Updated September 24, 2013 at 11:20pm
Information has been added regarding the replacement of streetcars by buses on Lake Shore Blvd. in Etobicoke starting mid October.
Several service changes will take effect on October 13, 2013.
Service improvements are almost exclusively in the off-peak period.
Night Service Improvements
- 310 Bathurst service will be improve on Saturday nights / Sunday mornings between 1:00 and 3:00 am, and between 6:00 and 9:00 am.
- 320 Yonge service will be improved by the elimination of the York Mills short turn. All trips will operate to Steeles Avenue. Service on Sunday morning between 1:30 and 3:30 am will be improved.
Many construction diversions now in place will continue, and two more will be added.
Continuing to mid-November 2013
- Construction at Lawrence West Station causing extension of 58 Malton and 59 Maple Leaf routes to Lawrence Station.
- 510 Spadina streetcars replaced by buses between Queens Quay and King. Schedules on 504 King will be adjusted to provide additional running time to compensate for congestion at King & Spadina.
- Track work on Ossington affecting the 63 Ossington route.
- Water main and platform work on Bathurst requiring buses on 511 Bathurst and changes to mid-day service level on 512 St. Clair.
- Road construction on Dufferin requiring a northbound diversion of 29 Dufferin from Queen to Dundas.
- (New) Reconstruction on the Dundas bridge at Sterling Road requiring cutback of streetcar service to Lansdowne on Dundas and Carlton routes with shuttle buses beyond.
Continuing to mid-December 2013
- Road and track construction on Kingston Road affecting 502/503 streetcar routes, 22A Coxwell, 64 Main and 92 Woodbine South.
- Road construction on Kingston Road affecting 12 Kingston Road and 69 Warden South routes.
- York Region bridge and road construction affecting the 68 Warden route.
- (New) Reconstruction of streetcar platforms on Lake Shore requiring replacement of 501 Queen and 508 Lake Shore services west of Humber Loop with buses.
Updated September 24, 2013:
I asked the TTC why such a long shutdown was required for work on the safety islands on Lake Shore. Here is their response:
There are 16 platforms needing either lengthening, widening or both, plus shelter installation. In short, a large scope of work. Contractors indicated to us when this was tendered that they’d need more time if they were to bid, so we amended the tender based on that feedback.
Continuing to end of 2013
- Yonge subway early shutdown for tunnel liner replacement north of Eglinton.
Continuing to at least the end of 2013
- Additional buses and running time on many routes for Spadina subway extension project.
Continuing into 2014
- 509/510 Harbourfront/Spadina services replaced by buses pending completion of track work on Queens Quay and construction at Union Station Loop.
- 72 Pape diversion for Union Station Second Platform project.
- Additional buses and running time on many routes for Metrolinx Weston Road bridge project.
- 83 Jones diversion for utility reconstruction and track work on Leslie Street.
Continuing into 2015
- Metrolinx LRT construction on Eglinton affecting 32 Eglinton West route.
- 29/329 Dufferin and 316 Ossington buses turned back due to structural problems with the Dufferin bridge over the rail corridor.
Once after the TTC has finished its rebuild on the subway, they should consider getting an earlier start on Sunday subway service from 9 AM to 6 AM. Maybe even later closing and earlier starting times as well.
However, they need to figure out how to do a better and quicker maintenance on subway. More plug out and plug in. Maybe even having shared tracks for both directions during the late night.
Is the focus on off-peak because that’s where demand is most critical or are we still looking at vehicle shortages with respect to added rush hour service?
Steve: Vehicle shortages.
Are you SURE the North Yonge work will be complete by the end of the year?
Steve: I am not sure. The claim is the TTC’s, not mine.
Good point. The TTC has claimed many times that the work would be completed by a certain date only to extend it.
So no streetcars for the Lake Shore from October 13th for approx. two months. Well, the buses might actually provide better service along the Lake Shore for those two months.
Something struck me this morning. If the TTC moved west along the Lake Shore, once they pass Kipling Ave. then streetcar service could be restored to Kipling. This would mean that less buses would be required, and I do think they have done this before. Of course, this would be logical. At least to me.
