A Messy “Reset” For Waterfront Transit Planning (Updated)

The first of two public meetings on the City of Toronto’s so-called “reset” of transit plans for the waterfront was held on May 25, and a second is to follow tonight (May 26).

The presentation deck from these meetings is now available online.

Updated May 27, 2016 at 5:30 pm: The preliminary evaluation grids for various routing options have been added to this article following the original discussion of each section of the study. This raises an obvious question of how options can be scored before important factors such as demand projections, design and costing are known, and whether the preliminary scores will bias the discussion and evaluations to occur in Phase 2 of the study. Scroll down to the end of each section for the additional material. (Apologies for the resolution. The grids are not available online, and I am limited by the quality of the paper copies distributed at the meeting.)

There is a lot of material to digest here, and the process is not helped by several factors:

  • Council has imposed a very short timeframe, considerably less than would normally be taken for the scope of work.
  • All proposals that have ever been on the table for the past few decades and a few new schemes are up for discussion, including some that should have been discarded quite early in the process. In part this is due to the many incomplete studies of various sections of the route that never got to the point of killing off the unworkable options.
  • The City and consultant staff presenting this material are not intimately familiar with the details of many proposals, nor with the history of how they came to be part of past studies.
  • Conflicting goals of previous studies, not to mention of today’s Councillors and community groups, make a “one size fits all” solution impossible.
  • Beyond identifying a few locations where GO/Metrolinx might add stations in the Lake Shore corridor, there is little discussion of the role GO/RER can and, equally importantly, cannot play in handling travel.
  • There is very limited origin-destination or demand information with which to validate or compare proposals, or to put them in the wider context of competing demands for transit funding.
  • A vital consideration for any network is the effect on travel times. After spending millions (or even billions), how would the speed and capacity of travel have improved?
  • The real meat of any discussion remains for an as-yet unapproved “Phase 2” study that would include [text taken from the presentation]:
    • Feasibility studies (including but not limited to demand forecasting, operational assessments, further developed cost estimates);
    • Potential Environmental Assessment(s) or amendments to existing Environmental Assessment(s);
    • Pursuing the implementation of short term strategic improvements that minimize long term throwaway costs; and
    • Advancing a Business Case and pursue funding opportunities.

As someone who has worked for years in hopes of better transit service to the waterfront, all of this is quite disheartening. So many competing ideas are on the table, so many competing priorities, and so little desire to spend pervades the discussion. We may end up with nothing at all.

Growth in the Waterfront

The need for better transit to many parts of the waterfront is quite obvious to anyone who looks at the forests of new condo towers along the water and neighbourhood close by to the north. Much of the projected population growth in Toronto is located in the southern part of the city (an area considerably bigger than the traditional “downtown”), but transit improvements there always come second (at best) to proposed expansion elsewhere. Where suburban subway boosters take a “build it and they will come” approach to subway advocacy and treat rapid transit as a trigger that will, they hope, bring new population and jobs, the waterfront already has both, and is growing apace without adequate transit support. Improved transit to the eastern and western waterfront rank in the top five performers of the City’s “Feeling Congested” study.

201605_PopEmpGrowthto2041

201605_PopEmpGrowthto2041_Chart

This growth will not all arrive “tomorrow”, but it certainly will build in over coming decades. Already, access by transit across the waterfront is inadequate, and this will only get worse as time goes on.

Subdividing the Study Area

The study is broken into four segments to bring the permutations among the options down to a manageable number. This is laudable, although what can be lost is the dependencies between goals for one section with those of another.

201605_StudyAreaSegments

The overall scope from Long Branch to Woodbine and north from the lake to Queen was set by Council’s terms of reference. At the May 25 meeting, a few in the audience complained that Scarborough was not part of the study. They should take this up with their Councillors, but equally this belongs in a general review of Scarborough’s transit, not just the waterfront. This is touched on but not really explored for options within section 04 that would link the eastern part of the streetcar network into a new LRT route through the Port Lands into the core.

Long Branch to Humber

The existing area contains diverse travel demands, many of which are not oriented to downtown. (Note that the skew in maps here is in the originals.)

201605_Segment_1_Overview

An important issue in southern Etobicoke is that there is a great deal of “local” demand for travel within the area, or at least to locales that do not require coming east of the Humber River. At Kipling and Lake Shore, Humber College is a new major destination, and development will continue further north (some beyond the study area such as the Six Points).

