running of paired lines on each side, and consistent platform assignments for an efficient operation. This could have been done while they were replacing all the track switches and rebuilding all the elevators to the platform and replacing the train shed, but it’s a bit too late for that now. Sigh.

    Steve: It is not simply a question of separate tracks, but of the fact that the railways are leery of electrical infrastructure along their corridors. Also, don’t forget that there are places where the GO and CN/CP operations will have to cross.

    You are oversimplifying the situation to suit your argument.

  18. Nathanael says:

    Metrolinx is looking at regrading the Bala Sub both to raise the level of the tracks and to make a more robust structure for them so that floods, when they occur, will not have as catastrophic effect as in past years. This is much more practical than your scheme for the Don Sub.

    Won’t work and will be much more expensive and less practical. Why? Every government in the world is underestimating flooding risks — the flood maps have had to be changed repeatedly in the last few years, and every indication is that the entire Great Lakes region is just going to get more and more flash-flooding, for decades at least.

    I assume because of the flood plain situation, the proposed improvements on the Bala Sub would have to be elevated either on structure or with retaining walls. For a *very long distance*. Compared to that, a couple of major bridges sounds simple, and if you’re going to have to build a very long elevated line, why not take the better route?

    Regarding single-tracking, the Leaside Spur ROW’s wide enough for multiple tracks, while the ex-CN route in the Don Valley isn’t — unless your flood-zone/wetland regulations are much weaker in Canada than they are in the US. In the US, it’s gotten to the point where, with rail lines which were tucked along river basins, it’s frankly cheaper to relocate them completely than to improve them while remaining in compliance with environmental regulations.

    Are your Canadian environmental regulations that much weaker? Even if they are, it’s still a bad idea to build more flood-zone structures. They’ll wash out.

    Regarding flying over or under CP (and Lawrence Avenue), maybe the grades are a problem for 12-car diesel-locomotive-hauled GO slugs, but there are certainly types of rail equipment for which it wouldn’t be a problem.

    As for the issue that the neighborhood doesn’t want a train — well, yeah, that’s been the key political problem for decades, you’re absolutely right. Maybe it is easier (not cheaper, but easier) to follow the bad, flood-prone route which will wash out, simply because it’s already there and doesn’t go through a hostile neighborhood.

    What can you do about that? — nothing except wait for the mood to change. I think it will change. Just wait for the median population of the neighborhood to be born after roughly 1980 and they’ll be demanding train stations. It shouldn’t actually take very many decades, even though rich neighborhoods do tilt old.

    Steve: I am tiring of this discussion and your attitude from afar that you can just waft away situations you don’t agree with. After I promote comments in queue, this is the last of it. We have far more important issues to discuss in Toronto than fantasy maps involving highly unlikely construction projects.

  19. Nathanael says:

    I suppose my standards for “praticality” are different due to following the massive rail projects being done in Denver. The most problematic route and the one which had the most “scope creep” was the one which was in a flood plain — the ones which are flying over freight mainlines and expressways were relatively straightfoward.

  20. Kristian says:

    For the benefit of readers, a refresher may be in order about the use of the Don Branch:

    Peterborough Corridor Study

    And this one about the “Midtown Corridor”.

    The Peterborough Line Study also covers the alternate routing to terminate at Summerhill via a new third track on the north side of the CPR. The report mentions more than once that CPR will not allow interference with traffic on the existing tracks but is likely open to additional dedicated ones.

    Given that the Peterborough service is not likely to come to fruition, at least for a long time, did Metrolinx have any other proposals for the Don Branch?

  21. Robert Wightman says:

    Nathanael says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Other major problems exist where GO operates over trackage of the CNR and CPR, neither of which regard electrification with glee and could actually block its implementation.

    Steve: That’s actually my line. Quoted quotes get confusing sometimes.

    GO actually paid to have all bridges and signal gantries raised over the tracks that they operate on so that it had clearances for 25 kV AC overhead and double stack trains. The commuter agency in Montreal wanted to electrify without doing this and did not consult much before making their decision to by dual powered locomotives.

    “This is a much shorter list of areas than it was 10 years ago. Areas where GO operates over CP trackage:

    - Milton line, Keele to Milton. I believe proposals exist for separate GO tracks here.
    - Lakeshore West line, final section to Hamilton. This is not going to get separate tracks due to narrow ROW and is arguably the most problematic for electrification.”

    The line into Hunter Street Station used to be double track through the tunnel but with the advent of triple rack auto carriers the double track was replaced with one track in the centre to improve clearances.

    “Areas where GO operates over CN trackage:

    - Georgetown line, Halwest to Georgetown. I’m absolutely sure there were plans for separate GO tracks here, I remember reading about it.”

