Spadina Reconstruction News (Updated May 15, 2013)

Updated May 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm:

TTC CEO Andy Byford spoke at a meeting of the York Quay Neighbourhood Association yesterday evening and the status of transit service to Queens Quay was a major topic.  There appears to be some confusion among and within agencies about the date when service will return to Queens Quay on the 510 as a through route and as a streetcar.

The TTC Service Planning memo for the schedule period beginning June 23 says that the current operation is expected to last until the end of that period (late July).  However, Waterfront Toronto and Andy Byford himself speak of November or even December dates.  The TTC website has given June 2013 as a date for service resumption for quite some time, although this is to be corrected, presuming someone knows what the information should be.

Part of the confusion may arise from the fact that streetcar service will be suspended for reconstruction of the intersections at King and at Dundas and this will require bus replacement on the route.  Those buses will be able to run through to Queen’s Quay replacing the shuttle and so there will be “through” service, just not with streetcars.

I have asked the TTC for definitive information on the date for resumption of streetcar service to Queens Quay.

The Service Planning  memo also notes that a planned shutdown for reconstruction of the platform at Spadina Station Loop has been deferred to 2014.  One can only hope that this will include changes to allow two LFLRVs to serve the platform simultaneously for unloading and loading.

Updated May 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm:

Service on 510 Spadina streetcars will not return to Queens Quay until late fall, likely with the late November schedule changes.

Two intersection rebuilds (at King and at Dundas) are planned for this summer, and buses will once again replace streetcars while these are in progress.

Demolition on Queens Quay had reached the west side of Spadina today, but had not yet moved into Queens Quay loop as originally planned.

Updated May 7, 2013 at 8:30 am

Demolition of the Queens Quay Loop is planned to begin today.  The Spadina shuttle bus will be rerouted to loop via west on Queens Quay from Spadina to Dan Leckie, north to Lake Shore, east to Rees, north to Bremner and west to Spadina.

Southbound buses will stop at Spadina and Queens Quay on the northwest corner.  Northbound buses will stop at Lake Shore and Spadina on the southwest corner at the same location as the eastbound 509 Harbourfront service.

Tentatively, TTC plans to resume streetcar service south of King to a rebuilt Queens Quay loop in July, but this has not yet been confirmed.

Updated April 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Waterfront Toronto’s construction notice for the week of April 8 includes the following change in the overall construction staging plan:

TTC Demolition West of Peter Slip: Crews are expected to begin work on the demolition of the TTC corridor west of the Peter Slip Bridge – including the Spadina Loop (located around 410 Queens Quay). The demolition and rebuild of the Spadina Loop, which begins later this month, will enable the 510 Spadina streetcar to resume service to Queens Quay in late fall 2013.

Given the delay in getting the track over the railway corridor back in service thanks to non-TTC problems in that area, it makes sense to finish the entire Spadina route rather than restoring service for a brief period and then removing it again.

I wrote to Waterfront Toronto and to the TTC to clarify two issues:

  • What is meant by “late fall”?
  • Will the TTC install temporary track on Queens Quay to allow restoration of 509 Harbourfront service in July as planned, or is this too delayed until the fall?

Here is Waterfront Toronto’s reply:

At our Queens Quay CLC yesterday, we provided stakeholders with information about our summer construction plans. At that meeting, we let stakeholders know that our streetcar corridor rebuild is delayed due to some issues with hydro work and our own storm and sanitary construction. This means that we won’t be able to resume streetcar service for July and August as we had planned to do. Instead, we are going to work on the rebuild through the summer and advance work on the demo/rebuild of the Spadina Loop. (As you may recall, our initial construction staging was to run the 509 for July and August and then take it down again to rebuild the Spadina loop from September to early 2013). Advancing the Spadina loop means that we’ll have all of our rebuild work complete by November 2013 instead. TTC is currently working on its service plan for when our rebuild is complete.

We’re going to have a public meeting on May 8 to discuss our summer schedule and how it relates to TTC service.