The streetcar service on Lake Shore might, or might not, be upgraded to “LRT” although exactly what this would mean is up for debate. The worst of traffic congestion occurs at the east end of the line, and it is not clear that a private right-of-way and, possibly, the loss of some local stops would benefit transit quality further west. For one section of the route, through Mimico, the road is too narrow to allow conversion to “LRT” in the style of Spadina or St. Clair.

GO stations are mentioned here as a possibility, but there are a few obvious problems:

  • Without attractive fares, people will not use them unless convenience overwhelms cost.
  • Station locations well north of Lake Shore cannot be accessed directly except for riders on the north-south bus routes serving them.
  • GO will not stop at such closely-spaced points, certainly not for its long-haul trains to Hamilton and beyond that will remain as diesel operations.
  • There is a basic question about service capacity both on present and future infrastructure.

The outer part of the Waterfront West LRT scheme has always been the most challenging in terms of the area it will serve, and the nature of demand along the Lake Shore. This is something of a chicken-and-egg problem because streetcar service to downtown has not been reliable or attractive for decades, and this route becomes a choice of last resort. How much this might change depends not just on improved frequency and speed of service on Lake Shore itself, but on what happens on the long trek to downtown for which options and choices in other segments are vital.

Three options are considered:

201605_Concept_1A

This amounts to little more than some sort of improved streetcar service, but without a full conversion to an “LRT” right-of-way.

201605_Concept_1B

Lake Shore would be upgraded with a full right-of-way treatment. This runs into problems at the narrow section in Mimico, and the question of whether it is actually needed on the wider part of Lake Shore further west.

201605_Concept_1C

This concept responds to proposals for an LRT line on The Queensway. What is not clear is whether the demand that might originate there is (a) sufficient to warrant an LRT line or (b) actually oriented to downtown as opposed to points north and west, or to midtown locations via the Bloor subway. The Queensway LRT option has been dropped from further study because it is remote from the waterfront itself and does not address demand in the Lake Shore corridor.

Update: Preliminary Evaluation

201605_Segment_1_PrelimEval

Both options on Lake Shore score “Very Good”, although that’s a bit of a stretch considering that both 1A and 1B have different scores on several aspects. The Queensway option 1C  scores lower both because it is remote from Lake Shore, and because its cost is higher as a new line rather than an upgrade to existing infrastructure. What is not clear in this or any other evaluations is the weight given to each component, or the degree to which the same external effect (e.g. close to the water) counts multiple times under different criteria.

Humber to Strachan

This segment presents two types of problems in that it has the characteristics both of a “bridge” between two origin-destination areas, but it also might be called on to provide local service to neighbourhoods along the route. Much depends on the chosen alignment, and all of the desired services and links cannot be provided by a single route:

  • Liberty Village is a fast-growing area north of Exhibition Place now served primarily by the King streetcar, although the area is building out north to Queen and will tax that route as well. Aside from service capacity, a major problem is physical access from the residential area north of the rail corridor to potential new services further south.
  • Although outside of this segment, the condo developments from Fort York eastward might or might not be served by any new through route coming east through the Exhibition grounds.
  • Proposed development on Lake Shore near and within the Ontario Place site is remote from any service along the existing streetcar network or a westerly extension beside the rail corridor.
  • Service to South Parkdale including a connection to existing service on Roncesvalles will be difficult or impossible for some of the proposed alignments.
  • Any service passing through Exhibition Place must be immune from seasonal and special events in the grounds. It is pointless to advertise a “rapid transit” service to southern Etobicoke if it shuts down every time there is a game at BMO field, or the grounds are taken over for the CNE or a racing event.
  • Potential GO sites are shown below at Sunnyside and Parkdale/Liberty Village. GO has already criticized both of these as difficult if not impossible for their trains due to space constraints and platform curvature.

201605_Segment_2_Overview

Six proposals for this area attempt to thread from a common origin at Humber.

201605_Concept_2A

This concept’s name “Complete the Missing Link” is a political one originating with a Councillor for southern Etobicoke. Its premise is to link into the existing Exhibition Loop after travelling south of the Gardiner along Lake Shore between Sunnyside and Dufferin. The existing Queensway right-of-way from Humber eastward would be used, but it is unclear how the route would fly over or under the rail corridor and Gardiner Expressway to reach Lake Shore Boulevard. Note that the transition occurs west of Roncesvalles roughly at the lowest point of the Queensway trackage relative to the other corridors. (A transition at Roncesvalles itself is not practical because of the intersection’s complexity and existing levels of road and transit traffic.)

