Restructuring the Queen Car

The TTC Agenda for July 9 included a report on Queen streetcar operations.  Most of this deals with line management techniques, and is discussed in the preceding article on this site.

For the period October 18 to November 21, 2009, the TTC will experiment with splitting the line in one of two ways.  The specifics have not yet been decided.

  • Split the route at Humber Loop into the original 507 Long Branch and 501 Queen routes.
  • Create two overlapping routes with Long Branch cars operating east to Church or Parliament, and Queen cars operating west to Bathurst or Shaw.

Implementation of an overlapped service is constrained by the number of available cars as well as by track layouts and the location of electrified switches for turnbacks.

There are arguments to be made for either configuration, but the first one does have the problem that if Queen service is disrupted in the west end, the link to Long Branch will be lost as most Queen cars will turn at Sunnyside.  Conversely, an overlapped route will force anyone travelling from west of the overlap area to east of it to transfer.

The worst possible service design would be to have a Long Branch and a “Beach” car scheduled to travel together on the common segment to ease connections between them.  Aside from the difficulty of making this work on the street, it would defeat the purpose of having a better headway for riders in the busy central part of the route.

Where To Split the Route

The following section is for the benefit of those readers who insist on intricately detailed analysis without benefit of actually looking at the routes in question.

There are limited options for turning back cars because the track and loop layouts derive from decades-old requirements and, in some cases, routes that have not been around since at least the opening of the BD subway in 1966, if not longer.

  • Sunnyside Loop.  This loop, just west of Roncesvalles carhouse, is a common short turn for the Humber service.  The loop entrance switch is electrified.
  • Dufferin Street westbound (via Dufferin, King and Shaw to Queen).  This loop involves three left turns, one at the busy Queen/Dufferin intersection under the railway viaduct.  The switches involved are electrified, and the likely layover location, northbound on Shaw, is not too busy.  There is no transit priority to aid the left turns at any intersections.
  • Dufferin Street westbound (to Dufferin Loop).  Instead of an onstreet loop, this would take the Queen car to the existing loop at the West Entrance of the CNE grounds where there is an operators’ washroom and place for recovery time.  The trip time would be slightly longer than the around-the-block versions, but would establish 501 service both ways as far as Dufferin.
  • Shaw Street westbound (via Shaw, King and Dufferin to Queen).  This loop involves three right turns, a preferable arrangement for traffic, although there is no priority signal for the left turn at Shaw.  Also, the west-to-north switch at King and Dufferin is not electrified.  Layovers on Dufferin are possible, but probably more difficult than on Shaw.
  • Bathurst Street westbound (via Wolseley Loop).  This involves only one left turn from Bathurst east onto Queen, and all switches required are electrified.  Cars can lay over in the loop, although excessive running times could produce a queue that would block Bathurst Street.
  • McCaul Street westbound (via McCaul Loop).  This loop is already used by the 502 Downtowner service.
  • Church Street eastbound (via Church, Richmond and Victoria).  This loop was used by the Long Branch downtown service for many years, and is still fairly regularly used (in both directions) by 501 and 502 cars.  Layovers would probably be taken on Richmond Street.  The main problem with this as a terminus is that a car short-turned eastbound at McCaul would completely miss the connections with the subway.  The car and operator would be on time, but empty.
  • Parliament Street eastbound (via Parliament, Dundas and Broadview).  This loop is used from time to time for Queen short turns and diversions, and all of the electric switches needed for it (in either direction) already exist.  Layovers would have to occur on Parliament, although this could block 504 King cars using the same route.

Aside from equipment availability, the main problem with any route design is that there’s a good chance many cars will not reach their planned destination.  For that reason, it is important to choose turnbacks that would maintain service over a reasonable portion of the line even if service were short turned.

This would require Queen/Beach cars to be scheduled to go at least to Dufferin if not Roncesvalles so that the common short turn would be no further west than Bathurst or Shaw respectively.  Similarly, Long Branch cars should be scheduled to operate to Broadview via Parliament so that they would short-turn at Church and retain service to the core area even if service were disrupted.  (A comparison here is with 502 Downtowners that short turn westbound at Church and completely miss the heaviest outbound stops on the route.)

An Alternative Proposal

A scheme that has not been examined in detail is a restructured route taking the Long Branch service to Dundas West Station, with a downtown extension during peak or daytime periods.  This would, in a sense, make the 507 a mirror of the 502/22A Coxwell services with downtown services weekdays, and service north to the Bloor subway weekends and evenings.  This scheme was proposed by me some years ago, but always seems to be lost in the shuffle when options are discussed.

