For those who may not follow their site, Spacing Toronto has an excellent series by John Lorinc about the machinations at City Hall and Queen’s Park behind the many changes in transit plans for Scarborough.
- Prologue: A timeline of decisions
- Part 1: The political background
- Part 2: Playing the “poor Scarborough” card
- Part 3: Ignoring the figures
- Part 4: What About Bombardier?
- Part 5: The Bottom Line, including an interview with Karen Stintz
Reading through this, and in particular the double-dealing at Queen’s Park, not to mention self-serving moves by some city councillors, it is impossible to have any faith in plans or grand statements about the future of our transit system. Even worse, any thought of transparency is a fiction, and transit planning is a secret, political exercise utterly devoid of credibility.
This is not news to those of us who watch the process close up, but seeing the gory details on Scarborough brings a stench of opportunistic grandstanding to every other transit scheme on the table. Does anyone actually care about transit riders, or are we just buying votes with billion dollar promises?
The way in which transit is provided has a huge effect on demand for services.
If the TTC decided to run nothing but 60 minute service in the suburbs, then the demand for transit that we have today, would not be there, because people would not use the service, due to the low quality of service.
When we look at the debate about LRT vs subway for Scarborough, the results again show this. A subway providing a one seat ride to Bloor-Yonge will carry vastly more riders than an LRT with a forced transfer. I don’t have the report in front of me, but I believe the subway ridership was almost double that of the LRT.
Steve: Actually, the increase was about 50%, but the two estimates used different starting points for land use and population, not to mention the question of how many Markham commuters the subway model picked up for want of a good service on GO.
You also see this in Vancouver, with the UBC line. A skytrain will attract double the ridership of an LRT line in the street.
Steve: The delta in running time for the two proposals in Vancouver is much different than what would be imposed by the transfer at Kennedy. Apples and oranges.
Transit in one way or another chooses whether to create demand for transit, or to not.
Steve. No one has a problem with transfers. What Scarborough residents and transit riders have a problem with, is needless transfers where there should be none.
If you are o.k. with the transfer at Kennedy, then how about we force transfers between trains at Keele, Coxwell, and Eglinton.
I fail to see how people do not understand that we should not be changing technology modes halfway through a trip. And the capacity issue is really being blown out of proportion. A subway or LRT train in a fully elevated guideway like Scarborough, is basically the same thing. So why force a transfer, just to use a different train style? It makes no sense.
If you are so worried about capacity, then turn some trains back at Kennedy. But the truth is, ridership will be so high, that trains will not be required to turn back. As the Scarborough extension is expected to carry as many people as entire subway lines in Chicago, New York, and other world cities.
Steve: More apples and oranges. People change technologies between bus and subway all the time. Should we build a network of branches off of the BD line to avoid this? Indeed, Glenn de Baeremaeker, he of the particularly disgusting slurs against anyone who would deny Scarborough its rightful place in the subway universe, makes the point that walk in traffic to only three stations does not matter because everyone will ride the bus anyhow.
As for subway lines elsewhere, they do not have 1100-passenger capacity trains running every 140 seconds to carry the much lower demands of their lines compared with the central part of the Toronto subway.
The Toronto subway is well used across the network, in both the inner city and suburban stations.
In fact, without the high suburban use of the current subway, Toronto’s trains would not be as full or as frequent as they are.
The suburban stations contribute just as much or more ridership each day as the inner city stations. And all the busiest stations outside of downtown are in the suburbs for the most part.
The demand is there.
The capacity again is not an issue. So what if the train has 1000 seats? They will be full by the time the train leaves Scarborough Centre Station, or by Kennedy.
This obsession that trains have to be packed departing the start of the line is really only a Toronto thing.
My friend was just on the subway in NYC, riding out to the area he is living in in Brooklyn. By the time they got to the outer part of the line in the height of rush hour, he only had 4 people on the train.
A train does not need to be packed from the start of the line, and in fact Toronto’s success in filling up trains from the start, creates capacity issues further down the line, with inner city residents not being able to get on trains or seats.
@Michael, from an proper economics understanding of it transit supply faces a demand curve, changes in service type changes the effective cost facing the potential rider. Hence Steve talks about latent demand, part of demand curve not active. If you alter speed or hassle more people will select transit. There real limits and some mode changes can not be reasonably avoided.
