Waterfront West January 2008 Update — Part II

[Yes, I know it’s February, but I had hoped to finish this post sooner.]

In the first part of this thread, I discussed the WWLRT plans from Dufferin Street west to Sunnyside. Now, let’s look at the route through Exhibition Place and into downtown.

The presentation materials from the Environmental Assessment are on the City’s website.

Dufferin to Strachan Through Exhibition Place

Four routes were evaluated:

  1. Extend west from the existing Exhibition Loop to Dufferin Street. This option includes relocation of the GO Station to just east of Dufferin, and the construction of a new Dufferin bridge over the rail/expressway corridor.
  2. Turn north at Strachan Avenue crossing the rail/expressway corridor and running west to Dufferin along the south edge of Liberty Village.
  3. Turn south at Strachan Avenue, follow the north side of Lake Shore to a southerly projection of Dufferin Street, then turn north to Dufferin Loop.
  4. Identical to the previous version except following the south side of Lake Shore.

The first option is preferred because it is by far the cheapest to build and has little impact on its surroundings in part, of course, because it is also the shortest.

The second option ranks highest for the Land Use criterion because it would serve Liberty Village rather than a collection of mostly empty parking lots. However, this comes at an impact on the Natural Environment that is undesirable for reasons not explained in the online material. (I was not at the public meeting and if someone knows the details, please comment here.) This begs an interesting question that, but for the environmental issues, this route would be a strong contender.

The remaining options, actually numbered 3A and 3B, are the longest and most expensive and rank lower on other criteria, although not fatally. The question remains of what to do about service to Ontario Place and to any future development of the lands on the Lake Shore side of the CNE grounds.

What is quite striking in the evaluation is the complete isolation of study for the Lake Shore routes west of Dufferin and those to the east. At no point is consideration given to an alignment that stays on Lake Shore all the way from Sunnyside to Strachan Avenue. This is a good example of how the “divide and conquer” approach to an alternative analysis can eliminate options by selectively ignoring them.

A similar issue can be seen in the evaluation of the options for connecting the WWLRT to the existing system at Sunnyside where the Colborne Lodge Road scheme is downgraded because it is “More difficult to connect streetcars to other routes and TTC transit facility at Roncesvalles.” Oddly enough, the study ignores the planned connection at Dufferin Street as one of the possible connections to Roncesvalles Carhouse.

Exhibition to Union Station

As this part of the study is only now getting underway, we’re back at the first steps where basic options are reviewed and eliminated. After a brief look at various bus options as well as streetcars in mixed traffic, the option of streetcars on dedicated lanes is the one carried forward for detailed review. This is no surprise considering the context that all other lines in the study area are similar implementations.

Next comes the choice of alignment in which two options — Front Street or Bremner Boulevard — are compared at a cursory level. The Front Street alignment is rejected because of, among other things, “Greater connectivity to Waterfront West streetcars and Union Station”.

You may recall a few paragraphs back I talked about an alignment of the WWLRT on the north side of the rail/expressway corridor. Quite obviously, if this were the chosen alignment from Dufferin to Strachan, then a similar alignment eastward from there would connect well with it. Again, this is an example of a segmented alternative analysis dismissing options because of assumptions made regarding other sections of the line.

Without question, an alignment north of the railway has its own problems, but by structuring the analysis as the TTC has, this alignment is discarded without proper study even though it would, by their own admission, provide better service to Liberty Village.

Moreover, the TTC has not considered the rather obvious possibility that a route could come east through Liberty Village and a local version of Front Street as far as Bathurst, then jog south to Bremner Boulevard. Obviously, an all-Front route right over to Union would run into problems with street space, not to mention proposed major changes in road use in the Union Station Precinct.

The next stage of the EA will look at alternatives in the chosen alignment via Fort York and Bremner and will discard any discussion of a Front Street alignment because the EA process has already filtered them out. This sort of approach gives Environmental Assessments a bad name.

