First Steps for a Transit Compromise (Update 3)

[Updates with links to media coverage are at the end of this article.]

Elizabeth Church reports in the Globe about a proposed compromise that would redistribute the funding for the proposed all-underground Eglinton LRT line.

Tess Kalinowski and David Rider in the Star cover the same story and include a map.

  • Eglinton would stay on the surface east of Leaside with a dip underground at Don Mills to surface east of the DVP.  This is similar but not identical to the original Transit City scheme.
  • Part of the money released from the Eglinton project would be used to extend the Sheppard Subway east to Victoria Park and include a stop at Consumers Road.
  • A bus transit corridor would be provided on Finch West and East.

The article implies that there may be good support from various parts of Council for this scheme, and a clear endorsement by a motion would send Metrolinx the signal it claims to be waiting for of just what Toronto wants to build.

Updated January 25, 2012 at 10:45am:

Natalie Alcoba reports in the National Post that although there may be support growing on Council for this plan, the Mayor’s office appears unmoved.

But an official from the Mayor’s office suggested he is not interested in relinquishing ground on his LRT stance. “We’re happy with the Metrolinx plan that they’re working on now,” said Mark Towhey, the Mayor’s policy director. “Residents don’t want trains running down the middle of the street.”

On the radio on Tuesday, Mr. Ford seemed to distance himself from the Eglinton line, saying he doesn’t want to stick his nose in a provincial project.

“I’m concentrating on the Sheppard line, and building a subway up there. If Metrolinx or the province wants to do this… I’m not a fan of streetcars, I’m not a fan of LRTs. If they’re underground I am, that’s been my position all along.”

[End of update]

There are longer range issues here, but retention of a subway-surface alignment on Eglinton will permit future extensions to the west and northeast that would likely be unaffordable if an all-underground structure had been repurposed as a full subway line.  The difficult problems of an alignment from Black Creek to Jane have yet to be addressed.

Finch will see BRT at least initially, and it will be important that no design elements preclude future conversion to LRT when demand justifies this.  This would also avoid the cost of a carhouse on Finch West in the short term that was part of the Transit City scheme.

The unknown would be Sheppard and the terminal at Victoria Park.  Will this be a “temporary” end of the line, or will the design allow further extension by either subway or by LRT with a convenient transfer connection?  An argument now about the technology east of Victoria Park will only muddle the debate, but the option of either form of extension should be left open for a future decision.  Will a BRT on Finch stand in for the Sheppard East LRT?

Portions of the Ford subway scheme appear to have fallen off of the table.  We still need those debates about the role of subways, LRT and BRT (not to mention such lowly creatures as simple buses running in mixed traffic) in a suburban network.  Part of this will fall to Metrolinx’ “Big Move 2.0” about which we know very little today and to the degree that solid transit funding actually shows up through new revenue sources such as tolls, sales taxes or maybe even a casino.

Meanwhile, we debate the disposition of billions in capital spending while proposing a few millions in savings by widespread service cuts.  Such is the madness of Toronto’s transit politics.

I can quibble about some aspects of this proposed compromise, but it is a good start.  Here is a sign that finally Council takes seriously the need to plan and make responsible decisions about our transit future.  For a year, by its inaction, Council gave de facto endorsement to a half-baked campaign promise that Metrolinx adopted as its working plan.  Now we can have a real debate.

Updated January 26, 2012 at 12:40am:

Robyn Doolittle in the Star reports that momentum is building for the compromise plan.

Elizabeth Church and Patrick White report in the Globe with more details about response from Queen’s Park and Metrolinx.

Natalie Alcoba in the Post suggests that Mayor Ford is still wedded to a subway plan, but that support for surface LRT is building.

One troubling point in all of this is a comment by Metrolinx chair Rob Prichard who wants to see Council, the Mayor and the TTC all onside.  Whether Rob Ford will actually endorse a new plan, or wind up as one of a few voting against it remains to be seen, but at some point Queen’s Park has to listen to the majority of the citizens’ representatives.

Updated January 26, 2012 at 12:50:

Royson James in the Star gives Metrolinx a well-deserved thrashing.  By its own admission, this agency proceeded with the all-underground Eglinton plan even without Council approval, a clear requirement of the Memorandum of Understanding between Queen’s Park and Mayor Ford.