This and other schemes linking directly to Exhibition Loop raise the question of how the existing access to GO Transit’s station (immediately west of the streetcar loop) would be handled if the streetcar trackage is extended further west.

201605_Concept_2B

A route north of the rail corridor would branch off somewhere around Roncesvalles and be sandwiched between GO Transit and the south end of properties to the north. It would arrive at Exhibition Loop on the “wrong” side of the rail corridor to connect with the existing infrastructure.

This option has been dropped from study because it has severe effects on properties in south Parkdale along the north edge of the rail corridor. It also would have a more difficult connection right at Roncesvalles rather than further west clear of traffic and other streetcar routes.

201605_Concept_2C

In concepts 2C and 2D, the LRT line does not enter Humber Loop, but stays on Lake Shore from that point eastward. In one option (2C above) it swings south of the Exhibition passing by Ontario Place, while in the other (2D below) it follows the same path as 2A along the north side of the Ex. These options have the advantage of avoiding the King/Queen/Roncesvalles area and the general problem of crossing the rail corridor, but they are very much express routes from the Humber to Strachan serving little in between. North-south access would be possible, but it would not be a simple or short link in many places. The route along the south side is remote from much of the population in south Parkdale and Liberty Village.

201605_Concept_2D

 

201605_Concept_2E

Another variation on the Lake Shore routing is to stay with the right-of-way on The Queensway as far east as Colborne Lodge Road and then swing south to Lake Shore.

201605_Concept_2F

Finally, with Concept 2F, the “LRT” stays entirely on the existing streetcar system via The Queensway, King Street and Dufferin Street. This is a difficult option considering the level of service already operating on King and through the Roncesvalles intersection, not to mention road congestion in the area. This option would almost certainly have the slowest travel time of all, and though cheaper, might not be very attractive to potential riders. There is not much point of improving an “LRT” in Etobicoke only to have it morph into an ordinary streetcar line in Parkdale.

Update: Preliminary Evaluation

201605_Segment_2_PrelimEval

The two lowest ranked options (“Fair”) are 2B (North of Rail Corridor) and  2C (Lake Shore LRT), although for different reasons. Everything else comes out with a “Good” although various components contribute to this.

A good example of the inconsistencies in this process can be seen in 2F (Dufferin/King) which ranks low on speed and capacity, but high on cost because it is cheapest. Without an actual demand projection (a process that itself will produce variable outputs depending on the network configuration), we do not know whether there is a screenline below which some options simply do not work. A “very good” construction cost may not represent good value for the task at hand, but that’s not part of the evaluation.

Strachan to Parliament

The downtown segment has many options including four routes from Strachan to Bay, and various schemes for dealing with Union Station. All of the approaches from the west have problems, and there is no clear, simple path to Union Station.

This is a point where the planners’ stance gets a bit complicated. On one hand, they say that for the eastern waterfront, they are using the already completed (and approved) Environmental Assessment for the LRT line, but on the other hand, the access to Union Station is up for major redesign to the point where very little of the “approved” LRT remains. The presentation dwelt on the cost of linking in both at Union, and further east at Parliament/Cherry, even though this was less of an issue further west, and certainly does not inform major proposals elsewhere in the network.

To put it another way, there appears to be a bias against certain configurations before we have even worked out which of them works best as a transit scheme. This is particularly evident in comments about Union Station (see the next section of this article for details).

201605_Segment_3_Overview

Unlike the options further west, the concepts here link with specific alignments to either side. What might be a “preferred” or “better” option seen in isolation might not work well with the chosen plans to the east or west.

201605_Concept_3A

Using the existing Fleet Street route (an area that was specifically improved in anticipation of the WWLRT) implies that the line further west would come into the north side of the Ex south of the rail corridor to the existing loop. Fleet presents issues at Bathurst because of the need for all service to swing south across Lake Shore (which gets a lot of green time while transit awaits its cycle), and because of the comparatively slow journey into Union via the 509 route.

201605_Concept_3B

The “Bremner streetcar” has been around for a long time in TTC plans, but it has several major problems:

  • The proposed route north via Fort York Boulevard from Fleet Street potentially conflicts with activity at Fort York itself as well as the future “Under Gardiner” project.
  • There is no provision for a transit right-of-way on Fort York Boulevard west of Bathurst.
  • There is no provision for a transit right-of-way on Fort York/Bremner east of Spadina, an area noted for severe congestion and large crowds of pedestrians around the stadium.

