Don Mills LRT Open House (Updated)

The first of the Don Mills LRT Environmental Assessment open houses came to my neighbourhood at Rosedale Heights School, and I dropped by to see where the project is headed.  The crowd was modest compared to the well-attended music and arts fair the school was holding just down the hall.

The Don Mills study is an odd duck having evolved out of the Don Valley Corridor study that, in turn, was triggered by a hare-brained scheme to widen the Don Valley Parkway for BRT.  Some of the alignment options are leftovers from the earlier study.

Update:  The presentation materials are now available on the project website.

The Route and Alignment Options

The study covers the area between Steeles and the Bloor/Danforth Subway.  One minor alignment question is how to get around the Don Mills “peanut” between Sheppard and Finch, but the big debate will come at the south end of the line.

Like the Don Mills bus, the LRT route turns west through Thorncliffe Park to Overlea and Millwood, the north end of the Leaside bridge.  At this point, there are three major options, two of which have sub-options.

  • South across the Leaside bridge, then down Pape Avenue to Pape Station
  • South across the Leaside bridge, then down Pape to O’Connor, then west and south via Broadview to Broadview Station
  • North on Millwood to Redway Road (just below the CPR overpass), then west to Bayview (this alignment does not exist today as a continuous road), south via Bayview to the DVP interchange and then by some magical route to Castle Frank Station.  (This option, as BRT, was the original inspiration for the Swan Boat proposal.)

Both southern options have surface, shallow tunnel and deep tunnel variants.

The surface options are laughable because there is simply no room on either Pape or Broadview, both 4-lane streets with no room for expansion.  A drawing superimposing an LRT right-of-way on a typical street shows auto traffic where there are now sidewalks.  As the presentation drolly puts it, there would be some property requirement impacts to build this.  Yes, destroy a neighbourhood to save it with improved transit.  Just imagine the standard TTC LRT layout shoehorned into Queen Street West.

The shallow tunnel (cut and cover) has the most impact during construction because it would basically close the road while the tunnel was built very much like scenes on Yonge Street in the early 1950s.  The deep tunnel (bore) has less impact, but it costs a lot more, and makes stations more expensive.

Speaking of stations, the proposals include stops at O’Connor,  Cosburn, Mortimer and Danforth.  That’s a stop spacing matching the original Yonge subway between St. Clair and Bloor.  Needless to say, there are “property impacts” at stop locations because there must be street access.

The Broadview option has big problems at the O’Connor/Broadview corner due to curve radius constraints, and also at Pape where there is a church and cemetery on the affected northwest corner.  Some proponents of this alignment speak of continuing via the existing surface trackage down Broadview.  This presents huge challenges because we would now have suburban, Transit City cars (or trains) trying to navigate the tight geometry of the city streetcar system.

Notably absent is any discussion of two important variants:

  • Treat the line from O’Connor south as “rapid transit” and move the stops further apart.  A good argument could be made for Cosburn rather than O’Connor as it is the most densely developed east-west street and the station would be more centrally located in this part of East York.
  • Use Donlands Avenue to bring the line south to Danforth at a point where continuing south and west is simpler than at Pape or Broadview, and offers a connection to Greenwood Yard.

The existing built-up nature of East York means that any station will be very intrusive, and the locations must be chosen to minimize the impact.  Once the line goes underground, via whatever alignment, closely-spaced stations will substantially raise construction costs and surface effects.  My own preference is to leave a network of surface bus routes handling much of the demand in this area.

The Leaside Bridge

When this LRT line was first proposed, I was doubtful about the ability to route it over the Leaside bridge.  Structurally, this bridge was originally intended to support a Leaside streetcar (in the 1920s when the early TTC was in an expansionary mood) and that extra strength allowed extra lanes to be hung off of the original bridge.  (A similar design was used for the Bathurst bridge north of St. Clair.)

The LRT scheme involves using a lower-weight polymer trackbed to reduce the dead load on the bridge of the track structure, and the City’s engineers are confident that, with some strengthening, the Leaside bridge can carry an LRT line.  In one way this is unfortunate because it constrains alignment choices to those passing over that bridge.  However, the alternative, a new valley crossing, would be very expensive in its own right.