Christopher Hume weighs in with a video commentary including a call for an all-surface Eglinton LRT.

78 thoughts on “First Steps for a Transit Compromise (Update 3)

  1. Hi Steve.
    I think that the councillors who have opposed Ford’s transit “plan” are being awfully generous to him. The $1 billion would build a lot of LRT. If they have the votes to pass it without him they should go for it and hang him out to dry. His behaviour has shown nothing but contempt for council and it should be rewarded in kind. It would also shut down both he and Doug from ever doing anything high handed, arbitrary, and just plain stupid again.

    Let add this link as there has been an update in “The Star”.

    Thanks Steve.

    Steve: The link originally in this comment has been moved to the main article along with links to the Globe and the Post updates.


  2. Why bother to spend 1B to expand Sheppard Subway for just 2 km to vic park? Keep this 1B on Eglinton can get a true rapid transit line (even above ground) that would benefit Torontonians in next 50 years.


  3. Michael said:

    “About the Finch hydro corridor. Even in areas where the walk to Finch is farther. The corridor would still be a benefit, as you can have stations that intersect with the busway at minor cross streets. So people would not even have to walk to Finch. And of course Finch could still have a local bus operating. Sort of like the Ottawa Transitway.”

    But if the hydro corridor busway buses stop at all minor cross streets, their speed will not be any higher than that of a street-median busway. At the same time, the operating costs will be higher if both the busway and the parallel local bus have to be maintained.

    I can see a portion of the Finch East route (between Yonge and Don Mills) being placed in the hydro corridor, but more as a way to save on capital costs than to improve the speed. That section of Finch East is difficult to widen for a street-median busway, and it does not generate many trips; moreover, the corresponding section of the hydro corridor actually serves two destinations (Old Cummer GO station and the Bayview mall).

    For Finch West, the preferred alignment is in the street median; that’s closer to trip generators and avoids construction challenges such as the pond east of Dufferin and the Hwy 400 crossing.


  4. Steve said:

    “… once you get to the narrow, single family residential section of Finch, there is no room for any reserved lane and the service should shift north to the hydro corridor as an express route to Yonge.”

    Technically, widening that part of Finch East is possible. Using the portal (suggested to me by another poster at this site), I can see that the distance between the actual buildings is large enough for 6 lanes.

    However, the distance between the property lines is not sufficient. Expropriating so many properties might not be cost-effective, and such a plan might be opposed by the residents.


  5. I’m having difficulty finding the updated cost of a truncated Finch LRT. The $1.2 billion figure cited by Code Red TO and Delcan Engineering firm refers to the full 17 km length. I don’t even know if this figure includes vehicles and carhouses, but if it does, can one simply apply a the same reduction factor to all components?

    The truncated length is 65% of the original length. Therefore, 65% of the track required, 65% of the vehicles required, 65% of the carhouse required (unless they were planning on building a 100% full scale carhouse from the beginning). All this would yield $780 million as the cost of the truncated Finch LRT.

    Is this correct?

    Steve: No. The carhouse has a fixed component that would be the building and its internal facilities. This would be sized for the eventual completed scope of the site. The yard tracks for additional storage are comparatively cheap. Therefore, you cannot scale the carhouse component linearly. Also, Finch would have had an underground connection at Yonge. If this part of the line is not built, we save on an expensive connection.


  6. Michael wrote:

    About the Finch hydro corridor. Even in areas where the walk to Finch is farther. The corridor would still be a benefit, as you can have stations that intersect with the busway at minor cross streets. So people would not even have to walk to Finch. And of course Finch could still have a local bus operating.

    Your comments about the Finch corridor make it apparent that you either have never used the 36 or have never been in the area.

    I lived on Finch west of Bathurst for 7 years and most of the demand along Finch West east of Keele is either right at Finch or south of Finch which would make any route in the corridor a net inconvenience for riders. Most people would have to walk from the busway down to Finch to where they live (west of Dufferin) or to where they work (Dufferin to Keele).


