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.

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.

92 thoughts on “Vanishing Streetcar Stops (Updated)

  1. It is not just streetcar stops that are vanishing — bus stops are also ‘fading away’. Two examples are in the Front and Parliament area. The road and sidewalks here were rebuilt last fall and all stop poles were removed. On the southbound 65 bus route there used to be a stop (#9536, described as “FRONT ST E at BERKELEY”). When the bus service resumed no stop sign was put back but after much local grumbling a temporary paper sign is now on a lamp pole. Then on Berkeley Street itself on Route 72/172 westbound (Stop # 11164 described as BERKELEY at FRONT SOUTH SIDE) the old pole was also removed but no stop sign has ever been put back.

    In fact, I can understand why both these stops might be eliminated but surely the TTC ought to either eliminate them and remove them from the online timetable or put up signage? No doubt we will eventually be told that “these stops had very low demand” and were removed: not having signage might explain some of the demand issues!


  2. It does not matter if a bus or streetcar routes has the same stops as in 1966, and it does not mean we should not take out some stops.

    Removing some stops could be a great step in modernizing the streetcar routes, and making them faster and more attractive to riders.
    Couple it with off board fare collection which is supposed to be coming, and the streetcars would really become a limited stop surface transit network that could speed people a lot faster to there destinations.

    Studies time and time again are showing riders are willing to walk further to access more rapid forms of surface transit. And in the Toronto context we really are only asking people to walk another 1 or 2 minutes.
    Many of you are making it sound like the TTC is asking people to walk 20 minutes to the next stop, which the TTC is not.

    If people on Yonge, University, and Bloor-Danforth can walk to subway stops, then there is no reason people on Spadina and other streetcar routes and some bus routes, can’t walk to similary spaced bus stops.

    Time to modernize the TTC and get out of the 1954 mentality, which is what too many transit advocates and the TTC seem to like being stuck in.

    Steve: If you’re going to get insulting, please note that my issue with what the TTC is doing is that they were making plans to remove stops, but had held back the report about this for three months. The TTC is supposed to be in a new, enlightened mode of consultation with neighbourhoods, not just bulling ahead with its plans. This was severe enough that the City’s Ombudsman had to intervene, although obviously stop locations are not on a par with house demolitions.

    If there really were a project to rationalize stops on the entire system, including the bus routes, I might not feel that the streetcar system was being picked on. Those folks out in Scarborough deserve to lose stops too, not just we latte-sipping downtowners. My gut feeling is that the change in running times will be so small that it will disappear in the “noise” of the operating statistics. The problem of traffic signals not being set to favour transit is a much worse problem than than a few extra stops along the line.

    Coming soon, a review of the Bathurst Bus, yes those rubber-tired, free-wheeling, ever so flexible vehicles with which the TTC can run truly appallingly bad service. It ain’t the stop spacing or the streetcars, it’s the management.


  3. Steve said:

    “If there really were a project to rationalize stops on the entire system, including the bus routes, I might not feel that the streetcar system was being picked on. Those folks out in Scarborough deserve to lose stops too, not just we latte-sipping downtowners. My gut feeling is that the change in running times will be so small that it will disappear in the “noise” of the operating statistics. The problem of traffic signals not being set to favour transit is a much worse problem than than a few extra stops along the line.

    Coming soon, a review of the Bathurst Bus, yes those rubber-tired, free-wheeling, ever so flexible vehicles with which the TTC can run truly appallingly bad service. It ain’t the stop spacing or the streetcars, it’s the management.”

    1. Steve yes please can we have light priority on more lines. The city cannot manage traffic as though all vehicles are the same. This will be more so with larger streetcars and buses.

    2. Can someone please come up with a system that will allow drivers to know for sure when they are supposed to start their route, and on longer routes have hold points built into the running time for buses (where they can wait 30-45 seconds in a couple of spots). We need to talk seriously about discipline and management.

    3. Can we also be honest about walking distances. Where the subway is the primary collection system the walking distances are not all that large. If I am in the walk directly to subway part of downtown I may have to walk a couple of blocks to the major artery, but then I am on the line. How far do users have to walk to bus and streetcar stops from their house? When I lived in this area of downtown (just north of Bloor) I could walk easily to a subway stop north or south of me both easily inside 5 minutes. I was within a reasonable walk of at least 3 more stops.