In the text above, “early 2013” should obviously read “early 2014”.

This begs an obvious question:  Why will the reconstruction of the loop and nearby streets take so long?

Updated March 24, 2013 at 11:30 am

The intersection of King and Spadina is scheduled for reconstruction during the month of August 2013.  A preliminary notice has been posted by the City of Toronto.

Updated March 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm

The track work planned for February was delayed by extremely bad weather, but was completed on the weekend of March 2/3.  New track is now installed to the north side of the eastbound lanes on Lake Shore Blvd.  Crossing further south involved the exit switch from Queen’s Quay Loop, and this portion will be done when the loop is rebuilt.

Recently, I received an email passing on a rumour about a “stop work” order on the Spadina bridge and a delay of the planned resumption of streetcar service south of King to Queen’s Quay.  I checked with the City of Toronto, and here is their reply:

The current Spadina project has not been put on hold. The Contractor is continuing to proceed with work in a progressive manner. We experienced a few issues that have led to extra work being required in order to complete the contract. The extra work related to conditions that were unknown at the time of design and related mainly to the need to relocate the existing track drains, removal of styrofoam insulation and reinforced concrete encountered in the subgrade and the reconstruction of the south approach slab. Some of which required additional designs to be prepared and approved prior to material being ordered and work completed. This extra work has unfortunately delayed the completion of this component in the planned work.

The original scope did not account for any extensive winter work; however, with the unanticipated extra work being added to the project, it has forced a significant portion of the bridge work to be completed under cold weather conditions. Cold weather conditions also lead to delays, as we expect approximately 30-40% reduction in performance depending on the severity of the weather. We have also experienced higher than normal levels of precipitation for the first months of 2013.

We had anticipated resuming streetcar service for the May 12th board period; however, the delays due to the extra work and the weather have extended the expected completion date to the first or second week of June. Transit resumption will be determined after the completion of the project.

The Contractor is continuing to work on the project and has added additional crews to mitigate any delays. The work in the next two months will be mainly confined to the bridge and the mezzanine work.

Stephen Adams, PMP, P.Eng.

Updated February 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Planned road, water and track work at Lake Shore and Spadina beginning Thursday, February 7, 2013 will close parts of the intersection over the coming weekend.  This work will complete the new track south from the railway overpass to the north side of Queens Quay Loop which will be rebuilt later in 2013.

There is still no track from Front Street south to just north of Bremner Blvd., but work in the area appears to focus on putting things back together rather than finding yet more holes to dig.

The TTC is currently planning to resume streetcar service south of King in May 2013.

Updated November 29, 2012 at 12:00 nn

The date for restoration of streetcar service south of King has been pushed back to March 30, 2013 because construction south to Lakeshore may not be completed before winter weather sets in.

New track has been laid between Bremner and Lakeshore although as of November 28 it was not yet set in concrete.  The section north from Bremner across the bridge to Front has not yet reached the point of tracklaying because other work on the bridge is still underway.

The scheduled service for the holiday period presumed that streetcars would run south to Queen’s Quay, and these will now short-turn at King.  With all of the extra running time this will provide, it will be interesting to see how the layovers (already difficult due to bunching and physical limits on capacity at each terminal) will be handled.  There may be a lot of very slow operation on this “rapid transit” line.

For January and February 2013 the schedules now in effect will be used.

Updated November 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

Service resumed on the 510 Spadina car from Bloor to King this morning.

Car 4121 made a test run in the early hours.  (Photo courtesy of Will Oxford)

Southbound approaching Spadina Circle

Northbound at Spadina Circle

Northbound at Adelaide

Note that the new concrete on Spadina has not been stamped to give the impression of cobblestones, but simply brushed as any other concrete such as sidewalks would be.  This leaves two generations of finishes on the route.

