Will Broadview Station Ever Be Finished? (Updated)

Update:  As of January 15, 2010, the signs around the closed stairway have been updated to give an opening date of  “May 2010”.  The signs pointing to these exits are still uncovered and lit, causing people to head for them only to discover that they are closed.

Original post from January 6:

On January 5, the Star reported on the new, but closed, stairway from the east end of the Broadview Station platform.

For many years (the Star says “at least two”, but it was much longer), Broadview Station was under construction to reconfigure the streetcar and bus platforms, add elevators and provide a second exit from the platforms to meet current fire codes.

The work took much longer than originally projected because, to keep annual expenses within budget caps, the project was subdivided.

The new stairways opened for a time, but it didn’t take long for water to leak into the station to the point the stairs were unsafe, and they have been closed since late summer 2009. According to the TTC’s Brad Ross, the TTC and City are trying to figure out where the water is coming from. Meanwhile, there was some work to clean up discoloured tiles in December, but the water is still coming in, and that work was a waste of time.

The water is no surprise to anyone who has actually lived at Broadview as I do. The station had water at the east end ever since it opened and needed major work to seal the structural joints in the tunnel roof a few years ago. An important part of any new structure’s design and construction would have to be waterproofing. What happened?

From a safety point of view, the TTC has never covered off the large, illuminated signs showing the exits, and in an emergency someone could erroneously think they are an alternate way out of the station.

This has been a frustrating experience both for the community (we finally got our park back after years as a construction staging site) and for users of the station, not to mention a textbook example of how not to manage a project.

23 thoughts on “Will Broadview Station Ever Be Finished? (Updated)

  1. Yes, it’s quite frustrating indeed. I occasionally use Broadview when I need an accessible station, and a few times have headed for the end of the platform only to realize it was closed when I got there. It’s this sort of thing that makes the TTC look like they are squandering money, which in turn makes any fare increase that much more untenable.


  2. I always hoped that Broadview Station would get some funding to expand the indoor waiting area for the buses and streetcars. I now live between Victoria Park and Warden Stations and VP station is getting modernized- quite a bit of funding dollars will make this station accessible and a lot more comfortable for use transit riders who are waiting for our connecting buses. I notice that their is only one small sheltered area to wait for connecting buses and streetcars at Broadview Station and I would like to see this heavily used station get some of these Station Modernization dollars. I think if more transit is designed thinking of passenger comfort it will help increase ridership. One of the bus routes is really quite far from the sheltered area to wait for buses.

    Steve: What you see at Broadview is the “modernized” version of the station. I agree that the placement of routes way over at the east end of the station is wrong, and that platform was originally intended only for emergency use such as subway shuttles. Some of that bad placement is left over from the construction period when a few platforms were blocked, but the arrangement has never been fixed.


  3. Steve,

    I very much appreciate your update on Broadview Station. It has been obvious to me for a while that the TTC have ‘bungled this project’. The short time the new stairwell was opened last summer greatly improved the people flow at this very busy station. Now, especially during rush hour squeezing up one stairwell is a maddening experiance – god forbid an actual emergency occured.

    I believe I recently noticed a sign stating a January 14th the stairwell will re-open. However based on your comment that the original “safety issue” has not been resolved I am certainly skeptical. What really gets me right now is that if the original reason for a 2nd stairwell was to meet fire code regulations (another more important safety issue than water on the floor perhaps?) wouldn’t this project be a priority? I haven’t seen many work crews there.


  4. Lots of ground water (underground streams?) + a BD line built on the cheap = maybe it’s time to move a bit east and find a new home station. Chester?

    Christie Stn. was covered for almost 4 years while a nearby condo was built, so I can understand the “construction frustration”.

    When the BD subway was new, the TTC took great pride in keeping it in tip-top shape, but now that it’s old, they just don’t care anymore.

    Steve: I think there is too much of the system that has the feeling of “we don’t care any more” at least in part because when it was new, they didn’t have to try as hard.


