Safety for Lake Shore Streetcar Riders

As a followup to the Waterfront West thread, “Ed” left a long comment which really belongs in a post of its own.  My own comments follow at the bottom.

I’ve been thinking about safety for riders on Lake Shore Blvd.

Currently, there are safety islands west of Humber loop through Louisa, and east of Long Branch loop through Thirtieth. The long central part of Lake Shore has no safety islands.

It’s been my experience that motor vehicles speeding by the open doors of a streetcar is a regular occurence on Lake Shore; I suspect that it’s a likely occurence *every* run. Why?

  • suburban area; drivers not really familiar with streetcars and the door laws
  • fast traffic on Lake Shore
  • wide road

This [last point] deserves attention: drivers seem to feel that the further they are from the streetcar, the more they’re allowed to pass. On Queen itself, the prime points for cars zipping past open doors seems to be eastbound and Shaw and westbound at Ossington, where there are clear additional right-turn lanes. This is the same behaviour that leads MTO to put signs up saying “Stop for School Bus with Signals flashing BOTH DIRECTIONS” on four-lane highways.)

Note that St. Clair had safety islands for just about every stop along its wider part (roughly east of Old Weston Rd.), and the width of St. Clair is quite similar to the width of Lake Shore, taking the varying widths of both roads into account.

Finally, the long and potentially dangerous walk to and from the curb makes stops slower along Lake Shore than they would be on central-city routes with equal numbers of embarking/disembarking passengers (outer ends of the Carlton car, for example).

Is the answer putting in safety islands all along Lake Shore?

Unfortunately, the speed of motor vehicles on Lake Shore, and again a general unfamiliarity with street railways, results in safety islands being struck (delaying streetcar service!), and also the safety islands distracting drivers who then run the red light (or so I suppose — for some reason, I see a lot of red-light running on Lake Shore at intersections where there’s also a safety island, for example at Long Branch Ave.).

With go-around-either-side safety islands disappearing on St. Clair due to the ROW, they will remain only in a few scattered locations in the city (offhand: Dundas at Bloor, Bathurst at Queen, Main and Gerrard, Queen at Kingston) prompting motorists to hit the remaining ones as things they just don’t understand or are unfamiliar with.

Also, I just went and measured the lane width inside a safety island; it’s 3.0 metres from the edge of the island to the centre line. This isn’t too much of a problem with cars (though you get splashed in rain and snowy conditions) but Lake Shore also has a lot of truck traffic, particularly in the west end. Trucks are allowed a width of 2.60 metres; so two trucks meeting at 39th where there are safety islands facing each other have 80 cm *total* to miss each other and also the safety island. This is one reason I often wait at the curb, instead of on the safety island.

And I’ve seen a semi-trailer sideswipe a streetcar going in the opposite direction at 39th. Maybe significantly, the tractor had western Canadian plates. After a 6 or 8 hour shift on the 401, he made it down Brown’s Line and then just couldn’t place the rig properly when faced with an oncoming ALRV in a safety island gap?

So, what are the potential solutions?

1) Status quo/do nothing (not attractive).
2) Put in safety islands all along the route (still a problem with auto/island collisions and trucks passing centimetres from your face as you wait for the car).
3) Drastically narrow Lake Shore through lanes so safety islands aren’t necessary.
4) LRT so there is no traffic passing by the safety islands and less chance of a motor vehicle getting confused and trying to split the sides of an island, thus running into it.
5) Move to bus operations on Lake Shore.

Of these choices, I expect the locals will be in favour of:

1) These are the ones who don’t ride the TTC at all, and I have confirmation from WWLRT planning that they haven’t looked at safety issues on Lake Shore yet; certainly safety wasn’t a significant part of the LRT presentations.
5) Hey, buses are “superior, quicker” technology, right?

Personally, I’m in favour of 4) or 3). I bet the anti-LRT crowd dislikes these choices equally — even though 3) would solve a number of other issues raised in Lake Shore transportation planning workshops.