The Castle Frank Option

In this version, the line would run across the Don Valley parallel to the CPR corridor at Redway Road, then turn south via Bayview and ascend to Bloor at Castle Frank.  There would be an intermediate stop at the Don Valley Brickworks, but otherwise this would be essentially an express route from Thonrcliffe Park to the subway.

The connection at Castle Frank is a major challenge due to the grade and existing building structures beside the Bayview/Bloor ramp.  It was going to be a problem for the BRT proposal, let alone for LRT with a completely dedicated right-of-way.

From Thorncliffe Park to Steeles

Generally speaking, there are three stops every two kilometres (one concession in the Toronto street grid) for a typical spacing of about 660m.  The “midblock” stops lie at major intersections so that, for example, between Eglinton and Lawrence there are stops at Barber Greene and The Donway.

Unlike Sheppard Avenue, parts of Don Mills have right-of-way limitations that will challenge designers to fit sidewalks, bike lanes, car and transit lanes into the space available.

Connections to Other Rapid Transit Routes

The Don Mills line connects with both the Eglinton and Sheppard LRT routes as well as the Sheppard Subway. 

At Eglinton, the design will depend on the configuration of the Eglinton LRT which will proceed through its own EA process starting later in 2008.

At Sheppard, we already know the options under study for the LRT/subway interchange.  Regardless of whether the subway is extended or the LRT comes to Don Mills, the connection to a north-south LRT would likely be from the existing mezzanine of Don Mills Station under the intersection with Sheppard.  Whether this connnection would be to a surface station, or if the Don Mills LRT would dip underground, is a matter for detailed study.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The next round of public meetings will come in the fall with a preferred route selection and design concept for the route.  The project’s challenge is to sensitively address the difficult parts of the alignment and show communities that a TTC LRT line can be a good neighbour rather than a bully pushing its way past objections in the name of better transit.

30 thoughts on “Don Mills LRT Open House (Updated)

  1. For the Leaside bridge could the whole bridge be altered so that the Don Mill LRT could run underneath the surface traffic- same as the Bloor/Danforth subway on that span. If the LRT is going underground south of this bridge- whichever route is chosen why not have the LRT running on a lower deck of this bridge. This will free up this bridge for regular traffic and a lot of other TTC routes use this surface route as well.

    Steve: Structurally, there is no “lower deck” on this bridge as on the Prince Edward Viaduct. As for surface routes, this line would replace traffic now crossing the bridge on 88 Thorncliffe Park, 100 Flemingdon Park and 25 Don Mills leaving only 56 Leaside.


  2. While I like to see efforts to save costs, such as using the Leaside Bridge (isn’t the official name of this the ‘Confederation Bridge’ – the same name as the link to PEI?), it strikes me that doing so makes for a bit of a bottleneck that could both slow operations on the line and make it more of an intrusion on the local community than it need be.

    It strikes me that it would make for a more rapid alternative if it were to swing off of Don Mills just south of the Science Centre and follow the branch of the valley south from there. An Overlea stop could be just below the bridge over the ravine and second stop could be the same distance southwest of there to serve apartment buildings in the area. Crossing the valley on its own bridge would be more costly, but its portal would be on the south wall of the valley instead of being shoe-horned into rather tight space on the surface around Millwood and Pape.

    This round of public meetings is where this has to be suggested. After all, the Scarborough RT alignment parallel to the 401 and up Neilson Road came out of public suggestions during the last round of meetings.

    Steve: I agree that alternate routes across the valley need to be examined rather than simply being tossed out without review. After all, if they can propose that route via Redway to Castle Frank, they can also look at routes across the valley further east.


  3. “Use Donlands Avenue to bring the line south to Danforth at a point where continuing south and west is simpler than at Pape or Broadview, and offers a connection to Greenwood Yard. ”

    Why would there be a need to connect to Greenwood? Are we not talking double-ended streetcar, regardless if we’re calling it LRT?

