Eglinton LRT Project Open Houses (Updated)

Starting tonight, there will be a series of open houses for the Eglinton project.

Updated:  The display panels are now available online.

All Open Houses will be held from 6:30pm to 9:00pm.

  • November 23:  York Memorial Collegiate (cafeteria), 2690 Eglinton Avenue West
  • November 24:  Etobicoke Olympium (2nd floor Lounge), 590 Rathburn Road
  • November 25:  Northern Secondary School (cafeteria), 851 Mount Pleasant Road
  • November 26:  Richview Collegiate (cafeteria), 1738 Islington Avenue
  • December 2:  CNIB Conference Centre, 1929 Bayview Avenue
  • December 8:  Don Montgomery Community Centre, 2467 Eglinton Avenue East
  • December 10:  Beth Shalom Synagogue, 1445 Eglinton Avenue West

 

Please use this thread for comments on the latest proposals, preferably after you have seen them.

32 thoughts on “Eglinton LRT Project Open Houses (Updated)

  1. I shall attend Wednesday’s session at Northern since they won’t hold one at North Toronto Collegiate. I have some question about section 2.2 below.

    2.2 Black Creek Maintenance and Storage Facility Connection.

    “The segment between Weston Road and Black Creek Drive is important as it is the proposed location for the TTC Maintenance and Storage Facility, which is planned to serve three LRT lines. A study for this area was conducted to recommend an Eglinton Crosstown LRT alignment that provides a high quality transit service and flexible connection to the Maintenance and Storage Facility while maintaining the opportunities for development and growth consistent with the City of Toronto’s Official Plan. Key technical constraints included bridge structures, area topography, traffic conditions, railroads, and the Black Creek Valley. As stated in Section 1.1. of this document, the proposed Maintenance and Storage Facility was not within the scope of this study.

    “Six alternatives were identified and evaluated. The recommended alignment is a surface alternative, which incurs the lowest cost, and allows for a secondary (emergency) connection to the proposed Maintenance and Storage Facility. In addition, the traffic analyses performed for the surface alternative demonstrated that a high quality connection can be provided to the proposed Maintenance and Storage Facility (including sufficient LRV loading and unloading capacity). “

    Question 1: What are the three lines that they plan to operate out of it aside from Eglinton? The second would probably be Jane but it will not be built for a long while. Would the third be St. Clair or Finch? St. Clair uses a different type of equipment with different voltage and current collection but those problems could be overcome. If Finch is to be the third line where would they store the cars until Jane is built? There would probably be a connection at Kennedy with the Scarborough Malvern service and possibly with the service to the U of T’s Scarborough campus but this is lot of dead head mileage, even for the TTC.

    Steve: Yes, I think that’s St. Clair they refer to. However, until Metrolinx gets off its butt and tells us how the Transit City gauge issue has been resolved, the idea of running St. Clair from Black Creek carhouse is a bit of a joke. Moreover, it looks like Jane won’t get built for a long time, nor will the St. Clair extension, and so that route will run as part of the “legacy” system for a decade or more.

    Question 2: What is “sufficient Loading and unloading capacity?” Do they plan to load and unload passengers in the car house, or do the access tracks interfere with on street platforms on Eglinton? OR, third possibility, is this the location where the LRV’s will be delivered and do they mean facilities for off loading the LRV’s from their shipping vehicle.

    Steve: I believe it is the third possibility they refer to.

    Does the TTC have any plans for a heavy maintenance location for the LFLRV’s or do they plan on doing some of it at each location? What are the plans for this facility and what is its capacity?

    Steve: The TTC intends to have some capabilities at least at Black Creek as well as the new Portlands carhouse. However, some of the car subsystems are designed for easy swap out/in, and repair facilities, for example for the electronics package, don’t have to be at the same location as the cars.

    Where and how will the new LFLRV’s be delivered? I am trying to remember if this facility is accessible to the Weston Sub or the Mactier Sub?

    Steve: The Weston sub is on the west side of the property.

    Has the TTC given any long term thought to the maintenance needs for Transit City and how they are going to move equipment between lines?

    Steve: Initially, the lines will be isolated, but there will eventually be a link from Eglinton to Sheppard via the converted SRT. That won’t exist until the Eglinton line reaches Kennedy in 2018. Finch is proposed to extend east and south to Don Mills, although I think that’s a bit far fetched. However, Finch will link to Eglinton either via Jane, or possibly via the Airport. See also my comment about swappable components.

    These are some of my question for them on Wednesday. I will try to be polite.

    Steve: I will be there too.