This all begs the interesting question of whether issues with access to streetcars — the walk from the curb, the vertical height to board, the width of the “safety island” and the comfort of riders on that island — can be addressed without going for a full-blown right-of-way.  (At the risk of beating a worn-out drum, better service would also shorten the length of time would-be riders have to wait on an island.)

The recent charette held by the Lake Shore Planning Council produced a lot of concerns and ideas, and although this happened after the formal cutoff for feedback to the TTC’s study, I hope that this material finds its way into the hopper.  The TTC was represented at the charette, and that’s a good sign.

Now we await an updated set of design options and, one hopes, more sensitivity and less lecturing from the TTC at public meetings.

34 thoughts on “Safety for Lake Shore Streetcar Riders

  1. The last couple of times that I rode streetcars in Toronto I was amazed at the number of cars that shot past stopped streetcars and nearly hit would be passengers. The drivers all seem to check the mirrors and make sure that the cars have stopped before opening the doors. At least though the doors in Toronto swing out into the lane so that the oncoming cars can see (and often ignore) the stop signs.

    In Melbourne the doors on the old cars fold in and there is no way the motorist know if the doors are open. I had one car hit my rain coat at 40 km/h as I got off a car. The new cars which will be much longer than the old cars will not have doors that swing out into traffic but will operate on streets without islands. The only hope is that they will be so long no one can sneak past them at a stop or try to.

    I don’t think that Lakeshore needs an LRT but I do believe it needs safety islands at all stops. There should be an island at every stop in Toronto were there are two or more lanes of traffic, including turns, beside the street car. I also think that there needs to be a blitz on motorist who don’t stop and the penalty should be the same as passing a stopped school bus, a couple of thousand dollars and seven points or whatever it now is. Maybe they should have school bus lights on the rear end.


  2. Tram safety is really lacking throughout Toronto. Every time I get out of the Queen tram, some cyclist will always blow by the open door. To my surprise, the police do give out tickets to those cyclist. So, motorists are not the only one to blame.

    Every motorist should know tram laws since it is printed on every driver’s handbook in Ontario. If you pass the written driver’s test, you know this law already. I support electronic signs reminding people of tram laws around tram stations.

    Since Lakeshore is so wide, islands like Spadina won’t do much to help. The best way is to fenced off the tram stations and force passengers to go up stairs to a predestrian bridge. Walk across and than go back down stairs to the sidewalk. This way, there will be no interaction between motorists, cyclists and predestrians.

    Steve: If the islands are at traffic signals, then pedestrians just have to cross with their signal. Bridges??? Visual blight? Accessibility?


  3. Lakeshore is wide enough for POW with treed boulevards a la Spadina. That should slow down the speeding vehicles and improve the look of the street which very much needs improving.

    Lakeshore, in fact, needs a complete rejuvenation and it is also a prime location for intensification. Wider sidewalks with trees would also help. Proximity to the lake should be an asset and Lakeshore really could have a bright future if the planners get it right. There is a real opportunity here for the city and the TTC to be pro-active.

    Steve: If they spent more time on the urban design benefits, complete with some actual designs, this whole thing would go over a lot better with the community. Just look at the care lavished on the waterfront from the Humber to the Don and even the recent charette in Weston.


  4. I was under the impression that they were turning Lakeshore into an LRT in the WWLRT plan anyway; did I read that wrong?

    Steve: Two points here. First, there is some controversy in the Lake Shore community about the effect of the proposed street layout on lane patterns, parking, etc. Long parts of the street are too narrow for the “standard” Transit City cross section. A related issue is the actual need for a full-blown LRT west of Mimico given the low reported and projected demands. Today, people have many complaints about the operation that should be fixable without massive capital spending.

    The discussion of safety applies to the line as it exists as a streetcar route. The WWLRT is probably close to the bottom of the priority list within Transit City, at least at its western end. Can service and safety be improved now, not a decade or more in the future? That’s the subject of this thread.