  7. I don’t believe the TTC will through-route a fully grade-separated service (the SRT) with a semi-grade-separated Eglinton LRT. Service headway reliability.

    The minute you put Eglinton in semi-operation on part of the line, you comprise the system’s headway reliability throughout — this is a huge negative. Also, automation, which is currently planned for Eglinton, goes out the door. Drivers could take over on just the outdoor sections though, and disembark & switch to other street-level bound trains at the edge of the tunnelled section.

    If they still keep the plan as is, I have a problem with low-floor trains on a fully grade-separated line. If they opt for full subway technology, then the issue of Spadina subway wye connections at Eglinton W. Stn. (to Wilson) come up.


  8. @Jacob Louy: I have been advocating a side-of-the-road alignment from the eastern portal to the Don Mills station portal right from the beginning of the Eglinton plan.

    It may very well be able to fit under the CPR bridge with the road, though I was thinking that a separate underpass could possibly be built with the savings of constructing this section side-of-the-road (ballasted tie construction) over down the middle of the road (concrete-encased construction).

    It is not necessary to reroute the pedestrian access to under/over the right-of-way instead of across it. Much of Calgary’s LRT doesn’t bother. Same goes for others with separate right-of-ways, like Denver, Dallas, and San Diego.


  9. A Finch BRT does not have to be entirely on Finch or entirely on the hydro corridor. Buses have exactly the advantage of being able to move back at forth if necessary. At first I was a “hardlined” subways-only, LRT second, and “heck no!” to buses. But after a seeing a few other cities pull it off, I rather like it in places where it seems to fit. Leveraging a vast swath of land that is the corridor seems sensible, perhaps with points where buses could detour to be closer to the Finch where it might be warranted.

    Most recently I saw the “orange line” Metro BRT in the San Fernando valley of Los Angeles. It is a 22km bus-dedicated two lane street built along an abandoned rail line that connects at one end with the (tiny) “red line” subway. Buses have the right-of-way at level road crossings: Smart traffic lights control cars and give buses priority to cross. And those buses run **really fast**. After riding it, I think of it as LRT-like but on tires.

    LA in general is a sprawling mess and desperate for better transit, and this was built as a compromise at a time when rail (the preferred option) proved too expensive for a cash strapped county. Sound familiar? It seems it would be easy to build park-and-ride lots along the corridor with all that space. Aaaand building a dedicated BRT lane way provides an opportunity to a bike lane along it 🙂 That I like.

    Steve: An important point about the LA line you mention is that the buses really have transit priority. In Toronto, I am sure they would spend a lot of time waiting at traffic signals. The analysis would go roughly like this: We (the traffic engineers) have to maintain flow on the cross streets, and there are so many buses that giving them priority would mean a lot of green time would be consumed by the bus-only street. That would foul up traffic on the cross streets. (Variations on this argument are used to avoid transit priority at some locations on the streetcar network where there is frequent service.) It would be interesting to know what traffic volumes are like at the LA intersections, the level of service on the BRT, and the degree to which transit “interferes” with other traffic.


  10. However, the distance between the property lines is not sufficient. Expropriating so many properties might not be cost-effective, and such a plan might be opposed by the residents.

    While the difference was smaller, the City was pursuing the exact same thing (partial expropriation) for Finch West east of Bathurst until the portal. So this kind of thing has been on the table in the recent past. That doesn’t guarantee it can be done, but it can be looked at in detail when the EA rolls around (if it rolls around).

    Steve: I think it would be quite amusing to watch the battles as angry homeowners fought against a “BRT” scheme that would take big chunks out of their front lawns and move traffic closer to their living rooms. LRT proposals (which would be termed “streetcars” in the context of such a battle) get lumbered with this sort of thing (e.g. Eglinton & Weston), and I would love to see a transit fight that involved buses as a generally pejorative term. There is a reason these parts of Finch remain narrow — no politician would dare to propose widening the road even for cars, let alone transit.


  11. What do you think is Ford’s strategy from here on out? Given his firm stance in the latest National Post article, is he betting all his chips on his plan, just out of principle to save face? IE. If majority of council supports revised plan, does Ford have an exit strategy, or does he risk simply being out voted when it goes to council?

