St. Clair Service to Keele Starts June 30, 2010

[Apologies for posting this late in the evening.  It’s been a busy day and I have not been able to blog.]

The St. Clair will resume operation to Gunn’s Loop (west of Keele) starting June 30, 2010.  I will update this post with observations, and invite comments from riders.

27 thoughts on “St. Clair Service to Keele Starts June 30, 2010

  1. I can’t wait!

    For someone who lives at St. Clair & Bathurst, this is an exciting time for the neighbourhood. Now if only those new Legacy Flexities could get here sooner, we’d be set! 😀


  2. Silly me, I wrote this on the bus, then promptly forgot to upload it 😛

    While the line operated properly while I was there, the clear impression is that by rush hour, this would not hold.

    I boarded at Tweedsmuir. At St.Clair West station, a supervisor boarded the car, and began to chat with the driver. I was able to learn that the second supervisor, to handle the new longer western end, was not working due to mis-communication with the TTC. That the route has 22 minutes, end to end, and that despite no passengers on his first trip, the driver was still 2 minutes late. The old schedule to Lansdowne was 20 minutes, meaning the TTC expects the cars to get beyond Keele in 2; something even the Bloor-Danforth line cannot do.

    Steve: I published the summary of St. Clair schedules in a recent post. The peak period scheduled round trip to Keele is 64 minutes in the AM peak, 67 in the PM peak. These values include recovery time of 4 minutes (AM) and 4.5 minutes (PM) at each end of the line. The shortest scheduled trip between Yonge and Keele is 50 minutes, including 2 minutes recovery time, early on Sunday mornings.

    I was on the line today and saw most cars taking generous layovers at Gunn’s Loop.

    The driver was frustrated and willing to voice his frustrations, I learned that HE had to remind his bosses to put up the “we now go to Keele” notices in the yard. Passengers were boarding asking where the replacement buses were. Not only were there no notices about those buses no longer existing due to the completion of the track, but the old “take the bus, the streetcar does not go here” notices were STILL up. There is also no spur track of any sort, meaning a disabled streetcar needs to be pushed from Gunns to Lansdowne, Oakwood, or St.Clair West just to get it “out of the way”.

    As well, the Georgetown line bridge only has 2 lanes under it, and with no curb, can be the site of accidents. Apparently the professional engineers missed something I did not, I warned about this 2 years ago. I noticed that at Old Weston Road, and Keele, where I egressesed, the “streetcar stop” had not yet been filled in with glass, and was lined with big orange pylons that would say to me, if I did not know about the change, “stay away!”. Lastly, there is no traffic signal light exiting the loop at Gunns, meaning the already unrealistic headway is in reality, impossible.

    Though, if it’s any consolation, I did enjoy my trip!


  3. Time for everyone to put the past where it belongs. Residents, Businesses, Transportation Services and the TTC need to work together to ensure the service runs as originally promised.


  4. Except during the Corso Italia Festival:

    “Starting 6:00 am, Saturday, July 3 until 11:59 pm, Sunday, July 4

    St. Clair Avenue West will be closed, between Lansdowne Avenue and Dufferin Street during the Corso Italia Festival.

    512 ST CLAIR streetcars will run between St Clair Station and Oakwood Loop.

    The 512 ST CLAIR replacement bus will provided service between Gunns Loop, west of Keele Street and Oakwood Loop, diverting around the Festival via Lansdowne Avenue, Davenport Road and Dufferin Street, in both directions.

    312 ST CLAIR all night buses will divert via Lansdowne Avenue, Davenport Road and Dufferin Street, in both directions. “

    Steve: What would a streetcar route be without a bus replacement/diversion for a street festival? When are we going to start running transit through these festivals rather than around them?


  5. The stops aren’t quite ready yet, though — surprise! At Keele there was no glass in the shelter and people were sitting on the base with their behinds sticking out into the traffic. None of them had big enough behinds to obstruct traffic, but I suspect there’s a fair possibility someone might lose their balance.


  6. So after all the time, money and inconvenience a mistake made many decades ago has been corrected. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve always been 100 per cent for this. It just kills me that someone got such a warped idea all those decades ago only to have a future generation suffer a lot of expense, incovenience and controversy to fix what shouldn’t have been done in the first place.


  7. Only slightly tangential to the topic, but I want to voice my support for Steve’s position, STREETCARS AND LRT should run THROUGH Street festivals, not around them.

    I saw so many trams in Europe running right through busy pedestrian malls and farmer’s markets at speeds that would make the TTC’s legal/insurance staff ill….(smiles)..

    So far as I know, they don’t have an inordinate number of accidents.

    We always tell people to take the TTC to these festivals; then make it difficult for people to do so!


  8. Looking at some of the pictures, I wondered why they couldn’t have just left St Clair like they did the Queensway, without filling in the middle of the tracks, wouldn’t that have saved a lot of time and money?