Steve: Yes, logical, but not necessarily how the TTC would do it. They seem to prefer shutting down streetcar service for as long as possible. Quite bluntly, it should not take two schedule periods to rebuild the islands on Lake Shore.
Sweet, the 45E Kipling will now until 8pm. What brought about the change to extended express service instead of just having more local buses? Is the demand really that much higher north of Finch?
Steve: Adding trips to the existing 45E service avoids having to beef up the service on the regular 45 early evening schedule for the extra hour.
There will always be work that has to be done in subway even after the rebuild is done. The late Sunday start is the only night of the week where crews have about a 6 hour window to work. Don’t forget in that 6 hours you set up and take down (some jobs), so the work time is closer to 4 four hours compared to 2 hours on other nights.
Why wouldn’t the platforms have been rebuilt when they replaced the track years ago?
Steve: It is one of those mysteries of life, and the ongoing examples of left hand right hand problems at the TTC. Widening for accessibility, certainly. Adjusting the height at the ramp locations was a comparatively recent requirement once the true specs and behaviour of the car were known. Still, it should only be one month’s work.
As someone who has on occasion had to take the Yonge North shuttle, there are a number of things I wish they would do to it. First, ONLY have it stop at intersections where there is a subway station. If people want to get off in between, take the local 97 or late night bus – as they will have to do once construction is eventually complete. Considering the length of the current situation, I am surprised that nightclubs haven’t sprung up along Yonge north of Eglinton.
Secondly, have passengers transfer onto the buses from outside of the station. It really is time consuming to have the bus pull into a bus terminal every 2km. Perhaps have it turn into Sheppard because of the subway and the bus connection to Downsview and the Spadina line (usually a great alternative to the current shuttle), but even that could be phased out if this setup works out.
To put things into perspective, it currently takes 12 minutes to get from Eglinton to Finch by subway. It takes 27 minutes with the late night shuttle – not including the extra time required to transfer and wait for your connection.
Steve: The Yonge North shuttle will probably end in a few months. Rejigging it to suit your preferences is not going to happen. You are rather late to the party on this proposal. The shuttle stops in stations to make connections with other routes, something that would be much more difficult for riders otherwise. This is also an accessibility issue as the path from the surface stops to the bus platforms is not simple and also is not accessible in most cases.
I think the issue is likely due to the TTC not knowing at the time about the specs for the new cars. So it would make sense that the platform work could not have been done at the time.
I concur, not all stops have the platforms to begin with. Plus, as I already indicated, common sense would have broken the work into two sections: east and west of Kipling. But as you have pointed out Steve, this might be a left hand vs. right hand issue (one hand operates the streetcars, the other hand deals with construction.)
You note that a reason why all (?) the service improvements are on off-peak hours is because of vehicle shortages. As there is currently no service on several streetcar routes (Lower Spadina, Queens Quay and Kingston Road) one would have expected the TTC to have excess streetcars that could be used to improve service on King and Queen (and avoid short-turns). Will there be enough streetcars when these routes reopen? (As an aside, I am taking bets that Queens Quay will not reopen until summer 2014!)
Steve: The TTC’s service memo includes a note that streetcar service improvements are possible because of construction shutdowns, but it fact there have been few peak improvements. If they are hard up when the QQ track is finished, I suspect that they will bus Kingston Road. It’s a delicate game until the LFLRVs start in service next April (if you believe that). I am waiting for the Capital Budget to come out to see if they have a revised fleet plan.
Steve, do you have a link to details about the Lake Shore safety islands? Is this simply a rebuild of existing islands, or are more being added?
With the rebuild, I hope they rethink the railing on the Thirty Ninth St. platforms (which is my local stop). Barrier railing was placed on the eastbound stop, making everyone to access the stop via the east end only, unless you want to walk on the tracks from the west. But there’s no crosswalk or signalized intersection here, so it doesn’t matter where you access the island, you have to watch out for traffic anyway.
