Streetcars Return to St. Clair

Streetcar service will return to route 512 St. Clair on December 20, 2009.

Streetcars will operate from St. Clair Station to Earlscourt Loop at Lansdowne, and buses will operate from Oakwood Loop to Keele (Gunn’s Loop).  Buses will run in the curb lanes except for the stop eastbound at Oakwood.

Service on the streetcar route will be improved relative to pre-bus operations (see detailed chart).  Headways at all times are more frequent than the April 2007 streetcar schedules, and the widest headway is 10 minutes.  That is operated only late evenings on weekends.

Round trip times between Yonge and Lansdowne were 60 minutes in the AM Peak 2007 schedules, but this has been reduced to 50 minutes in the new 2009/2010 schedules.  The longest running time in 2007, for Saturday afternoons, was 84 minutes (to Keele).  The time (to Lansdowne) has been reduced to 47 minutes in the new schedules.  (A round trip from Lansdowne to Keele likely took at most 16 minutes, not including layover time, in 2007.)

Work on the Bathurst Street underpass at Dupont will be completed before December 20, and streetcars will operate from Roncesvalles Carhouse rather than Hillcrest.

The service planned for St. Clair is clearly an improvement both in frequency and speed over that which operated on the route before it was rebuilt.  The new schedules go into effect during the winter months, an ideal time to show off improved service quality.  With luck, the traffic signals will actually speed streetcars across the route rather than contributing substantial delays.  This is a real test of the TTC’s and the City’s desire to show that transit priority and all of the disruption on St. Clair are worth the effort.

15 thoughts on “Streetcars Return to St. Clair

  1. Has there been any promises by the TTC/City of Toronto on actually implementing transit priority signals on St. Clair.

    Will signal priority mean that streetcars will get priority over left turning vehicles as well as getting their signal turned green on approach. Or do you think St. Clair will be another Spadina (does Spadina have signal priority interms of approaching streetcars getting green lights when they normally would have been red)? I know left/U turning vehicles get priority over public transit on Spadina.

    Steve: I am waiting to see. It will be a major screwup if the transit priority signals are not working when the line opens, but I would not be surprised. Meanwhile, at the November Commission meeting, the staff may finally respond to a report request from then-Commissioner Olivia Chow asking about transit priority signals on Spadina. This has been outstanding for four years.


  2. According to the TTC,
    “The TTC is scheduling the return of streetcar service from St. Clair West Station to the Lansdowne streetcar loop in Fall 2009. Streetcar service west to Gunns Loop is scheduled to resume at the end of 2009.”

    The winter solstice is on December 21, 2009 at 17:47 UTC (12:47 Toronto time). Cutting it a little close with the Lansdowne service, since the 20th is still fall or autumn. Don’t know about getting streetcar service to Gunns Loop by December 31st, thou. Hope there’s no snow or heavy rain until then.

    Steve: My source is quite authoritative. It is the Planning Department’s detailed summary of pending route changes. There’s no way they can be open to Gunn’s Loop this fall. Better to leave that for spring.


  3. Might I suggest formatting the detail chart so that it is presented horizontally rather than vertically. I’m getting a stiff neck trying to read it in place!

    Steve: Right click. Select “rotate clockwise”. Rub neck.


  4. Nope – right click lets me resize, zoom in or out, do a couple of other useless functions, no rotate in any direction. If I could rotate it I wouldn’t have written in. I could always copy it into a file and THEN rotate but I was just trying to read the chart without going into overtime! Cheers!

    Steve: What version of Acrobat are you running? I have version 9.1.3.


  5. In Adobe Reader, there should also be a VIEW menu, and under that there should be a ROTATE VIEW with a couple of options: CLOCKWISE and COUNTERCLOCKWISE. Maybe haven’t seen a round clockface with second and minute hands in ages, just digital clocks.

    Steve: The View menu is not visible when a PDF is opened within a browser page. As for clock faces, John and I are both old enough to know about analog clocks.


  6. Ah, the joys of modern computers – even my Mac Pro came with a very old version of Acrobat, apparently. Things have changed a bit since my first sign-on in 1981 in the employers computer room (no mere mortals were allowed to touch anything without an hour of instruction to learn how to type on it) – no more black screens with orange or green un-resizable letters (how the hell did we ever cope with that!). Pushing 70 really hard, I often wonder why I bother but then I usually remember my gazilion gigabyte photo collection (and that encompasses about 2% of what I have (all safely backed up).

