Metrolinx has advised Toronto’s City Manager that it is putting the Scarborough LRT project on hold pending resolution of various issues related to funding the proposed Scarborough subway.
In a letter from President & CEO Bruce McCuaig, Metrolinx states:
The Scarborough LRT remains an approved part of the Master Agreement among Metrolinx, City Council and the TTC, consistent with The Big Move and sound transit planning for the region. We will not expend any more funds on the project because it no longer enjoys the essential support of our partner, City Council. It would be imprudent for us to spend more on a project Council has by majority vote repudiated, as further expenditures would increase the sunk costs already incurred for which the City is responsible. As you know, Metrolinx estimates that sunk costs amount to $85 million at this time. Putting the Scarborough LRT on hold is not due to any shortcomings inherent in the project. The project would serve Toronto and its communities well. In the event the City suspends pursuit of the subway extension, Metrolinx is prepared to return to implementing the current project.
Metrolinx will remove the SLRT from the procurement process for the Eglinton Crosstown line so that this project can proceed on its own. Planned improvements at Kennedy Station will be redesigned to avoid delay of the Eglinton project, but obviously the changes cannot preclude future inclusion of the SLRT should that project be revived or unless it is truly cancelled.
Provincial funding available for the subway project remains at $1.48b (2010$). However, this does not include the offset for sunk costs which will be charged to the City reducing the amount available for the subway project to about $1.4b.
The only time I’ve seen proposals for any rail based transit along Kennedy is when someone is suggesting ideas about expanding a post LRT conversion SRT. Basically, build a branch north to Progress and then it would somehow swing over to Kennedy somewhere between Progress and Sheppard before continuing northwards.
And yes, I am aware of the actual proposed subway route to the point that I believe it is a mistake for Scarborough and should be pushed further east along Eglinton before turning north to STC. I was just curious as to how using the RT right of way for a subway would eliminate the “Kennedy transfer death march” since I doubt there would be funds available to construct a new bus terminal closer to the new subway platform needed for such a route.
Funds to construct a new bus terminal! Where would you get the funds to tear out the existing Kennedy station plus some of the tunnel, then build a new tunnel and station?
Plus you would force the subway to terminate at Warden for about 2 – 4 years and close down the SRT when construction started.
Building a line up the SRT right of way is not the problem you make it out to be. You tear it out and put the new subway in a cut and cover tunnel, heaven forbid we do open cut. All existing structures on the SRT would be removed; none are usable by a subway. The SRT right of way could be followed and would give the better route to STC. To bad the subway points the wrong way at Kennedy and that the SRT would be out service for a few years while the subway was cutback to Warden. A few minor inconveniences, plus a lot of extra costs.
Did you just go from condemning a plan I don’t support to fully supporting and vastly expanding the costs of it in one post?
Steve: Robert is providing the “we can do anything” viewpoint so prevalent among some members of the engineering fraternity, but with deep irony.
As Steve says it was an attempt to show the problems with many plans presented here. For the record I support the LRT on the old SRT right of way and not the subway. Subway is not needed in Scarborough, nor is it needed on the extension to York. Yonge needs to be extended to Steeles to get all the buses off of Yonge Street. York can build any thing they want north of there. The Downtown relief line should be built, preferably with the UPX as the western side.
Subways cannot be extended forever as the construction cost are out of line with the benefits generated. I am sorry people have to make an extra transfer but when I went to U of T I had to make 3 or 4 transfers. (Yes and I had to walk uphill both ways at the end into a raging blizzard also.) The ability to make free transfer connection is what makes a GRID system so useful.
I might not go so far as to say it’s not needed. However, Scarborough needs a lot more transit infrastructure to support a subway extension before it should be even considered being built. Simply put, when the best way to reach the subway is to drive there, most people will skip the subway and drive to their destination.
I think we all agree that Scarborough deserves first-class transit that effectively serves the needs of its citizens.
And now, with the exciting news out of California, I think we can also all agree that if we want to be first-class then BRT, LRT, heavy surface rail, monorail, TGV, swanboats and even subways just won’t cut it. I am, of course, referring to Elon Musk’s proposal. I very much hope our Premier, local MPPs, Mayor and councillors are briefed on this fabulous new technology very soon so we can get another EA started.
