A Visit to the City Archives

Now and then, I spend my time browsing through the photograph collections at the City Archives, and this activity can be rather addictive.  The main page includes a link to a search page where you can start your travels.  Note that the indexing is spotty, and if you find items in a series that you really like, it is often worthwhile drilling down into the linked pages for the specific collections and looking for a “browse” link that will bring up the entire content.  I can’t put links to such pages here as they are built on the fly.

After looking at photos of my old neighbourhood in North Toronto, I stumbled on paintings of the Yonge Subway by the artist, Sigmund Serafin, whose paintings of Bloor and University subway stations are posted at Transit Toronto.  I have recently learned more about Serafin’s history, and that post will be updated in the new year.

I will leave the joy of finding intriguing bits and pieces to you, but there are a number of items I thought worthwhile to whet your appetite. Continue reading

Is Cherry Street a Model for LRT in Toronto?

Ian Swain wrote the following note recently, and I thought this topic deserved a thread of its own.

Dear Steve:

Something in the Star’s article on Cherry Street last week made me curious. Here’s the relevant quotation (emphasis added):

But the Cherry St. configuration isn’t likely to replace the traditional centre-road streetcar pattern. For one thing, it requires building truck access in behind the buildings on the transit side of the street, something that couldn’t be retrofitted into most existing neighbourhoods.
There’s also the challenge of right turn signals. The transitway envisioned for this section of Cherry would be only 800 to 900 metres long, or about three stops. To build it any longer would slow down streetcars because they would have to constantly pause to make way for turning motorists, Dawson said. 

Do you think the superintendent of TTC route planning is correct that a streetcar right-of-way on one side of the street is inevitably slowed by right-turning cars? Or is it just reluctance on the part of the city to slow right-turning cars a bit with better transit priority?


First, let’s put Cherry Street in context.  The eastern waterfront is a blank slate for new development and street design allowing us to think about the way building access is provided.  On Cherry itself, the situation is special when compared to proposed new Transit City lines.  The existing street grid contains short blocks and the desire is for for a strong pedestrian presence.  Placing the streetcar right-of-way on the east side of Cherry makes the space an extension of the car-free eastern sidewalk. 

The short blocks would be a problem, as they are everywhere, regardless of where the right-of-way is located.  Views of the proposed layout are in the TTC report starting at page 15. Continue reading