Eglinton LRT Design (Part 2: Keele to Warden)

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.

  1. 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.
  2.  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.

18 thoughts on “Eglinton LRT Design (Part 2: Keele to Warden)

  1. With Chaplin Station, I’m a little surprised that the TTC isn’t considering an entrance off of the beltline trail due to the number of apartment buildings that are along the trail in the area. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone from the city politely reminded the TTC that someone would have to pay for snow clearing along the trail first.


  2. A silly part of the Brentcliffe-area proposal is that the LRT will leave the portal almost immediately after servicing this station, and only 100 metres out, hit a brand new traffic light for which there isn’t even an intersection for right now! There is a townhouse development at the top of the hill, but it is mainly accessed off Brentcliffe anyway.

    Reminded me of how the Spadina Car immediately hits the light at Sussex after leaving the portal.

    While this is looking long-term, would we see an interlined Mount Pleasant service now (combining the 74 and 103), do you think? I would think a small bus terminal at Eglinton Station would be needed still, really dependent on the TTC’s decision on surface routing.

    Steve: Yes, the two Mt. Pleasants (74/103) should be combined just as, likely, the two Avenue Roads (5/61). As for that development east of Brentcliffe, this is yet another example of how we bend over backward to accommodate cars on a supposedly “transit priority” route. All of the screwing around with left turns really doesn’t make sense in the face of things like that.


  3. The Eglinton-Don Mills bus terminal is probably being built with 5 bus bays so that it can handle the possible Eglinton bus, rerouted 51 Leslie & 54 Lawrence East buses and a shortened 100 Flemingdon Park bus (using one bay for 100 and another for 100D similar to Broadview Station right now).

    Currently the 103 Mt Pleasent bus can not enter the Mt Pleasent-Eglinton Loop when coming southbound, correct? Would this mean a possible combined route 74 and 103 from St Clair Station up to Doncliffe similar to the possible combination of 5 Avenue Rd and 61 Avenue Rd North or would 103 continue to serve Eglinton Station?

    Steve: Yes, it would make sense to combine 74/103 as one route. However, running the 54 east to Don Mills is a rather strange way to terminate a route.


  4. Steve, your getting used to the sound of a Mt. Pleasant Stn. is exactly how I felt when Lawrence Stn. opened millennia ago (I grew up on Lawrence West just metres away from Yonge).

    Given that the underground stations seem to have no fare control area (since boarding will be POP), I do wonder about security. Maybe a staffed-collector booth is my equivalent of a night-light, or at best and actual station master, but I always felt the presence of someone within a station was at least a deterrent for much trouble making.


  5. I asked a TTC operator once why the 74 and 103 were kept separate and the only explanation she could provide was that seniors need a way to get to the subway quickly. They’re both short routes, maybe 3-4 km each, and neither of them are really frequent. Why don’t they just combine the routes, loop the northern end over to Lawrence or York Mills Station, and call it a day?


  6. David:

    As a Torontonian used to at the very least a surly fare collector, I was amazed at the POP system in Berlin. You just run down the stairs from the street and right onto the train. I think one reason the local stations didn’t feel too scary was that they are super shallow.


  7. How come some of the underground stations on the line seem to be getting away without having second exits at the far ends of the platforms? Seems important from both a safety and passenger flow standpoint.

    A east exit at Bayview would service Leaside HS nicely, for example.

    Steve: I believe that the stations are short enough that they don’t require second exits. The idea is that an alternate path needs to be “x” feet distant from the primary. If the station is short, this is physically impossible. That said, a station by station review is certainly worthwhile.


  8. I would argue that some more bus terminals may be warranted. Dufferin could be a valid terminal if combined with the 90 Vaughan bus, which terminates in this area (and this northwest portion of the route can be made all-day and remove the one-way-only portion of the routing for turn-around). The south-east corner of Eglinton and Dufferin is just a gas station, and the property can connect to both Dufferin St. and Vaughan Rd.

    I think similar applies at Chaplin, as there is the 33 Spadina bus that terminates there. The south-east corner of either Spadina/Eglinton or Chaplin/Eglinton would be usable for such a terminal, both of the existing properties are very small structures with lots of surrounding asphalt (Chaplin/Eglinton is likely best given how the 14 operates).

