Updated April 28, 2015 at 8:20 am:
The decision to push construction of the Sheppard LRT out to the 2020s was taken quite recently as shown by two separate reports.
In today’s Globe & Mail, Oliver Moore reports:
According to Mr. Del Duca, the delay on Sheppard was because of the difficulty of trying to do too many big projects at once. “The plan right now is to have the procurement begin for the Sheppard East LRT after we complete the Finch West LRT,” he said.
There was no firm timeline available for the Sheppard line. If it starts on its new schedule and takes about as long as Finch to build, it should be ready some time after 2025.
This timeline is sharply at odds with the information given to a reporter in the provincial budget lock-up on Thursday. The government’s position then – given on background and not for attribution, under the rules of the lock-up – was that the Sheppard line would open about a year after Finch. Mr. Del Duca’s spokesman did not return a message Monday seeking clarification of what had changed.
On April 27, over an hour after the LRT announcement, one of my readers, seeking clarification from Metrolinx received the following email:
From: Metrolinx Customer Relations <email@example.com>
Date: April 27, 2015 at 10:43:26 AM EDT
Thank you for contacting us about the status of the Sheppard East LRT.
The Sheppard East LRT is fully funded and approved. The Sheppard East LRT underpass construction at Agincourt GO Station has been completed.
Preliminary design and engineering work will be happening over the next few years. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and be completed by 2021.
I appreciate you taking the time to contact us.
[x] Customer Service Representative
GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
One wonders just what triggered a change so last-minute that it was not communicated to Metrolinx’ own “communications” team. The Minister claims that the delay is because there is only so much construction work that can be undertaken concurrently, but this seems to have more to do with avoiding a politically difficult decision.
A much more honest position would be to say simply that “we’re waiting for the results of various studies now underway on transit for Scarborough”, but leadership, or even a bit of common sense on anything transit-related in that part of town seems to escape the Liberals at Queen’s Park.
Original article from April 27 at 12:11 pm:
The Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, gathered with other politicians including Mayor Tory to announce that construction of the Finch West LRT would proceed starting in 2016 with an in-service date of 2021. The line, for which an approved EA has been in place since 2010, will run from Finch West Station at Keele to Humber College, a distance of 11km. An EA for the proposed carhouse will begin soon. The connection at Finch West will be in a short tunnel section, but otherwise the line will run at grade.
The project will be paid for 100% by the Province of Ontario.
The Sheppard East LRT’s status is less clear. According to Del Duca, that project won’t get underway until after Finch West opens, and this puts an actual go/nogo decision out beyond the next municipal and provincial elections. Actual service on Sheppard is at least a decade away.
The Sheppard line’s status is intimately linked to the proposed Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE), the GO/RER and SmartTrack plans, and any possible resurrection of the Scarborough LRT. That political morass cannot begin to be sorted out until there is better supporting information on project costs, alignments and potential ridership for various network configurations.
Toronto Council is, today, in favour of the SSE, but this support could falter if there is a significant change in the scope of the subway proposal including options to shift the line further east away from SmartTrack, or to link up an SSE with the Sheppard Subway. The City’s financial position and ability to undertake very large capital projects is quite different now than when the SSE and its 1.6% property tax hike were approved. There are very large costs associated with both the Gardiner Expressway project and with the maintenance backlog at Toronto Community Housing (TCHC).
For the rest of 2015, we are likely to see much huffing and puffing by LRT opponents, and a big debate once the studies now underway are published. The SmartTrack plan itself requires major revision, notably for the Eglinton West branch, but this could provide an opportunity to “save” money by ditching the impractical underground ST route from Mount Dennis to the Airport. The cost of SmartTrack would be a lot lower if it stayed in the existing rail corridors, and this could give political headroom for the Eglinton Crosstown’s westward extension.
Meanwhile there are smaller but no less deserving projects such as waterfront transit and acceleration of the bus fleet’s expansion to provide more service on that vital part of the transit network.
PS. One location I was thinking in terms of tightness is Gerrard. I do not see how in this area how you would get sidings and station in without buying some land.