Simple plans from small minded political platforms leave us with little hope. That goes for all of Ontario. Scarborough and a few other areas of Toronto deserve better from the City and province.
Plans should include. Subways, LRT’s and buses. Not Subways or LRT’s & Buses
We did build a subway many years ago either in the wrong place or providing a higher order of service than the demand merited. That subway was built in the middle of the Allen Road and through ravines because silly politicians still hoped to revive the Spadina Expressway by stamping out a “transit corridor.” That subway is underused to this day and along with the Sheppard route, requires higher subsidies than most of the rest of the system. The fact that more silly politicians have extended this subway to some empty fields sets a bad precedent. Coupled with an even sillier politician who linked subways to status we now have campaigns to waste enormous amounts of money building unneeded subways where they will not be used.
I have stated before, that I would support higher order of transit everywhere – if our society was willing to pay the taxes to support it. (i.e. if collectively we all wanted to over-invest in transit.) The fact is that our society is not willing to pay taxes at that level. This means that selfish pressure groups who want to waste money are doing so at the expense of the needs of others.
The Spadina subway is not underused, and the Young subway would be even more crowded, or thousands more people would [be] in cars, if we did not have the Spadina subway.
Should the Spadina subway been built under Bathurst or something along that line? Yes it should have. But the line is hardly a waste or underused. The extension will only make the line even more useful and popular.
Check this out. This is the path between two stations on the outer part of one of Milan’s subway lines. This must make you guys cringe that they extend rapid transit out to lower density almost farm like settings. Or are they ahead of us, by extending the rails before full development? The Spadina extension will be able to shape growth in that area of Vaughan.
Steve: If you look at the schedule information (scroll down to the bottom of the page), you will find that although this is a “subway” it is more like a suburban railway in terms of service levels. Look at the headways for the “M2 branches” which are 5′ peak in the winter, 8′ in summer, 12′ in August; offpeak headways are 12′, 20′ and 30′ respectively. Maybe we should build you your subway, but only run a train now and then to the end of the line.
Scarborough needs service in a large area, Yonge needs parallel capacity, Richmond Hill needs access. Ontario cannot financially afford to address the appropriate level of rapid transit using only subway. However Toronto does need to stop sabotaging transit priority light schemes. Taxpayers should be looking to see how this works elsewhere. In Calgary cars wait for the c-train when it is done loading not the other way. Toronto needs to make sure transit is done loading it has the light period.
Thank you for sharing and they are great articles. I had a feeling there was impulse shopping with tax payers’ money to buy votes with the Scarborough subway. I have yet to see a business case that supports a Sheppard Subway nor were there any public consultations. Any polls I saw said the people in Scarborough were open to an LRT once they found out the details.
I live in Scarborough and find the transit service is pretty bad: either infrequent or you have to get packed into a bus like a sardine. Building a subway in one area won’t improve the transit or gridlock in other areas.
As for the Liberals with this coming election on Thursday, there doesn’t seem to be any other good choices for transit. The PCs want to build subways which means inaction for another 20 years. In their election platform they say the LRT lines will steal traffic lanes from cars which isn’t true (I checked with TTC and Metrolinx). If they didn’t do their due diligence with that, it makes you wonder what else in the plans is based on false information and truthiness. The PC candidate in Scarborough-Agincourt even wants to build the Sheppard Subway even though the Auditor General and an expert panel said it was a bad idea. For the NDP, they don’t seem that interested in transit and are more interested in removing the sales tax on electricity which irks the environmentalist in me. Also, it is said that often a vote for the NDP or Green Party is basically a vote for the Conservatives, depending on where you live.
For the election on Thursday I’m thinking of going to the voting booth and declining my vote or voting for the Non-of-the-Above Party if they have a candidate in my riding.
To be blunt, that’s one of the worst things you can do in this election since there is no law regarding a minimum number of votes needed to win in Ontario and the parties only care about those that vote; both during and after the election.
The only thing that would make the three major parties take notice and change their ways is if there is a significant surge towards “fourth option” candidates. To put it another way, do you think the Provincial Conservatives would not take notice if they come in fifth in some ridings behind the Communist Party?
