In Toronto’s never-ending fascination with new transit maps, the City Planning department has released a vision for our rapid transit network as it will be in 15 years.
Despite much talk of “evidence-based” planning, this is a very political map, and I cannot help remembering then-Premier David Peterson’s announcement of 1990 (not long before he lost an election and Bob Rae wound up as his much-surprised replacement) that amounted to a chicken-in-every-pot map.
There is nothing wrong with network-based planning, and indeed I have been beating a well-worn drum on that subject for years. But let us also remember that the Scarborough Subway exists because of the political clout of Brad Duguid, a former City Councillor, now Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development. Mayor John Tory, in Toronto Life, cites Duguid as saying that “if anyone tries to cancel the [Scarborough] subway, they’ll do it over his dead body”. “Evidence” apparently includes having a large cudgel to keep wandering pols in line.
The map also includes the Mayor’s pet project, SmartTrack, and it’s no wonder that he steers clear of the Minister’s position given the need for a provincial agency, Metrolinx, to accommodate SmartTrack on their network.
All of this is part of the “Motherlode” of public consultation sessions now running in various places around the City, and through Metrolinx in the wider GTHA. Background information and links to related material are available at Toronto’s TransitTO web site.
The Yellow Line (aka Line 1 Yonge-University-Spadina)
The Vaughan extension of Line 1 will open very late in 2017. Whether we will have Andy Byford as Santa Claus bringing a shiny train full of toys to York Region remains to be seen.
Concurrently with the opening, the first phase of Automatic Train Control (ATC) will begin on this line from St. Clair West station north to Vaughan Centre. Additional phases will come online working “around the U” and north to Finch with project completion in 2019. Once the new system is fully operational, service can be improved from the currently scheduled level of 2’20” (a bound imposed by existing signals) down, possibly, to 1’50” for a capacity improvement of about 25%.
A future extension to Richmond Hill is shown in gray. How quickly it will be built depends on a combination of factors: the ability to offload Yonge line demand to other routes and to increase this line’s capacity, and the political will to spend on this extension in the face of many competing proposals. Ridership and network considerations are discussed in a recently released report detailing the interaction of the Relief Line, SmartTrack and the Richmond Hill extension. I will discuss that report in a separate article.
In brief, the Richmond Hill subway is not expected to generate a large peak demand, but coupled with expected growth on the network overall, Bloor-Yonge station will be overwhelmed in the absence of relief rapid transit capacity into the core.
The Green Line (aka Line 2 Bloor-Danforth)
The Scarborough Town Centre extension of Line 2 is planned to open in 2023 although some distance remains to be travelled on design and final approval. As noted above, political support for this is strong, and the planning has been warped to suit the circumstances.
As one member of the audience at a recent public consultation in Scarborough pointed out, the stop arrangement on the Stouffville GO corridor and the Scarborough Subway are backwards with the local stops (in the guise of SmartTrack) on the nominally regional rail line while the express service is on the subway. Such are the compromises needed to make two political pet projects fit on the same map.
Demand projections for this configuration have not yet been published.
The Purple (or “Plum”) Line (aka Line 4 Sheppard)
No changes to the Sheppard subway are planned at this time beyond the implementation of ATC and the replacement of the existing “T1” subway car fleet with four-car sets of “TR” (Toronto Rocket) trains similar to those now operating on Line 1.
The Brown Line (Sheppard East)
No technology is specified for what was once the Transit City Sheppard East LRT and its dogleg extension south via Morningside to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. Given the antipathy of Scarborough politicians to anything-but-a-subway, Sheppard is unlikely to see more than express buses until there is a working LRT to demonstrate what could be accomplished with that mode. The big debate regardless of mode will be whether a new express bus would run in its own corridor (akin to the RapidWays in Mississauga and York Region), or if it would be little more than “BRT Lite” with a nominally-reserved curb lane for part of the day.
The Orange Line (aka Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown)
The central part of this line is now under construction with the major work being the boring of tunnels east from Black Creek and west from Brentcliffe toward Eglinton Station at Yonge Street.
The Crosstown West and East extensions are included on this map providing a route from UTSC to Pearson Airport (although whether a one-seat ride will be available is another question). At the public presentation, an audience member asked “how long” for the extensions, and was told that according to the TTC it would be eight years. This is simply intolerable for routes that would be largely built as surface LRTs, and in comparison to the timespans for both the tunelled Eglinton-Crosstown and the planned Finch West route.
