Word reached me this morning that plans for the St. Clair car continue to fall short of announcements, and that design screwups are still with us.
Opening to Keele
Although service will be extended to Earlscourt Loop at Lansdowne on December 20, service to Gunn’s loop is not expected to resume until August 2010. The reason for this is that construction delays and design changes have pushed work well into the winter, when it is impractical and/or very expensive, and the west end of the line won’t be finished until good weather returns in the spring.
This loop will not be available for streetcars because the overhead fittings are not available. The TTC has been building the overhead on St. Clair to be fully pantograph compliant. Why? Because at some distant future time, they actually think St. Clair will become part of the Transit City network operating with Transit City cars from Black Creek Carhouse.
There is no connection between St. Clair and Eglinton, but this would be included in the Jane LRT. There are two small problems:
- The Jane LRT is not yet funded, and is unlikely to open before 2020. Current plans show 2016, but that date assumed a more generous ongoing source of transit capital than we now have. Moreover, it is unclear whether the southern part of the Jane route will be underground, and this would affect an interchange with an extended St. Clair route. Indeed, the Jane route may never extend south of Eglinton and could operate as a branch off of the Eglinton LRT.
- There is a strong possibility that the Transit City network will be built to standard gauge. If so, its cars will not be able to operate over the TTC gauge St. Clair route.
It is unclear whether the TTC is attempting to sever the St. Clair route from the rest of the “legacy” system to avoid operations on the Bathurst Street hill.
Dufferin & St. Clair
This intersection was the source of much debate during design. At one point, the eastbound stop was going to be nearside due to constraints on the sidewalk a farside stop would entail. However, the desire for a left turn lane east-to-north prevailed, and the stop was built farside.
There is a small problem. The platform is wide enough (it was built extra-wide in anticipation of heavy use at this stop) and the roadway narrow enough that large vehicles cannot easily make the north-to-east turn. The brand new stop will be rebuilt and narrowed so that the intersection can work properly.
A similar problem lurks in the design for St. Clair and Old Weston Road where the farside westbound island will constrain the ability of Keele buses to make the south-to-west turn. Why the 41 Keele is not permanently rerouted via Rogers and Weston Road is a mystery (the express branch uses this route already, and there have been construction diversions of the local service). The 168 Symington would continue to provide frequent service on Old Weston Road.