    Steve: I am not sure that Ford and his staff are used to working in a situation where they have to compromise, and it may suit his style to be portrayed as having Council (and its increasingly red-coloured membership) overrule his common sense.


  12. @Calvin Henry-Cotnam

    “It is not necessary to reroute the pedestrian access to under/over the right-of-way instead of across it.”

    Unless you’re planning very frequent service. In that case, the right-of-way has to be unquestionably exclusive.

    Steve: “Very frequent” is a slippery term. People are walking across the tracks all over Toronto on lines that have service at levels other cities would kill for. The pedestrians even manage to dodge around cars! I’m not saying we should invite leisurely strolls along the right-of-way, but if we start saying people cannot walk across the tracks when service only shows up every two or three minutes, that’s a bit rich. The other important question is the volume of pedestrians and how they are segregated in time from other traffic. Case in point: Dundas and Spadina.


  13. “I’m not saying we should invite leisurely strolls along the right-of-way, but if we start saying people cannot walk across the tracks when service only shows up every two or three minutes, that’s a bit rich.”

    What I meant to say is that if you’re planning high-capacity frequent service, then the right-of-way should be exclusive.

    I’m not sure if downtown streetcar lines are comparable to suburban light rail.

    Central Eglinton is supposed to be higher than 9,000 pphpd, and I don’t think that capacity can be matched by streetcars stopping locally.

    The speeds of surface LRT is supposed to be faster than typical downtown streetcars, so high-speeds + frequent service = danger for pedestrians.

    I’m not saying that Leslie Station has to be grade-separated from pedestrians, and arguably, there is a way to arrange pedestrian crossings without impeding LRT capacity.

    Steve: Agreed, but they will cross the tracks at least at every station, and certainly wherever there is a traffic signal. By the way, that 9k figure is for the part of the route that is already in tunnel.


  14. It also depends where ATO operation ends and manual operation begins on Eglinton. If the ATO is supposed to stop at Brentcliffe, then it turns out my argument might be moot (although I would question why ATO stops short of connecting to other important corridors like Don Mills).

    Steve: By definition, ATO must stop once a line is running where there could be a conflict with other vehicles and pedestrians, not to mention traffic signals.


  15. One comment I have for people who propose the Finch bus go in the hydro right-of-way is that if it is good for buses, it is good for cars. Why not send the cars up there instead of buses? Cars can drive to the right-of-way faster than people can walk.


  16. Councillor Mammoliti, who has pushed for a subway on Finch Avenue, says that if a forthcoming report on how to build the Sheppard line determines that private-sector funding will be hard to come by, then “we should be looking at improving what is there to begin with” on Finch. He favours a swift surface light rail line over a dedicated bus lane. As for what should happen on Eglinton, Mr. Mammoliti said that “during the election I didn’t hear anybody on the eastern side say they had some concerns with [surface light rail].”

    From the National Post.

    Is this a sign that the Ford administration is going to bend on Eglinton LRT, and cut its losses on the Sheppard extension? Or is this just Mammoliti being Mammoliti?

    Steve: Your guess is as good as mine. Until we hear a debate where these folks actually take a position on something, it’s all just sound bites.


  17. I want subways too. I want all the TTC routes to be subways. However, it is not cost efficient, especially where the density is as low it is. Light rail is efficient, going underground where space and density warrants it. Transit City should be built, maybe with some adjustments yes, but built. We could have had construction already started on the Finch West LRT, but Rob Ford phobia has negated that for the time being. We need Transit City now, not when Rob Ford leaves office.

    Subways are needed where it is NEEDED, not just wanted. The Downtown Relief Line (DRL) is needed, as heavy rail or light rail, but needed.

    Steve: I want my own private rail car on a siding from Broadview Station to my apartment. Stained glass, a good kitchen and chef, lots of wood paneling and really comfy chairs are essential. Somehow I don’t think the TTC will provide this, and I will be stuck with whatever eats are on offer at the subway newsstand.