    Anyway, I fumbled my way to my Adobe folder, called up Acrobat, which gave no version number at all. and figured out how to do an update (seriously, my wife usually does all this stuff for me and I’m clueless). Thus updated, I looked forward to a version number. Oh, the disappointment, still no clue. System view brought me nothing that claimed abilities of rotation, but found the toolbar screen allowed me to add a ROTATE button to the top line of Steve’s draft and voila, all is well again. Now if only I can remember to do it next time.


  7. I eventually found the version number – 9.1.2, so I did an upgrade from the Adobe site. What did I get? Version 9.1.0, two less!!

    Margaret then took over and with several machinations managed to find, through nefarious means, two updates tucked away that eventually brought it to 9.1.3 to match Steve’s version. Tried the table ,ink again – no different from before, same lack of ROTATE availability on right click. Fortunately the ROTATE button I installed on the tabke earlier was still present, so no problem.

    As all this really has nothing to do with commenting on St Clair, I will not be offended to see it all disappear from the blog!


  8. Wow… so that means one of two things- ridership actually increased while we were running replacement buses (at higher frequencies maybe?), or the TTC is predicting the same thing that happened to Spadina. However effective the new ROW is, the biggest savings in travel time might come by eliminating those pesky, looong layovers at St. Clair West station. Now, how does the TTC have enough streetcars in peak hours to run both the longer St. Clair route, AND the split Queen routes? Baffles the mind, doesn’t it? And will there be service increases on bus routes now that we’ve freed up all those St. Clair shuttles which was like what, 10, 15, more?


  9. A streetcar schedule shouldn’t be a PDF on the public Web.

    Steve: A streetcar route should not be so infrequent that it needs a schedule, except for the night service.


  10. Every 3.5 minutes (17 TPH) from 6 AM to midnight is infrequent?

    And the schedule isn’t in PDF as far as I can see …

    Steve: I was talking about the general case where some routes go to infrequent off hours service. There is no need for a schedule for the 512 except for the baby night service and the night bus.


  11. I was talking to someone last week who lives near St. Clair and Dufferin, and she said that despite all the disruption, it’s actually been fantastic because her two young sons (aged about 6 and 4) have LOVED watching the construction project. Not a point of view I’d considered up to now!


  12. That’s great and about time!

    I could never get a straight answer on why the Dufferin to McRoberts section was completed before the sections to the east. The non-transit upgrades between Vaughan and Dufferin were started after the Yonge to Vaughan leg was completed, so that couldn’t be it. The streetcars would have already been running to the Oakwood Loop by now.

    Steve: I hate to say this, but I have good reason to believe that construction was staged to avoid having St. Clair torn up through Councillor Mihevc’s ward during the election campaign.


  13. After reading this article, I checked out St. Clair from Yonge to Gunns Road. We all know the part from Yonge to Bathurst. West of there, the line is ready to go except for:

    a) paving the road between Winona and Northcliffe
    b) installing the centre poles, power lines and stop infrastructure between Vaughan and Old Weston (oddly enough, they did the line between Caledonia and Old Weston in record time – about 2 months to rip every thing out and lay every thing down)
    c) finish everything (moving utilities, ripping out old tracks, laying a concrete base, and laying track) between Old Weston and Gunns Road.

    I really wouldn’t be surprised if they opened the whole line (Yonge to Gunns) for December 20, or the January 2010 board.

    Steve: The schedules are already set for the Board Period beginning at the end of December, and the service goes only to Lansdowne. Getting all hte way to Keele is a real stretch especially if winter makes an early appearance. The TTC needs several months’ lead time to determine what the schedules will look like and would be posting the January changes later this month. Better to wait for spring and be sure the work is finished.

    Also the length of time for each stretch depends both on good project management between the various utilities and a really good contractor doing the road work. Different conditions and companies existed in each section, and it shows up when a section like the one west of Caledonia just blazes along the street. By the way, before they started the track work, there was a lot of watermain work that might not have been as obvious. All told, it was longer than two months.


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