This seems to confirm what I believed will occur. This is likely all a prelude to the future SSE plan and also an opportunity for current Politicians to play kick ball with Scarborough funding.
Scarborough has been given a choice between 2 incomplete plans with a Smart track wrench thrown in just because that’s how we plan.
Outsiders want us to take the LRT plan because it cost much less and they have no interest in its use. Most Scarborough residents are aware of the poor integration, poor route planning and lack of funding for a complete network. If we have to choose between the 2 plans it will be an SSE.
Sheppard will likely remain in limbo for generations to come. There’s way too many issues with the LRT plan to gain support. Connectivity to the subway stub, smart track ridership and lack of a complete loop for effective local transit al work against it.
Would be nicer to see a well thought out and funded LRT plan or combo BRT/subway plan but this is the reality of Toronto’s insane political planning.
Steve: While we might disagree on what the “ideal” outcome should be, I certainly agree that we need a plan that thinks out how everything is supposed to fit together and how we will pay for it all. It is too easy to “sell” solutions one line at a time while ignoring the larger picture.
I think most people are in full agreement with this approach. Unfortunately we are forced to fight over two political patchwork plans for Scarborough.
If we are serious about transit lets get to work & start building proper networks. If it costs big money than lets start paying for it or don’t bother at all. Kicking the ball down the road while large areas of Toronto Citizens are being neglected is completely unacceptable. Anyone who finds this planning model acceptable likely already has transit close by & could really care less for others.
I’m all for an LRT network that provides fair access for everyone especially when Politicians have already left an unfair legacy of rapid transit building in Toronto. I’d even support a BRT network to save money if the numbers supported it.
But many of us from Scarborough will never support this poorly designed & funded second class network being offered.
While that is desirable, it is important to not ask for too much at one time as we risk getting nothing. Let us get the Scarborough subway built and when the construction of it approaches an end, immediately demand an extension of the Sheppard subway to join it at Sheppard and McCowan to form a single line. It is important to stand our ground and not let Scarborough subway route be changed (only push for an additional station at McCowan and Eglinton as it will also provide a convenient connection to Lakeshore East GO Line) as a changing subway route will delay the project so much as to risk Scarborough getting nothing but study after study.
That’s right. The truncated version ending at Danforth will be bitterly opposed by Scarborough and North York as well as by much of East York.
Today, the TTC, MiWay, Brampton Transit, GO Transit, and York Region Transit all converge upon Humber College. Mostly they are generally students and staff going to Humber College, maybe a couple of people use those buses to get to the Etobicoke General Hospital.
With the Finch West LRT getting its western terminal at Humber College, that stop/station will become a mobility hub for all those bus routes. I would expect to see much, much higher ridership from those feeder routes once the Finch West LRT opens for business.
See this map for current users, as well as this map.
Toronto was recently complaining about the provincial budget not having anymore transit goodies for them but what are they talking about? Tens of billions of dollars have been spent on Toronto on new subway trains, new streetcars, new signal system, station upgrades, Eglinton LRT, Finch LRT, UPX, Spadina subway extension, Scarborough subway (already approved), new buses, and so much more while not a single project has been approved for Hamilton.
Hamilton has really lost by being part of the so called GTHA. What is GTHA? I swear one had never heard of the term until Metrolinx was invented by the provincial Liberals and Hamilton was only included so that Hamilton can subsidise transit construction in the GTA and it was always the GTA this, GTA that, and nobody had even heard of the GTHA as no such thing existed.
Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge are blessed to not be part of the extended GTA (i.e. GTHA) which unfortunately has swallowed Hamilton.
Steve: Well let’s take these one by one:
Toronto gets about $150m annually in provincial gas tax revenue, of which about $70m is used in the capital budget (against an annual spend of close to $1-billion). Take a look at the last page of the TTC Capital Budget plan for 2015-2024 to see how little of the total required comes from other levels of government. Then tell me about how much is being spent on Toronto.