    Steve: This is to provide for future subway conversion as a downtown relief line (just in case the subway advocates think I’m not taking their considerations into account.) If a tunnel dead ends at Broadview or Pape Station, that’s likely as far as it will ever get.


  4. Some comments that confused me;

    “Once the line goes underground, via whatever alignment, closely-spaced stations will substantially raise construction costs and surface effects. My own preference is to leave a network of surface bus routes handling much of the demand in this area.”

    If we run with widely spaced stations, or “rapid transit,” wouldn’t we end up with a situation like we have with the Sheppard bus? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of upgrading the 25 bus to the 525 LRT (route number assumed, just for simplicity here) if it is going to be preserved on the surface anyway? I mean, the E-W bus routes would obviously still be there, but I agree with the TTC’s proposed spacing in this instance; the LRT should be able to make the bus on Pape obsolete. Transit City is about local service, isn’t it? Spacing at an average of 600m or so is fine for Don Mills because there are large gaps with nothing along them, but I thought that didn’t mean this is an express route with paralell local bus service? The fact that Sheppard still needs its bus on top of the subway is a joke; we don’t have that on Danforth for example. One’s a failure while the latter’s successful. Why immitate the failure?

    Steve: East York is served by several east-west routes: 8 Broadview, 87 Cosburn and 62 Mortimer, all of which take people to the BD subway. I am not convinced that we need an underground LRT having a station at all of these cross-streets. Don’t forget that much of the surface bus ridership on Pape is from riders originating north of the Leaside bridge who would be on the LRT line already. I have proposed a stop at Cosburn which is a hell of a lot closer to the major neighbourhoods than the stop spacings on Sheppard.

    “Use Donlands Avenue to bring the line south to Danforth at a point where continuing south and west is simpler than at Pape or Broadview, and offers a connection to Greenwood Yard.”

    Danforth in the Donlands Ave. area is a complete sea of T-intersections; there is no easy/simple connection to the south or west from near Donlands; Pape is by far the simplest of all candidates if coming in from the Leaside bridge. What confuses me most of all though, is why you have an interest in connecting this LRT line to Greenwood Yard; isn’t that a facility for subway/SRT maintenance that would not be equipped to handle the LRTs? Greenwood isn’t a site for a new carhouse (or are you referring to Russell?).

    Steve: As I said in a previous reply, the purpose is to allow for eventual subway conversion as part of a downtown relief line. Also, since the line would be underground, and deep enough to get under Donlands Station, it would run south in tunnel and the street grid above is not as important as it would be otherwise.

    The existing built-up nature of East York means that any station will be very intrusive, and the locations must be chosen to minimize the impact.

    While I can agree that this obviously needs to be handled with care and consideration, I think you are exagerating how complicated this is.

    O’Connor; Both directions can be accessed from the south side of O’Connor, working into spaces occupied by a parking lot on the west side, and a court of some kind on the east? (not sure exactly what is on the southeast corner here, all I can tell is it is paved)

    Cosburn; Northbound access can be had from wrestling some space off the edge of the fast food car spaces (this would probably be forced to the east side of the property, but access would still be within very easy eyesight). Southbound access, visibility may become a problem, but if possible (it might not be), some space from a tiny little parking lot on the northwest corner might be taken for access. Failing that, some of the green space from the apartment complexes on either side of Cosburn west of the afore mentioned tiny lot might be expropriated for an access (this starts to make for a longer underground walkway though, not preferred).

    Mortimer; The north side is probably unworkable, but the building on the southwest corner certainly seems to have space for a southbound access. Northbound is a challenge. I’d be inclined to look at the property on the Kings Park Blvd. north corner for northbound access.

    When it comes to parking lots, there is always some space that gets paved but is never really used; such pockets are prime pickings if all we need is a stair or elevator (let’s leave escalators out of this, shall we?).

    Shallow vs. Bored; At first thought, I was thinking shallow would be a good idea economically, but there is a big problem between Floyd and O’Connor; there are no near-by N-S streets to act as alternatives while construction takes place. Given that this could prove disastrous, I’d have to lean towards bored tunnels for this, out of concerns for the community that don’t have any local roads to divert traffic to while construction takes place.

