So much has been going on with the gradual disintegration of the SmartTrack plan and its replacement, at least in part, with elements from the Transit City network that it has been hard to keep up. I will write about this in more detail as reports and other information become available.
Meanwhile, there has been an interest on Twitter in the original EA documents for Scarborough-Malvern which vanished from view years ago in the anti-Transit City years.
I have created a repository for these files on my site.
He cancelled what? He never cancelled this line because it was never funded nor was it even on Metrolinx “next wave”.
He cancelled the ridiculous Sheppard LRT to stubway line. And the somewhat undesirable RT to LRT replacement.
Ford in some insane way actually saved Scarborough and secured them funding & an opportunity for a better plan during his years.
Steve: Ford cancelled “Transit City” and thus any chance that the second tier lines like Scarborough-Malvern would ever reappear.
Is the Mount Dennis carhouse large enough to house the fleet of vehicles needed for the Crosstown, now that it stretches from the airport to UTSC? Were the LRVs for the Malvern line always meant to be stored at Mount Dennis?
Steve: Mount Dennis was also expected to hold cars for the Jane LRT and even St. Clair before Metrolinx changed their standard from TTC to Standard Gauge. I will have to look at current plans to see what the storage capacity is and also figure out a rough estimate of the fleet needed to cover the whole line.
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Clearly there is not enough room on the Stouffville line for 2 GO tracks and 2 SmartTrack tracks between Kennedy and Sheppard.
Will Metrolinx attempt to bury Smarttrack by offering frequent 15-minute GO service along the Stouffville line?
I recently asked Liberal MPP Arthur Potts about Smarttrack and he shifted the conversation to how great GO RER was. Nothing more was said about Smarttrack.
I wouldn’t be sad to see the demise of Smarttrack East if there is 15 minute electrified GO service on the Stouffville line. No need for 2 services running in the same corridor.
Steve: I am waiting to see whether the SmartTrack plan is “optimized” with an announcement from John Tory, or whether a devastating engineering critique from Metrolinx will be needed first.
The key is to pay attention to Eglinton between Kennedy and Don Mills. If this needs to be upgraded to “accommodate the connection to the SMLRT”, then is could also carry an interlined SRT when the subway plan is cancelled. If it continues as planned, there is no way anyone would cancel the B-D subway extension and reinstate the Transit City transfer plan.
If there is no stop between Kennedy and STC, why do we need to dig the tunnels based on the previous planed path? Can we consider some shortcuts such as using Hydro corridor? It may be possible to reduce the cost of construction significantly.
Steve: Using the Hydro corridor requires that the line turn north sooner and on a less gradual curve than Eglinton-Danforth-McCowan. Also the corridor isn’t on much of an angle and won’t save a huge amount in the distance to be tunneled. Finally, Hydro is rather touchy about using their corridors for subway lines, and any tunnel has to avoid undermining the pylons.
Steve: “Using the Hydro corridor requires that the line turn north sooner and on a less gradual curve than Eglinton-Danforth-McCowan. Also the corridor isn’t on much of an angle and won’t save a huge amount in the distance to be tunneled. Finally, Hydro is rather touchy about using their corridors for subway lines, and any tunnel has to avoid undermining the pylons.”
What I meant was going on surface on Hydro corridor and reducing the amount of tunnelling. I am not sure if safety codes allow this alignment.
Steve: Going on the surface has a few problems. First, assuming that the subway went east on Eglinton, then turned north on Midland, it would surface in the hydro corridor east of Midland only to have to dive under the Laerence and then Brimley, surface again, and then descend to go underground at McCowan. All of this would have to be built without disturbing the pylons, and that corridor has rather a lot of them. The re-entry west of McCowan would be particularly tricky because this is also the point where the subway would go under Highland Creek. In other words, the line would spend a lot of time going up and down rather than staying on the surface.