I never intended to imply that it would be easy and/or cheap. But when you compare that work to twinning the tracks under the 401…
Amusingly, that’s why I felt that SmartTrack opened up the possibility of reducing the RT conversion time since the speed of the LRT line would become less important between Ellesmere and Kennedy. As a result, you could turn that portion of the LRT into a middle of the road LRT line along Kennedy and build it before the shutdown. This is assuming that the transition from the elevated portion to road level along Kennedy was feasible in the first place.
Well, I said “and the BD extension” to soften the blow since Steve has made it clear that SmartTrack is a keel breaker for the BD extension’s ridership projections.
Steve: I don’t think I ever said that.
And with the way things are going for Christine, it might be premature to imply that she’ll be the leader of the Tories. I mean, what does it say about you when you are the *second* choice for a crackhead?
That’s a good idea but Downtown likely won’t allow it due to higher costs than simply building an LRT with a killer transfer at Don Mills station as only poor suburban people are expected to suffer.
Steve: That “killer transfer” involves walking possibly 100m along a platform with no change in level.
I would like to see the province spend more money outside of Toronto as the vast majority of people, jobs, and economic activity in the province are outside of Toronto as do the vast majority of provincial tax dollars come from outside of Toronto.
Steve: I would be happy if the province and the feds spent inside Toronto proportionately to the money that comes out of Toronto. We get the short end of the stick and prop up the rest of the province and country.
That’s complete BS. The proof is below.
The GTHA has well less than half of the provincial population and so why is more than 50% of the money marked for GTHA? Similarly, things within GTHA aren’t equal. For example, Hamilton’s population is 10% of that of the GTA and yet more than 95% of the GTHA money is being spent in the GTA disproportionately high of which is being spent in Toronto. Similarly, things within Toronto are not even. Scarborough and Etobicoke together account for 40% of Toronto’s population though less than 10% of the recent big project money. Anyway Steve, please answer my question: the GTHA has well less than half of the provincial population and so why is more than 50% of the money marked for GTHA?
Steve: I am speaking of provincial and federal spending in general. For example, for decades, education property tax revenue from Toronto has propped up school boards in rural Ontario through its redistribution by Queen’s Park. Also, Toronto is the economic centre of the country, but that role depends on moving large numbers of workers to jobs. That has a cost. As for Hamilton, if that city can ever make up its mind what transit it actually wants, then I will support spending on it. There is certainly an inconsistency in the degree to which Queen’s Park decides to make 100% or lower contributions to projects.
And are you not the one who defends and advocates for very close stops (even those as close as 50m to another stop)? Will they build some kind of a shuttle service to take Scarborough commuters from the subway to LRT and vice versa? As I said, things are not fair and Scarborough and Etobicoke have always (to use Steve’s language) gotten the short end of the stick.
Steve: First of all, I have not argued for very close stops, and so your premise is full of hot air. A shuttle service? How long do you think 100m is? It’s roughly the length of a 4-car subway train.
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RE: “Killer Transfers”
I seem to recall having to make many transfers in stations in London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo Station, Shinjuko Sta in Tokyo, Shirakawa Sta. in Tokyo which required walks of over 100 m, stairs, escalator that were out of service, packed tunnels, etc. There is a station in Osaka, Namba, where we made a transfer from a subway station to a train where the walk had to be over 400 m. long, with stairs.
Steve: The point here is that a short walk with no change in level is being described as a “killer transfer”. This is total crap based on the ongoing characterization of any transfer as equivalent to Kennedy Station’s subway-to-RT link.
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A very unnecessary 100m walk.
It’s absurd that we would even debate over such a ridiculous design considering better solutions are available which will integrate the network with greater efficiency.
For the record, the GTHA is not “well less than half” of the province’s population. It is actually over 50%, a fact that took me all of 30 seconds to confirm. The GTHA has 6,574,140 residents, and the province’s population is 12,851,821.
I would like point out 2 things:
1. Capital money tends to be spent in large chunks The province has spent little in Lambton county last year in the way of major new highway investments. Do I discount the massive money spent on the 402 previously?