Updated November 15, 2012 at 7:20 am

As of the afternoon of November 14:

At the south end of Spadina, placement of the foundation slab for the track on the south approach to the bridge over the rail corridor (Lakeshore to Bremner) is in progress.  Various construction activities are in progress from Bremner to Front.  New track is in place across the Bremner/Spadina intersection, and from the south side of Front north to King.

North from King, cleanup crews are touching up paint on the shelters at stops.  Between College and Bloor, the last of concrete work mainly for stop rail replacements is in progress.  New overhead contact wire has been hung, but is not yet attached to supports.  Installation of the new standard trough overhead (already in use at the Atlantic Avenue underpass on King and the Dufferin underpass on Queen) is underway at Spadina Station Loop.

Streetcar service returns to the 510 Spadina route on Sunday, November 18.

Updated October 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Demolition of the trackbed over the bridge south of Front has begun and the section between the bridge and Lakeshore is now being graded to prepare for the new foundation slab.  The intersection at Bremner will be closed over the weekend of November 2 to 5.

The section south of Lake Shore including Queen’s Quay Loop will not be rebuilt until 2013.

Updated October 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Work has begun on the portal at Spadina Station with the demolition of the southbound track between the tunnel entrance and Sussex Ave.  Construction equipment is poised to attack the northbound track, and a weekend closure is planned for replacement of the track across the Sussex intersection.

South of King, new track has been placed to just north of Front, and the intersection itself is being rebuilt from October 20-23.

From Bremner south to Lake Shore, the trackbed excavation is complete.  Visible in the debris are the remnants of styrofoam bats that had been placed as an anti-vibration measure when this track was built over two decades ago.  This may have isolated the track from the bridge deck, but it did nothing to isolate the rails from the track slab and the resulting roar from track corrugation.

Updated October 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Concrete work is almost completed for the section of track around Spadina Circle and the nearby stop at Willcocks northbound.  No work has begun yet at Spadina Station Loop or its approach ramp.

South of King, the new foundation is in place to just north of Front.  A short distance on either side of Front has been excavated in anticipation of rebuilding the intersection itself.

Excavation of the old track and roadbed is underway from Bremner south to Lake Shore.  No work has taken place yet on the bridge over the rail corridor.

Updated September 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Work began on the section south from King to Lake Shore in the week of September 24.

Looking south on Spadina from King.

Looking north on Spadina from Clarence Square.

Reconstruction of the track around Spadina Circle began in mid September.  Unlike intersections and tangent (straight) sections, the rails on the curves are welded on site (the process is the same as shown for McCaul Street near McCaul Loop in another article).

Work on the east side is now completed to the point that only the top layer of concrete remains to be placed.  On the west side, the track is in place in the excavated right-of-way and welding is progressing around the curve from south to north.

The following photos were taken on September 19.  Here, the track on the east side of Spadina at the north end of the circle is being assembled.

The east side of Spadina Circle looking north.

Looking south on Spadina toward College Street.

The west side of Spadina Circle looking south.

No work has been done yet at the north end of the line from Sussex into the tunnel portal at Spadina Station.

Updated August 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

Reconstruction of the intersection at Adelaide & Spadina is almost completed with curb lane and sidewalk work remaining.

The City of Toronto has announced the next major stage in trackwork from King south to Lake Shore including reconstruction of the streetcar track as well as the platforms at Front and at Bremner.  Watermain work at Lake Shore and structural repairs on the bridge over the rail corridor will be co-ordinated with this project.

Work at the portal north of Sussex and around Spadina circle is already scheduled for the period from September through early November.

Streetcar service will return as far south as King (via Charlotte Loop) on November 18, 2012, and to Queen’s Quay Loop on December 23, 2012.

View looking west on Adelaide across Spadina. The church spire in the background is at Bathurst.

Updated July 18, 2012 at 11:00pm

Most of the concrete has been placed for the main part of the intersection at Queen & Spadina, and work is in progress to complete the four approaches and stops.  This view is taken from the southeast corner.