Using the corridor west of Midland is not in the cards because the subway would have to run north from Kennedy Station via the SRT right-of-way. This requires a new, realigned station, and the construction work would also conflict with existing transit service in that corridor.
Again, as I said before, Hydro would probably not allow surface running here because they have so much of their own infrastructure, let alone the work needed to build underpasses at cross streets. This is one of those ideas that sounds nice when it’s only a sketch on a map, but not when you look at it on the ground.
How much would it cost to rough-in a station at Lawrence and maybe another at Eglinton/Danforth? Is the latter possible with the curve? And how much would it cost to build them later?
I would think these issues would have to be considered as a Plan B to Smart Track.
Steve: This depends on whether a “rough in” would require that the tunnel take a less than ideal route to provide for a future station. The situation at Lawrence is tricky because of Highland Creek. Best case, it should simply be a matter of designing the tunnel alignment (horizontal and vertical) to suit a future station as was done at North York Centre.
What about using a trench/uncovered box tunnel (cut, but no cover) in the hydro corridor as an alternative? I presume that this is somewhat of a middle ground price-wise between at-grade surface running and full tunneling?
Steve: First off, I don’t think that Hydro would be too happy with the amount of space this would require between their pylons, especially during construction. Also, the whole area is regarded by the locals as a park, and a trench would make quite a gash through that. So, possible in theory, but not very likely I suspect.
Even if a location is ‘reserved’ by designing a proper alignment, the ‘now vs later’ cost equation can vary wildly based on excavation method, geology, station depth and surrounding built form. The other variables of course are likelihood of construction, and likely timeline.
I have no idea what the variables are on the SSE.
I recall one recent estimates (Ottawa Confederation Line, I think) that roughing in now vs later was $50M vs $150M. The decision was later. There, as is frequently the case, future cost savings are sacrificed at the altar of arbitrary yet sacred project budgets. Tragically, it can make poor decisions all the harder to fix in future, too.
Connection to SMLRT (aka Crosstown East) might not require any upgrades to Eglinton.
SRT/SLRT would have a much higher ridership than Crosstown East, and that’s the reason TTC did not want to interline SLRT with Eglinton if Eglinton is not fully grade-separated. Crosstown East can probably be interlined with Eglinton whether the latter is grade-separated or not.
A trench is more expensive.
An open trench requires retaining walls on either side of the trench. This is likely a larger construction effort than putting a roof on. The roof acts as a strut to prevent the two walls from collapsing inwards – meaning that the walls and footing below would be much simpler.
How much would the Lawrence station cost? If I recall correctly the LRT stations on the Crosstown cost about $150 million. Ordinary heavy rail subway stations are longer, so they should cost more. Maybe wider passageways, more turnstiles, add something to the cost. I think someone, Steve probably, mentioned hydro-geological complications for a station at Lawrence and McCowan, due to its proximity to Highland Creek, that would increase its cost.
In a recent article in the Toronto Star Tess Kalinowski and Jennifer Pagliaro suggested what I thought was an odd suggestion. They mentioned that the Crosstown’s four tunnel boring machine collectively cost $54 million. They suggested we could save money if a single tunnel was bored by an extra large tunnel borer. They asserted that a tunnel boring machine that bored a tunnel wide enough to accommodate a station platform at any point could have new stations retrofitted in later, at less cost.
I have a couple of questions about with this:
 Won’t a massive tunnel boring machine, capable of digging a runnel more than three times as wide as the Crosstown’s tunnels leave more than five times as much spoil to be disposed of?
 Can a TBM 16 meters across bore a tunnel as fast as one that bores a tunnel 5 meters wide?
 Even if a triple wide tunnel means that some of the excavation of building a station are saved, there would still have to be shafts sunk for the stairs, escalators, elevators.
 Would a TBM capable of boring a 16 meter tunnel cost more than one that bored 5 meter tunnels? I’d think a TBM capable of boring a 16 meter tunnel would cost more than four that can bore 5 meter tunnels?
