Finch West LRT Proposal

The information panels from the Finch West open houses are now online at the project’s website.

A few items of interest from the preliminary plans are:

  • Station designs for both Finch and Finch West stations
  • Design problems for the Highway 400 crossing
  • Options for the western terminal

At both subway stations the LRT will serve, one of the options will be an underground LRT station.  At Yonge Street, a few of the proposals seem a bit far-fetched especially a lengthy “around the block” arrangement that would encircle Finch Station with LRT trackage.

Something that needs to be remembered in whatever design the TTC chooses is the possibility the line will eventually be extended east on Finch.  An east-west alignment for the terminal as well as the capacity for a large volume of transfer movements with the subway are important, and my gut feeling is that the underground scheme will be chosen.

At Finch West Station, there are two main options:  surface or underground.  The surface option has two variants.  Either this would emulate the classic streetcar/subway interface such as we see downtown with passengers walking to sidewalk subway entrances, or there would be a centre platform with connections directly to the mezzanine level of the subway.  The latter is my preference.

The western terminus is not settled yet, but the Woodbine Live centre is certainly an extension option.  Totally absent from the panels is any discussion of an airport connection.  The possible alignment shows up on an overview of all transit studies, but as part of a Hydro corridor scheme. 

Finally, I must congratulate the TTC in finding a photo of an attractive substation, a lovely brick structure that would actually complement any neighbourhood rather than the dull bunkers we have seen in previous open houses.  Who knows?  Transit City may launch a whole new generation of “hummer houses”, a disappearing feature of the Toronto landscape.

12 thoughts on “Finch West LRT Proposal

  1. Woodbine Live should not just be an extension option, it should be mandatory and they should be paying. In Dublin the Citywest development is funding an LRT extension project (Line A1) to get the density they wanted but in Toronto we give them tax breaks and “consider” stops for GO/Blue22 and TTC.

    An airport connection would be facilitated by having Eglinton and Finch LRTs meeting at/near Dixon Road and Highway 27, and that should hopefully become obvious if the Woodbine Live extension happens.

    Would a surface terminus on Yonge be influenced by a desire to implement the pre-subway LRT north of Finch?

    On a big picture basis, a replacement of the CPR bridge (page 34) should probably be triple track width like the one south of it at Sheppard so that GO Bolton and/or increases in freight traffic are future proofed.


  2. This line has stop spacing similar to BD, but whereas BD trains ran at double the speed of the streetcars they replaced and cut travel times by 50%, this light rail line is only going to run 1/3 faster than buses.

    Given that the stop spacing is double that of the existing bus, when you weigh the longer walks against the increase in speed, there’s no net gain.

    Now add in the hundreds of millions to build this thing, and the question becomes … is it really worth it? That money would be better spent by simply putting express buses on the route.

    Steve: You cannot look at the stop spacing without also considering where the population actually is. The presentation explicitly mentions that there are locations on the line where there are widely spaced stops and this pushes up the average spacing. Walking times to stops are shorter where they are closer together and this also corresponds to locations where there are more riders.

    I also suspect, although it would take a bit of work to figure this out, that the average stop spacing on the Bloor car was quite close. This, coupled with the badly crowded service and long stop dwell times, would have contributed to the much higher subway vs streetcar speed ratio you cite.

    As for express buses, there are limitations to how many people you can shoehorn on buses and how many buses you can fit on the street.


  3. Finch west line looks pretty good so far. While the stop spacing seems good, as stops seem to be placed were there needed (and not simply based on a measurement ) however the speed seems to be a bit low and I assume thats a result of the lack of intelligent signal priority and far side stops causing lrv’s to stop twice.

    Is there any hope left that we could see some level of priority or is the entire TC plan going to be stuck with the standard Spadina or St Clair traffic phases?

    A creative solution will be needed to get the line past the 400 interchange quickly, probably a short tunnel. A similar solution will have to be at Eglinton and the DVP.