In this view, new track is being installed for the south approach and the southbound stop.  Note the area where the stop has been excavated only down one level leaving the attachment points for the metal ties that were part of the original installation.  This is an example of how the new style of track construction will avoid the need to completely rebuild track when it comes up for replacement.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away on McCaul Street, Toronto Water is working underneath the streetcar lanes.  The track, including the McCaul Loop which is inside the  building on the east side (left), will be replaced once Toronto Water is out of the way.  This isn’t part of the Spadina project itself, but having McCaul closed at the same time adds to the fun of navigating downtown as a transit user or motorist.  501 McCaul cars are currently running to York and Richmond, and they will resume running to Wolseley Loop at Bathurst Street next week when Queen reopens for streetcar traffic.

Updated July 14, 2012 at 7:00pm

The full intersection was almost complete when I visited this afternoon with only one small piece missing from the south-to-east curve.  Here is the view from the SW corner which you can compare with the July 13 shot to see the day’s progress.  Less obvious is welding that was taking place and the connection of grounding cables to the track.

Looking south on Spadina across the north quadrant, the last to be installed.

Looking west to the intersection showing the area where the new westbound stop and enlarged island will be built.

Updated July 13, 2012 at 10:30pm

The Globe and Mail has an article about road construction projects by Carys Mills including a photo taken from the northwest corner of the intersection around 1pm judging by the shadows.  The curve segments linking up the four corners are starting to go in, and they were not there when I took the photos below at about 9am.  This job is moving very quickly.

Updated July 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Morning of Friday, July 13

The west quadrant’s installation is well advanced.

For the moment, the TTC’s tent is perched centre stage on the diamond.

Demolition of the east approach and safety island are complete.

Thursday, July 12

The first piece of the south quadrant goes into place.  [H. McMann photo]

Later in the day, looking east along Queen.  The eastern quadrant is in place while excavation of the approach are continues.  The concrete pour for the north quadrant’s base is in progress.

Looking southwest to work still in progress on the south quadrant.

Wednesday, July 11

The concrete foundation has been poured for the central part of the intersection while excavation continues around the margins.  [Photo by Harold McMann, with thanks]

Lifting the pre-assembled central diamond off of a trailer.  [H. McMann photo]

The diamond placed in the centre of the intersection.  [H. McMann photo]

Monday, July 9

Demolition begins on the south side of the intersection.  All of the concrete, old rails and ties must be broken up and removed before the new foundation can be poured.  This work continued through the week with the last of the old intersection coming out on July 12.

Updated July 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Construction work to modify platforms at various stops along Spadina is now underway.  The affected stops are fenced off as current or future worksites.

Broken concrete around special work on Spadina at College has been repaired.

Although not included in the original list of track replacement projects, the section from King south to Lake Shore will be done in this construction season.  The TTC has confirmed that this part will begin in September.  The work will be co-ordinated with bridge repairs by the City of Toronto.

The intersection at King will be rebuilt in 2013.

The Spadina and Queen routes will divert around their intersection starting on July 9 for replacement of the track, one of our three “grand unions” where it is possible to make turns in all eight possible ways.

510 Spadina

  • Southbound to Queen’s Quay: via Dundas, Bathurst and Adelaide to Spadina
  • Northbound from Queen’s Quay: via Adelaide, Peter, Queen, Beverley and Dundas to Spadina
  • Queen short-turn service (replaces 510 to King service): same diversion as above without operating south of Adelaide

501 Queen

  • Humber and Long Branch services including 301 night car: both ways via Shaw, King and Church
  • Bathurst short turn service: loops downtown via Church, Richmond and York to Queen (these are, effectively, 502 Downtowner cars in disguise as 501s).
  • 301 night buses will use the same loop via Richmond and York as the 501s.  This will mean that some of the night service will be provided on Queen and some on King, and that some stops will only have service from the night bus.
  • No replacement service on Queen from Shaw to Church except for the infrequent, and weekday daytime only “501 York” cars.  No replacement service on Queen from Church to York evenings and weekends.

