On November 18, 2014, I spoke as part of a panel on this subject at the University of Toronto. Other speakers were Leslie Woo from Metrolinx and Stephen Buckley from the City of Toronto.
The text linked here was my originally prepared text from which I departed somewhat in spots either due to comments made by other speakers, or time pressures.
This is true but the answer was in respect to the line’s ability to eliminate the need for a DRL, not to speed passengers from Richmond Hill to downtown.
Lost in all this debate about using GO as a replacement for building the DRL is the necessity for alternate high capacity travel as the current Yonge line ages. There have been a number of recent issues related to signals, issues with crumbling tunnels and flooding. As a city we need to seriously start planning for the days when this necessitates alternate routes out of the city they will only happen more often as the line ages. Shuttle buses are overloaded on weekends let alone during a morning rush hour. GO transit has trouble with the few people it carries already and most of the North routes are capacity constrained even in the long term and would have trouble with a prolonged subway outage, none of the streetcars go north of St Clair. A DRL with eastern and western routes is going to provide a backup at least to Eglinton and potentially further, but with a 10 or longer year construction timeline what will the Yonge line be looking like at 70 or 80 years old?
If this were just a funding issue I would imagine we would have heard about building the station since the 1989 report, and watched as the date moved into the future.
GO has on numerous occasions moved its stations from denser areas with good transit access, to locations with cheap land for parking. Its original mandate as part of the MTO was to relieve congestion by getting people off crowded rush hour MTO highways which couldn’t be expanded, thus one person coming from a 401 parking lot would be more valuable than one person coming from (or to) a subway line. There are others who are very interested in the mobility hub concept, or network connectivity, who might see differently.
Regardless, Leslie Station on the Sheppard subway in combination with a future Leslie (Oriole) Station on the Richmond Hill GO line appears to have much less potential ridership than say the Lakeshore-Kipling combination. I still believe moving it would have more benefits.
Cooksville and Port Credit are imo some of the better stations when it comes to pedestrian access, for the able bodied at least. Look at Ajax for example, with platforms right up to the Westney underpass, but no access to them from the street, so pedestrians from the north have to backtrack a train length through the parking lot and tunnel. All the more embarrassing given that the structure was built together with the station. Similar flaws at Unionville, Malton, Dixie, Oakville, and probably a couple more.
I suspect that the reason that neither has been moved to date has to do with, as mentioned, the perceived job of GO. It has not been seen as doing anything but collecting and delivering to core. The relocation of a GO station, where there is land available, is not necessarily a major expense, but it does require a vision of it filling a load collection and distribution task within the 416, something that GO does not seem to be focused on. There would be a substantial opportunity to alter the nature of transit in both southern Etobicoke and Scarborough simply by having all the trains that blow through stop at each stop.
Half hour service will not attract that much ridership, but every 10 minutes might if the price was reasonable. The questions here would be, would there be room on the trains if they did stop, and to what degree would that slow the ride enough to dissuade 905 riders from using the service. These are the strongest reasons in my mind to go electric, make better use of the track, train slots and stations you do have and hopefully increase the number of slots with better signaling and faster clearance of Union.
Part of the look at Yonge relief and SmartTrack, however, needs to be where does it actually run. It is quite apparent that to have a major impact on the transit landscape long term, that is claimed for it, it needs to be able to run many more trains, as in 10-12 not 4 per hour. This means either it has to be pulled out of Union, or there will only be room in essence for it and the Lakeshore service at Union. This is yet another reason why SmartTrack cannot act to replace the Don Mills/DRL subway, there is simply not the space at Union to handle the number of trains required to be as transformational as claimed.
In the past Robert has made very strong points to the limits at Union, and as I recall the limit is somewhere currently on the order of 10 trains every 10 minutes, from the combination of all lines and platforms. To run the system imagined at peak we will likely need 2 of these each way in Lakeshore and 2 each way in SmartTrack for a total of 8 of the possible 10 just in these 2 services. So what does that leave to serve Barrie, Richmond Hill, Milton, and outer portion Kitchener? If SmartTrack is going to be truly transformational for the region, it needs to be run away from Union, as has been proposed for the Don Mills subway. Or a truly massive transformation at Union is required.