Ridership Projections

Projections for the section of the line west of Dufferin are included in the EA materials. These show 2000 to 2400 peak period trips eastbound at Dufferin, and (by an ad hoc rule about the distribution of trips within the peak) means a peak hour of about 1200 rides. To this we must add the riders who will board east of Dufferin, although the route through Exhibition Place itself will add almost nothing. From Strachan to Bathurst, we will pick up demand from the new condos, but these folks will also be served by the existing Harbourfront line via Queen’s Quay and Fleet.

Once the line reaches Bremner Boulevard (by whatever route), it will serve the new condos under construction west of Spadina, and all of this riding will try to fit into Union Station Loop via a new connection to the tunnel via the basement of the Air Canada Centre at Bay and Bremner.

The operational complexity of Union Station Loop with the many waterfront services remains a concern to many people involved both in the waterfront transit studies and Union Station itself. Detailed design and operational planning for this component must proceed immediately so that we understand the implications of focussing all of these new lines on a single terminal.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The TTC needs to address the fact that there are many separate current and future demands for transit in, broadly speaking, the West Waterfront, and stop trying to design one facility that will somehow serve all of them. Here are the questions the EA must address:

  • Why is the projected demand west of Sunnyside so low even though population is growing in the Queensway and Lake Shore Corridor? What are the destinations of people living in these areas, and how much is the simulated demand affected by travel time?
  • What benefits could be achieved with an alignment following the north side of the rail corridor west from Bathurst to Dufferin and possibly beyond?
  • How will Ontario Place, the south side of Exhibition Place and the Western Waterfront (which gave its name to this line in the first place) be served in the future, and should this be a separate route from a line serving Front Street, Liberty Village and south Parkdale?
  • How will the Bremner Boulevard line interoperate at Union Station with other waterfront services?

Now that we are finally studying the entire WWLRT route, we must see how the various parts of the line can fit together to provide attractive routes into a previously ignored part of the city.

14 thoughts on “Waterfront West January 2008 Update — Part II

  1. My head hurts just trying to follow all the permutations of routing. They’ve split the EA up into, what three segments just to get from downtown to the Queensway? And three or four choices for each segment? The possibilities are at least 3 to the power 3, or 27. Try keeping all the permutations straight. And then each public input meeting covers only one of the segments.

    Do you think the real route has already been quietly determined, or is the EA (semi-)honestly trying to find the right route? Because the way this is being done, it’s quite hopeless.

    Steve: I have complained about this process before and was told that it was Councillor Pantalone’s way of getting a little bit at a time. That might have made sense back when first we got the piece from Spadina to Bathurst, then the CNE Loop rebuilding (albeit in totally the wrong place), then the Fleet Street project now in progress. Now that WWLRT is a Transit City route, it should be studied as ONE entity.

    By the way, some of the permutations now in the plans are there only at the insistence of local residents and politicians who were fed up with the way the study was ignoring options. If anything, this experience should show how even the old, complex EA system could not guarantee fair evaluation of alternatives.

    We have reached a point where I believe that the whole EA should be stopped and reconstituted as a single entity, and led by people who are not trying to railroad an inferior design.


  2. I think it’s more important to serve Liberty Village than Ontario Place. Ontario Place is a special events facility, and people actually live in Liberty Village. Ontario Place is a theme park, originally supposedly a showcase of the Ontario government’s initiatives. If they want service, they need to install a cable car or an airport shuttle or something taking people from the park to the streetcar loop.

    Steve: I don’t see Ontario Place per se requiring a dedicated line, but there is a huge amount of vacant land along the north side of Lake Shore that will, someday, have something on it — condos, a conference centre, casinos, who knows — and those buildings will need a good transit service. We should ensure that anything we design as part of the WWLRT does not preclude future construction of a south branch to Lake Shore.

    Meanwhile, it’s on the water, and Swan Boats would look nice. Maybe they can do double-duty serving the Island.


