LRT vs Subway — A TTC View

Before Mayor Ford took office, the TTC briefed his transition team on the comparison between LRT and Subway options for the Sheppard and SRT projects, as well as on the status of Transit City.

This article presents a condensed version of the information.

TTC Briefing Summary

The Briefing Summary contains three tables consolidating information scattered through many pages of the briefing documents.

The first page shows the committed and spent funding for the four projects:  Sheppard East, Eglinton, Crosstown and Scarborough.  An important note here is that the lion’s share of the money is in the period from 2015 to 2020.  Queen’s Park expects to raise this via whatever “Investment Strategy” Metrolinx comes up with, but the funding machinery is not yet in place.  Only the $3.1-billion for 2010 to 2015 is “money in the bank” for Toronto.

This is the first of several potential drags on any plan to revise or accelerate transit construction.  Queen’s Park has not planned to spend most of the money until after not just one, but two coming Provincial elections.  Moreover, they have not yet engaged voters and taxpayers with a debate over the exact source of funds be they tolls, taxes or the Tooth Fairy.

To the end of September 2010, just over $129-million has been spent, although there are commitments for considerably more.  At this point, we have no idea of the “break fees” involved in closing down these contracts.

The second table consolidates the status information on the four projects.  An important point here is that the extended construction period is determined by Provincial spending priorities and the desire to shift as much as possible into the “Investment Strategy”.  The original plans for both the Finch and Scarborough lines would have seen them completed years earlier.  The constraint is financial and political, not technical.

The third table shows the cost estimates for two variants on the Scarborough line as a subway (one ending at Scarborough Town Centre, the other at Sheppard), and for a Sheppard East line running to STC.  Schematic maps for each line are linked below.

TTC Scarborough Subway

TTC Sheppard Subway

It’s worth remembering how little of Sheppard Avenue in Scarborough would actually be served by the extended Sheppard Subway.

A critical point for the SRT is that in the subway scenario, it would have to remain in operation until 2022.  The TTC was concerned about making it last to the Pan Am Games in 2015, and a 2022 date is not credible given past TTC comments on the declining reliability of that line.

The presentation materials end on a summary page that concludes that the segment from Kennedy Station to STC is the “best candidate for a subway”.  This reiterates the TTC’s long-standing anti-LRT position for the Scarborough RT by comparing only the portion of the line from STC south.  The whole purpose of an LRT conversion was to reduce the cost of reaching Malvern, but with a subway plan that will never happen.

TTC staff is expected to produce some sort of subway plan in about six weeks, probably in time for the January 2011 Commission meeting.  We will see how much is a fair presentation of options, and how much is creative writing.

The big issue for me is that if we are going to have a subway-oriented plan, then it should be a plan that serves the emerging needs of the whole city.  Just building as much as you can with the money now earmarked for Transit City will give the impression of movement, but most of this will be to the benefit of the construction industry, not transit riders.  We need to know where demands are growing to the point where some form of rapid transit is needed, what form that would take, and how much it will cost.  Otherwise, voters will have a big surprise when they see how little they get for a substantial outlay.

35 thoughts on “LRT vs Subway — A TTC View

  1. It is physically impossible to convert the SRT to Subway for the following two reasons

    1) Both Ellesmere and Midland would be gone
    2) The turn between Ellesmere and Midland is too much, however I think if I done my math and map drawing right, it could turn right after Lawrence East to Scarborough Centre.
    3) You know that extra track just east of the platform? That goes almost up to Midland and then there would be the turn north so Kennedy Subway station would have to be re aligned/re turned. Kennedy GO Station would make that difficult. Digging under a station is bad, specially when the trains come. OOPS

    Ok so I put 3.

    Steve: Look at the TTC’s map of the Scarborough Subway. It does not follow the existing alignment.


  2. Gary Webster is an absolute wimp if he let Rob Ford declare that Transit City is dead. Let’s hope he buries Ford in evidence that favours LRT. This is the TTC’s time to shine if it has any hope of saving Transit city, and hopefully Toronto Taxpayers.


