The materials presented at recent Community Liaison Committee meetings for the two EAs now in progress are available on the TWRC website. Note that they are not thick with explanatory information as they are intended to accompany a verbal presentation, but they show where things stand with the planning now.
Several issues have been raised by the CLCs, and a revised set of proposals will come back to the next CLC meetings later in May. The material in these documents is not definitive.
East Bayfront (roughly Bay & Queen’s Quay to Parliament)
The West Don Lands material has not yet been posted on the TWRC site. I will add the link here when it is available.
I Prefer the Portal on Queens Quay with a Y junction being underground. It makes transit more reliable and makes the street network less messy for auto vehicles (Its always a mess when it comes to Streetcar Junctions). Its a Win-Win.
The Street Cross Section should be 2 through lanes and LRT in the median. As it goes further east near the vicinity of Parliament Street, it can be reduced to 2 lanes with 2 parking lanes since Lakeshore Blvd & the so-called “Underutilized” Eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway can take any remaining traffic.
Overall, looks like excellent planning, The Idea for running buses in a Tunnel just seems very stupid, Why pay extra money to retrofit a tunnel for a temporary solution? No transit system plans to have a Busway as their permanent Solution, so its a waste of money.
Sadly, we’ve all seen amazing plans, but no action, so i do not want to keep my hopes up yet.
I prefer the first alternative for the cross-section, with the car, transit and bike lanes grouped together. It is a better design because it makes it possible to access the streetcar without crossing a traffic lane (from the waterfront side). It also does not place the bike lanes between the road and the parking, which is a dangerous location due to opening car doors. The only downside is that traffic signals might be needed to control turns across the transit ROW into driveways along the waterfront.
Obviously the bus alternative is not a serious proposal and if it were implemented, buses would run on the surface on Bay Street. The TTC is clearly planning to run streetcars on this route.
Why are they talking about running buses in the Bay Street Tunnel. Apart from the problems of size, there is also the far more serious problem of asphyxiating the passengers!
Steve: Some of the locals are pushing bus options, specifically hydrogen/fuel-cell technology. I think they are completely out to lunch, but such is the EA process that they have to be taken seriously until the technology can be definitively ruled out.
Oddly, nobody is talking about trolleybuses.
Thanks for posting these.
The other advantage for the Queens Quay portals is that it keeps the “Ferry Docks” station, which seems to get heavy use.
Any mention of a Harbour Street portal also being able to connect to a future Bremner LRT via York? It jumped out at me — though given how choked York is near the Gardiner, maybe it’d be harder than squeezing a Bremner portal in near the ACC.
Steve: I believe that the scheme for Bremner is to go underground along the north side of the ACC and connect into the tunnel at the south end of the railway viaduct. That scheme has problems too.
Was any mention made in the presentation about retrofitting the tunnel for articulated streetcars?
Steve: The problem is not the tunnel, but the ramp. The existing ramp is too steep for a following car to push an ALRV up the hill. This is one design issue for the new ramp, and you probably noticed that the designs show 5% and 6% gradient options compared with 7.5% on the ramp we have now.
Like Andrew MacKinnon, I prefer the option with LRT on one side of the other traffic, rather than the median approach. This makes even more sense in this location where the water-side of the road is to be a more pedestrian friendly park-like environment.
In Minneapolis, the LRT runs down the west side of Hiawatha Avenue and makes for better flow of both LRT and road traffic. Crossings with side streets and driveways are treated as railway crossings with signalled gates interlocked to traffic signals.
Another interesting thing I noted in Minneapolis is the placement of bike lanes on some downtown streets: they dedicate a WHOLE car lane for two-way bicycle traffic. On one five-lane street, there was a single westbound lane on the north side of the street that was reserved for bus traffic only and three lanes of eastbound traffic on the south side (portions of this street in other parts of downtown are one-way eastbound). The lane reserved for bicycles was between the eastbound mixed traffic lanes and the westbound bus lane.
Has the TTC addressed what happens to the route east of Cherry?
Steve: That is a separate study because this area won’t be developed as soon as the West Don and East Bayfront.
Keeping the issue of the number of routes and vehicles needed to make a trolleybus system economical aside, a trolleybus system could be positioned as an intermediate alternative between diesel buses and streetcars for new lines. The overhead power infrastructure would be in place while the rail infrastructure would be built later as demand for a full light rail line dictates.
While this alternative probably wouldn’t be the best choice for this line, the trolleybus option should be included ahead of the almost-mythical fuel-cell technology. It factors in the traction power component and quiet zero-emission vehicles. This option should be included in future proposals for BRT-style operations which would ultimately upgrade to LRT operation for a true consideration of all alternatives, especially since there are modern low-floor articulated and standard length trolleybuses being produced and in use today.
Steve: I am, of course, being peevish here. It is extremely frustrating to see the attention paid to a few squeaky wheels who are pushing a totally inappropriate technology while one that should be on the table, if we are serious about “green” alternatives, is ignored.
That is a separate study because this area won’t be developed as soon as the West Don and East Bayfront.
So will the streetcars loop somehow temporarily at Cherry? On the map, they apparently fall off the end of the world.
Steve: That’s one of those mysteries that the EA is supposed to address — where to turn things around. There is a good possibility that the Cherry Street portion (the West Don Lands line) will be built first, and the Queen’s Quay link will just connect in to it. A loop is proposed for the east side of Cherry north of the railway.