  3. Steve: I am going to drop comments into the body of Hamish’s long text here to keep them close to his related issues. For those who are unfamiliar with the politics of the WWLRT and the somewhat related Front Street Extension (FSE) project, there is for reasons best known to those involved, an unusually strong pressure from the local Councillor and Deputy Mayor Pantalone that both projects be undertaken. I can support the WWLRT, although considerably modified from what has been proposed, but the FSE is a complete waste of money. Why Council does not put this project out of its misery is beyond me.

    However, I don’t think that continued slagging of Councillor Pantalone adds anything to this debate. There are bona fide reasons for talking about alternatives, but attacking specific politicians changes this from a technical and planning issue into a personal one. No matter how good the ideas may be, they will fail because the debate turns on remarks about individuals. I have removed some of Hamish’s remarks on this account.

    My anti-spam word was “musical” and indeed some true music to my soul with your bold italics call for a new EA to look at it all as a corridor vs. the patchwork planning for Pantalone’s perfidies.

    It is most instructive to revisit the 1993 WWLRT EA […] as it actually provides strong ammunition against what’s being brought forward. Executive Summary p. 14:

    Therefore it is not considered cost effective to construct an LRT in this section unless it is constructed as part of a new transit line along the Front St./Railway corridor between the downtown and the Queensway.

    So the “fix” may be a fix, but it’s not a solution, the revisit stinks, and is illogical, not that it’s a simple situation. There are about five to six separate transit challenges:

    improved east-west speedy transit from Etobicoke
    better service to the Ex, Ontario Place (yes!), and the west waterfront
    improved King/Queen service as it can be transick devolving to trans*it
    servicing Liberty Village
    considering improvements to transit in the new devilopment in the Railway Lands
    using the Weston corridor for improved transit – and this has great and urgent relevance to Front St.

    I’ll continue to hold out for the conversion of the Front St. Extension folly to a Front St. transitway as I think it has potential to help out everything except the Ontario Place service (best done with a simple quick-start loop through the Ex, never crossing the Lakeshore but stopping at the bridge to OP, and then back up to the existing via the east side of the Automotive Bldg/Trade Centre.)

    The TTC has already determined they want nothing to do with Front St., and I think they’re blind, just following orders, to avoid messing up the Pantalone Parkway, even though by avoiding Front St. and its role to help bring in expedited transit from both the Etobicoke and Weston area they are dis-serving a few hundred thousands and missing a way of alleviating crushes on the Bloor subway.

    Steve: I am not sure how many people we would actually divert off of the Bloor subway with the WWLRT, and would not advocate this project on that ground specifically, rather simply as an improvement in convenience for people in the southwest extremity of the city to get downtown. We need to consider whether it is even possible to have a line with competitive running times that will attract riding. That’s why I called for a sensitivity analysis of the riding projections to assumptions about trip times. We need to know how big an improvement is necessary to attract substantial demand.

    What’s most stunning and annoying to me was finding out that the details and priority of the twenty-year-old Intermediate Capacity Transit System suggested for Front/maybe Bremner/railway and that the WWLRT EA has actually measured the forecast trip times of this direct route to be around 22 minutes from the Humber Loop vs. 33 minutes for the Queen car and 32 minutes for the slightly different WWLRT and Harbourfront routing. (6-31)

    There’s also a fair degree of comparison between Front St. and the WWLRT option. Front St. got good marks/weighting — and there are a LOT, and a lot more, of real destinations now, and unserved, and this was before Liberty Village. A Front St. transitway could serve both that area and provide a connection to the GO transit Ex stop, and with good links to at least the Spadina LRT, we could in theory ease loadings on GO/Union etc.

    Having a Front St. transitway would interfere and I hope obliterate the Front St. Extension which has much greater potential for mucking up the Queen and King St. service than anyone in officialdumb will fess up to. What are EAs for, after all? Complete the grid for motorists, ignore bikes, and disadvantage transit while wa$ting multi-millions!

    But interestingly I by chance came across a reference in a technical briefing p. 37 but p302 in the Dec. 2004 Gard/Lakeshore study options TWRC thing that said if the FSE existed “most drivers destined downtown would choose that route if the surface road system could accommodate it there.”