  3. Steve, you are absolutely right and I’ve been saying this since day one. Extending the Sheppard subway to Scarborough Town Centre does absolutely nothing for the vast majority of Scarborough residents. It is a colossal waste of money. It is a 45 minute bus ride from my house to Scarborough Town Centre. How does a subway line to a mall where very few people live help me or the other 650,000 people in Scarborough?


  4. Steve,

    I think it also bears repeating that Mayor Ford’s campaign promise to extend the Sheppard Subway to the STC and replace the SRT with a subway has a time-frame associated with it — he has promised to accomplish these goals (~20km of subway building) by 2015, i.e. the end of his first term in office.

    This is from “A Transportation Plan that Makes Sense for Toronto” from the Ford campaign, dated Sept 7th 2010 (page 2, about half-way down).

    Steve: I know that’s what’s in his plan. The problem is that he is using provincial money to do this, and it’s money they have not allocated for the period in question. Putting it in his campaign literature does not make it happen.


  5. I’ve emailed Metrolinx, MPPs, MPs, the TTC, and city council.

    Have you?

    Make sure you take action, even if it’s as token as sending an email expressing concern.

    Politicians represent their constituents (allegedly), and will listen to us if we collectively raise enough hell.


  6. I thought we were down this road before and I thought at the time, the whole set of scarborough councillors rejected the subway concept because of (a) cost; and (b) they really wanted the number of stations to either stay the same or be increased.

    Should be interesting because I think two of those councillors were named as committee heads by Ford.

    Steve: Yes, they have completely backtracked on their support of Transit City now that they think they will get their precious subway lines.


  7. The really sad thing about this whole subway vs LRT debate is that Sheppard would ultimately benefit from having both constructed on it rather than only one. By that, I mean you would construct the Sheppard subway, once traffic on the LRT grew enough, as an express line with station spacing similar to the Yonge line north of Eglinton while keeping the LRT as a surface feeder. The end result is that you avoid the same mistakes made with the north Yonge extension while helping to reduce the cost of subway construction.

    With regards to the extension of the BD line to STC, it’s amusing that the hypothetical Lawrence East station for it is at one of the worst places to put a subway station if high rise development is one of your primary motivations for constructing the line. This is due to the proximity of Thomson Memorial park and the hydro corridor at the Lawrence East and Brimley intersection.

    Of course, I’m still waiting for someone to reasonably justify why STC deserves two subway lines instead of building only one to there and building the other somewhere else in the city.


  8. Stephen Cheung says:
    “Gary Webster is an absolute wimp if he let Rob Ford declare that Transit City is dead. Let’s hope he buries Ford in evidence that favours LRT. This is the TTC’s time to shine if it has any hope of saving Transit city, and hopefully Toronto Taxpayers.”

    Rob Ford listens to nobody besides his brother and his campaign manager, and sure as hell isn’t going to listen to a so-called “expert” of a failed organization like the TTC who lets the union push them around. He was elected with a 47 per cent majority, and everyone of them endorse every part of his platform. Did you not hear, the war on your car is over, and we’re building subways NOW. So get out to Scarborough with your shovel and dig, dig like your life depended on it!

    Steve: Please note that 47% is not a “majority”, it is a “plurality”. There is a huge difference, even if the same person winds up in the big chair.


  9. Ya know, I don’t know what’s more funny, Stephen Cheung defending Ford like the whole world depends on it, or him trotting out the “taxpayers” mantra when he used the same mantra to defend Ford in the first place.

    Hypocrisy wins by a landslide.


  10. From those maps, it appears that a Scarborough subway would have fewer stops than it should. Two or three stops, depending on if it was extended north to Sheppard? I’d expect four or five stops for it to be done properly: One at Brimley and one at Ellesmere, even if the latter is close to Scarborough Centre. Unless the TTC intends to split 95 York Mills into two routes at the shopping mall, of course. Maybe the demand isn’t there but, in general, I’m not in favour of station spacing greater than one kilometer, or even greater than 600 meters. And if we have to replicate the short distance between Osgoode and St. Andrew every now and then just to be customer friendly, so be it.

    I’d prefer to see Scarborough as an independent line running in a generally north-south direction, and connecting with whatever is built on Sheppard East at the Agincourt GO Station. It makes little sense to me to connect these two potential subway lines to the east of the GO line, but that’s inter-agency cooperation for you.

