Kingston Road Construction News

The City of Toronto has issued a preliminary notice of the reconstruction of Kingston Road from Queen Street to Victoria Park Avenue.  This work will take place starting in June 2013 through to December and will include replacement of all the streetcar track.

This is the last major piece of track in regular service to be rebuilt to new standards introduced almost 20 years ago.  (Downtown tracks on Victoria, York, Richmond and Wellington will be replaced over the 2013 and 2014 construction seasons.)

5 thoughts on “Kingston Road Construction News

  1. Steve, I cannot quite figure out why they are spending anything on Kingston Rd? While it does not address the extra couple of cars travelling on Queen, service is much more reliable and frequent using the Coxwell 22A bus.

    Long , long ago the TTC ‘chased’ away all of the remaining streetcar riders on Kingston and even if you ran headways of 5 minutes all day long, the majority riders will never return. They have all found other transit services or car, taxi etc. These people are not going to be coming back to TTC and there is really no development taking place, or will take place along this entire stretch in the near/not so near future. To the east of VP, gradually all of the old highway 2 zoning (gas stations) etc are being changed over and some building will occur here and next the motel-strip near Brimley, but no substantial building will take place between Queen and VP.

    Why is the TTC so insistent on spending money on this section?

    And eventually we’ll see the new vehicles here too?

    I may be wrong but I think this is a waste.

    How do you feel?

    Steve: I agree that the TTC chased riders away with the appalling service provided on the 502/503 routes on Kingston Road, especially at midday. However, I think they have a chance to reclaim ridership if only they would run better service. That’s an uphill battle, however. In any event, the road has to be rebuilt anyhow and so it’s not as if this is a TTC-only project.

    A related issue is a long-standing scheme to extend the service further east on Kingston Road, but that fell out of favour when Brian Ashton and David Miller parted ways. Now the area has a councillor who is not exactly keen to spend money on transit.


  2. I’m intrigued there was a plan to extend streetcar service up Kingston Road? Would this be to Birchmount? Wasn’t Brian Ashton pushing for BRT on Kingston Road/Danforth?

    Steve: BRT but with thoughts of a future LRT. I think by now the idea of running all the way into downtown via Kingston Road is pretty much off of the map because of the length of the trip.


  3. By the time the Kingston Road transit project suddenly died the route was finalized as Victoria Park/Danforth Avenue/Kingston Road to Eglinton. Which makes fine sense for providing service on Kingston Road from Eglinton to Danforth.

    What got lost in the project is any improvement on Kingston Road between Victoria Park and Danforth. Running the 502 east to Eglinton makes little sense. In the meantime, travelling to destinations on Kingston Road in the Warden area make little sense. For trips downtown even the various on-line trip advisors recommend that the fastest route is to take the 12 and change to the 502, rather than taking the 12 and 69 to Bloor-Danforth and changing to the Yonge subway – and they don’t know about the Bloor-Danforth station nightmare.

    So while a long extension of the Kingston Road streetcar doesn’t seem sensible surely a relatively short 3 km or so extension to a loop near Kingston/Danforth would get good usage – and provide much better connectivity for the Birch Cliff neighbourhood with the Beaches, Leslieville, and Riverdale.

    What I don’t understand though, is how a project like the Kingston Road transit project – not to mention the Don Mills, Jane, etc. transit projects, can just vanish after years of work, with no final report, and as far as I can tell, no instruction from council or TTC to cancel the projects.


  4. just to follow up on nfitz’s comment above..what does happen to all these grand schemes and reports etc? Is it like other gov bills that just die off and sit in someones file cabinet or hard drive forever forgotten?

    If so the TTC must have file drawers full of what could have been, and more than likely nobody ever looks any more.

    Case in point, I recall the ‘water’ nonsense when they did the extra entrance at Broadview Station recently. Closed for a long time and I think I read it was an unexpected water issue. Well even a chump like me went to archives and in 10 minutes I found a ton of reports documenting the building of the original Broadview Station back in 1965 and what do you know … they had difficulty because of underground water/lake issues.