Over the years, it has been fascinating to see this line show up repeatedly on maps giving the impression that no planner has ever been south of Front Street. During the presentation, mention was made by the consultant that a tunnel approach might be needed, and I suspect that the tunnel grows further west every time the idea is reviewed. However, existing underground structures south of the Convention Centre could well block this option.

201605_Concept_3C

An alignment north of the rail corridor would pick up the new street planned for the south end of Liberty Village. However, this really only works if the corresponding option 2b is selected, and it has been dropped.

Also, this would leave the line “dangling” at Bathurst Street where it would face a very congested Front Street that is designed for motor traffic, not transit.

The presentation included a bizarre comment about how a Front Street alignment might serve a future GO station on the Bathurst Yard lands. It is unclear how what would essentially be a streetcar line would handle the effect of 2,000 at a time peak loads alighting from GO Trains. Moreover, just like GO, an LRT/streetcar originating in southern Etobicoke and serving Liberty Village would be full by the time it arrived at Spadina.

Finally, there is a tiny problem with Front Street at Union Station where the street has been substantially pedestrianized.

This whole idea is badly thought out, and should have been struck in Phase 1 of the study, but it survives.

201605_Concept_3D

Finally we come to the continuation of a Lake Shore alignment. This, like concept 3A, connects to the Queens Quay trackage shared with 509 Harbourfront and thence to Union, but it would connect at Bathurst/Lake Shore in a different manner, further to the south.

Update: Preliminary Evaluation

201605_Segment_3_PrelimEval

Only the “North of Rail Corridor” option 3C ranks as “Fair” with all others as “Good”.

The Union Station Conundrum

Four sets of options are presented to deal with capacity issues at Union Loop:

  • Modify the loop
  • Build a second loop specifically for the new western LRT
  • Through-route service on Queens Quay east and west
  • Redistribute access to the waterfront

Before going into the details, it is important to remember how we got into this mess in the first place. When the TTC designed Union Loop, they grossly overestimated its capacity at the time including:

  • No provision was made for the platform space lost to car swingout on the very tight curve.
  • The full capacity of the passageway between the subway and loop was assumed to be available for unidirectional flow when, in practice, half of the space is consumed for queued passengers.

Here is the loop as originally designed.

AsBuiltLoopw

The loop is constrained to the east and west by the Customs House building and Union Station respectively. The passageway to the north now terminates on the new northbound-to-Yonge platform of the subway station which is at the south side of Front Street.

The last time a design for an expanded loop was published was back in 2009 before the arrival of Mayor Ford stopped all work on waterfront transit in its tracks.

UnionStationLoop_2009

Even this design is not current because a link is planned to a new building on the east side of Bay that will contain the new GO bus terminal. A spur structure is shown in the drawing above, but it is unclear what platform area it would link with, particularly for riders wishing to ride south on the streetcar/LRT services.

The optional link into the railway station has not been built, of course, because this expansion project which could have been undertaken concurrently with other work at the railway station and on Queens Quay just sat on the shelf.

This is still a tight layout especially if three separate services would operate here and the whole thing would require much more capacity simply for pedestrian circulation.

Now let’s look at the options that the “reset” is contemplating. Take a deep breath – truckloads of crayons gave their lives to bring you these designs.

201605_UnionLoop_A1

A.1 is the scheme shown in the TTC drawing above and includes the new junction to the eastern waterfront line at Queens Quay. This was the state of design as of about 2010. As mentioned earlier, there are serious question to be asked about the loop’s capacity, and one alternative scheme was to extend a new tunnel east under the rail corridor presumably through the substructure of the rail viaduct to a point east of Yonge and then south to Queens Quay.

201605_UnionLoop_A2

This would avoid the creation of a junction or the need for streetcars to turn around at Union. One issue to be resolved would be access across the tracks between the subway station and the north/eastbound platform for the streetcars.

The planners are not much enamoured of this scheme because it requires a tunnel and would be expensive. Also, operationally, this scheme would require all service arriving at Union to continue east to wherever the first turnback will be built on Queens Quay (likely east of Parliament). This creates a link between the eastern and western services that could be hard to manage (think of the Queen car and its through service to Long Branch).

For reference, the original scheme A.1 above would have emerged onto Queens Quay just west of Freeland Street.

201605_UnionLoop_B1

The second loop scheme would require an underground loop somewhere west of the Air Canada Centre. This will be challenging considering that the space is already occupied by the Convention Centre. Moreover, the walking link to Union would be fairly long and riders from the west might rightly ask if this is how they will be expected to access the subway and core area. (I think here of Scarborough riders who complain about the Kennedy Station SRT transfer which, compared to this, is short and sweet.)