    For Sheppard East, as a subway, I’d probably replace Kennedy North and Progress with Pharmacy and Birchmount. I’m not certain why the TTC would have a Kennedy North and an Agincourt station when Kennedy Station is effectively on the GO line and not at the Eglinton / Kennedy intersection. The distance between the two equivalent locations on Sheppard are about the same.

    Decision makers, at the political level or otherwise, would be better served if the TTC provided maps that were drawn to scale and identified significant features, such as the location of Highway 401, in addition to having changes to the bus network identified in advance.


  11. I must admit, even though I hated Rob Ford’s guts during the election, I can’t say I feel the same for his voters. Ford was intentionally deceptive vague of his actual transit platform. Stephen Cheung, I do hope that Gary Webster would come back with swamps of pro-LRT info. However, it was smart of Webster to say what he said, so that Ford doesn’t immediately start efforts to oust him.

    Steve: TTC staff are in an extraordinarily difficult position. If their message is perceived as trying to push an agenda other than the one the Mayor wants, they will be ignored or worse sidelined in favour of other “experts”. Their best hope is that Council will pass motions formally requesting a range of comparative information, not just a plan that assumes subways are the only option.


  12. Steve: Please note that 47% is not a “majority”, it is a “plurality”. There is a huge difference, even if the same person winds up in the big chair

    I know. I was trying to do my best impression of a math-challenged Ford supporter, those who think the mayor’s race is the only one that counted. I just find it amusing that certain commentators on this blog who extolled the virtues of Ford all through the campaign now think he’s just going to ditch major planks of his platform. We all knew this was coming, people, and anyone who thinks he’s going to change his mind is in denial about how our new mayor operates.


  13. It’s interesting to note that the Sheppard subway alignment appears not to connect to Agincourt GO Station as it swings south. Which is yet another thing that will have to get fixed one day if the subway is built.


  14. Can we convert an LRT line easily and affordably into a subway at a later date? That’s a key factor to consider. If we can, great. Build as much LRT as we can in a modular looped fashion. If we can’t, great. Save our money and build subway lines as needs and costs dictate. Either way there’s no point recreating our past failures with the subway and SRT lines.

    It’s been suggested that LRTs will dramatically increase revenues, money that could be ear-marked towards future transit expansion/upgrades. I remain skeptical, but if we can get transit to pay for itself that’s a huge win. This too hinges on the capability to modify the system once in place.

    There’s actually quite a bit right in both Rob Ford’s plan and TransitCity, and quite a bit wrong for that matter. Rather than get into a stupid tug-of-war or attempt to “save” TransitCity, this is an opportunity to listen, discuss, and harmonize the two plans into something sensible, modular, and affordable that works. (Yes, getting Ford to listen is a stretch but we’re not going to achieve it by being adversarial. Pardon the pun, but we need to be “constructive”.)

    For phase 1 in the East, a Sheppard-Yonge(or Don Mills)-Malvern-Kennedy-Eglinton line makes sense. That can be cut down to Sheppard-Yonge(or Don-Mills)-Sheppard East-Kennedy-Eglinton if costs are prohibitive or demand isn’t there. (If we can re-use part or all of the SRT/Stouffville right-of-way for the loop, even better.)

    Either version of the loop provides redundancy, covers a wide area, has sensible transfer points to all three existing subway lines. There’s also no awkward stubs to nowhere or lengthy non-redundant paths.

    What’s key is that any design is subway/LRT agnostic, for the most part. Either must work, or we can’t switch one to the other. It’s also quite modular; since we’re going through Kennedy, the Bloor and Sheppard lines could extend further east to accomodate the Malvern section later on in a variety of ways.

    Likewise, the stops need to be subway/LRT agnostic, and it’s a matter of finding a middle ground. TransitCity has far too many; you want your rail running like rail, not like a bus. It’s just supposed to get a large number of people somewhat near their destination in a very short period of time, and you can’t do that with so many stops. Rob Ford’s plan likewise could stand to add some, to reduce the number of buses required to get you to your final destination. It’s all about finding that common ground.