    If going bored, it may be wise for this line to go with island platforms to save costs on things like elevators. In either case two elevators are required, but if with deep stations, the choice becomes one between two long elevators or two short elevators.

    This might allow the number of street access points to be reduced to one for both directions depending on building code issues and size restrictions, since the surface access would presumably go to a mezzanine level in the case of bored tunnels.

    Steve: Building codes require two separate exits. You need to find space not just at the nominal cross-street (e.g. O’Connor) but at least 300 feet away. I agree about the island platform design.

    Leaside Bridge; What other routes were you considering? I can think of a gentle curve from Minton Pl. to Overlea that is indeed attractive, but that is indeed an expensive venture.

    Steve: As discussed in other replies, I am thinking of a crossing east, not west of the Leaside bridge. Suppose, for example, that the line turns south via Thorncliffe Park Drive West. Is there a way to sneak between existing buildings and out into the valley? After doing this, you have the option of hitting Donlands directly rather than by doubling back from the Leaside bridge.

    What I’d really like to know is where the portal would be; Hopedale/Rivercourt area immediately west of branch point with Donlands is the only candidate I can see (assuming it runs on the same level as cars on the Leaside bridge).

    Peanut; Why build streetcars? Because they work for peanuts! Apart from scale, is this really any more complicated than Spadina Crescent? Would a stop be placed in the middle of the peanut?

    Steve: The question at hand appears to be whether to take both directions around one side, or to split the route as is done on Spadina Crescent.


  5. Another option not mentioned is to reuse an old CPR rail line that exits the Don Valley at Redway Road. This could connect to Union Station with possibilities of stops at the Brick Works, Queen Street East, and Cherry Street next to the Distillery District.

    I mentioned this at the open house but they said it had been looked at and discarded because CPR wants to retain the line for a future GO connection to places north and east. I think the guy mentioned Peterborough but that seems a little far fetched.

    Still I think they need to include it in the study as it bears thinking about.

    Steve: Yes, the Don Branch from Leaside Junction to Union is being eyed by GO Transit as the access for the proposed Seaton service. I’m not sure the right of way is wide enough for an LRT line (I live directly above this line at Bloor Street and know what it looks like. The trestle at south of Leaside at the Brick Works would have to be double-tracked for frequent LRT service, and this would be an interesting elevated station.

    As with other suggestions, I concur that we need more, not less, options in the hopper at this stage of the study so that everyone understands the tradeoffs. That’s what “alternatives analysis” is all about, and too many EAs filter out options before they even solicit public input. This one bears the hallmarks of starting out as a BRT study and the options are duplicates of what the BRT study considered.

    Memo to TTC: Back to the drawing boards!


  6. The southern end of Don Mills, when it was rebuilt 10 to 15 years ago, was rebuilt with a transit line on a private right-of-way in mind.

    It’s too bad that the plan then envisioned happened to be an elevated guideway for an ICTS/ART-based system rather than a line on the surface.



  7. Hey Steve,

    A question about the Leaside bridge. Would it be possible to have the LRT run just under the bridge similar to the subway under the bloor viaduct? Is there even a remote chance that engineers and planners would consider this? It seems to make sense that putting the LRT at grade south of the bridge would be ridiculously destructive to the road and going below would do less damage, as well as the line could come up to the at grade just north of the bridge.

    Steve: As mentioned earlier in this thread, the bridge does not have provision for a lower transit deck in the manner of the viaduct on Bloor. Equally, if the line is going to be underground south of the bridge, then being at a lower level (however it is done) crossing the valley eliminates the need for a portal.


  8. Steve said … “Yes, destroy a neighbourhood to save it with improved transit”.

    Sacrificies have to be made. Would we have the service we enjoy today on Bloor if all those houses were not expropriated and demolished in the 60s? At least they want to go under the street itself this time.

    I say go for the shallow cut-and-cover tunnel with close stop spacing there, and on Eglinton.