Can you tell I’m often running for the streetcar from the west side of the stop? NextBus and TransSee are all very good, but if the streetcar or bus leaves the loop early, the predicted arrival times plummet. I have seen it go from “streetcar arriving in 2 minutes 49 seconds” to “streetcar arriving in 36 seconds”. TransSee shows the deviation from schedule, and it’s clear that the car has left several minutes early.
(To continue my rant, there are operators which consistently do this. Every day. I always have to adjust my timing every new board period. Most operators leave on schedule, but it’s the early-departing ones that go zipping by when I’m still thirty seconds away from the stop.)
Steve: The problem is that the predicted times near terminals are based on the scheduled departures as NextBus has no way of anticipating an early departure. The whole issue of irregular terminal departures is well documented in my route analyses, but TTC seems unwilling or unable to do anything about it. I will be having another look at Queen later this fall because it has gone through so many changes including diversions and the upcoming route cutback to Humber.
I have sent a request to the TTC asking for details on the work they plan to do.
They’re being oddly sensible and rebuilding the safety islands on Queens Quay between Spadina and Bathurst. It look like they remove the concrete from parts of the island where the doors of the new streetcars will be and replace it.
Steve: This is the same adjustment that has been made at other islands where the concrete is too high for the wheelchair ramp on the new cars.
Does this mean the reconstruction of the Queen and Broadview intersection has been deferred to next year?
Steve: The capital plans for 2014 have not been published yet, but it appears that Queen & Broadview, for all its problems, isn’t in the cards for this fall. There has been no sign of preliminary work at this location, only the slow orders and the out-of-service west-to-north curve. The project no longer appears on the City’s online map of construction projects for 2013.
Thanks for the update on the Lake Shore island reconstruction.
Lake Shore has a lot of truck traffic. Where there are facing islands (at Thirty Ninth and at Park Lawn, for example), there really isn’t room for a truck in both directions at the same time. I’ve seen the results of a truck sideswiping a streetcar travelling in the opposite direction at these islands. If the islands are indeed widened, there should be a “no trucks” sign along the streetcar tracks. Trucks should go around the outside of the island. There is always a clear lane to the right of the island.
Regarding arrival predictions of vehicles that leave their terminals early, I know that it’s not a problem with the prediction program, but with the operator and TTC supervision thereof.
One other unfortunate artifact I see out by Long Branch loop is that the prediction software will tell you that a streetcar will be along in fifteen minutes or so, with a current location, say, westbound at Islington. Of course it never arrives, because it gets short-turned at Kipling. The prediction software only figures this out when it sees the streecar heading eastbound east of Kipling, at which point it vanishes from the predicted arrivals out in Long Branch. I always check that the streetcar is actually west of Kipling before I believe that it will arrive as predicted.
Rebuilding at Queen & Broadview is scheduled for spring 2014. The idea is to do the work simultaneously with the new track installation at Queen & Leslie, but nothing is set in stone yet.
Other work on the streetcar system in 2014:
Steve: Thanks for the update. Most of that list was planned for 2014 in the 2013 budget, but a few things have slipped into 2014. I note that Wellington still isn’t on the list, but that is understandable until Front Street is restored to normal operation. It’s sad that no sooner will Spadina switch over to LFLRV operation than it will shut down again for track work.
Wow that sounds like a rare situation where the TTC is actually thinking. If they were even smarter they’d hook up Cherry Street at the same time with this second chance.
But then when get to Spadina Loop… is this the Bloor Street loop? I thought it was done already.
Steve: Yes, it is, and no it is not done yet even though they had a perfect opportunity this summer. I hope they have the good sense to do this concurrently with work at College and Spadina.
Apparently Wellington is now postponed to 2017 due to Toronto Water work that must happen before the tracks, the construction at 88 Scott and the Pan-Am Games. Frankly, it’s going to be a struggle keeping the section from Church to Yonge operational for 4+ more years as it is already in very poor shape. It will be interesting to see if Adelaide is listed in their next 5-year plan.