    How long a walk is in from the front door of someone in the shoulder areas to their closest effective streetcar stop. Remember they have to walk out to the line 1st. We do not want to encourage people to drive. This needs to be a focus in East York, Etobicoke and Scarborough as well, where people may be walking some distance to get to the road on which the bus runs.

    Sure maybe stops could be 350 meters apart, but make sure you are looking at distance riders have to walk out to the line as well as along it. Gridlock from BS parking, drivers waiting entire lights to turn left etc is more important. Before we start deleting large numbers of stops, let us make sure that TTC management, traffic management, bylaw enforcement and the police are being evaluated on how well buses and streetcars are running.

    When you can actually spend a couple hours on a corner and watch the Streetcars or buses go by with a 3 minute headway meaning 2-4 minutes not .30seconds to 10 minutes we maybe can look at additional ways of improving things.

    My personal experience has always been, while I am moving reasonably my perception of service seems reasonable. When I am stuck waiting and not moving, especially while boiling or freezing, (or being rained on) my perception of service is not so positive.


  4. I’ve timed the transit signal for eastbound streetcars turning from eastbound Lake Shore into the underpass to Humber loop. It consistently takes 75 seconds for the light to give the transit vehicle a green, unless a streetcar in the other direction has already triggered a countdown (the transit green is for streetcars in both directions).

    Contrast this to the situation until last fall where the streetcar signal was green by default (and westbound cars on Lake Shore had a red by default).

    How many stops would we have to remove just to return the running time back to what it was when transit really had priority here?

    Steve: I expect to see this show up when I analyze tracking data for the Queen car. There is a basic problem that the benefit of changes such as longer “no parking etc” periods in the core are offset by many other delays on the line that could be avoided.


  5. The agenda for the May Commission meeting is now posted. No sign of the report on stop spacing that was originally due for the April meeting. I suppose we will just continue to see stop mysteriously ‘vanishing” and with the municipal election getting closer I bet most Councillors will not want to see stops in their Wards removed. I suspect that most stops have “fans”.

    Steve: There is supposed to be a supplementary agenda coming probably early next week.


  6. Nothing shocking.

    I’m surprised that councillors are arguing about stops like Mount Stephen and Jack Layton. Jack Layton is literally only 3 light posts from the Gerrard; when 504 is busy, you routinely see people walking the 75-metres north so they have a better chance to get on.

    Ashdale removal had me scratching my head, given how well used it is, given that westbound it’s 500 metres from Coxwell to Highfield! I’d guess though that undocumented in this, they’ll move the Highfield stop 85 metres east to the pedestrian crossing at Woodfield. Still a bit of a stretch though for such a well-used stop. Perhaps I’m biased though, given I frequently use this stop when I take my child to the nearby school (and to get on again afterwards).

    Oddly, despite talking about getting rid of all the Sunday stops, they only list the removal of one of the 4 stops on Gerrard (Glenmore), and don’t mention Hiawatha, Rhodes, or Howland. Oh, hang on … but they propose getting rid of the Sunday stops for Hiawatha, Rhodes, and Howland on Queen Street! Oops …


  7. Steve:

    “However, the stops bothways at Dundas and Victoria are not mentioned at all”.

    Yes, they are. Bottom of Page 7.

    Steve: Ooops! Will fix.


    “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.”

    If the southbound stop is eliminated, where would people catch the southbound 306 when the subway is closed? This situation doesn’t exist at Broadview station. I think 506 is not included, because there just aren’t any stops that fit removal criteria (other than Ashdale). I looked few some spots where they are closer together, and where you can merge a couple of spots, you don’t have a pedestrian crossing. And where you’d just eliminate, it’s always leaves a 450 metre gap or more. Personally, I’d have removed a couple that had a 450 metre gap (including my regular stop!) … but they appear to have done this by the book! If the criteria allowed for the moving of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, then you could have shuffled the 3 stops between Woodbine Avenue and Main Street down to 2. And I suppose one could eliminate Carlaw or Pape … but that hardly seems sensible.

    Ah, Connaught and Queen … now that is odd, given that is where one get’s off when cars are returning to the yard. And although I’ve frequently gotten off here, I do confess I’ve never actually seen a car heading north on Connaught to finish my trip, so perhaps not a big deal. In many other ways Woodfield does make more sense, in terms of crossing, schools, etc.

    For all the weaknesses here, I think it is a step forward. And surely it will save a minute or so off many trips, with little real inconvenience.