    Steve: Actually the only reason they were able to cut along parallel to Bloor is that, in the late 50s and early 60s, downtown housing was thought to be cheap, in decline and the preserve of relatively poor folk. The BD line could not be built on its current alignment today with house prices topping over $1-million each, although it would be fun to watch politicians and engineers being boiled in oil at public meetings. East York may not be Rosedale, but it’s a stable neighbourhood and it ain’t about to stand for someone tearing down a bunch of buildings in the name of “progress”.

    Steve said … “My own preference is to leave a network of surface bus routes handling much of the demand in this area.”

    Doesn’t this contradict your earlier posting against wide-stop spacing on Sheppard with a parallel bus service?

    Steve: I have already replied to this earlier in the thread. Unlike Sheppard, East York is served by a network of closely spaced east-west (or U-shaped) routes whose service levels have nothing to do with demand in the Don Mills corridor. Riders have many alternative ways to get to the BD subway without using the LRT line.


  9. Thanks for the commentary. I’ll likely go to the East York Town Centre open house next week, where I hope there will be more potential users who will make comments.

    I am especially interested in the stop spacing, as we’ve seen a few major differences between the first open houses and the second round on Sheppard East. I am surprised about there not being a stop so far at Wynford as well as Donway and Barber Greene. As well, I am interested in how undergound segments will be designed – if they will be small and simple like Queen’s Quay, or overbuilt like many of the current subway stations.

    So the study is only from Danforth north? The notice I saw showed the entire Redway BRT study area on the map. South of Danforth will require a different train of thought, IMO (pardon the pun) so that will be interesting as well.

    Steve: The study area is left over from the old BRT proposal, just one more indication of how this process has not truly taken on an LRT flavour and is looking only at options that were part of the BRT study. Either they are biased, or they are not doing the job properly.


  10. East York is served by several east-west routes: 8 Broadview, 87 Cosburn and 62 Mortimer, all of which take people to the BD subway. I am not convinced that we need an underground LRT having a station at all of these cross-streets. Don’t forget that much of the surface bus ridership on Pape is from riders originating north of the Leaside bridge who would be on the LRT line already.

    Doesn’t skipping these stops work against Pape’s role as an Avenue though?

    Steve: This depends on whether you regard the provision of an LRT line as essential to “Avenue” status. Given the closeness to the Danforth subway, the presence of three intersecting bus routes that go to subway stations, and the provision of an LRT/subway station somewhere north of Danforth (Cosburn in my proposal), the area would not be underserved by transit.


  11. I think that having the LRT go down south through Thorncliffe Park and cross the valley there is the best solution, because it will make for a faster trip through the area and into the tunnels. Since it will be on the surface on Leaside bridge, the LRT will have to navigate the triangluar junction south of the bridge. Also, Leaside bridge is an important link across the DVP, and reduced lanes plus longer waiting times (due to priority signals) will make for a mess around the bridge.

    Regarding the Peanut, I think it should just run on the inside lanes, with the leftside doors opening right onto the curb. I live near this area, and there are only 2 driveway accesses needed on each side, and both are near existing traffic lights, so property access shouldn’t be a problem. Having them all on one side isn’t a good idea, because then those on the other side will have a much longer walk and cause uneven lane configurations.


  12. Steve,

    When do you see the shovels hitting the ground for the Don Mills LRT? (as of right now, yes things might change in the future). Giambrone said this spring for the Sheppard LRT.

    Steve: The Don Mills line is not one of the three “first priority” Transit City routes, and the only reason the EA is even active on this one is that it’s the old busway EA revived as an LRT study. Construction would not start probably until 2013/4 or so with a target opening of about 2016.

    Will the DMLRT replace 25 DON MILLS? or will the 25 DON MILLS become a LRT route (essentially the same thing that happened to the Bloor Streetcar that became the B-D subway line). Will any other routes be affected? When the Sheppard subway came, most routes from Sheppard, moved to Don Mills.

    Steve: Yes, this replaces the 25 Don Mills bus and, probably, part of 100 Flemingdon Park and 88 Thorncliffe Park which would feed the LRT line rather than running down to Broadview or Pape Station.

