Queen’s Quay Track Construction (Updated November 15, 2012)

Updated November 15, 2012 at 7:00am:

Demolition of the trackbed has progressed eastward to Rees Street.

With the eastbound road lanes now closed, passengers looking for the replacement bus service have a considerable challenge as there is no signage anywhere at the former eastbound stops indicating that buses are now operating on Lakeshore and Harbour.

Updated October 25, 2012 at 5:20pm:

New westbound track is in place in the portal at Bay Street.

Utility work is now in progress in the eastbound lanes of Queen’s Quay, and Waterfront Toronto has announced that effective November 5, eastbound service on the 509 Harbourfront bus will be rerouted to Lakeshore Blvd. and Harbour Street eastward from Bathurst Street.  There will be no eastbound road traffic on Queen’s Quay east of Spadina for the remainder of this phase of construction which runs to mid 2013.  (See map)

Utility location work is still underway along the transit right-of-way.  When this is completed, demolition of the trackbed will begin eastward from the bridge west of Rees Street according to Waterfront Toronto.

October 16, 2012:

Work has begun on the reconstruction of the Harbourfront line on Queen’s Quay from the Bay Street portal west to Spadina.  Demolition of the existing trackbed on the ramp west of Bay is now in progress.

Demolition of the surface portion is supposed to begin at Rees Street and work east to the portal, but this phase has not started yet.

Overhead was removed from the line a few weeks ago in anticipation of construction.

The project timetable calls for streetcars to return on Queen’s Quay in late spring 2013.

For full details on the Queen’s Quay project, visit Waterfront Toronto’s site.

22 thoughts on “Queen’s Quay Track Construction (Updated November 15, 2012)

  1. Any thoughts on where the crossovers are going to be from the two lanes of traffic on the north side of the streetcar tracks to the current configuration? Will they be at the intersections of York and QQ and Spadina and QQ or will they be separate from current intersections?

    Steve: West of Spadina at Yo-Yo Ma Way. This shows up in the project drawings which are lurking somewhere on the Waterfront Toronto site.


  2. Hi Steve

    There was an interesting question posted to a transit forum in response to the recent ‘milestone’ with the Union Station construction project.

    Basically the question was, since the massive construction project is taking place at Union, and massive construction projects are taking place along Spadina, and along Queen’s Quay (with shutdown of Spadina & Queen’s Quay streetcar service) why not use the opportunity to expand the Union Station streetcar loop?

    Are there any technical reasons why the loop expansion project could not have been done concurrently with the track reconstruction & Union Station dig-down and 2nd platform? Or is it all just financing, politics and ‘prioritizing’?

    Cheers, Moaz

    ps. I checked the post on Spadina reconstruction to see if anyone had asked a similar question of you. It seems Ed Drass came the closest with two questions about the scope & length of the project.

    Steve: The problem is one of footdragging and cost. The scope of work for the new Union Loop keeps getting bigger, and the costs go up. There is not enough money in Waterfront Toronto’s budget to cover this, and indeed they moved some of the Queen’s Quay East funding (which included the loop) to the Queen’s Quay West project so that it could all be completed in one go (albeit over three years). The waterfront line completely fell of the budgeting radar at the City and TTC because it was always assumed to be a Waterfront Toronto project, and the TTC has not been exactly keen about the project itself (there have been rather tense debates at some consultative meetings about the actual design of the right-of-way). Moreover, there is no sense of when the connection at Cherry will be built, again due to funding problems.

    A related issue is one of scope and the question of whether the “Bremner LRT” is a viable proposal for which provision should be made at this stage of a reconstruction.

    If this was going to be a co-ordinated project, approval should have come a few years ago, just about the time we lost a pro-transit, WT-friendly administration at City Hall. Effectively we have lost about three years so far. Two to the Ford regime, and another to the final year of Miller’s term when he lost the ability (and interest) to get anything major like this done.


  3. Steve, I imagine that the new streetcars will fit in the Union Station loop, but is the lay-by large enough to fit one? How about at Spadina?

    Steve: No, the space at Spadina Station barely holds a CLRV, and the platform is very tight for two LFLRVs at the same time. The TTC really has some challenges and I hope they address them before the cars start running rather than making a botch-up of the implementation.


  4. Pity they didn’t order double-ended cars; it would make it a lot easier to retrofit the Union Station loop.

    Steve: Actually, it’s not quite that simple given that the pillars between the northbound and southbound tracks hold up the rail viaduct.