    Steve: Nothing prevents the establishment of a night car only stop southbound on Main. There is a night bus only stop on Broadview northbound at Erindale. I think you ascribe far too much care to what appears to be a hastily thrown together list. There are so few peak period stops included that the effect on running times will be trivial.

    Wonder how long it will take for the transit shelters to vanish at locations where there is no service?


  8. Steve said:

    Wonder how long it will take for the transit shelters to vanish at locations where there is no service?

    About 18 months ago the route of the 6 Bay bus was changed and it no longer runs on Freeland Street or Lower Jarvis. There were two Astral shelters on Freeland Street and they were removed after about a year (the Fixer in the Star suggested they might be of more use elsewhere). There were also two on the west side of Lower Jarvis (at Loblaws) both are still there. I would not be holding my breath for removal; as far as Astral are concerned the shelters are for advertising!

    Steve: But it’s crappy TTC Customer Relations to have something that looks like a transit stop, but isn’t.


  9. If you are getting rid of a large number of stops for the new cars, would it make sense to look at all of them in terms of resetting spacing in the areas affected? I worry that maybe they are going to get rid of some stops where a good number of the riders already have a fair walk to the street where the car runs, and the combination will be enough to discourage users.

    Also while we are looking at stops and using speed as a justification, much improved light priority should also be on the table, especially with the size of the new cars.

    Steve: They are getting rid of very few stops that will make a difference to peak period travel, and, yes, greater efforts for signal priority would have a much greater benefit. This is a classic example of using something new to “justify” some rather petty changes in the name of “safety and efficiency”.


  10. In the report, it’s said that stops near hospitals will be reviewed:

    “- the stops on Queen at Victoria, and on Dundas at Elizabeth: these will be surveyed to determine the number of customers using them for the specific purpose of accessing the nearby hospitals;”

    There are no stops on Dundas at Elizabeth but there is one in both directions at Dundas and Chestnut that are planned for removal in the same report.

    If Dundas/Chestnut is recommended for removal, I am very surprised that the stops at Dundas at Huron are not.

    Steve: This is just one more example of the inconsistent approach of the report. There has not been a stop at Dundas & Elizabeth since the 1960s when the route to City Hall Loop was changed for the construction of “New” City Hall.


  11. Glen Murray is the best transit minister ever. Very enthusiastic and knows what he is talking about. Bob Chiarelli was soooooo boring. No one took him seriously.

    Steve: Glen Murray has a bad habit of embroidering what he is saying, not always to advantage, and giving the impression that he is making some of his talk up on the fly. He is also captivated by silver-tongued consultants who can make him look good.


  12. They seem to have an awful lot of faith in people waiting for/loading on the new vehicles more efficiently. Which seems odd (and naive), considering the amount of effort they have to go to get people to do that at Yonge+Bloor…

    Unless it’s just a mantra they can repeat to justify punting on dealing with any actual problems a couple more years into the future. 😛

    It still feels a bit random, though. Why do the Lake Shore & 28th/29th St. stops stay (would leave a 450m distance) when the Lake Shore & Lake Cr. stops go away (leaving a 600m gap)? Why did the Lake Shore & 37th St. stops go (leaving a 550m gap) when the Lake Shore & Louisa St. stops stayed (would leave a 500m gap)? Why drop King & York, but keep King & Niagara (both similarly busy, would both leave 400m gaps)?


  13. After reading the report, I would have to agree the language used in supporting stop removal to speed transit times is overstated when you see what is actually proposed. I’m not against the argument, per se, but the problem is this gives me the sense of great intentions, but lousy implementation, a true TTC hallmark.

    Speeding travel times on the surface network (buses should be included too!) without significant effect on access times (defining that is critical) is laudable and significant resources should be devoted to it. It offers a real improvement for riders. But here is the problem with the TTC approach which drives me mental … the belief that there are these solitary silver bullets!

    If you really want to make a case for this, it involves so much, much more than tinkering with a stop location here, a stop location here and then implementing what each parochial councillor will let you get away with in their ward. What is, or will be the effect of moving to a POP system with Presto? What will the savings be in boarding time? In the interim, will stop consolidation increase boarding times, as more people congregate at fewer stops?

    What about traffic signal priority? If travel time reduction is the goal why aren’t we talking about this? Or even better, what is meant when the TTC, politicians and the traffic Nazis talk about transit signal priority? What class of TSP and the nature of implementation?