  15. Two interesting points:

    1) The TTC briefing summary places the completion of both the Danforth and Sheppard East subway extensions in the 2020 – 2022 timeframe. Even if the design and construction of certain sections may be accelerated, it is unlikely that any new subway station on those lines will open for passengers by the next mayoral elections in 2014. How will Rob Ford react when he realizes that?

    2) What is the position of midtown Councilors, notably Karen Stintz, regarding the Eglinton line? Are they ready to sacrifice it to redirect the funds to Sheppard subway, and deal with angry residents who are still stuck in mixed-traffic surface buses? Or, will they push Ford (behind curtains if they have taken exec posts and can’t dissent publicly) to retain this particular line?

    And if Eglinton is in, then Sheppard subway is out for financial reasons …


  16. Eric, there is nothing really hypocritical about my position. I am being consistent.

    I supported Mayor Ford purely based on his platform for accountability for Taxpayers. I expect him to keep his end of the bargain. There are a lot of newspaper articles out there that are saying the same thing. In fact, an article in the Globe and Mail did exactly that, they trotted out his Mantra “Respect for Taxpayers” and they expect him to live up to it.

    Rob Ford has concerns about increasing vehicle congestion on corridors with LRT routes. He needs to be reminded that the roads affected have ample space to support two car lanes in either direction plus LRT ROWs, and those that do not will be underground. The only exception is Don Mills and Eglinton east of Leslie, in which case only the rush hour carpool lane would be affected. The TTC needs to get its facts in order if it wishes to save Transit City.


  17. Presumably the car-friendly GO Agincourt separation will survive the demise of Sheppard LRT spending? Since this facilitates GO expansion the province should not seek to recover all of THAT cash.

    As for Ford’s mandate, the reality is that 47% is a pretty solid number in a multi-candidate field including a former Provincial Cabinet member, an incumbent deputy Mayor and a Federal Liberal wielding $1m in campaign funds. I don’t think it’s productive to harp on his mandate but rather to be vigilant that Ford is exercising the powers appropriate to his position – i.e. proper oversight which should be done for all holders of that office, including the last guy.

    The Mayor does get to push an agenda and to use appointments to grease the wheels (ask Brian Ashton how that works) and the reality is that some Councillors can be bou… er… swayed by the lure of a position which will see them deliver pork for their electors.

    On Webster – to what extent is TC “his” plan or a plan he was directed to implement? If the latter, he is under no obligation to see it or any other plan continue except for career satisfaction. He is basically an employee under the Commission and must do as they direct or resign, but he has a public duty to be thorough in warning the Commission of realistic consequences.

    I note Rob Ford says that cancelling the LRT is no problem because Bombardier will build subway cars instead and thus choose to eat the costs of cancellation. Wouldn’t that require sole-sourcing the contract, a practice he regularly rails against? Given the fiasco unfolding in Montreal on the Metro contract, directed sole sourcing may become more difficult over the next few years.

    If people want LRT to be the mode of choice, talking about modes and capacities will not get this done. It means calling John Oakley every time Hizzoner is on and yelling about not wanting your taxes raised so 10 people can get on a subway at Sheppard and Bellamy or wherever.


  18. Nick L. said: The really sad thing about this whole subway vs LRT debate is that Sheppard would ultimately benefit from having both constructed on it rather than only one. By that, I mean you would construct the Sheppard subway, once traffic on the LRT grew enough, as an express line with station spacing similar to the Yonge line north of Eglinton while keeping the LRT as a surface feeder. The end result is that you avoid the same mistakes made with the north Yonge extension while helping to reduce the cost of subway construction.

    By your logic, Danforth Ave should have kept its streetcars, particularly between Coxwell and Luttrell.

    Having both subway and LRT serving the same corridor is the worst and most expensive possible arrangement imaginable; it is even worse than having a bus and subway serving the same corridor, which should also be avoided. If the demand is there for a LRT line, you put all that demand onto the LRT line, and if the demand grows beyond what the LRT line can handle and warrants a subway line, you put all that demand onto the subway line.