 Almost all of our stations have mezzanines, large enough for one or two collector’s booths, turnstiles, fare vending machines. Some stations, like Keele, and Old Mill, have all that above ground. But most stations have an underground mezzanine. So, even if a single super-wide tunnel avoids some excavation costs, there are still some excavation costs.
You would think that the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project would have given people pause when it comes to the idea of “saving” money by using a single large TBM.
Yes. Three times the diameter will have NINE times the spoil. Volume of a cylinder is pi times radius-squared times height. A circular tunnel is a cylinder on its side, so its length is the “height” value here. Since pi and the length are constant, only the radius changes. Triple the diameter, and the radius is tripled, and since the volume involves the square of the radius, the volume goes up by a factor of nine.
Does anyone have the cost breakdown of the Scarborough subway? How can a 5 km tunnel with one new station at STC cost 2.5 billion?
Steve: The original estimate for the SSE was $2.3 billion in 2010$. With inflation at 4% up to opening in 2023, this rises to $3.283 billion (see table on p 7 of the City’s report on Scarborough options).
Cutting the line back to STC from Sheppard shaves off, say, 1km, and the revised proposal has only 1 station, not 3. At 2010$ costs, that probably saves $500-600m in round numbers. That brings the 2010$ cost down to $1.7-1.8 billion. But inflation adds almost 43% bringing the cost with inflation back up to $2.42 billion at the low end. QED.
It’s not that the SRT can’t keep running, it’s that the longer the current technology is maintained, the more expensive it will be with less reliability. Beyond that, there were two alternative ideas in the mix: TransitCity – building LRT backbones to serve more people; and OneCity – building subways in Scarborough because “they deserve it”.
In the OneCity version, the SRT isn’t needed because the subway is better. In the TransitCity version, the SRT isn’t needed because there are more routing options available to get to where you exactly want to go.
IIRC the advantage of the double width tunnel boring machine was not that the two tracks could be side by side but one over the other. In this configuration there would be two platforms, also one above the other. Both platforms would be on the south side, or the north side, or the east side, or the west side of the tracks. If they built the line this way then the cost of putting in stations at later date would be much less than for the other ways. There are always trade offs; true you have to excavate more material but you only need one tunnel and one machine, but the cost of future stations is reduced. Calculate the trade off and make a decision. My view is that they will take the method that makes least chance of building a cheaper station in the future.
Tomorrow I enter the Drake Passage so I do not know when I will have internet again. If you want to see BRT and PPP in spades, try Buenos Aries.
Thanks, but I do remember the value of pi, and the relation between the radius of a circle and its area.
Have you forgotten that while the TTC’s recent TBMs are less than a third the size of the TBM the TorStar’s writers speculated about, the Crosstown and Spadina extension used two parallel tunnels? Each Crosstown TBM is pooping out its own spoil. For our purposes here, given the unknown width planned for the central platform, I thought the volume of spoil from the big TBM, divided by 2, was close enough to 5, that we can simply call it “more than 5”.
It seems to me that the TTC builds wider central platforms recently than in the past. Is that just my imagination? Certainly Union Station’s original central platform was quite narrow.
Steve: If we consider the diameter of each Crosstown TBM as 1, then each TBM puts out 1 unit of spoil (1 squared) for a total of 2 units. A single TBM of diameter 3 will put out 9 units, or 4.5 times the amount of the two smaller ones. That said, there will be a greater cost for a TBM that big, and there are almost certainly structural issues having a hole of that diameter to support via the tunnel liners. The spoil is part but not all of the equation.
Retail centres have been on a downswing for about a decade as they’ve been disrupted by ecommerce and the big-box store model. That said, Toronto has 4 of the 15 most profitable retail centres in North America (Eaton Centre, Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, Fairview). The question of the STC as a destination is: what does it offer that Agincourt Mall, Bridlewood Mall, Cedarbrae Mall, Eglinton Square Shopping Centre, Golden Mile Mall, Malvern Town Centre, or Woodside Square don’t offer?