Tough to get a fourth option (if the NDP are even still considered one these days) to be taking seriously without money for marketing and propaganda. I as well will be going to the polls to decline my vote. At the moment there is no other party worth voting for in my riding. I’m tired of having every transit conversation be about either choosing between the Conservative and Liberal plans. They both suck are are stuffed full of BS.
I suspect personally that there a large issue here with politics and planning being in direct conflict. In theory we want neutral bureaucrats directing neutral experts, who look purely at data.
Unfortunately in today’s world there are too many agendas and have been for some time. Much of the discussion above is with regards to the promises of provincial politicians etc. Provincial politicians should really be about suggesting budgets in the here and now, and in a few years to help the city and region solve problems.
They should be seeking neutral advice, and individuals should not be so sure that one method or another is the way. Solutions need to be benchmarked against best practice, not what is politically viable. I would argue that Transit City was much less politically motivated. It is a proposal that was based on looking at reasonably forecastable traffic, with a reasonable costs, that needed to be sold to the voter.
The current subway one is clearly telling the voter what they want to hear. The technical debate on subway seems to focus on who is deserving, not proximity for larger numbers, travel time, cost of service delivery, viability elsewhere on the line.
The numbers that should be debated might be travel times, current travel, current transit use, projected development, reasonable projections of trip growth. No area “deserves” a subway, the question needs to be is this the most effective solution. Does it provide the largest boost to service, while requiring the smallest combination of capital and operating dollars.
I believe that we have introduced far too much fear, and removed far too much sense generally from the debate. The voters need to be a little readier to accept alternatives to what they already know. The City of Toronto, and the TTC needs to actually make a concerted effort to make alternatives work, in terms of using light priority, dedicated lanes, and we need as whole to look at what works elsewhere.
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After I wrote the comment about declining my vote I realized it wasn’t wise and I think every one should vote and pick the best candidate. I was thinking subways have become the perfect pork barrel scheme because a candidate can promise one and since it takes about 15 years to build, they will be gone or retired by then plus they can blame another level of government for not following through on the project. In the meantime, those who actually take transit have to get packed in like sardines on whatever transit is actually running. I might still vote Liberal but suggest they take a course called “Transit & solving Gridlock 101”
Then again, it’s tough to take the three main parties seriously this election even with all of their money for marketing and propaganda. (See Tim Hudak discovering that LRT lines can buy him votes in Ottawa for the most recent example)
However, the point I was trying to get across is that a declined vote achieves nothing and in fact is seen as the next best thing to a guaranteed vote for a party by the big three. This is due to a declined vote, or a vote not even being cast, being a vote that isn’t being used against any of them and thus isn’t a real concern. As a result, if you want to say “they’re all crap!” on election day, you are better off with voting for a fourth option than sitting it out. Of course, as Rob Ford oh so disastrously illustrated, you need to do you homework when picking your protest vote just in case they win.
Respecting Declined Ballots, I suggest, instead, voting for some candidate, even if chosen at random, as a vote that goes to someone else is more troubling for a candidate than a vote that goes to no one.
The real issue is not the quality of the candidates or their respective parties or voting strategically…it is the “first past the post…with a moving post” system that allows a candidate to be declared a “winner” without receiving a majority of the votes cast. Some Toronto councillors have less than 30% of the popular vote.
Changing that system will be complicated and adding proportional representation to the mix even more so.
In my humble opinion the best parliament is one that is 3-4 seats short of a majority for one party. Too close for the government to be overturned, too far to implement all their proposals, and because of the need to cooperate they are to move away from ideology in order to government.
It shouldn’t be all about winning (or, getting back to the post, temporarily championing something you were against only a year prior, just for the sake of winning).
And with the election results tonight, it looks like the Sheppard East LRT line might actually get built.
Steve: There will still be an uphill battle with the Scarborough Liberal caucus, but at least we don’t have to worry about buying by-elections for a while.
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Amusingly though, by not pushing ahead with it when the city switched back to LRT on Sheppard, they missed the opportunity to temporarily widen Sheppard by two lanes for the Pan Am games.
