We talk a lot in this town about how progressive and pro transit we are, but there are times I wonder if anyone at City Hall really cares.
The project to rebuilt Fleet Street which was part of the TTC’s planned capital program since last fall has been held off to 2007. Why? It seems that Toronto Hydro and the City Works Department have not managed to get their designs and staffing plans in order, and there is no way that the work can be done this year.
Streetcars will continue to plod over some of the worst track I have ever seen in Toronto until, at best, next spring when we may finally see the reconstruction of Fleet Street and its conversion into a transit right-of-way.
This change was so last-minute that the original detailed announcement of the September Schedules (on which I reported in another post) included the Fleet Street project, but the service summary for September shows the service going to the CNE. If you look closely, you will see a reference to Union Station service on the 511, but this is left over from the original version of the schedules.
The September Service Summary is available on the TTC website here.
I presume the pre-welded long lengths of rail that have been partly blocking Fleet Street since spring will remain there until they get their act together. Interestingly the TTC has had to stop using the Fleet Loop for the last 4-5 months as the rail going into/out of it was so bad – they removed the special track work and made a temporary “straight through” on Fleet. I assume they intend(ed) to retain this loop when the new track is finally laid. Looking on the bright side, having it closed is one way to reduce short-turns, I suppose!
This postponment does seem terribly poor planning on the part of Hydro and the Works Dept. as this trackwork has been on the TTC calendar since 2003! At least on this occasion the TTC seems ‘blameless’.
Hopefully everyone will get their acts together over the winter. Unless construction is started in the spring (or in September 2007), no streetcars will be able to run to Exhibition Loop. Service to the CNE will be rubish with the loop closed to streetcars. The only other possibility of streetcar service is to Dufferin loop, which hasn’t seen streetcars in numerous years, and is more out-of-the-way. It also doesn’t have as good facilities as Exhibition East, or access to the grounds for that matter.
Steve: I believe that Fleet Street is planned for the spring of 2007. As far as the CNE next year is concerned, if they don’t fix the track, I don’t think they will be physically able to operate cars over it a year from now anyhow. And, yes, Dufferin Loop is a poor substitute not least because it’s too small and the main CNE entrance is at the eastern loop.
Well, the pile of rails that partly blocked Fleet Street all summer have been moved to ??? (Exhibition ??) and this week (Sept 25) the road is being dug up by Hydro or Enbridge. I suppose by spring they may be ready to lay new track along Fleet and reopen the Fleet loop.