2. Do I focus only on transit spending, or do I include, roads, sewers, hospitals, schools etc.
Exactly what would you do with heavy transit capital spending in most of the rest of the province: Kingston, Brockville, Belleville, Cornwall, Ingersoll, Sarnia, Chatham, Thunder Bay, Sault St Marie, etc, will not benefit from the construction of higher order transit. When we consider it even for London, Guelph and Windsor it would be a very tough argument to make. Really there when you think about it, this type of investment only applies well in the GTHA, Ottawa, and to a lesser degree Cambridge/KW. There is simply not a large enough area of high enough density elsewhere or enough basic transit usage to make that type of capital investment make sense. So if we are to look at it Toronto and region represents about 6 million of the 13.6 million in the province, ~44 percent, I believe it is well (greatly) and represents the majority of the population to which this particular type of investment would apply.
Oddly enough those beautiful 4/6 lane expressways that run long distance through much lower density, (416, 400 North of Barrie, 401 east of Oshawa or west of Cambridge, 402, 403, 11, 40….) all serve residents in those regions as local highways as well. In this area of infrastructure among other Toronto is substantially short changed.
Exactly how much is a 100m walk worth?
@A Quiet Guy from Scarborough
First, don’t go around stealing and putting twists on people’s names. Secondly, of course the truncated DRL will be opposed, but where are you getting the money to extend it?
Ok, I’ll bite. Exactly what are these better solutions? And consider that if they involve converting the Sheppard Subway to LRT, it would be an expensive process that would take funds away from building new transit elsewhere. So how would you change that transfer?
That 100m walk is a markedly easier transfer than Sheppard-Yonge, Spadina (line 1 to line 2 or streetcar), the streetcar connections at College, Queen’s Park, Dundas, St. Patrick, Queen, Osgoode, King, St. Andrew, and Union from one of the subway platforms. I’d argue that it’s easier than streetcar connections at Bathurst, Broadview, Dundas West, and others, as well as dozens of bus connections, particularly at stations not yet accessible. It’s also arguably easier than bus connections at many intersections, because while you may have to walk slightly farther at Don Mills, you don’t have to worry about changing lights and you’re much less likely to be hit by a car.
Every subway station, even in the downtown core, is hundreds of meters apart, so if you can’t walk that far, you’re going to have a hell of a time getting on the service to begin with. Heck, half the time when you get off a train, you have to walk 100m just to get to a staircase.
This is a very good idea and will resolve the transfer problem. However it will not solve the Sheppard traffic problem between Don Mills and Kennedy. It would be great to extend the subway to Kennedy for additional 5km and then by using dual mode trains, there will be a continuous path all the way to Morningside. Same dual mode trains can be use in DRL Which can travel North all the way to Don Mills.
In their announcement, the province said they would cover 100% of the project cost. Presumably this covers probable cost overruns, rolling stock and building a car garage (do they have a preferred location?). No doubt the TTC will be stuck with operational costs. Is there any data or projections about the annual cost of running this line? How much will it be offset by the reduction or removal of the current Finch West bus service.
Steve: The question is not quite that simple. The current AM peak service on Finch east of Weston Road consists of a 5’20” headway of artics (11.25 buses/hour, with a design capacity of 866/hour), plus the two Weston Road branches with regular buses on a combined headway of 11’15” (5.33 buses/hour, with a design capacity of 283/hour). This gives a design capacity for the route as a whole of about 1,150 per hour, less than half of the planned capacity of the LRT route. On a 1:1 replacement, the buses would certainly be cheaper, but the whole point is to have the headroom for growth. It is reasonable to expect higher demand once the line connects to the Spadina subway at Keele, and further in the future with the proposed extension southwest to the airport.
Exactly what is a dual mode train aside from the ability to use third rail or overhead? Is it 75′ long and 10′ wide like a subway? If so if it is still 6 cars long that is a hell of a long vehicle to put through a traffic intersection. Curves would also be interesting if you wanted to branch off on another road. Minimum 100m turns would make intersections fun. Also where would you store the passengers while they waited for the light to change?