    If someone had bothered to look in the files, I’m sure the current water issues would not exist and they would have saved a ton on $$ also. The same with the new Leslie Barns. ALL of those utilities are on file, albeit maybe not in one place, but with a tiny bit of digging, they would have been known to the current contractors long ago and budgeted/planned for. Why does no one look?

    Also on another tack, I heard that the new streetcar visited Russell and Neville last Saturday and Sunday. Everything went well, little scratched but no problems at all. Also no problem on Eastern Ave tracks, although they did use track 7 I think which has the lowest grade.


  5. With all the talk of the Kingston Road study and how to integrate with Transit City I think the reality that it just isn’t (relatively) a particularly heavily used corridor, and as such hard to justify as a priority in anything like a predictable timeframe is being missed. While drawing a rapid transit line on the official plan’s transportation maps seems worthwhile I just don’t see even a remote possibility of implementation of anything until Scarborough Malvern is back on the table, and that hardly seems a high priority at the moment. Something like nfitz’s ideas would be ideal, and given unlimited resources I’d go further, running the 502 from Coxwell to Kennedy stations, and a branch of the Scarborough Malvern to Victoria Park via Danforth while extending the Vic Park bus to Bingham (or Neville if possible). That said, given fiscal realities and demands in the rest of the city this reads, to me anyway, more like a railfan fantasy than a serious option for the foreseeable future.

    I’d argue that what we really need is a short term plan to improve service on Kingston road that doesn’t require (significant) capital investment and that could start to address whether there is demand for better service on Kingston. Realistically it might be easier to just abandon the streetcar altogether, extend the Coxwell bus to Danforth via Kingston and replace the remainder of the 12 with an extension of the Vic Park bus to Bingham Loop (probably toss in the Cliffside/Kingston Road switch I mentioned as well). From a purely management perspective I tend to think this is a better option than the streetcars, saving the cost of rail on a route that really doesn’t need it, avoiding the sort of infrastructure we’d need to make the Kingston Road rail work in an ideal fashion and producing a dramatically improved network structure. That said, the intention to retain streetcar service seems to be clear and I have to think that it’s the right decision for almost all the reasons that make transit about more than providing as few buses as possible as cheaply as possible.

    I’m left wondering if the best immediate option isn’t a shuttle service between Woodbine and Bingham loops. The quasi branch of the 501 operating today is clearly non functional and I can’t imagine any service that runs downtown being better than what is in the Beaches (itself a deeply problematic service as has been discussed here at length) however with nearly 12 cars assigned to peak service on Kingston quite a frequent shuttle service could be achieved with today’s budget, probably with room to add a small number of extra Beach runs to the 501. Ideally this would be accompanied with an extension of the Coxwell bus to Woodbine loop, preserving the same level of subway connection as today. It would seem to me that the greatest obstacle to this operation would be the TTC’s policy of all routes connecting directly to the subway. The transfer at Woodbine loop is hardly ideal, but the loss of a ride to the Yonge line is not itself much of an issue, and I the actual service would likely be much improved. If this operation worked well I wonder if something similar on Queen street might makes sense, perhaps as a Bingham to Neville through service. That said, doing this on Queen requires rebuilding Woodbine Loop and/or the Kingston/Queen intersection which is exactly the sort of thing I’m trying to avoid in proposing something that is pretty clearly a less than ideal compromise.

    Restructuring the bus routes on Kingston beyond Vic Park would help quite a lot as well, and there is quite simply no excuse that this wasn’t done immediately on the study’s results being known. Especially puzzling to me is the arrangement whereby Danforth Ave east of Danforth Rd is served by 20 Cliffside rather than 12 Kingston Road and vice versa. That said, rearranging bus routes on Kingston goes far beyond just the portion immediately east of Vic Park, and is most definitely tied up in how north south corridor will relate to Eglinton and the “new” SRT next decade, so with this post already long I’ll stop here.


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