    So why does our TTC head and our Mayor support a stupid costly road that will screw up the east-west transit even more? Joe may be caught by circumstance, as in the era of the Harristocracy etc. the only thing that could get all three of our governments’ support was Dumb Growth in our core, but progressives have parked their thinking somewhere or have heads up tailpipes.

    In defence of Front St. getting transit, Steve and all, it is actually wider than King St., and what would happen if we stole an idea from the road folly and put say the westbound ROW on Wellington St. one block north through the core? It’s a very short block, and it’s a way of easing ROW insertion.

    Steve: Here, I part company with Hamish for various reasons. What, in effect, he proposes is that the downtown loop of the Waterfront/Front line would be via east Front, north somewhere, and back west on Wellington. This puts the “LRT” squarely in mixed traffic for a critical part of its journey, and has major implications for Clarence Square. Years ago, when this park was mooted as a location for a Spadina car loop (based on the 77 bus short turn at that spot), there were howls of outrage. Imagine the effect of trying to run a line, even a single track one, right through that park. The westbound link would have to dodge back down to Front somewhere east of Spadina.

    A variant of turning the line south across the new Bathurst Street bridge (fall 2008 construction) with its streetcar right-of-way, and then turning east on Bremner is in my mind a preferable alternative.

    There is also a major problem when we reach Union Station because the redesign of Front from York to Bay involves considerable sidewalk widening and traffic calming in view of the huge pedestrian volumes found there during good weather. Running an LRT line right through this requires a major re-think of the purpose of Front Street in this area.

    I’ve also not been thinking of anything much past Yonge St., but maybe if we had a Front St. transitway we could extend it east, perhaps to go up the Don, or east along Eastern Ave., as Paul Christie mentioned to me. [Paul Christie is a former TTC Chair.]

    Steve: Any service that goes to the eastern waterfront should not be tied up in the western waterfront’s transit scheme. We already have proposals for service via Queen’s Quay that will directly serve the large population destined for that area. A line on Front would be far removed from them and would not eliminate the need for a Queen’s Quay line. It’s important not to recreate the problems of the Queen Car with its length and unmanageability on a single Etobicoke to points east “LRT” line.

    So we must get a thorough look at all of the options in this corridor and the TTC/ndp don’t seem up to it. Should Metrolinx take it over?

    Steve: Out of the frying pan …

    There should be easy money floating around for a good EA too — there’s $50M set aside to build Front St. — where’s the interest on that money going to, and for what purpose? Building bike lanes? Fancy TOWaterfront offices? C(a)raven consultants?


    As for solutions, what about using a Front St. transitway, but having it crossover the tracks immediately past Dufferin, on a separate diagonal bridge so we don’t have to spend TTC money building a road/truck bridge […] and then push west to the underpass at the base of High Park – as a start. And to really advantage transit, let’s think of how we could let GO buses use this transitway for expediting their trips into the core. Why not?

    My ideas for a Front St. Transitway have always had the track linking to Queensway via the north bank, but let’s have a cost comparison, basic engineering economics which also are missing. Like we’re told it’s kinda wasteful to duplicate good track on the Queensway so we can’t really think of laying new track on the Lakeshore and waste, yet the north bank “fix” is how much? $200M? vs. maybe $100M? Does anyone wish to “save” a $100M?, though I think we need to spend big on transit.

    Steve: Again, I sense an attempt to roll several projects into one piece of infrastructure. Hamish has already made the point, with which I agree, that there are multiple goals of any new transit in this area. If we are not going to build the FSE, then stop thinking of it as any kind of road except possibly a local connection from Bathurst to Dufferin along the south side of Liberty Village. Concentrate on the rail link(s) and don’t constrain their design by trying to have the structures do double-duty as busways.

    I was at both EA meetings, and I don’t recollect a “rationale” for ruling out the north side of the tracks between Strachan and Dufferin for natural environment reasons […], and there are maybe some trees growing within the lead-contaminated soil from all the Gardiner cars. I may have been distracted/fed up though, so maybe I did miss something.