Yes, I know, Roncesvalles is closed to streetcar traffic until late 2010.  We should be discussing service designs now, not after it reopens.

This arrangement would give a Queen route from Neville to Humber, and a Long Branch route from Brown’s Line to Church via King during peak periods.  Off peak service would turn north to Dundas West Station.

The goals of this scheme are:

  • Sever Long Branch service from the busy Queen route, especially its most congested section from University to west of Bathurst, while continuing to provide direct service to downtown during the peak period.  Rather than the occasional 508 Lake Shore car, all 507 Long Branch trips would operate through to downtown.
  • Return the Queen service to a line of manageable length (roughly an hour one way) so that it will not require extended recovery times.
  • Preserve an overlap between Queen and Long Branch routes to ensure that connections between them are maintained even if a Queen car is short-turned.
  • Provide additional service on Roncesvalles during off-peak periods when disruptions on 504 King can result in irregular headways. 

An optional change for this route structure would be to operate all (or most) 504 service and all 507 service with ALRVs, and switch the 501 back to CLRVs.  The purpose of this scheme is:

  • Recognize that the King route is the heavier of the two and should routinely have the larger cars assigned to it.  The TTC often talks about the problems of traffic signal management with short headways, and yet it operates the shortest headway on King, not on Queen.
  • The Queen route with its potential for disruptions both in the Beach and on Queen West needs the maximum number of units available.  This gives the greatest flexibility for short turns because the gaps they cause are shorter on close headways than on long ones.  CLRVs are also a bit more sprightly than the ALRVs, and this is useful on a congested street like Queen.

How Many Cars Would This Require?

In January 2008, TTC staff reported on Queen route issues, and this included comments about reallocation of the CLRV and ALRV fleets.  No further update on this scheme has been brought for discussion at the Commission.

From the May 2009 schedule, the AM peak requirements are

  • 31 ALRVs on Queen
  • 38 CLRVs plus 7 ALRVs on King
  • 3 CLRVs on Lake Shore
  • Total: 41 CLRVs and 38 ALRVs. 

(It is possible a few CLRVs could be freed up if the 502 and 503 services were consolidated as one route, but that’s not part of this discussion.)

During the PM peak, Queen uses 31 ALRVs, while King and Lake Shore use 41 CLRVs between them.  Therefore, as a starting point, without adding any more to the fleet requirements, we have 38 ALRVs and 41 CLRVs.

Anyone who looks at these routes will know that Queen often operates with CLRVs on ALRV headways, and ALRVs can be found on King in the PM peak.  There does not seem to be any well-coordinated pattern, but rather whatever is available goes out on the street.

The Queen service from Humber to Neville operates at a 5’10” combined headway on a 130 minute round trip in the AM peak, 5’40” and 138 minutes in the PM peak.  Converting on a 3:2 ratio for CLRVs, this would change the headways to about 3’25” in the AM and about 3’45” in the PM.  This would use 38 CLRVs assuming no change in recovery time.

The King service from Broadview to Dundas West Station operates in the AM peak on a 4’00” headway and a 108′ round trip.  Overlaid on this is a 4’00” headway of 16 trippers producing a 2’00” headway eastbound during the peak hour.  Some of these trips are supposed to operate with ALRVs.  In addition, three Lake Shore cars form part of the eastbound peak service.

In practice, the trippers are not well-integrated because the 504 cars originate at Russell Carhouse and tend to depart unreliably.  They may or may not make it as far as Dundas West, but are short turned, and may not fit well into the eastbound headway.  Moreover, the combined 2-minute headway almost guarantees that cars will run in pairs due to effects at traffic lights.  The Lake Shore cars do not operate on reliable times.

If the King service operated with ALRVs on a 2:3 replacement ratio, the headway of the base level of service would change to 6’00” and would require 18 ALRVs.  Overlaid on this would be one hour’s worth of trippers on a 6’00” headway, or another 11 cars.

A Long Branch service to Church would require a bit over an hour each way, or 13 cars to provide a 10’00” headway.  The current service (on paper) is one ALRV every 10’20”.

Total requirements (AM peak) would be 38 CLRVs (Queen) and 42 ALRVs (King and Long Branch) compared with current schedules of 41 and 38 respectively.  Considering that an ALRV rebuild program is about to start, we don’t know what actual fleet availability will be by late 2010, but it should certainly be better than today.