  18. Steve, An interesting sidebar. I happened to be going across the radio dial the other morning, when I came across a host of a radio show who was saying (I’m paraphrasing) that there are members on council that are going to lose a little on many issues, so just suck it up and admit it and move on. Then, he stated that Mayors Miller, Lastman, Hall, Sewell, etc. didn’t get everything they wanted when they were voted in as mayor. The next he said was for the current mayor to just get over it. Funny, it was a station I don’t listen to, so I couldn’t tell you who it was. However, I just thought it was very wise.


  19. On the topic of BRT traffic light priority, Steve speculated our city’s traffic engineers might say, “We (the traffic engineers) have to maintain flow on the cross streets, and there are so many buses that giving them priority would mean a lot of green time would be consumed by the bus-only street.”

    Are these not the same traffic engineers who have our traffic lights providing so much green time to side streets when there is no traffic to use that green time, or such little traffic that is miles away by the time their green time ends? 😉

    Steve: You are not supposed to point out the tenuous logic of our city’s professional staff.


  20. Christopher Hume is out to lunch when he says the LRT should be at grade at Yonge and Eglinton. The only way to do that is to remove traffic lanes and that would lead to significantly less support for the line. Without citizen and council support, that gives Metrolinx the opening it needs to create an ICTS subway along Eglinton. Having the LRT run in mixed traffic through this area defeats the purpose of building rapid transit as they transit vehicles will be slowed down by cars.

    Steve: I agree that Hume is way off base on this. The line must be underground at Yonge-Eglinton.


  21. For those who say they don’t understand why Sheppard East, Finch East or northeast Scarborough in general needs higher order transit trying taking the 85 or 39 bus routes. On a good day the it takes 90 minutes to travel from Scarborough to downtown Toronto (and that’s a one-way trip!!!). If you live in Scarborough and work in the west end a one-way trip ranges from 90 minutes to 2 hours. The point of providing higher order transit is to increase mobility for Torontonians no matter where they live. I don’t understand how people do not understand that.


  22. With Ford trying to hold his ground as he faces a potential avalanche against him, I’m curious about how firmly linked that federal money is to Sheppard. I mean, if he refuses to compromise in any way and the feds are flexible about which transit projects it gets spent on, perhaps council should eventually threaten to remove those funds from Sheppard and redistribute it to other transit projects to get him to change his mind.


  23. I heard that radio show, and Christopher Hume … streetcars on Eglinton in the middle section on the surface? Why even bother? This is not about city building first Chris, and transit second — this is about moving people quickly and efficiently from A to B … first. Any side benefit in “city building” is icing on the cake, and should not be the main reason you build transit.

    People have to realize that, once you put Eglinton into a semi-RoW for part of the route, you reduce reliability and capacity across the entire line — you also jeopardize headway reliability on the SRT if you through-route it with such a semi-RoW Eglinton line. And finally, it will no longer be a serious Bloor-Danforth competitor if it reverts back to the TC format. We can’t just look at it as “well, it’s cheaper”, “we can’t get across the valley anyway”, and “we need money for Sheppard”. We have to carefully weigh all the advantages and disadvantages.

    This Eglinton line has become a complete mish-mosh and a total joke — truly laughable. I fully agree with the criticisms of Metrolinx — they are clearly a toothless organization. They’re paying for the line, and they’re going to own and operate it. Yes, you need the city’s cooperation, but sometimes you need to pull rank and say enough is enough.


  24. I recall once reading a commentary (made years ago) by Christopher Hume where he says that an Eglinton subway line between Dufferin and Bayview would probably have been the best solution.

    Now, I believe he was making that comment in the context of the Eglinton West subway, rather than any Eglinton-corridor LRT project.

    His most recent comments on keeping the Eglinton-Crosstown-Scarborough LRT on the surface would contradict his earlier comments about the subway – not to mention earlier support for a partially-tunneled Eglinton-Crosstown LRT.

    So either Christopher Hume is being inconsistent, or he doesn’t pay attention to his rants from the past, or he has been converted to the surface LRT crowd … or maybe he thinks he is playing some kind of public transport chess game, presenting a seemingly ‘crazy’ idea (surface LRT) to contrast against the opposing ‘crazy’ idea (subways for everyone) in the hope of getting more support for the compromise (partially tunneled Eglinton-Crosstown-Scarborough LRT).