Steve. Don’t you know that trolley coaches are old fashioned and that their overhead creates horrible visual pollution? Why would anyone want this outmoded form of transit when you can have those modern green Ballard buses that run off clean hydrogen and only produce water as a waste material?
What? You say that you can’t make hydrogen efficiently! Poppycock. You just need to hook up your cold fusion reactor and voila, there is plenty of hydrogen, or deuterium or tritium, who cares?
I am reminded of a study that was done at Uplands airport in Ottawa in the 60’s or 70’s about De Havilland dash 7’s and 8’s. Transport Canada announced that they were going to start test flights to measure the noise impact of these aircraft on Monday and on Monday they got all sorts of complaints about these noisy aircraft. At the end of the week they announced that test had been going on for a month and that nobody complained about the noise before they new that the planes were flying. I am not promoting or condemning STOL aircraft but just pointing out that someone will complain about anything without checking into the facts.
There are people who will believe in the latest innovation whether it works or not. Mag Lev anyone?
Nobody is talking about trolley buses because by doing so it would be a full-fledged admission that getting rid of them in the first place was a huge mistake and an unmitigated disaster in the name of CNG. Short of the (still) very real threat of getting rid of the streetcar that Steve “headed off at the pass”, the elimination of trolley bus service was a big tragedy ecologically. Of course, I COULD be biased….
Will the new streetcar line be designed to handle vehicles longer than an ALRV, say up to 40m? This is particularly a concern at Union Station – when the loop is renovated, will the platforms be long enough to handle longer vehicles? When the TTC replaces the CLRVs, they will almost certainly be replaced with longer vehicles to increase capacity. Also, is it likely that the existing portal will be rebuilt to decrease the slope, or can modern articulated streetcars handle this gradient without problems? Spadina desperately needs articulated streetcars.
Steve: Preliminary specifications state that new cars will be 27m to 29m in length with the ability to handle an 8% grade including situations where a disabled car is being pushed up the grade.
I think the problem with the trolley bus network in Toronto was that it was too small to justify the major renovations needed to keep it going in the future. In addition, due to population increases in its service area after it was built the routes were inadequate to handle the demand unless they were expanded; i.e. development of Caledonia Rd requiring the expansion of Lansdowne 47, the Armour Heights area requiring expansion of Nortown West 61, and the need to cover Dovercourt Road. Plus for some reason ridership had been declining on the Annette 4.
Steve: A big issue with the trolleybus network was that many routes served declining industrial districts in the city and ridership dropped off as factories closed. When I fought for the retention of this mode, it was in the context of a new route structure that would have seen trolleybuses on major lines like Jane, Keele, Eglinton West, Bathurst and Wellesley. Caledonia with its hills would have been a good candidate. The intent was not to freeze the existing routes in amber forever.
And hello everyone who even remotely thinks that supporting trolley coaches is/was a good idea. At the time of the TTC killing the TC system the brightest light in transit, scientific and engineering knowledge informed all who should be listening to his stated pearls of wisdom, that any one attempting to support TC technology and retaining the system in Toronto was nothing more than a “Nostalgic Boob”. I think I remember the quote correctly.
He also told a meeting of TTC Managers that it was ludicrous to support Trolley Coaches on the basis of them being non polluting because they pollute at the source of their electrical generation. This great font of scientific knowledge was obviously aware that an electric motor with the same output horsepower as a self contained internal combustion power plant is only 200 to 250% more efficient, and therefore creates about 1/2 or less the pollution at its source of power generation. Anybody who would dispute those figures should have their head examined, for those are/were the facts and they shouldn’t be contradicted; so, since he understood better than any TC retention supporter, TCs had to go on that basis alone.
Everyone should know that they should not be taken seriously if they dared to oppose the destruction or voice support of re-introduction of this antiquated, irredeemable, greenhouse gas creating form of blight on Toronto’s urban landscape. Were we blind? Couldn’t we see those nasty eye polluting wires in the sky blotting out the sun, spoiling our view of nature and the architechtural delights all around us?
It’s no wonder that present day transit researchers and consultants would ignore the trolley coach with that historical Icon instructing the future on the errors and follies of the past. I’m sure his text books, copies of his research papers and letters are reverred and have a place of honour in every transit professional’s reference library.
So please, please, please, don’t let Mr. Al Leach, the most progressive Transit thinker of modern times, ever hear you say or read what you’ve written that TC technology should be taken seriously? It is to laugh at you! You who are merely only capable of low tech thought not worth psssshawing!!
On a darker note from those dark days. It didn’t come out in any of the TTC’s press releases about how they had just re-raised the decibel levels on Bay Street with the re-introduction of those technologically advanced diesel buses did it? I do recall though the TTC accepting headlined praise for lowering same by 10 points with trolleys running in the concrete canyons, in place of we know what, within hours of them being introduced to the downtown core for the first time! I don’t know how Mr. Leach could have missed this golden opportunity to puff up his chest and show the world what a great transit ghuru he was, how he was leading the Progressive TTC to new heights of environmental friendliness. Ah, so many missed photo ops and sound bytes! (Ya know, I think they tried but diesel smudge got on the lenses and the microphones couldn’t pick up the words over the internal combustion roar, eh!)