Taking information from the proposal entirely out of context, the Hyperloop would be driverless and travel at 1,220 kph. For comparison, subway riders downtown this weekend experienced speeds approaching 0 kph, while LRT riders on Spadina experienced similar low speeds while passing through the King/Spadina intersection, and people living along Queens Quay East had to make do with slow shuttle buses.
We’d need to take out all the stations in the middle (who uses those anyways?), but people could be getting from Scarborough Town Centre to Kennedy in under 20 seconds! The winner is obvious–anything less than a Hyperloop would be a slap in the face.
Finance-wise the Hyperloop would have a per-vehicle cost of $1.35 million (vs. > $6 million for an LRT vehicle) and a track/tube/pylon cost of under $10 million/km (vs. hundreds of millions for subway or LRT).
But that’s for new installations–most excitingly, it uses linear induction motors for propulsion and has small cars (1.35m wide x 1.1m tall) that could easily fit through the existing SRT tunnels. Bombardier could use their SRT/Skytrain expertise to build the vehicles in Thunder Bay! We could also obviously reuse the existing SRT track with only the most minimal renovations–the length of shutdown would be measured in hours, not years! Sure there’d be a few delays getting the EA done and designing/building/testing the vehicles and working out liability issues, but with a little maintenance we can keep the SRT going until 2035.
With all the obvious benefits and financial savings of such a scheme, extension of the network could also easily be justified. Forget connecting to Malvern or UTSC; let’s think big and connect to Huntsville and Peterborough and bring the Feds on-side too!
What do you think, Steve?
Steve: The really sad part about this is that I can easily see the Ontario government sucked into spending billions developing crap like this in the 70s. Even now, Infrastructure Ontario might just see it as their big chance.
Forty years of watching transit makes one very, very cynical.
They were making fun of this guy in California because he is in no position to do anything about it – it is just an idea that someohow got a lot of press and he wants somebody else to do it… they still have those Pneumatic tubes for sending things in at least one Home Depot – the guy was likely just standing in line thinking” why don’t we do a jumbo sized one big enough for a person! Futurama has something similar. In effect, they could just do a pipeline with people.
Anyway, my issue is that we have GO trains – which are expensive and require high numbers of riders and stations can’t be less than about 3-5 miles apart, and we have so called LRTs (St. Clair) which are just streetcars with curbs, and they are only faster because of omitting a few stops and hardly “rapid” – and not adding capacity as we are just replacing buses with fewer bigger vehicles.
But there is no real plan for something where we can run streetcar type LRTs completely separate from roads – really except for the planned SRT. Running SRTs through Hydro corridors was an idea that was mentioned numerous times over the years – how expensive would it be to run train tracks and overhead wires through a hydro corridor with stations at grade at each arterial road?
Steve: It would be comparatively cheap to build an LRT line through a Hydro corridor assuming that Hydro would agree — they are not as enthusiastic about this sort of proposal today as they were decades ago. Another problem is that the corridors do not necessarily cross arterials at places of innately high demand. The one parallel to Finch, for example, which was considered for an LRT line over 40 years ago when much of the surrounding area was undeveloped, is somewhat distant from the development on Finch itself. There would certainly be a debate about whether stations should be simple grade crossings with traffic signals, or whether they should be grade separated. If the latter, then the cost goes up.
I posted this to another topic but it seems to have dropped off the bottom of the current discussion so I am re-posting it here.
There has been some talk about service levels on subways in Toronto. Here are the service levels in Baltimore and Cleveland. Baltimore runs 6 car trains in rush hour and 2 car trains in late evenings. I think they run 4 cars at other times. Cleveland is always 2car trains. Both cars are 75′ long.
a.m. peak 8 min. mid day10 min. p.m. peak 8.5 mint even 11 – 15 min.
Sat. Sun. every 15 min.
one way trip time 29 min.
Cleveland Red Line High platform
a.m. peak 7.5 min. mid day 15 min. p.m. peak 7.5 min. even 15 min.
Sat. Sun. every 15 min.
one way trip 41 min.
Chicago is closing the South end of its red line for 6 months with no service for major re-construction. They are re-routing the Dan Ryan trains to the west branch of the Green Line with all Green trains going to the east branch with shuttle bus service to handle people who would normally board the Red line trains. Most of the CTA rail lines operate every 6- 8 minutes rush and 10 or more base. The 2 subway lines, red and blue, might be better.
Here is the CTA press release.