    Like

  2. I am surprised that that the platform length for the underground stations will only be expandable to 90m (Part 1, page 9). Given that the tunnels will be large enough to accommodate HRT, it seems prudent, for the long-term, to provide for an extension to subway train-sized platforms. I don’t know if Eglinton will ever get converted to what Torontonians traditionally regard as HRT; that’s one for future decision makers, but I suspect that longer ‘trains,’ regardless of technology will be required at some point.

    As far as I know, a four-car train of T1s is slightly longer than 90m, as would be a four-car train of TRs, and platforms are longer than the trains themselves. Maybe ‘Sheppard-sized’ platforms are enough for Eglinton, but at least the Sheppard line has the option of going ‘full-size.’ Given that most of the planned stations do not have storage tracks and crossover tracks, which will also be built using the cut-and-cover method, future platform expansion beyond 90m, if required, will necessitate going into the tunnel structure itself. I imagine that this will be costlier and more disruptive to customers, whether or not it occurs ten, twenty, or thirty years from opening day.

    Steve: I am waiting to get a look at the detailed drawings where the real space reserved for possible platforms will be obvious by the gradient changes.

    Like

  3. The layout at Black Creek Drive seems quite inadequate despite what they may claim. How do they expect to get enough green time (and on demand) for Eglinton when it is essentially crossing an expressway? I also don’t see how they can get high volumes of LRVs into and out of the carhouse without a grade-separated junction. It’ll be the one car/train per light cycle game like everywhere else. The information presented clearly states that cost trumps intelligent operation.

    Like

  4. I am a bit concerned too about the 90m platforms, and how the project designers seem to be adamant that the underground tunnel section will not be convertable to HRT in the future if demand were to warrant it (they seem to be vague as to whether the tunnels will be built to accommodate the loading gauge of subway cars, I suspect they will due to the fact they are twin tunnels and the clearance required for overhead catenary). While I doubt it if longer platforms will be required in the near-term, but given that this is a major line I suspect that they will be needed twenty, thirty, fourty years from now. At a bare minimum, I hope that the TTC designs the tunnels so that there is a flat gradient at one end so that the platform can be extended to 150m (I would assume that since the tunnels will be bored, the cost of doing so would be minimal). Admittedly, there is always the possibility of compensating with automatic train operation (similar to the Canada Line or Muni Metro for instance) to reduce headways or building/upgrading lines along Lawrence or St. Clair, so perhaps this is a non-issue. Also, would it be practical to design the platforms/stairs/elevators so that the platforms could be converted from low to high platform if required (e.g. see the design of the “pre-metros” in Brussels)?

    I also asked about building the western section of the LRT (Royal York to Martin Grove) on the north side of the road in a separate right of way rather than in the centre. I figure that this might be advantageous due to (a) reduced impact of construction because there is no need to make major modifications to the road layout (b) the possibility of using crossing gates on the LRT ROW to improve safety (c) the fact that most development is on the north side of road, which means that many users would not have to cross traffic to reach the LRT (though some users would have to cross 4 lanes of traffic instead of 2). The engineers pretty much dismissed my suggestion because of the impact of “driveways” (there is only one minor driveway along this whole section, to a shopping plaza).

    Steve: The issue of compatibility with future HRT conversion has been discussed by the Commission. I’m not sure if there was a specific direction to “make it so”, and will have to research the actual decision. The line also has grades of 5%, steeper than usual for subway design (the maximum on the YUS is 4% between Summerhill and St. Clair). I have not heard any discussion of how the trackbed and/or platforms would be designed for conversion to high-platform vehicles.

    The bored tunnels will be 6m in diameter which is larger than the tunnels on the Spadina extension at 5.4m. There will be lots of room for subway cars. Having said that, the projected demand on Eglinton can be handled by LRT trains on a frequent headway. The real issue will be what to do with them when the line comes out onto the surface. A two-minute headway (30 trains per hour) would provide a design capacity of 13,500 assuming 150 per car.

    As for driveways, yes I have heard that line too. The TTC has become quite strident on this issue because of design questions on the proposed Queen’s Quay layout, and they tend to ignore basic issues such as the absence of driveways on that part of Eglinton.

    Like

  5. So is the belt line. Will it pass under?

    Steve: The Belt Line and the Bike Path are the same thing. The line is underground at this point.

    Like

  6. Jason says:
    November 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    “I am surprised that that the platform length for the underground stations will only be expandable to 90m (Part 1, page 9). Given that the tunnels will be large enough to accommodate HRT, it seems prudent, for the long-term, to provide for an extension to subway train-sized platforms. I don’t know if Eglinton will ever get converted to what Torontonians traditionally regard as HRT; that’s one for future decision makers, but I suspect that longer ‘trains,’ regardless of technology will be required at some point.