  5. I noticed the new stairs had been cordoned off, and wondered why the TTC would build new stairs and then promptly shut them down. They were very useful when I rode the 505 into Broadview.


  6. “Jessica Martins, who deals with media for the TTC, wasn’t aware of the problem that closed the stairs.”

    Toronto Hydro replaces burned out streetlights in response to complaints. Honestly, is it so difficult to have people on staff to notice problems from a citizen’s point of view?

    Steve: It’s particularly odd considering that I had already raised this issue quite some time ago with Brad Ross who is the TTC’s Director of Communications. Word travels slowly some times in that organization.


  7. Steve. I think what they need to do at Broadview is what they have already done at Keele station at the Indian Grove entrance there. In this picture,you will see a sign that states the Indian grove entrance is only to be used in an emergency.

    Steve: The difference at Keele is that there is nothing physically wrong with the Indian Grove exit, it is simply close off because of construction on the bridge outside. At Broadview, there is a concern about water, accumulated scum on the floor, and general safety of people using the exit, especially in a panic situation.

    This is what they need above the entrance at Broadview while its closed. At least this way people will know that YES it is closed but YES it can be used to evacuate the station. Before you say it yes I know its full of water and blocked off but ITS NOT walled off like the speed ramp is at Keele (I am sure the metal doors at the base of the stairs at Broadview can be opened during business hours). People can still get to street level using that exit, its just a bad idea to allow people to do so under normal circumstances. This being said if I was on the subway platform and Broadview station was going up in flames around me, closed or not I am hopping that barricade and fleeing to safety.

    Steve: An emergency exit must be clearly marked, must not be blocked by obstructions, and must be operable by an “average” human being. “Hopping the barricade” is not something all people can do. If there is a fire, the last thing I want to see is people rushing up that exit only to find they cannot open the door. You make far too many assumptions about the day-to-day ability to use that exit, and it varies a lot depending on the weather and the underground water flow.


  8. As you said in the beginning, it has to do with money. I’d normally say take your concerns to council, but it’s an election year, so you’ll have to take your concerns to taxpayers directly.


  9. May be the TTC should start turning the swampy stations into saunas and charge extra for admission. They could use the revenue to make the much needed repairs!

    I noticed that the mobility gate has returned to Broadview after a couple of months’ absence too.

    Steve: Yes, it’s finally working again, although it still has the annoying habit of opening half way and then stopping. This ensures people will collide with it, and that can’t be very good for the works. Why the TTC is incapable of making a gate that simply swings open in one continuous movement utterly escapes me.


  10. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall years ago at Broadview stn, not only had they installed copper plating along the various joins across the platform, but also spot welders at the end of each piece of copper (or, that’s at least what they looked like…)

    Steve: That was the first generation of dealing with roof leaks in stations generally. However, as the system aged, and the flow of water grew, the preferred method changed to injecting a resin into the void behind the station structure to seal it. This seems to have been generally successful in some locations, notably joins in roof structures. However, larger joins such as the boundary between the original station structure and the additions built for the new access ways do not appear to have sealed as well.


  11. Letter to editor of Star claimed it was closed off because people were illegally entering the station through it.

    Steve: That’s complete lunacy considering that to even reach the stairway you have to walk in off of the street through the loop, something that is easily done and has been since the station opened in 1966.


  12. Also, TTC wheelchair gates typically have light beams that monitor your passage through the gate and either do or do not open the gate the rest of the way. The exact purpose is unclear. I assure you they are there, though, save of course for antediluvian manual gates as at Queen.


  13. And that reminds me: what, if anything, is happening with the old bus-bay property at Eglinton Stn?

    Steve: Build Toronto has charge of many surplus TTC properties and is looking for development proposals. The Eglinton site is, I believe, on hold for the moment until the design of the new LRT station is finalized. The layout was changed in the last round of presentations to improve the link between the Eglinton LRT and the Yonge subway, but a detailed site study, including residual post-LRT bus connections, has not yet completed. I would not be at all surprised to see this land used as a construction staging area.