According to a study done for Metrolinx it is 6 trains per track per hour for through routing, one every 10 minutes, or 8 trains per hour per track for “double berthing” which is bringing in a train from both directions to the same track and then sending back where they came from. This is two trains every 15 minutes. This still begs the question as to whether the platforms and pedestrian infrastructure at Union could handle a full complement of 12 car trains dumping 2000 passengers each at the rate of one train per minute. I would love to see 120,000 passengers per hour try to get through Union Station.
There is a limit as to the amount of super elevation that a railway line can receive because a slow moving or stationary freight on the line may be blown over by strong winds. This line must be usable by CN freights on an emergency basis so it must meet the safety requirements for main line railways. I don’t make these crazy rules up. Perhaps Metrolinx could hire the lady from Newfoundland, if she is still alive, who would advise CN when the winds were too strong to runs trains on their narrow gauge line.
Steve again, I look forward to an article, that involves a fundamental revisit of what the network to serve Toronto and the GTHA must look like.
Unfortunately at this point, for it to actually relieve basic issues of congestion, the basic issues of linkages to the 905 accross the boundaries for shorter trips will also need to be looked at going forward, and this needs to be done without generating such a large agency as to make its basic management unresponsive and distant.
I also hope that we can soon get a stronger drive towards planning development and redevelopment around the region on a much more transit centric basis.
Sorry, I was trying to be generous. Having seen the chaos that is created every time two of these trains are basically emptying at the same time, and how hard it is to walk south in the PATH system close to the south end while the pulse works through, I would argue that having one arrive every minute would transform this from a pulse to a steady hour long jet.
I too fail too see how Union and area can reasonably handle 2000 people working their way through and out of Union every minute. I tend to think of people needing about a moving 3×4 foot square to walk in (9-12 square feet), and covering the length of that square every second (2.5-3 miles/hour which is very generous) so in a world of perfect conformance you would need something like a 100 foot wide, clear walkway, no points of narrowness, or turbulance due to changes in direction, or variances in walking speed, or counterflow. Outside this fantasy realm 50+% more than that with no major points of constriction (ie doors, cross traffic for shopping or coffee).
The rail capacity at Union I believe assumed the trains are arranged with no platform conflicts, or required crossings, etc. I believe the 10 trains per hour, all lines/platforms was predicated on a perfect alignment of use for all platforms, and tracks. I do not believe this number was estimated assuming virtually all service being consumed by trains in 2 services.
Absolutely true, but the point of the side-topic was that as a cyclist, you should be dismounting and walking the bike across the two PEDESTRIAN crossings. Doing otherwise is tantamount to any number of things motorists do that piss off cyclists and puts valid points that cyclists have in disrepute.
How so? Passing too closely or opening a door without looking is physically dangerous. Waiting in the space between the crosswalk and the roadway doesn’t harm anyone. (Also, wouldn’t stopping before the intersection to dismount annoy motorists more than just veering out of the lane?)
Typical left turns for cyclists not using left turn lanes involve a two stage crossing with a bike box. This is not new – and doesn’t involve requirements to dismount – it’s a road/intersection design issue.
So in essence Robert we agree that
1-SmartTrack does nothing to relieve Yonge
2-You cannot realistically bring it to Union, as it precludes the development of other required services.
3-The Don Mills/DRL subway at least as far as Eglinton is required regardless.
4-TC rules cannot apply to some of the required lines in order to make them work well. Oh, I realize there are limits to banking, but I believe more could be applied in Richmond Hill and still have it conform (however, this set of tracks should be abandoned from mainline, and retasked and signalled as strictly transit along with Stouffville, and UPX.)
I also am aware you cannot retask the part north of the CN mainline. However still should be for reasons of flexibility in terms of bringing other services to its portion immediately south of CN main.