  4. They also neglect to mention what would happen to the Finch West 36E Milvan branch that serves the industrial area west of Weston Rd. and north of Finch Ave. Did anyone mention that at the open house?


  5. A reasonable replacement for the 36D Milvan branch certainly can be found. For example, the 165B and 165C branches, currently running to Rumike, can be routed to serve Milvan and Toryork as well.

    I am curious how the funding proposals for TC lines will be submitted: each line on its own, or all at once? Given the controversy emerging around the Eglinton and Sheppard E lines, versus the clear status of Finch W and Eglinton / Kingston Rd lines, it makes a lot of sense to expedite the latter two and do not wait for the approval of the whole package.


  6. Leaving the issues of the line completely out of it, I think it reflects somewhat poorly in that there are quite a few typos in the assessment document – “priliminary” on page 36 leapt out at me like a jack-in-the-box. I know it’s minor, but to me the fact that it _is_ so minor makes it all the worse. I would have hoped that niggling issues like that would never make it to the public eye, but as it is it strikes me as a bit unprofessional.

    Must be my line of work.


  7. Steve,

    I used to go to Humber College, At the time I used to live at Neilson/Finch.
    One end of Finch to the other end of Finch. Why doesn’t the LRT get extended to finch east. it would be nice. I heard many people ask Giambrone this same question…..I didn’t hear the answer Giambrone said.

    If the line ends at 27/Finch, it will piss off hundreds of Humber students. I hope the EFW LRT does include a stop for Humber College.

    It can also be extended to the airport at some time later.


  8. M. Briganti’s comment that the new line will only be a 1/3 faster than the present bus service, neglects the other huge benefit of having dedicated LRT which is that the route will longer have to deal with automobile congested areas. There are huge delays in service on the 36 (in both directions) between Weston and Jane as a result of traffic coming on and off the 400 — both buses and automobiles slow to crawl at peak times during the day. There are also huge delays approaching and entering Finch Station. This is situation occurs on many of the other TC lines (i.e. Eglinton travelling west before the Allen — competing with cars congesting the road to access the expressway).

    On a separate note I’d really be interested in knowing whether travelling from Eglinton Station to Kennedy on the proposed LRT would be faster (and if so by how much) than what you have to do now travelling south to Yonge/Bloor and then east on the Bloor/Danforth line. It’d be great to see some time projections for those kind of medium-haul trips.


  9. I see Michael Walker has started complaining about Eglinton stop spacing in the Star today – hopefully this will not lead to “me too” complaints from councillors in the Finch West catchment. However, by failing to commit to retaining minimum bus service on Eglinton, TTC have drawn this on themselves somewhat.

    Steve: I do not believe the Eglinton line is workable without a residual surface service. If the TTC (or Metrolinx) tries to get away without one, they are in for a big fight. The stops in the “old” part of the city are close together and are well-used. A bus eastbound from Yonge can drop off 1/3 to 1/2 of its load by the time it reaches Leaside, and that’s due to the closely-spaced stops.


  10. Hi Steve,

    In your estimation, how would adopting the tunnel option for Finch West Stn affect the construction timeline? Would there be an attempt to coordinate this with subway construction? Do you foresee any possibility of interim surface operation at Keele pending the construction of the subway ext?


    Steve: I think this might produce some delay and this (plus the extra cost) could factor into the decision. There’s a good argument for a surface station with a centre platform here.


  11. Just thinking of Miroslav’s route (Finch/Neilson to Humber College) if the network is completed as planned, and presuming you don’t take the Finch East bus:

    Bus or walk to Malvern Town Centre. Scarborough RT to Sheppard. Sheppard LRT to Don Mills. Sheppard subway to Yonge. Yonge subway to Finch. Finch LRT to Humber College.

    Five transfers! This is progress? On the bright side, you would get to ride every mode of transit Toronto has to offer on one trip.

    Steve: Of course, if we convert the Sheppard Subway to LRT, that eliminates one link. More to the point, it is clear from the growing demand on Finch that this corridor deserves an LRT line of its own.

    As for a multimodal trip, you have missed the ferries.


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