Living in Scarborough and Scarborough-adjacent along Sheppard, I’ve been to the STC once in the last eight years, and that was to watch a movie. I’ve been there twice in the last seventeen years, and the other time was for lunch.
There are 231 ‘stores’ at STC which include 7 vision centres, 20 cell phone stores, and 46 food outlets. It would be interesting to see what small part of Scarborough is actually best served by heading to the STC rather then the same store in their neighbourhood. If it’s to “stimulate development” look at Bessarion and Leslie Stations on Sheppard.
I’m not saying that STC shouldn’t be connected to the network, but if you get your “single seat ride” on SmartTrack, where is the benefit to Scarborough riders, especially when a majority of Scarborough trips remain within Scarborough.
Who would take the SMLRT down to Kennedy to go back to the STC? The most anyone would need is 20-23 minutes on the 43B or 21A bus (as currently scheduled).
RER has a plan to eliminate all at-grade crossings within the core GO-owned network. This is viewed as enabling works for electrification, but are being undertaken separately to keep the price tag of electrification low.
The SRT has around 40K daily passenger usage. That’s within the capacity of SmartTrack.
Steve: Careful — you must distinguish between peak capacity/demand and all-day figures.
I think I’m going to look into some order of magnitude costs to change SmartTrack Phase 2 (Kennedy to Markham) into running on the SRT right-of-way by using the $2.5B instead of the SSE. It gives you a continuous ride, gives the ‘retail development’ connection that Tory was always wanting, and would actually get built.
I can speak to this specifically. The West Toronto Grade Separation has two tunnels and limited to a total of 4 tracks. The Strachan Grade Separation has a maximum of 8 tracks.
I think UPX will beat-out ST, and there will be a transfer at Union. It’d be interesting to see how demand patterns change with continuous or interrupted service. If you’re going to the west side of Toronto, wouldn’t you be better to take the subway or the Crosstown to what will be the stations there?
Steve: The demand projections for ST West are intriguing because they are 50% of the numbers for ST East. This begs the question of whether all of the ST East service needs to run through or even be interlined with service on the west side. The challenge will be to squeeze more capacity out of all of that trackage in the Weston corridor so that we don’t have pairs of tracks supporting only a 15 minute headway like UPX.
That’s the whole issue behind numbering the subway lines. By mother tongue, only 57.9% of Torontoians use the English alphabet natively. I know there is much confusion in my household between A, E, and I, due to the differences between English and Spanish.
Generally, transit planning uses a 500m radius as the catchment area. That’s 401 to Ellesmere, Brimley to McCowan. This does next to nothing for the vast majority of people in Scarborough, except that they get their “deserved” subway.
In a theorical world, Metrolinx could expropriate the corridor, bury the Hydro line, and run surface transit.
Steve: A very theoretical world indeed. Metrolinx and Hydro are both provincial agencies, although Hydro may become some sort of hybrid public-private corporation. Such a move would have to be supported at Cabinet. The cost of putting all of that infrastructure underground is enormous.
More to the point, the exact same arguments for a subway extension to STC can be made with extending the Yonge line to Centerpoint Mall at Yonge and Steeles. Even with the capacity issues on the Yonge line, the potential to construct storage tracks north of Finch can make the argument swing in favour of a two stop extension of the Yonge line over extending the BD line to STC.
So what makes STC special?
It’s “the typical number of customer-trips made on each subway on an average weekday”.
2007-8 = 43,770
2012-3 = 40,290
2013-4 = 38,810
The 2009 Metrolinx SRT BCA had the peak-hour peak-direction between 4K and 4.5K passengers.
At the lowest case ST service (15 minute) that’s 1,125 per train or roughly 3 GO bi-level coaches, 8 UPX DMU coaches, or 5 Flexity LRV. If you assume standard GO platform lengths of 320m, there’s lots of room to spare.