    It is not economical nor sustainable to simply drop in a subway for express service purposes. The most economical way to do subways where the demand is present is to have station spacing close together, and while the numbers are a little different due to platform lengths, the principle is in fact the same when it comes to station spacing specifically for both LRT and subway. Yes, this is more expensive for underground infrastructure capital (HRT or LRT, doesn’t matter, underground is underground and costs almost the same), but the perspective that capital dollars are the end-all-be-all is misguided, as it is the operating dollars over the lifecycle where the real money will be in the investment, and having all ridership needs met by one service in a corridor is more efficient than having two.

    Subways are not high-speed railways; subways are high capacity mass urban transit, and this needs to be much more widely understood.


  19. Serhei: the original 1990’s plan for the Sheppard subway called for the Agincourt GO station to be moved approx 500M south to provide a connection with the Sheppard subway. Today, there are several condos and office towers being built there (at the end of Village Green Sq, formely Sufference Rd), and provisions have been made to accomodate both a future GO and Sheppard subway station in the area adjacent to the new development.


  20. Karl Junkin said: “It is not economical nor sustainable to simply drop in a subway for express service purposes.”

    But what if the corridor is too long to be served well by a subway with closely spaced stations, [B]and[/B] there is no suitable surface rail line for express service?

    This is a theoretical question at this point. I’m not saying that such situation actually exists in the Sheppard corridor or 401 corridor, as I do not have data that could support such assertion.

    But AFAIK in other cities around the world, both models of subway design are used: closely-spaced stations with no parallel local service, and more widely-spaced stations with parallel local service. Often, the stations are spaced very closely through the historical centre since that segment of the subway line gets built first and it needs all riders it could get to be viable. By the time the line is extended into suburbs, solid ridership is guaranteed but speed becomes a concern because the line gets longer; therefore, the stop spacing becomes wider.


  21. Crazy as it may sound, the idea of a Bloor-Danforth line extension to Scarborough Town Centre is making more and more political and financial sense (especially when compared to the extension of the Sheppard Line eastwards).

    I would love to take another look at potential numbers for the Bloor-Danforth extension.

    In terms of demand, may I presume that not all of the (8000?) people using the SRT per hour would rather be continuing along the Bloor Danforth Line to get to their buses at Scarborough Town Centre? How many passengers currently board / alight at Lawrence East, Ellesmere and Midland? How many of those passengers then get on buses? Would shifting their trip from a SRT corridor east of Kennedy to a subway corridor on Danforth/McCowan (with a stop at Lawrence) make a huge difference?

    It is good that Steve reminded us of how easily politicians and decision makers can fold. Scarborough councillors folded on their subway demand in favour of LRT, and could be folding back in the other direction now that they think the subway (any subway?) is a possibility.

    Who’s to say Ford will not fold either, when he realizes that his Sheppard plan just cannot work in the time frame that he has given himself, but that some of his other plans can work if they are jury-rigged to make engineering, technical and financial sense.

    Finally, one has to ask, can the Bloor-Danforth extension (aka. Scarborough Subway) be prioritized, planned, constructed and completed by 2015?


    Moaz Yusuf Ahmad


  22. @Michael Forest,

    That’s not the TTC’s problem; it’s not in their mandate. Riders can use GO if a local subway line is too slow for their liking. If a faster ride is desired, I think it is fair to ask that a premium be paid for it. Express services on a flat fare model are inherently uneconomical regardless of mode, and the TTC should have no business providing such unsustainable services unless used as a capacity management strategy as is sometimes the case on suburban bus routes. Even on Lakeshore GO operations, the express services they provide are for capacity management, not rider convenience.


  23. Moaz Yusuf Ahmad said: “Crazy as it may sound, the idea of a Bloor-Danforth line extension to Scarborough Town Centre is making more and more political and financial sense (especially when compared to the extension of the Sheppard Line eastwards).”

    Agreed. If the new leadership does not want to build surface LRT (aka Sheppard East and Finch West), then at least the Bloor-Danforth subway extension to STC (preferably to Sheppard / McCowan) plus Eglinton LRT will result in a sensible network. Finch and Sheppard can then be dealt with later, possibly under another mayor.

    Moaz Yusuf Ahmad said: “It is good that Steve reminded us of how easily politicians and decision makers can fold. Scarborough councillors folded on their subway demand in favour of LRT, and could be folding back in the other direction now that they think the subway (any subway?) is a possibility.”