Shuffle Demons Return to Spadina Bus

Today, the TTC brought GMC fishbowl 2252 out of retirement as an extra on 510 Spadina.  The occasion was an onboard performance by The Shuffle Demons who were promoting the launch of a new CD with music including their 1986 tune Spadina Bus.

This will probably be the last time (for now at least) we see a New Look bus in revenue, albeit supplementary, service.  Many of the buildings in these photos did not exist when fishbowls plied Spadina.  The bus itself is about 30 years old.

Southbound at Bloor Street.

Between Queen and Richmond.

Southbound crossing Adelaide with a 510-King short turn bus waiting to turn east.

Northbound approaching Front with the usual parade.

Northbound at Clarence Square, the former southern terminus for most runs on the 77 Spadina bus.

Northbound at King.

For views inside the bus, see The Torontoist’s article.

For a video, see The Grid.

Original June 21 post:

The TTC has various pages with info on this project:

According to the track reconstruction page, the dates of the intersection projects originally listed in the recent CEO’s report have been changed.

Queen & Spadina will be completely closed for two weeks starting Monday, July 9.  It will re-open partly on Monday, July 23, and the project will be completed by Friday, August 3.  Queen cars will divert around the site until the east-west track is available for service.  The diversion routing has not been announced, but given available trackage will likely be between Church and Shaw.  As for the Spadina bus, I can only imagine how little time it will actually spend on Spadina below Dundas.

Adelaide & Spadina will be closed northbound from Monday, August 14 to Friday, August 24, and some restrictions will remain in place to Sunday, August 26.

Track reconstruction north from College to Sussex (in two separate sections) will begin after Labour Day.

Bus service is expected to continue on Spadina until Sunday, November 18.

97 thoughts on “Spadina Reconstruction News (Updated May 15, 2013)

  1. I work across from the loop at Queens Quay and Spadina and have noticed in recent days, the moving of the construction hoarding from directly in front of the loop on Queens Quay. It used to be that all their hoarding and storage was on the tracks directly but now bit by bit its being moved away. It looks to me as though they are preparing for construction to begin.


  2. Starting in late spring of last year, when track work was being done on Spadina Avenue, I’ve been taking the “511 Bathurst” streetcar and the “509 Harbourfront” streetcar (later the “509 Harbourfront” shuttle bus) to get to Harbourfront Centre, being a ‘diehard’ streetcar fan. The streetcar tracks on Bathurst street are in good shape, unlike those on Spadina (and on Queens Quay West which have steadily deteriorated over the years). With this TTC track work, it’s taking me a little bit longer to get to Harbourfront. However, the “509 Harbourfront” shuttle buses, which replaced the streetcars since mid-summer of last year, move on this route very quickly ‘zipping along like racecars’ on Lakeshore Boulevard heading eastward and on Queens Quay heading westward.


  3. The previous policy of eliminating streetcars and using buses for new routes (added as the city developed northward) accounts for the concentration of streetcar lines within five kilometres of the waterfront. The busiest north-south and east-west routes were replaced respectively by the Yonge–University–Spadina and Bloor–Danforth subway lines, and the northernmost streetcar lines, including the North Yonge and Oakwood routes, were replaced by trolley buses (and later by diesel buses). Two other lines that operated north of St. Clair Avenue were abandoned for other reasons: the Rogers Road route was abandoned to free up streetcars for expanded service on other routes, and the Mount Pleasant route was removed because of complaints from drivers that streetcars slowed their cars down and because the track was aging and would have needed to be replaced anyway.

    Steve: Actually, that’s not quite accurate about the smaller outlying routes. Rogers Road was a local City of York (formerly York Township) street, and York never wanted to pay to repave the street with the extra cost of streetcar track. The TTC/Metro repaved a short section from Old Weston to Keele because it was in such bad shape it was damaging the buses running on 41 Keele. When the streetcar replacement policy was reversed in late 1972, Rogers was an exception because it was in York, not in the old City of Toronto that was pro-streetcar. At the point Rogers closed, the TTC had lots of surplus streetcars, and that line only made a small contribution.