    Parking restrictions? Left turn restrictions? Other priority measures. Will savings in travel times be reinvested in more service on surface routes?

    I know there are a lot of separate studies going on, but so many disparate reports just get lost in the clutter. If you want to improve surface transit, take a bold stand, do your research, make sound arguments and get transit activists on your side, and fight like hell for your patrons.


  14. Bob Patrick says:
    May 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    “Glen Murray is the best transit minister ever. Very enthusiastic and knows what he is talking about. Bob Chiarelli was soooooo boring. No one took him seriously.”

    Anyone who can announce a high speed rail line from Kitchener to London for the amount of money he is using cannot be totally sane. He may be enthusiastic but he is TOTALLY out to lunch.

    Steve: Actually, he is listening to the same consultant who wrote the Neptis report.

    David Weil says:
    May 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    “They seem to have an awful lot of faith in people waiting for/loading on the new vehicles more efficiently. Which seems odd (and naive), considering the amount of effort they have to go to get people to do that at Yonge+Bloor…”

    I rode the 506 on Saturday from Coxwell and Queen to the Yonge Subway, aka route 1. The car was at crush capacity by Carlaw and the driver at every transfer point and many of the other stops opened the front and centre doors. A lot of people headed back to the centre doors to board with no hesitation. Most of them held up their transfer or pass for everyone to see. I don’t think it will take long for people to adapt.


  15. Two amusing gaffes in the report (well, at least two). There is a reference to a stop at Queen and Davenport (hello? Dovercourt last time I looked) and Carolyn (Caroline!).

    Steve: Just two more examples that this report was thrown together by someone who we may graciously call a junior staffer without much experience of the city. All the same, a bit of decent proofreading further up the line would have caught this sort of thing, but the TTC is too busy telling us how clean its stations are to worry about details like this.


  16. Steve:

    Actually, he is listening to the same consultant who wrote the Neptis report.

    Aha! He was having lunch with Michael Schabas. That explains everything. They will probably use ICTS cars to develop a “Made in Ontario Technology” that will be incapable of operating in the snow or at speed greater than 80 km/h.


  17. Today while travelling south on the 511 the operator announced the elimination of the Wellington stop, to be replaced by Niagara and front Street, to be replaced by Fort York. I assumed both were moved to serve the new condos along that route. Oddly enough, the gps system still announced the stops removed, thus why the operator became involved.

    Steve: Yes, it seems to take a while for updates to the stop announcement system to find their way onto vehicles.


  18. I think stop removal have more to do with accessible transit too. Deploying the ramp will take sometime and it would be nice to have it at an intersection. Streetcar operators will need to come out of their cab, push the person up the ramp and walk back to the cab. I’m more afraid that some angry driver will run the ramp over.

    On a side note, maybe it’s time for the TTC to start marking the beginning and ending of a streetcar stop instead of just a stop marker pole at the front. It will give customers a better sense of where they can board. Especially since the second or third door is the best for boarding.


  19. I don’t know a great deal about some of these stops but Queen at McCaul is a no brainer. A useless stop.

    There is a need for a stop at Queen and Portland however in my opinion, especially with the Loblaw’s there.

    Steve: What is quite odd, though, is that TTC would replace McCaul and Simcoe westbound with a new stop at St. Patrick’s (all the better to get to the Rex!), but no stop eastbound even though there is a traffic signal here. Again, this feels like a report and study done by someone who doesn’t know the lay of the land.


  20. Steve, as the Jack Layton stop is down the road from you (and me), I am curious of your thoughts on re-adding that specific stop, at Cllr Fletcher’s request. That is one of the most ridiculous stops that I’ve seen (SB/WB stop at NW corner of Broadview and Gerrard), and a stop 75m north of that on same side on Broadview. With the new vehicles being so long anyway, couldn’t we eliminate ONE of those 2 stops and meet somewhere more in the middle?

    I know you rally against people who want changes because “it doesn’t impact me,” however I’m curious about the justification on this one..


    Steve: This is one that should disappear, and I have never written that it should be retained. I have more concern with my “local” stops at Broadview Station where the TTC will actually increase the amount of J-walking by eliminating a stop on the west side of Broadview. And then there is the small problem that they have altready rebuilt the stops there and at Erindale which they propose to get rid of. Not a well co-ordinated bunch.


