I received the following note from James McArthur:
I was just curious to hear your take on the need to significantly expand the capacity of Bloor/Yonge Stn. particularly because of the bottlenecks in the mezzanine and stair/escalator areas (these are really bad even outside rush hour).
I saw that Adam Giambrone mentioned renovating the lower level (for aethetic reasons I gather), but has any consideration been given to this problem? How can you solve it w/o spending hundred’s of millions?ill the TTC even try? Can the system carry more riders if they don’t?
Steve: Years ago, the TTC had a plan for expanding the capacity of Bloor Yonge that was breathtaking in its scope. Fortunately, the only part they actually built was the widened platforms on the upper level and the removal of the central pillars. The whole scheme involved moving the Yonge line tracks further apart and adding a centre platform. Vertical access was a real problem, not to mention construction at the north end where the station is physically inside of the Bay.
The scheme also involved new platforms outside of the existing tracks on the Bloor level. Access between all of the platforms was complex, and construction issues, were very, very difficult. The station sits in an old stream bed and much work would have to be done by hand in a pressurized environment.
Oh yes — the station would close for at least six months. Trains would run through without stopping and bus shuttles would take people from Rosedale to Wellesley.
Adding capacity to the Bloor line’s platform is very difficult because the station is inside of the Bay building including some of the structural columns that hold it up. This is a major issue in any move to increase capacity on the Yonge line through resignalling. If the Bloor line cannot take passengers away as fast as the Yonge line delivers them, then congestion will be worse than it is today.
Headways, as we have discussed here before, are constrained on the Bloor line by turnaround times at terminals. Even if we had more platforms, escalators and stairways, we would not be able to have more trains.
The real issue with Bloor-Yonge is the number of people coming through it who could be taken to the core via an alternate route be that GO Transit or a “downtown relief line” of some flavour. It may be cheaper and provide better service in a network sense to look at new capacity into the core rather than trying to pack more people through the Bloor-Yonge interchange.