    As for Mt. Pleasant, yes, the track there was in rough shape, but the thing that killed off the line finally was the need to rebuild the bridge over the old Belt Line rail tracks at Merton Street. The new bridge was not designed for streetcars and when the old one closed, so did the streetcar line. At that point, the transit riding pattern, which had been quite strong on Mt. Pleasant and supported frequent streetcar service, changed with subway-bound riders shifting to east-west bus routes on Eglinton, Davisville and St. Clair. The line never recovered from being closed for the bridge construction, and now runs with infrequent service, and at times none at all.

    The decline was aided by less frequent replacement trolleybus service when it did come. The TBs could not make the running times of the former streetcar operation, and rather than put on more buses, the TTC stretched the headways. The service became even less attractive, and a familiar pattern emerged of widening headways and falling ridership.

    The Oakwood car ended long before the streetcar debates, both because it was in York, but also, the terminus at Gilbert no longer made sense with the westward growth of population along Eglinton.

    The North Yonge car to Richmond Hill stopped operating in 1948. The Yonge car to Glen Echo of course ended with the subway opening in 1954.


  4. “The new bridge was not designed for streetcars and when the old one closed, so did the streetcar line.”

    I’m a bit confused about this. Are streetcars or LRVs really that much heavier than other traffic such as buses and large trucks that bridges need to be designed specially to handle them? I have also wondered this with respect to the Leaside bridge, which I believe you’ve mentioned in the past needing some sort of improvement if an LRT line is to be routed across it.

    Steve: The way a streetcar’s weight bears on a bridge is different from trucks and autos, and the streetcar itself is quite heavy. The bridge structure must be designed to support the extra weight where it will be exerted. The new Mt. Pleasant bridge was not designed for streetcars. An issue here was that Mt. Pleasant was a “Metro” road, and unlike the City of Toronto, Metro wasn’t too keen on streetcars.

    The Leaside bridge was built with support for streetcars because service was going to be extended up Pape from Danforth (where the Harbord car ended) into the Leaside industrial district, but this proposal, among others, was a victim of the great depression. The original bridge (like its twin on Bathurst at the Nordheimer Ravine) had support for streetcars (there were even TTC style overhead poles on both bridges). When these bridges were widened, the work was possible because the extra strength in the bridge was available to support the new outer lanes. This support is no longer “free” for a streetcar extension.


  5. Dang. Does this mean full service on the 510 between Union and Spadina will resume in late fall 2013?

    Steve: Yes, it looks that way. More details next week.


  6. Plenty of examples in Europe where bridges do just fine with streetcar (street rail) infrastructure. I took pictures of these last year when I was there. Reason being, someone said the Cherry Street bridge over the Keating Channel, would be a nightmare to integrate. I think not.

    Steve: It’s a question of how the bridge is designed. Toronto already has several bridges with streetcars on them including all crossings of the Don and Humber rivers, Etobicoke Creek, Parkside Drive (at Queensway), the rail corridors west of Lansdowne on Dundas, on Main south of Danforth, and on Bathurst south of Front. The St. Clair east bridge over the Avoca ravine had streetcars on it until the Mt. Pleasant route was abandoned, and of course the Prince Edward Viaduct (and its smaller twin over Rosedale Valley Road) carried the Bloor streetcars.

    As for Cherry Street, it has two bridges. The northern one is just south of Lake Shore, and this section of Cherry is to be moved west in the current plans complete with a new, streetcar friendly, bridge. The larger bridge further south is beyond the end of the proposed streetcar line, and so is not at issue.


  7. If full service of 510 to Union will resume in fall 2013, what does that mean for service south of King at least down to Queens Quay?

    Steve: Possibly late June or early July, but this has not yet been confirmed. Again, more should be revealed at next week’s construction update meeting on May 8.