    “As far as I know, a four-car train of T1s is slightly longer than 90m, as would be a four-car train of TRs, and platforms are longer than the trains themselves. Maybe ‘Sheppard-sized’ platforms are enough for Eglinton, but at least the Sheppard line has the option of going ‘full-size.’ Given that most of the planned stations do not have storage tracks and crossover tracks, which will also be built using the cut-and-cover method, future platform expansion beyond 90m, if required, will necessitate going into the tunnel structure itself. I imagine that this will be costlier and more disruptive to customers, whether or not it occurs ten, twenty, or thirty years from opening day.

    I believe that the T1’s are 75 feet long which makes a 4 car train about 300 ft or 90 m, give or take a half m. This is the same length as the stations on Eglinton. If you look at exhibit 5 on page 11 of the report (page 25 of the pdf), you will see a “typical station” with a 2 car platform, a 1 car long reserved section and then an area for “services” at either end. I bet that these “services” area would be usable for platform expansion. The problem becomes how to convert them to “high platform” while maintaining service.

    I agree with Steve that thr LRT can provide adequate service. If they ran 4 car trains on a 2:00 minute headway the capacity would be 18 000 per hour. I still think that they should make the Transit City cars at least 9 ft, 8.7 m, wide. If you are building a system whose cars are not compatible with the existing “legacy’ system” why not make the cars as big as possible. The TTC was going to make the CLRV’s the same length as PCC’s until Steve pointed out that the Big Witts that they used to run where 51 feet long and not 46 feet. I will bet that the cost for extra width is a lot less than that for extra length and the tunnels are bigger than those for Yonge because of the height needed for Pantograph.

    Like

  7. The report is extremely optimistic about the running speed. They’re estimating a speed comparable to the Bloor-Danforth line in the west surface section, even with closer stop spacing. I really don’t see how this is possible. It’s also puzzling because the east surface section has a similar stop distance but is estimated to run much more slowly.

    In addition, the estimated speed in the underground section is slightly faster than Bloor-Danforth. Will the LRVs have superior acceleration to the T1s?

    Steve: It’s the station spacing. BD is 30km/h over its length, a great deal of which has fairly closely spaced stations. The central section of Eglinton has 14 stations from Keele to Don Mills while the BD line has 19 from Keele to Coxwell (due south of Don Mills & Eglinton). That’s why the LRT is faster.

    The west section has less competition from cross-streets, and that’s why it is faster than the east section.

    Like

  8. How likely is it that this line will ever be converted to subway? I wonder if we are spending a tonne of money and time on something that is likely to never happen, or that could be avoided by doing something like building another line across Lawrence, adding some additional north/south lines, or even by acquiring separate right of ways between St. Clair and Eglington over the next 40-50 years.

    It seems to me that the only way the line is converted to subway is if there is a lot of major re-development (ie tearing down a lot of the houses, widening of roads). If that is going to happen, then ensure that while the re-development is happening you acquire/create some more east/west routes and put LRT on it.

    It doesn’t even have to be separate right of way to lighten the load on the main line, just enough to lessen the load enough that the line will never cross the “subway threshold”.

    Steve: There is a related issue here of the Downtown Relief Line. With the DRL in place, especially if it reaches up to Eglinton, traffic that might otherwise flow to Yonge from the east will be intercepted.

    An important point looking at Eglinton demand numbers is that this line will carry many people comparatively short distances, and the capacity of the line will be used multiple times per trip. This is somewhat like the King car or a bus route like Finch West where there is a lot of turnover at major transfer points and riding is attracted to the line to and from various neighbourhoods along the way. All day numbers don’t tell the whole story for a line this long.

    Like

  9. Why not put the Commerce Road section beside Commerce rather than in the middle of the road and have the station co-located with the BRT station? Unless something has changed in the past 12-months, there is just a big open field there today.

    Steve: I understand that the big open field is owned by a developer who is upset at the possible loss of property on his site. From my point of view, the idea that there would be a major BRT/LRT interchange without a direct connection between platforms for the two lines is quite ludicrous. All transfers will contribute to pedestrian traffic at that intersection. This is not what Metrolinx means by a “mobility hub” (palm trees and all), but they are too cheap, it seems, to build anything else. This is as much an issue for Queen’s Park and the design of the BRT and airport connection as it is for the TTC.

    With luck, since the airport link will be the last part built, this design cock-up can be fixed before we build the station in the wrong place.

    Like

  10. “The west section has less competition from cross-streets, and that’s why it is faster than the east section.”

    That explains the west vs east difference, but I still don’t see how the west surface section can be as fast as Bloor-Danforth.

