Today’s TTC Commission Meeting was rather short, but it included a discussion of the current state of the Sheppard LRT project.
TTC staff reported that the EA document is now being considered by the Ministry of the Environment who had sought clarification on whether the Sheppard Subway was to be extended. Staff will formally recommend later in April that the LRT line come into Don Mills Station rather than ending at Consumers Road.
This arrangement simplifies connections with the Finch to Don Mills LRT announced earlier this week.
No details on funding for the project are available, but the TTC is continuing with design, and the City of Toronto is carrying the cost on its own books.
I am glad that they are considering bringing the east portion of the Finch LRT down to Don Mills Station. With The Don Mills LRT, the Sheppard east LRT, now the Finch East LRT as well as the Sheppard Subway and many bus routes- Don Mills Station is shaping up to be an important transportation hub.
This is great for the overall transit plan for the GTA, and can help make the stubway useful. Don Mills can become a transit hub for the east/northeast GTA. For example, commuters (coming from Scarborough) can connect to the Finch LRT for crosstown travel, the subway for downtown North York and Toronto, or the Don Mills LRT for Beaver Creek or Don Mills employment areas.
Of cource the TTC is going to pick the cheapest option for construction of this LRT. I don’t even see why they wasted their time on this so called “consultation” in the first place.
Steve: Actually, there was still considerable debate until the Finch Don Mills scheme became part of the mix. That line, by the way, is an invention of Metrolinx, not of the TTC, but the TTC has to react to it.
As for consultation, the old Metrolinx made a good show with little substance, and the new one can be expected to have even less.
uh what? are they serious?
With the Finch LRT now coming south on Don Mills into the Sheppard subway station, do you think this portion of Don Mills will be a common stretch of both the Finch and Don Mills LRT and also reduce the cost of the latter ?
Also, are you aware if anyone has made public the revised routes following the announcement ?
Steve: Obviously this would be shared trackage, although it will be interesting to see the service design. Nobody has published any details because until the Minister announced it, this route was not part of the RTP and there have been no public meetings about this.
Regarding the Sheppard LRT, how much could be done with the funds currently available to it ?
I read that Toronto is committed to putting shovels in the ground, but that the funding for it has not been allocated.
Furthermore, that funding would be announced at a latter date.
Steve: Toronto is obviously biding its time awaiting further announcements. The work planned for this year includes the Agincourt grade separation, something that needs to happen anyhow, and some construction on the outer end of the line. If Toronto isn’t putting on the breaks, it’s reasonable to assume that they expect the money to come from somewhere in a future announcement.
This design will disrupt transit service on Finch East.
If they decided to extend the Finch line east of Yonge, they should run it further than Don Mills. Extending that line to Finch / McCowan will cost about 300 million more than getting it to Don Mills / Sheppard, which is not a huge amount compared to the funds already on the table. Such configuration will support the existing travel patterns, as well as create that crosstown link.
If they insist on a direct connection between the Finch and Sheppard LRT lines, then at least they can get the Finch line south via Warden or Vic Park instead of Don Mills. That way, Seneca College will be served by LRT.
Steve: We can only hope that the new Metrolinx board has the sense to allow examination of alternatives on this project.
Steve, hope this doesn’t seem too off topic…
How heavy is the demand on Don Mills between Finch and Sheppard? Do you see this Finch East to Don Mills Stn dogleg as an attempt to expedite higher-order service to that section of the DM LRT?
Steve: I don’t actually know how much local demand this would carry. The only people who would want to use the LRT are those travelling within the 2km from Finch to Sheppard, likely to or from the subway. I see this more as ad hoc planning totally unsupported by proper study, but rushed out so there would be something to announce.
This new Don Mills “hub” is starting to sound like another artificial hub much like how you describe STC. I can’t imagine there are nearly enough people wanting to travel eastbound on Finch then down to Sheppard and Don Mills, or vice-versa. Travel patterns along Finch are very much entreched, with the overwhelming bulk of riders originating much further east in Scarborough. Yonge is the only logical place to start or end a Finch LRT. Either that, or build the whole thing from Etobicoke to Scarborough. Having Finch go to Don Mills and Sheppard makes no sense to me.
Living on Finch East (past Kennedy), i’d have to guess that if the LRT is constructed down Don Mills Rd. bus service on Finch E will be drastically re-routed. Service on the 139 would be increased to dump passengers at Don Mills Station (a new transit hub) and the 39 past Don Mills would be drastically cut down.
Unless the routing East of Yonge is underground, i dont see both LRT and buses serving the corridor. In any case, i am getting ahead of myself. As most of you have already said, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Well, it looks like I’ve been proven right about Don Mills remaining the eastern terminus of the stubway. I may not be a clairvoyant but I have an idea that even with just the Sheppard LRT Don Mills station is going to be one busy beaver of a transfer point given the fact that LRT tends to attract more riders than BRT which in turn tends to attract more riders than regular bus service. The Don Mills LRT, if and when built, almost certainly will make Don Mills station all the busier. All of that surely ought to strengthen the stubway quite a bit. Maybe that will give rise to calls for the stubway to be extended. We can only hope.
LRTs are just the modern version of the streetcar which will not aid in reducing traffic congestion nor speed up travel. Along Finch and south on Don Mills to Sheppard it will be a roller coaster ride IF they can negotiate it. Subways are needed in the Suburbs.