  8. Hi Steve,

    I very much appreciate your update on the 510 Spadina Streetcar situation. I remember asking a TTC employee when service would resume to Queens Quay in November 2012 and he said “hopefully before Christmas” and just a week ago I asked another employee and he said “hopefully by September 2013” and now I come to find out its going to be LATE fall.

    Just a bit of background, I live in the Cityplace buildings located on Spadina, namely the one on Bremner. I rely on this streetcar to get to work and attend my classes at U of T. For the past year I have been patient, walking the distance to get to King to take the streetcar to wherever I need to get to (ANYBODY who has waited for the shuttle bus going to King will know that it is not worth it because they are unreliable at best and by the time it arrives you might as well have walked to your destination) but I am at my wit’s end and out of patience for the TTC. I am not lazy to walk the distance and it is of no concern to me because I jog for miles for exercise. My issue is safety. I am a female and at times get off of work and classes as late as 10pm and I have an immense issue with waiting in a shoddily labeled and not well lit area for 30+minutes at times alone by myself (which may or may not even come) and also have an issue walking home from Queen Street to Bremner which takes around 15 minutes if walked briskly.

    The main reason why I decided to invest in living downtown in my particular building for safety and convenience sake. I am able to get straight on a GPS tracked streetcar so I can have minimal wait times to and from home. Now it seems like an investment thrown into the trash for the past year.

    I am NOT asking the TTC to wave a wand and speed up construction. I feel like the LEAST they can do is have RELIABLE shuttle bus service that is on time and comes more frequently. In the year that this mess has been going on I have literally only managed to use the shuttle bus 5 times. I have stood in a snowstorm waiting for a shuttle bus for 20 minutes, I have made it a point to wake up early to try and catch a shuttle bus to King with no avail. Again, I am not complaining about them needing to make upgrades (they’re welcome, actually) and not making the unrealistic expectation for them to finish on time for once but I am simply requesting and pleading for better shuttle bus service for everyone that uses the 510 to get to and from their homes that are unfortunately located past Queen Street West.

    Do you know anyone I can contact or is there a way you can forward this message to someone that will care?

    Thank you

    Steve: The people who care tend not to be the people who can do anything about the situation. Delays in the work on Queens Quay and on the Spadina bridge over the rail corridor have thrown any semblance of “planning” out the window. The TTC seems perfectly happy to leave things as they are until late November, and Spadina residents will have to endure another summer of crappy bus service. Streetcar service should resume north from King in September, but for some reason Queens Quay won’t be ready in time, and the TTC will wait not one, but two schedule periods to late November.

    And just to make your day, this will occur again in 2014, but for a shorter period, when the intersection at College and Spadina is scheduled for reconstruction.


  9. With all the construction Steve, I was speculating on transit Toronto’s yahoo list that the TTC may Implement streetcar service to the Dufferin loop for the CNE since a boatload of buses are taken up on Spadina, Queens Quay and Kingston road for streetcar replacement shuttles.

    I mean there is precedent for example when in 1995 the TTC replaced the 93 exhibition bus with streetcars during the CNE since they were not sure when the Spadina line would reopen after Russell Hill.

    Whether they will do it or not remains to be seen but something tells me they did not wait until after this construction to work on Dufferin south of Queen.


  10. I like to ask a question about the new planned streetcars that supposedly coming in 2014. I guess these are going to be longer so it can carry more people and will be easier to load and unload people. One side is good since the current streetcars are incredibly inefficient to load and unload people so it is a good plus. But my bigger concern is since the new streetcars are going to carry more people, will it be less frequent? I care more about not waiting in the cold for a streetcar than being inside and waiting for people to unload and load. Thanks.

    Steve: The TTC has been unclear about the replacement ratio for new vs old cars, although there is some info buried in their fleet plans. The problem is that if capacity is not replaced 1:1 (resulting in cars running twice as far apart as they do now), the operating budget has to go up. For the past two years, the TTC has been all about cutting service even for years they have claimed that overcrowding on streetcar routes can only be fixed when they get a new fleet.