Steve: 4.0 to 4.5K peak hour passengers is well below the projected demand for the LRT or the subway which range between 9 and 14K. The existing demand is capacity constrained.
As for the Metrolinx BCAs, let’s just say that I find them interesting creative writing.
I have lived in Scarborough all my life and honestly most if not all of Scaborough heads to the Town Centre at some point. It has been developed to the point where it has become both a regional hub for transit and a commercial centre much like Square One in Mississauga.
People head there for the federal and municipal government offices located there. They also head there for cultural events at the Scarborough Civic Centre. I know people who work at the offices around there (even Steve did at one point!). The main reason people go to the mall itself however is the stores. You can find most of the same stores there that you can in Fairview, Yorkdale or the Eaton Centre closer to home.
I do shop at the smaller, local stores like Eglinton Square, Cederbrae and Golden Mile but they do not have what I want. Woodside, Agincourt and Bridlewood are all dives that have nothing of any value. They are all knock off, second rate stores that akin to dollar stores. I recently went to Bridlewood but only to pass through killing time with a friend. Agincourt serves the local community well due to the Wal-Mart and No Frills but that is about it. Same for Woodside which really only has the LCBO for any usefulness.
Simply put, STC is that go-to destination because it quite literally has everything. It makes sense to have a connection from there to the rest of the city.
The TorStar article said the four TBMs for the Crosstown cost $54 million CAD, for four. Wikipedia says the AWV’s single TBM cost $80 million USD.
The Alaska Way Viaduct’s TBM, “Bertha”, is 16 meters in diameter. The Barcelona Metro is employing an 11.95 meter TBM. Wikimedia has a diagram, showing Barcelona has stacked the platforms vertically. Those platforms look pretty small.
Ontario Hydro employed a 14.4 meter TBM, named “Beck” to bring water several kilometers from the upper Niagara River to a new generator building.
Did Beck encounter problems? Barcelona too has experienced delays. But, if Beck didn’t, does that suggest Seattle’s problems were management, design, or bad luck — not an underlying problem with large TBMs?
Square One is the Union Station of Mississauga. I would compare STC more to Meadowvale Town Centre. It’s big, with lots of parking; it used to be its own town/city; it’s at the end of express transit, so serves as a hub for local transit; it has some development, but is poorly accessible by foot.
With a single stop, do you provide better service to the STC mall, the Civic Precinct, Brimley or McCowan? I’ve never argued that there shouldn’t be a higher-order connection, just that Scarborough and STC development would be better served by something different than a one-stop subway (even if they subway had other stops on its route).
Anecdotal evidence won’t say if Beck has good luck or Seattle bad luck. However, as you increase the bore size, your probability of encountering issues grows exponentially. Barcelona has already changed the cutter head twice since starting, so if you throw money at the problem, delay is less of a concern. Beyond that, the construction costs will rise as you need more structural concrete and steel.
If a geological engineer with a specialization in tunneling were to say that a single big bore was both cheaper and less risky, I’d be willing to take their word. As it stands, I’m going to assume that standard industry practice already is optimized in regards to bore size versus cost and risk.
Steve: There is another site specific issue with a single large bore. A few years back, I talked to a mining engineer who was doing some preliminary work on the Eglinton project and who was at one of the public sessions. He made the point that there is a requirement (for ground stability and strength) that tunnels be separated from each other, from nearby buildings and from the surface by one diameter. If you have one big tunnel, this makes the separation requirement correspondingly larger in the vertical and horizontal directions. On Eglinton, the street width and building placement at the lot line made this impossible, not to mention the minimum depth at which the tunnel would have to be placed. Again, the issue in Toronto is that we are not tunneling through rock which can make a self-supporting tunnel (if it’s the right kind of rock) but through clay and till, with occasional underground streams.
Interesting. Do you have a source for this? Most rankings I’ve seen do not have Sherway or Fairview anywhere near that high. Of course, with the fall in the dollar, I doubt Eaton Centre or Yorkdale are close now either.