201605_UnionLoop_C1

In scheme C.1 service from the west (or at least some of it) does not enter Union Loop but continues through to Queens Quay east. No service design has been proposed, and in any event this does not address the additional demand that riders bound for the eastern waterfront will place on Union Loop.

201605_UnionLoop_C2

201605_UnionLoop_C2A

Now things get really blue sky, although for a tunnel that is probably not the appropriate metaphor. The existing Bay Street tunnels would be converted into pedestrian and cycling links from Front Street to Queens Quay (how the cyclists would get in and out has not been explained).

A few points are worth noting here:

  • Such a link would impose a 500m walk (about the length of three subway stations) on the connection from Queens Quay to the core. This will very substantially add to travel times.
  • A long walk is an accessibility issue, especially if the walkway is not functioning, a not uncommon situation for TTC infrastructure of this nature.
  • The existing link to the Island Airport is slightly less than 1/3 of the length of the Bay Street tunnel.
  • The example shown above from Amsterdam is a mere 110m long.

In other words, we would rip out the direct link from Union Station to the waterfront that so changed access to this area a quarter-century ago because we don’t want to expand capacity at the loop.

201605_UnionLoop_C3

The street level bypass would provide a combination of street trackage for through service to Queens Quay east and access via the existing tunnel to Union. This would consume a great deal of space at the already busy Queens Quay/Bay intersection which has just been redesigned. This option is a non-starter and has been dropped.

201605_UnionLoop_C4

In this scheme, the existing tunnel access on Queens Quay disappears, and all service runs through to Queens Quay East. The idea that the demand between Union and the Queens Quay service would be provided by an “enhanced” Bay bus service is laughable given the usual state of traffic in this area, and the need for thousands of passengers to transfer on street. Again, the travel time, all in, for trips to/from Bay and Front would be substantially longer thanks to this arrangement.

Its purpose, by the way, is to get rid of the tunnel portal and thereby beautify Queens Quay, a project which recently completed at great public cost.

201605_UnionLoop_D1

An on street loop around downtown would add to the existing service on King the very substantial traffic of streetcars serving the waterfront. Again, there is an absence of basic analysis of traffic and passenger volumes, not to mention travel time, that should knock this scheme off of the table.

201605_UnionLoop_D2

201605_UnionLoop_D3

Even more fanciful is an LRT extension up Bay Street. The idea that Bay Street actually has room for a new streetcar service either at grade or underground (where it would run smack into many services including the existing subway) is one of those proposals that make seasoned transit activists like me weep. This is so far away from any version of “reasonable” that I have to ask whether a pot dispensary has opened near the project office.

Parliament to Woodbine

201605_Segment_4_Overview

The western part of this segment contains the already-approved waterfront east line including:

  • A link north under the rail corridor to the new trackage on Cherry Street
  • A link east via Commissioners to Leslie and trackage serving Leslie Barns
  • A link north via an extended Broadview Avenue to Queen and thence north to Broadview Station
  • A link south to Cherry at the Ship Channel

The matter of the link from Queens Quay to Cherry came up in the May 25 session, but the presenters didn’t know much about it beyond that it might be expensive. This is an odd statement considering that the detailed layout for New Cherry Street is part of the EBF transit scheme, and the link shows up in drawings of the revamped Gardiner Expressway. Indeed, the reason the new track on Cherry is on the east side of the street is so that it will easily hook up with the south-side trackage on Queens Quay once that is built.

As for links to the east, it is unclear why an “LRT” paralleling Queen beyond what is already planned for Commissioners is needed as the section between Leslie and Woodbine does not see much congestion. There is again the question of the comparative travel times for riders bound to the core via Queen Street as opposed to the more roundabout route through the waterfront, especially if a direct service into Union Station is cut as proposed above.

Two schemes for an eastern link are proposed, one via Lake Shore and one via Eastern. The link via Lake Shore connects at Woodbine, and therefore could not be used for a Kingston Road service to downtown unless it was extended north. Lake Shore itself is quite busy and attempts to shift the carhouse access to any route that would have installed track there were rebuffed strongly by the TTC and the City.

201605_Concept_4A

The Eastern corridor would link to the south and of Russell Carhouse (another Leslie Barns access option the TTC and City rejected), and thence to Kingston Road. Whether this would be any benefit to riders from the Beach or from Kingston Road is quite another matter.

