What Will We Do With Kingston Road?

Although it was totally ignored by the Transit City announcement, the EA for the Kingston Road corridor is rumbling along through the old, tedious EA process and now awaits approval of its Draft Terms of Reference.  Yes, all that work just to get to the point of asking for approval to actually study something.  A boon for consultants, a waste of time and money for transit.

For those unfamiliar with southern Scarborough, the Danforth Subway was, in many ways, a curse because every route within miles of a station is drawn inexorably to the subway.  There are L-shaped routes, there are U-shaped routes, but don’t try to go from one end of Kingston Road to another unless you have a lot of patience for transferring.

The purpose of the EA is to determine ways in which transit in the Kingston Road corridor can be improved both for travel within the corridor and to the existing subway and streetcar system.  Continuous service within the corridor and to/from downtown are goals for this project.

It is worth noting that although 38 percent of the trips originating in the corridor go downtown, 62 percent do not.  Moreover, as land use changes on Kingston Road, the balance of local and commuting trips may also shift if transit service is supportive of off-peak travel.  Of the trips bound for downtown, the study suggests that a continuous service would divert riding off of the subway.  Possibly, although vastly improved service and reliability will be needed.  The 502/503 are a joke for commuters today especially in the PM peak. Continue reading

St. Clair Extension Trial?

Ray Kennedy writes:

Why doesn’t the TTC take advantage of the current bus substitution to extend service west to Jane Street? This would allow a chance to judge demand for extending the tracks westward.

During a previous substitution I waited on a Saturday afternoon nearly half an hour at Gunn’s Loop for a 71 Runnymede bus to go west to Runnymede to transfer again.  3 buses accumulated in the loop before finally making their way eastward one at a time.  Then, 2 more showed up and sat waiting time.  Finally, a Runnymede bus showed up.  It would have been quite possible for one or two of the five buses to run west rather than sit in the loop.  It’s called service.

Bus substitutions are always tricky things to schedule and often have a lot of padding in the running time.  Right now, there really isn’t much going on on St. Clair, and they will always be early.  In some cases, they will run more or less as the operators feel like it because leaving on time just means a dreary, slow ride across the line.

The TTC’s attitude to this part of the world (the old stockyards) is a good example of how they don’t actively promote ridership.  If St. Clair from Keele to Jane is a potential streetcar line, then there should be a lot more riders than the level of service on the 71 suggests.  Indeed, that service (really a short turn of the longer route), does little to encourage transit use in an area where the land use is changing a lot.

We hear a lot about a “Transit First” policy, but even without recent budget woes, it’s the small neighbourhoods like this that are overlooked.