  5. Again, part of the problems with Spadina and Union was the choice of the new streetcar. Could the TTC not have chosen a smaller streetcar?

    Steve: Originally they were going for a car about the same length as an ALRV, but political momentum built up for a longer, all low-floor car in part because of Transit City.


  6. What about the Queens Quay section from Rees to Yo YO Ma lane including the bridge.

    Will that section be done as well?

    Steve: That’s a separate project. The Queen’s Quay Loop and intersection are planned for summer 2013. I’m not sure about the timing for the bridge, but it has to be done one way or another.


  7. “Steve: No, the space at Spadina Station barely holds a CLRV, and the platform is very tight for two LFLRVs at the same time.”

    The run around track at Spadina fits 2 CLRVs (first hand experience), so a LFLRV should fit no problem.

    Steve: Thanks for the info. Any time I saw a CLRV in there, it looked as if another would not fit, but probably the operator of the first car had not pulled forward as far as possible. I suspect this is a location where a sign will be needed showing ops where to stop so that the tail end is clear of the outbound track while the front end does not foul the inbound.


  8. Strange that there isn’t an eastbound stop at York St. The Rees St. onramp kinda ruled out that stop, but I wonder the reasoning for York. Are they prepping people for the new stop consolidation (Simcoe/York) given that every other stop on the Harbourfront is missing eastbound?

    The strange thing despite the signage with maps at Union saying there isn’t a stop at York, today’s Metro with the same notice SHOWS a stop at York St. on the revised route map but the description makes no mention of it. I’ll have to take a look next time I’m in the area.


  9. The TTC should look at how the YRT handles signage. I was on the VIVA Highway 7 corridor recent, which is being torn up for the new transit way, and bus stops are routinely moved by up to half a block. The signage is excellent, with footprint decals on the sidewalk, clear instructions with arrows, and even a “Yes, you’re at the right spot” sign at wherever the current stop is.


  10. Looks like the demolition is definitely in progress as I look out my balcony window at 9 AM on a Saturday morning. Is it their intention to continue this demolition 7 days a week? Surely there are going to be some upset residents in the nearby condominiums. It doesn’t affect me so much as I’m an early riser, but this isn’t something that can just be drowned out with ear plugs – it’s loud!

    Steve: According to the construction notice on Waterfront Toronto’s site, they are working today (Nov 17) to take advantage of the weather. You can follow the detailed construction notices via this site.


  11. Which TTC streetcar route do you think the LFLRVs run on? Would it be the “511 Bathurst”? The tracks on that route are in good shape, aand is entirely at street level, so the LFLRVs shouldn’t have any problem navigating this route.

    Steve: The TTC has already published a tentative schedule as part of the streetcar fleet plan which I reported on earlier. The first year’s rollout of new cars will be on 510 Spadina, 511 Bathurst and 509 Harbourfront, as well as the first stage of implementation of 505 Dundas. All this is subject to change, but 509/510/511 make a good logical grouping for the launch.


  12. Like many Torontonians, I’m looking forward to riding the new LFLRV streetcars some time in 2013, when travelling to and from great places like Harbourfront Centre, the Island Ferry Docks, and the Exhibition grounds (they will run on routes which I regularly use). A stretch of all three of these routes – 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina, and 511 Bathurst – run along or past Toronto’s central waterfront.

    Steve: I think you will have to wait until early 2014 before you see new cars in any numbers in revenue service. The production deliveries are not supposed to start until September 2013 at the earliest assuming there are no delays caused by problems found during testing of the prototypes.


  13. While riding the “509 Harbourfront” shuttle buses, I’ve noticed that TTC track work on Queens Quay West between the streetcar portal near the foot of Bay street and the Spadina loop is well under way. In some places, the old tracks which were removed (both track and concrete embedding) have been asphalted over. Eventually, the construction of new concrete-embedded streetcar tracks will begin and should be completed by June 2013. When track work is completed on this stretch of Queens Quay West, similar work shall begin on the stretch from the Queens Quay & Spadina loop westward to the foot of Bathurst Street.

    Steve: Actually, the stretch west of Spadina won’t see much work except whatever adjustments are needed for the new road layout near the Spadina intersection. The track at Spadina Loop and that intersection are scheduled for replacement in 2013.

    Waterfront Toronto has no budget for street reconfiguration beyond Yo Yo Ma Lane, and the track is not scheduled for replacement in the TTC’s five-year plan.


  14. I think it would be possible to run shuttle streetcars between Exhibition and Spadina loops, presuming the overhead remains powered. The curves for this operation are there.