Canada’s malls have impressively robust sales on average, especially compared to the American average. What matters though is not how much business a mall does compared to other malls, but how much traffic it draws compared to other formats and locations. Big boxes also do better in Canada, (again because we have less competition and fewer of them).
The issue here is that Scarborough needs rapid transit to a transit hub somewhere that makes sense for travel patterns. Kennedy is a hub, but it is too far south and west to be the only one. Hubs don’t have to be destinations of themselves. I wonder if anyone has studied the ideal location for a hub, or if STC has always been just assumed.
Anecdotally, my only use of STC has been as a transit hub, as a place where you can disembark intercity buses. I don’t really care where the hub is located, but it sure would be nice to make it easier to get around Scarborough and get to Yonge St. from that hub. For connection to intercity buses, somewhere near the 401 makes sense. Being on the Stouffville GO line would make regional sense. What stores and offices are at STC is of no consequence.
For my own travel (getting to Yonge from STC), the Sheppard LRT would probably be faster than the Ellesmere bus was.
My experience of Scarborough Town Centre — most latterly a couple of Saturdays ago — is that it is miserable to traverse the area by foot, once you’ve gotten off at STC station or parked the car. It’s easy enough to get into the mall (which is exactly what the mall wants) but if you try to walk out to McCowan, for example, your quickest route is cross-country up some embankments and over some parking loot guardrails..
To make the area pedestrian-friendly, you’d have to remove STC station, and the various busways, for a start. I’d suggest continuing by demolishing the shopping mall and redeveloping its entire footprint. The Civic Centre may be salvagable, not sure — only worked there once.
Steve: As someone who worked at the Civic Centre for about eight years, I can echo the sentiment about getting around on foot for anything other than direct access from the SRT station to immediately adjacent buildings. Office excursions for lunch could involve a long hike across the windswept parking lots to reach a restaurant sitting in splendid isolation. Going out to McCowan was unheard of. The one saving grace was Frank Faubert park, the woodlot south of the Civic Centre, where a few picnic tables had been carried into the forest.
Isn’t it better that the LRT branch to STC from Sheppard, continues its path on Ellesmere to UTSC? This way Centennial College with thousands of students is closely served. The section of Sheppard east of McCowan is not very populated and can be served with buses.
Steve: One could equally argue for an amalgamation of the Sheppard subway extension route with the Scarborough LRT line — run an LRT east from Don Mills Station, but dodge south to Progress east of Agincourt Station, through the Town Centre (providing an east-west link and stations missing from current plans), out the east end via Progress back up to Sheppard and east to Morningside to link up with the route to UTSC (passing Centennial’s campus on Progress in the process). Such a route would do a better job of serving the Town Centre Planning District (all of it, not just the mall) than dropping all the way down to Ellesmere.
There is a lot of flux from year to year, but even with a 30% haircut due to currency exchange, Vancouver and Toronto probably keep at least 3 of the top 10 spots between them.
2012 – Top 15 – $750/sqft to $1580/sqft (All C$); $880 to $1320 in Toronto
2013 – Top 10 – $1108 to $1750 (US in USD, Can in C$); $1275 to $1300 in Toronto
2014 – Top 20 in Canada – $810 to $1498; $810 to $1420 in Toronto
One major issue with the STC as a transit hub is how it morphs the routing of the surrounding bus routes. If you buy into SmartTrack completely, you can shift to more regular grid network feeding east-west into the Uxbridge subdivision or the SMLRT.
My “suggestion” for naming stations alphabetically was done mainly “tongue in cheek” because of the idiocy surrounding Metrolinx’s naming rules. Whether you pronounce the first three vowels as “aye, ee, eye or ah, aye, ee should not make any difference to alphabetical order. However for the 31% of the population that do use another alphabet it would be a problem, but then reading the names as they are now is still a problem.
