I have been remiss in not reporting on the open house for the Scarborough-Malvern LRT line. The display from that open house is available on the project’s website.
This is probably the most straightforward of the projects although it has a few interesting design features. Most notable is the section west and north of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus where the line will run side-of-road. About half-way between Kingston Road and Ellesmere, the line will move from centre-of-road to side-of-road and will cross Highland Creek on its own new bridge. From that point north and east, the line runs alongside parkland and there is no need to provide access to the property as there would be in a commercial/residential neighbourhood.
The line makes a dogleg to serve UTSC, but this is a major destination. After turning northwest on Military Trail, the line rejoins Morningside for the run up to Sheppard. The track layout will be designed so that Sheppard LRT trains could run through to UTSC and provide direct service between the campus and Don Mills Station.
The section on Kingston Road is a fairly standard centre-of-road LRT design with the only special feature being the triangular junction at Eglinton.
Similarly, the Eglinton section uses the standard LRT street profile. Kennedy Station, as noted elsewhere in this blog, is the subject of a future design to integrate the subway, a relocated RT station and the Eglinton and Scarborough/Malvern lines.
The following is a comment I received after the open house from Robert Wightman, but held onto until I got around to posting this item.
Some Thoughts on The Scarborough Malvern LRT line that only goes to Morningside and Sheppard.
I attended the meeting on Bellamy Road tonight with my son and we were impressed by the presentation. The presentation for each line seems to depend on the group responsible for that line and this was the best of any that I have been to. They had all the usual boards about culturally, scientifically or ecologically sensitive area and noted that there are many in my former borough.
The detail panels about the line itself were quite detailed and showed proposed pocket tracks, bridge design, platform location etc. The entrance to Kennedy station and one other area were not finalized so they left a circle around them and said final details to be determined. They even put in two pocket tracks to turn service back to the outer end of the line “in case they decide to run some of the Sheppard Service to UTSC.” It is a lot cheaper to put in now and it also lets you turn a bad car and send it back to the barns at Sheppard and Meadowvale.
They said that all of the storage facilities would have heavy maintenance capabilities with only a few items being shipped out. The line will probably be 750 V and have centre poles. They don’t seem to need to consult with Toronto Fire Services and Toronto EMS like the Waterfront designers do. They said that you needed a pocket track for short turns and storing dead trains every 4.5 to 5 km and could not believe that they were not doing this on Sheppard East. They also thought that the SRT would be more SRT and not LRT but they said that the final decision had not been made.
They thought that construction on Sheppard would start this Fall with preliminary work on the grade separation on the Uxbridge Sub. Since the storage facilities are almost at the end of the line it can be built in stages.
All in all a good meeting.
Yes, this line definitely needs a new name.
Instead of calling it the Scarborough – Malvern LRT, they should call it the Scarborough – West Hill line because the line no longer goes up to Malvern.
Exactly how will this move to/from centre to side work? That seems like it would cause conflicts with traffic.
Steve: If you look at the plans, you will see that there is a traffic light to control this crossover. Obviously it only affects northbound traffic on Morningside.
New name: Scarborough East? Or, Kingston-UTSC?
SRT is the new Malvern LRT (technology choice permitting).
As a new name I would pick Scarborough-Morningside, after the two main bus routes the line is replacing. Or even just Scarborough, but I can foresee some confusion with that name. I can’t seem to figure out why Malvern is in the proposed name, the original routing of the line only skimmed along the edge of Malvern, and is still in Scarborough anyways.
I do agree with the general design of this line, although there are some left turns at intersection that seem to be removed unnecessarily, as there is still some space left for them, not that cars are my first concern.
The section on Morningside just north of Kingston road is rather narrow, it seems some people’s front yards will need to be partially sacrificed, and I would not be to happy if I lived in one of those homes. there is also an intersection in this area that is going to be realigned, requiring a few properties.
I was at the second of the two most recent meetings, and there where several people complaining about the traffic problems they think this line will cause, due to one lane reduction. most of these people seems to be from Durham. I think that removing bikes and buses from the general lanes will reduce the effect of this line on vehicle capacity.
Steve: Considering that Durham plans to spend all of its gas tax money on non-transit projects, I have little sympathy for the folks from that land to the east. However, I do agree that capacity will be reclaimed by moving non-auto traffic out of the auto lanes. This is not explained (or even quantified) often enough in these presentations.
