Updated November 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm: The TTC will be conducting a “Meet the Planners” session at George Brown College on Dockside Drive on Tuesday, December 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. There has already been a similar session at Pape Station.
Route 172 Cherry was split off from 72 Pape a few years ago due to congestion from construction at Union Station. The question now is how to put the routes back together again, or indeed, if they should be in their original form.
The TTC has a survey active on its website until mid-December 2015 to poll riders on proposed changes to service mainly in the eastern waterfront.
The current arrangement of routes is shown in the map below (taken from the survey):
This arrangement provides a fairly large loop through downtown and acts as a parallel service to the 504 King car for riders along The Esplanade and in the Distillery District. It was particularly useful during the recent Pan Am Games when service here was substantially improved because the route served the Athletes’ Village.
However, the connection between the 72C Pape and 172 Cherry services is not good. It is not a scheduled connection and the two routes operate on different headways. Moreover, the Port Lands is not exactly the best place to connect between routes at night or in bad weather. Splitting the routes also effectively eliminates a direct link from the Danforth subway to Queens Quay East and the Distillery District.
The new proposed route structure is shown below:
Route 72 Pape would be confined to the shuttle between Queen and Danforth, with route number 172 belonging to a revised Cherry bus that would operate via Queens Quay rather than using The Esplanade. The 172 would loop via Bay, Front and Yonge. It is unclear what the service level on 172 would be or whether this would be blended with the 72 Pape bus on the common section.
A new route 121 would operate on Front and The Esplanade between Parliament and Bathurst.
Service to the Distillery District along Mill Street would cease to exist, and the Distillery District would only be served at a distance by the 172 Cherry bus on Lake Shore and by the new 514 streetcar on Cherry itself.
The 514 car would operate from Dufferin Loop via King to Cherry Street, although given TTC scheduling, many of these cars could well short-turn without serving the outer ends of their route.
The 514 is less a new service for Cherry than a supplementary service for King, although this is not how it was presented in the 2016 Operating Budget. Indeed, provision of this map could have informed the discussion about streetcar service on Cherry considerably more than the way it was presented as a small spur off of King that would attract no new riders.
The survey itself is interesting because it asks, among other questions, whether this route structure would encourage people to use the TTC more. What is missing is a direct question about whether this arrangement is more convenient, not to mention any indication of service frequencies on which any discussion of “convenience” inevitably turns. There is a big difference between a line on a map and whether service is worth planning on and waiting for. One obvious question is whether the new routes – 172, 121 and 514 – would become part of the 10 Minute Network.
The survey claims that the new 172 Cherry route on Queens Quay would improve service to George Brown College (GBC), but it misses two important points:
- The primary service to GBC, the 6 Bay bus, loads diagonally opposite from the likely stop for the 172 at Bay and Front. The option of taking whichever bus shows up first is not available to riders.
- Similarly, westbound from GBC to downtown service would not use the 6 Bay stop within the loop at the college, but would speed past likely using the stop on Queens Quay well west of Sherbourne.
Looping through Dockside Drive in both directions, and a revised loop at Union Station should be considered if this is to be advertised as an “improvement” to GBC service.
The 121 bus as an alternative to the streetcar service on 509 Harbourfront only makes sense if it is quite frequent and reliable, not if this is a one or two bus shuttle showing up now and then for whoever happens to be passing by.
This is a good first attempt, but more thorough community feedback is needed than just this survey, and the TTC has to be more forthcoming about how each neighbourhood along the proposed routes would be affected.