That sort of extended timetable also begs the question of how any “economic stimulus” will ever flow from new spending when the lead time to actually build something is so long.
The Somewhat Darker Orange Line (Finch LRT)
This line will begin construction in 2017 and will open within the 6-year window of short-term projects. It will run from Finch West Station to Humber College.
The Turquoise Line (SmartTrack)
On this map, SmartTrack has inherited the colour now used by the Scarborough RT. The service is shown as running from Mt. Dennis in the west through the core and back north to Unionville. The big questions about SmartTrack, as discussed elsewhere, turn on its co-existence with GO service, on fares and the frequency of SmartTrack trains. Demand projections for SmartTrack clearly show that this service will not achieve its claimed ridership and benefits unless regular TTC fares apply (no premium for a transfer from “local” feeders), and service operates frequently.
The design of a feeder network in Scarborough will be complicated by the need to serve both the subway terminal at STC and the SmartTrack stations further west. Given the impetus to make STC a major centre, should bus routes primarily feed into that location (possibly placing more demand on the subway than it would otherwise get) or into the SmartTrack stations?
Elsewhere, SmartTrack faces challenges for line and station capacity (notably at Union) and the feasibility/complexity of local stations serving neighbourhoods like Liberty Village. Some indication of issues at various would-be station sites is revealed in the preliminary evaluation of new stations now underway. The display boards from public sessions with these details are not yet online.
Metrolinx has four proposed configurations of SmartTrack service levels and stations, some of which do not include the local Scarborough stations necessary to make the one-stop subway plan work, and some of which do not have enough service to make SmartTrack attractive to riders. It is quite clear that “SmartTrack” means different things to City and to Metrolinx planners.
Of particular note is the absence of SmartTrack from the “six year” map of new lines to be built and opened by 2021. This suggests that the original target for SmartTrack completion has run headlong into conflict with feasibility issues and the timing of related work on the GO corridors both for ST and for GO/RER.
The Mint Green Line (GO Transit)
This line comes in two flavours: thick (electrified GO/RER) and thin (GO limited service). The routes destined to get RER (frequent, all-day, two-way service) treatment are Lake Shore East and West, Kitchener (likely to Bramalea at least for a first phase), Stouffville and Barrie. The Milton and Richmond Hill lines will remain as diesel operations, although some improvement in service remains possible.
GO’s biggest challenge today is the capacity of Union Station (passenger handling) and the Rail Corridor (train handling) for much increased service. Metrolinx has studied satellite stations at Don Yard and Bathurst North Yard, as well as a tunnel under Union Station for the Lake Shore route, but there is as yet no decision on which option might be pursued.
The Olive Drab Line (UPX)
The UPX line will be electrified as an offshoot of the Kitchener corridor. As for the fares and service to be operated, it is anyone’s guess what we will see. The Metrolinx Board meets on February 23, 2016 to discuss an updated “business strategy” for this service.
The Pink Line (Relief Line)
On the map, this route is shown in two shades of pink with the darker, and presumably more definite, section running from City Hall to Pape Station via Queen Street. Information about the alignment selection appears in the public presentation linked above.
The preferred corridor runs along Queen Street from Pape, although looking at the scoring of options, one might argue that the King Street alignment stands very close to Queen, and it does obtain the same overall rank (3 out of 4). The decision to pick Queen was likely taken before the recent ridership projections were available. These show clearly a much higher demand for a Relief Line on the King Street route than the “preferred” Queen Street one. (I will explore details of the riding projections in a separate article.) Based on comments at the Scarborough public meeting, the deciding factor appears to have been cost and the relatively simpler Don River crossing of a Queen route.
However, the detailed background study of various options pegs the cost of a DRL via Pape and Queen with a common route to the Don River splitting there via Queen or King at the same level. Public remarks comparing the two alignments do not reflect some of the background analysis.
For more details about the Relief Line options visit the Corridor Results page.
The Blue Line (Waterfront LRT)
This route has been around in various forms since an EA was completed in 1990, and it suffers from the inevitable problem of plans left for too long for the political meddling that besets transit projects which are only vaguely defined. A detailed review of the waterfront line will be part of the “reset” study now underway. Many factors bear on what, exactly, is even meant by a “Waterfront LRT”.
