If we try very hard, we can remember a time when the St. Clair line was not under construction. With last year’s project still unfinished, and this year’s barely underway, it will be a while before we see streetcars running all the way from Yonge to Keele.
For a brief period in 2007, the line was back in one piece, and as a “before” comparator of operating conditions, I asked the TTC for the vehicle monitoring data (CIS) for the month of April. We won’t be to an “after” condition until early in 2009 when this year’s project is completed and only the stretch from Caledonia westward remains to be rebuilt.
Rather than wait, I decided to spin through the April 2007 data to see what they revealed. What I found was disquieting especially considering all the hooplah around the construction of a dedicated right-of-way.
Although congestion does affect the line in some places and at some times, the overwhelming source of headway variation is the time spent sitting at the terminals and, to a lesser degree, at St. Clair West Station. If you have read my analyses of routes like Queen and King, you know what real congestion looks like on the charts with large changes in running times through segments of routes. None of this shows up in the St. Clair data. Continue reading