    Will it be a double-ended (I think that’s the term Giambrone used) route and no loops for the DMLRT as it will be for the SLRT (according to Giambrone)?

    Steve: Yes. All Transit City routes will be designed to use double-ended equipment.


  13. In the long run the Downtown Relief Line will be coming. Some plans call for the line to be extended north of Bloor, across the Don (presumably via a separate bridge), and towards Eglinton (perhaps via elevated viaduct given the width of Overlea and Don Mills). Conceivably at Eglinton the DRL would end and the truncated DMLRT would begin, and a similar arrangement would exist at the west end with the Jane LRT.

    I hope the tunnel south of the Don is built to subway specs, or we’ll be paying very, very, dearly.


  14. Steve, although there are indeed three east/west bus routes through East York, they are not as direct or as quick as the existing route down Pape (8 Broadview runs only every 30 minutes, even during rush hours). Under your proposal, someone at Pape/Mortimer who wants to go downtown would have to take the Mortimer bus over to Broadview station, which would increase their trip time. If they’re heading east to Scarborough, they would be faced with a much longer, and far less direct route along Mortimer to Main station. True, walking down to Danforth would probably make more sense in the latter example, and it’s something I’d do, but the fact remains that many people can’t walk that distance.

    I am frankly surprised that the TTC is thinking about building those three closely spaced stops north of Danforth (I was expecting only a Cosburn stop), but I like that idea. I don’t think the DMLRT should mean less service for those who live around Pape Ave, just so that riders coming from further north get an express ride through East York.


  15. Personally, I think that intermediate stops are needed at all three of these streets to provide local service. Transit City is not intended as an express service to the suburbs, and running streetcars down the Don Valley where no one lives or building only one station at Cosburn means that we will lose valuable local service on Pape. All that will be left is an infrequent local bus on Pape and infrequent east-west buses on Mortimer, Cosburn and O’Connor – which means that transit service in the area will be poor.

    I think that cut-and-cover construction would be perfectly adequate, as long as local businesses are compensated for the inconvenience of construction (which wouldn’t be very expensive to do).


  16. A truncated route 25 can be retained to serve Pape up to O’Connor. Just two buses will suffice to provide a 10-min headway.

    Then, the LRT line can run express through East York, and the cost of building multiple underground stations can be avoided. One station (Cosburn?) is still useful for connection from East York to the northern destinations.


  17. Stops at Thorncliffe Park, Pape/Cosburn and the Danforth make most sense to me. O’Connor and Mortimer are within easy walking distance of Coburn, and the local service on Pape could be handled by the 81 THORNCLIFFE PARK bus. I’m surprised that these guys honestly thought that three stops between the Danforth and Thorncliffe Park were needed here.


  18. The 81 bus provides good service to pape avenue. I feel that the don mills LRT must run down the don valley into castle frank, or broadview stations. This can be done easily with a short tunnel, just below street level, where overlea and millwood intersect, that would pop out just after millwood where the land is depressed. The line could then run though the don valley to near todmorden park, from where it can run in another short tunnel to broadview.

    From here it could continue on to become the DRL.

    Steve: I think your engineering is a bit optimistic on the alignment you propose, but this has been discussed in other parts of this thread and I’m not going to repeat myself.


  19. I also wish to note that Coxwell (which lines up with Don Mills) does have enough space (once front-lawns are purchases) for a RoW. While buying everyone’s lawn won’t go over well, I note that along Pape or to a lesser degree, Donlands, you’d have to buy, not their lawns, but their living rooms.

    Steve: But Coxwell is rather far east and I don’t think that widening that street is in the cards any more than streets further west.

    I also question why there is this mindset that the LRT would replace the 25 bus, and that adding even a single bus anywhere along the route is a never-never. Not only does the 81 mirror the southern part of the route, but there is no reason we cannot still run the 25 on a more limited headway, or, add more buses to the east-west routes. Why we can envision a LRT line on Pape, but not an extra bus is beyond me.

    Steve: Since the line will have to be underground, the questions are (a) where that best serves the overall goals of the route, including possible southern extension, and (b) what surface network will remain, which depends in turn on the underground stop placements.