  5. Lakeshore is a suburban road, streetcar is more of an urban transit. Considering that if the QEW/Gardiner jams up, commuters would use Lakeshore as an alternative. Lakeshore gets a lot of annoyed driver (due to traffic) and unfamiliar to streetcar. Signs should be put up.

    The use of the new streetcar should not be considered until they build the LRT. It could be catastrophic having all 4 door loading and cars running by at 50km/h.


  6. One of the biggest problems with streetcars is letting people off in the middle of the road, particularly in south Etobicoke.

    I personally don’t find safety islands very safe to be standing at, particularly the ones along Lakeshore. Put a visiting motorist out there on a rainy night with a whole slew of headlights coming toward him and there’s a much greater likelihood that those islands will surprise him when he comes to the first one. Hopefully he doesn’t hit the thing.

    It really comes down to passenger beware. It’s like the cyclists – they may have the right of way and be 100% not at fault, but they will get the worst of it by far if some motorist isn’t on the ball.


  7. The comment about not having doors folding out makes me wonder: should the new streetcars’ have flip-out “Stop” signs? I’m thinking something like the ones on school buses, though they’d be on the curb side rather than the driver’s side.


  8. What happens when the new Bombardier cars hit the streets? It looks like the doors slide open sideways like subway car doors.. Would there be no indication that the doors are open like Robert Wightman describes of trams in Melbourne?

    I’d think if that’s the intended final design there will be some horrific accidents happening.


  9. Our new streetcars should be equipped with force field hardware that forms an invisible wall two metres behind the rear-most doors when they open. 😉

    Then again, if we tried to throw in something new like this, our track record suggests it would cause regular shutdowns of the line in the winter!


  10. The underlying cause here is that the streetcars run down the middle of the street, so users have to cross lanes to get on and off. I strongly feel that streetcars (and LRT vehicles) should run on the outside of road, not the middle (allowing for parking lanes where needed).


  11. I can’t remember where I saw them though I think it is Melbourne’s new cars but they have flashing red lights on the sides and the rear that go off when the doors open and make it look like a convention of fire trucks. Make it the same law as for a stopped school bus. Use the same lights and signs. Everyone knows what do do for a school bus. Don’t confuse the motorist by calling it a street car or light rail vehicle.


  12. Could we get a study of the rate of pedestrian accidents on Lake Shore? I used to go from Kipling and Lake Shore to downtown quite frequently and never found cars blowing streetcar doors to be too much of a problem anywhere in this section. I actually found cars stopped better on Lake Shore than much of downtown, but maybe I wasn’t traveling at the right times.

    The problem with traffic islands is many people don’t use them properly and exit them at the opposite end of the traffic lights, so they just jump out in front of traffic anyway, this happens all the time on Spadina. They could be useful if they had better barriers forcing pedestrians to use the signals.


  13. While doors on the streetcars will slide open sideways, there should be bright red lights along the side while the doors are open. This is actually for the operator’s/crew’s sake, as is the case on GO Trains and TTC subways, so that they can confirm all doors on all cars are properly closed, but in the case of a long LRV with several doors in mixed traffic, perhaps these red “doors-open” lights could be designed in such a way as to get drivers to register them as a traffic signal.


  14. A related issue: I’ve noticed at least 2 places (Bathurst northbound at Queen, College eastbound at Bay) where the safety island is so far back from the intersection that it doesn’t actually connect up with the pedestrian crossing at all. I feel really nervous just getting to the island because I have to cross a sea of car space. I like islands, despite the problems mentioned above, but I think there also has to be some consideration of how pedestrians cross between them and the sidewalk.

    Steve: In some cases such as College and Bay, the island does have to be set back far enough to clear a curve (east to south in that case), and the stops on Spadina are similarly offset. At Queen and Bathurst, I think that they’re trying to avoid stopping on the short curve into the intersection itself. All the same, islands wherever they are should be sited to maximize the safety of transit riders including their access to and from sidewalks.


