A Few Delicate Questions About The Scarborough Subway (Updated)

Updated May 7, 2013 at 9:30 am:  The TTC has confirmed that the January 2013 cost estimate for the Scarborough LRT includes a $500m provision for a carhouse and yard.  As previously discussed in this article, the yard is not required for the LRT option because the Scarborough and Sheppard East lines will share space at Conlins Road Carhouse.

The City Manager’s Report on “Revenue Tools” to fund transit expansion may, or may not, find its way onto Toronto Council’s agenda on May 7/8 depending on the success of political manoeuvres to bring the item onto the agenda.  Executive Committee chose to defer the item to its May 28, 2013, meeting at which point the issue will be moot as Metrolinx will already have issued its recommendations to Queen’s Park.

In the run-up to a forced Council debate, it is not enough for some, including TTC Chair Karen Stintz, to simply appeal to a sense of democracy – six members of Executive should not be able to block debate by 45 members of Council on an important matter.  This became a chance to dust off the “One City” plan and pull together a Scarborough coalition by advancing the cause of a Scarborough Subway – an extension of the Danforth line east and north from Kennedy Station to Sheppard and McCowan.

No sooner was this scheme back on the table, but other would-be players began to mutter about their own pet projects.  That “extra half billion” the subway option in Scarborough may cost on paper could attract billions of add-ons, almost like the worst of pork-filled appropriations in the US Congress.  What might fall off of the table to pay for the Scarborough subway plus any other extras needed to bring reluctant Councillors onside is unknown.  Queen’s Park has been quite clear that there is no additional funding from that quarter, and so and extra must come from Toronto.

Queen’s Park can, of course, ignore whatever Council may try to add as conditions on approval of revenue tools, but if these undo the agreement to build LRT lines signed barely a year ago, this is no trivial discussion.  Regional planning will take a back seat to political aspirations just as it has for the past four decades, and momentum for actual construction rather than endless debate and delay will be lost.

The whole concept that the subway option is “affordable” turns on the premise that it is only slightly more expensive than the LRT, and brings benefits the LRT option cannot.  Some claims made for the subway option are, at best, misinformed, and at worst outright deceptions.  Unfortunately, the public agencies charged with providing accurate information are staying silent lest they be drawn into yet another political debate that could wreck professional careers.

Here are a few questions that should be asked and answered.

How Much Will The LRT and Subway Options Cost?

According to a TTC report from January 2013, and LRT line ending at Sheppard would cost $2.3-billion versus a subway at $2.8-billion.  The base year for these quotes is not given, nor is it clear whether inflation to completion is included.

However, as recently as the Stintz One City Plan of June 2012, the cost estimates were both half a billion lower at ($1.8b and $2.3b respectively).  These were quoted in 2011$.

Updated May 7: The TTC’s Brad Ross writes in an email today:

1. The costs for the SRT in the January report were 2011 dollars.
2. They included vehicles, plus $500 million for yard provisions.

Metrolinx continues to cite $1.8b on the Big Move website, although this is quoted in 2010$.  It is not clear what the cost base year is for the TTC figures, nor the presumed construction period for the TTC options which would affect the inflation to completion.

Fleet

At one time, the TTC was planning to replace the existing Scarborough RT with new “Mark II” RT cars similar to the second generation of cars used on Vancouver’s Skytrain system (not to be confused with the new “Canada” line that serves the airport and does not use the same technology).  This project included an expanded carhouse and maintenance facility east of McCowan Yard, and provision for this persisted in the plans even after the project became an LRT scheme.  It is unclear whether the TTC’s cost base includes this carhouse for the LRT option.

Updated May 7:  The TTC has confirmed that the $2.3b cost estimate for the LRT option includes $500m for a new carhouse.  This is not, in fact, required and therefore the cost of the LRT option is overstated by the same amount.

By contrast, no new storage or fleet is required for the subway option because the TTC has an embarrassment of extra subway cars.  This situation arises from an era when fleet planning assumed all subway cars were the same, and that even with some new equipment, the Spadina subway extension would operate in part with the current fleet of “T-1” cars.  However, with a decision to move to the new “TR” unit trains on the Yonge line and a switch to automatic train control, the T-1 fleet will be relegated mainly to the Bloor-Danforth line.

However, the TTC owns more T-1 trains than it requires to operate both the B-D and Sheppard subways.  The surplus is available for an extension such as the Scarborough Subway.  This reduces the cost/km that would otherwise have to factor in yard and fleet requirements.

Stations

The subway extension will only add three stations to the network, and not serve as wide an area as the LRT line would have.  The TTC projects that the population close to rapid transit service will be roughly half the size with a subway as with an LRT (24k vs 47k).

Despite the relatively bad station locations, the TTC projects slightly higher ridership for the subway (36m annually for subway versus 31m for LRT) in part due to the elimination of the transfer at Kennedy Station.

The One City plan cites daily ridership of 44k (present) for the SRT versus 125k (future) for the subway, but winds up with a similar total subway ridership of 38.9m/year.  This misrepresents the two options by comparing an existing, shorter, capacity constrained RT line to a new subway.  As we see in the TTC estimates, the extended and improved LRT would carry almost as many as the subway line.

For the LRT option, Kennedy is to be reconfigured, but the proposed Metrolinx design has not yet been published.  The TTC’s version included in the EA for the line shows the new SRT station beside the subway station to allow a simpler interchange via an expanded mezzanine area.

The LRT option includes a future extension to Malvern, something that is not possible with the subway and would, instead, need to be a spur off of the Sheppard LRT if and when that line is actually built.

Closing The SRT

The length of a shutdown for reconstruction of the SRT along the same right-of-way has been cited at various lengths ranging from 3 to 5 years.  Generally, the larger numbers are used when someone wants to advocate for a no-shutdown option.

In July 2012, I received the following email from Jack Collins, Metrolinx Vice-President, Rapid Transit Implementation:

Your recent blog posting implies that Metrolinx or the Province has increased the duration of the SRT shutdown period from 3 years to 3 to 4 years.

This is not the case. The first time we heard 3 to 4 years was during the City Council debate on Wednesday concerning the One City Plan.

This duration did not come from a Metrolinx representative and in all our discussions with the TTC staff the shutdown has been three years, and hopefully less if we put our minds to it.