201605_Concept_4B

Update: Preliminary Evaluation

201605_Segment_4_PrelimEval

53 thoughts on “A Messy “Reset” For Waterfront Transit Planning (Updated)

  1. So we still just have a bag of options. No priorities or funding. Not even any analysis of ridership beyond “there are lots more people than a few years ago”. No pricing or unified options.

    It’s clear to me that Union Station needs a unified long term plan, Metrolinx, the City, Waterfront and Via – they need to basically come up with a 10, 20 and 50 year plan for the roads, rail and buildings in the area.

    If we knew the ridership of the proposed lines we could start to understand that we are spending more on parking structures to hold a couple thousand cars for GO than we are for LRT stations that handle 30-50000 people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I shudder to think of the tons of thermoplastic that would be consumed if 3D-printing had been involved in this presentation.

    The long-term capacity and connectivity of lakefront transit are going to depend critically on: north-south transit connections, and on the location and layout of relief line and GO stations, even if they don’t connect directly to the lakefront line, as they may alter service patterns to the north-south routes. Not much mention of those here.

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  3. “Take a deep breath – truckloads of crayons gave their lives to bring you these designs.”

    Nothing like a little humour to light up a depressingly dark situation! One of my favorite articles thus far, though I’m increasingly concerned over the future of waterfront transit despite it’s clear need.

    Steve: Thanks. I had reached the point where the proposals lifted off from the usual doodles to the pure fantasies uninformed by any awareness of conditions “on the street” that I expect to see from transit fans and politicians with far too much time on their hands.

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  4. A great deal more crayons could be used without a successful resolution to this situation because our politicians have normally made the wrong decisions almost every step of the way. There were many possible routes available until not very many years ago but they have been squandered by other developments, both transportation and structural, constructed without any consideration to future requirements but only considering the cost of the project or the potential property tax revenue the completed project would provide.

    As an aside, I have been travelling to downtown Toronto on a regular basis for 57 years and the area on Front Street adjacent to Union Station seems to have been dug up more that it has been in place.

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  5. It seems as if the three main problems that chronically derail good ideas in GTA transit are: political fear of pressure groups; a lack of long term, qualified transit leadership; and a resultant excess of political interference and lack of will. It may also be, as a result of the above, that the planners simply do not have the time to properly do their job.

    In the United States, when transit works, these problems are minimized or absent. Now is the time, with a reasonable amount of unanimity among our 3.5 levels of government for our elected leaders to show some faith in professionals. Otherwise, the GTA will still be a pathetic mess at mid-century.

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  6. Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the presentations.

    Regarding section 1, it seems to me that the best approach would be to implement a ROW where possible and transit priority lanes where the width does not permit a ROW (hybrid option 1AB?). Even though in the widest westernmost sections it may not be “needed” at present, it still makes sense to establish the ROW now: to reserve it for that purpose in the future, to reduce the potential for delays due to movements in mixed traffic (turning vehicles, accidents), and to minimize the number of transitions along the route from ROW to mixed.

    Where width does not permit ROW, during peak hours the track lanes could be transit only (also used by 76 and 145 buses for their Lake Shore route portions). Curb lanes could have parking prohibited during peak hours so you still have 2 traffic lanes in each direction. Off peak, I don’t think running one section in mixed traffic is going to make a great deal of difference to travel times.

    Steve: That narrow section is tight for a six-lane road. It’s a jump from narrow curb lanes used for parking to a full three lanes of traffic. The section at Legion Road today has only four lanes plus a bike lane on either side, not a full separate parking lane. Road widening would be needed, and there are spots where this means more than taking the existing boulevard.

    Experience has shown that painting lines on the road for peak-only transit lanes has little effect, especially if the rest of the road is congested. People simply ignore the signs, and Toronto never, ever enforces this sort of thing anyhow.

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  7. I doubt the water can be muddied any further, so let me add one more option to the mix. Has the idea of using an automated people mover — the sort of thing seen in many airports — been considered for the Bay St tunnel? Operate it back and forth at a high frequency, and that would take care of the 500 m walk.

    Steve: The combined demand for travel over this section is something like 6,000 passengers per hour at peak based on projections for the various lines. That is way beyond an airport people mover.

    Remember also that all of these people have to transfer between the LRT line at Queens Quay and whatever runs in the tunnels, and this will represent a very high level of pedestrian interference with traffic at that location which also hosts the Ferry Terminal.

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  8. Apart from cost, do you think it’s possible to expand the loop given the built form constraints?

