York Street Construction News

The City of Toronto has issued a preliminary notice regarding the reconstruction of York Street from Wellington to Queen.

This will include pavement and sidewalk reconstruction, water main work, and the installation of new track.  This work includes replacement of the intersection at Queen & York, but not at King & York which is comparatively new.

Only the northbound track will be retained and, as I understand current plans, the special work at Adelaide Street will be removed.  If at a future date, the TTC decides to reactivate Adelaide Street from Charlotte east to Victoria, the York Street intersection will be dealt with at that time.

The City is studying Richmond and Adelaide Streets with a view to installing cycling lanes, and the reconstruction of Adelaide will depend on the design that emerges from this process.  A related issue is the ongoing construction of condos along Adelaide requiring curb lane occupancy and causing  damage to the road from heavy trucks.

Co-ordination with the Spadina & King project during August will be needed to ensure that there is one street clear for King and Queen services through downtown.

9 thoughts on “York Street Construction News

  1. As York is one-way north it makes sense to only have a northbound track and according to earlier TTC plans (and the 2013 TO-Inview maps) the York & Richmond intersection will also be replaced. In fact, the City has plans to replace the watermain and track on both York (Wellington to Queen) and Richmond (York to Sherbourne) this year.

    It’s too bad that they are not installing the special trackwork at York and Adelaide now but I suppose it makes sense to do it only when (if) they re-open Adelaide.

    Steve: Yes, I should have included the Richmond intersection in my notes, and will add it. Thanks for catching that.


  2. Does anyone have experience with counterflow streetcar routes? Just because we don’t have one in Toronto does not mean that they are a bad idea.

    Steve: A lot depends on how the street is used. Typically, a counterflow lane is placed against one curb, and this makes the lane unavailable for parking. In any event, we have few one way streets, and creating more is not the way to improve traffic and transit.


  3. Do you think the TTC should reactive the Adelaide track east of Charlotte? On one hand, proponents argue that it would increase flexibility for routing/detouring options. On the other hand, if the TTC really doesn’t need Adelaide, then it’s just unnecessary trackwork and maintenance for them.

    I ask this because one of your earlier blog posts says that Adelaide both ways will be removed.

    Steve: The westbound track is definitely coming out. It has been unclear exactly what the TTC plans for Adelaide because they have been installing new overhead poles and feeder cables on the currently inactive section of the street. If they are doing this, why? Or is it a case that nobody has told the electrical department to lay off, or maybe that they’re keeping their options open.

    The street has been unusable west of Victoria since the 90s when construction of the Bay Adelaide Centre started (the first time), and other projects along that street have lost or buried other chunks of track. What is left is impassible thanks to the road condition. Instead of Adelaide, the TTC has used King as the eastbound diversion around events on Queen.


  4. I still think the city should make York two-way between King and Queen. That southbound track would be almost too useful.

    Steve: Don’t hold you breath, but yes, an equivalent to Church Street west of City Hall would be handy.


  5. Kevin Love says: Does anyone have experience with counterflow streetcar routes? Just because we don’t have one in Toronto does not mean that they are a bad idea.

    In Vienna there is at least one (narrow) street where a streetcar ROW is one track but regularly accommodates streetcars going in both directions. (Not, of course, at the same time. :->) York is mostly a ‘diversion route” so IF there were a ROW it could probably function in this way but, as Steve says, I would not hold my breath for this happening, and certainly not in 2013.


  6. What year did all those streets become one way? I think I remember running into problems trying to go somewhere on Adelaide because it was one way in 1959.

    Steve: The one-way system was introduced as part of the Gardiner/DVP construction and the way the “Duke & Duchess” interchange (Richmond/Adelaide/DVP) fed traffic into downtown. The Bathurst car, which ran both ways via Adelaide to Victoria changed to eastbound via Adelaide, westbound via King, in May 1958.

    Duke and Duchess Streets were the original names for what are now Richmond and Adelaide east of Jarvis Street.


  7. In a 2010 report the TTC spoke of the desirability of a new east to north curve at York and King. Too bad it is not on this year’s schedule but they did say that that intersection was not due for construction until 2018. It does sound like a good idea.

    Eastbound King to Northbound York
    Affected routes 501,504
    • 501 – shorten west bound diversions
    • 501 – short turns and turn backs
    • 504 – shorten west bound diversions
    • 504 – short turns and turn backs

    Steve: I hate to say this, but the diversions this would shorten are eastbound. It is an east-to-north curve, after all.


  8. Steve, is this still on schedule for June? The TTC put up a notice they will be welding rails on Ossington this weekend in anticipation of rebuilding the tracks in September. I haven’t heard of any prep work being done for York yet.

    Steve: The work is still scheduled for June with the Queen/York intersection scheduled for the end of the month. Detailed surveying marks have appeared at that location. I suspect that the rails may not be pre-welded, or if there are, there won’t be much inventory. The track to be replaced includes: north of Wellington to south of King, north of King to south of Richmond. I suspect that intersection replacements at Richmond and Queen will overlap (ie: the south end of one will be the north end of the other). The special work at Adelaide will be removed. I don’t think the TTC has figured out what to do with this street yet.

    The construction notice from March says that there would be a June start, subject to change, but this has not been updated.


  9. With the intersection of Queen & York closed for two weeks, service on 501 will be even more erratic than usual. The closure does not last for the entire board period, and therefore will be no additional time added to the 501 schedules to compensate for the additional mileage, not to mention the additional steetcar and congestion caused by the diversion. The best that could be done would be to boost up service during the closure with extra runs covered by the spareboard.

    I continue to be amazed by the “planning” skills of Service Planning.

    To make matters worse, they figured out at the last minute that a diversion via McCaul, Dundas, Victoria which was planned initially is unworkable due to the manual switches at Dundas & Victoria (east-to-south) and Dundas & McCaul (west-to-south) which would have to be re-set manually, or otherwise use additional staff to throw them manually at busy times of the day. Also the overhead at Dundas & McCaul is in very rough shape. They ran one of the new cars in testing last week through that intersection and the trolley pole derailed twice as it was making its way from westbound Dundas onto southbound McCaul. Loads of fun that would be with a 501 making that turn every few minutes.

    Steve: I note with some amusement that the west-to-south switch at Dundas & McCaul is electrified, but has been out of service for some time.

    Another issue that was brought up was the major delay occurring daily at Dundas & Yonge due to the ‘scrambled’ pedestrian-only signal cycle. That adds up at least 5 minutes easily to the trip on the Dundas cars daily. Squeezing the 501’s through there in addition the regular 505’s would be a challenge.

    @Steve: If you have access to the GPS data, it would be interesting if you have the time to do an analysis comparing service on the 501 as it runs now with what would be operated during the closure on York & King.

    Also speaking of 501 Queen, service was a bit better for the past three weeks (i.e. the previous board period), due to the extra runs which were scheduled for the 502-503 , but instead ran on 501 Queen once Kingston Road was closed for rail welding at the beginning of June (and hence fewer cars were required for 502-503). I guess a “before-after” comparison of 501 service in that case would be interesting, too.

    Steve: I plan to request CIS data for a few routes for June and July to compare various route configurations.


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