Perhaps we should make the cars articulated and a bit narrower so they can do the corners. If we made them low platform then we would not need those ramp up platforms at intersections to get to platform level. AODA requires a maximum 12:1 grade and prefers an 18:1 if I remember. This would make a long walk to or from platform to ground level. So why don’t we make articulated low platform cars and run them in trains? Sounds a lot like LRT. At some point the passenger density drops to a point where it is not economical to run Heavy Rapid Transit in a tunnel. Unfortunately people don’t seem to care as long as it serves them. As soon as it serves someone else it is a waste of money.
Toronto has to look at surface operations to reduce the prohibitive costs of rapid transit construction. Yonge through Hogg’s Hollow should have been on a bridge but Nimby’s won out. So should have been the Danforth line in Scarborough from Warden to Kennedy. The TYSSE should have been LRT from at least York U north and probably from south of there but important politicians had to spend extra money to placate their voters. Perhaps if all the extra costs were paid for by only those who benefited then we would have more sane transit. I am not talking all the costs just the extra cost.
Chicago used to run third rail L trains at ground level that had level crossings with cross streets but I don’t think you want that here.
Steve: The third rail model would have been interesting on Spadina and Queen’s Quay. It would certainly have discouraged the jaywalkers.
It looks like Metrolinx and the City of Toronto do not care about this – since the LRT at the highway interchange along the Eglinton is at-grade and removes 2 lanes from under the bridge.
It looks more likely that the 2021 start date for Sheppard will be delayed because it is too close to the 2022 election – and the Sheppard subway will be an issue in 2022.
Someone please inform me if I’m wrong, but my general impression of Ontario/Canada voters is that urban areas are more liberal and prefer higher taxation and higher public service levels and rural/suburban areas are more conservative and prefer lower taxation and lower public service levels.
That’s one way of presenting the facts, but another is a dollar per capita view (of this Ottawa still gets short shrift). Personally, I think we need to break out of the regional jealous mode (unlikely to happen) and focus on building the projects that provide the best ROI for Ontario. If a fully funded LRT in Hamilton has a positive ROI, then in their the incremental GDP growth is helping fund KW hospitals.
From a safety perspective, an at-grade subway requires fencing. Conversely, there are issues with relining the Sheppard Subway as a LRT that the costs outweigh the benefits.
This would be political suicide for the OPC. Harris is the one that cut off the stubway, and now they want to finish the political pandering to gain votes? If the OPC lifts the pressure off balanced budgets and no tax increases, the OLP have a lot more room to position themselves.
Steve: Remember also that the nice Mr. Hudak was going to slash transit spending to ribbons. I have seen nothing to imply that the OPCs have modified their stance sufficiently to warrant trusting them to be transit builders. Once a Visigoth, always a Visigoth.
The whole issue is the two plans are of equal cost. One serves a smaller fraction of residents in a smaller area of Scarborough. The other serves a larger fraction of residents in a larger area of Scarborough. The whole question is about what provides the best service in Scarborough: Grade A+ for 10% and Grade C for 80%, or Grade B for 35% and Grade C for 60% (please note, all numbers are without basis beyond a gross proportionality)?
Waterloo Region is part of the Golden Horseshoe, if you’re looking for a group inclusion. Including Hamilton in the GTA makes sense as there is continually development. As for “not a single project” for Hamilton, how about James St. Station or the progressing Confederation Station? The HSR Line B hasn’t had a new line funded because an EA hasn’t been completed. It’s definitely still in the mix for any “found money”.
From the 2011 Census, Ontario had 12.85M people: 2.62M in Toronto, 1.30M in Peel, 1.03M in York, 0.61M in Durham, 0.54M in Hamilton, and 0.50M in Halton. Thus the GTHA represents a majority of the provincial population.
It’s absurd not to debate the merits of any logical option. The question is the cost-benefit ratio of eliminating the transfer: if the cost is too high, it makes sense not to eliminate it.
It’d be interesting to ask route 85 riders if they’d prefer a 100m walk or $10 a year less in taxes.