  20. What’s your take on York Region wanting to have the EA and the LRT extended as far as Major Mackenzie? Richmond Hill and Markham are both eager to get additional service and YRT is examining adding VIVA service onto Major Mack. Granted, it would be assumed that York pay for their section. York seems to be tripping over itself trying to piggyback projects that the TTC is starting. I wonder how long it will be before they start asking that the Morningside route go into Markham?

    Steve: The larger question is to know what the demand pattern looks like between the southern part of York Region and the 416 north of the 401. This is the sort of info I would love to see from the Metrolinx work, but they have not published it.

    If the desire to get through running with the TTC is only for core-bound trips, then that’s totally the wrong end of things as 905ers won’t want to ride the LRT equivalent of the 25 all the way to Danforth.


  21. The part of the DMLRT that holds the most curiosity for me is how it’s going to interface with the subway and LRT at Sheppard. I’m wondering if there will be a transfer underground or just from the street.

    Steve: That part is still under study. The subway is very deep here and there is room for an LRT subway between the Sheppard subway and the street. The LRT connection here has been discussed at length elsewhere.


  22. I don’t think that relying on a local bus is a good solution here. Cosburn Avenue is 1.2km from Danforth, and 1.5km from Overlea (likely the first stop north of Cosburn if O’Connor is skipped). This is about twice the average distance between stops on the Bloor-Danforth line. This means that passengers at Sammon Avenue will have a 600m walk to either Danforth or Cosburn, and passengers at Hopedale will have either a 900m walk to Cosburn or a 700m walk to Overlea. Since the TTC is notorious for poor service on parallel bus routes, the parallel bus will run about every 20 minutes, not every 10 minutes, making it useless.

    Steve: Why anyone would walk north across the Leaside bridge to access the line at Overlea is beyond me. Also, as you will know from other responses in this thread, I believe that an alternative alignment through Thorncliffe Park that would not go anywhere near Overlea and Millwood is preferable. The issue remains where to have stops once you get south of the valley.


  23. Steve: This depends on whether you regard the provision of an LRT line as essential to “Avenue” status. Given the closeness to the Danforth subway, the presence of three intersecting bus routes that go to subway stations, and the provision of an LRT/subway station somewhere north of Danforth (Cosburn in my proposal), the area would not be underserved by transit.

    Prior to an extension south of Danforth, that may be a valid argument, but I would still question the logic of treating this line as an express in an area that is supposed to undergo the Avenue treatment; even though LRT isn’t essential to Avenues, it is a huge asset (Pape’s being underground creates different effects though).

    When the line does go south of Danforth – either as a new DRL subway connection, a LR-subway further south, or a HR-subway DRL extension with LRT tunnels converted to HRT, whichever the case ends up being, then these bus connections you refer to suddenly serve more purpose than they might have before (although how much more purpose varies with design strategies etc.).

    If nothing else, these stations should have a provision in their running structure to add these stations later when the line reaches points further south, but I’d argue that it still makes more sense to include them at the outset; you’ve said many times that TC is about local service, short-haul, not medium-haul subway substitutes (and criticising people like the Mayor when they have previously overstated LRT like St.Clair as subway substitutes – rightfully so). Speed is supposed to increase over that of the bus of course, but not to operate as an express.

    It sounds like fiscal conservatism over-riding the issues of providing a good, easily understood (by riders) and efficient transit network. These stops being skipped would go against that (because we’d have 3 or 4 routes serving various parts of Pape at different service levels, that’s excluding the E-W routes), we shouldn’t be making cost-cutting corners to this degree given the potentially negative results/network complications. Fiscal conservatism is good, essential even, but like everything, it is best in moderation. K.I.S. plays a valuable role here, and keeping the O’Connor and Mortimer stations would be in line with that.

    If the TTC is prepared to spend the money here, shouldn’t we be appreciating their willingness to make the investment (especially with the government willing, too)? Because usually the problem is that funding isn’t available; now it is.