  15. Robert Wightman says:
    “I don’t think that Lakeshore needs an LRT but I do believe it needs safety islands at all stops.”

    Unfortunately it’s not clear to me how to deal with the problems that safety islands have on Lake Shore, and I’m pretty familiar with the problems (which is why I brought them up here) and have pondered solutions.

    The truck problem is tough. Prohibiting trucks from the centre lanes would be a possibility, though how to sign it, and how to keep confused truckers from running over the safety island trying to obey? (Lake Shore attracts long-distance trucks, so it’s not as if “they should be familiar with this!” can be counted upon).

    Making the safety islands wider, so people waiting aren’t splashed by slush in winter, is not that easy. The safety islands I can think of offhand on Lake Shore have only one lane and a bike lane to their right. And the islands by Louisa leave quite a narrow channel to their right; when I’m on a bicycle I always worry about a car trying to squeeze past me and sideswipe me in an effort to miss the safety island (who said drivers were in full control of their cars at all times?). And that’s with the narrow islands currently installed.

    Moving the tracks apart, so that the lane to the inside of the islands is wider, means a lot of expensive trackwork and again problems with the space to the right of the island.

    There *is* space in the Lake Shore ROW, actually; there’s a lot of indented parking at the west end through Long Branch. But if you take away the outdents at the intersections with safety islands to accomodate traffic, then Lake Shore becomes yet wider to cross than it already is — it’ll be something on the order of Spadina. And the population demographics skew to retirees….and it’s not like Lake Shore is an attractive pedestrian environment at present. Why make it worse?

    Benny Cheung says:
    “The best way is to fenced off the tram stations and force passengers to go up stairs to a predestrian bridge. Walk across and than go back down stairs to the sidewalk.”

    No, this will just make things worse, never mind that we have to accomodate the disabled and hopefully bicycles on the new cars. Plus these overpasses will be the highest thing on the street at most points: Lake Shore is right now surrounded primarily by low two-storey buildings from 50+ years ago (although that is slowly changing).

    I’ll note that many of the platforms are fenced off such that they are only supposed to be accessed from the “front” end. This means that people coming from the “back” of the platform, if in a hurry (streetcar/bus coming!) run around the safety island bollard/barrier and jog along the track to get to the platform. I have personally done this myself. It doesn’t add to safety! By the way, unless there’s a magic gate for streetcars, you can’t fence the platforms off entirely, so everyone will then jaywalk along the tracks.

    Maybe a half of the platforms have traffic signals at one end (usually the front end; Park Lawn westbound is the only true farside stop I can think of). The problem is the signals take their time to change, so again many passengers jaywalk. From mid-block stops with no signals, it’s jaywalk all the way (like at 39th Street, a pair of stops I know all too well).


  16. How much of Lakeshore has on street parking? Could we try curb lane streetcars here? I really was hoping for a demonstration on Cherry, but I guess we’ll have to wait for another round of light rail after Transit City (heh).

    Steve: Lots of it, and as usual there’s major opposition to losing any spaces.


  17. David O’Rourke wrote:

    “Lakeshore, in fact, needs a complete rejuvenation and it is also a prime location for intensification.”

    As stated by someone else at the May 12th WWLRT meeting out in the westend, who says that residents in Long Branch, New Toronto, etc. want more intensification?

    The island stops are good in my opinion as a start. They at least allow traffic to move around them, yet there is a safe spot to wait for the streetcar (without having to dodge through traffic to board or exit a streetcar.)

    The problem with an ROW is that it makes the Lake Shore a two lane road – and this is a problem on a good day during the rush hour, without adding extra cars coming off the Gardiner/QEW if there were an accident on the highway.