I wanted to assure you and your readers that even with an AFP type contract, the current Metrolinx plan is:

  • SRT will stay in service until after the 2015 Pan Am/ Para Pan games
  • The AFP contract will have a condition that will limit the shutdown period to no more than 3 years
  • As part of the AFP contractor selection process, contractors will be encouraged to come up with plans to reduce the shutdown period to less than 3 years

Scarborough Subway advocates routinely claim that the SRT will shut down for 5 years (the One City plan cites a value of “4+ years”).  What the subway advocates do not address is the question of the existing SRT’s longevity.

In the Transit City Plans, the SRT conversion would already be underway with the new LRT line to open before the Pan Am Games in 2015 and a roughly 3-year shutdown period.  When Queen’s Park stretched out the funding for Transit City and forced the TTC to keep the SRT running until after the Games, the TTC reluctantly agreed, but was concerned about whether the technology could be kept alive that long.  As things stand, the SRT service has been downgraded so that the existing fleet and control system can achieve the scheduled performance.

No detailed design nor EA has been conducted for the Scarborough Subway, and given past experiences, it would be astounding if such a line could be in operation by 2020.  There is a high likelihood that the existing SRT will simply stop working well before then forcing a shutdown even with the subway option.  The implications of keeping the SRT running until a subway line opens have not been explored or costed.

Although Metrolinx is on the record with an estimate of three years or less for the SRT shutdown (see above), the longer five year number is often cited because former Minister of Transportation Bob Chiarelli published a timetable for transit projects showing the SRT being completed “by 2020”.  Relative to a fall 2015 shutdown, this is read in some circles as “five years”.

Metrolinx does its own plan a disservice by staying so quiet on the subject when publicly aiming at 2018 would improve the LRT plan’s credibility.

In fact, Metrolinx plans to begin construction on the Conlins Road Maintenance Facility in late 2014 along with track on Sheppard East and the portion of the LRT line east of McCowan Yard.  A pause to have the LRT-vs-Subway technology debate all over again, especially if this is founded on a dubious comparison of the costs, could further delay transit expansion in Scarborough.

Concluding Thoughts

All of this debate has surfaced thanks to repeated delays to Toronto’s transit plans both by Mayor Ford and by Queen’s Park who, for a time, played along with Ford even in the absence of Council’s agreement.  TTC Chair Karen Stintz wants to see her plan implemented and thoroughly wrest control of the transit agenda from Ford, but she needs Scarborough’s support to achieve this.

What has been lost here is an overall sense of what the City needs from its transit system than yet another set of lines drawn on a map and the political horse-trading that goes with such an exercise.

Council should debate which revenue tools it feels comfortable supporting as part of a provincial transit scheme, but the debate about the network layout and content belongs elsewhere.

Postscript

I originally made this remark in the comment thread, but it belongs here in the main post.

I could reluctantly be brought around to the subway point of view if only the cost figures could actually be compared on an apples-to-apples basis and remain only “moderately” more expensive for a subway, and if the subway advocates would address the issue of the SRT shutdown period through either option. As things stand, the rosiest possible picture is painted for the subway, and that sort of argument arouses suspicion.

Local boosterism coupled with a “to good to be true” argument for a transit proposal should raise questions.  Whether they will be asked, let alone answered, remains to be seen.

54 thoughts on “A Few Delicate Questions About The Scarborough Subway (Updated)

  1. What I would like to point out is that given all the development in and around Scarborough a subway extension would be worth it.

    I am all for LRT but we need to plan for future demand and not just what is current to 2013. The fact is what used to be empty fields 5 years ago are now condos and town-houses. The density in Scarborough is quickly outpacing the level at which the TTC can provide service. Even out near the Zoo which for years was nothing but a field, homes are going up en masse, up near the Town Centre and out along the 401 TONS of new condos are popping up for example.

    You know yourself Steve having seen some of these developments in their infantile stages when you worked out there how much Scarborough is developing. The fact is if you build a LRT line out there in about 6 years the demand would be that of a subway NOT of an LRT line. I am not saying that LRT’s are bad but as I said you need to think about the demand projections over the life of the line as opposed to going by what is here currently. Think about it.. if people based where they put lines on how much demand there is at the time the plan is drawn up we would have a subway under Queen and not Bloor. Its reasons like this that we have capacity issues on Yonge for example… at the time the DRL was originally thought up there was little demand for it but the planners failed to realise that over the years the demand would be there and it would be needed.

    All I can say is a subway extension into Scarborough may seem like overkill right now but it will not be in a few years.. if you do not believe me head out to Kennedy and the 401 or out to Scarborough Centre.

    Steve: The TTC’s demand projections include provision for the developments occurring in Scarborough. I am not making up the numbers, these are official estimates and they have been used, more or less unchanged, in Stintz’ One City plan.

    The LRT option has a very substantial capacity because this line is designed to be completely grade separated, and the LRT would actually be closer to many more people than the subway would be. The operating speeds are comparable with a slight penalty to the LRT because it stops more frequently.

    Your argument presumes that this discussion uses current demand levels, and therefore that pro-LRT arguments are invalid. Your premise is false.

    Having said that, I could reluctantly be brought around to the subway point of view if only the cost figures could actually be compared on an apples-to-apples basis and remain only “moderately” more expensive for a subway, and if the subway advocates would address the issue of the SRT shutdown period through either option. As things stand, the rosiest possible picture is painted for the subway, and that sort of argument arouses suspicion.

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  2. As I said in a comment on a different post, the guys at CodeRedTo are happily tweeting that the new 3 car Eglinton-Crosstown LRT trains will carry more more people than a 4 car Sheppard Subway train.

    Now … the point is that the only really clear ‘win’ for the proposed Scarborough subway is that it will eliminate a 3+ level transfer at Kennedy station … but the LRT plan was doing a good job of bringing that that 3+ level transfer down to something more [reasonable].

    If the main point is development and development potential, I’d like to humbly point out that there is a lot of available land in the 6 Points and Cloverdale/Honeydale/East Mall areas … not to mention the Westwood Theatre lands and the air rights over Islington Station … Frankly, a 3 stop (Shorncliffe, East Mall-Honeydale and Cloverdale Road) subway extension would be cheaper than the Scarborough Subway since it could be built to the side of the CP rail line, and it would link to the 427 and provide access for GO and MiWay buses.

    I’m not saying that anything is right or wrong here. I want to follow the evidence and the research but I also try to understand why people want to undo the decisions of the past (especially since those decisions weren’t all based on strong evidence either).

    The simple problem is that the whole process is being screwed up at all levels. It was bad enough in the past but it doesn’t seem to be getting better now.