Please do not send endless comments with other configurations.  My purpose in working through the calculation is simply to show that it is possible, and we do not need endless discussions of fine tuning the headways.

Concluding Remarks

TTC staff have not yet published their proposal for a split operation on Queen, and this issue will not come before the Commission again before the trial service is implemented.  We will know the details probably by early September when the schedule designs for October are available.

The trial is worthwhile, but I am concerned that it may fail if there is insufficient overlap between the two halves of the route.

As for the Long Branch proposal, a full implementation would have to wait for the reopening of Roncesvalles, although an interim scheme could bring a “507” service east to Roncesvalles Loop overlapping a 501 “Humber” operation.  Similarly, the interchange of ALRV and CLRV fleets between the King and Queen corridors can be performed at any time.

23 thoughts on “Restructuring the Queen Car

  1. What about Exhibition West as a westbound turnback?

    Steve: Yes, that would be possible as a turnback from Dufferin although it would add slightly to the running time. At least the terminal would be at a loop. Oddly enough, it would restore an old CNE service from Queen to the Western Entrance. I will update the list in the post.


  2. In a sense, you propose consolidation of 507 and 508 services during peak, if I understand correctly?

    Steve: More to the point, all cars would be “508s” in the peak, and “507s” to Dundas West in the off peak.


  3. Steve, your proposal is probably the best option. It would create more manageable routes, while still supporting almost all of the existing travel patterns.

    The two TTC’s proposals currently on the table might be better than the status quo, but both of them have some visible drawbacks. The complete split at Humber would remove the direct service between the Lakeshore and Queensway sections. The (Neville to Bathurst) + (Long Branch to Church) arrangement would split the downtown Queen service.


  4. I would suggest the original formula – 507 (Long Branch to Humber) and 501 (Humber to Neville Park). The exception being that I would like to see better service for the 508 – perhaps during the rush hour every second eastbound departure from Long Branch could be a 508. This would benefit both local travellers (a significant portion of the ridership according to the TTC in May), and those who wish to go downtown. Also, no tracks would have to be built.

    Steve: No tracks have to be built for any of the proposals suggested in this article by me or by the TTC.


  5. Does anyone take the Queen streetcar into the core from the west? I tried it twice from Long Branch, but could not believe how slow it was past Roncesvalles. Since then, I have used the GO line for that trip, despite its infrequency; when I have not decided it was a good day for cycling.

    I don’t remember the exact speed or timing, but the trip from Long Branch to Roncesvalles (11km), took less time than Roncesvalles to the core (5km). Of course, if we banned all left turns on streetcar routes…

    Steve: The Queen line is particularly bad from Parkdale into downtown, moreso in the PM than the AM peak period. That’s one reason I propose sending the Long Branch service via King as 508s. Meanwhile, it’s disheartening that the TTC still trots out their King Street priority plan from time to time even though it hasn’t a hope of being adopted when the real problems are on Queen Street.


  6. Steve: I think your explanation of the Church Street eastbound turnback has been misedited as it starts to refer to McCaul.

    I noted many years ago that most of the streetcar junctions were set up to force cars to go past Yonge street before they could turn. I don’t have a current track plan handy to see if this has been changed.

    Steve: No, my text is correct. If a car is eastbound destined for Church, and it needs to short turn, the only place this can happen is eastbound at McCaul Street (there are switches in both directions at that intersection). However, such a short turn would miss a primary source of outbound passengers.


  7. Steve:

    As I believe you have pointed out in the past, “Anyone can draw lines on a map”. As a boy, living at Islington & 401 I remember dreaming about the “Islington Subway”, though even as a youth I had trouble justifying the required station at the end of my suburban low volume street.

    Now, as I live on Shaw Street, the idea of a Queen Car turning (and spending recovery time) in front of my house is fascinating. Being able to step out the door and get on an Eastbound Queen Car almost anytime is an amazing prospect. (Even sitting in my kitchen and watching regular scheduled service go buy is pretty good.) Other people, smarter, or perhaps more influential , than me, will ultimately decide where the route is configured. However, the 15 year old who still lives inside this aged body is cheering – loudly – for Shaw Street,


  8. “the TTC will experiment with splitting the line” This is all I need to read, this is excellent news. Keep up the pressure on the TTC, Steve, and hopefully they will finally fix more problems.


