After a two-year absence, streetcar service returned to Queens Quay today with the 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront routes resuming their normal operation.
Construction has not yet finished — there are sidewalks still to be finished, a bit of roadwork, the construction of the new bikeway and pedestrian area on the south side, and finally the trees — but that will all be finished for spring 2015.
For those who could not make it down to the waterfront on a fine Sunday morning, and for my out of town readers, here is a sample of views along the line.
Eastbound on Queens Quay approaching Yo-Yo Ma Lane. This is the west end of the current reconstruction project and will eventually be the point where eastbound road traffic swings across the streetcar right-of-way to the new, bi-directional north side of the street. The south roadway will be converted to an expanded pedestrian area and the Martin Goodman bike trail.
Westbound cresting the Peter Slip bridge. This was the first piece of the “new” Queens Quay to receive track, but it has sat unused awaiting the return of streetcar service.
The streetcar below is sitting westbound at Robertson Crescent East, the exit from the loop road around the Radisson Hotel. This is one of many new traffic signal locations on the route, and the absence of “transit priority” is keenly felt along Queens Quay. This is supposed to be a temporary situation with the signals running on a fixed program, but that program includes far too few green cycles for the streetcars, and it holds them at transit reds even when a through-only auto green could co-exist with through streetcar traffic.
It will be interesting to see whether this situation continues, or if the TTC and City Transportation come to a better arrangement. As things stand, this is a glacially slow trip, and the winter’s ice has not even started to blow in off of Lake Ontario.
Looking west at Rees/Robertson.
Looking northeast from the Simcoe Wavedeck. Harbourfront Centre is behind the trees on the right.
Looking west on Queens Quay from Lower Simcoe.
Looking west at the new eastbound Lower Simcoe stop.
Looking east across York Street.
The mass of condos on Queens Quay has become almost oppressive, but with luck the rows of trees to be added in 2015 will soften many of these views.