    Ken H.

    Steve: The radius of the loop cannot be expanded given the structures immediately north, east and west of the loop. It’s a classic case where double-ended cars would make for a simpler terminal, but that is a large change to make to resolve the problem with the loop.

    I am concerned that putting all three branches (QQ West, QQ East and Bremner) into the loop would overwhelm the pedestrian link to Union regardless of the loop itself. This really wasn’t much of an issue in earlier days because the “Bremner car” and service to the western waterfront didn’t have much support. Now, however, with some Etobicoke members “discovering” what transit could do and the capacity issues around Liberty Village, the situation has changed.

    Frankly, I am not entirely sure how to deal with all of this demand, a direct result of the level of development we have allowed to occur, but it’s not going to be simple.

    The worst outcome would be for us to cheap out on the QQ east line where an entire neighbourhood was designed to be served by transit to make up for the failure to properly deal with development to the west.

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  9. Star Treck: Wrath of Khan.

    Spock: “He’s intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.”

    If they had to work within a budget the answer to building any surface or underground plans would be impossible.

    So the answer is to go up = cable car from Humber College to Union.

    Steve: Paid for of course by the private sector.

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  10. The long term solution to transit along the waterfront is GO electrification, building additional GO stations, and the downtown relief line including a western extension which is not shown in this plan. I don’t think that streetcar expansion is very useful because it is slow. If GO stations are built at Cherry, Spadina, Liberty Village, Roncesvalles and Park Lawn, service frequency is increased and fares are reduced then GO would be well used.

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  11. There were many possible routes available until not very many years ago but they have been squandered by other developments, both transportation and structural, constructed without any consideration to future requirements but only considering the cost of the project or the potential property tax revenue the completed project would provide.

    That describes to a T the relief line study being concurrently done by the city at the moment. That study is a mess, this waterfront study is a mess, what is rotten at city planning division?

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  12. Maybe the solution to the loop is to think in 3 dimensions. We’ve show that digging down is possible at Union. Maybe the east loop just goes under the west loop. With a connection into Union via the lower level (or just go directly under the new bay concourse and have some escalators between the levels). If we are trying to solve a long term problem. Maybe scrapping the loop entirely and building a bigger one under Union is a better and more expensive option.

    Steve: The problem is that “under Union” is already taken by the dig down.

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  13. The 2010 project to twin the TTC streetcar tunnel from Union Station to Queens Quay with a hammerhead so that cars could travel eastward on a new track to Parliament Street had to slam on its breaks when a very large storm sewer and outlet running down Bay Street blocked the path of the new tunnel hammerhead. This occurred very late in the game due to the process being TPAP or what I like to call an “EA My Way”. If a proper EA process had been used it likely would have been built and in service by now.

    Steve: No construction ever started east from Bay & Queens Quay, and the EA/TPAP took into account the presence of the storm sewer. Various ideas of branching out further north originated from this problem, but because the whole project stopped thanks to Rob Ford, nothing more was done. A related issue is that if the eastern service did turn off Bay at, say, Lake Shore or Harbour, cars on this branch would not serve the Ferry Docks.

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  14. As I see it, they are positioning Section 1 for minimal work (1A). It seems like they want a Queensway LRT, but don’t want Waterfront Toronto to pay for it.

    Steve: It’s more a case that the ward Councillor is plumping for The Queensway but it is a long, long way from LRT territory in demand. Part of this is “me too” and a hope that The Queensway won’t be left behind as Lake Shore develops.

    Section 2 is a choice of LRT north or south of the rail corridor. The North better serves those residents, but it doesn’t really “complete the missing link” (I hate that phrase). Some of these options don’t make sense when you look at the considerations of Section 1 (all of which use the Humber Loop area). So Options 2C and 2D don’t make sense in a larger picture. Option 2F is difficult without major benefit. Then it’s just really a choice of alignment between Humber Loop and Exhibition Place. I’d root (pun intended) for Colborne Lodge Dr.

    Steve: All of this has been obvious for years, and before work on the WWLRT stopped at the end of Miller’s term, the Colborne Lodge route, coupled with a reconfiguration of Lake Shore and connecting roads, was in the cards. So much has been forgotten, and the lack of continuity is glaringly obvious here.

    To play devil’s advocate, is there any possibility of having a loop around the whole Exhibition grounds? This would give better access to the Ontario Place development and provide network connectivity.