  9. The original St. Clair right-of-way was similar to the Queensway right-of-way, in that there no left lanes and the right-of-way had stones and exposed track. When they rebuilt the right-of-way, the designers gave in to the automobile lobby. Left turn lanes were put in, at the expense of wandering tracks and loss of sidewalks. As well, instead of grass, which is what they say they will do with Queen’s Quay and what they currently do in Europe, they put in concrete because of the car lobby and NIMBY’s.


  10. To reply to A.J., they could not make it like The Queensway because that would prevent emergency vehicles from using the ROW.

    On the topic of festivals, the St Clair streetcar was allowed to run through the St Clair Feet on the Street festival a couple weekends ago between Vaughan and Winona. The PCCs were suppose to be used that weekend as well.

    Steve: Emergency vehicles would have a much easier time using the right-of-way if the TTC had omitted the centre poles. The worst effect of this design is on Fleet Street where there are at least twice as many poles as needed, and they produce a visual barrier in what should be a pleasing corridor. Talking to the TTC about this is like talking to a very thick wall. They have made up their mind, and changing it would require them to admit that what they have already done might not be ideal.

    Yes, they ran through that festival with the right-of-way cordoned off. The Corso Italia festival will have much more foot traffic, and TTC doesn’t want to run transit service through it. A shame really as it would make the festival so much more accessible.


  11. The Corso Italia festival could have had the streetcars running down St. Clair, just like pedestrian malls in Europe. See this video for an example of how it could look like without the car lobby or the NIMBYs or status quo interfering.


  12. In the rebuild, the TTC has eliminated the stub sidings at St.Clair Station (in the street) and at Gunns Loop.

    I was wondering why they were eliminated.

    On May 26, 2006, I saw a CLRV in the Gunns loop stub siding. (I took a photo of it.) I believe the CLRV was having some sort of trouble as it had stopped for some time at the last railway underpass before the loop.

    Steve: The on street tail tracks have been disappearing one by one for quite some time. They no longer exist at Neville (the last wooden block paving in Toronto was on that tail track), Main Station, Broadview Station, Dundas West Station, among other places. Those that remain probably won’t survive any upcoming special work replacements. Remember that any new storage track of this nature must be long enough to hold a 30m-long car, and the old tail tracks were in come cases just enough for a single PCC/CLRV.


  13. Rode the entire line both directions today for the first time to go to Tall Ships gathering Until today I always thought of St.Clair as a straight street! Never saw such a crooked track! Looks like it was laid by the proverbial drunken sailor. Made good time both ways (20-22 minutes) far too much time lost waiting for transit signal at a number of intersections.

    Changing the subject: Is the free zone still in place on Queens Quay eastbound? TTC web site has nothing on it. 509 car eastbound was accepting fares without operator offering transfer or covering fare box. Watched numerous cars eastbound east of Spadina and none were loading at rear door in spite of some minor crowds. At Union two fare collectors were standing like street panhandlers with hand out and letting everyone pass without fare/transfer? What’s up with this?

    Steve: The official TTC notice issued for the May Board period states:

    Summer weekend fare collection at Union Station

    On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from May 9 to September 6, 2010, a modified fare collection procedure at Harbourfront will be used, in order to speed boarding at busy stops at busy times. The special summer fare collection procedure will be extended to include all of the eastbound streetcar stops on Queens Quay, between Bathurst Street and Queens Quay Station. On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays until September 6, 2010, crash-gate collectors will be stationed at Union Station, starting at 3:00 p.m. These crash gate personnel will be scheduled from Collectors Division.

    Customers who board 509 HARBOURFRONT and 510 SPADINA streetcars at the eastbound stops on Queens Quay at Bathurst Street, Dan Leckie Way, Spadina Avenue, Rees Street, Simcoe Street, and York Street, and at the northbound platform at Queens Quay Station, will enter the streetcars through any door and will not pay a fare or be issued a transfer. Customers boarding cars at these stops will pay their fares instead at the crash gate at Union Station. Normal pay-as-you-enter fare collection and transferissuing procedures will be used at all other stops on the 509 HARBOURFRONT and the 510 SPADINA routes. All customers boarding eastbound cars at the Exhibition and at the stops on Fleet Street will be issued transfers, to be used as proof of payment if they travel to Union Station. This fare collection procedure will be used up to and including Labour Day. From Monday to Friday during the summer, and seven days a week after
    Labour Day, normal pay-as-you-enter fare collection will apply at all stops.

    There is a very good chance that with this being a holiday, and therefore a special signup, there are operators working the 509 who do not know the special procedure for fare collection on this route on weekends and holidays.