    My advice: keep the streetcar and add island stops along the way. Implement three things to get people out of their cars and onto transit before considering an LRT:

    1) Restore a 507 car – yes keep cars running downtown, but the Lake Shore could use at least one car dedicated to it.

    2) Bring in time based transfers. This would help promote local use of transit in the area, especially if paired with #1.

    3) Provide a bus service connecting some of the back streets to main routes. For example, a bus could easily be operated from Long Branch Loop, up 30th Street, alond Elder Ave./Birmingham St./Murrie St. to Royal York Road, then south to the Lake Shore, west to Dwight Ave., north to Birmingham, and then west to 30th Street, and back to Long Branch Loop.

    #3 would connect with the 123 at Long Branch Loop, the 501 between Long Branch Loop and 30th Street (and between Royal York and Dwight), the 44 at Kipling, the 76 at Royal York, and the 110A and B at Long Branch Loop, 110B at 30th Street and the 110 at Islington Ave.

    #3 could see service only once every 30 minutes at first – but might catch on. Again, this is thinking outside the box – try something different. The route could even be extended along the Lake Shore to Park Lawn once the loop is completed there – again providing an alternative route. Or it could head up Royal York to the subway – yet another connection from South Etobicoke to the subway.

    Part of the problem is that the TTC, at least in my opinion, does not always look at doing things other then “their way.” They claimed at the May 12th WWLRT meeting that 50% of the 501’s ridership along the Lake Shore during the day is local (meaning they don’t go east of Humber), so how come those of us living along that portion of the line do not see any increased local service? This certainly would give people a reason to get out of their cars! #1 would certainly help to do this – #2 would do this as well (one would pay only $2.75 for a round trip, not $5.50), yet would also benefit the system as a whole. #3 is a gamble, and I am not sure if it would work – but let’s at least try to do something a bit different.


  18. Toronto Streetcars says: “As stated by someone else at the May 12th WWLRT meeting out in the westend, who says that residents in Long Branch, New Toronto, etc. want more intensification?”

    The overall plan for the City of Toronto is for intensification and Lakeshore is a prime example. Why should Lakeshore be exempt? It’s not like you’re protecting the Champs Elysees.

    Do the residents want it? Likely not. At least not until they see the finished product which, if done right could be a thriving Lakeshore Road. You’re talking Nimbyism.

    Worrying about enough lanes for cars is not the way to plan a good street. The cars will manage and if you live along there. I suggest you stop thinking of holding your main street hostage to the QEW on a bad day. That’s not what a community’s main street is about. If the street becomes too narrow for a QEW overflow then the QEW cars will go elsewhere and Lakeshore Rd. will be none the worse for it.


  19. I am not against a ROW for the Lake Shore – the problem is that we are a society that has become dependent on the car to get around. Trying to make transit a priority becomes a problem.

    Intensification is, and can be, a good thing. However, each local community should still have the right to determine how their community looks like. There is nothing unreasonable about that (actually, intensification can bring better transit to the area as potential demand for the service will increases.)


  20. By the way Steve, what is a charette?

    Steve: The term comes from the architectural/planning area. It is a gathering of people to brainstorm design alternatives. In a few recent cases, these have been organized with a mixture of people from the community, staff from whatever project is involved and technical folk, often with a planning and design background, to assist with and focus the discussions. The idea is to work through alternatives without precluding options and to get feedback from all concerned, and the important difference with the usual public consultation sessions is that the community is on an equal footing with the project team.


  21. I think the track replacement that recently took place on Lake Shore had with it a large missed opportunity. This corridor is compatible with side-of-the-road operation up to about Queens Ave. with some creative design on parking circulation on the south side. Queens Ave. could have been a good spot for a west-to-east loop as well since this is where density tapers off (it’s very spotty further towards Long Branch from Queens Ave.).

    Now the tracks are new and we’re stuck with them in their current location. South side tracks would have addressed a significant number of the safety concerns listed here, particularly for eastbound passengers.