Actually, changing it to a run-off ballot would be relatively simple, as computer-read ballots are already in use municipally. Instead of just selecting one name from a list of candidates, they rank them by preference and only have to do so as far as they want.
Individual voters who don’t want to change won’t have to as they could simply pick their first choice only, which is what is currently done. If faced with six candidates, anyone can only pick their first choice or rank them from one to six, or only rank their top two to five if they wish.
Counting the ballots by computer is significantly simpler than doing it manually.
About the Scarborough Liberal caucus, I was shocked when I found out my local MPP supported extending the Sheppard subway. I’m no political advisor but I would think a party that has had several billion dollar spending scandals lately shouldn’t say they are in favour of a project that the Auditor General and an expert panel has already said was a waste of money. Frankly it would be impulse shopping with taxpayers’ money. I don’t know if the Liberal caucus knows the facts about subway versus LRT and I’m in touch with Code Red Toronto about this. If the Liberal MPPs in Scarborough know the facts, it could be that when they go door-to-door, all their constituents say they want a subway and don’t want those LRT lines that steal car lanes and make gridlock even worse, which isn’t true. The trouble is they have been given false information by other politicians, yet David Soknacki said when he campaigns and explains the difference between subways and LRT, the people are open to LRTs.
I don’t know what Premier Wynne’s position is or if she might order the Scarborough MPPs to do their homework. During the election the Liberal platform talked about “transit solutions” along Sheppard and Finch West, whatever that means. I suspect if they go ahead with the Sheppard LRT, the Scarborough MPPs will need to prove to their constituents that LRTs don’t steal traffic lanes, perhaps with a traffic study. They will also have to perhaps have another project to impress the voters. I was thinking John Tory’s Smart Track plan might be a possibility. Another one could be promising to extend the Sheppard Subway along Ellesmere or elevated over the 401 sometime in the future if that is possible. Express Rail elevated over the 401? Ideally they’d see the merits of LRT and push for new lines on Finch East plus the Malvern line. Any other suggestions?
John Lorinc himself commented on the Scarborough subway project after the election. For the actual argument in his words, go to spacingtoronto.ca, but in a nutshell he says that the Wynne government has too much invested in the Scarborough subway to change course now. I suspect that he is correct and that we are stuck with this subway. It is a shame that political opportunism (including by the Liberals) has lead to such a poor outcome. However, it probably makes sense to focus on the future and make sure that no more white elephants are built.
I wouldn’t be too quick to declare an end to the issue. The Liberals also made promises about eliminating the deficit and thanks to the money the feds put forward towards the subway, they may be able to use those funds to reduce the amount the province was going to spend on the project and still deliver the LRT if Chow were to win.
Moaz: It does sound simple in theory but the implementation is where the challenges will be. I recall (offhand, cannot remember the specific place but it was in BC) a trial of ranked ballots that was not well received. In the case of proportional representation, the challenging question is probably not how to allocate seats, but rather how to allocate representatives to sit in those seats.
I would also point out they have 4 years to sell whatever choices they make. They have a compelling reason to make sure that Scarborough is at or very near to understanding they are receiving or about to receive high quality service. I suspect the issue in Scarborough is close to the way Joe M likes to describe the question of no real LRT service or maybe subway.
They could make a real start on LRT in those 4 years, and have made clear real intent and made progress on a complete version of LRT, and still be ok, making the argument of “new” information, even in terms of subway was just too far away, and as long as they had reached the point that the level of service that was soon to be delivered would be at least as good as subway they would likely be ok. They cannot afford to deliver a “politically hacked up” LRT.
I wonder how far along the Sheppard East LRT could be if they moved it to the top of the priority list? Same question for the Eastern surface portion of the Eglinton LRT. Once any surface LRT opens, the demonization of LRT will no longer work with the general populace*. Could Sheppard East and the Eastern portion of Eglinton be open at least several months before the 2018 election, and the rest of the Scarborough network either under construction (RT replacement) or in serious planning (Malvern/Morningside)? It would certainly be a much more sensible use of the funds already committed than the currently-planned subway.