    I think that the root of the problem is that the lifecycle of any major transit project (planning, design and construction) is often 7 – 10 years or longer, and this is much longer than the typical election cycle (4 years). By the time the construction starts, the voters change their minds and the new leader throws the existing plans out of the window. I don’t know a good remedy though.

    Moaz Yusuf Ahmad said: “Who’s to say Ford will not fold either, when he realizes that his Sheppard plan just cannot work in the time frame that he has given himself, but that some of his other plans can work if they are jury-rigged to make engineering, technical and financial sense.”

    That’s a good question. I hope he reconsiders at least the Eglinton line, and lets it proceed instead of shifting the funds to Sheppard subway. The problem though is that in order to make sensible decisions, one need to know the basic facts; and I am not sure that this precondition is met here. According to some reports, the new mayor didn’t even know until very recently that much of Eglinton LRT is planned to run in the tunnel …


  24. I get that building a subway means having wide stop spacing but I would have figured that Birchmount would have justified a stop on the Sheppard subway option. It’s got all those towers and a connecting bus route. Am I wrong? Do they just not build stations that close together anymore?

    Steve: It is likely that years ago when the original Sheppard subway plan was concocted, those towers did not exist. More stops can be added provided that we pony up $100m or so for each one. The big issue on Sheppard is that most of the subway isn’t on Sheppard in Scarborough, only the part west of Kennedy.


  25. Mayor Ford did win by a huge amount in Scarborough, North Etobicoke, North York. He did in fact win Malvern. Maybe LRT would have been better but the people have spoken. The other 2 guys did a horrible job presenting their ideas.

    Stop telling the people of Scaborough what they want. They chose subways.


    Steve: You won’t get any argument from me about the RT, but that has nothing to do with the subway versus LRT/streetcar debate. Scarborough may want subways, but in Ford’s plan, all they get is a BD extension to STC, and a Sheppard line that doesn’t spend very much time on Sheppard. Malvern gets nothing.

    I very much doubt that Ford’s support was as much for his transit plan as he spent far more time talking about respect for taxes (something tenants don’t see directly) and the “gravy train” at city hall.


  26. Ragu, I live in Scarborough and I want an LRT network that will get me from Malvern to STC, to UTSC, to Agincourt and to the subway. While most of the people who voted did pick Ford, he has no right in telling me what i want either.

    Would we love subways? of course. do we deserve subways? perhaps. are we willing to pay for them? probably not.


  27. One thing Rob Ford should consider about cancelling the Sheppard East LRT in favour of an eastward subway extension to STC is the fact that Don Mills Station has a huge monster of a bus terminal and if those buses from Scarborough no longer used the bus terminal, a lot of the bus platforms presently used there would be seen as a complete waste of space and money. Really, the Sheppard Subway was very costly to build in the first place, and if what is built like the bus platforms at Don Mills Stn. is not used at all, isn’t that just an example of tax dollar waste, something that Rob Ford says he is “against”?

    The only extension to the Sheppard Subway should be the westward extension to Downsview.


  28. In all honesty none of the candidates had real transit plan that included how to fund it. The only one was Sarah Thompson and she lost big time. I know you favour lrt Steve but you have to admit Sarah’s plan was the only one that had a somewhat realistic funding tool.

    Steve: Actually, I lean more to a regional sales tax than yet another toll/tax that only hits up motorists for the cost of a transit system. What you buy with that tax is a question of effective spending.


  29. “By your logic, Danforth Ave should have kept its streetcars, particularly between Coxwell and Luttrell.”

    Considering the number of buses serving Danforth east of Main, the plan to build a BRT east of Victoria park along Danforth, and that the 22 bus would probably have been converted to streetcar by now (and providing much needed relief to transit in the Beaches area) if the tracks were still down to Danforth Garage; yes, Danforth Ave should have kept its streetcars between Coxwell and Luttrell and had them pushed further east as the population grew.


    The simple fact remains, if we really want to solve the issue of congestion, saying “take your time or pay more than double” is not a valid option; and an amusing one considering GO transit’s disdain for Toronto riders. What you need is an option that is between the local service provided by an LRT line and the speed of GO transit while not placing a major financial burden on riders.