  21. Steve, I know you always mean well but people have been begging for the removal of stops for years in order to improve speeds. It is not a service cut, and if you push this way of thinking you are going to cause harm. The TTC has enough problems with inertia as it is, and the fact that much of the city has unbelievably turned against streetcars (an invaluable transit and city-building asset) says much about the 1940s way of operations that has destroyed their reputation. They are finally seeing the light — anyone who supports streetcars needs to support these changes in order to get everyone else back on board in realizing how great streetcars can be for cities and why we need more of them, not fewer.

    Stops must be eliminated, payment must be moved off-vehicle and improvements to the ROW must be made. (Plus, put the goddamned streetcar lines on the map instead of treating them like buses!) There is a reason why many other cities are now installing streetcar lines, and there is also a reason why they don’t operate those new lines the way the TTC does.

    Of course Queen and Victoria needs to be removed — it’s not about gerrymandering every stop to the nearest building, even if it is a hospital. (Hint – if you are well enough to take public transit, you can walk a block. Streetcars are not ambulances.) It’s about the new streetcar being so long that the back will still be on Yonge St when the front stops at Victoria. Come on!

    They should cut 100 more stops while they are at it. Enough already.

    Steve: My problem with the report is that it is (a) geographically illiterate, to coin a phrase, (b) oversells the benefit of what it proposes. As for the 100 stops, your nominations please!


  22. Given all the emphasis on the need to place stops at traffic signals or PXOs for safety reasons, one of the changes on the 501 really sticks out. The stop at the Lee Avenue signals, and the stop at the Wineva Avenue signals (also the layover point for the 64 Main bus) are to be replaced by a consolidated stop at an unsignalized, offset intersection (Hambly / Leuty).

    Steve: The TTC is big on “safety” when it can be used to justify doing something, but they are inconsistent in its application.


  23. Someone mentioned the Wellington stop being removed on Bathurst and a stop at Fort York Blvd being added.

    I got off at Fort York blvd on the 511 a couple days ago only to find Fort York blvd closed at Bathurst. If they are putting it in to serve the condos they are doing it wrong.

    Steve: The street east from Bathurst is not finished yet, and there is considerable debate about the design of the connection.


  24. *sigh* They just rebuilt the Southbound Broadview/Dundas stop and DIDN’T include the accessibility ramp/bathmat. Presumeably they’ll be back with the jackhammers later this summer.

    Steve: Yes I was wondering about that. All that sidewalk work and no ramp for transit. This was clearly all part of one consolidated contract for TTC ramps, patching utility cuts, and making other repairs all at one go.


  25. What really bugs me is there was no consultation when they started to move the streetcar stops PAST the intersections they serve on Spadina, St Clair and now Roncesvalles.

    Planners just did it without thinking how that would affect riders. This sounds like much the same and I worry that we’re no sooner going to get the selected stops removed than we’ll also have several moved past their intersections to the point that they’re really 1/2 way between intersections. Some of the stops on St Clair are so far past the signalled intersections that they’re really at the next unsignalled cross street.


  26. Steve said:

    The street [Bremner/Fort York] east from Bathurst is not finished yet, and there is considerable debate about the design of the connection.

    I went to look at the new Fort York Library on Sunday (it was not open as they had not quite got their occupancy permit) but the City are busily connecting Bremner to Bathurst and the security guard on duty to tell people the library was not open said the connection was due to be finished last Friday. I think the debate is over – at least until the Bremner LRT route is built (ha!).


  27. I don’t understand how anyone who uses a streetcar out of Broadview would advocate for keeping the stops at Erindale and Danforth.

    The Erindale one is a complete joke and can cause a big delay if someone gets on there (I saw someone get OFF there once) and the driver misses a gap to get onto Broadview. Eliminating the stop at Danforth might actually reduce jaywalking, as many people (myself including) who miss the streetcar will jaywalk from the station to the Danforth.

    There really is no need to have any stops within 50 meters of a subway station.

    Steve: Many people jaywalk across Broadview to reach the east side when the stop southbound at Danforth is not in service (peak periods). I am one of them. Stop thinking of Broadview as if nobody arrives from the north or west.


  28. Steve, how significant would this little bit of language be:

    “endorse the eliminations and relocations of selected streetcar stops, as described in this report, and approve the principles on which these changes are based”

    If the Commission approves “the principles”, could we be seeing a whole lot of more stop removals “on principle” in the future?