  24. “If the TTC is prepared to spend the money here, shouldn’t we be appreciating their willingness to make the investment (especially with the government willing, too)? Because usually the problem is that funding isn’t available; now it is.”

    I was not aware that any TC line (I don’t regard Sorbara Line as TC since it was arrived at separately) is funded.

    Steve: Yes, until we see the Metrolinx funding strategy and find out whether Premier Dalton is willing to support some large new taxes (or simply pay on the never-never via “investment” partners), we cannot take anything as “funded”. Even when we have some real money, spending just because it’s there is wasteful (this is me wearing my small-c conservative hat). What happens is that we think we can afford that driveway full of SUVs, and then find that we have no money to put gas in them. For “SUV” read “subway” in case my message isn’t loud enough already.


  25. On several of the maps in the Open House materials a route appears along Rosedale Valley Rd from Yonge to Bayview. Is such a route in the works that you’re aware of?

    Steve: As I have said before, this study has a lot of leftovers from the Don Mills BRT study. I really wish they would have started fresh rather than with a bunch of routes inappropriate for an LRT line as envisioned by Transit City.

    Some of the BRT proposals were really whacky, but we didn’t need to burden the LRT study with them. This is the phenomenon I refer to as “the tyranny of old plans”, and is a big reason why it’s so important not to screw up the Metrolinx work. We will live with the outcome of their deliberations for decades whether it is right or wrong because nobody will have the guts to say the emperor has no clothes.


  26. I am mystified by the number of comments suggesting that extra stops down Pape are necessary. The bulk of the reasoning amounts to, “since 400-600 metre stop spacing is deemed the best solution in other parts of Transit City…” Some have even gone so far as to use Steve’s own words that Transit City is about local service.

    Yes, its primary objective is about local service, but that should not preclude it from providing rapid links where appropriate. We are talking about a section of Pape that has bus routes on it that pick up and drop off very few local passengers who make use of other services in the area that provide them with sufficient transit services without the need to mix with passengers from further afield. Better to provide an added benefit of speed for the further afield crowd in such a place than to spend limited funds to provide additional stops that will not be extensively used.

    That said, the point that Karl Junkin brought up about a future south extension of this line changing usage patterns is a valid concern that breaks with others saying it should follow the patterns used elsewhere just because.


  27. Hasn’t Premier Dalton already put up 11.5B to MoveOntario2020, under which TC is included? My understanding was that that counted as funding…

    Steve: That’s only 2/3 funding based on preliminary estimates that are short on many counts. What with various Metrolinx plans, I wouldn’t count on that money staying earmarked for the original Move Ontario shopping list.


  28. I’ve come to the conclusion since I asked about an undergrounding the DMLRT at Sheppard that that is exactly what should be done there. It should be interesting to see what planners come up with considering that the Sheppard LRT is going to wind up one way or another terminating at Don Mills anyway. Mark my words, the proposal the extend the subway has no chance of being selected whatsoever. Period.


  29. I appreciate all the information and knowledgeable comments on this site. I am a homeowner on Pape at the south end of the Leaside Bridge. I hear some comments about “sacrifices must be made”, and “the greater good”. I understand all of that, but I am still not really sure why my life is being ripped apart for the sake of others that live and work miles from me. I chose to live in East York, and build a good life for myself and my family.

    I now find myself in the situation of it being a financial folly to make the necessary, expensive renovations to accommodate my growing family, as my home may be torn down in a few years. The other part of the picture is that even if I wanted to, I can’t sell my home, because strangely enough, there is no market for homes with an LRT track in the living room.

    To me, the only transportation system that makes sense, is one that is deep underground. I know the costs are extreme, but take smaller bites, and do it right, once. The proposals I see right now are more bad planning, to cover existing bad planning, that is covering previous bad planning.

    Steve: I am constantly frustrated by an “Environmental Assessment” that rolls forward looking at options many professionals agree are impractical rather than taking a pause and widening the scope. The emphasis on finishing a study, now, may well create a deeply flawed EA that needs to be redone, at least in part, to address the very issues that should have been part of the review. Meanwhile, the public is faced with and must fight against proposals like this when the fight really should not be necessary.


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