Metrolinx Contemplates Relief (3) (Meetings Postponed)

The meetings originally announced for the week of March 1st in Toronto and Richmond Hill have been postponed by joint agreement of the parties involved.  New dates later in March will be announced.

Metrolinx will hold three public meetings to discuss the Regional Relief Strategy on March 1st and 3rd in Toronto, and on March 5th in Richmond Hill.

66 thoughts on “Metrolinx Contemplates Relief (3) (Meetings Postponed)

  1. UGH…the meeting places telegraph their thinking.

    Bloor and Sherbourne

    Gerard and Jones

    Yonge and Major Mac

    They think this is all about people on the Bloor line and in Richmond Hill.

    I suppose trying to talk about a RL in Scarborough would become a political statement right now but this is just silly.

    I hope there are plans to have discussions in the Eglinton and Don Mills area at least.

    Steve: St. James Church is close to Bloor-Yonge (a short walk from the east end of the Bay at Park Road) and it has a decent sized meeting hall. Gerrard and Jones is in Riverdale which will be affected by the choice of route for the DRL. Richmond Hill is obviously interested because they want a subway yesterday.

    Yes, the omission of Don Mills certainly shows that the Eglinton extension of the DRL is not exactly high on their priority list.

    Depending on the turn out and interest (e.g. lots of letters about “why can’t I have a meeting in my neighbourhood too”), I would not be surprised to see other locations added, but it won’t happen unless people can make a case for this.

    Like

  2. “Yes, the omission of Don Mills certainly shows that the Eglinton extension of the DRL is not exactly high on their priority list.”

    I notice too, that the area marked “relief line project assessment” only extends to Danforth Ave., not up to Eglinton. As far as I am concerned this is a shocking omission. I can understand somebody not being as convinced by Steve’s argument that the Don Mills line should go to, um, Don Mills, as I am, but the idea that the preliminary study wouldn’t even consider the idea is absurd. The preliminary study stage is precisely where it is inexpensive to draw lines on maps and think about what they would do and how they relate to the rest of the network.

    If the result was a “phase 1” project that only went to Danforth, with a “phase 2” extension put off to the future, I would consider that a good outcome. But with this study scope, they won’t even be considering future extension in the design of the transfer station to the Danforth line.

    Another note: did anybody else notice that the McCowan Scarborough subway extension is not shown on the map? Whereas the current RT route is shown indistinguishable from the subway. On the other hand, the Yonge north extension is shown no different from the under-construction Spadina extension.

    Like

  3. Steve, does building a DRL and not a Don Mills subway, risk pushing a fair amount of traffic unto Yonge from the Crosstown, or are they fairly sure that this will mostly head north.

    I personally expected there to be quite a lot of development along this corridor, that is currently not happening due to congestion and the long commute times from there to anywhere, and thus expected the Crosstown west bound to be close to capacity at 8 am within 6-10 years of it opening. I take it this is not consistent with city plans and metrolinx expectations?

    Also are they not foregoing a great deal of potential opportunity for further diversion of traffic, or are they expecting to build a Don Mills LRT to the Danforth, although I doubt traffic from the Crosstown using it instead of Yonge, as they will be required to do an additional transfer as opposed to Yonge, if they are headed to the core. One of the reasons I thought your plan was viable was due to the opportunity to use Don Mills and Eglinton, as a major point of transfer, and allow a DRL to load its core traffic at a couple of points.

    Steve: The TTC created a huge problem by sticking with the “Transit City” version of the Don Mills LRT ending at Danforth, and wasted a lot of effort trying to figure out how to get it there. Although the City/TTC study has a scope only to Danforth, I will strongly urge Metrolinx to consider how the Don Mills / DRL line would operate north at least to Eglinton. If “relief” is what we seek, then the “relief” line has to go far enough north not just to attract peak riders off of the Danforth line.

    As to demand on Eglinton, the fact that it would be intercepted at various locations by north-south lines will keep it from accumulating loads beyond its capacity.

    Like

  4. So I guess it’s safe to say that we’ll never see an extension to Eglinton & and Don Mills then….

    Gotta love short sightedness.

    Like

  5. “Yes, the omission of Don Mills certainly shows that the Eglinton extension of the DRL is not exactly high on their priority list.”

    That’s because this is a DOWNTOWN Relief Line (DRL) and now that the TTC has decided to adopt line numbers and drop meaningful line names, talks of the DOWNTOWN Relief Line (DRL) serving dense but poor neighbourhoods of Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe, etc have been conveniently dropped. The DOWNTOWN Relief Line (DRL) will never go to Don Mills and Eglinton as that provides ZERO benefits to Downtown. Say NO to DOWNTOWN Relief Line NOW.

    Steve: The TTC is wrong. They have tried for years (decades?) to spike the DRL because they wanted to put all their capacity improvements into the YUS. The new study is a regional one, and it is time to stop talking about the “RL” as if its only purpose were to divert passengers off of the Danforth subway to downtown at, nominally, Pape.

    Like

  6. Taking it to Eglinton would not divert that much more off Yonge. Somebody posted the numbers a while back — can’t remember who right now, but the cost vs. the number of additional riders north of Danforth wouldn’t make it worth while, at least not now.

    The only other thing I can think of is platform doors between Bloor and St. George and some kind of alternating skip-stop service during the peak periods.

    Steve: The purpose is not just to divert traffic from Yonge, but to open up new territory to the rapid transit system initially with a link to Thorncliffe/Flemingdon and Eglinton so that the “DRL” has a reason to exist outside of the rush hour.

    Like

  7. Steve said …

    “The purpose is not just to divert traffic from Yonge, but to open up new territory to the rapid transit system initially with a link to Thorncliffe/Flemingdon and Eglinton so that the “DRL” has a reason to exist outside of the rush hour.”

    And I guess the fact that you grew up there has nothing to do with it. You’re not looking at the demand numbers — north of Danforth, that line will be lightly used off peak either way, just as the University line was in the 60s and 70s. With the Eglinton LRT, it’s hard to justify it.

    Steve: I grew up at Mt. Pleasant & Eglinton, and Don Mills was a vague place over beyond Leaside. You really need to avoid the personal attacks as a way of justifying your arguments.