    Steve: Yes, that seems to be excessive. Having said that, the average on BD is made up of two sections with widely spaced stations where trains get up to high speed, and a long central section with closer spacing. The west end of Eglinton has wide station spacing all along it.

    Like

  11. What is the point of public input if we’re supposed to “just trust the engineers”? On St. Clair there is now a second finished intersection requiring alteration and the problem that resulted from the new design was something that I brought up when I saw the proposal documents. In the case of St. Clair/Caledonia it finally took a bus accident to force an indefinite route diversion while the problem corner is re-engineered (perhaps ‘de-engineered’ is a more appropriate term). I’m quite thoroughly fed up with this contempt for technical input. I’m welcome to ask for a tree planting (three fresh ones will now have to be up-rooted from St. Clair/Caledonia) but question their vision of operations and you’re dismissed like you’re a ‘career agitator’.

    Steve: Yes, the public participation process often seems like an exercise in validating what has already been decided even if the explanations don’t hold water. The TTC can be extraordinarily pig-headed at times, and the staff invoke the mystical cloak of professionalism without realizing just how tattered that cloak can become from overuse.

    Like

  12. Kristian, as someone who works in software, I know what this can be like … after spending so much time on a design you take it to your users and they rip it apart … it’s easy to dismiss the users as not knowledgable or distant from the process. The best way to improve on this would be for the organization to increase the direct feedback to engineers, having them at public meetings is a start (so they can get first hand knowledge of the issues customers are concerned about).

    Having a public website where you would have a map of the proposed changes and be able to “pin” comments/problems to specific locations would give the engineers a way to gather feedback in a more rigourus manner. It would also allow users to enter their qualifications and knowledge level of a system….much in the same way that a public beta of software would give higher priority to someone who is a security expert.

    It also allows the “filter” of management and public relations to be removed.

    On that note, is their anyone in the engineering departments who currently is blogging or twittering regularly about their day to day job? Someone would do well to start up a “Engineering The Rocket” blog and get some information out about the specifics that they deal with on a day to day basis.

    Like

  13. Hi Steve,
    Have you heard about this group before?

    http://www.saveoursubways.ca/

    Steve: Heard of, but not followed closely. My opinions on widespread subway expansions are well-known, and there is no point in trying to engage this group in a conversation. I only have so many hours in the day.

    Like

  14. I still don’t buy the median u-turn idea. They say it’s been successful in other cities, but the picture shows it used with a grass median, not a transit line. And, without tracks, it’s much simpler: instead of a separate U-turn lane for cars to wait in, and lights to stop opposing traffic, the cars wait in the space in the grass median, and release themselves during a gap.

    Is there some reason near-side platforms are considered preferable? Looking at the aerial shots, there’s plenty of space at most of these intersections. If they moved the platforms to the far side, they could put in a double left-turn lane. That would keep the green time needed for left turns to a minimum, and (bonus) allow for a wider LRT platform on the far-side. I don’t think the street width becomes prohibitive for pedestrian crossings — that larger platform can double as a pedestrian island. And because these major intersections are far enough apart, there shouldn’t be issues with having transit priority that works: there should be enough lead time to ensure an E-W green by the time the LRV arrives. (In a worst-case scenario, the left-arrow green can follow the main E-W green.)

    Steve: For intersections where left turns are made right at the intersection, the TTC uses farside platforms. This places the platform in the “shadow” of the nearside U-turn lane. Where left turns are made via a U turn, the stop has to be nearside so that the stacking space for U turns can go in the shadow of the platform on the farside of the intersection.

    Like

  15. I’m all for more input into the engineering discussions so long as it involves more that turning “T35A08” into “Toronto Rocket”. (I don’t understand what all the public fanfare was for – couldn’t they have just called them “T2” and not bothered with the BS public relations campaign?) In that particular case engineers had no concept of how important it was to establish an emotional tie to transit with Toronto’s children by letting them see out the front window.

    It’s kinda like the Special Constable who couldn’t understand why I was interested in watching the trains using the crossover at Bloor Station during the last shut-down. “They’re just trains…” It was about more than just railfanning anyway – seeing how smoothly or not the turnback operations were and how they affected the service was of great importance. How slow it was should have been something that engineers and operations folks were observing and being concerned about. Some of the public is actually intelligent enough to be involved in technical discussions.

    Like

  16. Robert Wightman says:
    November 24, 2009 at 11:40 am

    “I believe that the T1’s are 75 feet long which makes a 4 car train about 300 ft or 90 m, give or take a half m. This is the same length as the stations on Eglinton. If you look at exhibit 5 on page 11 of the report (page 25 of the pdf), you will see a “typical station” with a 2 car platform, a 1 car long reserved section and then an area for “services” at either end. I bet that these “services” area would be usable for platform expansion. The problem becomes how to convert them to “high platform” while maintaining service.”