  9. Using ARLV’s and taking the 508 routing at peak seems like a significant improvement in service levels. King vs. Queen seems like a significant win, and the overlap in the routes between Humber Loop and Roncevalles provides ample opportunity for transfers for people who really need to take Queen. That said, I’d really be curious to see destination info for anyone taking the Long Branch cars into downtown, since I have an inkling that King destinations would be of higher value to a majority, and one would think that headways would be easier to manage this way.

    If this model was successful, and I believe it will be, I think it would be a nice win to shift the east end to a similar model, at the expense of 1 km of track on Coxwell and a new loop. Although with the new streetcars, the loads might not be there to justify streetcar service off-peak, but the streetcar would probably help get more people on the Bloor line where there’s plenty of capacity off-peak.

    522 Coxwell:
    * Off-peak service on the current 22A Coxwell route from Bingham Loop to Coxwell Station. This would replace the 503 daytime service east of Coxwell and Queen and the 22 Coxwell daytime serivce, as well as the evening 22A route.

    503 Kingston Road
    * Peak time service on the current 503 routing.

    502 Downtowner
    * New peak time route from Coxwell Station south to Queen, then across Queen on the current Downtowner route to McCaul Loop. This would replace 22 Coxwell during peak times.

    Both 522 and 503 would have an easy connection to 501 at Queen and Coxwell, and the 502 would share passenger load on Queen as well as providing a better connection to east of downtown.

    Extra potential wins:

    * Coxwell-Queen short turns could turn north instead, feeding passengers onto the Bloor line more quickly than the Main alignment. This could easily be every other car at PM peak, and seems dramatically more useful than the current short turn option which is basically a deadhead run to Queen.
    * 306 Blue Night service could operate from Coxwell Station instead of Main Station, and connect to the 322 as well as the 300. 322 could operate in and out of the station instead of on-street, which would be a nicer+safer transfer.

    The big catch, of course, is that the 522 route would almost never need the full capacity of the new streetcars.

    Steve: The big problem with this scheme is the cost and complexity of making the connection to Coxwell Station. The local streets and the loop itself are not designed for streetcar operation. We have other, more important, extensions to the network, notably in the waterfront, that I would prefer to see first.


  10. The western split from Long Branch to Church or Parliament could last until at least the eastern section of the Waterfront West LRT is built from downtown to at least the Queensway (the Lake Shore Blvd. section west of Park Lawn can be delayed).

    Steve: Yes, I agree. However, the WWLRT seems so far off in the future that I would prefer to deal with improving Queen and Lake Shore services now, not in a decade to come.


  11. Steve wrote: “If a car is eastbound destined for Church, and it needs to short turn, the only place this can happen is eastbound at McCaul Street (there are switches in both directions at that intersection). However, such a short turn would miss a primary source of outbound passengers.”

    Not necessarily, Osgoode station is only a brief walk from the intersection of McCaul and Queen. People could easily walk the two minutes over to Osgoode if required – if the streetcar was being short turned, then passengers should be allowed to leave the car prior to it turning up McCaul (or immediately after it turns onto McCaul.)

    Steve: First off, a walk from McCaul to University hardly qualifies as an easy transfer from an accessibility point of view. Second, my point was with respect to outbound service. People waiting for a car westbound at Yonge, Bay and University won’t ever see the cars that short-turn at McCaul. This is similar to today where eastbound riders are not served by 502 Downtowner cars short turning westbound at Church Street. They are on time, but empty, a triumph of management over common sense.


  12. I am not talking about all cars turning back at McCaul, but using it as a short turn operation. The odd car will not cause that much problem if turned back at McCaul – and it is not like it is a major problem for those heading to the subway line anyway (especially if it’s not common practice.)

    Steve: This depends on the headway of cars from the west. An “occasional” short turn becomes a huge gap especially during the off-peak. My personal feeling is that no short turn should cause a gap greater than 10 minutes, and even that’s a stretch. People get fed up and start walking all the time on Queen and the last thing we need to do is to encourage them.


  13. Steve said: The big problem with this scheme is the cost and complexity of making the connection to Coxwell Station. The local streets and the loop itself are not designed for streetcar operation.

    Steve, it’s my understanding (via that Coxwell was a major 24 hour route until the Bloor Subway opened. The complexity of adding a loop at Coxwell Station to handle the Flexity cars is non-trivial, of course, so this isn’t a slam dunk, but I do think it’d be viable.