There is still capacity to widen Sheppard in this segment, so the question is how much is just ‘normal’ Toronto rush-hour traffic and how much is diverted onto transit. Dual mode trains basically means double the maintenance costs and half the reliability.
Roger – As pointed out above, the GTHA is about 6.5M and the population of Ontario is just over 13M which puts our proportion at 48%. Toronto directly is ~18%.
If you look at GDP (critical because coffers are funded by SALES TAX, INCOME, CORP TAXES primarily), GTHA is at 54%, and Toronto is at 27%.
Please tell me again how the province is being “short-changed”.
The only traffic problem on Sheppard is the fact there are too many people driving cars. It’s the same problem everywhere else in the GTA. The only solution to traffic is removing cars.
How exactly will a seamless Sheppard line work? I assume that this proposal requires that the existing Sheppard Subway platforms at Yonge, Bayview, Bessarion, Leslie and Don Mills be lowered to permit at-grade boarding for the LRT replacement vehicles? Is the cost of these modifications worth it?
This solution also means that the number of train cars must be fixed for the entire line. Will it be practical to run 3+ car sets all the way to Morningside? At the moment the Sheppard line employs 4 cars. Therefore, i can’t conceive that the LRT replacement trains will use less cars than what is currently used today on the Sheppard Subway line.
I think it makes the most sense to just stick to the existing plan to connect the Sheppard Subway and LRT using a single, shared platform at Don Mills stations.
Some of the posts here seem to violate the rule above. There is no doubt, as you have pointed out Steve, that the GTHA (and Ottawa) transfer much money elsewhere to subsidize education. This is not a “social” transfer as many of the people receiving the benefit are better off than those of us who pay it.
I would be interested in seeing an empirical study that showed that wealth is transferred from the other former Cities and Borough to the old City. Everything I have ever read suggests the reverse. If the former is asserted, provide the evidence.
I find discussions based on actual facts to be much more interesting that emotional and imagined grievances.
Steve: But imagined grievances, free of the need to establish a modicum of credibility, let alone “fact”, are so much more fun!
Whatever the cost of building something properly & starting to build a fair network? Otherwise do build it at all.
Steve: I presume that you meant to say “do not build it at all”.
Suppose we extend the Sheppard subway a bit then turn south to make the DRL.
Then we take the B-D extension and go north and loop through the townships to join the Spadina line in Vaughan.
That should help elect a few MLAs in the exurbs.
Sheppard subway operates with 4 cars with the same length as 3 LRV Trains in Eglinton crosstown.
They still do on the brown line / Ravenswood branch. The third rail is set back from the intersection of the North / South street. But, there are still collisions with cars that go around the crossing gates.
True but they are 10′ wide, require a very large turning radius and have 43′ high platforms that would be difficult to put into the middle of a street. Your statement still does not answer the questions I asked.
OK, then let’s double the tax rate and first build everything else that gives a better ROI than this. Subways under every street in downtown with streetcars above. We wouldn’t want all those people having to walk 100m, now would we? I live on the edge of Scarborough and would use this connection daily, so I have a vested personal interest in the matter. However, I prefer my tax dollars go to a solution that make sense financially.
Calgary Siemens LRVs also have high platforms and they are built sometimes in the middle of street. Not a big deal. This video may be intersting.
The width of Flexity Freedom vehicles is 265cm and the width of TTC cars is 314cm. I think it is still possible to fit them in the center lanes. I don’t think that there is sharp turning along Sheppard.
I would think that more pressing issue will be actually having dual mode trains, that actually have the ability to pull the pickup for overhead down for in tunnel and switch over. This will be a special car, that applies only here. To run middle of road, it will need the extra braking ability of LRT along with 3rd rail power pick-up, and be low enough to work well in the box tunnel.
Steve: Actually such cars exist on other systems such as Boston’s Blue Line. It is worth noting that the tunnel used by this “subway” was originally a streetcar tunnel and has enough vertical clearance for a retracted pantograph on the roof of the cars.
