In Part 1 of this series, I discussed general issues about the Eglinton LRT and details of the proposed line between the airport and Black Creek.
In this section, I turn to Part 2 of the June 2009 TTC presentation concerning the line from Keele to Warden.
The line will be underground from east of Black Creek to east of Brentcliffe (the eastern end of Leaside). The construction method originally considered is to build twin tunnels for the running structure between stations and conventional cut-and-cover at stations. This technique was used on most of the Sheppard subway.
As we will see in Part 3, the TTC is considering an alternative method using a single large diameter tunnel. I will discuss the implications in the next article. The station designs shown here are based on conventional box structure at stations.
Keele Station: The station would lie east of Keele Street and would have a small bus loop in the southeast corner of Keele, Trethewey and Yore Road just to the north of Eglinton. The TTC proposes a four-bay loop, and the obvious routes are Trethewey itself (broken off from Eglinton West) as well as northbond and southbound Keele buses. If there were a surface bus on Eglinton West, this might be a logical terminus for it.
Caledonia Station: This station would actually be located west of the CN rail corridor, used by the Barrie GO service, to which it might connect. Although the street dodges to the south here, the tunnel would go straight west under the Westside Shopping Centre parking lot (something tells me they would be quite happy to have a new rapid transit station under their property). A bus loop might be provided for the Lansdowne/Caledonia bus east of the rail corridor. It’s ironic: the location for this loop is across the street from a parkette that once held Gilbert Loop, the west end of York Township Railways’ Oakwood route, later used by the Eglinton West bus.
Dufferin & Oakwood Stations: These are conventional stations under the middle of their respective intersections with no provision for off-street bus connections. The Ossington bus would, presumably, continue to terminate at Eglinton West Station.
Eglinton West / Allen Station: This station would provide a connection to the Spadina Subway, and would lie below the level of the existing structure. Part of this was already built during the short-lived Eglinton Subway project. Due to the difference in technologies, there will no longer be any need for a junction with the Spadina line to provide for carhouse moves to and from Wilson Yard.
Bathurst, Chaplin & Avenue Road Stations: All three of these are standard line stations with no provision for off-street bus connections. The retention of Chaplin Station, long rumoured to be under attack from Metrolinx boffins because it would slow down crosstown journeys, is intruiguing especially given station spacing issues east of Yonge. For those unfamiliar with the area, there is a steep hill between Bathurst and Chaplin, and walking to Bathurst is really not an option for many people in the area. Avenue Road is up a gentler, but long grade in the other direction.
At this point, detailed route structures have not been worked out, and it is unknown whether the 61 Avenue Road North bus would be integrated with the 5 Avenue Road line.
Eglinton-Yonge Station: This station will lie between Yonge and Duplex (one street to the west). There has been some talk of integrating it with a redevelopment of the old bus loop lands, but this would be tricky given the need to curve south off of Eglinton at Yonge and back again at Duplex without hitting existing buildings and while keeping the platform long enough for three-car trains.
The vertical alignment would be under the Yonge Subway because existing passageways and utilities occupy the space between the north-south line and the street surface. Think of the north entrance to the station and tunnels to all four corners of the intersection which themselves move up and down to avoid utilities.
My personal preference is to keep the Eglinton line under the street and let whatever development goes on the old bus loop link to new and future subway structures. There is, of course, no need for a full-scale bus terminal once the LRT is operating because only a few routes would remain at this location (Yonge, and Eglinton surface line in each direction, plus a spare bay for subway emergency replacement service).
Mount Pleasant Station: (Having grown up a block and a half away, and spent many hours in the old streetcar loop here, this is a phrase that takes a bit to wrap my brain around!). The station would lie east of the intersection, and many options are shown for the entrances. One of them (option 2) coincides with the two remaining, and now vacant, houses on the north side of Eglinton. Another (option 1) is in the middle of the new Mt. Pleasant Loop which itself is contained within a seniors’ apartment block.
Bayview Station: This station is east of the intersection in the comparatively flat part of Eglinton (there is a steep grade to the west). It is also on the site of an old swamp that should make construction interesting (as a building developer on the southwest corner discovered some years ago). As an historical note, Sunnybrook Plaza on the northeast corner was the first strip mall in what is now Toronto (then Leaside).