    Steve: I’m not sure I agree about the need for bus terminals, especially at Chaplin Station. Neither 33 Forest Hill nor 14 Glencairn are frequent. Also, gas stations are not always big enough for a bus loop once you allow for turning radii of buses and the need for a platform. At best you get little “pocket” stations like Donlands or Greenwood.

    I wholeheartedly agree that there are problems with the station spacing east of Mount Pleasant. Between Bayview and Mount Pleasant, an additional station at Banff would help eliminate the need for a surface bus, combined with a Laird stop (between Sutherland and Laird) on top of an easterly-shifted Brentcliffe station, even though that shifts the portal further east (if not in the center of the road though, grades could be gentler).

    Steve: While a station at Banff would suit me personally, it would be extremely deep given the likely vertical alignment east from Mt. Pleasant to Bayview.

    I don’t think centre-of-the-road running is best for the Leslie area. I think it makes far more sense to have south-side-of-the-road operation here, with an underground Don Mills station, east of which it could come in to the center of the road. I also seriously question the validity of a stop at Leslie. If GO trains do run on CP Belleville, Don Mills is the far more likely candidate for a GO station.

    Lastly, I hope some of these station names are not final. Keele would be best-named Trethewey, Dufferin would be best-named Vaughan, Bathurst would be best-named Old Forest Hill, Bayview would be best-named Sunnybrook, and Don Mills would be best-named Flemingdon Park. As I have written previously on Metronauts; on the RT map (which at least the underground part of Eglinton would be included on), duplicate station names are ideally avoided. A little foresight here goes a long way.

    I’m surprised at how close the station spacing gets east of Don Mills. Ferrand, Credit Union/Swift, and Ionview are stops that I wouldn’t have expected to see included since “it would slow down service.” The TTC is seriously sending out mixed signals with their planning, where they’ll give reasonably-spaced stops to everywhere but East York. What gives?

    Is consistency and equal service across the corridor asking too much? If we’re going to spend the money, let’s do it right. Spending billions only to run two services on the same corridor, one on top of the other (literally), is an extremely poor use of resources, and TTC should know better since they’ve already made this mistake before.

    Steve: I think you may be seeing the combined effects of ICTS and LRT planning. If some at Metrolinx had their way and built the line as ICTS, you can bet that at least half of the surface stations would vanish. For my part, unless the TTC and City can come up with a transit priority scheme that guarantees trains won’t have to stop at every traffic light, they might as well pick up passengers while they’re at it.


  9. Since there is no powered rail and no platform, there are two automatic second entrances the previous and the next stations which could be used in an emergency…also potentially if the station has two platforms, the opposite side would be an exit (not sure if these are all center platform designs or not…)

    Steve: I’m not sure quite what you’re driving at here — if the single bore tunnel is used, then both directions are side platforms, one above the other.


  10. A comment on station spacing:

    I would personally like to see a future cost analysis to determine how many years of supplemental surface bus operations it would take to equal the capital cost of building a few extra stations now.

    On one hand it is likely to be in the TTC’s best interest to keep their future operating costs down at the expense of higher construction costs which are partially paid for by higher levels of government; on the other hand there is undoubtedly pressure from these higher levels to keep spacing high. It would be interesting to see how this looks.

    Also, as a side-note, would single-bore tunnel/station design make it easier to rough-in stations for future infill?

    Steve: Yes, infill stations would be easy. The important point is to ensure that the tunnel is flat (almost zero gradient) at locations of possible stations. This was done, for example, at North York Centre which was added after the line opened.


  11. Karl Junkin wrote, “I don’t think centre-of-the-road running is best for the Leslie area. I think it makes far more sense to have south-side-of-the-road operation here, with an underground Don Mills station, east of which it could come in to the center of the road.”

    I have suggested this in the past, as this is one stretch of road where there are no issues with driveways and side streets. Like the Richview Expressway lands in the west, this sort of alignment can save $10-20 million per kilometre using ballasted tie construction instead of concrete encasement. In mentioning this to an individual I know involved in the project, I was told that the track maintenance department resists ballasted tie construction for some unexplained reason.

    For side of the street alignment, side streets can be signalled like a railway crossing, but driveways become a problem because of the extra cost. Not signalling a driveway is a sure fire way to have accidents. Toronto really does not have many places where this sort of alignment is practical, but why not use it where it is practical? After all, the Scarborough Malvern plans now use this from Highland Creek up to Ellesmere and over to UTSC.