    Apologies for length – but it totals nearly a billion though, and it’s a sore point.


  4. My understanding is that there will never be residential on the Ex grounds, so as to not interfere with it’s large events (CNE, Royal Winter Fair, Molson Indy etc), as residential buildings would encroach on the sacred parking lots and their occupants complain about CNE midway noise, race cars etc.

    (I will not get into the contradiction of high speed race cars going very fast in circles for no reason except to vapourize non-renewable fossil fuels.)

    But this exclusion of the residential component is the exact reason why the Ex is such a dead zone in absence of said large events. Even during the events, it’s the equivalent of Square One or Sherway Gardens: Buildings surrounded by seas of parking.

    A much better design for the Ex grounds would be to reduce parking, allow condos, and vastly improve the walkability and pedestrian experience, in part by having more mixed use buildings.

    Transit service with the WWLRT would assist.

    As far as the WWLRT routing, I agree that Libery Village is much more important to serve day in, day out, than Ontario Place.

    Steve: It is long overdue that the Molson Indy be scrapped. How much would this contribute to Toronto’s goal of reduced climatic impact? How much more valuable would this make lands in and around the CNE for development?


  5. It sounds like multiple lines are the only way to provide adequate service to all the neighbourhoods discussed. What if one of the lines continued past Union to Sherbourne, then turned north and terminated at Sherbourne subway station?

    My idea is inspired by the 504 King, which makes good use of its capacity because people get on and off the whole way. It’s really four routes in one: Dundas West station to Parkdale, Parkdale to downtown, downtown to Riverdale, and Riverdale to Broadview station. The bonus is that the 504’s design enables some additional trips to be made without a transfer: Parkdale to Chinatown East, for example.

    Terminating the new lines at Union would mean two- or even three-transfer trips to reach a lot of parts of the east end. But continuing one of the lines to Sherbourne would enable connections with all four streetcar lines and the Bloor-Danforth subway. I could see a fair amount of demand from Union to downtown east (e.g. GO train riders who previously would have taken the subway and walked). And the Sherbourne link would improve north-south service east of the subway, something that’s really lacking right now.

    What do others think?

    Steve: I believe this will take a tolerable set of lines from the west end and turn them into an unmitigated disaster. This sounds more like a scheme to get streetcars on Sherbourne than anything else. By the way, there is no place to turn the line around at that location, and Sherbourne itself will never be an “LRT” street. The Sherbourne bus could use more service, but this is certainly not the way to do it.


  6. Hi Steve,

    Is there any trip duration goal for the WWLRT project? Obviously the longer a trip to south Etobicoke takes, the more likely the potential riders to choose Bloor subway instead.

    One can get from south Etobicoke downtown in 40 – 50 minutes using a N-S bus and Bloor subway. Hence, if the WWLRT cars will take more than 50 min from Long Branch to Yonge, it might be preferable that WWLRT serves nearer sections only (up to High Park or Humber loop), while the Etobicoke portion of Lakeshore is connected to Bloor subway via a link west of High Park.

    Certainly not everyone goes downtown; however, those who need to go north or north-east from south Etobicoke, are even more likely to use Bloor subway.


  7. Steve, you said, “We should ensure that anything we design as part of the WWLRT does not preclude future construction of a south branch to Lake Shore.”

    When you say “design” are you referring to the line itself or future development for the area? What kind of scenario are you thinking about that might thwart a south branch?

    Steve: Depending on what happens near the east end of the CNE, it’s conceivable that a direct connection into the existing system could be blocked. Someone might drop a stupid building in the way, while the TTC, fixated on the north route, raises no objection. We need to identify how a south branch would be designed so that we can ensure that it is not pre-empted.

    It’s always amazing how the City and the TTC can draw lines and diagrams for all sorts of things that are never built, but if you ask about something specific, the answer is that “we can’t do anything without an EA”. This is extremely odiferous bovine byproduct. Half the time, the purpose of an EA seems to be to shut down examination of options rather than to pursue them.