On an entirely unrelated point, the Davenport Diamond, there have been suggestions (demands?) that the Barrie line be tunneled or the North Toronto Sub be tunnelled. From my present location, 58 degrees south and 065 degrees west, I do not have access to good topographical maps, but I believe that the Barrie tunnel would need to start well south of Bloor and extend north of St. Clair or the entire North Toronto Sub would be in the tunnel from Leaside to Etobicoke because of grade restrictions and clearances under utilities under streets and subways. Any comments?
Steve: The tunnel would have to start at Bloor otherwise it would run into the BD subway. See drawings here.
Thanks. Those lists are fairly kind to Canada’s malls, because they exclude a number of luxury US malls from consideration. But then, Canada’s high-performing malls aren’t exactly luxury malls.
Canadian mall performance is 2/3 explained by the exchange rate. The last time the $C was at 70c, malls in Canada were 12% less productive than US malls, rather than 40% more productive. It also has a smaller effect on foot traffic. e.g. with a lower dollar likely for quite a few years (maybe a couple decades), we can expect to see about 20% less visits to Canadian malls. This should be a bit of a caution about mall-centric transit planning.
One big advantage if large bore tunnels stacking tracks is that there is no surface disruption, except at start and finish points.
Steve: Not true. There will be emergency exit buildings all along the route. They are smaller than stations, but they require an excavation down to tunnel level. At least one per kilometre. The absence of intermediate stations will save on construction disruption for them, but that has nothing to do with the single bore tunnel.
Just to throw the proverbial monkey wrench in the gears…If they start the SSE tunnel and then find (due to lack of track space) ST is unfeaseable, could they, would they switch the fitt out to LRT? Cheaper and more suited to demand, smaller (?) more frequent stations better connections. Are we getting set up for a long term “bait & switch”?
Steve: They won’t start without already knowing what will fit for ST. If anything, work will be well along on ST plus the LRT lines well before SSE gets to the end of detailed design. There is still time for a “surprise” to sandbag SmartTrack. However, it would be a huge stretch to revive the LRT plan because that would effectively admit everyone has been wrong for years drawing lines on maps that were not technically sound. The only thing that would kill the subway is for it to come in way over budget, but with the cutback to STC from Sheppard and a few other trimmings, they have enough headroom to take a hit on that.
The real issue is to get a start on the Eglinton LRT extensions as fast as possible (likely with Ottawa support) to lock in that money and get those projects underway. There is now talk of a “big bang” opening of Eglinton all the way from the Airport to UTSC because the surface LRT can be built so quickly.
Regarding the tunnel, the idea is that the emergency exits and even station entrances can surface away from the thoroughfare under which the tunnel runs. They could be in side streets or under buildings or empty lots. They can be dug down or up. That compares to the enormous ‘station box’ excavations that will soon start disrupting Eglinton.
Steve: Take a look at how the emergency entrances are being built on Eglinton. They are making serious disruption to the roadway even though the actual structure will be on a sidestreet. One example I see regularly is on Eglinton east of Mt. Pleasant Bayview Station.
Appears the planners have chosen a Queen Street DRL alignment, with a station at Broadview, and which if built with a conventional station box will most likely kill both 501 and 504 at the start of construction. I wonder if the planners even consider the years long disruption their choices bring about.
One advantage of a Wellington alignment was that it was walking distance to Union. Instead with Queen alignment, getting to Union requires changing to the Yonge line, that overcrowded line that requires a DRL to relieve it! Planning?
Steve: The choice of Queen appears to be based on the difficulty of going under the Don River further south to line up with Front Street.
Not much of an advantage when you consider how large the surface disruption will need to be to build the transition from the tail tracks east of Kennedy to the stacked arrangement.