    Robert, thank you for mentioning the services area. I went back to the exhibit that you mentioned, as well as previous Eglinton LRT reports/presentations, after posting my original comment last night as I recalled a maximum platform length that was larger than 90 m. I didn’t find it, but expansion into the services areas sounds familiar, although, perhaps I heard it at a community meeting rather than reading it anywhere.

    As the exhibit is a scale diagram, it can be determined by measurement that, if incorporating the services area into the platform is feasible, the maximum platform length is 152 m. This is more than enough to provide for, if required, the equivalent of a six-car T1 train in the future.

    I’m not certain why you stated that you agreed with Steve though, at least in regard to my original comment, as I didn’t challenge anything that he has written. It was probably inadvertent but, to revisit, my capacity concerns were explicitly related to the distant future, not opening day. Also, I didn’t advocate a specific technology choice. I was merely using the sizes of the T1 vehicle and existing platforms to contrast with the Eglinton metric of 90 m.

    I agree with you though that Transit City vehicles, like public transit vehicles existing in other jurisdictions, should marry LRT technology with greater capacity than the legacy system can provide, and have posted on that possibility in the past. If designed in such a matter, I would gamble that there will never be a need to raise the platforms on the Eglinton Line.

    Like

  17. What I mean to say is that the Belt Line/bike path, and I know they are one and the same, whatever you prefer to refer to them as, pass underneath Eglinton, as will the LRT. So will the LRT dive even lower to go under it, or are we looking at some kind of grade crossing or even severing the underpass link?

    Steve: They will not intersect. Look at Page 10 of Part 2 of the current display which shows Chaplin Station. The station itself is well east of the path. It has to be far enough down to clear utilities which will definitely put it under the path. Whether this piece of tunnel will be cut and cover as part of the station area or deep bore tunnel, I don’t know.

    Like

  18. In the west section of the Eglinton LRT, “the pedestrian bridge west of Scarlett Road will be removed and replaced with a new traffic signal for surface level pedestrian crossings”. The Mulham Place stop and intersection will serve Plant World.

    A little bit east, between the Humber River and Jane Street, the Emmett Avenue stop will be removed and the intersection will only allow right turns only (no signals).

    Why is an intersection, with traffic signals, being allowed for a commercial operation (Plant World), but not for a long term health care facility (West Park Health Care Centre), a high school (York Humber), a park (Eglinton Flats) and condominium & apartment buildings?

    Like

  19. Jonathon wrote:

    “What I mean to say is that the Belt Line/bike path, and I know they are one and the same, whatever you prefer to refer to them as, pass underneath Eglinton, as will the LRT. So will the LRT dive even lower to go under it, or are we looking at some kind of grade crossing or even severing the underpass link?”

    The Beltline path is only a few meters (barely one story) lower than Eglinton where it is bridged, nowhere near enough room to squeeze an at-grade streetcar through.

    If they weren’t going to keep the line completely tunnelled, the path would be bisected by a 2 – 3m deep trench. Just seems really silly.

    It is probably worth noting as well that the underground section is deep enough such that stations have a concourse level also completely underground while still being above the line itself.

    Steve: You have just answered your own question. Look at the map. Chaplin Station is completely east of the Belt Line. This means that its mezzanine structure does not interfere with the rail path, and also that the LRT, which must be under the mezzanine, will also be under the rail path.

    Like

  20. Is there any reason as to why there’s no display panel for the stop at Leslie?

    Steve: I don’t know. It shows up on the long roll drawing with a shared centre platform east of the intersection. There are a few other oversights in the panels.

    Like

  21. Last night at the Northern Secondary displays, I too got the standard look of disdain when I questioned what in effect would become an operational issue. These public displays really seem to be just a ploy to make the consultancy work look like it’s earned the ridiculous billing rates the various levels of government pay for it.

    That aside, Steve — am I totally off-base here in thinking that it’s absurd that they continue to operate these meetings as if the various projects are independent? I feel one of the most important pieces of the entire Eglinton line is the interchange at Don Mills, especially as that involves a N/S line just two-or-so years later, and potentially even a DRL connection in a perfect world. The panel noted that Don Mills work has selected an at-grade option while Eglinton passes under the intersection… but having listened to their spiel about the decision-matrix, yadda yadda, I’m not convinced the future interconnectivity options of the two lines have really been looked at in any sort of visionary, long-term goals way… and instead has come down to cost based on a save-now, rebuild later mentality. Worse, I half suspect it was deliberately downplayed to counter charges that altered left-turns at Don Mills & Eglinton would be a traffic control nightmare. Right now, from an Eglinton perspective they haven’t changed the intersection for drivers at all, but just a few years later the Don Mills line will force the same U-turns at it that the other intersections are getting.