    Like

  8. Steve said:

    As to demand on Eglinton, the fact that it would be intercepted at various locations by north-south lines will keep it from accumulating loads beyond its capacity.

    What scares me with regards to the Crosstown, is that plans are not happening, and there is a fair distance between routes that will drain downtown bound traffic. How can it dump traffic on Yonge, when this line will be near full southbound before it gets there. By this point (Eglinton post 2020) will already have a lot of traffic growth from elsewhere that it cannot absorb.

    Steve: I am fascinated by claims made by various comments here about what the demand might or might not be on future lines. This is one reason I want to see a new set of demand projections that are coherent with each other, not made up to justify each project in turn.

    Like

  9. “Yes, the omission of Don Mills certainly shows that the Eglinton extension of the DRL is not exactly high on their priority list.”

    I have been a long time supporter of the Downtown Relief Line but if it is not coming north to at least Eglinton, then I no longer support the project and fully oppose it. I imagine that Steve you who has been for so long preaching that it should come north to at least Eglinton will strongly oppose any DRL that does not go north of Bloor unless of course you, just like the TTC, have been using the high density neighbourhoods in and around Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe, etc only to justify the cost of and case for a DRL but in reality only care about the Downtown component which terminates at Bloor as it’s northern most point.

    At best, I suspect that the TTC will build the southern section first promising to build the northern component in the next phase but when Downtown has yet more subway stations (on top of the so many they already have), they will just quietly drop the northern extension and instead shove more buses and/or LRTs up our behinds. Why does everything have to be Downtown?

    Steve: I don’t use Flemingdon/Thorncliffe just as pawns in a game to get a line to downtown. I have lots of service from where I live to downtown today, thank you.

    If you want to talk about lines with low projected demand, look at the Vaughan subway.

    Like

  10. Steve said:

    “I am fascinated by claims made by various comments here about what the demand might or might not be on future lines. This is one reason I want to see a new set of demand projections that are coherent with each other, not made up to justify each project in turn.”

    I heartily agree, I have seen vastly different projections. However, the one tale I hear consistently is that Yonge will be near capacity, north of Bloor (above 75% anywhere south of Sheppard in their initial DRL study/discussion from September, that is north of the Crosstown load). I think it is reasonable to expect some of this will (try?) find its way onto Yonge. Morever, it is also reasonable to expect that any type of Don Mills southbound with connection to downtown would relieve some traffic on Yonge. My fear is the next piece not being built, especially when they talk of a DRL ending at Danforth, especially when they do not interested in even evaluating an Eglinton or north terminus.

    It will be easy to delay any extension, and I can already imagine a Don Mills LRT ending at Eglinton being proposed as it will be too technically hard to build to Danforth, then this being sunk, as it has no or negative impact on the network. To me one of the reasons to go to Eglinton, is that it will permit:

    1: two reasonable points of transfer for traffic onto the DRL (as the network further develops), and
    2: will facilitate the development of a much more extensive network of lines that connect to each other as well as downtown (as there seems to be more opportunity to build Eglinton and North), without threatening a total meltdown on Yonge.

    In essence I am concerned that in effect other lines to serve the city as a whole will be held hostage to overcrowding on Yonge, if this is not dealt in a manner that allows for future potential lines and traffic growth. The city needs to have an plan to deal with a populace of 7 million, and contigencies for 8 or more.

    Steve: What I am particularly interested in is the degree to which GO can offload the long-haul trips from north of Steeles. We need honest answers about the upper bound of GO capacity and the practicality of making improvements to the north-south lines.

    I have not seen a good modelling, or really understand the amount of latent traffic there really is, but I strongly suspect that failure to have an option for heavy volumes to a point north of the Danforth (and accross the valley) will have a long term negative impact on the development of an integrated transit network, and hence the city.

    Like

  11. The concept of “Relief” regarding the DRL is fundamentally a misnomer, at its heart the DRL is about growth. The real question that must be asked is does the DRL in its current form allow for good growth or bad growth, or my preferred choice optimal growth.

    My main complaint regarding the DRL is that it has limited direct growth potential south of Danforth, and poor prospects north of Danforth. Its main source of growth potential comes indirectly by freeing up capacity on other routes, but is it really optimal to build more condos on Yonge north of Sheppard, or along Eglinton.

    The fundamental error is that Metrolinx is pricing a persons time at $13.52/hour, but the DRL is supposed to move people into the downtown job market that fetches a substantially higher hourly rate. If the DRL is not able to move people to their place of employment in line with market conditions then it fundamentally fails as a viable transit option, and becomes an underperforming investment.

    My suggestion would be to explore building a subway line from St. Andrews station along Wellington and Queen St. all the way to Victoria Park station where a wye can be build to allow trains coming from the planned Scarborough line to go directly downtown. To be very briefly my reasons for this alignment are as follows: (1) there is maximum residential growth potential along Queen St and the waterfront, (2) the alignment would be the most attractive to highly skilled professionals that are absolutely essential to ensure maximum economic growth potential, (3) by linking to the Scarborough line it helps relieve the rest of the system and maximizes the investment value of a line which would otherwise underperform, (4) likely the most important is that my proposed Wellington line has the broadest political appeal that will likely be able to gain the necessary political support needed to actually get done.

    Steve: I was with you up to the last paragraph. I believe that you overestimate the potential for Queen Street and you underestimate that of the DRL south of Danforth. There is a large block of land (Gerrard Square Mall) that would be ripe for redevelopment, and further south the DRL will serve the underused industrial lands around Broadview and Eastern (notably including the Lever site). When you talk about redevelopment, don’t forget that a line on a map isn’t enough, you also need stations. A subway through The Beach to Victoria Park Station? No. That’s a very bad proposal on many counts not least of which is the disruption it would cause to neighbourhoods through which the line would pass.

    Like

  12. Not making a personal attack, but I could not for the life of me figure out why you would push for the line to go to Eglinton when …

    a) other areas are bursting at the seams
    b) the Scarborough subway will bring all the extra volume down to the Danforth, not across Eglinton
    c) the area will already be served by the Eglinton LRT
    d) the area has a short off peak bus ride to Danforth
    e) a wye will be required at Danforth anyway for access to Greenwood repair facilities

    If you take the line north of Danforth, it may as well go to Sheppard, but with the Scarborough subway now going to Sheppard, that would be overkill.