Brentcliffe Station: This station is at the east end of Leaside just before Eglinton descends into the valley for the west branch of the Don River and Sunnybrook Park. Many residents of the area have complained about the site which, apparently, was chosen to improve the value of lands near Brentcliffe for redevelopment rather than placing it at Laird, a more central spot in the community.
The public meetings in North Toronto and Leaside have stirred up much discussion about station spacing east of Yonge Street. From Yonge to Mt. Pleasant is about 700m, and from there to Bayview is 1,100m. To Brentcliffe is another 1,400m (Laird would be 1,000). East of Leaside, the character of the street changes completely and is largely parkland until east of the DVP with only a few concentrations of buildings. In that section, stops can be farther apart (although the line will be at the surface anyhow and it won’t be as costly to add any).
If the TTC really wants to build the line this way, it should commit to a reasonably frequent (15 minutes at worst) bus service on this part of Eglinton. The Leaside bus (which now operates from Donlands Station to Eglinton Station) would fit the bill nicely. If, as some have suggested, the Leslie bus would also operate on Eglinton, we can only hope for integrated schedules so that we don’t have two buses every half hour providing “frequent” service.
Leslie Stop: There is no display panel for this stop. Current features of the intersection are Sunnybrook Park, a high end car dealership (formerly the Inn on the Park Hotel), and the CPR Belleville Subdivision which may, someday, have GO service on it. From Leslie east to Don Mills, the line runs through parkland.
Don Mills Station: This station comes in multiple versions due to its complexity. Regardless of the vertical alignments, track connections will be needed between the two lines at a minimum for carhouse movements. Also, it is conceivable that the Don Mills LRT could be a branch of the Eglinton service especially if a Downtown Relief Line East branch comes up to Eglinton as an alternative to the south end of the proposed LRT.
A surface bus loop with 5 bays would be located on the northeast corner of the intersection. It is unclear why so many bays are needed, although there could be an interim configuration where the Eglinton LRT is open, but Don Mills still operates with buses.
- This option is completely on the surface and, of course, presumes a continuous north-south LRT line. The design presents two problems of which the most critical is the volume of transfer traffic likely to occur here. This is a busy road junction, and the addition of a major rapid transit hub could spur redevelopment of nearby lands. The intersection may not be able to absorb the pedestrian demands. A related problem is that the bus loop is comparatively removed from the surface station on Eglinton. A variation on this option uses the left turn design already discussed in Part 1 of this series, and again I have to ask whether any traffic simulations have been performed to validate this configuration.
- This option takes the Eglinton line underground through the Don Mills intersection. Connection to a future Don Mills LRT platform and the bus loop would be via an underground passageway. Again, the design presumes a continuous LRT service north-south. A variation on this scheme leaves the left turn arrangements intact and the display panels claim that analysis has shown that the Don Mills LRT operation would not be seriously affected. The obvious question here is why the arrangement would work for Don Mills crossing Eglinton, but not for Eglinton crossing other streets.
East from Don Mills, although not all are shown in the displays, are stations at: Ferrand, Wynford, Swift/Credit Union, Bermondsey, Victoria Park, Pharmacy, Lebovic, Warden, Birchmount, Ionview and Kennedy.
Wynford Stop: This stop has two options whose primary difference is that the second reconfigures the intersection to simplify stop design.
Victoria Park Stop: This stop is unusual not only because it uses a common centre platform east of the intersection, but because the local road arrangement does allow some turning movements to be diverted. However, it should be remembered that even though the turns are shifted east and west of Victoria Park, they must still cross the right-of-way. At least the locations in question have enough room for queueing space. How much these turns will interfere with the LRT has not been discussed, but again I find the inconsistency about approaches to left turn management troubling.
Pharmacy Stop: Like Victoria Park, this is a single centre platform stop east of the intersection, but here the left turn relocations involve U-turn movements, one of which (east to north) takes auto traffic across the LRT line at a location that would not otherwise have a crossing.
Warden Stop: Here we are back to the “standard” configuration we saw in much of Etobicoke with all left turns relocated to U turns north and south of Eglinton, and nearside stops in both directions for the LRT.
In the final installment of this series, I will review Part 3 of the TTC presentation from Warden east to Kennedy as well as some of the construction options and issues.