    I have lived in Brampton for nearly 40 years and there was never any serious plan for separate GO tracks that I heard of. The problem lies between Kennedy Road and the CP diamond. The right of way is not wide enough for 3 tracks. There was apparently an internal study that looked at moving the Brampton station 10 or 15 feet back from the tracks to allow for a third track and centre platform but nothing ever became of it. They would also need to put retaining walls on the embankment through there for a third track.

    “- Lakeshore West, Burlington to (just outside) Hamilton. This is also genuinely problematic.”

    Again you have problems getting enough width through Bayview Junction for extra tracks.

    “- Richmond Hill line, Doncaster to Richmond Hill. Passenger demand on this portion of this line are simply not high enough to worry about electrification and probably never will be, and the line has other problems further south which need to be solved before even thinking about electrification. Anyway, there’s room for separate GO tracks if it ever comes to that.”

    Agreed, the line takes too long and meanders too much.

    “- Lakeshore West, Hamilton to Niagara Falls. Also a serious issue, but only if GO commits to all-year Niagara Falls service to replace the axed VIA services. (Sigh.)”

    GO will not operate beyond St. Catherine’s unless they can get a guarantee from the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority that the bridges on the Welland would have a 2 hour window in the morning and afternoon were the bridges would not open. They refuse to grant this so no weekday service past there. I believe that it would cost $5 billion dollars to build a tunnel under it. That was the number I remember from a Metrolinx paper.

    “Areas where GO operates over GEXR trackage:

    - Georgetown line, Georgetown to Kitchener. Unfortunately GEXR leases the line from CN, if I remember correctly. GEXR is friendly. But it would be *extremely wise* for Metrolinx to buy the underlying fee title from CN now, while CN doesn’t consider the line valuable; if it reverts to CN, CN might start demanding blackmail prices to sell it.”

    Agreed but the main problem is that they would probably need to buy all the trackage including the tracks to Goderich and to London via St. Mary’s. GEXR will not let VIA increase the quality of the track to handle 79 mph passenger trains because they do not want to get stuck with the maintenance costs. Fifty mph is plenty fast enough for their trains. I believe that the only way that GO will be able to raise its speeds is to obtain ownership of the tracks from CN and lease the freight rights to the GEXR.

    You have to remember that CN and CP retain the rights to operate freight trains on the track that they sold to Metrolinx when necessary. CN and probably CP will not sell their tracks to Metrolinx where they still operate main line freight traffic.

    “Won’t work and will be much more expensive and less practical. Why? Every government in the world is underestimating flooding risks — the flood maps have had to be changed repeatedly in the last few years, and every indication is that the entire Great Lakes region is just going to get more and more flash-flooding, for decades at least.”

    There are two reasons that this area floods. One is the fact that the course of the river was changed years ago to go into the turning basin for ships. This has caused silting which further obstructs the flow of water. The other is that it is low and constrained by roads. The river is supposed to be returned to a straighter alignment and dredged to improve its flow and along with the raising of the tracks will protect them from flooding.

    “Are your Canadian environmental regulations that much weaker? Even if they are, it’s still a bad idea to build more flood-zone structures. They’ll wash out.”

    Actually we don’t allow any buildings in flood plains anymore except ones that might be for parks or public use but they know there will be no government help to rebuild them if destroyed by a flood. Flood insurance is not available in Canada to discourage people from building in susceptible areas. We do not give billions of dollars to rebuild houses that were wiped out by storms just so they can be wiped out during the next storm.

    “Regarding flying over or under CP (and Lawrence Avenue), maybe the grades are a problem for 12-car diesel-locomotive-hauled GO slugs, but there are certainly types of rail equipment for which it wouldn’t be a problem.”

    Unfortunately most of that equipment does not meet FRA/TC specifications or is EMU which no one wants to run because of the 92 day inspection rules required for locomotives and they are locomotives under FRA/TC rules. The GO equipment will handle 2% grades with no problem but to get 22′ clearance under the bridge which means that the rails are about 24′ higher or lower means that the grade has to start at least 1200 ‘ from Lawrence. The intersection of Leslie is too close for Lawrence to be raised or lowered more than 1 or 2′. Granted it would be nice if the FRA and TC would make the jump from the nineteenth to the twenty first century before we get to the twenty second century.

    Steve: The other grade separation I had in mind was to allow GO trains to get across the CPR without blocking through movements. This would be critical if a frequent service operated on the line. Another factor is that the grade changes to separate the two routes would be compounded by the existing grade climbing up the valley.