    So in the chess game of Toronto public transport who are the players? Are Christopher Hume and (I suppose) Royson James playing the role of Rook, Knight, Bishop, or Queen?

    And what about Rob Ford, Georgio, Karen Stintz, Metrolinx, and of course, Steve Munro?

    Regards, Moaz


  25. @M. Briganti

    I disagree with Christopher Hume here. It’s statements like “we must get people out of cars” that give our opponents ammunition and easy targets to fire at.

    We should still support surface transit, wherever practical, because of its accessible benefits, cost-effectiveness, and potential to transform a street. Not because it will inconvenience car-drivers.

    Hume is rallying for the right cause for the wrong reasons.


  26. I’m curious about how firmly linked that federal money is to Sheppard.

    Very. The current federal government is a big believer in directing pork to ridings held by Conservative MPs, so the only alternate Toronto transit project they are likely to contribute to would be the Richmond Hill subway extension through Peter Kent’s Thornhill riding.

    See Inside Toronto article.

    “Pasternak conceded he faces an uphill battle for his plan. He has hopes that funding might come from Ottawa to help finish his project, but when he visited Environment Minister Peter Kent at his corn roast last summer, he was told that if any more subway funding was coming from Ottawa, it would more likely be spent to extend the subway north along Yonge into Kent’s Thornhill riding.”


  27. This comment is directed as a rebuttal to DavidH, who responded to my comments. Steve, given that you posted DavidH’s rebuttal, I would like it if you could post mine as well.

    Vehicle Registration Tax: This whole idea was a bad thing from the start and I have proof.

    I have had the misfortunte of having the license plate stolen from my car. Going into the licensing office, I was told that I needed to pay the Vehicle Registration tax again. Even though I had already paid it several months earlier. Upon presenting the receipt showing that I paid the Vehicle registration tax that year, he had tried to override it in the system but to no avail. Therefore, I had to pay twice the tax in one year. Going to the Etobicoke civic center didn’t help as they refused to issue me a refund. This was one of the reasons why I ended up moving out of the city a few months later. And per city rules in which I was supposed to be issued a refund for the unused portion of the tax, I didn’t get any. Guess what? After I wrote a letter to Mayor Ford’s office about this, I got a refund, not only for the unused portion but also the 2nd tax I had to pay in a year. You tell me how the tax was good when it caused me nothing but trouble.

    Steve: This is an example of a bureaucratic screwup, not a bad tax. That’s like getting spoiled food from a store — the problem is with how the food has been handled and stored, not with tomatoes or eggs or whatever. Blame the store, not the chicken.

    Cuts to libraries and recreational areas: would you rather have a fully staffed but fully underused city properties or would you rather pool all the resources into the ones that are understaffed but busting at the seams? I know, taking my nephew to a library which was pretty empty on a Saturday Afternoon. Do we have to keep arenas open during school days when they aren’t being used? Why are other arenas open from 9-5 on weekdays but closed on weekends when they would most likely be used? There has to be a better way which doesn’t cost the city tons of money and your taxes.

    This is not respect for wealthy, but simply trying to deliver services more effectively at a better cost. However, all of this does not eliminate the budget pressures on this city, no, not by a longshot. There is one way to get rid of the deficit in one complete swoop, and I’m looking at the city unions for this. Keep in mind, if the union workers really want to keep their jobs, there is one way they can do this.

    I have said it before and again, the one area that Ford really mucked up is the Transit City plan. Even up here in Woodbridge, we had to wonder where Ford got his weed from. I’ve made my positions on this pretty clear in the past and hope that the revised Transit City Plan is passed by council (it appears that Ford is trying to do anything to prevent himself from looking bad by accepting this modified proposal, let’s see what he does)

    As for his Stalin comment, I’m sure it wasn’t directed at Steve but other members of council whose conduct I also find personally offensive, especially Adam Vaughan. If anything, the comment was likely directed at him as Vaughan has caused no end of trouble for the mayor, and clearly refuses to work with him. Witness his attitudes during the Don Cherry Incident. Yes, it was offside, but when certain members refuse to work with the mayor when everyone else does, it goes to show which councillors really care about Toronto and which ones do not.