    Steve: A wye is not necessarily required at Danforth. If the DRL goes up Donlands, not Pape, it can skirt the west side of Greenwood Yard and link in there (this option is already on the table). I don’t understand what the wye (present or not) has to do with the Eglinton section of the line anyhow beyond making the Danforth junction needlessly complex and expensive (can you say “Sheppard-Yonge”?). The bigger issue is that with the Scarborough Subway, there will be no spare capacity at Greenwood for DRL trains.

    Personal attack? You said I was pushing for the Eglinton extension because I grew up “there” (eg Don Mills & Eglinton or environs). That is (a) false and (b) presumes that I would make proposals based on where I live. I have not been campaigning for the return of the Mt. Pleasant streetcar.

    Like

  13. One great thing about the Eglinton Crosstown will be that it allows people to easily choose between the Yonge & Spadina lines.

    For example, if you’re travelling from Bayview station towards downtown, you could choose to stay on Eglinton westbound a few extra stops, getting off at Eglinton West station. Then you could travel south on the Spadina line instead, bypassing Yonge if necessary.

    To do that currently, you would have to switch buses at Eglinton station, and it would take much longer to travel from Yonge to Allen Rd along Eglinton, making the above trip much more inconvenient.

    Like

  14. I remember suggesting that the best way to get the DRL to Eglinton was to have the Eglinton line grade-separated from Laird to Don Mills and from Don Mills to Kennedy. This way, residents from Leaside (eastbound am. peak), Scarborough (westbound am. peak) and the Don Mills corridor of North York (southbound am. peak) would all be campaigning to have the DRL extended to Eglinton. Now, you have none of these people really needing the DRL extended, only Thorncliffe/Flemingdon and they do not have enough political clout on their own.

    Actions have consequences and when the LRT went in the median of Eglinton it should have been seen as an obvious sign of the death of the DRL north of Danforth.

    Steve: The LRT was in the median long before anyone was even talking about the DRL coming north of Danforth, or of even building a DRL. Your hypothesis is intriguing, but your time line is all wrong.

    Like

  15. One great thing about the Eglinton Crosstown will be that it allows people to easily choose between the Yonge & Spadina lines.

    I’d be willing to bet that virtually no one will be doing this unless there is a blockage or shutdown on the Yonge side.

    The extra distance on Eglinton and Spadina/University plus the transfer would add a penalty of 10 minutes or more if your destination is at the southern end of the U. The most direct path at Yonge will be the one chosen by everyone.

    It reminds me of the fantasy of a “North York Relief Line” used to rationalize a multi-billion dollar extension of Sheppard westward to Downsview. (with a full wye for interlined service of course)

    Like

  16. Steve,

    If they only do the small stub way of downtown to the Danforth line, do you think the DRL is “worth it” and will it made a significant enough dent in the B-Y interchange?

    There is [typically] a ton of fixed cost/overhead on any new (large) engineering projects, so shorter lines (smaller projects) typically are more expensive to build on a per km basis no?

    I guess to me, I am starting to wonder if it doesn’t make sense to build a short ~5km'(ish) line. For people on the Crosstown coming from the east in the AM, the multiple Xfers if the subway doesn’t go up to Eglinton starts to add up.

    E.g. if you take some form of transit to Kennedy/somewhere on East Eglinton, then you’d Xfer to the “LRT” at Don Mills, then a subway at Danforth, that to me starts to sound very inconvenient.

    In other cities, is it typical to have multiple transit modes along the same line, or is this just a function of the political opportunism and stupidity of some previous decisions and how the debate is going forward? E.g. If we ever build out Sheppard farther, I’d imagine the same road would have some bus at the far west end, then LRT to Yonge, then we have today’s subway, then another LRT, then bus again at the far side?

    Similarly, with Don Mills and the DRL we are setting ourselves up for disjointedness?

    Steve: So much of this depend on what one considers to be the “really important” trips where “disjointedness” is a limiting factor in attractiveness. Also, the history and geography of cities vary and it’s not easy to just “map” one network onto a different location.

    I agree that the Don Mills line should certainly not stop at Danforth as a “first step” because this will limit its future usefulness. That said, it cannot go all the way to, say, Newmarket and somewhere there is going to be a mode change. On any corridor, this depends on the demand pattern and the location where it makes sense to split out access into feeder routes versus continuing the core rapid transit line. Given the likely density of suburban Toronto, that point on Don Mills may eventually reach Sheppard or Finch, but the question is whether an LRT line would be useful, say, north of Eglinton. Such a line would be a lot cheaper to extend much further north, and it could serve more dispersed redevelopment than is likely with a subway and stops every, say, 1km.

    Over in Scarborough, it’s important to remember that when the SRT was first proposed (as an LRT line, by the way), the outer end of the line was either low density industrial or farmland. The line was going to end at Malvern, but that extension (from McCowan) was never built because the technology Queen’s Park forced us to use was too expensive. That was a political decision, but it set the stage for what is now seen as a disjointed three-stage bus-SRT-subway trip into the core.

    If we built the proposed Scarborough LRT network, it would at least establish single rides from Malvern to Kennedy Station, from UTSC to Don Mills and Kennedy Stations, and the LRT link west on Eglinton from Kennedy. That’s a longer reach for core services, would eliminate transfers some riders from the outer parts of Scarborough now face, and would build protected rights-of-way for transit into areas that will never, ever see a subway line.

    There is much fascination with making a through route across Sheppard by subway, and yet the irony is that Finch is actually the heavier demand corridor. The misalignment is a direct result of planning in former North York that protected the low-rise residential area on Finch East thereby guaranteeing a mismatch at Yonge Street. Putting a subway across Sheppard won’t eliminate the demand that now flows across Finch.

    Because Toronto is rectangular, the east-west routes (or potential routes) are very long. Moreover, there is a wide variety of land uses along these routes (even Eglinton is a good example) and it’s hard to say how these will evolve over the next 50 years or so. Such a route would also differ greatly from the sort of thing we see in other (much more mature cities) with many rapid transit lines, but lines that are oriented on a radial pattern. I doubt you will ever see one continuous route all the way across Sheppard or Finch, and even Eglinton has been fighting against budgetary trimming. Originally, there was to be track all the way from the Airport to the east end of Eglinton, but both outer portions have fallen off of the table and who knows if they will ever be built.