    I must, by the way, make an exception with the work that has taken place on the waterfront east line. The Waterfront folks seem to have a completely different view of how public participation should be handled, and I’m surprised they haven’t been soundly thrashed for setting such an example.


  8. Thanks for space, most of the editing and reading.

    Two quick points:

    1) a Front St. transitway that turned around was in very large measure to point out that we are failing to examine any transit as an option to the road folly, and that by “borrowing” the routing of a transitway from the road, this also meant avoiding Clarence Square and going on a diagonal through a large vacant lot at Spadina/Front NE corner.

    2) the plans for the Union Station have also managed to forget and ignore the use of Front St. for any transit, and what about burying the streetcar down a level?

    Don’t some politicians bear some responsibility for saying some things and doing the opposite? Shouldn’t we denounce hypocrisy – especially when it is beyond a certain level of cost?


    Re (1): The site in question is under or is planned for imminent development. It is not available to get westbound Wellington trackage back down to Front.

    Re (2): One level below the surface on Front Street is the subway mezzanine, various PATH tunnels and a lot of utilities. Any Front Street transit connection must be made from the surface.

    Re hypocrites: Denouncing politicians is worthwhile, but when that activity prevents the basic transportation and planning issues from being discussed, it’s counterproductive.


  9. Re: 1) – too bad we didn’t have the planning department mark off a chunk for a diagonal transitway, though the FSE road had three? lanes going through the site, and I’ve been trotting out that FStransitway for five years. I believe we’ve used the power of expropriation for the road …

    Steve: I will double check this site.

    2) I don’t know the Union Station environs all that well, but are you sure there’s not the space at moat level? Or the moat? How would the Downtown Relief Line have fitted through that needle?

    Steve: The moat is about 6 feet above the existing subway mezzanine level, and is to be lowered to a matching level as part of the new Union Station plan. This will provide a direct path from the subway into the new lower level of Union Station leading directly to stairs and escalators up to the new upper level GO concourse that will be six feet or so above the current level. There is very little headroom between the top of the subway structure and the street to fit in another tunnel, the moat is far too small (and not well aligned especially for continuation to the east where you run into both the Harbourfront streetcar loop and the basement of the Dominion Building).

    The DRL would have been squashed between the existing Union subway station and the railway at the same elevation as the subway platform. This is now impossible because the second subway platform and other subterranean changes (including a rather large relocated sewer) are now in the way. Any DRL is going to have to come in via the rail corridor, and there’s not exactly a lot of room there either.

    Do facts and sweet reason really make the changes at City Wall? There’s been a lot of ink/time/fact put forward about the problems of automobility and climate change and smog, but the glaciers are melting faster than we’re moving on trimming transport emissions. A logical spot to start would be with the Gardiner, but that gets back to Front St., and our progressives can’t seem to go beyond easing congestion with more asphalt vs. effective transit. I think a good motto for the City is Caronto the Carrupt, though we exist in Ontcario, and the context of North Americar.

    Sorry kids, Innu, polar bears.


  10. My favourite car slogan, and this is real, not even Hamish could make this up, is Mississauga’s version of Toronto’s Caravan, called Carassauga.

    Sounds like a particular huge SUV crushing pedestrians and busstops around the 905, driven by the Mayor-For-Life Hazel McCallion.


  11. I asked some questions and received the following reply:

    “Please find below answers provided by TTC.

    1. Is CN really willing to let the TTC build on their right of way beside King Street?

    CN is willing to allow the TTC to build in its unused right of way for a price (“The CN Real Estate indicated that the property would be sold at current market value for the immediate area.”) as long as their requirements are honoured (includes GO Transit needs).

    2. What are the demand models and assumptions used to develop the 2021 ridership estimates?

    The City’s EMME II model is used along with the TTC Madituc model for distribution of transit passengers.

    3. For instance, has new population growth in south Etobicoke been identified, such as additional condos along the Motel strip?

    Yes, all projected growth to 2021 across the GTA is included for the model projections.