    If they told me that the DRL will be built and come up Don Mills to Eglinton, I’d be totally fine with the separate LRT from Eglinton northwards being at grade. But if there’s any chance that the Don Mills LRT will be long-term a through line to BD (which we can pretty safely presume it will be for our lifetimes), then I can’t imagine why it too would not be underground at the Eglinton stop. In fact, the interchange options and the above-ground growth centre potential should heavily outweigh any short-sighted cost-savings and could be done in one-go if considered from the start. Dig-up the intersection once, but make it a BIG dig that includes the future N/S plans. Seems to me that only becomes impossible thinking if & when the various plans are studied and budgeted as separate entities — logic be damned, apparently.

    Steve — what’s your take on that intersection, and operationally what would you like to see the two lines doing over the long-term. I for one would love to see a Don Mills split that has some southbound vehicles heading to Yonge-Eglinton and some to BD, gosh, like other cities manage. Separate the two lines so that they don’t intersect and that option becomes far more costly to implement later (iow, never happens). And, is it really impossible for the overall interchange facilities to be addressed as a common plan? Shouldn’t we be able to ask them early on to show us how they intend the various lines to intersect, from a rider’s perspective — perhaps even mock-up the interchange mezzanines, etc., at this stage of the planning?

    Steve: Yes, I believe that the Don Mills Eglinton interchange should be built once, not two or three times, and the failure to at least include design options shows how these projects work in isolation.

    Having said that, I must say that the Don Mills project team spent far too much time looking only at alignments inherited from the old Don Valley BRT study and trying to justify shoe-horning an LRT right-of-way into a street like Pape or Broadview. This is complete madness, and at least if they had considered alignments for which buses were simply not an option (such as a completely new crossing of the Don), we might have a better sense of possibilities.

    “Isolation” is not just between projects but between what the projects study and the evolving reality of the network. Much of the work on the SRT, for example, is very ICTS-centric even though it has been clear for months that conversion to LRT made more sense. Much of what the public has seen will have to be redone for the LRT configuration. Comparative project estimates will have to be reworked on the basis that staff actually want to get an LRT project done quickly rather than making it look as bad as possible in comparison to ICTS..

    Finally, we do NOT need another Sheppard/Yonge extravaganza at Don Mills and Eglinton. That subway interchange is vastly overbuilt and cost a goodly chunk of the total project budget. However, if we do pre-build part of Don Mills and/or DRL, the money to do so must come from somewhere, and the Eglinton project budget does not have room.

    We talk about “The Big Move” and network planning, but we still actually plan and budget for one line at a time.

    Like

  22. Steve: Yes, I believe that the Don Mills Eglinton interchange should be built once, not two or three times, and the failure to at least include design options shows how these projects work in isolation.

    Doesn’t the exact same argument apply at the Weston Roqad station where it crosses the rail corridor. It is shown on the panels as being subject to a future study. If we assume this will eventually be a large transfer point to frequent GO (and/or Airport Link) service, then surely a well planned transfer is needed from the start. As the panels show, the Weston Rd station is too far for comfortable interchange, but too close to have another station atop the rail corridor.

    Steve: There are also issues with the grade on Eglinton east of Weston Road as well as buildings that hem in the intersection on the east side. This brings us to the philosophical question of whether the purpose of the Eglinton line is to connect with GO Transit or to serve local demand. Rail corridors are notoriously out of the way to places people actually live or want to go.

    Like

  23. Picking up on the point about interchange planning… I really hope that the plan for Kennedy is really just some random placeholder for the results of the separate study. The Scarborough-Malvern LRT will (in part) function as an eastwards extension of the Eglinton LRT (after all, about a third of S-M runs along Eglinton Ave).

    Given this, and the near certainity that the SRT will be converted to LRT, I would hope to see at least the ability to interline these two lines with the Eglinton LRT. Transfers, no matter how easy and nice, put people off transit.

    (And no, I don’t expect many people to travel all the way from the Scarborough Centre to the airport… but then, I don’t expect many people to travel from Kenendy to the airport either).

    Steve: Amazingly, Metrolinx, who have a positive fetish for being able to get from the far corners of the earth to Pearson Airport via a single ride on Eglinton, do not apply the same logic to the Air Rail link from Union Station. They are perfectly content to advocate a service which most people will not be able to reach without first taking a ride on the TTC, a ride that will charge a separate fare.