    Steve: Yes, but at the point that trackwork was done, the WWLRT was going to end at Park Lawn Loop. There was no thought of building a right-of-way to Long Branch.


  22. When the new LRV’s arrive with sliding doors, it would be difficult for passing drivers to know that the doors are open and [that they] have to stop. (Not that they stop now with the current fleet.)

    If there are no safety islands, the TTC could consider experimenting with laser projection of red STOP signs and white stop lines beside each open door. Something to look into.

    Should work well at night. In daylight, they can set them to stun.

    Steve: Given the level of alertness of the motorists in question, would we notice any difference?


  23. Toronto Streetcars says: “the problem is that we are a society that has become dependent on the car to get around. Trying to make transit a priority becomes a problem”.

    There are two issues here.

    First, we do need to improve Public transit if we are to eliminate the excesive use of the car. The improvements to the streetcar line on Lakeshhore would be a step in that direction.

    Second: The expression “Build it and they will come” very much applies to roads. Widen a road and you will increase the traffic.

    But it turns out that the opposite is also true. In 1986 there was a vote about tearing down the double decker Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco. The usual alarms about gridlock caused the voters to reject the idea.

    Then, in 1989 there was an earthquake in San Francisco. The freeway was severely damaged. The gridlock scaremongers pushed to have the freeway repaired but within a few days the traffic had adjusted to there being no freeway so the scaremongers lost their case. The damaged freeway came down and was replaced with a surface blvd.

    Freeways have been torn down and roads narrowed elsewhere including in Toronto and the same phenomenon is witnessed. Moving people away from their dependance on the car is an ongoing carrot and stick process.

    As for intensification, Lakeshore desperately needs it. Certainly the residents should be involved. They can do much to ensure that the results are attractive and practical but in the beginning at least, they will be opposed. They always are.


  24. Does anyone know how much overflow traffic uses Lake Shore west of the Humber when the Gardiner/QEW has some disaster on it? I’ve found most Lake Shore traffic goes onto the Gardiner at the Humber and not much carries on through along Lake Shore through Mimico etc. Unless things are REALLY bad (which doesn’t seem to be that often) I don’t think there is a lot of long-distance commuting traffic taking Lake Shore to get to Oakville or Burlington. Note to David O’Rourke: “Lakeshore Road” only starts west of the Etobicoke Creek in Mississauga. In Toronto it’s “Lake Shore Blvd.” (which I think has been spelled that way for a number of decades) THAT stretch of road could certainly use intensification and improvement between Long Branch and Port Credit. Maybe one day the Toronto & York radial line to Port Credit will be resurrected!


  25. I agree that public transit needs to be improved to get people out of their car – I know the TTC’s standard excuse is that they “do not have the money”, but a time based transfer (or something similar) is required. If people are just using transit locally, then make it as cheap as possible. “built in an they will come” certainly works for widening roads, but not necessarily for transit – transit needs to run where people want to go.

    Once implemented, I do believe that a ROW on the Lake Shore will be a good thing. However, current service is unreliable, and as poeple pointed out at the May 12th meeting, it costs can potentially cost up to $5.50 for a person to do a round trip on the streetcar, and that happens even if the trip is local or to commute. The commute cost is cheap (especially so when most commuters would use tokens or a pass), but not as much for the local user.


  26. Don’t the stores on Lake Shore Blvd. want people to view their storefronts? If they speed on by, they wouldn’t get a chance. By narrowing the street with the ROW, the drivers have to slow down, in turn they allow the drivers and passengers time to view their stores. Otherwise, they speed on by without looking to their sides.

    Steve: Ah but motorists are not supposed to be distracted!


  27. @ Joel M : Could we get a study of the rate of pedestrian accidents on Lake Shore?

    Vehicular & pedestrian accident data on Lakeshore has been requested (by poster Ed above), but is apparently not available. I don’t know why not, accident stats have been collected for decades.