- To the east, the line is now shown as extending to Leslie Street with a potential to go further, although Swan Boats may be required. The route from Bay Street is likely to be east on Queens Quay to a realigned Cherry Street, then south into the planned “Villiers Island” (a new island created by the rerouted Don River), and east via Commissioners Street. How much of this would be built and how quickly is a matter for the study, and it relates to two other big projects, the Gardiner Expressway realignment at the Don River, and the realignment of the river itself as part of the Port Lands plan.
- To the west, it is unclear whether the route would use the existing track on Queens Quay or new alignment further north on Bremner Boulevard. The section around the Rogers Centre (aka “The Dome”) would be particularly challenging as a surface route. Although some provision for a transit right-of-way exists on parts of this alignment, it is narrow and does not extend east of Spadina.
- The alignment from Bathurst westward into the Exhibition grounds might be on the existing Fleet Street trackage (which was rebuild as a transit corridor in anticipation of the Waterfront LRT), or via Fort York Boulevard (as the continuation of Bremner). There are alignment issues along the way for the Bremner/Fort York route.
- The future development of Exhibition Place and Ontario Place will require transit service further south, but there has been no consideration of the LRT line taking this route since an early version of the 1990 plan.
- From Dufferin Street to Sunnyside, there are multiple possible alignments each with its benefits and challenges. The cheapest and simplest (via Dufferin and King Streets) is also the worst because the “LRT” line would be forced to run through one of the most congested sections of King West.
- West of Humber Loop, the favoured terminal now appears to be a new Park Lawn GO station at an extended Legion Road rather than a loop at Park Lawn and Lake Shore Boulevard. This would connect the new LRT service to the ever-growing condo neighbourhood at Humber Bay.
- Finally, there is some debate about whether the Waterfront LRT should even serve Union Station or simply run straight through. A moving sidewalk, or some form of shuttle, has been proposed for the existing Bay Street tunnel, although how this could possibly handle the demand for access to the core business district is a mystery. Meanwhile, the new bus terminal to be built at Bay and Lake Shore (opposite the Air Canada Centre) will have a direct link to the LRT station at Union. This is one of those ideas where the left hand, right hand problem is clearly evident.
Needless to say, a study to nail down the issues, challenges, and workable/preferable solutions is long overdue.
The Teal Line (Steeles BRT)
A BRT service from York University to Milliken GO/SmartTrack station is proposed on Steeles Avenue. As with the Sheppard East line, it is unclear just what is meant by “BRT” and how intrusive any new infrastructure might be. The road is a particular challenge because as a municipal boundary is under the shared jurisdiction of both Toronto and York Region councils.
The Mauve Line (Jane LRT)
Another Transit City route has emerged from hibernation with the proposed Jane LRT. Whether this will be built all the way south to Bloor as shown on the map, or become a branch off of the Eglinton line (feeding into services at Mt. Dennis or other points further east) remains to be seen. The section from Eglinton south to Bloor would be challenging to build and almost certainly would have to be underground due to constrained road space for a surface route.
A Jane route would improve the utilization of the carhouse planned for the Finch West LRT, and would connect that line to the main Metrolinx LRT shop at Black Creek.
The Thinner Orange Lines (Streetcars on their own right-of-way)
Most of the items on the map exist already (Spadina, Waterfront, St. Clair) but a new proposal has surfaced for transit priority on King Street. The extent shown on the map roughly corresponds to the never-enforced “transit priority” lane introduced years ago on King from Dufferin to Parliament.
This will be a challenging project because of competing demands for the road space on King including residential and commercial intensification that continues at a substantial rate. A related question will be the status of service on Queen Street given that development is spreading northward. Queen will need more transit service, and it will also be affected by any displacement of traffic from King, particularly in the west where parallel routes (Richmond/Adelaide) do not exist.
Will we ever see all of this? Some of it, maybe, but there is enough on this map that exists to soothe political demands that changing fortunes could derail substantial chunks as we have seen before.
The big unanswered question is money. How will Toronto pay its share of this very aggressive plan, and to what extent will Queen’s Park and Ottawa embrace these proposals?
We have just been through a City budget round where the watchword “taxpayer dollars” might as well have been a flashing neon sign replacing “Toronto” in Nathan Phillips Square. The utter lack of will to actually spend money simply did not square with the grand schemes announced for our transit future. Even if Ottawa comes in with new money, and project schedules are advanced as a job stimulus package, Toronto and Ontario will have to come to the table with their share sooner than might have happened otherwise.
