Queen Streetcar Forum (Updated)

When: Monday, June 16, 2008 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Where: Council Chambers, City Hall [Note Updated Location]

The TTC will send staff to discuss the recent status report on the Queen car, but I do not expect that we will hear anything definitive about issues like splitting the route. Various options are on the table, but the report comparing them won’t be available until October, and implementation won’t likely come until early 2009.

James Bow and I will have comments of our own, depending on just what the TTC says, and Commissioners Adam Giambrone and Sandra Bussin will likely attend.

10 thoughts on “Queen Streetcar Forum (Updated)

  1. Its frustrating to always hear about the TTC having another meeting about the 501. Living at Coxwell and Queen as i do i have the joy of reguler trips on the queen car. How could the 3rd largest mass transit system in north america let one of its most frequently used lines get in such bad shape?

    The problems are clear to anyone who rides the 501 regularly. there are too many stops that are spaced to close together, it is rarely possible for the streetcar to accelerate to even 30kph(max on queen being 40) without having to brake to make the next stop. Another one of the biggest issues which has been said on this site time and time again, is cars making left hand turns.

    Why can’t the city and the TTC look at the fact that the queen line moves possibly more people along queen then the vehicles that delay it do.

    With this said, would it not make sense to do everything in our power to give the queen car the upper hand so to speak on queen st?

    Make an outright ban on left hand turns on queen, and eliminate as much parking as the local store/property owners will allow.

    Also placing all signals along the route as transit priority and creating a dedicated lane by installing bollards or some kind of low-profile barricades system in areas where this could be accommodated.

    These maybe considered drastic solutions but in the end it’s absolutely necessary given the state of this route. By reducing the amount of vehicular traffic the 501 encounters we will dramatically increase effective[ness] in the area from at least Kingston Rd. to Dufferin at which point delays in the far west will no longer be an issue.

    Perhaps I’m missing something but this seems like the steps that need to be taken next, so why haven’t they been? A subway would be an ideal cure but not a realistic one. People who argue buses would be better on this line are insane because the sheer number of passengers would require a stupid amount of buses. This issue will never go away unless some real action is taken, but it seems that will never be the case…. not in my life time at least and i’m in my 20’s.


  2. I read on the Transit Toronto website that the #501 route will be on the Agenda for the public TTC meeting held at city hall on Wednesday June 18/08. I hope that they discuss spitting the route at the city hall meeting if they don’t discuss it at the Monday night meeting. I can’t attend the Monday meeting but as usual I am arranging my schedule so I can attend the TTC council meeting on Wednesday. I think the headways on this route would be much more managealble if the route is split in two. I am one that rides it through downtown but I witness most riders get off the streetcar at some of the downtown stops. I think it would better serve MOST riders to split it in two. I don’t mind transferring if the 501’s timing is improved.


  3. Though I certainly agree that the problems with the 501 are serious, and agree with many on this forum that one solution is probably to split the route and give greater transit priority, I would point out that Steve’s careful analyses of all streetcar routes show that one of the biggest problems is POOR ROUTE MANAGEMENT. (Probably also a problem on bus routes I suspect!)

    I hope that all this attention being lavished on Queen will not mean that other routes are ignored or that all the TTC’s route management efforts will go into Queen. I quite often ride both the 504 and 505 and they certainly need some attention too.


  4. David C wrote:

    Probably also a problem on bus routes I suspect!

    So true. As often as not, the 95 busses seem to run in pairs. Which either means excellent service or strangely bad service, depending on your luck.


  5. Closing the street and diverting the streetcars between Church and Spadina this weekend for the Much Music Video Awards didn’t exactly help. And the street was closed for a large chunk of two days!

    Much Music should be forced to hold large events like this somewhere else (like the Air Canada Centre). They should not be allowed to block the streetcar lanes. There is no excuse for unnecessarily inconveniencing transit users like this.


  6. I won’t be able to attend tonight, but I really hope someone asks the TTC & City what measures they have in place or plan on to actually measure how well the 501 line is doing. As well as publishing them so the public has an idea of their progress.

    Data collection is a fundamental part of management. With data how can they know exactly how their improvements are going?

    As Steve points out, CIS is quite useless, so what technology are they planning to implement, when, and what do they plan to do with it?



  7. I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew. City and Much have played to the whole streetside thing for years and whether it’s blocking sidewalks on that side or the whole street it just irritates the hell out of people who have to ride around it on a diversion.

    We have parades that block routes for at most a few hours and this is generally acceptable but a prolonged closure for an event that does little to advance humanity should be questioned by city leaders.

    Steve: Last week, I visited Dundas & Yonge and got to see the huge backlog of traffic (and Dundas cars) reaching all the way to University Avenue while the “Rat Race” runners came down Yonge Street.

    Two points here: First, this type of blockage on a weekday simply should not happen. Second, why was there not provision to let traffic including the TTC through the parade? One of the biggest parades of the year, Pride, happens in a few weeks, and that parade lets the streetcars through at College Street.


  8. As I told Mitch Stambler after the meeting, on my way to the meeting I saw a packed CLRV westbound at Spadina, signed LONG BRANCH.

    After the meeting, it was another CLRV I rode to Long Branch. Somewhere around Park Lawn, we passed by a NEVILLE PARK CLRV.

    Which let me realize that Steve’s plan for replacing ALRVs with CLRVs on Queen has sunk without a trace–no mention at the meeting.

    The other interesting problem is bicycles and streetcars, which I discussed with Gary from Transportation after the meeting. On Queen, they get in each other’s way. When on-street parking is permitted, bicycles ride in the gap between parked cars and streetcar tracks. Streetcars can’t pass slow cyclists very easily, if at all; while quick cyclists have equal issues passing streetcars.

    West of Bathurst, the only reasonable east-west alternative for bicycles is King, which has similar issues especially west of Dufferin. Banning bicycles from Queen is unlikely to be feasible. Is the ultimate solution to have transit and bicycles only on Queen? One can dream.


  9. The City TV events should be cleared off of Queen St. at minimum into their parking lot, and having John St. blocked is an interference to bike traffic. But the local Councillor Adam Vaughan may be too conflicted to jump on the toes, and many other councillors may pander to them too.

    Adjusting the Queen service may need going beyond just better management. I’m now comparing it to asking how to get some galvanized pipe to flow better – and there’s a real need for better,quicker, more direct service from the Beach and beyond Parkdale into the core and connections.

    A mini-downtown Relief line with expedited service running on the Weston rail corridor, to Front St., then to Union, on Front to Eastern Ave, and then along Eastern may be worth doing, perhaps only with express buses at the Same! fare as the streetcar.

    These streetcars work better as faster vehicles in a ROW, but the track is costly.

    Rather than demolishing the Gardiner with the FSE monies, what about doing better transit for existing riders and destinations?We need better transit ahead of roadworks and devilopment, and the WWLRT is not the best way to go, unless we have a few hundred million$ to go through.


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