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.

4 thoughts on “St. Clair Extension Trial?

  1. If they were to extend the 512 St. Clair trial replacement bus to Jane, wouldn’t it make more sense for the route to end at Jane Station? The 312 blue night goes the exact same route, from St. Clair station to Jane Station.


  2. From February 26, 1966 to May 11, 1968 the Bloor streetcar ran from Keele Station to the Jane loop, when the Bloor-Danforth subway was extended from Keele to Islington. This is almost the same distance from the Gunns loop to Jane Street. So putting a shuttle bus until the LRT is extended to Jane Street or Jane subway station is viable.

    However, the railway underpass at Scarlett Road, Dundas Street, and St. Clair should be started now to widen the road from the current two lanes to four, before the LRT extension.

    Steve: One important difference between St. Clair west and the Bloor shuttle is that on Bloor, there were major suburban bus feeders into the shuttle and thence to the Bloor subway. The situation on St. Clair west is much different.

    As for Scarlett Road, the redesign of that underpass is already underway. It may or may not accommodate LRT services depending on who is winning the design battle this week.


  3. I used to work at St. Clair and Runnymede (just a bit east on St. Clair). Service west of Gunns was horrible then and obviously still is now.

    Unfortunately with the developement of the stockyards they’re creating a culture in preference of car travel vs transit and it’s really unfortunate. The area could potentially be a good source of increased ridership but if something isn’t done soon it’ll be too late.


  4. I’m curious as to just when anything at all is going to be done about extending the St. Clair line. It seems to me that the first proposal came way back in the 1920s.

    Steve: The St. Clair extension is part of the Transit City scheme with the line going west to meet the Jane LRT. Personally, I doubt that you will see either the St. Clair extension or the south end of the Jane line built, at least as proposed, due to right-of-way constraints on Jane Street, at least not until after higher-priority lines like Eglinton and Finch are out of the way.

    In the 1920s, the TTC had plans for a Runnymede Carhouse near St. Clair, and that’s why there was track in the underpass just north of Runnymede Loop. It was never actually connected to anything, but had been installed in preparation for the extension. Similarly, there were schemes for extensions north into East York and Forest Hill. That’s why both the Bathurst Street and Leaside Bridges originally had TTC overhead poles on them, and why both bridges had sufficient structural strength to accommodate widening to six lanes. There was track on Pape a short distance above the loop at Danforth, but it never went anywhere.


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