    So let’s build the LRT and get more km of rapid transit (and the benefits of this) closer to more people. If that means some unnecessary transfers (like at Kennedy) or completely strange transfers (like on the future Sheppard corridor with LRT+Subway+who knows) … and an SRT hanging together with spit and bailing wire (with Pan Am Games athletes & guests being asked to push the train as part of the closing ceremony) we’re going to have to refer to these as quirks of the TTC, let go and move on … because the alternative of “do nothing+delay everything” is much, much worse.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  3. So what happens if tomorrow council decides to “go with a subway”.

    Either Metrolinx/The Province says “no” – and we get into a situation where maybe Toronto either backs down, or tries to muddy the waters, or goes nuclear and tries to void the agreement (which would stop Eglinton etc. until a new agreement is made).

    Or they agree to re-work the agreement, and we either go to a “fix and go” i.e. an amendment to the plan … or a “stop and wait” situation where everything in the agreement is put on hold until a new agreement is made.

    The big question is where we are with contracts … the province needs to hurry them up … if for no other reason than it gives them ammunition when the Tories get in power and cancel them … but it would also make the cost of making changes to the plan much higher – and effectively it would stop debate – except if city councillors were willing to spend a lot of money to cancel contracts (similar to the vehicle contract).

    I think if this comes up tomorrow it will be pretty quickly dealt with, the costs are already quite high to start changing positions again … but if it does, I hope the province stops it quickly, rather than letting it drag on like they did when Rob Ford originally stopped things.

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  4. I am beginning to think that the LRT will be cancelled and the subway won’t be built. As the politicians argue back and forth, the SRT will become Toronto’s version of a Sea King helicopter. If we’re lucky. If not, then I suspect that Scarborough will have to go without any form of rapid transit until well past 2020.

    I hope I’m wrong.

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  5. As someone who lives very close to Kennedy Station, I can see appeal an extension of the BD line as proposed, but in my view “that ship has sailed”. This should have been factored into the original transit expansion plans at the same time the Spadina line was to be extended to Hwy 7 in Vaughan. At this point the SRT is on its last legs and it will be a challenge for the TTC to keep it in service for another 2 years let alone in the time it would take to complete the proposed extension of the BD line. I must say I grow tired of the endless debate over what we should have (often “pet” projects), which is more often an exercise in “focusing on trees to exclusion of the forest”. In the end our council may succeed nothing getting done with a non-functioning SRT as icing on the cake.

    Phil

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  6. I am weary with the politicians rehashing of the same old ideas, perhaps a bolder vision is required. There is a 13km high voltage power line corridor running diagonally through Scarborough from the Don Valley north of Eglinton to the Zoo. Phase 1 will be the trenching of available space (as that’s the cheapest form of construction) and building a tunnel for new transmission lines to replace those on the towers. Phase 2 after the power is switched over, remove the towers and trench again for the subway line. The stations will be at the major avenues crossing the corridor that already carry a great deal of bus traffic. Also required will be a new viaduct, or an alternative route below ground, to make this line continuous with the DRL. Phase 3, development of this massive swath of land.

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  7. The discussion about the number of stations RT vs subway is a bit disingenous. Yes the current Scarborough RT has a number of stops, but due to the location of those stations (Ellesmere station is in a disused industrial area under an overpass, and Midland is in an industrial area, near a recycling facility). Simply put, they are poor locations for stations and not easy locations to walk to.

    In contrast, the proposed subway route along Danforth/McCowan would have advantages. There could potentially be a stop at the Scarborough Hospital, and would be I believe the only hospital outside of the downtown core near a subway station, a benefit to residents without vehicles. Also, the faster link to downtown from Scarborough Centre (no transfer) would have the potential to boost the employment cluster at Scarborough Town Centre, which has been greatly reduced with Telus’ relocation downtown.

    Finally, one item that isn’t discussed but potentially a benefit for Metrolinx is the land that would be freed up by the shutdown of the RT along its current right of way. GO transit could purchase the old RT land and add a second track on the Lincolnville GO line from Kennedy to Ellesmere potentially adding two way capacity on that line, a win for regional transit.

    Steve: The issue is not the number of stations, but the number of people within walking distance of them. Yes, Ellesmere (which may be deleted anyhow) and Midland are not busy stations, but the overall population close to the LRT stations is almost twice the population close to the subway stations.

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  8. If a subway is built in Scarborough, building a subway along Sheppard probably makes more sense than building a subway replacing the Scarborough RT along Eglinton/Danforth Rd/McCowan. The route of the Scarborough RT and Danforth/McCowan south of Ellesmere are extremely low density and have no development potential, and building an underground subway where an existing above ground alignment exists makes no sense. Furthermore, the Scarborough RT has slightly lower ridership than the existing Sheppard subway (though the SRT is much more crowded becuase of its lower capacity). Most of the newer high density development in Scarborough is along Sheppard between Victoria Park and Kennedy, at Sheppard & Markham and near Scarborough Centre. The subway proposed by Karen Stintz is only 1km shorter than the Sheppard subway proposed between Don Mills and STC, so I suspect that it would cost significantly more than $2 billion. The SRT should simply be rebuilt as is, or maybe it should be replaced with frequent GO service on the Stouffville line.

    The main issue with Sheppard is that with current development levels, there isn’t enough demand for travel to North York, so to get high enough ridership levels to justify it, the Sheppard subway would have to serve demand to and from downtown. Since the Yonge line is overcrowded, this would only work if a Don Mills/downtown relief line subway were built as far north as Sheppard to relieve the Yonge line, which would be expensive. (Upgrading the Richmond Hill line would be cheaper, but is an inferior alignment). I would like to see ridership projections for Sheppard with the addition of a Don Mills subway line, I suspect they would be much higher than without it. In my opinion, a Don Mills subway line is needed anyway regardless of what is done with Sheppard.

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  9. Great post. It’s important to get clear and unbiased information out on the table for this discussion to take place, and I believe it should take place asap. Advocates on both sides of the debate, LRT vs subway, advance shaky arguments with skewed data and in doing so they do harm to the overall decision making process. I must admit I favour a subway extension to replace the RT as it takes out an unnecessary transfer (shameful the RT was ever constructed). I’m not particularly concerned about the cost differential but I’d like reliable full cost unbiased estimates to be arrived at as part of the decision.

    However I agree also that we need to elevate discussion from the current micro level to a system level and think of the entire network, particularly as Ed Levy so aptly describes, in terms of its connectivity and redundancy in case any line is down temporarily. To me this is the task of Metrolinx in concert with the TTC, supported by expert international technical advice and in broad and open consultation with the public.