    In all of this I have not mentioned commuter rail services. Necessarily they will be radial given the layout of the rail corridors, but if there had been much stronger integration of GO with the TTC as suburban Toronto was developing (say from the 1970s onward), we might have had an alternative to endless, multi-stage trip on the TTC to get downtown. Some of the rail corridors that are now constrained by nearby development might have been more easily expanded in past decades.

    There is no easy answer to all of this, but we seem to be deadlocked in an all-or-nothing debate where only subways are seen as “future proofing” the network even though we know very little of them will be built. Don Mills and Sheppard are, after all, only two potential corridors in Toronto. Do we build nothing because the money isn’t there to make every “deserving” corner of the city feel loved? Are we still burdened by Mel Lastman’s maxim that “real cities build subways”? Look how far that got him.

    Like

  17. I think that the issue with ending the DRL at Danforth, is not perforce just local load.

    That needs to be considered, as there is a large number of apartments between Eglinton and the Don Valley, however, more critical (at least in my mind) is the potential for future development.

    Steve has noted that we need to look at the future of GO as a reliever of the Yonge line. I am however also concerned that to enable a more LRT and BRT to serve the area north of Eglinton and east of Yonge some form of effective link to downtown would need to be present. I think a vision of how a new network of LRT and BRT routes will interconnect with the subway needs to be part of that plan.

    When I look at the potential opportunities for the future to serve the northeast of the region, I have a hard time not seeing a node that goes somewhere north of the Danforth that bypasses the Yonge line to get downtown. When I look at the corridors that end near this point that appear viable, I have a hard time not seeing it being near Don Mills and Eglinton. A heavy rail line passes through, there is the large hydro corridor that ends very nearby that heads northeast and Don Mills itself was identified previously as an LRT route. This seems to be a natural potential point of linkage in the potential for the future.

    Like

  18. M. Briganti says:

    “You’re not looking at the demand numbers — north of Danforth, that line will be lightly used off peak either way, just as the University line was in the 60s and 70s. With the Eglinton LRT, it’s hard to justify it.”

    I’m not sure how you can figure this. Running the line up to join with the Eglinton LRT is in fact a good thing, as it adds network connectivity (alternative to Yonge line, particularly if there’s a closure somewhere south of Eglinton), and it certainly can’t be a disadvantage to have more linkages between higher-order transit.

    In the absence of good demand projections, I think your point about the underused University line actually argues for the DRL going to Eglinton. The University line only got significant off-peak and weekend ridership after the Spadina extension was opened. I suspect that a Danforth-Union DRL will look an awful lot like the University line pre-Spadina: pretty empty off-peak. Run it to Eglinton, and there’s a much better reason for ridership on the whole line, including south of Danforth.

    Like

  19. Although the Eglinton line was planned when there was little to no talk about the DRL, there were several opportunities to discuss grade-separating Eglinton after the DRL was already being loudly discussed.

    – Metrolinx Union Station Study was in late 2011. This means DRL was being discussed when the Stintz revolution occurred and Council voted to reinstate the LRT plan. (Instead of proposing the grade-separated Eglinton line and showing how it relates to the DRL, they said the only option was to go back to the LRT with no indication of how it relates to the DRL).
    – DRTES was released in late 2012. This means DRL was being discussed when the Eglinton line was to be tunnelled all the way to Don Mills and the Ferrand stop skipped. (Instead of linking this to a grade-separated Eglinton line, and showing how it relates to the DRL – they said it was because the “scenic” TBM launch site and the grades needed to make a Ferrand stop happen were impossible).
    – The DRL was being discussed when the Province opened the door to the B-D Subway extension and when the summer 2013 by-elections occurred. (Instead of choosing the grade-separated Eglinton line which would link Scarborough to a future DRL, they said the B-D extension as the only way to eliminate the transfer).

    It was at this point in time (from 6 to 24 months ago) that people should have realized the importance of having a grade-separated Eglinton line to the prospects of having a DRL extended to Eglinton. Maybe for a couple of hundred million extra dollars, we can convince the Contractor to build the LRT portal on the south side of Eglinton instead of in the median – this will keep the hopes for a grade-separated Eglinton line (and also a DRL to Eglinton) alive.

    Like

  20. Steve:

    I was with you up to the last paragraph. I believe that you overestimate the potential for Queen Street and you underestimate that of the DRL south of Danforth. There is a large block of land (Gerrard Square Mall) that would be ripe for redevelopment, and further south the DRL will serve the underused industrial lands around Broadview and Eastern (notably including the Lever site).

    I share your concern about my very basic proposal and its need for revision. However, your statement about Gerrard Square and the Lever site exemplify the blatantly obvious fact that the DRL does not have anywhere near the necessary development potential to justify the investment. More importantly even if the DRL was extended all the way to Eglinton it is very likely to fail if challenged politically.

    Although I accept that my Wellington line proposal needs development it is the only option that can justify itself both economically and politically. A proposed line that cannot justify itself in this way will forever remain an academic exercise.

    Steve: We both agree that Wellington/Front is the route for the east-west section of a relief line, but disagree on where it should go east of the Don River. I would argue that your Queen Street option is less likely to generate development and net new ridership while having much greater physical impact on the neighbourhoods through which it would travel, as compared to a line that swings north and could become eventually a Don Mills subway. I honestly don’t know where on Queen East you would plant new development on a scale necessary to justify a subway line, and more to the point, we cannot depend just on development on a route to “justify” its existence when it will take substantial transfer traffic from other routes. Just look at the outer ends of the YUS and BD for examples of subways whose demand originates on feeders, not on adjacent development.