    I agree with David Wells that the further stop removals on Lake Shore Blvd. for the 501 seem to be quite random. Summerhill EB is easy (and one of my top choices if removals would take place). Lake Crescent is an odd removal, making it a long hike on either side of Royal York Road to the nearest stop. On the other hand, the stops at 15th St. both ways are not touched, and neither are the westbound stops at 29th St. followed by 30th St..

    By the way, it’s the 39th St. stops that went away, not the 37th St. ones.

    iSkyscraper exhorts us that Stops must be eliminated! I don’t believe for a minute that removal of some stops will increase the service speed. Therefore, it is a service cut. Walk further for the same service. Phooey on that!

    Steve: I will comment on this question when I update the article to reflect actions taken at the TTC Board meeting.


  29. In addition to stop rationalization, I wish there was a program to look at installing pedestrian islands at more locations.

    There are some places where there are two lanes (or one wide lane that cars use as two lanes) beside the streetcar tracks, where passangers are dodging cars to get on/off a streetcar. Off the top of my head, I can think of 505 west at Bathurst, 501 at Ossington, and 504 at Wilson Park. I think more islands would go far in increasing passenger safety.


  30. Less streetcar stops mean less short turns! Win win for everyone!

    Steve: If you believe that bilge, you will believe anything. Only a few stops are being dropped on each route, not enough to have a significant effect on travel times.


  31. Fred S.:

    “In addition to stop rationalization, I wish there was a program to look at installing pedestrian islands at more locations … I think more islands would go far in increasing passenger safety.”

    If you’d ever have stood at a pedestrian island with a small child waiting for a streetcar, you’d wish there were less islands and would think that more islands would decrease passenger safety.

    Also, very annoying when you can’t cross the active line on a red light to the island, and the streetcar stops at or passes island that you can’t get to safely.


  32. The new design islands we got on Lake Shore are considerably wider and standing on them is no problem now. Like nfitz, I wasn’t really keen on the islands before the rebuild, especially where there’s a lot of truck traffic in the centre lane–bigger trucks barely fit between the island and the centreline.

    However, the disadvantage of needing (in theory) a signal to get to and from the islands is a pain. Sometimes the signals don’t change for a long time after pressing the button. Obviously if traffic is light, everyone jaywalks. If traffic is heavy, well, would you rather wait on the platform for a signal, or take your chances at a non-island location that other traffic will stop behind the doors?

    Another more recent feature of safety islands is a thorough fencing-off job on the offside of the platform, so the only easy access is at the front. Someone running after the streetcar is either out of luck, or has to go for a long distance in the centre lane around the concrete traffic barrier at the beginning of the island. (Not that I would ever have done that.) It’s easy to say “leave earlier so you don’t have to run”; it’s a bit harder in practice unless you have a real-time arrival app to hand, and close to terminals it’s just a guess anyway. So, one winds up running sometimes.


  33. This is what our downtown bus and streetcar stops should look like. Just follow the route of the desired streetcar or bus route. I also did stops along Broadview and St. Clair.

    This would make transit faster and more attractive. Coupled with off board fare collection, and more transit lanes, and the streetcars could become a much more valued transit connection across the inner city.

    Steve: Well, I hate to say this, but I have not seen such a hopelessly misguided proposal in a long time. In the name of more efficient service, you want to get rid of half of the stops.


  34. Odd, to me, that they did not decide to move the (eastbound only) stop at King & St Lawrence one block east to the signalised King and Lower River. The westbound stop is already there and with River City and the new TCHC building about ready for full occupancy it would make much more sense to have both stops at River/Lower River. Of course, careful though is rather absent from their proposal.

    Steve: Although I have been told that every route was surveyed in person, I find it hard to believe that this was done at some locations. King & River is an obvious place for the eastbound stop to be moved — a signalized intersection, a major development, etc. — but somehow the obvious things get missed.

    Meanwhile, King & Trinity, which is the gateway to the Distillery District, is slated for removal (although that is on hold).

    What is galling is that special pleadings depend on things like seniors and hospitals rather than common sense about the street layout and pedestrian patterns.


  35. Steve:

    Well, I hate to say this, but I have not seen such a hopelessly misguided proposal in a long time. In the name of more efficient service, you want to get rid of half of the stops.”

    The spacing is almost equivalent to the spacing of the subway stations in the downtown core, and would put most people within 500 meters of a stop.

    Does not seem that bad at all.

    Steve: The whole point about surface stop spacing is that the service is not as frequent or as reliable as on the subway. People will put up with the longer walk to a subway station because this will be offset by a train showing up in a few minutes and, at least downtown, protection from the weather.