I have to question why the design has it using Ellesmere at all. Since it will be separate of the road by this point, why not run it through the university campus, entering via the parkland in the south?
It can return to Morningside slightly north of Ellesmere.
Transit usage in these parts (Scarborough) is closer to 18% IIRC. That means you’d need 6 lanes in each direction, and no transit at all, to make losing a lane to transit actually reduce traffic.
That being said, an increase in transit ridership will achieve the same thing, and with our current system, we will never see that increase. Population is booming, roadspace is not. Traffic is only going to get worse, and we need to deal with it now (with plans like Transit City) as opposed to waiting until we can no longer drive on our roads at all.
zb said: “I have to question why the design has it using Ellesmere at all. Since it will be separate of the road by this point, why not run it through the university campus, entering via the parkland in the south?
It can return to Morningside slightly north of Ellesmere.”
The direct connection to Centennial College HP Campus would be lost were they to do that, not to mention raise costs and environmental impacts. I must say though, it will be an inconvenience for the university students as the walk in to classes from the corner of Ellesmere/Military Trail could take in excess of 5 minutes easy.
Doesn’t UTSC property go up to Morningside, if yes then that dogleg to USTC wouldn’t technically be needed and it should stay on Morning side and no need for this dogleg.
So it’s for sure 100% that the scarborough-MALVERN line will not go to MALVERN, and the Scarborough RT will be the one going to Malvern?
I don’t get the UTSC-Don Mills reference. According to maps, there will never be a direct route from UTSC to Don Mills station. You will still have to change at Sheppard-Morningside station.
Will this be like 68 Warden to Steeles and 68B Warden to north of steeles? One branch from Don Mills station goes directly to Meadowvale then the other branch to UTSC?
Steve: Who knows what the specific route layout will be. The main point is that they are making provision for through service to UTSC from the Sheppard LRT. It is a network after all and amazingly such things are possible, unlike the constraints of a certain orphan line we all know and love.
I second the name change idea. I am sick hearing whiners complain about how Malvern is getting billions in transit investment to serve the backyards and big box stores of Sheppard and Morningside.
Any discussion about this line should leave Malvern out of the debate since service to Malvern was clearly a secondary or even tertiary objective. A name change would help re-focus the debate where it belongs.
I wasn’t able to make it to the open house, so thanks for the link to the slides.
On an unrelated note, the usage patterns on route 86 make an interesting argument for fare-by-distance. When I used to ride that bus (coming all the way from it’s eastern terminus at Meadowvale) there would be 30-40 people turned away at each of Brimley and Midland (the bus is generally at crush load by the time it turns onto Eglinton). Now, these people can’t possibly be going anywhere but Kennedy Station, yet they choose to wait for multiple full buses to pass them by rather than just walking the ~2km to the station. I presume that this is due to the perception of getting a “free” bus ride.
Unfortunately I don’t have any brilliant ideas to address this, although we will see the same pattern on the SMLRT.
Just for curiosity, when they build the Sheppard East line, will they build the interchange with the Malvern line then, or will they add it in after.
And how will they address traffic at the location, seeing that two lrts on surface could just drive cars nuts.
Steve: Shhhhh! It’s the suburban war on the car. As for design details and what gets built when, wait and see.
This LRT line will replace the 116 Morningside bus but how will the Guildwood area be served if this route is eliminated? As well what will happen with the 86 Scarboruough bus route that shares the Kingston Rd and Eglington portion of this LRT route?
Steve: At this point, we don’t know what the remaining bus network will look like, but this should be part of the discussion of each LRT route’s design. This is the sort of issue that should be raised during the public participation.
@Miroslav: UTSC goes to Morningside in the same sense that Casa Loma goes to Davenport, except it’s not only hilly but farther away. If there was no dog leg to UTSC, the students would be walking the whole distance of that dog leg and then more to backtrack into the campus.
@Miroslav: If the LRT stayed on Ellesmere, the outer UTSC parking lots would be an easier walk from campus than the LRT.