    Steve: Coxwell is still a 24-hour service (route 322), but that doesn’t mean it should have streetcars, only that it fits a spot in the grid of the Blue network. The service level in 1964 was every 4’30” on the Coxwell car. Today the bus runs every 8 minutes. Don’t forget that before the subway, many people chose to ride south to other east-west routes into downtown rather than using the Bloor-Danforth streetcar service.

    As for your thinking a streetcar loop for Flexitys at Coxwell is “viable”, I don’t think you have really looked at the station with its small, tight bus loop.

    Steve said: We have other, more important, extensions to the network, notably in the waterfront, that I would prefer to see first.

    I think it’s clear to me that the Queen’s Quay and Cherry Street projects need to proceed at pace, but I didn’t say anything about priority/timing here. Coxwell seems like a great option for a final eastern terminus for the Queen’s Quay project, since I don’t think we want to deal with expanding Broadview and running substantially more service there. With Dundas/King/Cherry routes all running out of a station that may struggle with even existing loads, it seems that it’d be very good to spread the load a little.

    Steve: Coxwell is quite a ways to the east as an alternative to Broadview. Also, don’t forget that if we get a DRL east line to Eglinton, the demand out of Broadview Station will probably change. For one thing, you won’t see the Flemingdon Park bus there any more.


  14. In my experience, it can take up to 10 to 15 minutes to travel from University Avenue to Yonge Street during PM peak.

    They should ban all cars from driving on Queen Street during that time and force them onto Adelaide St. and Richmond St. where we see higher capacity. The problem I see is police enforcement.

    Or place in temporary curbs to create a ROW and allow single driving lanes in each direction.

    They can also rebuild the tracks on Adelaide St. and Richmond St. and place the streetcars there from Spadina to Church during peak hours and have a “local” service along Queen if they desire.


  15. One thing I haven’t seen discussed is the apparent implication that the overlapping split proposal would in theory bring more frequent service to Lake Shore:

    “#6 Downtown overlap (Long Branch to Church or Parliament and Neville to Bathurst or Shaw)”

    There’s no mention of west-end cars scheduled to turn at Humber. The simplest reading of this is that something like the current Queen headway will be carried through right to Long Branch.

    That effectively doubles service on Lake Shore, which currently sees only every other westbound car venture west of Humber loop.

    Yes, under the overlap scheme, westbound cars may still be short-turned at Sunnyside or Humber or Kipling, but Long-Branch-bound cars have this happening right now anyway. (For some reason, I’ve seen way too many daytime westbound pairs of ALRVs on Lake Shore, the second one usually signed up for Kipling.)

    If the TTC decides to turn half of the west-end cars at Humber, then the scheme has the potential to be a huge disaster all ’round, of course.

    By the way, actually having had the benefit of riding and viewing the Queen line at some length, I have a couple of comments on possible routings:

    – Turning westbound cars at Bathurst using Wolseley loop may be very messy; for quite a while the west-to-north switch needed a track iron to operate, and it’s a very busy intersection with lots of pedestrians crossing. A bit of stop-line rejigging, and ensuring working transit signals (which they do seem to for turns) would make Spadina south to Charlotte a possibility.

    – Turning from westbound Queen to southbound Dufferin is actually not that horrible, as there’s a left-turn-priority phase. Westbound streetcars already have to wait behind turning traffic; at worst this turn might take one extra light cycle. Since in theory all westbound streetcars stop in the underpass to check the points, it’s not like through operation is all that quick right now anyway.

    Steve: Good points about Dufferin as there is already an advanced left cycle for the Dufferin bus (and all those motorists). It will be interesting to see how this location operates once the jog is eliminated and traffic that now turns up Gladstone goes straight up Dufferin.

    As for headways to Long Branch, don’t forget that the “new” operation has to be done with the same number of cars as the existing one. In theory, they should be able to get rid of some of the recovery time provisions because both lines will be shorter, but basically the portion of the line with double service gets shorter. This means fewer cars are needed to serve it, and this should allow for some increase to the outer parts of the line. However, until I actually see the schedules, I won’t believe it.


  16. Steven,

    I heartily agree with your proposal to ban cars from Queen from Universtiy to Yonge during rush hour. I’ve experienced that 10 to 15 minute delay so many times! People blame the streetcars for being slow, when it’s the traffic that is causing the problem.