    I would agree with your comment Steve that we should decide on revenue tools first if it weren’t for the fact that in the case of the Scarborough RT replacement we are talking about a funded project, so timing is more critical. Changing it to a subway makes it a mix of funded and to be funded so it is pretty complicated and should be addressed out in the open with as good and valid costing comparisons as can be had.

    The current plan to me is flawed and is the result of a very flawed process to date, so I welcome reopening the question. The discussion of this line at City level has been brutally politicized and thrown around like a rag doll up to now I would say, and the recent push to convert to subway is a chance to have a reasoned analysis which Steve’s post goes some way in getting started. I am ever optimistic such a thing could happen. (Churchill’s famous line is applicable to Toronto here: “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”)

    In terms of the time for RT shut down, let’s say the RT would have to shut down for 3 years in both LRT and subway option, to deal with that possibility and set it aside. To me from what I gather it’s unrealistic to think we can stretch out the existing RT cars etc until the subway opens. It’s a shame we’re in this position at all.

    The TTC’s estimates of population served are questionable given stations are accessed by bus routes – how is this measured? One is longer line so adds in a few neighbourhoods that would have to be served by bus if subway built. But between Kennedy and STC I just don’t see now the two lines can be estimated to serve such vastly different populations. To me, this is data bias.

    The requirement to transfer at Kennedy from the existing RT line without a doubt is enough of a disincentive to put some people in cars – imagine if you live in the vicinity of STC and you work downtown and consider your commute options – short bus to STC RT station, transfer to RT, transfer again at Kennedy to subway, transfer again at Yonge/Bloor south to CBD stop – just too many transfers and lost time. Many would look at that option and just drive – somewhere, maybe close to work, maybe close to the Yonge subway – to shorten their commute time. Transfer between transit modes ON A SINGLE LINE should be avoided at all costs. It’s that simple. (Same goes for Sheppard for that matter, but problem is Sheppard probably shouldn’t have been started.. now that it is, may as well keep it a subway and put extension into the mix of 30 yr priorities. But I digress..)

    Thanks for allowing me to unload my thoughts here and hope that someone finds them interesting or enlightening.

    Peter Baugh

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  10. Steve – the comments you make about the LRT route have a much larger population along it, does that take into account only the area to Scarborough Town Centre or the proposed extension of the LRT eastward and northward to Sheppard and then eventually to Malvern Town Centre? I am assuming it is the latter, becasue when you look at the MapArt maps of the area the current SRT runs through industrial land while the proposed subway, running up along Eglinton and then Danforth Road and McCowan is bordered by residential all the way. If it is the latter some of the wording that you and others use about the population served should be chosen more accurately.

    Steve: I am quoting from the TTC’s report, and the numbers they cite are a combination of the population who live, work and go to school along the route.

    The fact is, it really would be nice if there could be a rapid transit service continually – i.e. the SRT does not have to shut down while the route is retooled for the SRT. It seems that much more accurate date on the length of time necessary AND the chance that the SRT might break down by the time it takes to do an EA, and design and build the subway (7-8 years realistically?).

    The McGowan subway route does have the nice feature of serving Scarborough General Hospital (in contrast to what another poster says, North York General is on the Sheppard line) BUT one of the main aims of the LRT extension eastward was to connect with Centennial College and then upwards to Sheppard and eventually Malvern.

    One reason why a subway was not chosen to replace the SRT along the same route was the tight turn north of Ellesmere. It would also be a tight turn to go from the McCowan routing of the subway eastward at McCowan Station onto the right of way protected intended for the LRT extension to Centennial College. However, its seems to be that the turns before Union Station are very tight and that if the subway route was designed to swing in the wide in the opposite direction before the turns (maybe it would have to go under existing buildings), the turns could be made. However, if the McCowan subway route was used, and a turn eastward made, the subway wouldn’t get that close to Scarborough Town Centre, which is also imperative. It could turn way westward to go the STC and then do a big round curve to go eastward on the SRT extension route, could it not?

    Steve: There are a few problem turns for a subway on the SRT alignment. The first is at Kennedy Station where an entirely new station would be needed so that the subway continued on its northeast path from Warden rather than turning east parallel to Eglinton. A curve from northeast to north would then be possible to get into the SRT corridor. I very much doubt that residents along the corridor would accept full scale subway operations in their backyards.

    At Ellesmere, the curve would have to start south of the existing station so that it could swing east under the railway and the works yard. Then comes the problem of burying the subway or keeping it on the elevated structure.

    The McCowan route misses the middle of STC, and there should be a debate about just where in that area the “centre” really is. If the bus terminal disappears, or is substantially reduced in scale, should the station stay roughly where it is, or should it shift east to McCowan? I haven’t seen any planning studies on this, and subway advocates seem to gloss over the issue.

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  11. The problem with this debate is the incongruence between the desired technology and the intended application. Let’s face it, the current discussion is about creating a commuter subway, the problem is that GO transit can provide far better commuter service for a far lower cost.

    The reader should consider the following; the inner suburbs have a significant commuter service deficiency, the current LRT plan will provide them with superior local transit and the ability to fill the respective avenue with low rise condos. There is a distinct mismatch between what is needed and what is being offered. The current model satisfies no one, and creates political paralysis.

    My suggestion would be first to resolve the commuter deficiency problem. Doing so will increase economic competitiveness and equality of opportunity which will create political elbow room to then deal with issues like population growth.

    If you want to harmonize the regions consider three concepts: (1) expand and integrate existing GO rail transit and bus service and improve fare integration with the TTC, (2) expand the carrying capacity of the Don Valley corridor, (3) scrap the Finch Ave and Sheppard Ave LRT and build a cross-town LRT along the utility corridor that parallels McNicoll Ave that will stretch from Durham Region to Peel Region.

    Steve: The problem with the utility corridor is that the people and development are actually on the arterial streets, not in the hydro corridor. Had this line been built forty years ago, we might have focussed development around it, but that train has left the station. By analogy, imagine if we stopped running buses on Finch and told everyone to walk up to the hydro corridor.

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  12. Since Scarborough Councillors began holding guns to our head, I started searching online and came across a number of reports out of Clr. Thompson’s office. He always surprises me … the report from March 2010, which I think was in support of a deputation actually supports running the SLRT extension at grade to Malvern and eliminating Sheppard East Station. He argues against an ICTS upgrade and for an LRT conversion. The report is well written and gives the sense of an LRT advocate not a subway fanatic. Steve, you’ve been around council a long time … what is up with this? Is it just blind political opportunism? He seems to know what the best decision/policy is based on empirical evidence but changes with the wind?