J. Johnson wrote, “The direct connection to Centennial College HP Campus would be lost were they to do that, not to mention raise costs and environmental impacts. I must say though, it will be an inconvenience for the university students as the walk in to classes from the corner of Ellesmere/Military Trail could take in excess of 5 minutes easy.”
It seems to me that a better alignment would be to veer to the east just after the Highland Creek crossing and cut through the woods towards the centre of the UTSC campus (assuming there is not some environmental no-no with doing that). The line could remain off-road, crossing Ellesmere about halfway between Morningside and Military Trail with a railway-style crossing and angle over to Morningside to join it just south of Military Trail. This would provide service to Centennial as well and the ride through the woods would be somewhat like a ride on the Library line in Pittsburgh!
Calvin Henry-Cotnam said: “It seems to me that a better alignment would be to veer to the east just after the Highland Creek crossing and cut through the woods towards the centre of the UTSC campus (assuming there is not some environmental no-no with doing that). ”
There is an environmental no-no with doing that. I asked the exact same question. The forest there is very mature and they are not keen at all on cutting through that. It is considered environmentally sensitive.
Karl Junkin Says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:59 pm
…..There is an environmental no-no with doing that. I asked the exact same question. The forest there is very mature and they are not keen at all on cutting through that. It is considered environmentally sensitive.”
Couldn’t they just elevate that portion of the line?
Steve: What part of “environmentally sensitive” is unclear? A forest with an el running through it is not a forest.
Steve: What part of “environmentally sensitive” is unclear? A forest with an el running through it is not a forest.
I thought the concern was cutting down the trees to make space for the ROW. Presumably, an elevated line would have less of an impact.
That said, I don’t think the current routing is all that bad. Probably adds an extra minute at worst; and is the lowest cost solution.
Steve: To build an el, you need clearance around those trees for the foundations for the columns, and unless you build it high enough to clear the treetops for the foreseeable cuture, you need a corridor through the trees wide enough to clear the structure at its widest point.
Did the presentation imply in any way that the LRT may not be constructed if the Pan Am Games are not held at the UofT Scarborough campus?
UTSC students are being told to vote YES to a levy for the new athletics facility – one venue of the 2015 Pan American Games. The administration and some student leaders from the YES side are telling students that if they vote NO the RT line will not be built. This is an expensive levy – $30 million being paid by students over 25 years for the construction costs of the athletics facility. This is 80% of the University’s portion towards the new facility. I believe that by voting NO we will get the facility and the LRT anyway.
Steve: This does not make sense. First off, the UTSC Aquatics facility is an essential part of Toronto’s bid for the games. I am surprised that it is to be financed by the students rather than as a “legacy” of the games. That’s how this sort of thing has been presented to the general public and media. Is the scope of the new facility larger than just aquatics? If so, I can understand the University (and hence students) being on the hook to pay for those parts that are not strictly part of the games.
The status of Scarborough-Malvern is a bit dodgy anyhow. It’s not part of the first tier group of lines in the provincial/Metrolinx scheme, and there’s a good argument that we wouldn’t build it just to handle a few weeks’ demand. Yes, I can hear people going on about Vancouver’s Canada Line, but that at least was a good demand corridor that justified itself without the Olympics. Scarborough-Malvern has to try harder, at least in the short term. Also, there is less money sloshing around for new infrastructure for the Pan Am Games than in Vancouver.
As you will know from reading here, I have been arguing that the connection north to Sheppard from UTSC should be built as part of the Sheppard East project. This would link the campus to Don Mills Station and to the extended SRT. If the TTC really tried, they could run direct service from Kennedy to UTSC via the SRT during the games, although I am sure they will come up with a million reasons why it’s not possible.
In short, I don’t think the SMLRT and the facilities at UTSC should be politically linked, although it may suit some parties’ interests to do so.
Does Rob Ford really have the power to demolish all plans of the LRT now that he is mayor?
Steve: Quite likely. Bruce McCuaig from Metrolinx was talking on CP24 a short while ago and sounding very accommodating. The problem with Ford is that he says he will build “what people want”. The problem is that we can’t afford subway building on the scale people want, but the anti-LRT rhetoric has been so loud that people won’t stand for anything else. The only silver lining is that Metrolinx will probably talk Ford out of blocking Eglinton if only on the grounds that it really is a “subway” anyhow. But there’s too much up in the air right now to say for sure.