Scarborough-Malvern and Finch West LRT EAs (Update 1)

The first round of public meetings for the Scarborough-Malvern line will be held on July 23rd and 24th.  Meetings for the Finch West line will follow on July 29th, August 6th and 7th.

Scarborough-Malvern Project Site

Finch West Project Site

Updated July 30:  The Scarborough-Malvern display panels are now available online.  Note that on Page 13 the peak ridership forecast is now 4,600 to 5,000 per hour.  This change from earlier estimates (3,900) I reported is due to the incorporation of updated population and employment projections, and the change to 2031 as the reference year to match the estimates in Metrolinx studies.

Various routes from Kingston Road north to Malvern via UofT Scarborough Campus are shown in the display.  The preferred route travels north on Morningside as far as Sheppard, then west (via shared trackage with the Sheppard East LRT), the north via Neilson to Malvern Town Centre.  The alignment would be generally in the middle of roads except possibly near UTSC depending on what design would best serve that campus.

The Finch West site now was a FAQ which gives a projected peak ridership for the line of 2,300 to 2,800 per hour.  The lower figure matches the earlier published 2021 estimate.  I am not sure if the two studies are drawing on the same source of ridership estimates, and I will follow this up with the planners.

9 thoughts on “Scarborough-Malvern and Finch West LRT EAs (Update 1)

  1. They’ve changed the northern bit of the routing, rather then go to Morningside and Old Finch it now goes west on Sheppard, and up Nielson to the Malvern Town Centre. This is a great idea IMHO and would make for a great connection to an extended SRT (if ever) and even if not, then make for a better and more reasonable connection to a Sheppard East LRT.


  2. There are concerns though that the northern part of of “Morningside-Malvern” route would be grossly overbuilt. There are few riders down there at present, and limited potential for re-development.

    For the trips from Malvern Centre to Kennedy Stn, the extended SRT will be a more direct and much faster route. Probably it will make more sense to run the Eglinton-Kingston Rd up to UTSC, and terminate there.

    Steve, what do you think of the northern part?

    Steve: Yes, I agree that a revised northern terminus makes more sense. I believe that the original Transit City design assumed that the SRT would be extended at most to Sheppard, but that has been changing as the plans evolve.


  3. When will the shovels hit the ground realistically? at least what is the official plan (if any)?

    What grinds my gears is that all these LRT’s will obviously cancel the bus routes operating right now (25/32/34/36/85/190) and maybe 501 for the WWLRT?, anyways, I can’t remember the guy’s name but he did say some smaller stops will be gone (this was at the don mills LRT session at don mills station).

    What about the people who use those smaller stops. There are people who use stops between Keele/Finch and Sentinel, there is about 2-3 stops in between that the highschool in the corner use, which does help to spread out from all of them boarding in one stop.

    How will they go about TWO stops in an intersection? like let’s say Sheppard @ Victoria Park, going westbound, the 85 stops both on the NE and NW corners. I haven’t been on the 36 in a while but I do remember a double stop thing.

    How will they manage things like this, if they eliminate stops then people will have to walk longer, for me it is semi-acceptable, but there are people who have disability issues. This is not counting our harsh winters and how even 1m of extra walking is painful.

    Steve: There is a catch-22 here. If Metrolinx has its way, some of the LRT lines will morph into completely grade separated “metros”, and the stops will be even further apart than the TTC’s proposals for Transit City. At least with LRT on the surface, it’s relatively easy to insert a stop at a major location in recognition of significant demand.

    It’s odd that I get comments here from people advocating the elimination of closely-spaced streetcar stops such as King & Victoria and Queen & Simcoe, but never hear comparable gripes about bus routes with similar configurations.

    The design for Sheppard East aims at an average spacing of 400m, and this is driven by the prevailing pattern of major intersections. To put this into context, it is roughly 2,000m from Yonge to Bathurst. On King, the existing stops are at Bay, York, University, Simcoe, John, Peter, Spadina, Brant, Portland and Bathurst. This is a total of 10 for an average spacing of only 200m.

    However, the demand in this area is also much more dense leading to higher on/off activity per stop, and all but one of these stops corresponds with a traffic signal. Unless we are going to fix things so that there would always be a transit green at the “minor” locations, getting rid of these stops may not buy us much in travel time.


  4. This is what confuses me. The area northeast of the STC will likely end up with LRT running across Sheppard, Morningside (South thereof), Neilson (North thereof) and Brimley or MCCowan (South thereof), given the TTC has stated that a branch off of Sheppard to the STC is likely. Why, then, can’t there be an LRT route from the STC to Malvern Town Centre, if the LRT trackage will be there anyways (McCowan-Sheppard-Neilson) rather than an SRT extension?

    Steve: Ah, you naive soul. You do not understand that Scarborough’s destiny depends on believing that the RT was the right choice all along. We will ignore the catty remarks of Richard Soberman during his own study — his attitude, quite openly, was that the poor suckers in Scarborough had been tricked into buying the RT, and that LRT was the appropriate technology for the line.

    His tune changed, but I will refrain from speculating on the reasons.

    The TTC claims that LRT cannot handle the projected peak demand on the SRT (about 9K) because the outer end of the line would run in mixed traffic. Assuming that part of the service short-turned to keep the on-street service level within reason, they are saying, in effect, that they cannot manage a line with mixed street LRT and segregated right-of-way. The last time I looked, that is exactly what they are proposing on Eglinton, another line under attack by ICTS/RT proponents.

    The SRT and its extension are all about saving face and expanding the orphan ICTS technology in Toronto. Dumping it would be hugely embarrassing.


  5. Does ICTS actually save any money vs an equivalent subway line in construction or operation? It seems to me that the difference between the two is microscopic, except that ICTS carries fewer people over the same vehicle length (which perhaps means a worse operating cost vs infrustucture scale ratio). Although, I’d have to think with the skyrocketing costs of refined metals these days that laying a pair of aluminum reaction-rails across the entire Eglinton Line would actually cost dramatically more than a subway.

    Steve: It’s very difficult to say. Although I hate to sound like I am defending the RT, the existing line has had so many retrofits to correct bad design or prematurely worn out bits and pieces that it’s hard to know what the real cost of a new line would be. You cannot use the existing line as a reference for something new assuming, of course, that they have actually learned their lesson and won’t duplicate the same mistakes. In theory, the ICTS should be cheaper than a subway provided that the demand is in ICTS range and you don’t overbuild the infrastructure on the premise that you might upgrade to a full subway someday.


  6. “it’s hard to know what the real cost of a new line would be. You cannot use the existing line as a reference for something new”

    Very true Steve, but Translink’s plans for Evergreen Line should provide some guidance I would think.

    Steve: Evergreen is mainly at grade or elevated. For comparisons with any other route, it will be important to split apart the unit costs for individual sections rather than taking an average. Also, the at-grade sections are in an existing rail corridor (similar to the SRT), a situation with no equivalent on the Eglinton line.


  7. The Scarborough-Malvern LRT makes no sense as presently constituted. It’s merely a replacement for the Morningside bus. Sure it provides a direct connection between Malvern Town Centre and the Scarborough Campus, but it misses out on so many other opportunities. It would have made much more sense to run the line from Scarborough Town Centre to UTSC along Ellesmere. That routing would have connected with the Rouge hospital and the new developments along Ellesmere. Malvern would be fine with an LRT to Scarborough Town Centre and the Sheppard East LRT.


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