    Like

  21. M. Briganti says:
    February 20, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    “Not making a personal attack, but I could not for the life of me figure out why you would push for the line to go to Eglinton when …

    “a) other areas are bursting at the seams
    “b) the Scarborough subway will bring all the extra volume down to the Danforth, not across Eglinton
    “c) the area will already be served by the Eglinton LRT
    “d) the area has a short off peak bus ride to Danforth
    “e) a wye will be required at Danforth anyway for access to Greenwood repair facilities”

    a) If you are worried about other areas bursting at the seams, then stop the Scarborough subway extension which will eat up a lot of money for less return than the DRL.

    b) There is lots of traffic that the Scarborough line will not bring to the Danforth because they will get on west of McCowan. The Lawrence East bus will dump its load onto Eglinton at Don Mills or Leslie. If the DRL is built it has a choice.

    c) The last I looked Eglinton is north of both Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park and both are lower income areas that would benefit greatly from better transit. Also the Yonge line will still be overloaded and unless the DRL goes further north than the Danforth. True it may have low riding in the off peak but I bet it will carry better than the York Subway or the McCowan extension.

    d) It is OK for them to have to make a transfer to BD and then to the overcrowded Yonge line but it is not ok for people in Scarborough to have to make a transfer. Granted they are farther out.

    e) As Steve said a wye will not be needed. It was probably put forward by the TTC when they wanted excuses not to build it.

    Like

  22. “In the absence of good demand projections, I think your point about the underused University line actually argues for the DRL going to Eglinton.”

    The University line was the product of good transit planning and should have remained for the exclusive use of Bloor-Danforth passengers. But, because all of its capacity was not initially needed, the TTC repurposed it, which I’m sure they regret now. You can’t have DRL trains arriving from the north already crowded, because that will deter BD transfer moves, which in most cases will be double transfers. That’s why nobody from the east uses St. George anymore, but it wasn’t always like that. When you could walk upstairs at St. George and board an empty train, it *was* used by passengers from the east.

    Spadina has two things going for it that the DRL doesn’t. First, it doesn’t stop at Eglinton West, and second, it gives a one-seat ride to stations on Yonge. If the Don Mills line goes to Sheppard, then I agree with you, but as I said, it’s hard to justify bringing the DRL up to Sheppard when the Danforth subway is now going there as well.

    Beggars can’t be choosers, and it really floors me how Steve and other bloggers keep wanting more and more and more. Nothing is ever enough, and they’re never happy. We’re doing more now than we have in 30 years, and people need to just be satisfied with what we’re getting for a change.

    Steve: Your last paragraph is really bizarre. I don’t want more and more and more, but want what money we have to be spent wisely. The Scarborough subway, complete with the trumped up claims of higher demand that the LRT that depend on ridership rightly the domain of GO Transit, is a perfect example of unwise spending. So is the Vaughan Subway, but that train left the barn years ago. What I really want more and more and more of is good quality, frequent service on the bus and streetcar system which is used by the majority of transit riders. We spend far too much time agonizing over a few rapid transit lines while happily cutting service in the name of “the greater good”, to quote our former fearless leader and would-be mayor Stintz.

    Like

  23. Steve:

    I would argue that your Queen Street option is less likely to generate development and net new ridership while having much greater physical impact on the neighbourhoods through which it would travel, as compared to a line that swings north and could become eventually a Don Mills subway.

    Although I agree that you are right to have cautious skepticism, I differ regarding the potential of Queen St. and the waterfront. Perhaps I am an idealist but I fundamentally believe development along this corridor would have the greatest ability to attract and retain top talent, and create a system with the lowest aggregate costs net of associated externalities.

    By integrating the Wellington line with the Scarborough line through a wye at Victoria Park the line can effectively act as a direct connection between the eastern end of the city and the downtown core, relieving Bloor/Danforth and vastly improving equality of opportunity throughout much of the eastern part of the city.

    I fundamentally believe that the Wellington line provides the potential for superior economic growth, it puts the city’s population growth in an ideal location, and it provides the greatest potential to improve equality of opportunity so that the greatest number of people can share in the wealth that it creates. I do agree that the idea needs to be developed to optimize its performance as an investment. However the idea’s internal strengths at the very least warrant reasonable further inquiry.

    Steve: What part of “Queen Street is nowhere near the waterfront” don’t you understand? Wellington/Front is common to both our proposals at least as far as the Don River. From there, the line would either turn north (Don Mills subway) or veer north (Queen Street subway, your option). In both cases, the line would be well north of the waterfront lands east of the river. Even west of the river, Wellington/Front is north of the rail corridor and will mainly serve that section of downtown and the eastern waterfront developments, not the lands to the south along Lake Shore and Queens Quay.

    Like

  24. Rishi L. said:

    If they only do the small stub way of downtown to the Danforth line, do you think the DRL is “worth it” and will it made a significant enough dent in the B-Y interchange?

    There is [typically] a ton of fixed cost/overhead on any new (large) engineering projects, so shorter lines (smaller projects) typically are more expensive to build on a per km basis no?

    I guess to me, I am starting to wonder if it doesn’t make sense to build a short ~5km’(ish) line. For people on the Crosstown coming from the east in the AM, the multiple Xfers if the subway doesn’t go up to Eglinton starts to add up.

    Moaz: if the TTC and Metrolinx have the goal of taking the ‘relief line’ across the Don Valley then I think they should do it now rather than waiting. Bring the line across the valley to Overlea Boulevard and build a bus hub there to catch all the feeder buses while deciding on future extension plans.

    1. This is an improvement on the idea of taking the Relief Line only up to Danforth and bringing the LRT down to Danforth.
    2. The Relief Line would likely have tail tracks north of Danforth.
    3. The LRT would require its own crossing structure anyways, so building the structure for the subway would make more sense.
    4. If the Pape route is used, the Relief Line would cross the valley on a new structure just west of Millwood Bridge.
    5. This crossing is shorter than other options.
    6. The land on the other side of the Valley is owned by the city and would have space for a bus hub.
    7. If the Valley crossing is built into the initial phase of the line there may be a challenge in finding enough money to go west of University and Wellington … and reaching the proposed ‘Union West’ station … but the priority is still the east and north.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: Your point 3 echoes my own support for a subway all the way to Eglinton even during the “Transit City” years when I wrangled with people working on the EA who were trying to design a completely surface alignment for the Don Mills LRT to the Danforth. The section from Danforth to at least Overlea will be grade separated and will require a new bridge over the valley regardless of the alignment taken (Pape or Donlands). It makes much more sense to carry the DRL further north than to hope for a Don Mills LRT to come south. Also, by shifting the transition point further north to Eglinton, this reduces the size of the interchange station needed at Danforth.