As far as I know, the Emergency Exit Buildings for the Scarborough extension have to be less than 762 m apart, from either another EEB or the end of a station platform. Finding locations for these buildings isn’t exactly easy, either. They need to meet all of the regular zoning bylaws, and of course, to minimize cost, you need them as close to that 762 m number as possible. There are long stretches where there’s nothing but single family housing – finding locations to minimize impacts both during construction and relocation/expropriation, will be tough.
Also, for a single bore tunnel, one option being looked at was staggered platforms. That is, one entrance in the middle with the northbound platform on one side, southbound platform on the other. Apparently that could all be done within the single bore tunnel at whatever diameter was being looked at.
If the Wellington alignment was chosen (or Richmond or Adelaide), it would/could cross the Don River at/near Eastern. I cannot imagine that the soil conditions change that much in the 200m between Queen and Eastern.
Steve: I refer you to an 1872 map of Toronto (with thanks to Nathn Ng’s excellent site Historical Maps of Toronto). Note that by the time you are down to the point where the railway crosses the river, you are into the mouth of the Don and the marshy area around it is much more extensive than at Queen.
I agree, and starting up LRT construction should be relatively quick. Do you have a sense of how much EA-type activity is required for the Crosstown East and West extensions? I assume the relevant Transit City EAs were at least well underway when everything fell apart.
Steve: The EAs are complete and approved. All that is needed is a design update to reflect current conditions, detailed drawings and a tender call.
If crossing the Don no further south than Queen is a necessity, I don’t see why the Relief Line must follow Queen west rather than King or Wellington. I’d enjoy reading an update to your ‘best route’ for the RL based on a Queen crossing rather than Eastern.
The planned single station at Queen west of Bay strikes me as the worst possible location for easy connection to YUS. Wanting a convenient station for NPS/City Hall is not enough to warrant this level of dysfunction. The planners are not focusing enough on dynamic network effects.
I also don’t see Pape as the best choice either.
Steve: The only realistic way to hit Wellington is to cross further south in line with Front Street and this poses many problems especially with SmartTrack taking up space in the rail corridor. As for Pape, the attraction is no doubt to allow redevelopment of Gerrard Square. The problem is yard access, although there was an idea of an access tunnel east from Pape under the rail corridor to Greenwood Yard. It’s a topic I intend to chase because an actual junction between the two lines at Pape/Danforth would require demolition of part of the neighbourhood.
That 1872 map is a beautiful map — one new to me. For what it is worth the road it labels Palace Street is today’s Front Street.
This may be a stupid question, but if the underground geology precludes a tunnel under the Don, or precludes one that doesn’t go prohibitively deep, how difficult would it be to have the route rise and cross the Don via a bridge?
Steve: That only works if the route runs north or south of Queen, thereby requiring the demolition of at least one condo that was recently constructed. The original plans for the Queen Subway ran north of the street through what was then rather run down and, in many cases, industrial buildings.
A berm was built on the eastern edge of the large park that lines the Don, in the West Donlands. It is supposed to be tall enough to hold back a 100 year flood. A similarly large berm is supposed to be built lining the banks on the Unilever side. Could the TTC tunnels go right through the river side of the berms? How often would that require closing a water-tight barrier, on flood days? Maybe the portion of the bridge the subway’s travelled through could itself be sealed, so it could be used even when the Don in the middle of a flood?
Steve: You have a similar problem to the one described above. Even if you leap over the river berm to berm, you land in the middle of what is now an established residential district with brand new buildings. This might have been an option 30-40 years ago, but not today.
Would a sealed bridge act like a partial dam, during a super high-water flood of the Don? You certainly wouldn’t want that bridge to be washed away, even if it was only once every hundred years, even if you shut down the DRL, because of the flood. You wouldn’t want Don flood water to rush all the way to Wellington station, or Nathan Phillips Square station, and maybe much of the PATH system too.
But I think there would be ways to deal with the risk a bridge would act like a dam. The Romans used inverted siphons when they wanted their aqueducts to cross some wide valleys. I think placing a row of inverted siphons, surrounding the bridge, could manage the flood-water pressure.