    You have also ignored population densities by dropping two busy stops on the Wellesley bus on the east and south sides of St. James Town. And you have completely ignored Queen’s Park and the UofT. The ^&*^&*$%^*()& Wellesley bus is a sometimes thing at the best of times and you want people to walk further to a stop?

    On Bay, you whisk riders from Bloor to Wellesley and then College skipping over very busy stops in between. Have you not noticed the condos?

    On east west streets, there is no stop between Sherbourne and Yonge (Wellesley, Carlton, Dundas, Queen) except mysteriously on King which gets a stop at Jarvis. Are you a regular at the market?

    I won’t say anything about the stops you remove on Spadina except to note that they are well used, and there were huge, HUGE, fights to have them included in the line. TTC Planning folks argued for fewer stops so that cars could speed to the developments at the railway lands. He may not have noticed that the primary demand on Spadina then (and today) is north of Queen. Those commercial developments, by the way, never materialized.

    Google Maps is the friend of amateur planners (not to mention politicians, or more likely their aides) everywhere, but it is no substitute for actually knowing how the city works at a block by block level.

    Finally, a comment on your math. For everyone to be within 500m of a stop, the stops can be as far apart as 1km, even though for someone near the midpoint, this might require a long walk in the direction opposite their intended trip (from, say, Jarvis and Carlton east to Sherbourne to board a westbound car). From Sherbourne to Yonge on Carlton is 850m. The typical spacing of stops on the Yonge line south of Bloor is considerably closer than this. From Bloor to King is 2.4km and by your scheme, there would be only two stations in between (3 x 800m gaps), not four (5 x 480m gaps).

    Don’t forget, by the way, that before they even start that average half-kilometer walk, riders must walk out to the arterial whose route they hope to board. This becomes more important as the transit grid widens out. At least you have not fallen into the trap of mapping “walking distance to transit” without considering whether the stop one would reach has frequent service or even a route heading in the direction one might want to travel. For example, a stop on the Parliament bus is of little use if I want to travel east-west, or if the time of day has infrequent service or none at all.

    You have the makings of a fine consultant in that you claim that your proposal is based on an existing layout when, in fact, it is nothing of the kind. You have used one of the worst case spacings “downtown” (Yonge Station to Sherbourne) as typical rather than as the outlier it actually is.


  36. Steve, why do you not think King & River is being moved?

    I wrote to them months ago, and they told me the eastbound stop was going to be moved from St. Lawrence to River.

    The report only indicated the removals. There was no information provided for the small shifts to match pedestrian crossings. I think Gerrard and Highfield westbound is another example of this.

    BTW, what happened to this at the meeting? I’ve heard nothing in the media, so I can only assume it was delayed somehow.

    Steve: The meeting happened, although beyond what I have written already there wasn’t much more of note. It’s on my “to do” list for this week.


  37. It would be great if the TTC would do a study of their stops, that would include both the maximal walking distance (from origin, not along the street) to the stop that connects in to each direction of travel, and the median distance. Look at keeping and eliminating stops based on what the walks would be including walking onto the lines.

    This should allow the elimination of some stops along lines in areas where the lines are close together, while remaining aware of distance of walks overall.

    I have no problem with the idea of stop rationalization in principle, however, it should be done with a broad public consultation, and with a starting point that shows a great deal of awareness to how long the walks will be, and the sources of likely load.

    If this was done with some coordination with signal priority / control, and stop alignment with this lights in mind great. Generally I think that this should be done as part of an overall review of service, and not done in isolation. If you plan to increase the speed of service this would have to only be a small part of a plan.

    Would be better if prior to doing so the TTC did some serious work on headway management, and on the issue of crowding, so it would be more likely to be seen in the light of being an attempt to further improve service.

    Look at removing stops only where they are very close together, or as part of a realignment, where they are moving to more logical locations for purposes of transfers etc.

    Steve: When the TTC cut back on hours of service of “poor performing routes”, there was supposed to be a walking distance criterion, especially in areas with seniors. However, each route was examined in isolation with the result that there are some areas 2km on the side that have no service except at the perimeter during certain periods. For example, in the block bounded by Bathurst-Yonge-Eglinton-St. Clair, the 5 Avenue Road, 33 Forest Hill and 14 Glencairn buses have periods when none of them operates. Late Sunday evenings, there is no service in the block bounded by Bathurst-Yonge-Eglinton-Lawrence when 61 Avenue Road North does not operate. One may be tempted to say that these tony neighbourhoods don’t need buses, but the last time I looked, we didn’t measure access to transit service by the average income level. It is impossible to have a maximum 500m walk to transit when routes are 2km apart.


