My New Streetcar [Updated]

This has already been covered in other blogs such as spacing and Transit Toronto, but there are a few observations I want to add to others’ comments.

The TTC launched their public consultation for a new streetcar design (stop already folks — I know it’s a “Light Rail Vehicle”, but real people out there call them “streetcars”) at the last TTC meeting.  Information flyers appeared on TTC vehicles and a website sprang to life.  This is an excellent example of the sort of co-ordinated announcement that is possible when an organization actually thinks about getting its message out.

The TTC wants to show people examples of modern car designs and ask their input on what’s important for the fleet that will serve Toronto for many decades to come.  Bombardier has a partial Minneapolis car in town that will be on view at Dundas Square on Thursday, June 28 from noon to 8:00 pm.

Other public sessions (at this point it is uncertain whether the demo car will be on site) will be held at Finch Station (June 25), Scarborough Town Centre (June 26) and the Albion Centre (June 27).

[James Bow has advised that the mockup car will only be at Dundas Square, not the other locations.]

As someone who works at STC, I will be thrilled to see a display of possible new streetcars just outside the door (I can see the existing ones at Broadview Station from my living room), but it will be bittersweet.

The SRT line was supposed to be an LRT line originally and parts of it were engineered for that technology — the loop and the original low platform at Kennedy — and the signs at Kennedy even had LRT pictographs on them on opening day.  Instead we got an expensive orphan technology, and the planned extension to Malvern was never built.

The TTC studied the question of replacing the RT with LRT and their consultant, Richard Soberman, was clearly leaning to that conclusion at the public meetings.  Then something changed, and the idea of LRT conversion was presented in as negative light as possible.  With the recent funding change relieving the City of responsibility for capital spending on major lines like this, the decision on technology really is out of the City’s hands.  Nominally, it’s the GTTA’s decision, but I fear that the need to prop up the reputation of the technology will trump any other issues.

On Tuesday the 25th, we will have the irony of a display about new streetcars at a location they will never serve.

Stand Left, Stand Right

Today’s Globe has a front page article by Jeff Gray (aka Dr. Gridlock) on the subject of escalator safety.

Some months ago, the TTC’s “Walk Left, Stand Right” signs vanished overnight from every escalator in the system.  This is an astonishing feat for an organization that can’t keep info about routes anywhere near current and depends on hand written signs to inform its patrons.

Why did the signs disappear?  Well, according to the escalator gods, people are not supposed to walk on escalators and the signs might encourage this dangerous behaviour.  It’s a safety issue, don’t you see? Continue reading