    In addition to the issue of speed, the overhead will cause problems with the excavation of stations as you try to maintain surface operations until the switch to underground operations. So, the simple solution would be to minimize the number of stations you would build to avoid interference with the surface operations during construction. That is, unless you propose shutting down the line once the tunnel is complete so that the stations can be built as rapidly as possible.

    That said, the removal of the surface LRT will not be cheap, unlike past streetcar lines, when it comes time to abandon it in favour of an underground line. As a result, there is incentive to continue using it unless you propose that all tunnelling work be done as cut and cover along Sheppard.

    Thus, you have my idea. You take the current proposed layout for the Sheppard East subway and simply drop Warden North while keeping the LRT in place. And just an aside, STC seems to be the black hole of underground transit in Scarborough with any proposed line east of Kennedy getting pulled towards it. So it’s fair to say that an underground LRT would not be immune to such an effect. That said, at either Consumers or Victoria Park North in addition to Kennedy North, you construct enclosed platforms similar to those that were at Bloor station allowing for a relatively painless transfer.

    The end result is a faster ride for those east of Kennedy and those who will use the line as a through service while maintaining local service, unlike the Yonge line north of Eglinton, and minimizing headaches during construction. That’s what I meant by an express line. Now, you might call this corridor design a waste. However, I’m more concerned that we need to convince people in that part of the city that the car is not their only option. As a result, the only way to really convince them is to ultimately design good all around transit, both in terms of speed and service, and not just “better than a local bus” transit.


  30. Can’t wait till they build this, go subway! bye bye gravy train (LRT).

    Steve: The LRT proposals are not “gravy trains”, and in fact if we were to believe some writers, are rather thin gruel compared to the subway system we are offered as an alternative.


  31. Why does it have to be LRT vs. subway?

    There’s a lot of merits to building a Bloor-Danforth extension to STC, not in the least being the fact that service won’t be interrupted for a year during a changeover.

    There’s also a ton of merit for something on Eglinton. LRT or HRT or whatever.

    Given that, I say it’s time to drop Sheppard and focus on these two projects: a subway to STC and LRT on Eglinton. And if serving eastern Scarborough is a big deal, then take the BD line north of STC to Sheppard. That would actually do far more for Malvernites than the SELRT. 15-20mins to the Bloor-Danforth line would be quite popular in Malvern. More so than a LRT which doesn’t do much for most of Malvern…since most of Malvern is well north of the LRT.

    Steve: I agree that the “Malvern” LRT is misnamed because it doesn’t go to Malvern — that name is a leftover from the original Transit City map when the line went north of Sheppard. However, if the Scarborough LRT were extended to Malvern centre as planned, is that the sort of thing you are thinking of? Whether the subway will ever get out that far is hard to believe given the cost and more pressing demands elsewhere.


  32. Being a student TTC employee, I can tell you full well about transit issues that upper management and politicians rarely talk about or get it wrong.

    People don’t understand that LRTs and subways are the SAME thing except the former carries fewer people per hour than the latter. The real question is: Which system do we build that best serves the density/population numbers while being cost effective? A lot of my colleagues would agree that Sheppard Ave should have been an light rail line from the start. Yes, the trains are packed during peak hours but the trains are virtually empty during the midday, evening and weekend periods.

    Another argument for LRTs that should benefit seniors and people with mobility problems is that surface LRTs are accessible as there are no stairs and elevators to contend with. In subway, there are stairs and elevators are known to go out of service.


  33. Are you serious? Where do all these LRT supporters come from! Please do not at any cost build a LRT down Eglington and disturb traffic for the next century to come. Street cars have go to be the most obstructive and intrusive things in the world.

    Steve: It’s Eglinton, not Eglington. The LRT is not a streetcar and won’t run in mixed traffic. Many, many cities use this technology, but they also have a different set of priorities about transit riders versus auto divers. You appear to be the sort of reader on whom this whole argument would be a waste of time, and I’m not going to repeat all that has been said over many months here.


  34. Isn’t everybody excited that Scarborough Town Centre is going to get two rapid transit lines (Eglinton and Sheppard) while Malvern, which desperately needs rapid transit, gets nothing?


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