    Steve: For a time, the Scarborough contingent, not just Thompson, supported the LRT network from the point of view that this was all they were likely to get, but in their heart of hearts, they really wanted subways. Then Rob Ford was elected and serious pro-subway pandering to Scarborough began in part to undermine support for Miller-leaning members.

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  13. Peter Baugh wrote:

    I must admit I favour a subway extension to replace the RT as it takes out an unnecessary transfer (shameful the RT was ever constructed).

    Shameful that the RT as an ICTS system was constructed, but not as a mode change such as the original suburban LRT line planned.

    Except for those living within a couple of blocks of a station, a mode change is needed somewhere. The high cost of the ICTS system doomed it to being extended with the same ease of extending a full subway line, leaving many with a transfer at the north end from bus to RT, and another transfer from RT to subway at Kennedy.

    A true LRT line built from Kennedy to STC would have enabled several extensions between its construction and now. This would have eliminated the bus to LRT transfer for quite a few users, and shortened the bus segment to STC for many, many more.

    Extending the subway to McCowan and Sheppard pretty much locks us into that as a terminal for an extremely long time – much longer than what growth will dictate the need for something reaching further out. Replacing the RT with an LRT to Sheppard and Progress will make it possible to extend the line further with less debate due to its lower cost. This LRT line will be on its own right of way, giving it a higher capacity that overlaps well into the low end of subway capacity.

    The argument that we need to think long term makes me laugh when it leads to a conclusion of building a subway as the subway will be extremely difficult to justify any extension for when that future begins to need something more than buses. Thinking long term, in the suburbs, more often best leads to an LRT conclusion in order to provide a more feasable extension possibility.

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  14. Even using metro technology, Scarborough will still have not achieved equality. Does one thinks that every train will make it to Scarborough Center station? With the projected ridership, probably 1 in 3 trains will be short turned at Kennedy. This is just a cheap political stunt. This council reminds me of Al Sharpton (D). They always play the victim card.

    Over building transportation structures will not make a city more viable. Montreal renovated YUL extensively, but there are still no direct flights to Asian capitals. When Scarborough is able to attract the likes of JP Morgan to locate their offices, then we can start dreaming of metro technology.

    Frequency is also very important. Using trams, even late at night, it might be possible to run them in 180 seconds headway. Using metro technology, it might be 300 seconds. For someone waiting on the platform, does it matter whether a Flexity tram or a Movia metro carries them?

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  15. I find the ridership projections for SRT odd. Every publication uses approximately the same numbers that have been floating around since 2004.

    Looking at the Big Move modelling document (2008) I notice it says information was used from 2001 Transit Tomorrow Survey. There has been much growth along the corridor since then and if the model has not been updated it’s little better than throwing darts at this point. It also notes that “Experience over the past 40 years suggests that the model may tend to under-estimate demand levels on new or greatly improved transportation facilities”.

    The document also states the peak ridership is used from the 6am to 9am timeframe. The SRT has been at capacity for the last decade and there is definately demand after 9am as users have shifted the time they take the train.

    Other issues, if SRT was operating with the Bloor-Danforth line (1st and last trains meet at Kennedy) ridership overall would be higher. SRT runs on a separate schedule so the last train arriving at Kennedy in the night leaves you with the 116 morningside bus or taxi to get home.

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  16. Steve:

    The problem with the utility corridor is that the people and development are actually on the arterial streets, not in the hydro corridor. Had this line been built forty years ago, we might have focussed development around it.

    Although I respect the desire to integrate the need to improve transportation for the existing population with the desire to increase population density, the excessive compromise will produce mediocre results and create a lot of angry voters.

    My personal preference would be to have the Hydro Corridor cater to the transit needs of the existing auto based communities. There is ample space all along the corridor to provide sufficient parking to more than meet demand, and if the LRT stops are about 2km apart the service can be very competitive with the automobile.

    Steve: Although I consider this discussion a moot point, it’s worth noting that arterial roads intersect the corridor more frequently than 2km. Also, if you plan to surround the line with parking, stations need to be close enough together that the walk from car to station is reasonable. The “saving” from higher speed with wider station spacing would be more than offset by longer walking times, not to mention the annoyance of making that trek during any kind of bad weather.

    As for population growth my personal preference is to use strictly subways (including the Eglinton LRT). A DRL that is designed to encourage population growth will likely provide the new residents with the highest possible quality of life with the best possible economic opportunities.

    The current Scarborough subway debate is based on a shopping centre and a commuter subway, I might have missed something but I just don’t understand how this project will create an acceptable return for the taxpayer, or any of the community members.

    I honestly believe that if the commuter transit deficiency is adequately solved our society will have a significantly greater ability to properly discuss where and how to grow the population.

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  17. I think the subway option should NOT be compared to current LRT plan, but to the plan of a continuous route of SRT and Eglinton – with Eglinton being elevated from Don Mills to Kennedy. This way, rapid transit would be compared to rapid transit.

    The continuous route of SRT and Eglinton would have a single transfer ride from STC to the downtown core – similar to the subway option. It would be less expensive than the subway option. It would have a greater reach into Scarborough than the subway option. It would have a better distribution of passengers transferring to the Yonge line than the subway option (transfers would be split between Yonge/Eglinton and Yonge/Bloor and not Y/B only). Once the DRL is built, it would have even better passenger distribution since the Don Mills/Eglinton station could be built as a major interchange station much more easily than to reconfigure the Pape station to handle such a large number of transfers. It would provide more redundancy in the system in case one line is closed.

    The two advantages of the subway option would be to allow the SRT to operate while the subway is being built, and it would allow that portion of the SRT to be handed over to GO to help create better Regional transit. If the SRT can’t be kept in service for 10 years (or however much time is needed to build the subway), then the first advantage is negated. If there is already space for twin GO tracks between Eglinton and Progress, then the second advantage is negated – I imagine that both the 401 and new Sheppard bridges can accommodate 2 tracks.

    Steve: The original plan for the SRT and Eglinton was that they would run as a through service, but the TTC scotched that idea. As for the SRT, I am sure it can be made to keep working, but at what cost and technical difficulty I don’t know. A major issue is the age of the computer equipment that runs the cars and the line.

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  18. Kevin says:

    May 7, 2013 at 11:41 am

    “…in contrast to what another poster says, North York General is on the Sheppard line”

    Have you ever tried to walk from the hospital to the entrance that is manned? The station should be the Ikea Station, not Leslie.