    “I suppose my standards for “praticality” are different due to following the massive rail projects being done in Denver. The most problematic route and the one which had the most “scope creep” was the one which was in a flood plain — the ones which are flying over freight mainlines and expressways were relatively straight (forward).”

    Are these rail projects for mainline FRA regulated trains or for LRT? It makes a huge difference in whose rules you have to follow. The line you suggest is still problematic in that it either goes to Summerhill station on the Yonge line which can’t absorb any more passengers or it continues down the Don to Union Station across a very long bridge that needs to be totally rebuilt and double tracked. For the improvement in time it is not worth the expense involved. Have you ever walked your proposed corridor? I have and the Leaside spur is not suitable for high speed (60 – 80 mph) train service.

  22. Malcolm N says:

    Steve has anybody done a study on the way end north end to which an Don Mills LRT would be designed. Stop distances, location of stops/stations with relation to intersections? Would be great serving the north of Toronto crowd, if there were only stops at the majors, say Major MacKenzie, Hwy 7, Steeles, Finch, Sheppard, York Mills, Lawrence, and terminus at Eglinton. This would make it faster than the Yonge, however, would make it less local friendly, and much more of a subway light. Would still be good at intercepting bus lines, but would not offer nearly the opportunity for development along Don Mills. Will be interested on seeing the priorities that show here.

    Also Steve currently in terms of signal priority for Waterfront East LRT in the core, are they proposing to position stops after the intersections ? How many current street car stops are aligned this way? {so that the streetcar can load after clearing the intersection – that way they would need the green when the roll up on the intersection}.

    I understand that this also creates some issues with regards to pedestrian crossing intersections that would not otherwise do so.

    Steve: There has not been any detailed design for a Don Mills LRT as far north as you describe. I will have to dig into my archives for a description of the LRT line proposed as part of Transit City. The documents for the EA no longer appear to be online.

    As for Waterfront East, the stops are set up with the platforms opposite each other so that they are nearside westbound, but farside eastbound. See the Functional Design Drawings for details.

  23. David O'Rourke says:

    Steve, my understanding was that a Lakeshore East LRT would terminate at Union station but can the existing loop accommodate another line. If the loop is to be re-built surely it should have been done while the 509 was out o service and the loop was/and is not being used. How would all this work?

    Steve: The revised loop involves double tracking both the northbound and southbound tunnels. Whether this work can be done substantially with the line still in service, I don’t know. Please refer to the first page of the Functional Design for the proposed layout.

  24. Malcolm N says:

    Steve one of the things that worries in the within Toronto debate, is the lack of discussion of what makes the GTHA attractive to business.

    1-Access to business services
    2-Access to customers
    3-Ability to attract the best talent they can from across the country.
    4-Mobility to the rest of the country and world.

    This 3rd one means making it possible for people to live within a tolerable travel time of their work and what they want to do at a cost they can afford. The other three are network effects of others already being here. Make it hard enough to attract people to live here because they cannot get around the city, and Toronto will suffer what Montreal did in the 1980 and 1990s in terms of growth and prosperity.

    The in-fighting with regards to who needs to be served and how misses the point that the entire city’s and in many ways the province’s prosperity relies on making continued focus on growth in the GTA attractive to people and businesses, which means reasonable commutes and access to the best services in the country. Sometimes this will mean a project that serves another area. At this point it will also mean accepting imperfect solutions in order to achieve a solution.

    This may mean BRTs that need routes that serve mostly express services and suffer on the local end like in hydro corridors (as we have already missed the chance to do it right), it may mean LRTs with too few stops to serve outlying areas (although I have to admit I would have a hard time swallowing a Don Mills LRT with as few stops as I suggested above). To a great degree it means accepting that the problems need a real order of priority and a commitment to solution that at the least ensures the situation gets no worse.

    While everyone knows all this, somehow the focus on specifics and local problems seems to drown out the big picture. One of the reasons I enjoy your blog, is that you are happy to look at many possible answers, and are quick to point out weaknesses in suggested plans and where people are trying to hit a fly with a sledgehammer (which makes for expensive repairs).

  25. L. Wall says:

    Interesting that the EA drawings appear to show a full wye junction under Queens Quay. I can’t remember where I heard about that not being in the cards but it might have even been here!

    If they’re going to do that, it would make sense to build the line out to Parliament in a first phase to allow through-running to a “temporary” eastern loop while Union loop is rebuilt during a second phase. It would avoid another prolonged absence of streetcars from Queens Quay aside from the relatively short amount of time needed to dig up and rebuild the intersection at Bay.

    Steve: Yes, that drawing is intriguing because whenever this has been discussed at community meetings, the TTC claimed that structurally the existing tunnel at Bay & Queens Quay is not configured to allow through traffic.