With both the Provincial and Federal budgets coming down in the next month, the actual status of new funding should be better understood.
Meanwhile, we have a very pretty map.
Been to the open house out in Etobicoke (Islington & Eglinton) today. Noticed several people still wanting subways, subways, subways, ignoring the cost, ridership, or access.
Second bullet point under Waterfront LRT. Should “east of Spadina” be “west of Spadina?”
Steve: No. I said that provision for reserved lanes did not extend east of Spadina.
See Google Street View and rotate the image as necessary.
If the city wants to push the Waterfront LRT East of Leslie, my hope would be that they would try to reach Woodbine loop. It’s possible to do a dedicated right of way for almost the entire length (the portions north and east of the Queen-Kingston intersection would be difficult if not impossible for a separate right of way) and it would help take some pressure off of the Queen car.
The only question is how militant are people over parking and park land down in the Beaches since there would be some loss of both to make it work.
Overall, the map is sensible. Of course, this is just a concept at this point; it remains to be seen which lines will get funding and in what order.
I would add an extension of Finch LRT from Keele to Yonge.
There is no way you could take park land or parking in the beaches. Park land makes the beaches the beaches and simply put there is limited parking as it is. Get rid of anymore and you will literally have nowhere to park.
As for a Waterfront LRT they would be best to keep it along Queens Quay/ Lakeshore. With all the condos going up along there it only makes sense. With all the events along Bremner it would never work without a tunnel and even then you would run into a nightmare scenario with the Enwave station, Copeland transformer station and various parking garages there. KISS Steve.. KISS!!!!
It would be interesting to put numbers next to each of these lines based on how much has been committed/spent already on each of these lines and from which levels of government.
In one of your earlier articles you mentioned that the subway was built faster when other levels decided to chip in after construction had already begun, and I am wondering if that is a better strategy for the city of Toronto … similar to what happened with Eglinton with the Metrolinx take-over after the plans were already fairly far along.
Steve: If anything, the Metrolinx takeover delayed things because Queen’s Park wanted to stretch out the spending plans for Transit City. The TTC had low-balled the cost of the TC lines and this, coupled with the declining economic climate, and Rob Ford’s eventual accession to power, made for an even more elongated schedule. Eglinton survived Ford only because Queen’s Park saw this as a signature project stretching across Toronto. Their enthusiasm for surface LRT routes would not return until Ford’s demise.
It seems to me that if the DRL is going to be built that the city will need to start collecting money for it fairly soon … and we should design it in such a way that it can be sped up by higher levels of government if they decide to fund it.
I’m actually a bit surprised that we went through the current budget cycle without a request for funding for SmartTrak – given that some parts of it are well known and understood and could get underway fairly quickly. Funding some of the preliminary land acquisition and speeding up the work on level crossings, bridges and extra tracks. None of that work gets started until there is proper funding in place.
Tory also really needs to bring these plans to council soon – it will be interesting if he brings it piecemeal or as one plan … both have risks.
Steve: Mayor Tory has a plan for a continued increase of taxes to pay for capital projects, but this will not kick in until 2017 after the last stage of the Scarborough Subway tax goes onto the 2016 bills. The proposed tax (0.5% ramping up to 2.5% over five years) is nowhere near enough to pay the City’s share of many transit projects, let alone other capital needs such as Toronto Housing Corporation’s backlog of repairs. As for SmartTrack, don’t forget that if you believe the election literature, this was supposed to be self-funding via TIF (Tax Increment Financing). The City Manager will be reporting later this year on various ways of addressing the capital backlog.
East and West legs of Eglinton needs to be funded and brought to council fairly soon. It makes sense to try and either add it to the current Eglinton contract (since equipment and teams will be in place already, they can just continue east and west) or to give it to the TTC’s existing procurement team similar to how St. Clair was done … the idea that 8 years of work is required for these lines will basically kill them in place.
If I was Crosslinx I would be pushing hard to get this as an add-on to the current contract.
Steve: Well for starters, Infrastructure Ontario has to get its hands on the projects and create P3 agreements, a process that adds a year on top of any construction. Oddly enough, Ottawa has abandoned the need for P3 procurement, but Ontario has yet to move away from this. For what is basically a surface right-of-way project, we should not require the complexity of the contracts used on the central part of Eglinton, but Queen’s Park may be reluctant to give up their cherished procurement scheme.