    Steve:

    “There are a few problem turns for a subway on the SRT alignment. The first is at Kennedy Station where an entirely new station would be needed so that the subway continued on its northeast path from Warden rather than turning east parallel to Eglinton. A curve from northeast to north would then be possible to get into the SRT corridor. I very much doubt that residents along the corridor would accept full scale subway operations in their backyards.”

    Don’t forget the fact that the existing station at Kennedy needs to be torn down along with rebuilding part of the tunnel. This would result in all service being terminated at Warden for a number of years. That is why they want to go up McCowan and miss Scarborough Town Centre, but no one would want to go there would they?

    When the province switched from LRT to ICTS it made stations a lot more expensive. There should have been a station between Eglinton and Lawrence at the pedestrian over pass near Tara Ave. One between Lawrence and Ellesmere might also help the industrial area. Unfortunately Metrolinx regards LRT as regional rather than local and we would not want stops that might serve people to get in the way of speed.

    Benny Cheung says:

    May 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    “Even using metro technology, Scarborough will still have not achieved equality. Does one thinks that every train will make it to Scarborough Center station?”

    Benny, what Scarborough Centre Station, their map shows Lawrence, Ellesmere and Sheppard stations only. What do the Centre’s owners think of this detail. It is only a short walk to Ellesmere and McCowan.

    Steve: Actually, the map in Exhibit 6 of the TTC report, shows a station just south of Progress on McCowan, not at Ellesmere.

    The capacity of SLRT line will be greater than most people believe because on a totally separate right of way with ATC a headway of 105 seconds should be achievable with 4 car trains.

    The province has a habit of screwing up transit in Toronto by changing Toronto’s plans to suite the province’s latest “New Idea.” Look at ICTS, CLRV, Presto etc. I fear more problems from their meddling.

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  19. What about the cost to dismantle the abandoned track, elevated guideway, and existing RT stations? Has that been taken into account for the subway option?

    Steve: Maybe it could be turned into a linear park like the West Side Highway in NYC, or it could be converted to a weather protected walkway allowing people to reach the condos west from McCowan to Brimley.

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  20. I expect that Scarborough Subway advocates will claim that extending the BD subway would reduce the passenger volumes on the Eglinton LRT, allowing the Eglinton LRT to be at street-level.

    Steve: Actually, no, that doesn’t happen. The people who will transfer to Eglinton are going to places better served by that line. The Eglinton LRT is not moving to street level through the central section because there is no room for a right-of-way in the manner of Spadina or St. Clair on the street.

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  21. If all else were equal [and it is not] I would opt for LRT for this reason. Here is a chance to build a good, fast, cross-country LRT which can show people in Scarborough and elsewhere what an LRT is like. We are plagued in this city by the belief that subways were bestowed upon us by God and everything else such as LRT’s are second rate. It didn’t help when, during the Transit City debates last year, Councillor after Councillor stood up an said, “Of course we all would prefer subways but we can’t afford them”. Subways and LRT’s are of equal value and it is only circumstances such as ridership projections that determine which mode would be better in a particular case. Let’s build the LRT and see how many people decide, much to their surprise, that they even like it better than a subway. After all, tunnel walls get pretty boring.

    Steve: And we won’t mention the number of times the SRT is referred to as “LRT” even by professionals who should know better.

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  22. My main concern about the reopening of the current transit discussion to include new plans of what to do is all this really does is allow us amateurs to play choo choo trains again.

    We have a plan. Opening that up again just gives people another chance to draw crayons on napkins. We’ve done this already. Many times. Time to move forward.

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  23. Robert Wightman said:

    Don’t forget the fact that the existing station at Kennedy needs to be torn down along with rebuilding part of the tunnel. This would result in all service being terminated at Warden for a number of years. That is why they want to go up McCowan and miss Scarborough Town Centre, but no one would want to go there would they?

    Ideally, launch the TBMs at the Scarborough Town Centre parking lot and let them head south to Kennedy instead of the other way around. Let Scarborough get a chance to see what subway construction is really like. Those tunnels and stations don’t magically appear.

    Steve: From past discussion, I understand that a north-south alignment through STC would be very difficult because of existing structures. Don’t forget that the station itself would involve a large excavation and it could not, therefore, be anywhere other than in the north parking lot where you would launch the TBMs.

    M. Briganti said:

    What about the cost to dismantle the abandoned track, elevated guideway, and existing RT stations? Has that been taken into account for the subway option?

    Steve:

    Maybe it could be turned into a linear park like the West Side Highway in NYC, or it could be converted to a weather protected walkway allowing people to reach the condos west from McCowan to Brimley.

    Sounds like a great idea until they run out of money because of subway cost overruns and cannot pay to maintain the structure. What goes up must come down eventually. And as every country boy knows, if you dig a hole in the ground eventually water will find its way in there. I bet that’s not part of the consideration for the subway option either.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  24. I would expect when the public realize that the subway will bypass STC (and Centennial), there will be a movement to retain (and maybe build) the portion of SRT parallel to Ellesmere. This would save the cost of tearing it down.

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  25. Hey Steve,

    Although I’m somewhat dismayed by the process at which a subway to STC may be achieved, meaning the Stintz’s affirmation and then subsequent supplantation of the lrt project with One City, I think with respect to this extension the long view is necessary. The subway up to Sheppard Avenue strikes me as more desirable despite the increase in costs associated with it. If, as the experts have suggested, it will open with a ridership of approximately 10000 pphpd, it should easily close in on the magical 15000 threshold, where lrts make less economic sense, within a small number of decades.

    I think the alignment is much preferable over the lrt as it relates to its connection with Sheppard at McCowan vs east of Markham. This overshooting of STC for those coming in from the west would be an irritating inconvenience, not unlike some untoward unnecessary transfer. It also seems to me the rationalizations for the lrt plan, including not only the local population argument which you have highlighted, but also the vaunted future extension to Malvern and the Centennial College access are both somewhat weak. Malvern would most likely be better served with a Sheppard lrt spur going up Neilson Road, wouldn’t it? From the plans that I’ve seen online, the future lrt station will/would have been to the west of the mall a good distance from the more populous Neilson Road area necessitating a bus ride/transfer for most Malvernites.

    Is it your impression that this shift in thinking from lrt to subway has in any way been orchestrated by the Wynne Government as a quid pro quo for Toronto providing political cover for the revenue tools? For Wynne there would obviously be a greater expense in reversing course here, from lrt to subway, but the politics of such a move shouldn’t be underestimated.