  14. I remember when I went a college intro tour at Centennial College’s East York campus, and coming back home took a Mortimer bus to Broadview Station. They were working on the installation of an elevator and general construction.

    This about 6 years ago now.

    Steve: The project was approved in 2002.


  15. “Letter to editor of Star claimed it was closed off because people were illegally entering the station through it.”

    You see, wouldn’t it be great if these people called Special Constables could be posted with the view to apprehending these people for long enough that the message gets across. I guess that would be harder than just mooching around the Bloor SB platform at 8am waiting for … nothing to happen.


  16. I write on the 504 having just transited through Broadview for first time since I left Toronto in summer 2003 – at which time the renovation had already begun. That these very modest works are not complete – and are to such a low standard of design and finish – is depressing.

    As for the so called park I have never seen a single soul use it and ask why it – and the adjacent asphalt parking lot – were not developed with mid rise high density uses.

    Steve: Actually I have seen people, including me, sitting in that park, but it is more of a space one passes through rather than inhabits, just like a lot of open space in Toronto. Every piece of open space does not have to have a building sitting on it.


  17. Today’s Star has an update on their “Fixer” story, saying that the closed stairway “isn’t likely to be fixed before mid-April.”.

    This leads to the obvious question. Why do they have a sign up saying it will open on this 15th?

    Steve: Broadview is my home station, and I will let everyone know what happens on “opening day” later this week.


  18. Sheesh – Broadview’s been under construction since I moved to Toronto 5 years ago…taking as long as a Queen streetcar…


  19. I think part of the problem, and why things take so long is that they need to work around a building that is in public use most of the day. You could probably do all the work in a month if you could simply close the station down, do the work and then reopen. Even the ceiling and roof issues could be easily fixed if you could simply bolt the doors for a few days I think another issue is that of picking the lowest bidder for a lot of these jobs, rather then getting 3 bids and tossing the lowest and highest.

    Steve: The Broadview project had several problems (and cost increases) because it was split into several phases to spread the cost over many years. This had nothing to do with it being an operating location.

    Public sector tendering runs into the low bid problem all the time because “the taxpayers deserve the lowest price”. On occasion, TTC staff will throw out a low bid on the basis that there is some error, or that past experience has shown the bidder cannot complete the work. This inevitably results in howls of outrage from the bidders including deputations by lawyers at TTC meetings. They are not above spinning the story to anyone in the media who will listen about how the TTC is wasting “your money” by not giving them the job.

    In my pre-retirement life, I was involved in some large tenders by my employer. There are very strict rules about how bids are evaluated and how communications with bidders are handled. These are a direct result of unsavoury relationships that have been uncovered in the past (some with lots of publicity) between bidders and public servants.


  20. Clearly the politicians who think it is acceptable to put up with this do not themselves use transit. This is not what transit looks like in Japan, or Portugal, to use examples I am familiar with. I’d bring TTC users to tears were I to wax on about Lisbon and Tokyo.

    The fact is that the middle-class, much less the wealthy, are not forced into transit in Toronto: most drive. You think that may not have something to do with the state of its funding?


  21. I note that the Castle Frank work is supposed to finish in 10 days. I’m taking bets it will not be done (or if it is that it will soon prove defective!)

    Castle Frank Station
    Work Beginning Late – July 2008
    Beginning in late-July 2008, the Toronto Transit Commission will undertake construction of a new sidewalk exit at the Castle Frank Station. This second exit is scheduled to be opened for use by the end of January 2010.


  22. Not that anyone would have been silly enough to put $$ on it, I see the TTC is now saying the Castle Frank second exit will be finished in August 2010. We shall see…

    “The Toronto Transit Commission will undertake construction of a new sidewalk exit at the Castle Frank Station. This second exit is scheduled to be opened for use by the end of August 2010”

    Does the TTC ever finish a project on time?


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