Vanishing Streetcar Stops (Updated)

Updated May 26, 2014:

The TTC has released a report on the removal of streetcar stops that will be discussed at the Board meeting on May 28.

The report claims that there are two goals in the elimination and consolidation of streetcar stops:

  • Improving the consistency of stop placement to provide better safety so that stops are always at signalled intersections or those with pedestrian crosswalks, and
  • Reducing travel time through stop elimination where existing stops are very close to each other.

The question of safety in stop placement is laudable, although it is odd that so few locations are actually proposed for removal. Of the 550 existing streetcar stops:

  • 20 will be shifted from locations nearby traffic signals to be at the signalled intersection.
  • 39 regular stops that are within 200m of a nearby stop will be removed, although some of these are still under negotiation with the local Councillors.
  • Most Sunday stops (about 40) will be eliminated, and a few will be converted to regular stops.

The geographic distribution of stops to be eliminated is rather strange, and has an uneven feel to it at some locations. Oddly, there is discussion of removing the stops at Queen & Victoria, although this is still under review because of St. Michael’s Hospital, and King & Victoria westbound is on the hit list. However, the stops bothways at Dundas and Victoria (a location with problems compounded by traffic signals at Yonge and Victoria that prefer to thwart rather than aid transit) are not mentioned at all.  Ooops! They are.

Broadview Station could become the only place where one can board a streetcar in this neighbourhood as the stop on Erindale is to be removed, and the southbound stop at Danforth is under review. Strangely enough, the sidewalks at both stops were just rebuilt with accessibility ramps. Also, there is no mention of the northbound stop. Also, this stop is not in service during the peak period already, and how its removal would contribute to any peak time savings is a mystery.

There is no discussion of the comparable situation at Main Station, and 506 Carlton is not even included in the table of affected weekday routes.

The stops bothways at Connaught & Queen disappear, and I must assume that Russell operators are now doomed to making that “convenient” walk down the street to a consolidated stop.

It is particularly amusing to see a Sunday stop listed for Kingston Road at Malvern, a location where there is no streetcar service on Sundays.

Other anomalies can be found in the comment from “nfitz” that follows below.

This report has been three months in the making (at least), originally promised for February, finally delivered in May. It has the feeling of a report that argues the case for “faster transit” rather more forcefully than the actual number of stops involved would suggest. Sunday stops have nothing to do with weekday transit speeds, and the actual number of stops removed is trivial ib proportion to the streetcar system.

If the TTC wants to argue “safety”, fine, but don’t drum up another of these bogus claims that transit service will somehow be improved. That’s a task for the quantity and quality of service on the street, and the little matter of line management.

I cannot help remembering a report written years ago by a junior planner about the placement of all-night services that showed a hopeless lack of geographical knowledge of the city including basic obstacles like valleys, rivers and ponds to crow-fly walking distances.

If we were really talking about a major change in the philosophy of stop placement, and were looking at its effect not just on streetcars but also for buses, I might take this report seriously. Meanwhile, this is another of those “we know best” TTC reports that tries to justify a new policy with an oversold rationale.

The original article from May 9, 2014 follows the break.

Continue reading