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.
In the preparation for introducing the low-floor streetcars, the TTC is modifying the sidewalks at stops to include a curb cut for easy wheelchair access to the pavement. This has a side effect in telling us where the TTC plans to eliminate stops because they are thought to be too close together, or they pose some operational problem for the longer cars, or they are Sunday Stops.
Back in February 2014, there was supposed to be a report to the TTC Board about the process for consultation on this, but the report has been delayed until the meeting at the end of May. Meanwhile, work has already begun.
Recently, the TTC began to consult with local councillors about the changes, but this has not been well-received in some quarters thanks to the “consultation” coming after the fact in a tradition unhappily common at the TTC.
Some stops are certainly dubiously close to others and their existence can often be traced to conditions that existed decades ago when the stop was established. However, removing a stop does represent a change for riders who use it and at the very least they should be asked.
Another odd thing is that the TTC has not actually taken any stops out of service yet, and they are only doing the sidewalk modifications at this time. I suspect there would be much louder objections if stops just began to disappear without notice.
What will now happen is that people will be told they have lost their stops “for the new streetcars”, yet another way to piss people off about the new cars (as if wider headways and the almost certain continuation of ineffective route management won’t be enough).
The TTC talks a good line about “customer service” and “working with communities” at the top level, but quite literally on the street, the story is quite different.