New budgets are coming from Queen’s Park (Feb. 25) and Ottawa, and these should give some indication of the amount and timing of funds that will be available. The challenge for both governments is to find projects that can generate economic stimulus and visible work today, not years in the future after a lengthy design and procurement cycle.
Add on to the current contract? I think not. The Crosslinx contract is a P3 including decades of operation and maintenance of the infrastructure. The extensions are surface lines, enhanced versions of streetcars, and they should be procured as simple road construction projects with maintenance to be handled as a future, separate matter.
I have a feeling that Tory will extend the subway to Victoria Park and then continues that with an LRT. This way he can avoid another “Transit civil war” and can push things done.
This is precisely the attitude that has created a carcentric Caronto to borrow a few terms from Hamish.
Extending the Sheppard subway to Victoria Park would be very inconvenient for people transfering the Relief line from the east, which is officially a thing according to this map.
A few thoughts on this:
It seems that they took some creative license to make the it look like the lines connect better than they do. The Sheppard dogleg to STC stands out, as does the convenient alignment of the Milton line to make it look like an extension of St. Clair through Jane. Which, on that matter, why did they not consider just extending St. Clair to meet a Jane LRT? As far as I know, it’s been on the TTC’s wishlist for years now.
Steve: The Jane extension made sense in the context of Transit City with the St. Clair car extended west so that it could operate from one of the new Transit City carhouses. With the TC lines changing to standard gauge under Metrolinx, this connection, unlikely as it was even in the Transit City days, became impossible and hence we will not likely ever see a westward extension of the St. Clair car.
There appears to be a couple of stops north of what I assume is Ellesmere on the Crosstown East. UTSC sits right on Ellesmere, so I wonder if this is a lack of attention to detail, (a la the “Bloor West” label at Dundas and Bloor), or whether it’s going to run beyond the campus. I could see maybe one extra stop north to have the terminal at the Athletic/Aquatic Centre, but not two. The only possibility I see is that it actually represents one stop east along Ellesmere (Ellesmere and Military Trail) and one stop north (Military Trail and Morningside).
Steve: Don’t put too much faith in that map. It is diagramatic not prescriptive.
Was there ever any thought given to routing the Jane LRT down Dundas West? It would obviously add substantially to the tunneling cost, and likely require at least a couple of extra stations, but it would serve the Junction and the heavily used 40 bus route, as opposed to the relatively lower density, lower transit demand stretch along Jane from Bloor to Dundas. Also, more importantly, it would funnel into an assumed future terminus for the DRL, as well as a GO line and two major streetcar routes, instead of adding only to the Bloor-Danforth line. And some of that added construction cost could be off-set by integrating construction of the terminal with construction that needs to happen anyway at Dundas West, if they can align the timing right, or at least be sufficiently forward-thinking.
Steve: Never. The last thing Dundas West needs is yet another line feeding into a crowded terminal. I would not hold my breath to see the construction of the Metrolinx “Mobility Hub” planned for that station.
I don’t think that getting off in one subway platform and getting to another one upstairs or downstairs is “very inconvenient”. I guess with this kind of logic the current connection plan at Don Mills with 100-120 m platform separation would be “very very inconvenient”. I also don’t believe that there will ever be enough money and political will to bring Relief line all the way to Don Mills (Hope I will be wrong).
“I’m not going to Central Park because there’s not enough parking there” said no New Yorker ever.
@doconnor – I think the point is that no matter what transit option is chosen for Sheppard East (be it LRT or Subway extension) that mode of transport must be underground from Don Mills to get across by going under the DVP/404.
Personally I think a subway extension to Agincourt Go Station to connect to GO RER would make sense as a natural ending spot. LRT can take over from there.
Assuming the waterfront LRT does ever make it past Leslie (let alone to it…), would it not make the most sense to at some point get it up to Eastern – likely at Leslie where trackage already exists – and have it meet the Kingston spur?
Steve: Until demand on Kingston Road increases substantially, the idea of getting people from that line to downtown via a new waterfront route is rather odd. A lot of construction for comparatively low demand. Even more so if there will be a subway station at Queen and Pape.
Extending Sheppard to VP is the only logical thing to do. The 404 is between VP and Don Mills.. not to mention the first exit north of the DVP/404 Interchange is at Sheppard.
Running an LRT service over the 404 is doable but a royal pain in the ass. The only real difficulty would be the traffic congestions at the ramps which at rush hour can be horrendous as people get off at Sheppard to go to and from their homes.