Also when you watch that video, the Calgary LRT runs in roads like Crowchild etc. These roads are very, very wide. Where there are platforms in the core, like on 7th ave, it is a closed roadway that runs LRT and BUS only, and it also runs in former rail ROWs. There are many stations where the station+rail is very close to 16 meters across, or 4 lanes. I would honestly suggest that this would be harder to do in Toronto, than Calgary. I love the Calgary LRT, but it cannot be lifted whole, as we are not prepared to close a couple of downtown streets, do not have open rail rights of way, nor roads like Crowchild (among others) to take over. Calgary has a number of road allowances that must be pushing 3 chain, and some rail ROW that they converted rather than making linear parks. That Calgary did this while it was a much much smaller city speaks well to how it planned. However, now it is also reaching the limits on its system, and is looking at another route, and possibly even a tunnel through the core.
Thanks Steve – I should have been clearer in my comment – specially in the sense of used nowhere else in Toronto. I was rather under the impression that we were trying to reduce fleet complexity not increase it. However, that is true, also if we really want to be different, we could simply use the induction power systems the entire length of the route and retrofit them into the Sheppard Tunnel. This however, seems expensive.
It’s hard to tell, but roughly from Google Earth, the two curves on Sheppard are between 400m and 800m radii. However, the question is if you’d take it to the STC.
I’ve opened the Sheppard East LRT EA, and 36m in most sections (less near Pharmacy and between Midland and Brimley). The design was a 7m LRT ROW and 3m platform, so it could fit.
One question about high platforms is if the 1.3 accidental deaths per year on Calgary’s LRT system is acceptable or not. Calgary provides an overhead bridge to access their central platform, as it’s in the middle of a highway (not street), so the added accessibility would add a big chunk to the costs.
There aren’t any sharp turns now and there never will be if you run 75′ cars down the road. Also you need a wide platform to be able to hold passengers who want to get on and off a train if there is a gap. These cars are longer and just as wide as many freight cars. Do you want that running down Sheppard. Also getting of in the median of the road would be a problem with a disabled train. It may be possible but is it wise? I also believe that the floors of the Calgary cars are about 10″ lower that a subway car. Also I should have said the platforms are 43 inches (“) high not 43 feet (‘).
A lot is possible but is it smart?
They can be anything you want them to be. They would likely have a turning radius comparable to the LRT trains, but perhaps a little wider since turns on the route would be very limited. A tight turning radius also means that it can handle any turns on the subway portion, if it has to operate along such portions of the network in certain situations.
I’ll let the engineers design the specifications, but essentially this would be a subway train that can operate in street medians. While we all have a conceptual idea of what defines a subway compared to an LRT compared to a streetcar, at the end of the day rail is rail. A venn diagram would show plenty of overlap between the modes, as they are difficult to define in absolute terms. There are subways which operate in the street, and there are light rail systems which are almost indistinguishable from streetcar lines. James Bow did an excellent piece on this a few years ago.
And while the transfer only required 10 meters of walking, it still just never felt right with me. Yes, lines cannot extend forever, but there should be some logic to their design. Imagine if once you transferred to the Danforth line at Bloor-Yonge, you had to transfer again to an LRT or bus at Castle Frank. Even if it was just across the platform, it still makes you wonder why they didn’t bother extending subway east or just have the LRT stretch out to Yonge.
Rather than doing nothing for the next 6 years, let’s take this opportunity to address some of the imperfections on the line. While my solution may cost a little more than just waiting, it would certainly cost less than retrofitting the subway to work with LRT trains, especially in time, and would rectify one of the largest complaints about the line as well.
Just wondering how badly this affects the bus fleet … we’ll need Sheppard buses for a bit longer.
Steve: This issue was raised at the TTC meeting yesterday, and Andy Byford said he would look into it. Actually, I don’t think that the fleet plans have any assumptions about new rapid transit lines replacing buses beyond the TYSSE opening (now in 2017) and the Eglinton line. The TTC took allowances for the “Transit City” conversions out of their plans a few years ago.