  28. Robert Wightman suggests:
    “Make it the same law as for a stopped school bus. Use the same lights and signs. Everyone knows what do do for a school bus. Don’t confuse the motorist by calling it a street car or light rail vehicle.”

    School buses require traffic in *both directions* to stop. (On a rural schoolbus route, such as the ones I took, everyone gets to cross the road on either in the morning or the evening.) Obviously (??) this would not be the case for streetcars. So we can’t equate streetcars with doors open and school buses stopped.

    Robert Lubinski asks:
    “Does anyone know how much overflow traffic uses Lake Shore west of the Humber when the Gardiner/QEW has some disaster on it?”

    A colleague of mine lived in Lorne Park, and always took Lake Shore. I actually got a ride with him on occasion, straight from the streetcar stop. Commuters like him are the reason the police can haul in dozens of speeders eastbound around Royal York. Even without a “disaster”, Lake Shore is a pretty quick alternative for anyone south of the QEW in Mississauga, given that QEW/Gardiner always has slowdowns from traffic volume.

    But, how many vehicles per hour use Lake Shore as a through route, I don’t really know. I’m sure there’s a survey somewhere; if I have a chance I’ll try and look for it.

    A really bad disaster on the Gardiner, in either direction, makes Lake Shore a parking lot from west of Park Lawn to the Humber. Fortunately that ROW for that part isn’t in question I guess — should be ROW through to Park Lawn, and “transit priority” signals at Park Lawn for the turns in and out of the loop.

    Steve: With luck, the priority signals will turn green for the streetcar at least as frequently as the scheduled service, but that may be asking a lot.

    With respect to Gardiner overflows, I have to ask how frequently this happens. Should we be designing our local street system on hte off chance an expressway will be screwed up? Would this imply that we should build extra capacity on King and Queen through Parkdale on spec just because the Gardiner might be screwed up? I understand the desire to give transit as much priority as possible, but with all of the data I have from the TTC’s vehicle monitoring system, I have very rare examples of Lake Shore becoming impassible thanks to Gardiner traffic. This argument is a red herring.


  29. The waterfront project group says that no accident statistics have been compiled yet (which I find hard to believe … that they haven’t been isolated and analyzed, I *can* believe). But as part of the further EA, accident statistics and safety concerns will be examined — so they say.

    It would be interesting to hear from streetcar operators about their impressions. Fortunately, I haven’t seen anyone getting on or off a streetcar get hit, but certainly there have been close calls. Close calls wouldn’t show up in statistics, though.

    Of course, if there was something equivalent to a red-light camera on streetcars, we could get a reasonably accurate distribution of door-passers throughout the city. (Downtown, bicycles would win.)

    Steve: To be really accurate, we would need to know how common the near misses and accidents are on the parts of the streetcar system where roads are only 4 lanes wide. For example, motorists blow by southbound streetcars at Broadview and Danforth all of the time. The distinction is that at some 4-lane locations there is parking, and it’s not possible for an auto to roar down the street and past a streetcar at a stop because the curb lane isn’t open. They may try sneaking around, but not at the same speed. Any stats about this have to look at the actual configuration of each location, possibly taking into account time-of-day effects such as parking bans.


  30. Hi Steve.

    With regards to cars speeding by doors, has the TTC ever considered putting video cams on streetcars to catch the dorks that insist on doing this? I am sure that this feature would pay for itself in no time if the TTC got to keep some percentage of the traffic fines levied.


  31. I find that cars speeding past streetcars are not so bad in the downtown core where people are used to seeing them day in and day out. This is a problem mostly in the outer-lying areas such as the east and western ends of all the routes. I find getting off streetcars in the upper beaches (Kingston Road) that this is a problem. People are concerned about getting stuck behind streetcars and tend to drive around them more in this area. Ian’s idea of camera’s on the exterior of streetcars would not be a bad idea if the TTC gets a portion of the money generate by the fines.


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