    – This is an area with high pedestrian traffice, with Yonge Street, Bay Street, University Avenue, the Eaton Centre, the Bay, Nathan Phillips Square, and the Opera House. There are probably 10 pedestrians for every car. The average person moving through the area could save a minute off their trip by banning cars.

    – Traffic immediately east of Yonge and west of University should be lighter as through traffic diverts onto other routes, thus making it even faster for the streetcars. (Any through driver will want to be on Richmond or Adelaide anyway.)

    – Taxis and buses should be excepted in the car-free zone, but they will proceed at a crawl.


  17. Steve, is there any such beast as a ‘low floor CLRV’? Not the actual car, but an equivalent capacity LR vehicle? I have not seen any such thing outside of historic preservations, but I was wondering if any such thing is currently being produced.

    If (as I suspect) not, then I’d have to say a small elephant has appeared in the room on Kingston Road. Using Flexity ‘Toronto’ cars to serve the 502/503 route makes very little sense.

    I live 2 blocks from Kingston and Dundas now, and I love to see streetcars on that street, but service middday makes it effectively useless. If I want to get anywhere it’s almost always better to walk to Queen or Coxwell, depending on where I’m going. Current combined service is about every 6 minutes at peak and 15 off peak I believe, but so sporadic that waiting at the platform is a public exercise in futility. When you consider replacing CLRVs with Flexitys, What you’re looking at is a 1:2 replacement. In terms of schedules that means peak service at 12 minutes, and off peak at 30. A single off peak short turn means no service for an hour. Simply put, sporadic service becomes effectively nonexistent.

    There’s a much simpler, better capacity fit for this route outside of peak times, and it would probably work fine at peak too. It’s called a bus. The 22 Coxwell should run as the 22A to Bingham loop all day. If you really must, you can run peak service on the 502 or 503 (not both – one must die), but that’s it. Without the political will to turn Kingston from Queen to Danforth into a real transit corridor (and I’m not even sure how it can be done), streetcar service on Kingston should probably be abandoned. Even as a resident here, I can’t see any good alternative.

    Steve: Yes service on Kingston Road during the midday is disgraceful, at 20 minutes, compared with the commonly found 10 minute headway when the Coxwell bus runs there. Talk about organizing service to make buses look better!

    The TTC has talked about setting a policy that when the Flexitys are running, the headway will be no worse than 10 minutes. That’s fine for Kingston Road, but it will really cheese off a lot of existing riders who feel that they wait far too long for service today.


  18. Steve, your suggestion to run the 504 King service with ALRVs should only be considered if the boneheads at the TTC can be convinced to permit POP/all-door boarding on this route.

    POP is needed on the 504 now, but they won’t/can’t acknowledge it.

    Steve: I agree, and more or less assumed that POP would operate on King as a side effect of this change. Of course when the new cars get here, every streetcar route will be POP.


  19. @Does anyone take the Queen streetcar into the core from the west?

    Yes, whenever I can. The morning commute I’ve found quite reliable, on both the 501 and 508, basically because stores haven’t opened yet. Most journeys, no matter what time of day, take about an hour from 23rd Street (where I live) to Yonge, unless there’s abnormal traffic, an accident, fire etc.

    So I take a book along or just look out the window & enjoy the ride, like a lot of other Lakeshore residents.

    Personally most of the places I visit are along Queen, and only if I have a work function am I going to somewhere along King.


  20. We all know what needs to be done to fix Queen.

    Streetcar service from Humber loop to Neville Park Loop.
    -Limited stop service along the entire Queen line west of Woodbine. Stops would be spaced 800 meters apart on average.
    -Riders would have to pre buy their ticket like on VIVA.

    Service west of Humber loop
    -Replaced by bus service.
    Service would operate local between Long Branch and Humber, than express to downtown via the Gardiner Expressway.
    -Riders would see their travel time cut in half for trips to downtown.

    Service along Kingston Road
    -Service replaced by buses.
    Service would operate from Bingham to Queen and Kingston Road. Than express to downtown via Lakeshore Blvd.
    -Riders would see their travel time cut in half for trips to downtown.

    These changes would not only make the Queen corridor operate better, but it would improve trip travel times. This would increase transit use and actually attract people to transit.

    Steve: So nice of you to tell the folks who don’t live in The Beach that having stops closer together is something reserved only for the lucky souls living east of Woodbine. I smell a double standard here. Your proposals focus on getting people into the core, not to the places in between. As the city evolves, those places will be just as important both as origins and destinations.