It would be easier to tunnel under that whole mess and come out at VP with a proper station capable of handling LRT and Subway transfers. Right now Don Mills is not set up for such a thing.
Tunneling under the highway also avoids all the ramps at the 404 leaving service unimpeded by traffic. Victoria Park is not as barren as you may think with alot of residential and commerical sprouting up.
Simply put.. VP makes everything alot easier.
Before the work on Kingston road that removed the old streetcar tracks, I would say that it would have made sense as part of extending the 502/503 further east. That said, considering the administration that was in power during the development and execution of that project, I highly doubt that any provision was made for relatively easy restoration of streetcar service on Kingston road east of Victoria Park.
Steve: I very much doubt that it would be possible to run a competitive service for a fast run from Kingston Road in Scarborough to downtown via any of the potential corridors. This really is GO Transit territory if they would ever offer capacity and fares within the 416.
To be fair, I wasn’t so much thinking in terms of running the 502/3 downtown via the Waterfront LRT but rather what would be best for reliability of service on a longer line. Basically, when it comes to short turns on a line extended to Cliffside, it would be best to turn streetcars back east at Woodbine loop with downtown riders taking the LRT and local riders switching to the 501.
Go back to the EA’s. The LRT was always to be tunneled under the highway. Taking the subway east without reaching STC only serves to create a double transfer for anyone trying to access whatever ends up on Don Mills.
The majority of riders going toward Don Mills continue their trip toward Yonge-Sheppard (Until may be next 30-40 years that a relief line comes to the play) and they need one transfer either Don Mills or Victoria Park anyway. However they can benefit from a well designed Subway-LRT connection at VP. A much more convenient transfer than what was planned for Don Mills.
Steve: Considering that the LRT and subway would serve a common platform on the same level at Don Mills Station, I don’t know what could be more convenient.
If the Sheppard LRT was “delayed” by the province because there wasn’t enough capacity in the private sector to build it and Finch at the same time, (or that was the reason we were given by the Minister of Transportation) how is it possible to even contemplate building all of these pretty coloured lines in the 15 year timeframe given?
Steve: Even at the time, the “private sector” complained that they were ready and willing to build. The problem was an unwillingness to spend.
Following my previous comment, I also like to talk about the future Relief line-Sheppard Subway-LRT connection at Don Mills. It seems to be very complicated and also inconvenient for LRT riders to get in to the relief line. I think it is possible to design a well designed three-platform station at VP as a connection point of Relief line, Sheppard Subway and Sheppard LRT.
What do you think Steve?
Steve: Getting the RL over to Vic Park would not be easy and would add substantial cost to an already expensive project. On one hand, we have people saying that the RL will never get to Sheppard, and so we should just build the Vic Park Sheppard extension right away, and others complaining about the potential double transfer. Then there are folks who want the subway/LRT changeover at Agincourt Station, and others who want the subway to go all the way to STC. The whole debate is hostage to the “nothing but a subway is good enough for STC” faction, and a transportation “plan” that claims to serve the STC planning distract while only really serving its central point.
Every line cannot connect with every other line, and the political constraints preclude options such as an LRT from Kennedy to Malvern running east-west through the STC district.
To add to your comment the Consumers Business Park sitting at the crossroads of the 401/404/Don Valley Parkway is well known to have significant growth potential. The added cost between the LRT tunnel emerging at Consumers Rd and the subway extension to Victoria Park is minimal. Extending the subway would eliminate the barriers to commerce and allow for significant business growth, which vastly outweighs the negligible added costs of a subway extension.
The IBI Group has already published an excellent study identifying the short subway extension to Victoria Park as the extension with best cost-benefit/risk profile. The interchange at Victoria Park can be better designed unlike Don Mills which was not intended to be the terminus of the subway line. Overall the extension of the subway to Victoria Park is a much better choice.
To be fair Steve, the Agincourt suggestion is not really about ideology but about reducing transfers. Working backwards from a planning perspective, the goal is not only to move people but also to get people from the inner suburbs off Line 1 (esp. Bloor-Yonge Station) by any means possible.
Agincourt Go Station in particular is a great option to the Yonge Line for the Go RER/Smart Track line. Under this plan, a person getting off the Go RER/ST at Agincourt from the downtown core would then take a subway if they were going west and an LRT if they were going east.