    However, I don’t think there’s any way for Union-Spadina shuttle buses travelling westbound on Lake Shore to access the loop.

    Steve: The real question is where are the people who a Harbourfront West shuttle line serves going. Just connecting them to a bus at Spadina would impose an needless transfer when one through bus route could achieve the same thing.


  15. Steve:

    What date will construction on the new streetcar tracks begin on Queens Quay West? When do you expect these new tracks to be completed? When do you think streetcars will return to the “509 Harbourfront” route (it continues to be served by shuttle buses)? The old streetcar tracks on Queens Quay have been removed and then asphalted over, and the eastbound lanes on this stretch of roadway have been closed to vehicular traffic for the past month or two to accommodate electrical and utility work.

    Steve: The plans were to get streetcars back on Queen’s Quay by late May, although I suspect this will slip if only because the TTC may drag its feet. The overall project is currently on time and I believe the only concern would be a late winter delaying start of construction in the new streetcar right-of-way.


  16. At the moment, shuttle buses are running along the “509 Harbourfront” route. This is reminiscent of the TTC track work on other streetcar routes, like “512 St. Clair West” a few years ago, and shuttle buses ran on that route. During this period, businesses on St. Clair Avenue West took a hit. Many stores experience a decrease in business and, since construction was completed, eventually recovered). What effect is TTC track having on local businesses (on Queens Quay West)?


  17. When (what date) is construction expected to begin on the new streetcar right-of-way on Queens Quay West?

    Steve: I don’t have the exact date, and have heard that things are running a bit late. Earlier this week, I had a note from the TTC advising that they plan to have Spadina streetcar service back at about Victoria Day. The Harbourfront car is tentatively planned for July, but may be earlier depending on how construction goes. This very cold weather puts a lot of things on hold.


  18. In the mean time, construction continues on Queens Quay West between the streetcar portal at Bay Street and the foot of Lower Spadina, and shuttle buses continue to run on the “509 Harbourfront” route. What date is construction on new streetcar tracks expected to begin?

    Steve: I don’t know the start date, but the 509 streetcar is supposed to return in July this year. The utilities work has to finish so that traffic can shift over and free up the streetcar right-of-way for construction.


  19. Preparation for the new streetcar tracks continues, and new excavation for track to be laid down and concrete embedding will begin sooner rather than later.

    The “509 Harbourfront” shuttle buses will continue to serve the central waterfront until track work on Queens Quay West is complete, then the streetcars will return to this route.

    Steve: None of the new track slab has been laid yet, although Waterfront Toronto lists this work as something that will begin soon. Meanwhile, track construction over the Spadina bridge is completing. Reconstruction of Queens Quay loop is planned for the near future.

    What is unclear is a restoration date for Spadina streetcar service. I have heard conflicting stories about this and cannot confirm whether streetcars will resume operation south to Queens Quay in July, or not until the fall when both the Harbourfront and Spadina cars would resume normal operation.


  20. When streetcars finally return to Queens Quay West, which route will use the new tracks once they’re ready? Would it be the “509 Harbourfront” – the streetcar which continued to run until mid-summer 2012?

    Steve: I’m not sure I understand the question. Both 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina will use the tracks, but the Spadina car will return first as far as Queen’s Quay Loop. Service to Union, including the 509, will return later.


  21. West of Spadina, they have been removing the concrete paving between the edge of the trackbed and the curb. I presume we’ll be getting more plantings there.

    More interestingly, this morning they’d torn up a short section of track, maybe 3-4 metres. The gap was deep; it may go down to the foundation slab. So there’s some interesting stuff happening west of Spadina.

    Steve: In the new plan, the track alignment changes slightly just west of Spadina.


  22. As of this morning, there’s quite a stretch of track torn out. And it’s not “just west” of Spadina. The west end of the gap is almost at the unnamed street that runs north off Queens Quay between Spadina and Dan Leckie. At least 130 metres west of Spadina.

    It looked like they were ready to tear out more track today.

    Also, there are new signs up that Queens Quay will be shut between Dan Leckie and Spadina. I think it’s only eastbound, but I didn’t have a really good look as I rode by on my bicycle.

    Steve: The project is suppose to end at Yo Yo Ma Lane which is the street you refer to. At that point, the eastbound roadway is supposed to swing north across the car tracks so that by the time one reaches Spadina, the “new” layout with pedestrians/cyclists on the south side, transit in the middle and autos on the north side is in place. This makes the intersection much simpler than if the transition occurred right at Spadina.


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