  38. Steve said:

    “One may be tempted to say that these tony neighbourhoods don’t need buses, but the last time I looked, we didn’t measure access to transit service by the average income level. It is impossible to have a maximum 500m walk to transit when routes are 2km apart.”

    Of course further to your point, those who are not in a position to receive the service, will not value it, and are likely not to want to support it. These are the people most likely to both vote and lobby. Keeping the most politically active as supporters should be important to the TTC.

    Service evaluations and changes need to be done as part of an integrated whole.


  39. People walking to subway stations walk to the stations because that’s where the transit is. Subway stations, with their 500′ platform and access infrastructure, booth collectors, janitors, and station managers, and with every train in a long service day stopping at the station, have very high capital, maintenance, and operational costs. People understand that, and don’t necessarily expect a station at their local street corner. They may love a station at their local street corner, or even at the front of their door, but they (mostly) have the common sense to realize that it’s prohibitively expensive to do so.

    A bus or streetcar stop may be nothing more than a sign on a pole, and the vehicles only stop there if someone is actually getting on or off. The costs are an order of magnitude less. People with common sense realize that it’s not prohibitively expensive to do so; and if the stops are ‘little used’, they likewise will have little impact on service speeds, whereas if they’re heavily used, then that’s probably the right place for a stop.


  40. Steve,
    The map was just a general overview. Of course if we actually removed stops, a detailed analysis would have to be done on each removal.

    That being said, I really don’t see the big deal with removing stops.
    People will walk further, if the surface route they are taking is operating faster due to less stops.
    Quebec City did this, and found residents were willing to walk much farther to the METROBUS routes, even though the walk was further than the local bus stops near their origin or destination.

    Cities around the would are consolidating CBD bus stops into superstops, and yes people are walking further.
    But these superstops offer amenities like ticket vending machines, etc.

    By reducing stops, we can actually operate some routes as surface metros, such as the 510.

    Sometimes transit agencies need to do what is right for the system as a whole. And in the case of Spadina, removing stops even if a few people get upset would be the best move.

    We worry about a few people yelling. But what about the hundreds or thousands of people who are not taking the 510 or other services downtown, because the service is so slow with all the needless stops?

    I personally know people who lived on the 510 on one end and had to go up to College Street or the U of T campus. Despite living downtown, they would often drive, or sometimes walk it, as both were faster than taking the 510.

    I just think the whole stop removal issue is being made into a much bigger issue on this blog than it really is. So far everyone I have talked to can’t wait to see the stops removed, and have a slightly faster ride and less stop and go. Of course those are people who actually use the services on a daily basis and have to commute. And for people who do not look at transit as a hobby, they just want to get where they are going as fast as possible, and as competitive with the car as possible.

    Steve: It is amusing how dismissive you are of people who don’t count in your world view, the people who actually use the stops to be eliminated, and the snide comment about “transit as a hobby”. For your information, I have been a transit rider for all of my life and know exactly what that’s all about.

    My reason for starting this thread is as much how it shows yet another example of the gap between how the TTC says it is going to become consumer and neighbourhood focused, and then just goes right ahead and implements something without advance consultation (it has been done more in retrospect than with forethought). I keep running into situations (and readers raise them too) where the stated goal of this program is not met, where stops that should be moved or consolidated are left right where they are, and where the TTC can’t even co-ordinate which locations should get accessibility ramps.

    It’s part of the same mindset that brought us route relettering, a program that not even the guy in charge of Customer Service knew about before it happened. On the construction side, the TTC was raked over the coals for its insensitive handling of community impacts after a homeowner found out their house was to be expropriated as part of a mass mailing to a neighbourhood.

    As for saving time, the number of stops per route is trivially small, and the time saved will be equally small in the grand scheme of things. If the TTC were really serious about consolidation, the cutoff for “close” stop spacing would be quite a bit wider than what they are aiming for.

    You want to get rid of stops on the 510. Well sadly for you, they are used by riders. Yes stopping to pick them up can “delay” others already on board, but don’t forget, you were standing on an island delaying somebody else before you got on too. It’s the same arrogance that wants transit out of every automobile’s way.


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