    The other “missing link” is the connection through to Cherry Street and thence to King, yet another victim of inadequate funding for the overall project.

  26. Malcolm N says:

    Steve with fare integration, and Presto cards being used, will it be possible to track start and end point of trips using the GO & the TTC? Have they polled employers on the residence locations of employees? Not data that I would generally think would be readily available, but even a reasonable statistical sampling of current draw would be really useful in designing transit solutions.

    Steve: Not end points because there is no “tap off” on local systems. Also, it will be many years before the conversion to Presto is completed on the TTC. Montreal took a much simpler approach to figuring out O-D pairs. On the assumption that the most common trips are commutes, there is a good chance that the starting point for a “return” trip is near the ending point for the “original” trip. It’s easy to toss out the data that don’t fit a regular pattern over, say, a month. This won’t get everyone, but it will pick up the lion’s share of the regular trip pairs.

  27. nfitz says:

    Steve:

    Montreal took a much simpler approach to figuring out O-D pairs. On the assumption that the most common trips are commutes, there is a good chance that the starting point for a “return” trip is near the ending point for the “original” trip.

    I’d assume TTC would do same. One should be able to build a pretty rich data set.

    Steve:

    Also, it will be many years before the conversion to Presto is completed on the TTC.

    Many? Surely it will be done by the end of 2016.

    Steve: You have more faith than I do.

  28. Robert Wightman says:

    Steve says:

    Also, it will be many years before the conversion to Presto is completed on the TTC.

    Nfitz says:

    “Many? Surely it will be done by the end of 2016.”

    Toronto will probably need as many readers as there are in the rest of Ontario. The other problem is that they will not make a major dent on pass users until enough are out there to ensure that the Presto card will be accepted in as many places as the Metro pass is now. Who would want to ride somewhere on there Presto card only to find they needed to pay a cash fare on the way back.

    Presto cards are OK if every vehicle or station you want to enter has one but until then they will not make major inroads in Toronto.

    Steve: As a Metropass user, I can confirm that the idea of facing a system that cannot accept Presto on large chunks of the bus network will make me keep my pass as long as possible. When the system is converted and an equivalent-to-Metropass function is available on Presto, then I will start using my Presto card for the TTC.

  29. Robert Wightman says:

    With respect to adding a seventh car 50′ long has any one figured out the door placement. The 75′ cars have 4 doors so the average spacing is 18′ 9″. If you divide this into 50 in doesn’t work. A 37′ car would give 2 doors but you would need a 56′ car to get 3 doors; this was the length of the old red G cars. A 50′ car gives odd door spacing even assuming that all the pocket and yard tracks would take a 500′ long train.

    This whole idea needs to be re thought before any dumb decisions are made.

    Steve: Yes, the “short car” needs to be thought out properly if platform doors and structures sensitive to train length and door placement are on the table.

  30. David O'Rourke says:

    Steve, the functional design page for the Lakeshore East LRT entry to the Union Station Loop looks fascinating but it is upside down. Can this be righted?

    Steve: There should be a “rotate” option in the Adobe PDF viewer that can handle this for you.

  31. Robert Wightman said:

    With respect to adding a seventh car 50′ long has any one figured out the door placement. The 75′ cars have 4 doors so the average spacing is 18′ 9″. If you divide this into 50 in doesn’t work. A 37′ car would give 2 doors but you would need a 56′ car to get 3 doors; this was the length of the old red G cars. A 50′ car gives odd door spacing even assuming that all the pocket and yard tracks would take a 500′ long train.

    Moaz: if train length is not an issue the 56′ car seems to be the most logical choice. The train would be slightly longer than the platform, but the back end of the train can sit slightly outside of the station with the last door would still be inside.

    The problem there would be sightings for operator and guard … on the other hand the benefit of the extra set of doors means that more people can board faster.

    Steve: Guard? What guard? By the time a 50′ car is added, there will only be a driver. Door monitoring will be done by video over the length of the train.

    Perhaps there is another solution … build the 7th car at 50′ but without fixed seating (some padding to lean against with the option to pull down seats as needed … see here or here) and no more ‘conversation nooks’ … and build 4 doors on a narrower spacing.

    Steve: The door spacing is mainly an issue if platform doors are implemented as these would not line up with the arrangement on new trains which must co-exist with existing equipment during a cutover period of easily two years.

    Robert Wightman said:

    This whole idea needs to be re thought before any dumb decisions are made.

    Very true … This sounds like something that could creep up unfavorably on the TTC if they aren’t careful. Perhaps Chris Upfold should attend this conference before plans for the 7th subway cars are made.

    Cheers, Moaz

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