And of course any argument that the subway is too far along, etc., etc., is self-defeating, because it really implies that the switch from LRT to subway was a mistake by the same argument, and we still have the opportunity to correct that mistake. It’s hard to say at exactly what point subway construction might be far enough along not to be worth cancelling, but we’re definitely nowhere near that point yet.
It’s also interesting to note that if I have my dates right, in 2018 the provincial election will be October 4 (assuming the Liberals don’t lose a confidence vote in the meantime, which is rather unlikely now) while the municipal election will be October 22. Therefore, whatever is decided this year and early next year by the Ontario government and the new City council, will have four years of stability in which to be implemented. Let’s hope the time is used to make real progress on sensible transit.
* Unless the TTC finds a way to mess up the service.
Steve: Metrolinx had shifted staff who were working on the Scarborough LRT over to the Sheppard project when the subway decision came through, but even the Sheppard line is now on hold thanks to the Scarborough Liberal Caucus and Glen Murray who, I am convinced, does not really believe in LRT enough to fight for it.
If they started today on building the Sheppard line, it could probably be open for 2018, but that issue cannot be settled until at least after the municipal election. As for Eglinton, the eastern portion depends on completion of the tunnel section for carhouse access. 2020 at best.
A follow up to Isaac’s question:
How far along was Sheppard/Finch when Rob Ford was elected and ‘cancelled’ them? What about the other projects like Scarborough Malvern?
I know you previously mentioned that the ‘Morningside Hook’ of the Scarborough Malvern line was incredibly close to being funded in the 2011 budget. Were there any other examples of that?
According to the Liberals’ own schedule Finch West is supposed to begin construction next year – what odds do you give it and the other non-Eglinton lines?
The other day I was going over the EA documents and public presentation info from back when Transit City was progressing and man is it depressing to see the construction/open dates from back before they stretched out the funding timetable (never mind from before they axed off a chunk of each route for ‘phase 2’).
So much for being fully funded and beginning construction back in 2009!
Steve: On Sheppard, the grade separation with the GO line at Agincourt has been completed, and much of the utility relocation work needed for the line has been done. Metrolinx was on the verge of letting a contract for construction of the carhouse at Conlins Road when the Scarborough RT morphed to a subway line, and the project had to be redesigned and downsized. Also, without the SRT link to Eglinton, this carhouse cannot serve the east end of the Eglinton line.
On Finch, the only work to date is preliminary design. Finch West Station is designed with provision for a passageway to a future surface LRT station.
As for odds, until we know what the new Council and Mayor look like in the fall, all bets are off. A related problem will be whether Glen Murray, whose commitment to LRT I have always found to be lukewarm, remains as Minister of Transportation.
The problem with LRT is it has few gee whiz golly aspects to a good implementation, it merely works. There are clearly places where it will not, however, Scarborough seems well suited, and a trip to Calgary would likely help Ontario’s situation, especially if he reviewed the costs to date, and the area that has received high quality service. Yes, Calgary is not Toronto, however Scarborough is not the financial core.
The LRT in Calgary serves a city of 1 million as its high capacity trunk line, seeing 300k riders per day. It would be important for him to be reminded the scope of growth that Calgary has managed to absorb without massive road growth, largely due to this system. Calgary makes an excellent example of how LRT can allow a moderate density are to absorb massive growth and keep moving.
This model should apply well to Scarborough, Markham, Brampton, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, North York, Etobicoke…
I might go so far as to say that it won’t be until after the federal election until we will know for sure what LRT lines get built. I wouldn’t put it past the federal conservatives to cancel their funding for the Sheppard LRT to gain anti Toronto votes.
I would hope that this would cause much more discomfort in terms of worry in terms of “if that funding is vulnerable is ours?” and thereby be a bad political move. However, politics in Toronto, the province and country has become remarkably dysfunctional. Hopefully the voter will become less easily sold, angered or misdirected, and be less willing to vote for either feel good, or fear mongering. While Mr. Hudak did not deserve to win the election, I worry that a few too many votes were cast on the basis of greatly exaggerated fear.
The comment above really drives home the problem we have in Toronto concerning LRT.
When people think of LRT, it is usually the kind they see in Calgary, Edmonton, or other cities, where LRT operates as a grade separated or full priority LRT system, with far spaced stations. These lines operate like aboveground subway lines and offer speed and do not stop for anything but station stops.