    Like

  25. M. Briganti says,

    “The University line was the product of good transit planning and should have remained for the exclusive use of Bloor-Danforth passengers. But, because all of its capacity was not initially needed, the TTC repurposed it, which I’m sure they regret now. You can’t have DRL trains arriving from the north already crowded, because that will deter BD transfer moves, which in most cases will be double transfers. That’s why nobody from the east uses St. George anymore, but it wasn’t always like that. When you could walk upstairs at St. George and board an empty train, it *was* used by passengers from the east.”

    Sorry, I disbelieve. Can I roll a D20? (Dungeons and Dragons reference.)

    I do remember that, back in the early ’70s pre-Spadina, the TTC had to mandate the announcement that

    “The next stop is St. George; transfer here for downtown trains via University Avenue”

    on eastbound Bloor trains. When your University line was a pristine stub line, people coming from the west didn’t want to transfer and ride around the loop. But there was demand from the east? Really?

    Then I like your swerves to fit your argument of the moment. First you say that the DMRL will be lightly used north of Danforth:

    “Taking it to Eglinton would not divert that much more off Yonge. Somebody posted the numbers a while back — can’t remember who right now, but the cost vs. the number of additional riders north of Danforth wouldn’t make it worth while, at least not now”

    … then for a different argument you say that it will be packed north of Danforth. Is this the Monty Python Argument Clinic?

    I expect that the DMRL will in fact be fairly lightly used north of Danforth initially; however it is a definite alternative to areas that are awkward to access otherwise. And it will give more reason for south-of-Danforth DMRL off-peak.

    By the way, I do remember the University line closures evenings and weekends. And I have a good idea what Spadina ridership was in the early days — I used it daily to get to York University as soon as it opened.

    Like

  26. Jon Johnson: (1) there is maximum residential growth potential along Queen St

    No, there isn’t. Even the most modest condo proposal in the Beach causes enormous community opposition. A large chunk of Queen St is designated as a heritage area limited to 3 storeys. Conversely, there is condo boom at Dundas and Carlaw, there is a high density corridor along Cosburn, and Thorncliffe Park is full of old towers ripe for easy redevelopment.

    New density is easiest to build on the following types of sites:

    – Old industrial (no neighbours who complain)
    – Next to existing high density (OMB will approve)

    Queen St. has neither existing density nor old industrial areas.

    Steve: There is also a lot of old industrial/commercial land at Thorncliffe without doing anything to the existing towers.

    Like

  27. Leo said:

    “New density is easiest to build on the following types of sites:

    – Old industrial (no neighbours who complain)
    – Next to existing high density (OMB will approve)”

    It is just as important that it be built someplace where it can be sold, or rented easily. This generally means in an area that is highly desirable.

    There are many areas that will be made more desirable with access to high frequency rapid transit, the question being what type and how. I am of the mind that Queen for much of its length would get more locally from having a street car that could run with much less obstruction (better line management, enforced lane restrictions, remove parking on the arterial, remove any left turns, look at stop locations and signal priority). A Don Mills Subway, that crossed a high frequency Queen streetcar line reasonably east of the Don would mean it had 3 good intersects with Subway lines, and thus very good access to most of the city. I am not convinced additional subway access would really help Queen that much, and might hurt, by reducing the speed, quality and frequency of local service.

    I believe that a Don Mills subway, needs to be about developing the neighbourhoods in the eastern portion of Toronto and the transit network that connects them. This goal is served by getting the Don Mills Subway to an area that can provide linkage to routes (corridors) that can support lower cost BRT and LRT alternatives to a much larger area. We cannot afford to support subway everywhere and frankly do not need to. People need to appreciate just quickly and how many passengers an LRT can carry when properly designed and run. They can carry the equivalent of the 401 levels of commuters in a single lane (and yes subways are more capacious still). This level of capacity is above what is needed in most of the proposed transit corridors in Toronto, and would still provide lots of growth for the future if properly implemented and managed. This will require signal priority be fully implemented.

    Like

  28. I have been a long time supporter of the Downtown Relief Line but if it is not going to go north of Bloor, then I am not interested in wasting my tax dollars just to build more subways for downtown. If the DRL is not going to go north of Bloor, then please just cancel the whole project. Thank you!

    Steve: I have been a long time supporter of better transit for Scarborough and the suburbs in general, but if we are going to waste billions on a few subway lines while ignoring most of the territory a BRT or LRT network might serve, then I am not interested in wasting my tax dollars just to build more subways for the burbs.

    Even going to Danforth, a DRL will provide some benefit for the suburbs by providing an alternate route into downtown from the Danforth subway and will free up capacity on Yonge for suburban riders. I am surprised that you don’t simply propose closing all of the stations west of Victoria Park so that the good folks in Scarborough can have the Danforth line all to themselves.

    Like

  29. I do remember that, back in the early ’70s pre-Spadina, the TTC had to mandate the announcement that … “the next stop is St. George; transfer here for downtown trains via University Avenue.”

    I think your memory is a little faulty. That announcement was made for a short time after the wye closed. I don’t remember it after that, but I do remember ads in the 80s asking people to use St. George instead of Bloor-Yonge. The TTC studied transfer moves at both stations and found that passengers from the west who used St. George in the morning used Bloor-Yonge instead in the afternoon (so they could get a seat). I remember doing that myself.

    There is no incentive for BD passengers to transfer at Pape-Danforth and then again at King, St. Andrew or Union, if they don’t have a chance of getting a seat at Pape-Danforth. If the line goes to Eglinton, it may be lightly used, but the seats may all be gone by the time it reaches BD.

    While TTC passengers are used to traveling in crowded and uncomfortable conditions, if they have to stand at Pape and transfer twice, my guess is they’re going to opt to stand at BY and transfer once. The DRL’s first goal should be to alleviate transfer moves at Bloor-Yonge at the lowest possible cost.

    Steve: There are many jobs located in walking distance of King and St. Andrew Stations, not to mention the growing concentration of new buildings in “south core”. Your view of commuting patterns dates from a few decades back when it was dominated by folks travelling to King and Queen. The centre of the universe has shifted.

    Like

  30. M. Briganti said:

    “While TTC passengers are used to traveling in crowded and uncomfortable conditions, if they have to stand at Pape and transfer twice, my guess is they’re going to opt to stand at BY and transfer once.”

    First of all, many passengers will be going to destinations within walking distance from a downtown DRL station, hence they will be able to transfer once at Pape.