    Their feelings about Eglinton are probably left over from their attempts to get an ICTS line and a turnkey project from Bombardier to “extend” the SRT westward. For such a scheme, a direct run to the airport is a selling point, but not a valid one.

    Like

  24. I was at Wednesday’s meeting at Northern and the facts that I found interesting were:

    1. Transit City lines will probably be standard gauge at the insistence of Metrolinx. Since the vehicles cannot operate on the legacy lines I have no problem with that. They will not be able to run St. Clair out of the Black Creek Maintenance Facility though.

    2. There will be no surface bus line on Eglinton between Leslie and Yonge because the station spacing is “the same as on the Danforth and they don’t need a surface bus on the Danforth and on Yonge street most passengers would rather walk to the subway than catch the bus.” I don’t know what part of Danforth he was on.

    Steve: This claim is flat out wrong. Leslie to Yonge is 4.1km, and there are five stations (4 gaps between them) for an average spacing of 1km. The comparable distance on the Danforth subway is to Donlands from Yonge, 4.2km, with 7 stations (6 gaps) or a spacing of .7km. BD stations are closer than 1km to each other until east of Main or west of Old Mill.

    The TTC is foolish to even talk about specifics of bus arrangements in 2018 when the eastern part of the line will open. By that time, we may have accessability requirements demanding closer transit stops, and this sort of thing deserves examination as a service standard.

    3. I wonder how the elimination of the grade separation at Wynford drive will work out. It will eliminate the need for steps from the street car platform down to Wynford but will result in an extra traffic light and a convoluted routing for all the other traffic. I cannot imagine that this will go over well. I believe that it will also slow down the LRT. They seem to want to eliminate surface stops to speed up the service. Surely eliminating a traffic light would speed up service.

    4. The station at Commerce is strange as it has no underground connection to the Mississauga BRT station. This will probably overload the intersection with pedestrian traffic, and decrease safety.

    5. The left turn provisions at some intersections are still too convoluted. The U-turn design will increase the amount of traffic making the right hand turn. What will this do to the traffic, especially with the extra pedestrians that will be using the intersection from the LRT line.

    6. The route planner (correct title ?) said that while the plan is to start with 2 car trains serious consideration is being given to starting service with 3 car trains.

    7. The Don Mills station needs to be re-examined because having any surface line going through one of the busiest intersection in Toronto is going to eventually cause problems.

    8. I believe that the TTC would like to eliminate more surface stops to make the line’s speed faster.

    Steve: Actually it is Metrolinx who are twisting the TTC’s arm about dropping stations. Their meddling is getting quite annoying.

    Like

  25. I find it rather alarming that standard guage is still on the table. Any arguments about it allowing more economical bulk vehicle purchases are near-complete BS. Vendors complaining about bid access is also BS because every system in the world gets a custom vehicle every time. The way everything gets planned and funded there will be nothing ordered in common by timeline or specifications for other systems in this province as part of a Toronto order. The TTC should be allowed the significant financial benefit of using a lot of existing maintenance equipment throughout all of the city systems. Imagine the ridiculousness of having to maintain two different guages of rail-equipped service trucks, just as one example.

    Just because the TC cars won’t be able to operate over the geometric limits of the existing system doesn’t mean that common segments of new trackage are impossible or should be made impossible. Legacy cars would be fully capable of sharing trackage built to the less-restrictive specs. And it is highly likely that all new vehicles will be tolerant of multiple voltages and everything will eventually be pantograph-based. I just really don’t see why the two systems have to be made fully exclusive for eternity.

    Exclusivity of single-ended versus double-ended cars is again BS. Amsterdam runs both with some shared trackage. The double-ended cars also run in a common section with high-floor, high-loading trams that at one station switch to third rail pickup and interline with more than one of the subways. While I’m not suggesting we need this level of complexity, it does clearly illustrate the benefits of viewing your system as one technical entity. It would appear that this sort of ‘connected thinking’ is completely beyond those holding the power in Ontario.

    Steve: Metrolinx listens to would-be vendors whispering in their ear about how the TTC makes it difficult for them to bid, while ignoring Queen’s Park’s own desire to prop up Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant.

    Like

  26. Even though dropping stations would make it seem like the LRT will travel faster. Judging TTC and the city’s past experience, they will somehow mess up the timing of the traffic lights. They might as well serve people at a red light then close the doors when the signal turns green rather than stalling at a red light.

    I hope they get the timing at the farside stops right, or they’ll make another St. Clair line out of Eglinton.