    And, good ole TTC at work, there was a incredible backup of passengers at Union Station as the escalator and the elevator were both out of order forcing people in both directions to go single file on the narrow staircase. Brilliant!

    Steve: This one isn’t the TTC’s fault. There was a flood at Union caused by the torrential downpour last week, and the station was closed. From the notices at the escalators they expect to get this fixed much sooner than after the last flood at this location.


  14. Don’t know how long the timed transfer will last. I rode the 512, getting off and back on using the 2-hour timed transfer. However, still disappointed that the left turns still get priority instead of transit. Why put in far-side platforms if transit is still not getting the priority they deserve?


  15. All that money and disruption on St. Clair and service is restored to the 1950’s terminal point – Gunn’s loop. God forbid in the reconstruction the line would be extended 1 km to Runnymeade, serving the area’s magnet – the big box stores in the redeveloped stockyards – or 1.5 km to Jane St.

    Steve: An extension further west is to be studied separately. Indeed planned roadwork west of Gunn’s Loop has been delayed so that the street design includes adequate space for a future streetcar line. Whether it will be on a right-of-way or in mixed traffic is not yet known.


  16. Gunn’s Loop has only been the terminal point since the 1980’s, so service on St. Clair HAS been extended west (just not far enough!). Gunn’s Loop replaces the old Weston Rd. Loop just north of St. Clair.

    Steve: Strictly speaking, the old loop was called “Keele Loop”. For years, a building nearby on the northeast corner of St. Clair and Keele was one of the last remnants of the interurban service to Guelph, the same route on which the Halton County Radial Railway now sits.


  17. My bad. I meant Keele, but I typed Weston Rd. instead, since the loop was where Keele becomes Weston Rd. The loop was moved west, I believe, for a potential routing of a southward Hwy. 400/Black Creek Drive, which obviously never materialized. It was an interesting loop, especially when trackage still existed towards Northlands Loop. My, what a forest of streetcar and trolley wires.


  18. The old right-of-way for that interurban service to Guelph is now the hydro electric tower right-of-way one sees just north of St. Clair.


  19. Thanks, guys. You have now made me realize how old I am. I distinctly remember going up to St. Clair and Keele/Weston Road on the night in the summer of 1981 when the TTC track gang cut in the extension to the loop at Gunn’s Road. The intersection was lit up with a massive portable lighting system. I had just bought a used Mamiya C330 with some of my earnings from an archival job in Hollywood and this was its first test. Those large format black-and-white negatives are still in great shape, but my weary bones are a bit questionable. Of course, so are the CLRVs.


  20. Hey Greg, at least your weary bones aren’t controlled by outdated and irreplaceable computer systems like the CLRVs. 😉


  21. No, David, they are good ol’ Steam Era bones. I know a few retired CPR mechanical types who could probably fix them up for me with chewing gum and baling wire.


  22. Now should be the time to test rider demand for extending the tracks westward to Jane Street. A close connect bus from Gunns Loop to Jane Street whereby St.Clair Cars are signed Jane Street (every second car?) and the westbound bus WAITS for the car. Eastbound bus would run as normal.

    Steve: A protected connection? Buses that wait for streetcars? Are you out of your mind? It will never work in Toronto!


  23. In response to W.K. Lis’s video, what happened to the plans to close off King Street to cars and through traffic?

    Steve: There has been very strong opposition to this scheme from many quarters particularly because of its effect on off-peak street activity. The TTC does not run frequent service on the 504 outside peak periods, and taking so much road space then is hard to justify. If the TTC and the City were really serious, they would start to ruthlessly enforce existing parking and stopping laws, including aggressive towing of delivery vehicles and taxis. They treat streets as their personal property and tickets, if they get them, as a business expense. Taking away their vehicles will have a much greater impact, and will drive home the message that King Street is not their personal parking lot.

    What the TTC proposes is badly out of proportion to the degree of the problem.


  24. They have taken another step to completing this line.

    Modifications have been made to the intersection of St Clair and Caledonia, so the Northbound 47 bus has returned to it’s normal route.

    I haven’t seen any signs of work at Old Weston Road, so the 41 Southbound is still detouring via Rogers Road and Weston, and this one is going to be much harder to correct, I believe.

    I also noticed that the announcements for the section from Lansdowne to Keele are still incorrect, announcing the following stop before the streetcar has stopped at the current one. Obviously this is a hold-over from the near-side stops.


  25. On October 19, 2010 I commented:

    I also noticed that the announcements for the section from Lansdowne to Keele are still incorrect, announcing the following stop before the streetcar has stopped at the current one. Obviously this is a hold-over from the near-side stops.

    I just noticed today that the stops are finally being announced correctly. I also saw that they have finally implemented the announcements for the 41E.

    Steve: Yes, the TTC finally worked out its differences with the vendor of the announcement system, and has started to implement a very long backlog of changes.


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