    Furthermore, it is not easy to even get onto a Yonge train at BY during the morning peak, and that will only get worse in the coming years. At Pape, at least standing room on the train will be guaranteed.

    Like

  31. I will insist that if my tax dollars are going to be used to build a Downtown Relief Line, then that it go north to at least Don Mills and Eglinton and not just that but that the construction begin on the northernmost section first (because otherwise Metrolinx and TTC are simply going to deceive us and promise to build the northern component but never actually build one).

    I urge my fellow East Yorkers to not be deceived and to insist that the construction on the northern component start no later than the component on the Downtown component. I would further note that even if the DRL were approved today (and fully funded), then construction won’t start for at least a few years and then would take another decade to build and so many of the people who are so desperate to build cheap BRTs and LRTs in Scarborough and everywhere else outside of Downtown won’t even be alive by the time a DRL is actually operational (at best they might be in nursing homes unable to use anything other than Wheel-Trans to get around) and so I encourage all these people to play it fair and not insist that Downtown should get all the future subways because fairness is good Karma and good Karma might add a few years to your life and independence making you actually be around to ride that DRL a few times – a DRL that you would like the suburban residents to deceive into paying for.

    Like

  32. Dundas sees about 68k per day, College 55k, Wellesley 23k, Queen 58k, King 54k, Union 100k, and St. Andrew 50k.

    Assuming the DRL goes into Union, a very small percentage of Danforth passengers get a one transfer ride, because a huge chunk of that 100k is to and from GO trains.

    If the DRL connects at King and St. Andrew (up to 100k get a single transfer ride), but again I assume most of those getting off at St. Andrew would now transfer at St. George. Plus, I really don’t know how many of these passengers are BD users. For the sake of argument, let’s just say half. In the end, how much comes off Bloor-Yonge? … probably about 50,000 transfers. I think B-Y sees about 200-250k transfers a day, so that works out to a 20% drop.

    The TTC should do a subway origin destination study like the one done back in 1966 to determine where the DRL should optimally interface with YUS to maximize B-Y relief.

    Like

  33. Steve:

    There is also a lot of old industrial/commercial land at Thorncliffe without doing anything to the existing towers.

    One of my concerns regarding this option, that has yet to be resolved, regards the changing role of the Thorncliffe community. Currently the community acts as a much needed place for affordable housing, but if the DRL is run though the community the deficiency of development potential along the DRL will cause significant gentrification in Thorncliffe. Will the city be ready to account for this loss?

    Steve: So should we always leave relatively disadvantaged communities always far from transit because otherwise they will gentrify? Maybe Scarborough should be left with buses so the place won’t get too trendy, yes?

    Like

  34. “Even the most modest condo proposal in the Beach causes enormous community opposition. A large chunk of Queen St is designated as a heritage area limited to 3 storeys. Conversely, there is condo boom at Dundas and Carlaw, there is a high density corridor along Cosburn, and Thorncliffe Park is full of old towers ripe for easy redevelopment.”

    Yes, I understand and respect the historical significance of Queen St. that is why I used the word “corridor” to indicate a very flexible concept that is in fact in need of modification, and opened to constructive criticism.

    The main premise of my argument still remains strong. That is that if the city is to grow it should grow south of Bloor/Danforth.

    I believe that you are correct when you said,

    “New density is easiest to build on the following types of sites:

    – Old industrial (no neighbours who complain)
    – Next to existing high density (OMB will approve)”

    Your statement fits very well into my argument in that as the city grows along the Wellington line starting from the downtown core each successive new community becomes the annex of the previous developed community making it easier to build and plan. The Wellington line provides city planners with the tools for long term optimal growth.

    Steve: But your thesis still implies eventual redevelopment of Queen Street east of the river to Victoria Park, if only by bite-sized “annexations” eastward from Wellington. I believe that there is more “annexable” territory available to the north than to the east.

    Like

  35. “In both cases, the line would be well north of the waterfront lands east of the river.”

    The Wellington line will indirectly support waterfront development vis-à-vis the concepts outline by Leo,

    “New density is easiest to build on the following types of sites:

    – Old industrial (no neighbours who complain)
    – Next to existing high density (OMB will approve)”

    The support is indirect but still valuable.

    Steve: What are we arguing about here? The main point is that the DRL on Wellington/Front (which is the same as my “Don Mills” subway) only supports the eastern waterfront by north-south bus connections, and the distance between the two grows as one goes further east. What bothers me is people arguing that the DRL eliminates the need for a separate waterfront line at Queens Quay and into the Port Lands.

    Like

  36. Steve:

    So should we always leave relatively disadvantaged communities always far from transit because otherwise they will gentrify? Maybe Scarborough should be left with buses so the place won’t get too trendy, yes?

    I believe that the Don Valley corridor study highlighted several potential bus transit options that if modified would integrate very well with the Wellington line. This option would provide the necessary transit improvements to increase mobility and allow the residents to share in the wealth the subway development creates. What is more important is that the Wellington line provides higher social justice by maintaining affordable housing and preventing gentrification where it does not belong.

    Steve:

    But your thesis still implies eventual redevelopment of Queen Street east of the river to Victoria Park.

    No. The only part of the line that I am insistent on is the section west of the river that we both agree upon. Regarding the section east of the Don, I am very interested to hear about different potential alignments. The only criteria are: that it must concentrate growth south of Danforth, there must be ample long-term growth potential to justify the cost of the line, and the alignment should integrate with the subway east of Victoria Park to allow for a single seat ride from Sheppard and McCowan to St. Andrew.

    Steve:

    What bothers me is people arguing that the DRL eliminates the need for a separate waterfront line at Queens Quay and into the Port Lands.

    I fundamentally agree with you. The goal of the Wellington Line is to provide the necessary modifications to existing ideas to increase their economic, social, and political viability. I seek to support sound long term investment strategies that fundamentally support strong economic competitiveness, equality of opportunity, and social justice.

    Like

  37. IIRC the DRL is set to remove 24% of transfers from Bloor Yonge, according to the ridership study the TTC did a year or so ago.

    Also from that study, ridership only jumped by roughly 20% on the line once extended to Eglinton.