If the LRT starts at Don Mills or Vic Park, that would mean any westbound commuters off Agincourt would have to transfer 2 times from RER/ST to LRT and then LRT to subway at Vic Park or Don Mills.
If the Sheppard Subway terminus was Agincourt then people would have a one transfer ride (Subway to the west, LRT to the east) no matter what direction they are going.
I honestly think this could be sold to the people of Scarborough and may help prevent the return of Ford and the Subways, Subways, Subways crowd.
Steve: Possibly, but I would like to see a detailed evaluation including the question of which major transfer node would be not just a “mobility hub” but also a development hub. There could be resistance to making the area around Agincourt Station attractive much as Scarborough Council once blocked development around Kennedy Station so that it would not compete with STC.
A related problem is that if the subway came “just” to Agincourt, there would be immense political pressure to continue to STC.
Assuming the RL is completed in 15 years, the extensions are likely to follow much more quickly, as they did with the other lines (Sheppard being the exception). But if LRT is the mode, then it is likely to appear much faster than 30 years no matter what happens with an RL subway.
Also, many westbound riders on Sheppard as it is head north at Don Mills towards Finch and Seneca Newnham. Don Mills is the most logical terminus unless we’re willing to go for broke across to STC.
Maybe we’ll see a Sheppard extension some day, but only after the RL is built. Extending the RL to Sheppard or Finch would also help induce demand for ridership along Sheppard.
This rainbow map is one of the better glimpses of Toronto’s future – although it may not be realized for a long time. In 60 years, I would expect to see LRTs criss-crossing the city, much like today’s 10 minute bus network. The road layout of Toronto’s avenues is going to make it a great city for transit again… some day. The key is getting the ball rolling again, and keeping up the momentum.
What’s missing: even on the longer 30 year horizon, there’s no rapid transit connection between the YUS lines north of Eglinton. Finch phase II should be included (cheaper), or the Sheppard Subway extended to Downsview (less preferable). If the RL went to Finch, I’d like to see the demand projections for a Finch LRT extension from Keele to Don Mills.
The Steeles BRT seems odd. Why does it end at the TYSSE just short of the nearby Jane LRT? I think this is because there’s not much thought put into either line – and neither are likely to get built.
So far I couldn’t find the actual layout of this connection proposal anywhere. It is just mentioned that two platforms must be apart 100-120m as a matter of policy. That means that some one sitting in the last car of the Subway train needs to walk more than 200m in order to get to the first LRTcar(correct me if I am wrong). Now imagine how much walking is required to reach RL platform possibly under Don Mills for some one sitting in the last LRT car.
Steve: Just because you can’t find it does not mean that it doesn’t exist. See my post about Don Mills Station. It includes a link to a TTC report showing a (not very good) illustration of a shared platform. The link to the EA for the route does not work because the city took all of the Sheppard material offline during the Ford era. I will have to dig out the relevant illustration from my own archive and update the article to point to this.
I really am getting tired of all this “long walk” business when the distances involved at almost any station are considerable. Only St. George is the best. A double-deck station will minimize distances, but will add considerably to cost.
If VP becomes a new bus hub as well as the connection point of RL, LRT, there will be no problem for Seneca commuters and they can get in to their Rocket buses at VP station.
Steve: But the RL is not going to Victoria Park under any reasonable scenario.
I agree that Agincourt is a very good connection point; however considering the cost of that extension which is more than $2b, it would be very hard to push it at this time.
Does a St Clair extension not have some merit simply on serving the people who live along that corridor? I believe that stretch has gotten significantly more dense since the decision was made to terminate just after Keele, though there’s definitely still more potential there. Even if it can’t use the theoretical Jane LRT tracks, or make use of a theoretical Junction streetcar to limit deadheading time, it would dramatically improve transit service in that area.
Right now, to get from Keele to Jane along St Clair, one has to take a streetcar (or walk) and two different buses, which each often run at headways of 20 minutes or more, a ridiculous exercise for a two kilometer trip along a major thoroughfare. Hilariously, this is the same number of transfers as if you took the bus south to Bloor, rode the subway over, and then another bus north from Bloor along Jane. Of course, that could maybe be improved with a better bus line, because right now it’s a prime example of everything being distorted to run into the subway, at the expense of local trips, but a streetcar extension would be even better.
Steve: A St. Clair extension could be useful for development in the area, but it needs to be divorced from any talk of the Jane line. An earlier scheme to extend the line all the way to Kipling Station via Dundas was abandoned some years ago.