    Steve: I agree that this section of the line might better lie along the south side of Eglinton, and it would certainly be easier to build a station connecting with the a CP/GO service at Leslie if the tracks were not in the middle of the street. After boring through the hillside under the railway, the line could stay on the surface until west of Don Mills where it would drop under the Science Centre’s parking lot and thence out under Eglinton itself.


  12. Are provisions going to be made for full blown emergency exits in the tunnels like is the case with the Sheppard line or emergency exit air shafts like the original Yonge Line?

    Steve: Actually, this is mentioned in the presentation materials in a few places. Station layouts show secondary entrances, and there is a reference in the “coming next fall” items list to the location of emergency access points.


  13. The Keele Station bus bay proposal is an accident waiting to happen.

    Buses can only make a right turn onto Yore Road from the proposed bus bays and it would take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes for buses to enter the proposed bus bays.

    This does not even take into consideration of potential accidents that would occur. The length between traffic lights along Trethewey from York Road to Eglinton is only four bus lengths and forcing buses to make a left turn into these bays is totally unsafe and unwarranted.

    I had a very lengthy discussions with the planners there and they both missed an opportunity to improve transit in the area, using existing resources.

    Extend both the 168 [Symington, now ending at Rogers and Weston], replacing the 32c [Eglinton West via Trethewey] and the 171 [Mt. Dennis], replacing the 32d [Eglinton West, Emmett branch]. Both can be done at very minimal cost, hence you would not need bus bays at this very busy intersection.

    Steve: I think you may be trying to link too many routes together here, but definitely once there is no “32” any more, all of the bits and pieces need to be rationalized. Tinkering with routes like this is not juts a question of redrawing lines, but of finding where people want to go. For example, the riders of the Trethewey branch may prefer to go to the Spadina subway at Eglinton West rather than on a sightseeing tour of the west end down to Dundas West Station.


  14. Currently the 14 Glencairn buse has a western termination that circles the block at Lansdowne, Tycos, and Caledonia. I can see it, when the LRT opens, continuing south on Calendonia to make use of the bus loop at the Calendonia station.

    The 90A Vaughan terminates at Oakwood & Vaughan, while the 90 Vaughan continues up Vaughan to terminate at Northcliffe and Eglinton (Dufferin is about a block west, but the 90 bus returns to Vaughan via Eglinton & Oakwood). While the 90A and 90 could be merged, looping somewhere around the Dufferin station could be difficult. It may just have to continue its current 90 looping so it could use the Oakwood station for transfers.


  15. A major advantage of running south of the road between Brentcliffe and Don Mills would be the ability to run higher frequencies in that section by avoiding conflicts with turning vehicles at Leslie. This would be a big advantage if additional service is run along the underground section from Jane or so to Don Mills, either short turning or through-running along Don Mills north of Eglinton or a future Lawrence East line.


  16. If you were a passenger on the Eglinton LRT how would you make a connection with the Leaside bus?

    Would the bus jog over from Laird to Brentcliffe or would the transfer have to take place at Bayview?

    Is there any reason why the portal could still be located at Brentcliffe while the station is at Laird where there is a connecting bus route?

    Steve: The portal is east of Brentcliffe to take advantage of the grade down into the Don Valley. Also, if as some have proposed, the line were on the south side of Eglinton, it would be easier for it to just emerge there. If the station stays at Brentcliffe, the bus could always jog east and come up that way. If the station moves to Laird, it’s a moot point.


  17. Karl Junkin: I couldn’t agree more on the station names. All I would add is that the station at Don Mills be called Flemingdon Park-Science Centre.


  18. I agree with Karl here the Don Mills station should be renamed Flemingdon Park-Science Centre because its near to there. I hope they make the LRT surface stations wide enough for a lot of passengers to stand on and enough seating also shelter for the rain and snow. Depends how the LRT will be about 2 or 3 cars long. For the Caledonia Station underground, I know that the 47 Lansdowne bus will loop at the street a block west, but why the main entrance be west of the train tracks over the bridge where Price Chopper is? Why not make 1 entrance on the loop so I won’t walk over to the bridge to the entrance?


Comments are closed.