Why do you keep replying to my comments? What part of “Robert Wightman, I wanted to ask your opinion” is not clear to you? You have lost all credibility due to your anti-Scarborough Downtown deserves more subways attitude and as such Robert Wightman is now the spiritual head of both this website as well as of The Steve Munro Movement. You are welcome to change your name, however, so that you don’t have any conflict with the domain name. Lastly, I want to thank Robert for his well-informed replies and expert opinions (compare Robert’s wise answers to Steve’s heavily biased non-sense). Speaking of name change, given how wise Robert is, we can also change Robert’s last name from Wightman to Wiseman (if it’s okay with his wife).
Steve: I am letting this comment through only for the purpose of telling you that you are henceforth permanently banned from this site regardless of what userid you concoct or how superficially reasonable you request might be. My advice to you is to get your own domain and see if you can get more than a handful of followers. I will leave it to Robert to further eviscerate you.
Now piss off.
It would appear that:
1- He does not understand that this should be seen as an indication of actually bringing something to the debate that worthy of comment.
2- He is using your paper and ink, and thus, you have every right.
Steve, I frankly wonder at times how you tolerate this type of BS. It is especially odd, given the fact that his original question was clearly attempting to answer itself, and of course Robert came back with a reply that was oddly enough similar in direction to yours. (Could it be facts are facts?)
I gather he is not capable of understanding that it is possible to not be biased, and still be against the spending ridiculous additional amounts of money to build a service, that will serve fewer people, and go around the employment areas, and priority neighborhoods (i.e. avoid the areas that actually will benefit most from service). Oddly you seem to have taken similar position on the extension in Vaughan and the one proposed for Yonge … Funny that.
Steve, I would like it to be known, that I feel, you provide a refreshing fact based service in the transit debate. I am amazed there are so many who cannot appreciate the idea that fact that politics has dominated the transit issue not planning, destination/origin data or reasonable forecasts of probable use, is the big reason why transit has been largely stalled in Toronto.
Soldier on Steve, perhaps someday there will be a sea change, and planning, common sense and data will win the day.
Steve: I just had to let that one through. “Kevin” seems to think that somehow Robert Wightman (who I have known since we were teenagers) is somehow going to give him a more palatable answer. “Kevin” seems to have some idea that I am a downtown-centric Scarborough hater that just won’t give that benighted borough what it deserves. If he were typical, I would say “let them freeze waiting for the Lawrence East bus”, but I know many in Scarborough have a more balanced world view, even among the subway advocates.
My answers are based on facts and the current laws regarding railway operation in Canada, most of which are down loadable for free from the internet for anyone. The rest are based on scientific laws. I have a degree in electrical engineering and taught Physics for nearly 40 years but these do not make me anymore qualified to to reply than anyone else. All the science knowledge needed to answer most of these questions is taught in grade 11 Physics or earlier.
Scarborough is a very large area with “subway service” only in the south west. It would have had totally grade separated light rapid transit to Malvern if the province hadn’t foisted the ICTS on the TTC. It is because of the province that Scarborough has had such crappy transit. Etobicoke can also make claims that it, especially in the north, is under served.
The problem with building subways every where is that they are too expensive and do not serve the riding needs of the majority of commuters in Scarborough. SmartTrack will help those who live near it, or can drive to it, get downtown but it will not do much for commuting within Scarborough. Is it or RER needed? YES, but it will not get rid of the need for the DRL. Toronto needs to design and build an integrated network of various transit modes. For too long we have been building lines to serve the needs of a few without analyzing their fit into the network, That is why we have the extension to Vaughan.
Steve is not any more biased than anyone else. He is, however, a firm believer in building what is best and needed, not what is wanted by a few to the detriment of the many.
Steve: It’s probably worth mentioning that in plans from the mid-60s, there was a western equivalent of the Scarborough-Malvern LRT, a line from the subway up to the airport. The unfinished platform remains at Kipling Station (south side of the bus terminal) as a mute reminder of what we could have had four decades ago.
This is the correct procedure. I was speaking of the occasional cyclist that gets to the intersection just after the light turns red for their initial direction and instead of waiting to do the proper two-stage crossing, they make a sharp 90 left and cross using the near-side pedestrian crossing followed by the left-side pedestrian crossing before hanging a left to continue on the new street. This sort of crossing should be done as a pedestrian, or just wait for the light and perform a bike box.