    Tom

    Steve: No I don’t think this change is a provincial attempt, but a very local one and closely tied to the Stintz/Ford battle over control of the transit file. Stintz needs to get the Scarborough councillors onside, and that caucus has always been uneasy with the LRT proposal even though there was support for it a year ago. The subway was included in Stintz’ “One City” plan last year, but that also included the Sheppard subway link from Yonge to Downsview, a measure intended to attract support from a few local councillors. At some point, “leadership” includes hard choices about what plans contain, and a sense of relative priorities, but when one is trying to get broad political support, this doesn’t always happen.

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  26. Hi Steve,

    The cost comparison between LRT vs Subway for the SRT replacement should take into account the following operational costs.

    1) During LRT construction, bus service will replace the SRT for at least 3 years. What is the extra cost to run a bus service over the SRT route for this period? This extra operational cost needs to be added to the LRT price tag.

    2) What will be the loss in TTC ridership/revenue during LRT construction? How many millions of dollars in revenue will be foregone because commuters will not take replacement buses during the 3 year construction period?

    3) The TTC forecasts that a subway will attract 18.75% more riders than the LRT (9,500 vs 8,000 in 2031). Therefore, what is the total cost of ownership between LRT and Subway over the next 10, 20, 50 years?

    We need to look at the long-term operational costs as well as the short-term construction costs. If the SRT was originally built as a subway, then we would call that excellent long-term planning.

    Thanks, George

    Steve: Re 1 & 2: It is not clear whether the SRT can actually be kept in operation for the extra time needed to complete the subway project, nor at what cost. There will definitely be a cost on the subway side of the ledger for bus service or for extra maintenance on the SRT.

    Re 3: A more important question is whether the “extra” riders are net new to the TTC (generating new revenue), or are trips diverted from other routes.

    Re having built the SRT as a subway from the outset: If for several decades we had to carry the capital cost of a more expensive infrastructure, plus the cost of operating and maintaining it (a growing cost as the line ages), we could have been paying far more to serve Scarborough and diverting resources from other parts of the system. Life cycle costing and planning has to take into account the long gestation period while transit demand catches up, if ever, to the capacity of the infrastructure provided.

    You have probably noticed that I am not unalterably opposed to the subway option, but feel that it has been misrepresented either deliberately or through inadvertent use of apples-to-oranges comparisons with LRT. Yesterday, I learned from the TTC that their LRT estimate is inflated by $500m thanks to the presence of a carhouse this option does not require. How many other distortions (either way) exist, and how skewed is the debate by such inaccuracies?

    To your long-term planning argument, I would say that if we had built a network of LRT in the 1970s, we would have provided better transit to a much wider area of the developing suburbs and this would have had important effects on the growth and transit focus of those areas. As long as we focus only on subways, we end up with a smaller network and this can be counterproductive as, I would argue, we have seen in Toronto.

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  27. OgtheDim said:

    “We have a plan. Opening that up again just gives people another chance to draw crayons on napkins. We’ve done this already. Many times. Time to move forward.”

    We have a plan?? What is it? Sure, we have what one might call Transit City “phase one” on the books for a second time, mainly because Council could no longer wait after Rob Ford was too arrogant and stupid to bring his M.O.A. with the Province to the full Council in 2011, but by now it’s pretty obvious much of Council is at best lukewarm to the current state of things as evidenced by talk of the Scarborough subway. Certainly no one is pushing for any kind of TC “phase two”, and the DRL, which should be a slam-dunk, is no sure thing. So we’re back to the usual transit horse-trading and politicking, without a real plan.

    The Transit City debate was laughable (somehow every subsequent “study” confirmed that the original 2007 proposal was virtually perfect!), and Ford’s handling of transit has done the impossible by being an even bigger farce. It would be nice to finally do things right — start with wide-ranging studies and extended discussions, and then develop a plan. But that’s probably asking too much.

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  28. Regarding LRT stations, especially those at street level – many people make the argument that waiting outside in the winter is a miserable experience. As much as I like winter (and I do), I have to agree on the discomfort factor. What’s stopping the street-level stops from having a heated, protected area like what VIVA is building? Is it a width-of-road thing?

    Steve: For a new LRT line, the platform widths will be such that semi-enclosed VIVA type shelters should be possible. However, there is a limit on just how warm any “station” can be given the need to have many doors so that people can exit quickly to board a vehicle when it arrives. In some cases, yes, road width would limit what could be provided.

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  29. Hi Steve,

    How much impact can the Scarborough Subway decision have on the public opinion regarding the transit taxes? We know that a sizable minority of GTA residents approve transit taxes, but the majority is not on board. The general public tends to favor subways, hence if the Scarborough Subway option is selected, then the support for transit taxes might improve. However, will it be enough to attain majority?

    Another point, relatively minor: is the station spacing for Scarborough Subway already set in stone? The gap between the Kennedy station and Lawrence / McCowan is about 3 km; another station near Eglinton & Brimley would be logical, unless there are technical obstacles.

    Steve: I don’t believe the technology choice will be the deciding factor in winning over voters especially if the higher cost of subways leads to a less extensive network. Transit service quality, accessibility and coverage are most important as we see in the common complaint that there isn’t a station in every neighbourhood, or that the ones that already exist don’t have enough service.

    As for stations, the subway option in Scarborough depends on the presumed minimal cost to upgrade from LRT, although we now know this is at least $1-billion, not the $500m previously claimed. Adding stations adds to cost at roughly $100-125m per station, and it also slows the subway travel time. If too many stations are added, the claimed superiority of the subway falls.

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  30. To better serve the people of south Scarborough a subway options better have a station at Brimley/Danforth. There a lot of potential for redevelopment along that stretch of Eglinton and it would be a missed opportunity if they disregard a stop in that general location.

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  31. The SRT cannot operate with 4-car LRV trains, as the carhouse access requires travel via an in-street segment of route, on which Transportation Services restricts the vehicle length at around 90m. Carhouse layouts I’ve seen at public meetings only show accommodation of up to three-car sets, too. So the SRT capacity is not any higher than the underground portion of Eglinton. The same restrictions apply to both lines.

    If 130 is the loading standard, the capacity is 13,000-13,500. Current ridership westbound from Kennedy on the Bloor-Danforth line is 9,500 (all modes accessing Kennedy) in the AM peak hour.

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  32. Re: LRT in hydro corridor north of Finch.

    I find it telling that people will propose running LRT along the hydro corridor but they never talk about moving the cars up there and running the LRT along Finch. Could it be they think it would be too inconvenient for motorists?

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  33. Steve clears up a lot of questions and misconceptions about the LRT vs Subway Round 2 debate.