LRT like the ones planned in Toronto are not like this. If we were getting LRT like in Calgary, no one would be complaining.
But what we will be getting is LRT trains crawling down Sheppard, stopping every 500 meters or less, as well as stopping at stop lights and intersections, and going slower than cars in the neighbouring lanes. This is a complete reversal of how LRT operates in Calgary.
Minneapolis just opened their new LRT line in the middle of the street. What has been the biggest complaint may you ask? The trains are too slow, stop too much, and stop at intersections and stop lights. The train takes longer than the limited stop bus routes it has replaced.
Minneapolis is the kind of LRT Toronto will get, and it will do nothing for improving transit mode share, because it will not offer a competitive trip.
The problem here is that almost all the people proposing these lines, would never actually use them to commute, because they take too long.
This is fundamentally a question of choices and management. There is no good reason why light priority cannot be fully implemented, only questionable city management. The argument between subway and LRT seems to an assertion of superior speed for subway. The argument to implement LRT with reduced stops is a question of what is the more critical role that needs to be filled, not which basic technology.
Does Scarborough need a service aimed at being a trunk carrier or a primarily a collector service? This would be a reasoned debate, and you could argue reasonably for a change in the design to have it only stop at primary intersections.
Nonsense. The fully-funded RT replacement, which would have run in the existing RT right-of-way, fully isolated from all other traffic, was shot down in favour of a less useful and much more expensive subway. So in fact we were getting LRT like in Calgary, yet many complained.
The real problem is that the complaints aren’t based in reality, and the people making them do not care about facts, evidence, or the truth.
Steve: If someone wants to talk about middle-of-the-road LRT such as Sheppard East, Finch West, or Eglinton East, then we can have a debate about how much like Calgary (or not) it would be. However, the SRT/LRT conversion does not even have a street running section like Calgary, but is often spoken of by its detractors as if it were little more than the St. Clair or Harbourfront lines.
@Michael, and by the way, I do believe that it is critical that Toronto get a lot of the type of LRT that does work like Calgary’s. I am not convinced that all of the stops on say Eglinton add enough value to justify the stop. However, if light prioritization is reasonably implemented, there is no reason why the LRT will not still achieve average speeds of 25-30 kph (including stops), which I would be amazed if this was not notably faster than the bus average, and even notably faster than a car even in near peak traffic conditions.
Yes, you could also make these LRTs operate as fast or faster than Toronto subways by reducing the number of stops. However, if the light priority is implemented properly, and the stops kept to a reasonable distance, this can and should be a phenomenal service. Again good implementation is everything.
I wonder what a reasonable on line walking distance along Eglinton, Sheppard, or Finch is. Should we expect people to walk 300-400 or 500 meters along the line? Is the TTC going to offer reasonable supplemental bus service in the corridor?
The same questions need to be asked with regards to subway. Steve what is transit service like for someone who lives off Yonge at say Glencairn?
Steve: The parallel service is the 97 Yonge bus which has a 20′ headway much of the time. It is precisely this type of service which makes my blood boil when people talk about the “efficiency” of widely spaced stations while ignoring access issues. A great strength of surface operations is that a stop does not cost $150m to build, let alone the ongoing operating expense. There has to be a tradeoff between spacing, convenience and overall route speed.
Surely by that standard, the original sections of the YUS and BD lines made the people of Toronto second class. Even today trains stop for up to 5 minutes at a time and sit at Union, St. George, Bloor, Chester, and elsewhere for absolutely no reason at all.
I have moved to Calgary from Toronto late last month (I had a job offer I could not refuse). For the past three weeks I have been travelling to and from work, most of it by LRT, taking one line to downtown (City Hall station) then crossing the street other platform to catch the other line south. With the downtown core the two LRT lines run along a transit-only road shared with transit buses (a transit mall), otherwise the two lines run in their own ROW, some sections in the middle of a roadway, others well separated from the roadway. Outside the transit mall the trains move fast (top speeds of 70 – 80 kph) with roadway crossing handle like railway crossing including lighted crossing gates. During the peak periods the trains run approximately every 5 minutes, off-peak every 10, so in many respects it almost feels like a surface subway. What has really surprised me is that both of Calgary’s lines have been extended several times in the last 12 years – many sections opening in just a few years ago and yet another station in the northwest scheduled to open later this summer. It certainly highlights how an LRT system can be quickly expanded as needed. I must admit I’m not sure how well Calgary’s approach would go over for line such as Sheppard or Eglinton. However the SRT route would I think have worked very well converted to LRT had not politics gotten in the way.