Regarding the upcoming track work along Queen at Broadview and Leslie intersections, my understanding is that if both projects proceed simultaneously, Service Planning wants to operate an entire board period next spring (either the March or the May board) with a special schedule on the 501 Queen that would account for the additional mileage and running time required for the diversion between Parliament and Coxwell, as well as running a shuttle bus service to at least Yonge, if enough buses are available once the artics will begin to be delivered. This would avoid this year’s cock-ups with lengthy diversions on both the 501 and 504 that were not accounted for in the schedules. It would also avoid last year cock-up during the Russell yard project, when the east end shuttle buses were dumping everyone at Parliament westbound, forcing people to transfer to the streetcars to continue their trip downtown. We’ll see next spring what will actually be done.
The Cherry connection onto King will be done after the Pan Am Games. No word on Adelaide; if you ask me, it is kaputt. Given that it has been out of service for as long as I can remember, one can hardly argue any network flexibility would be lost.
On Wednesday, September 4 (on my way to the Billy Bishop City Centre Airport to board a plane for a week’s vacation in New Brunswick), I was surprised to see buses instead of streetcars running on the “511 Bathurst” route. Most of those buses are older ones built during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
They (the TTC and the City of Toronto) waited until the Canadian National Exhibition was over to begin this necessary work on watermains, storm sewers, and pipes. However, whe people are heading to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (which runs November 1-10), buses will still be used on the “511 Bathurst” route until later that month. By this time, streetcars will (hopefully) be making their return to this route. This will be just in time for the One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale (November 27 – December 8).
The City have just awarded a contract to replace the watermain etc on RICHMOND from York to Church. I assume the work will start soon and it seems to be planned to go through the winter. I assume that there will be no TTC streetcar service on Richmond while it is going on and that they will then replace the tracks – this was a 2013 project and was supposed to be done at same time as York.
Steve: From a previous comment here, the Richmond track replacement from east of Yonge to York is now scheduled for 2014. If the track between Church and Victoria is blocked for a time by construction, who knows how the TTC will manage to short turn anything downtown (grin).
Not strictly on topic; but since folks have gone off on the streetcar track work tangent, I thought I would ask, does anyone know what happened to the proposed new loop at Queen/Broadview through what is now the Green P lot?
Steve: The TTC now owns the property after a many-way swap, but there are no signs of them actually making use of it. I suspect that there will be screams from the locals if the parking is removed, even though a new, smaller lot was opened more or less across the street.
Steve, there is one route missing in your spreadsheet above. On 57 Midland, one bus will be added in the PM peak and service will be improved from every 8’20” to every 7’30”. Also on 57 Midland, one bus will be added in the late evenings Monday – Friday, and service will be improved from every 20′ to every 15′.
Steve: Thanks for catching this. I missed it when I was transcribing the info from the Service Memo into the spreadsheet. I have updated the pdf.
In the discussion regarding platform work on Lake Shore Blvd. West I have seen no reference to a proposed streetcar loop to the south of Lake Shore and immediately west of Park Lawn Rd. There is a notice regarding a zoning change to accommodate such a loop standing in the park on the south side of the road. Is this for real and do you know the purpose of a loop in this location?
Steve: This project was put on hold for budgetary reasons. Also a good argument can be made that the loop is too far east to represent much of a replacement relative to Humber Loop to serve the growing neighbourhoods along Lake Shore. The loop is actually a leftover from the proposed Waterfront West line that originally would have had a loop at Legion Road, but this was changed to Park Lawn.
I just moved to Lake Shore and Legion … so all of these discussions about the 501, 508, 145 and the Lake Shore West situation are very real to me! I was wondering about the Park Lawn loop… let’s hope that bit of land doesn’t get sold off for a condo, because it would block my view of downtown … the amount of construction here is insane, and immediately nearby shopping facilities are not great (too much car culture).
The eastbound island at Legion is an accident waiting to happen. It is curved concave, and I worry about cars sliding into the island in the winter. There are already copious amounts of sand lying there, making me think that adhesion is a problem. It’s a scary place to stand.