    It is true that there are a lot of practical considerations to be taken into consideration before simply citing the mantra of one camp or another. For me, as a former Scarborough resident (poor transport links was one reason for leaving) I would point out that the subway would not considerably reduce my commuter time into downtown as it would still involve taking a bus or going on foot 2km to Scarborough Town Centre. The LRT would pass very near past my former residence, and that would be the case for many Scarborough residents who wail that there is a conspiracy to keep them isolated from the rest of the city.

    However, the subway has several advantages, perhaps the most significant being the 3? 4? 5? year shutdown, unacceptable for Scarborough citizens, taking us back to the ‘old days’ of everyone using the lone subway station serving us at Warden, spending up to 45 mins on a bus to get there on at least one crowded bus.

    Yes, there are many things to consider. While we have a practical debate in the issue on this site, the politicians will be making decisions based on politics and, of course their own interests.

    Steve: The TTC has clarified that the SRT could be kept in operation long enough for the design and construction of a Scarborough Subway, but at an additional cost of about $60m.

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  34. Stintz should have her head examined. First she had Eglinton brought to the surface when the original plan was for a totally grade separated ride from STC to Yonge via Eglinton, which is the equivalent of a subway and what she’s now trying to achieve with an extension of BD. Looks like she outsmarted herself.

    Not only that, but the Sheppard LRT will no longer make sense with a Danforth subway extension. Why would you connect two subway lines with an LRT line? Your thoughts? Has that woman bastardized the entire concept or what?

    Steve: Stintz is playing a political game with Rob Ford, and needs the support of the Scarborough contingent to pull it off. In the process she has reopened the can of worms that is the Scarborough Subway debate, and triggered a landslide of requests for every pet project any councillor ever thought of.

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  35. George I’m sure that any extra costs from running extra buses for the 3 years during reconstruction would easily be dwarfed by the upkeep expenses for maintaining a 6 km long underground tunnel.

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  36. Walter:

    I would expect when the public realize that the subway will bypass STC (and Centennial), there will be a movement to retain (and maybe build) the portion of SRT parallel to Ellesmere. This would save the cost of tearing it down.

    Having your cake and eating it too. That would be an interesting situation to have the Scarborough extension of the subway running NE and the LRT running EW with some kind of walking interchange at Ellesmere. If the stars aligned, we could also run a branch of the SLRT up to Agincourt GO station during off-peak hours.

    I do think that building a set of rapid transit interchanges (Ellesmere-McCowan, Sheppard-McCowan and Sheppard/Railway corridor) would build a great mini network for the STC and environs…if we had all that money and could connect the development to transit.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  37. Hi Steve,

    Why not combine both LRT and Subway for the SRT replacement? A Hybrid solution would work as follows:

    1) Extend the Subway from Kennedy Station straight north over the current SRT route until Sheppard Ave to connect with the Agincourt Go station. In other words, run the subway extension over the Stouffville GO line between Kennedy and Agincourt GO stations.

    2) The existing Ellesemere station will become the interchange between Subway and LRT. The LRT will run east from Ellesemere station over the Metrolinx proposed route to STC, Centennial College and terminate at Sheppard East station. This LRT route becomes part of the Sheppard LRT network rather than the Eglinton LRT network.

    The Hybrid solution offers these advantages:

    – Subway will be very inexpensive to build since there is no tunnelling required.
    – No transfer subway connections to Kennedy Station from Lawrence, Ellesemere and Sheppard/Agincourt Go
    – Maximizes capacity for long-term
    – Three major transit interchanges: AginCourt GO station, STC and Sheppard East LRT
    – Subway access is equal distance for east and west residents (no going west first to go downtown)

    Has this been considered? Can this be a good Canadian compromise to save face for everyone?

    Thanks George
    …I’ll put down my crayons now 🙂

    Steve: Two major problems. First, the subway cannot run north via the SRT right-of-way without a more-or-less complete rebuild of Kennedy Station. Second, that station, along with the RT itself, would have to close during construction. Another consideration is that the residents along the RT corridor would almost certainly not be happy about the noise of frequent 6-car subway trains running at surface level behind their houses.

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  38. M. Briganti said:

    Not only that, but the Sheppard LRT will no longer make sense with a Danforth subway extension. Why would you connect two subway lines with an LRT line?

    What would the problem be exactly? Too many transfers? If the demand is not there and isn’t projected to be there, why spend the extra money to build and operate subway over LRT?

    Sure it would be cheaper to build in today’s dollars, but what makes us think the demand is somehow magically going to appear in the future?

    Even with all the high density construction along Sheppard demand for the subway is very low. Even with the dense construction and mid rise buildings proposed for Eglinton it will not have subway capacity … though the 3 car LRV trains will carry more people than the Sheppard subway.

    If the argument is that a subway brings more development, just look at the areas around Kipling and Wilson stations which have tapped a fraction of their development potential, nearly 30 years later.

    Let’s be honest … if the real problem with Sheppard and the SLRT are the hated transfers, then let’s do one thing right and convert the Sheppard subway to LRT … we could probably save enough money to build the extension west to Downsview and run through the airport/parc/park lands to Keele & Sheppard, possibly even Jane.

    Cheers, Moaz

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  39. One important benefit to the subway option is that it would help protect Yonge-Eglinton from chronic overcrowding. If one takes the SRT to Kennedy, many may take the Eglinton line over the Bloor line. By keeping the whole stretch as a subway, it makes this dilemma less prominent.

    A fantasy design I’ve considered is to have the E-C and SRT as a single line, but also to have the line branch off to become the DRL (the DRL in this case would use overhead wires for power instead of a third rail). Granted, a new rolling stock of high capacity would have to be designed for this to work, but such a setup would have numerous benefits (single seat ride from Scarborough to downtown, connecting the Scarborough growth centre to the downtown and midtown growth centres, improving bus connections into the city from Pickering and Ajax, etc).

    It could also be done with few major changes to The Big Move plan. Interlining the SRT and E-C would not be difficult with the current blueprints, the DRL between Pape and downtown is already part of the second wave projects, and this would be an addition to the plans rather than a complete overhaul that Stintz proposes.

    Steve: The decision to split the SRT (or whatever runs in that corridor) from Eglinton has already been taken. Moreover, a connection into a DRL would pose interesting problems for capacity and service levels on various parts of the line.

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  40. Did I hear that with an LRT the people in Scarborough might have to wait in the cold for their transit vehicle? Heaven forbid. That would put them in the category as all the downtown elites who stand in the cold at bus and streetcar stops all over the city.

    Give me a break.

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