    Steve: That’s fine as far as it goes, but it does not address the sensitivity question. For example, if we make the WWLRT trip to downtown, say, 10 minutes faster, what happens to the simulated demand? Anything? Nothing? In other words, is the projected demand all we can get, and conversely is the speed difference we need to get more riders technically impossible regardless of which alignment we take?

    These questions are vital to answering the question of whether the WWLRT should aspire to be a local or long-haul service.


  12. Canceling the Indy is insane. This generates well over $100 million for the local economy. Turning all vacant land to condos and housing is ludicrous. This area needs a merger with Ontario place and re-developing the Theme park to a more attractive way with more rides, theater, shows, picnics and gatherings like it was meant to be. This is where Canada’s wonderland II should be and the yearly ex canceled. BMO field is going to get an expansion so now we are thinking of filing our waterfront with more condos going west right to Parklawn heh! We need to utilise the public space more usefully for entertainment/tourism for all ages. Toronto is becoming the bedroom community to 905 and all our industries and entertainment areas our disappearing. The simple solution for transit is establishing a new route to Ontario place, the extension of Dufferin street to lakeshore and new tracks from Dufferin south to a new loop by the entrance and re-introduce the 522 ex west route permanently and it then would connect with King, waterfront, queen, subway and various bus lines along the way. What’s wrong with that. The dufferin jog is finally being eliminated so maybe the streetcar can run to Bloor with an underground loop (due to traffic,space) Running it to Bloor would justify this ridership wise.

    Steve: I would rather have the waterfront be a draw both for tourists and locals all year long, not just for one incredibly noisy weekend in July.


  13. The most logical route to the WWLRT if it was to service the Exhibition would be Fort York Blvd. and Bremner Blvd. to the south end of Union Stn. Although this would not interconnect with the subway, which would need to be resolved, either by tunnelling (an expensive proposition) or requiring a transfer through the existing ACC – Union Stn. PATH., not a very appealing prospect. I see a magical blue line on the map that I guess somehow gets the LRT passengers into Union Stn. but that’s a detail that’s yet to worked out.

    Steve: Provision has already been made for an underground connection along the north side of the ACC (through its basement) and into the existing tunnel on Bay Street. Any service coming in via Bremner will connect at Union Station Loop.

    This all sounds good in theory but both Fort York and Bremner are not straight routes, not the nice neat grid Toronto used to be built on. They look more like something you’d see in the suburbs. Or a new slalom course for the Indy?

    Additionally the grade crossing at Spadina would be on the approach to the Gardiner Expwy. which is frequently blocked by traffic now (and we all know how well traffic laws are enforced). Unless again the whole thing is buried, which will have the subway zealots salivating.

    Steve: The “grade crossing” is an intersection complete with traffic lights. Yes, keeping it clear will be an issue, but it’s not as if there will be no other traffic crossing Spadina once Bremner is opened through to Bathurst.

    If the Exhibition is removed from the equation, Front Street would be a more logical choice. Although without tunnelling or bridge work it would need to follow the railway tracks west. This route wouldn’t serve Liberty Village as it is between the 2 railway lines. A bridge built west of Bathurst (killing forever the FSE), would permit the line to service Liberty Village. The route would need to run parallel to the Gardiner or cross over west of Dufferin.

    Steve: Some variant on this is exactly what I have been talking about. The various designs for Front Street themselves need to get across the Weston rail corridor one way or another and, yes, if the same line continued west from Dufferin, it might switch back to the south side of the CN corridor.

    The connection at Union would either be like the Bloor-Yonge interchange in the pre-Bloor-Danforth subway days or again a tunnel to connect the street car to Union Stn. The only place to put the loop would be in the Green P lot under York-University-Front, which would go over like a lead balloon.

    Unless there is some bold thinking and dollars I don’t think this will ever result in anything but paper.

    Steve: See comment about Union Station above. I don’t want to sound too snotty, but if you’re going to make detailed proposals, it would be worthwhile knowing what has already been planned or proposed by others.


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