    Like

  27. Has there been any real discussion of a comprehensive streetscaping programme for this whole shebang? That seems sort of hinted at, but not explicit; for example there are spots in the underground tunnel sections for ‘utilities’ but it’s not clear if that refers to existing equipment or, to, say, the burial of Eglinton’s hydro wires, which are ghastly even by Toronto standards. Similarly, here’s hoping the residents along the route use this opportunity to demand better pavings, plantings, etc. Anything that forces Toronto to address the shameful state of its public realm is for the good, in my book.

    Steve: Be careful what you ask for. One big lesson learned from St. Clair is that if too many utilities pile onto a project in the interest of “getting it all done at once”, what actually happens is that everything takes longer because each participant arbitrarily changes their schedules. Hydro is particularly bad in that regard.

    Obviously the excavations for station will present an opportunity to put the utilities back in an upgraded form, but the space between the stations should be left alone. People have already been told that these areas will not be affected by the project, and all they need is for Toronto Water and Hydro to come along and tear up the street which will already be a mess thanks to the traffic congestion at cut-and-cover station sites.

    Like

  28. The Eglinton tunnel is proposed to scoot across midtown at a whopping 32-33km/h. I don’t think people realize just how fast that is. The Bloor Danforth line runs at an average of 24.7km/h between Jane and Donlands. The University line (Union-St.George) runs at an average of 24km/h. Yonge south-of-Bloor has an average of 25km/h.

    Steve: It’s the wider station spacing that yields the better speed.

    Like

  29. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make any of the public meetings (the one on December 8th is just up the street from me, but I have other plans that night). I do have some questions that would be nice to ask in person.

    One question/comment did come to mind – has the idea of putting the LRT ROW on one side of the road rather than in the middle ever come up at any of the meetings so far? That thought came to me over the weekend as I was sorting through some old magazines to purge and found one on LRTs from 2006 – there was an article on an LRT system in the works for Angers France, and some of the drawings seem to show LRTs on one side of the road, with auto traffic on the other, with a grassy median in between. It also showed bike lanes on either side of the roadway.

    I know that historically we’ve put street rail in the centre of the road, but are there any reasons other than tradition that it has to be there. I’m thinking of this especially in the more suburban areas of the city where some roads such as Eginton are 6 or 7 lanes wide with strip plazas on either side. Or would there be greater conficts with left and right turning traffic? Or is this a case of “we didn’t think of that”?

    Phil

    Steve: This has indeed come up several times, and the TTC is adamant that the line go in the middle of the road. They are worried about interference from driveways, even though along the length of Eglinton west from Jane there is almost no such thing. The latest iteration of their objection includes concerns that the vacant land might be developed at which point having the LRT right alongside could make for problems.

    Like

  30. “Has there been any real discussion of a comprehensive streetscaping programme for this whole shebang?”

    Like the kind that inflated the reported project cost for St. Clair and gave succour to those who like to accuse the TTC of wild spending?

    Steve: There was supposed to be an overall urban design study for the TC lines, but I have seen no sign of it yet.

    Like

  31. I am getting really sick of the TTC’s steadfast stand on certain things such as side-of-the-road ROWs for Transit City lines.

    Granted, within Toronto there are few stretches of main road where driveways don’t exist, and these are problematic for light rail lines. However, where possible, this type of ROW should be exploited. If not for simply being able to provide a faster service that results in convenience for its users, but in promoting a wider acceptance of light rail technology as a viable rapid form of transit. The more people feel they are getting what they need, the more pressure is put on higher levels of government to fund further developments. Turn Transit City lines into a bunch “streetcar” routes, and future funding will disappear overnight.

    The Eglinton line has two clear sections where side-of-the-road ROW is ideal: west of Jane and from the eastern portal to Don Mills.

    The argument on the west end that future development would be problematic is simply hogwash. With an LRT in place, the requirements for property access shifts away from Eglinton. While York Region is not the greatest example of urban planning (i.e.: mega parking lots around box stores), they do get one thing right: stretches of main roads where access to business complexes lining those roads is via other streets. This leaves virtually no driveways onto those main roads. Build the Eglinton LRT at the side of the road west of Jane, and all future development will follow this practice.

    As for the eastern portion, the side-of-the-road makes sense in that it extends the eastern end of the totally isolated ROW all the way to Don Mills. If future needs dictate increasing the underground section to four- or even five-car trains, this can easily be accommodated all the way to Don Mills if the line were built this way over this section. This will especially be important if Don Mills and Eglinton become a significant transit hub (thinking of a Don Mills/Leslie LRT from there to Highway 7 or further, plus a DRL heading south from there!).

    Like

Comments are closed.