    I maintain that the second phase of the DRL that should be built is the western portion. There is incredible condo growth in the west end, and the 501 and 504 streetcars are going to be bursting at the seams in a few years.

    The DRL can serve a purpose of relieving streetcar lines as well, which are increasingly becoming overloaded. My preferred alignment is still below King with close stop spacing along King and further spacing as it jumps up to the B-D line. (Maybe 1 stop between turning off King or queen past the Don river and reaching the B-D line, probably Gerrard).

    Something like this with stops at Donlands, Gerrard, Carlaw, River, Parliament, Jarvis, King-Yonge, St. Andrew, Spadina, Bathurst, Strachan, Dufferin, Jameson, the Queensway, and Dundas West.

    With something like this I feel that the 504 can be closed on King, (not on Roncesvalles or Broadview though) as the DRL would serve local walk up ridership fairly sufficiently. (This obviously goes out the window if station spacing starts to increase)

    From the study, relief from building the western portion is supposed to be just as much as from the extension to Eglinton, but it would probably have much higher non-B-D transfer ridership as there is much higher walk up density surrounding it.

    Given the fact that the transit taxes seem willing to fund 2 phases of the DRL, (presuming they pass) I feel fairly confident the entire thing can be built, providing the taxes pass. (which I’m not so confident about)

    Agreed that it doesn’t eliminate the need for the Queens Quay streetcar, Even in the scenario I describe I think dropping the 504 is iffy.

    Ultimately I feel the DRL should run to Eglinton (with LRT on Don Mills north of that), but phase one should get it built out south of Bloor. The yonge lines issues come from south of bloor (specifically between Bloor-Yonge and College), and streetcar journeys from the edges of the network are becoming increasingly long and unreliable. Don Mills – Eglinton is already going to get a big bump with the Eglinton LRT (still wish Metrolinx had the guts to tunnel it to Don Mills), time to set our sights on the increasingly shitty service downtown gets as well as the severe overcrowding on the Yonge line south of Bloor.

    Steve: The question of a route for the DRL has been debated at immense length here before, and I don’t want to restart that thread. However, I believe that the station spacing you propose is very unlikely because of the cost it would add to the project. Also, a line running directly under King is not the likely alignment. Many of your assumptions about changes to the surface system would have to change with more widely-spaced stations and a different route.

    One important point to note is that service on the Queen car is nowhere near what it could be (it is less than half the level of service on King). Even King can handle considerably more riding if it operates new, larger streetcars on the same headway, if not better, than current service.

    Like

  38. My concern with regards to adding the western portion of the DRL next, is 3 fold.

    1: It does not appear to create substantial additional connectivity;

    2: The University side of the line does not appear full yet, and there are 2 transfer points here, so station capacity should not be near the breaking point;

    3: It would likely cause pressure to eliminate what I perceive as a better plan, that is the Waterfront West LRT, running through the North edge of the Exhibition grounds.

    This LRT cannot directly serve the entire area, however it can provide some real relief.

    Steve, is there a plan to have transfer points for the Waterfront West LRT [with] the 501 and 504. Are there options between say Roncesvalle and Jamieson to build some sort of good transfer?

    If you could do this at say Roncesvalle, you could maybe transfer some of the existing load from 501 and 504 onto the LRT, and send more lightly loaded streetcars east.

    Steve: Depending on the route chosen, there are various options. The original proposed route went up Dufferin and out King Street from the CNE. I don’t think this is viable based on existing service levels and congestion on King. Another proposal linked the WWLRT in at the Queen & Roncesvalles intersection, although the connection with the 504 would not be ideal depending on the configuration of this link. The one that was preferred by the City (this is in the Miller era) made the connection further west with the LRT continuing along a reconfigured Lake Shore out to Colbourne Lodge Drive (the south entrance of High Park).

    I see the LRT options in my mind as being a more effective lower cost option that needs to be explored, prior to spending mega bucks on a subway. I fully support a Don Mills line, because Steve has made it clear that, to get an LRT through the East side to support the NE area is nearly impossible south of the Valley. Transfer wise, the next logical point is Eglinton, in that it will connect with the Crosstown, and there are many other potential corridors here. I would not support this line going further north without substantial proof that there is no other viable option and the demand was there.

    Having said that I think an LRT should be completed to serve the area at least as far as Roncesvalles, and given existing lines for Streetcars, should really be run farther west. It should interconnect with the GO at least at Exhibition and Union, ideally per initial Longbranch. Money spent on this corridor would go much farther than if it is spent on a subway.

    Like

  39. I’d argue the many proposed high density office developments along King Street West (and East) are more important for King Street transit ridership than the low density condo developments.

    I hope any proposed phase 1 makes it out to at least Spadina so we could have an excuse to build a new underground loop for the 510 (possibly a revival of the old 77A) and get those cars off King Street.

    Like

  40. Steve, you have repeatedly in the past used high density neighbourhoods of Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe to justify a subway line through low density Pape and so if the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) is not going to go north of the Bloor-Danforth line, then it should connect with Victoria Park station due to the very high density and extensive shopping present there as opposed to the low density Pape. Victoria Park station can also carry much greater traffic of people than the much less spacious Pape station (Broadview is no better). The newly renovated Victoria Park station is also very well connected to the street and the neighbourhood which is not the case with the much smaller Pape station even though it has been even more recently renovated. Either the DRL should go to at least as north as Eglinton or it should simply NOT be built through low density areas like Pape and Broadview. The density in the Pape area is much lower than the Scarborough parts of Eglinton Ave East where the Eglinton Crosstown LRT was unburied due to the allegedly low density. Steve, you have repeatedly used the low density of Scarborough to reject an already approved Scarborough subway but the density around the Scarborough Centre area is more than 20 times higher than the Pape / Broadview you propose to build a subway along.

    Steve: How many times do I have to mention that the purpose of the line should NOT be to stop at Danforth. On one hand you say the line should go at least to Eglinton, and then you dump all over me on the assumption that I want to build only through lower density areas south of Danforth.

    For those who don’t seem to have been paying attention, I have been advocating for the DRL to go at least to Eglinton since long before it became fashionable to do so. As for a subway to Victoria Park, I find that laughably funny considering the huge amount of low density it would have to travel through just to get to Victoria Park Station.

    You really have been beating this premise to death.

    Like

Comments are closed.