Steve: Actually, streetcars/LRT routinely handle steeper grades than subways which tend to be flattened out underground to avoid hills.
What if anything was ever done about the congestion of buses exiting Don Mills Station? Would the LRT additions increase or decrease the number of bus routes at this future ‘super hub’?
Steve: Decrease. There would no longer be the Sheppard East bus (east from Don Mills), the Rocket to STC, the Don Mills bus (once the LRT is built).
The Sheppard LRT will be underground further east, and so the transit vehicles for some routes will no longer be coming west over the DVP. There’s no design for the Don Mills LRT yet, and it’s unclear where its ramps to the station will be or how this will affect traffic.
Although I’m sure nobody at the TTC will dare speak of it at the moment, what are the odds of getting the subway converted to LRT to allow service straight to Yonge? If I remember correctly, that would be technically possible if the LRT ran to Don Mills, instead of extending the subway.
Perhaps to reduce disruption during the conversion they could use the extra platform space that the TTC built in anticipation of 6-car trains. They could work on cutting down the platforms there while allowing the subway to continue to use the rest of the platform.
Steve: This idea is more or less defunct. Also, there is no “extra” space for a six-car train on the platform. The platforms themself are 4 cars long, and there’s provision to extend the stations into what is now tunnel.
If there will be no 25, will there be a 25D? and I think by the time they start building the 525, they better extend it to 16th & Leslie (northeast corner can make quite a decent station for the dual-ended vehicles) and call that the 525D.
Steve: There are proposals to take the Don Mills LRT north of Steeles, but nothing definite yet.
Can someone please explain why the following option is not on the table.
Extending the Sheppard subway to Downsview, which would relieve some congestion on Yonge south subway and starting the Finch LRT at Downsview. Someone wnating to cross the city could then do it via the LRT, the Yonge & Sheppard subways and the Sheppard LRT.
It seems silly to have the Finch LRT basically duplicate something that’s mostly there already.
Steve: For reasons best known to Metrolinx, and possibly the Premier, there has been no public study of the various options for the Finch line. The need to look at options was well known, and various options were proposed by several parties, but Metrolinx and TTC have never brought this out into the light of day for a proper discussion. I think McGuinty wound up announcing whatever was the current version of the plan inside Metrolinx, even though their own plan has never been formally amended.
Don your comment is so true … As of now, crossing North Toronto will require someone with patience, if these lines are implemented … In the future this is how commuting will look like.
Once upon a time there was a person that lived at Port Union and Sheppard. He wanted to get to Sheppard and Jane. So what did he have to do to do to get there? … First take a sheppard bus all the way to Morningside only to be forced to transfer onto an lrt. Surly he thought this would take him all the way to his destination … but boy was he wrong. He found out the line abruptly ended at Don mills only to take a 5 stop subway to Younge, where he was forced once again to transfer on to another bus … This is poor planning.
As the previous person said they should just extend the subway west to Downsview. As for the lrt I have no idea why it ends at Morningside. I recall when the plan first came out it said it would terminate at Meadowvale with possible extension to Durham. Lastly I have no idea why the Scarborough Malvern line is terminating at malvern town centre. Wasn’t it suppose to be Morningside. I mean Malvern Town Centre is already getting a RT extension why do they need two lines. Plus it would make more sense to leave the line on morninside so that it could serve the new community of Morninside Heights, with potenital extensions along morniside once they finish widenning the road there.
Steve: Extensions eastward of the Sheppard LRT and northward of the Scarborough-Malvern or RT (converted to LRT) are possible. Nobody has gotten that far in the planning yet. We still do not know definitively which technology will be used for the extended RT and this will affect both its route and its outer terminus. Until that is known, the exact role of the Scarborough Malvern line won’t be clear.
As for travelling across Sheppard, that’s a worst case scenario. It is worth noting that an early version of the Metrolinx RTP proposed converting the subway tunnel to LRT and running a continuous LRT line across Sheppard. However, decommissioning a subway line would be monstrously embarrassing to all concerned and that scheme vanished. This was not the mad ravings of an LRT-obsessed transit junkie, it was a professional proposal by a respected transit planner that Metrolinx incorporated into their plan, for a time.
We are stuck with the Sheppard subway, but that doesn’t mean we should just keep building more of it. I really have to ask whether a Port Union to Jane trip across Sheppard represents a common enough travel pattern to get a two or even a one-seat ride.
It would be equally valid to argue that people who want to travel diagonally across the grid often face a surface ride, a subway ride and another surface ride. This is common all over the city, and we can’t gerrymander the network to provide direct service between every point. Yes, Sheppard is a sad mistake, but it should not be painted as if it is the only situation where multi-vehicle trips are needed.
Steve I would like to know why funding hasn’t been announced for The Sheppard LRT Line yet. Whats going on? I also noticed when I was on the bus the other day that engineers were marking up the road with pink spray paint between mc cowan and Warden. They also did the same thing between Neilson and Markham last fall … is this pre construction work for the Sheppard line?
Steve: Yes, this is preconstruction work. The funding announcement is expected fairly soon. As Dalton McGuinty said at the first round, there is more to come, we just don’t know when.
I’d like to know how the noise is at a resident area that is about 800 meters away from the Consumer stop. What will the LRT project impact the property price there? Thank you in advance for your time!
Steve: 800m is quite a long way from the line on Sheppard, and it should be inaudible. There may be some effect on prices, but if anything it would be slightly beneficial.