Granted, this is not very common, but it is common enough to be an issue. That said, this is all I will add to this side-discussion.
Ah yes, there was many a night I froze waiting for the Lawrence East bus, either at Eglinton Station, or Eglinton and Cleveland. But back then it was as regular as clockwork, out of Eglinton on the :08 and :38 on one branch 54A and the :23 and :53 on the other 54 Orton Park until after midnight then it was just the :23 and :53 with the 1:53 a.m. bus waiting until 2:05 a.m. for the last subway. That was in the late 60s and 70s and I still remember the schedule because because it was a “clock face” schedule in that it always showed up at the same time after the hour. If only they could do that again.
Oh had those plans actually been allowed to come to fruition. Then, as now, planning when actually done by professionals left to their jobs seems to make sense. When it becomes a matter of popular opinion, well …
If I may add another voice of reason amongst all this infighting for the control of this blog, I don’t know if Robert’s posts are more qualified than Steve’s posts (they might be, they might not be, I just don’t know) but certainly Robert’s language as quoted above seems much more calm and respectful and so even if Robert and Steve are saying the same thing, I can see why people might like Robert more. Having said that this is Steve’s website and so he is the boss and he and only he gets to decide the agenda of the individual articles as well as of the whole blog. If Robert Wightman or Wiseman, as “Kevin” calls him, wants to be “the spiritual head” of a blog, then he can start his own competing blog and we will see how many readers he can get.
Also I didn’t know that there was such a thing as “The Steve Munro Movement” but if there were one, then by definition Robert Wightman cannot lead one (unless he changes his name to Steve Munro) and if Robert wants to lead a movement, then he can start one on his own and under his own name and dare I say this that Steve’s movement will have way more followers than Robert’s.
So, Robert start your own competing blog and let’s see if you can get even a handful of followers and see what it feels like to have trolls spamming your blog saying that you should hand over control of your own personal blog to someone else because you are biased (like who in this “fair” world isn’t biased?). Steve is not even saying that he is not biased because Steve is smart enough to know that we are all biased.
I am not quite sure what you are getting at but I have no desire to start my own blog and have no problem with Steve’s blog. In fact I love it. Steve and I have been friends since the mid 60’s and, like many friends, we have many common interests and ideas. That being said I do not have the patience to go through all the headway analysis that Steve does to do his route reports.
I do get “turned on” by rules and their application to operations, whether operating rules or Physical principles. I get frustrated by people who come up with “great plans” that are not possible because they violate either laws of the land or laws of nature. While it might be possible to repeal and change laws of the land it is not possible to repeal laws of nature.
If I were to start my own blog it would be to illustrate how various “laws” affect transit plans and its only redeeming feature would be as a cure for insomnia.
I did not read all of this post the first time and was unaware of my “promotion” to Spiritual Head. So as Spiritual Head, the title needs capitals, I say verily unto you: “Go forth an sin no more.” This means putting down anyone who disagrees with you and especially putting down the moderator who may happen to explain why your pet idea is not the best for Toronto. Let us all work together to build what is best for Toronto and the GTHA rather than what is best for us and screw the rest of you.
I was a Physics teacher and department head who built many school timetables. One thing I learned was that making a decision that gave myself or my department an unfair advantage over others in the end was not the best for me or my department. If you build something that is not fair for all then it is often not fair for anyone. Once when I changed schools I was asked to look at a proposed timetable that could not be made to work comfortably. Upon examination I discovered that the previous person wanted a double lunch and timetabled that in first. Once it was removed all the other conflicts disappeared.
Build what is best for the system and it will most likely be what is best for you. In keeping with the season:
Peace on Earth Goodwill towards All. Hopefully at least until the new year.
Robert I gather you are ok with people going back to war with the Toronto version of the servants of Sauron in the New Year.
Yes, but they have to be given a chance to repent over the holidays first and choke holds are a definite no no. We also have to remember that the might only be “following orders.” perhaps we should go after the masters.