    Steve: When the Mayor chooses to insult members of Council who I consider friends and allies, and who I support, he insults me and everyone who is part of the left-of-centre camp. I also think that many of us are owed an apology for the Don Cherry fiasco, but we are not going to see one. If I insult Rob Ford, I expect his supporters to take umbrage because they feel that they are tarred with the same brush. They were foolish enough to vote for him, and many don’t like admitting that they were conned.


  28. This is a $8 billion dollar project and the designers will come back with Value Engineering proposals.

    This is my bet.

    There will be a new bridge at Leslie ( like the bridge at Sheppard & Leslie)and the Leslie Station will be above grade south of Eglinton.
    A tunnel will be driven from east of Leslie to East of the DVP.
    Don Mills station will be underground.
    A new bridge will cross the East Don and the Wynford Sta will be above grade.
    Getting to VP will be a tunnel and/or a trench.
    VP station will be underground.

    Therefore from VP Sta west there are no conflicts between the LRT and cars.

    East of VP Sta. there are only 2 stops before Kennedy ( spacing 1.5 km to 1.0 km)
    These three station can be dropped so go under the roadway at Warden and Birchmount.( Like the Calgary LRT)
    Again no conflict between LRT and car traffic except maybe at Consumers Road..
    Add gates like Calgary LRT.

    Will that save $ 1.5 billion?
    Wait for the Value Engineering proposals.
    Real Engineering drawings need to be produced .


  29. I’d like to add another “rant” to Mr. Briganti’s comment. It seems to me, that street-rail project along Eglinton (esp. East). has become some sort of a debt re-payment to Streetcars-for-Toronto association (sorry, Steve). We came to Canada in 1977 and I remember that Metro council was still debating the project, which got gradually truncated and later vanished. I do not know how much was technologically approved at that time and I am left wondering if TSB would not raise objections regarding steep slope from Egl./VicPk to Don River. For example – some European countries DEMAND that street rail vehicles (under whatever name) come to a full stop in the middle of a long or steep decline for 2 seconds in order to re-test all brakes.

    Steve: The slopes in question never get above 5% which is actually gentler than hills on the existing streetcar system. The worst grade on the subway is 4% and they don’t stop half way down the hill to test the brakes.

    Current situation is not any better. It seems to me, that PMI (or its long shadow) (Project Management Institute) has taken over the project and is charging ahead regardless of objections from John and Jane Q. Public. Why? Because PMI likes to talk about “project phases” – which is fine and dandy, provided you know well what those phases are. However – we don’t. Soil quality, underground water, property rights (CP/CN,Celestica) have not been considered and final design from Egl./Banff to Egl./VicPk has not been approved by all stakeholders no matter how distant they may be (TSB?). It is nice PR stunt from His Worship to put on a helmet at Egl./Bathurst, but does he really know what is he building?


  30. Leo said:

    “Very. The current federal government is a big believer in directing pork to ridings held by Conservative MPs, so the only alternate Toronto transit project they are likely to contribute to would be the Richmond Hill subway extension through Peter Kent’s Thornhill riding.”

    If I’m not mistaken, wouldn’t transit projects along Finch and Eglinton benefit a larger number of conservative ridings than those along an extension of the Sheppard line to STC?


  31. We need to write to ALL the people in power, who may have a say in getting Transit City built. In addition to contacting your local councillor, TTC commissioners, Premier of Ontario, and you local MPP & MP, we should also contact Metrolinx. CC to the Mayor.


  32. @M. Briganti: If Eglinton LRT runs in the surface semi-RoW between Don Mills and Kennedy, then I would consider partial interlining with SRT:
    – A through branch runs between STC and Jane, on 4 min headways during the peak;
    – One short branch runs between STC and Kennedy subway, on 4 min headways;
    – Another short branch runs between Don Mills and Jane, on 4 min headways as well.

    That gives 2 min combined headways on both the most critical (and full-RoW) sections.

    Concerning the service reliability: first of all, I don’t expect the semi-RoW section to experience much more issues than the full-RoW sections. Yonge and BD subways obviously have full RoW, but delays during the PM peak are quite common there.

    Furthermore, even if the through vehicles do occasionally get stuck in the surface section, the short-turn vehicles will continue to run on their respective branches.


