Help Avoid Short Turns (Updated)

Today I received a note in another thread from Drew who said:

I was riding the 512 home last night, and noticed a sign that read:


There. Short-turns are our fault.

Of course, exiting through the rear doors is written all over every surface vehicle —  it does make boarding/alighting much faster … it could be done without the inference that we cause short-turns.

Now we KNOW on St. Clair, it can’t be traffic causing short-turns (or where, aside from St. Clair West Stn these turns take place), so it must be us.

I too saw this notice on a 504 King car.

Update:   Joe Clark has supplied a photo of the sign.

I was sorely tempted to start a guerilla campaign of my own with signs saying “Manage headways, not schedules”, but I would probably be arrested for defacing TTC property.  I won’t say anything about loading delays caused by three cars leaving the end of the line in a pack with the first one having to wait forever to board passengers at each stop.

Yes, passengers do need to move back, but that’s not the whole story.

Looking Back at “A Grand Plan”

At the end of my series on Transit City, I refrained from offering my own recipe for a new transit system.  That sort of issue is hard to address, and without first knowing just how much any government, future mayor or council might want to commit to transit, it’s very hard to pick a “solution”.

Indeed, we have seen exactly this conundrum with Metrolinx, a body formed to sort out the details and priorities of MoveOntario2020.  With much effort, they whittled a $90bn plan down to $50bn and change, only to find themselves in a recession and a desire by Queen’s Park to limit spending.

All the same, having a network view of things is absolutely essential.  We need to know what we will do as and when money is available either from a booming economy or a change in relative budgetary priorities.  That is the philosophy behind Transit City and The Big Move.

Some readers are relatively new to this site and probably have not delved into the archives.  There are a lot of archives, and I don’t blame people for not reading every word.  Back in March 2006, I wrote an article called A Grand Plan that attempted to give a unified view of transit from my perspective.  Note that this was a year before Transit City was announced, 15 months before MoveOntario, and well before Metrolinx came into being.

Sadly, that agency regarded me as an arch-rival, an enemy to be neutralized, not as a potential friend and supporter of transit.  They are under new management now.

Reading my words from 2006, I am struck by how much survives either because it has already been implemented or is an integral part of current plans.  There are a few points where I took a hard line on the subway-vs-LRT argument, notably what we now know as the DRL East, but the paper stands up.  For the record (in case you haven’t read anything else here), I now agree that the DRL requires heftier service than an LRT line integrated with surface operations on Don Mills could provide.  This change comes in the context of the DRL’s “relief” function for the Yonge line and the Richmond Hill subway extension.

I recommend it to any would-be mayors, and to those planners whose gaze rarely extends beyond their own drawing boards.

Transit City Revisited (Part III, Updated)

(Updated at 3:00 pm, February 1.  I omitted a section on the proposed Sheppard subway extensions to Downsview and to Scarborough Town Centre.  This has been added.)

In this, the final installment of my review of Transit City, I will look at the unfunded (or underfunded) TTC transit projects.  Some of these spur passionate debates and the occasional pitched battle between advocates of various alternatives.  There are two vital points to remember through all of this:

  • Having alternatives on the table for discussion is better than having nothing at all.  It’s very easy to spend nothing and pass the day on comparatively cheap debates.  The current environment sees many competing visions, but most of them are transit visions.  The greatest barrier lies in funding.  Governments love endless debate because they don’t have to spend anything on actual construction or operations.  Meanwhile, auto users point to the lack of transit progress and demand more and wider roads.
  • Transit networks contain a range of options.  They are not all subways or all buses or all LRT.  Some are regional express routes while others address local trips.  Most riders will have to transfer somewhere, even if it is from their car in a parking lot to a GO train.  The challenge is not to eliminate transfers, but to make them as simple and speedy as possible.

I will start with the unfunded Transit City lines, and then turn to a range of other schemes and related capital projects. Continue reading