  21. Mike writes:
    “We all know what needs to be done to fix Queen.”

    That is true. Except that everyone’s opinion is different, and few of us are in the position of being able to implement it. (To listen to TTC officials, *no one* is able to implement what needs to be done to fix Queen [i.e. a totally separated ROW].)

    I’ll point out that:

    “-Limited stop service along the entire Queen line west of Woodbine. Stops would be spaced 800 meters apart on average.
    -Riders would have to pre buy their ticket like on VIVA. ”

    runs into the subtle problem that Queen ridership is much higher than Viva’s, and these widely-separated stops will be found on crowded narrow sidewalks, not the expansive suburban spaciousness allowed for underused Viva stops. Many of the existing Queen stops are awkwardly crowded already by people anxiously awaiting the arrival of the semi-mythical Queen car.

    Consolidate the stops and their crowds, put in a ticket machine that must be used by all riders, and hilarity will ensue. I suspect that the ticket machine at Queen and Bathurst will have an operational lifetime measured in hours. After it’s been graffitti’d, postered, and vandalized, how will people acquire their Queen car fare? By walking to Spadina or Strachan?

    Steve: Further thoughts on that 800m stop spacing. From Woodbine to Broadview is 3.7km, to Yonge is 6.2km. On an 800m spacing, that’s about 5 stops from Woodbine to Broadview, or 8 to Yonge. That’s one less than even the Bloor-Danforth subway! Meanwhile, from Woodbine to Neville is 2.0km, and so that rates maybe three stops to keep things on an even keel.

    I am really fed up with people, including some TTC planners, for whom high speed operation and widely spaced stops are something of a transit holy grail. They forget the purpose of public transit, to carry people from one place to another. If they have to walk long distances between stops, this adds substantially to the inconvenience of the journey, particularly in bad weather. 800m is even above the level proposed for the surface portions of many Transit City lines, and it works particularly poorly with the standard suburban road grid that tends to be 2km with some 1km arterials thrown in.

    People want good service (meaning fast, with a guaranteed seat and almost no wait) for themselves, and are prepared to screw everybody else to get what they want. We have taxi cabs for those wanting such comforts, or possibly limos to fit the perceived demographic east of Woodbine.


  22. Steve: the 800 Meter spacing is close to that on the Bloor subway, and residents along the Bloor subway have no problem walking 5 min to a train station.

    Major streetcar routes like the Queen line stop way to often, and this adds to the service issues the line faces. In the downtown core many stops could be taken out, such as Victoria, York Street, Simcoe, and a couple others that are spitting distance from another stop.

    Look at Quebec City. They started that METROBUS network, and took out stops. What has happened? Ridership has grown, and they found out something shocking. Residents are actually walking further to access the limited stop routes eventhough they can walk to local bus routes closer to their homes. And why? Because they value the speed of the service.

    Queen could be an amazing surface rapid transit route if the TTC would just play around with the stops a little and actually try something outside of the box to improve the line.

    Only 35% of residents in The Beaches use transit to get to work. And I think a lot of this stems from the fact they can drive downtown much faster than the slow Queen car.

    Steve: The majority of riders on the subway arrive by bus directly to the stations, and stops on those bus routes are much more closely spaced.

    You won’t get arguments from me about York and Simcoe, but these are exceptions. Downtown, the traffic lights are close together and this, together with traffic congestion and Toronto’s antipathy to actually enforcing traffic rules, affects operating speed as much as the stop spacing.

    If the proposal were for 800m everywhere, including the Beach, I might at least tolerate it for discussion, but here it’s clearly a double-standard so that the pampered Beachers don’t have to walk too far. If customers can walk a long way to stops in Quebec City, then stops at, say, Neville, Wineva (Main bus) and Woodbine should be all anyone in the Beach really needs. We could even make them pay extra for this “premium” service.


  23. Having the opportunity to take a westbound Queen car yesterday afternoon in rush hour and rain, the really big delay was at the Lansdowne/Jameson offset intersection with the seventy-umpty-way traffic signal setup. This by the way has only been in place for a bit more than a year.

    East of Brock, no problems. West of Jameson, all good until Roncesvalles (where a King shuttle bus was blocking things a bit).

    Fixing Lansdowne/Jameson could cut five minutes off an evening peak westbound run.

    I don’t recal this being a huge problem eastbound in the morning peak, but it’s still not great.

    By comparison, the offset Dufferin/Gladstone intersection works much better, probably because there’s a lot more space in the offset.


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