I’m not holding out for Metrolinx to build the Bloor-Dundas West connection any time soon, but I was thinking that construction of the DRL terminal would require significant expansion of Dundas West either way – I don’t see how you could do the station without at least figuring out a second exit somewhere. Still, it’s so purely academic at this point that it’s not even really worth discussing.
Steve: You assume the DRL will go to Dundas West. I don’t think the west branch of the DRL will see the light of day for a few decades, if ever.
As for the second exit, it will be at the east end of the station as a connection to the GO/UPX station. The design has been around for years, but the owner of The Crossways is being difficult about losing a chunk of his parking garage.
All of these lovely colours form a map of technicolour dreams. I say let’s count the firm possiblities: the TYSSE will open in 2017, the core of the Crosstown is being bored, and Finch LRT is in the bid process. The funding and EA’s are mostly done for SSE and Crosstown East and if fast-tracked, could be shovels in the ground quickly. I expect to see all of these eventually.
UP is up and running empty. Because of its unique construction (neither GO or TTC) it is the lame duck … make it the first of the ST trains, lower the fare from Union to Mt. Dennis to TTC standard, one extra fare to Weston, 4 extra fares from Weston to the Airport – ridership and western relief all in one. Add a couple of trains to increase frequency, extend east to Kennedy and you have the start of ST.
The rest are pie-in-the-sky, political toys. The King transit corridor will not come to pass untill after the construction of the DRL, as the need to keep the road open for cars during construction will be acute. The DRL is a must everyone says, but no funds are forthcoming. Picking the final route, getting an EA approved is still a year or two away. And finding funds to build it in two to three years, doubtful. The Yonge extension to Richmond Hill not happening without the DRL or ST. ST is going to get hung up on track availablity with GO (they don’t play well with others) and RER delays. Sheppard is a hot potato that no sane politician wants to touch – like Steve, I suspect this line will languish untill the effectiveness of LRT in Scarborough is proven. It is cheaper (money and political capital) to wait for the results to come in. Jane LRT is a sleeper, one of the busiest bus routes in the city, but no EA and a lack of funds will see this pushed into the future.
And let’s not forget that the public transit purse is going to have to cough up some “running” bucks for the TYSSE once built, and more to keep the TTC in good repair (look at that operating budget and the list of unfunded future needs).
OK how about in context of ST/RER Go dropping a station at St. Clair? The new maps for RER and ST integration all show a new stop. Extending the streetcar to a new station seems like a no brainer.
Steve: At the risk of wondering where the brains are, the St. Clair car already runs to Keele Street where the new station would be located. No extension is required.
If McCowan gets a rapid transit line in 15 years, it should be operated from Scarborough Centre to Markville Mall.
Sorry, I was thinking the station would fit in the old railyard between Scarlet and Jane. Forgot that that is the Milton track.
I actually wonder if we should completely divorce it. If the number of riders travelling from north of Eglinton to Bloor is basically zero after the Crosstown opens, it may make some sense to consider making the Eglinton-Bloor segment a part of the legacy network in part to make it possible to extend the 512 to Jane station.
Well sure, I’d agree with that. But I also don’t see a Jane LRT within the next 20 years at least. And I’m still bearish on the DRL iteself, until the funding shows up at least. Heck, I’m a skeptic that the connection at Bloor and Dundas West will even be built – it feels like Metrolinx has been stringing along that and the Kipling GO/MiWay bus terminal forever now.
Careful! We can’t have a stacked station, that would involve stairs! (As I wince at the recollection of all the hyperbole slung at the existing Kennedy station.)
Actually, other than political reasons (and money is a political reason, ultimately), I can’t really think of a good reason _not_ to build a stacked station. At least with a stacked station you can build tail tracks for both services, which would improve terminal operations both ways. Yes, I realize that the existing Sheppard subway hardly needs it, but we are making decisions we’ll have to live with for, realistically, 50+ years.
My real concern with the end-to-end station design isn’t about the distance of the walk – I’ve been in plenty of stations (abroad) with much longer walks between platforms – but with the potential bottleneck of making all the traffic between lines funnel – in pulses – along the platform past whatever stairs and other obstructions occupy the centre of it.
Shepard East will hopefully be built as hybrid Subway/LRT which passes Kennedy to STC. The Eastern leg can be addresses with LRT in some form. This will certainly be grounds for another nauseating black or white Subway/LRT battle.