The presentation materials from last week’s public meetings on the Waterfront West LRT Environmental Assessments are now online.
Several new and interesting aspects of the proposals appear in this round including:
- Additional alternative routes between the Queensway and Dufferin Street
- Preliminary information about the Exhibition to Union Station components of the line
I will summarize each of options, but for all of the gory details, please visit the project site.
In response to issues raised at previous public meetings, several additional aligments or variations have been examined for the section of the line west from Dufferin Street to The Queensway. These are shown in maps and in textual descriptions.
Major issues in evaluating these options include:
- Should the line stay as close to King as possible providing easy access for residents of south Parkdale, or should it be located further south acting mainly as an express route from Swansea and southern Etobicoke?
- If the line runs parallel to King in the rail corridor, should it do so at rail track level or at King Street level?
- Should a connection be maintained at Queen and Roncesvalles between the WWLRT and existing services?
Leaving Exhibition Place
At Dufferin Street, there are two alternatives depending on whether the route is north or south of the railway corridor and Gardiner Expressway leaving the CNE grounds. In either case, if the line is on the “wrong” side of the tracks at Dufferin, it generally would switch over at Tyndall, just to the west.
I will discuss alignments east of Dufferin in Part II.
Option 1 (mainly south of the rail corridor)
This option turns south through a parking lot at the northwest corner of Exhibition Place, then turn back westerly to follow the south edge of westbound Lake Shore Boulevard to Wilson Park Road. (This is roughly the point where King Street veers northwest at Beaty Park.)
Sub option 1(i) runs along King Street itself to Roncesvalles, while 1(ii) follows the north side of the CN corridor at King Street level joining The Queensway near Sunnyside Loop.
Option 2 (mainly north of the rail corridor)
Option 2A follows the north side of the corridor continuously. Options 2B and 2C start on the south side of the corridor and include two different schemes for crossing to the north side.
At the west end, the options (i) and (ii) described above also apply to option 2 with a further subset of placing the route at rail corridor level or at the same elevation as King Street.
Option 3 (Lake Shore realignment)
This family of options begins with the line south of the rail corridor at Dufferin and crossing to the north side a short distance west at Tyndall. The options split at Jameson Avenue with 3A crossing to the south side of Lake Shore while 3B crosses back
north of the rail corridor at Dowling.
Option 3A gets back to The Queensway either with a bridge to the north side of the corridor west of the Boulevard Club (just east of the old Sunnyside Station site) or by continuing west to Colbourne Lodge Road (the main south entrance of High Park) and turning north. Option 3B is equivalent to option 2 and its variants west of Dowling.
Option 4 (Lake Shore realignment alternative)
This option follows the route used by Option 1 to get down to Lake Shore where it divides at the west end of Exhibition Place, but then runs in the median of a realigned Lake Shore.
Option 4A crosses back to the north side of the corridor at the Boulevard Club, while 4B continues west to Colbourne Lodge Road.
Common to the filtering in all cases is a preference to stay off of King Street itself due to constraints on road space, but to stay at the same level as King in the rail corridor for easy access from south Parkdale. Connecting to the Queensway will require a new junction somewhere near Sunnyside Loop.
At Roncesvalles, there is a design issue with the Polish War Memorial, and the line will have to skirt this site. This is not mentioned in the EA materials.
The Colbourne Lodge Road option was dropped because it takes the line further south making connections at Roncesvalles difficult, to say the least, and creates duplicate routes from High Park to Sunnyside.
This left the following variants going forward into the next stage of public comment and review:
- For all Options 1 and 2 cases, the (ii) alignment staying on the north side of the rail corridor at the level of King Street.
- For Option 3A, alignment (i) crossing to the north side of the corridor at the Boulevard Club.
- For Option 3B, alignment (ii) running at street level west of Wilson Park
- For Option 4, alignment 4A crossing to the north side of the corridor west of Downling
The period for feedback runs until February 22, 2008.
A major decision is needed here on whether this line will serve South Parkdale, or if it will only be an express route from the west to downtown.
The 2021 ridership projections show that the King and Queen corridors contribute about 1/3 of demand with am trips diverted from the 501/504 routes to the WWLRT. Since its total estimated ridership at Dufferin eastbound is only 2400 trips, this means that riding originating west of High Park is only around 1,600 trips for the entire AM peak, or less than 1,000 in the peak hour. This is nowhere near the level needed to justify the WWLRT.
As we all know, the route from Long Branch to High Park does not have traffic congestion problems and its overwhelming issue for riders is service reliability. The major change in trip times for this segment will be in reduced waits for streetcars.
Is the ridership estimate sensitive to improvements in travel time between the Humber River and Union Station? Has an analysis has been performed to determine what such changes might make on demand? This has implications both for the alignment in Parkdale and for the route between Dufferin and Union.
As many of you know, Hamish Wilson has tirelessly blogged, deputed, harrangued and otherwise advocated to anyone who will listen that the WWLRT itself should be dropped in favour of picking up an express route to downtown from Queen and King at the Weston rail corridor. I am not convinced of this approach because the total trip time into the core (allowing for possibly taking riders out of their way) may not change much.
However, as we will see in Part II of this series, the Front Street corridor option has been dismissed by the study without any detailed examinating of alternatives or ridership projections. If we are going to definitively study options, then the word “all” is important.
I will continue this discussion in Part II later today.