Calgary’s LRT system seems very successful; perhaps too successful as I have found them packed, even as early as 7 AM. Most stations have now had platforms long enough to accommodate 4-car trains and once the remaining one have been upgraded they will start running 4-car trains. There is the issue of bottlenecks where the two lines merge at the transit mall and there are now plans to put one of the lines in a subway one street south of the transit mall to allow for more frequency. If only that was Toronto’s problem.
In the early going this was a great advantage, that had the downfall of limiting frequency on each line. However, since Calgary has grown so remarkably since the system was started, nearly doubling since the system was initially opened.
The C-train has been instrumental in allowing Calgary absorb this growth, however, now that limiting of frequency has finally turned into a capacity issue, and they are having to convert it to a 4 car LRT. Most of the growth in traffic into the core has been taken up by the LRT. As I recall Transit City designs do not in general involve these frequency limiting shared tracks. This would mean they could run twice as often as those in Calgary. Scarborough, the size of Calgary when the C-train started, could be served at twice the frequency as Calgary is now, even though it has a population about 450k less.
Steve: However, some of the Transit City lines would run on streets which are not transit malls, and the pedestrian movements associated with stops would be a major headache. One must be careful when transferring a model from one city’s implementation to another not to cite an example that doesn’t match the situation of a new proposed line.
@Steve, while you cannot copy, you can transfer lessons. The c-train also has in median areas, and I believe it is still running something on the order of a 4 minute headway away from the core. Are not the major transit city lines in Scarborough planned either in dedicated right of way (rt replacement) or in median except for an area in the Malvern area?
I remember reading something in one of the studied for Eglinton that discussed a 2 minute 15 second headway design. This would be much closer than the branches of the C-train as I believe the min headway on 7th ave is 2 minutes and has to be shared between 2 lines. Yes the pedestrian advantages are huge, but much of the rest of the system has issues like Toronto will have, but much more extensive station structures. If the LRTs in Scarborough approach the heavy loads, yes special station design will be required. The loads, timings, destination types will all be different, but that would be true in designing any type of transit. Calgary’s LRT to me is a closer model for Scarborough than the sometimes discussed (not by you but others here) New York subway for Toronto.
The design must be specific and there are important differences, but also solid lessons.
@Malcolm N, yes the frequencies for the C-train in the transit mall where the two line merge is often 1 – 2 minutes (each line has a peak frequency of every 5 minutes, day time and weekend midday of 10 minutes, every 15 otherwise.) My sense is that the existing corridor of the SRT would be closest to what Calgary has (indeed that line was originally designed for LRT before the ICTS was foisted on the TTC). Where the C-trains run along a median, the roadways are very wide, much more than Eglinton or Sheppard and look and feel more like expressways with only a few roadway crossings. The stations are large structures sitting in the median with a centre platform extending along the median from it – looking more like open-air subway platforms (indeed the C-train system resembles a “surface subway”). Toronto’s approach looks more like what has been done in San Francisco, where the trains run underground as a subway along Market street and then operate more like streetcars in residential areas.
@Phil Piltch, yes, except mostly not on street in To. and Calgary has tunnels in certain areas although not as extensive as To. The streets in Calgary in question do have more space, although there is some road allowance available in To. as well. Stop spacing is wider in Calgary. I would like to see system changed to create in median where it on street.
I would like to see the debate around what people are trying to achieve, not technology. What stop spacing, frequency, capacity, speed are required. The current debate has been hopelessly polluted. The frequency of major crossing roads is quite high in some areas, but good light [signal] controls are still possible. Toronto needs to make world class surface transit management a top priority. The quality of LRT will be more a question of choices in design and management, not physical limitation in the RT row or on Eglinton or Sheppard.