  33. Looks like Metrolinx is buying into the “subways have low operating costs” garbage, as had Delcan (the Sheppard Subway Engineering Consulting Firm) and only look at the drivers.

    Question, you always mention that part of the operating costs for subways comes from the special crew that works on the infrastructure and tunnels. Is this crew size proportional to the length of the subway line? Or is each line assigned a fixed crew size? If the latter was the case, that would mean that crew costs become comparatively less expensive, per km of line.

    Steve: This is one of those “it depends” answers. Obviously, the more stations you have (with platforms to be cleaned, escalators and elevators to maintain, etc) the more staff you need. Some central systems (some of the system monitoring functions) exist as one entity that is not affected by comparatively small changes in the scope of the network, although Eglinton obviously isn’t a small change.

    As for Metrolinx, their comments supporting the all-underground option reveal the bias that has existed since the early days of The Big Move when they tried to sabotage Transit City.


  34. “As for Metrolinx, their comments supporting the all-underground option reveal the bias that has existed since the early days of The Big Move when they tried to sabotage Transit City.”

    And we all thought that the departure of Rob MacIsaac would be enough to put an end to this Eglinton subway-delusion.

    Steve: It’s the bureaucrats you have to watch out for. MacIsaac was only the front man, and not a very smooth one at that. We’ll see whether Rob Prichard has the sense to rein in his team, or if the consensus Queen’s Park seeks at the municipal level will be sabotaged by their own folks acting as a fifth column.


  35. Why not run the Crosstown LRT underground from Keele to Victoria Park and the more suburban sections (East & West) could be serviced by BRT? Why does the city have to spend money on streetcars in suburban areas? Then more money could be freed up for the Sheppard Extension [i.e. not only extending to VP but also west to Downsview, connecting the Sheppard line to the Spadina subway extension (York Univeristy, Yorkdale Mall and GO Terminal, Vaughan CC)]. Although the Sheppard line is belittled, the recent and on-going developments along Sheppard will definitely bring the Sheppard line to maturity (in terms of ridership).


  36. @Akiva

    Rapid transit is much more important on Eglinton that it is on Sheppard considering the congestion on Eglinton. To me it makes no sense to build the Eglinton Crosstown line as an LRT up to Victoria Park and then suddenly switch to BRT once you reach Scarborough. You cannot build “rapid transit” when a line has unnecessary transfers. Transfers add to the commuting time which is already unreasonably long for Scarborough residents. I find all of the “why should we spend money in Scarborough” comments to be problematic. Scarborough residents are not second class citizens.

    Steve: I agree, but feel that an artificial us-and-them situation is being fostered in Scarborough not for the good of that part of Toronto, but to prop up the Ford plan. Nobody seems to be talking to the folks who live on Finch West or try to use that service, and nobody has mentioned that eastern Scarborough gets nothing in Ford’s scheme either.


  37. Assuming that a BRT on Finch would be in a physical median, could they implement Guided Buses as a means to reduce right-of-way widths? Since they’re floating the idea of purchasing articulated buses, which don’t exist in our fleet yet, making them “guided articulated’s” shouldn’t complicate the bus fleet too much.

    Steve: Can we keep the technical complexities out of this? The problem with buses is that at stops you must provide passing lanes because a frequent bus service cannot operate without them. It does not matter whether or not they are guided. It’s a question of trains versus single units.


  38. “They were foolish enough to vote for him, and many don’t like admitting that they were conned.”

    When it comes for fighting for what we want, people who support Ford do not feel that they are being conned. In fact, aside from Transit, the moves and efforts Ford has been putting to cut costs resonate with us and will only result in a leaner and more efficient city that we want.

    Steve: As someone who, oddly enough, is a moderate fiscal conservative, I am happy with well thought out moves to control costs. That’s one of the attractions of LRT, after all. What I strongly dislike is the way the Fords and their followers treat anyone who does not agree with them as a communist, layabout, special interest, union-loving, gravy-slurping, self-entitled member of a rabble whose arguments can be not just ignored but openly villified. In some cities, people like me would spend a lot of time worrying about night-time visits from the goon squad.


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