    I am hoping that something concrete is in the five-year plan to be published later this month, but at this point am not placing any bets. Council seems to be pre-occupied with building subway lines, not with fixing the system we already have.


  11. My guess is the reconstruction of the Spadina station platforms probably only entails a raising of the loading platform and re-grading the approach to said platform.


  12. The previous policy of eliminating streetcars and using buses for new routes (added as the city developed northward) accounts for the concentration of streetcar lines within five kilometres of the waterfront. The busiest north-south and east-west routes were replaced respectively by the Yonge–University–Spadina and Bloor–Danforth subway lines, and the northernmost streetcar lines, including the North Yonge and Oakwood routes, were replaced by trolley buses (and later by diesel buses). Two other lines that operated north of St. Clair Avenue were abandoned for other reasons: the Rogers Road route was abandoned to free up streetcars for expanded service on other routes, and the Mount Pleasant route was removed because of complaints from drivers that streetcars slowed their cars down and because the track was aging and would have needed to be replaced anyway.

    Steve: The Rogers Road route was abandoned because the Borough of York (as it then was) was not part of the City of Toronto (as it then was) decision to keep streetcars. The number of cars released was trivial. Mt. Pleasant’s problem for motorists was not the streetcars, but the condition of the roadway which was paved with granite setts between the rails. The reconstruction of the bridge over the Belt Line at Merton Street was the trigger for removing the streetcars.


  13. They’re digging it up again!! Complete intersection closure at King and Spadina from August 6 to 20th, then one lane traffic from August 20th to August 31st.

    Steve: This has been in the works for some time. Now the mess will shift up to Queen Street. But look on the bright side: the Spadina bus will run through to Queen’s Quay, providing it can get through the traffic.


  14. Steve given King and Spadina will be down to one lane during the CNE for work to be done how will this affect the newly revived 521 service via King to Exhibition?

    Steve: The intersection should be re-opened east-west in time for the CNE based on the progress at previous Bathurst/King and Spadina/Queen projects. Traffic on King will actually be light because the street will be closed, and so the “521” shouldn’t have much of a problem.

    Now if the project runs late, and King isn’t open, well that’s another story.


  15. Have you heard if they are still on schedule for November? I was walking by the foot of Spadina the other day and saw that the streetcar tracks have been paved over. I can’t imagine that they would have done that unless they were planning on running buses through that intersection through the winter.

    Steve: Utility work all along Queen’s Quay has required that the old track be removed as the road lanes have shifted back and forth. Originally, the TTC expected to have the loop back in service for streetcars as of mid-November, but they have now changed the date to mid-February (although what sort of construction work they will do in the dead of winter I don’t know). I am waiting for a reply from Waterfront Toronto on the schedule changes.


  16. Interesting if unsurprising. It’s worth noting that they have updated the construction advisory page, only that says December 2013. These delays have long since gone from frustrating to pathetic.


  17. Beginning on September 3, a month ago, TTC took the streetcars off the “511 Bathurst” soute and replaced them with shuttle buses; some of these are older buses built during the 1980’s and 1990’s and refurbished in recent years. This is so that the City of Toronto could go ahead with watermain and pipe replacement on Bathurst Street; also, the TTC could go ahead with platform modification of /around tracks on Fleet Street (and on Queens Quay West between the foot of Bathurst Street and Lower Spadina). These shuttle buses can be diverted around the construction which is to be carried out. They share track with the “509 Harbourfront” route, where shuttle buses have been running since July 29, 2012 (and continue to do so until Waterfront Toronto construction on Queens Quay West is completed).

    Buy late November, the work on the watermains and sewer/utility pipes will be completed and streetcars will (hopefully) return to the “511 Bathurst” route, in time for the One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale, at the Direct Energy Centre, from November 27-December 8, 2013.


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