    Steve: Once upon a time, in a universe long ago and far away, the harbourfront LRT was to swing south from the Princes’ Gates to Ontario Place and then possibly back north to Dufferin Street. This scheme would likely have seen an “Exhibition Station” near the gates, but underground before the line popped out again on the surface south of Lake Shore. However, Ontario Place didn’t want to give up its precious parking lot, and so we wound up with the loop under the Gardiner. Times have changed, but it’s another example of a provincial agency screwing up good transit options for Toronto.

    Section 3 seems to suffer from “lack of integration” within this exercise. Option 3C needs to be dropped because of Option 2B and Option 3D only works with 2C. It seems like WFT in aware of the coming of Bathurst North Station. I’m not sure why this “Potential GO Station” was left off the map when it completely changes the dynamics of the area. If GO/TTC fares are integrated, you might have local service between Bathurst and Exhibition, and regional service going out from there. Really the should be recommending other people undertake a Bathurst LRT.

    Steve: It was I who rattled their cage about the Bathurst North Station, and it would appear they have verified this with Metrolinx. Two sets of studies are coming out on the same day (June 28), and we have to pretend in the City studies we don’t know what the province will announce. This is a sterling example of “integration”.

    I’m not sure why they didn’t give Downtown its own Section number. Maybe it’s because they don’t have a clue what to do. Is Option A.2 even buildable? I’d have to check where, but there are a lot of pile foundations around Union, then the south side of the rail corridor has more piles for the retaining wall.

    Option B.1 might be more viable in context of 3C/2B/Bathurst GO Station. However, it’s too vague to even debate it. However, to steal some plans from Metrolinx, they could have a loop or terminal station to the west of Simcoe, run under the rail corridor and emerge at Dan Lecke Way (close the street north of Fort York Blvd).

    Steve: A problem west of Simcoe on Bremner is that the structure of the Convention Centre parking garage extends under the street across Bremner in the path of any LRT tunnel one might propose.

    Option C.1 seems to be the only workable idea of these four, but it doesn’t do anything for Union connection.

    Overall, it seems like they’ll expand the existing loop and provide an eastern by-pass/connection to Queen’s Quay.

    Finally, Section 4 seems to assume the Port Lands Transit Plan is set in stone and they only need to consider Leslie to Woodbine. It seems like 4B is preferred. Too bad they didn’t consider a bit further east.

    Steve: The scope of work ends at Woodbine, and that’s only because area Councillors did a “me too” when the study was proposed. Frankly, I cannot see any need based on transit volumes or traffic conditions for an LRT link east of Leslie on either route.

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  15. As Steve’s shows by example, transit planning is a very demanding profession that should not be handed over to politicians. We know the results of that.

    York Quay Neighbourhood Association (YQNA) suggested a long time ago that the essential connection between Queens Quay at Bay Street into Union Station hinges on a new Transit Hub in the Convention Centre (N-E corner of Bay) that belongs to the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. The hotel is now up for sale, and the new owner will undoubtedly want to replace the out-dated Convention Centre with a larger building. It’s on land leased from the City. Part of the zoning can include a large Transit Hub at grade and one storey below, connecting to the existing tunnel into Union Station.

    The area at grade can include amenities like coffee shops, public toilets, information booth and ticket sales for the Island Ferries. Sloping moving walkways (or simple escalators?) provide access to the platform below. Short driverless electric trains move in continuous loops on the 500 meter run to Union Station.

    If you want to see a prototype of such trains, look up the new airport trains in Munich. They have no drivers, wide doors, only a few seats in each car, and room for people to safely stand for short trips.

    Alternately we can spend $400 million on digging another streetcar tunnel for eastbound transit under Queens Quay. But please don’t.

    Ulla Colgrass
    Planning Committee, YQNA

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  16. I swear, Jarrett Walker, professional transit consultant, would make a fortune if he were hired to deal with this multi-faceted “project” (read: mess, dog’s breakfast, chaos-in-colour). The first $100,000.00 paid to him would be spent in him convincing politicians, public servants and the public at large of the sheer idiocy/impossibility/impracticality of some of the ideas and explaining in detail why they wouldn’t work or – if everyone were *so* stuck on a particular idea – why it just might cost a fortune in time and/or money to realize (i.e. would never happen before the end of the millennium, with lots of hand-wringing).

    The Gardiner Expressway is falling down? God, let’s spend a fortune to rehabilitate it ($500 million on road rehabilitation work between 2013 and 2022 [Waterfront Toronto] with $3.8 Billion spent over 30 years as a P3 project [various news media sources]). Meanwhile, looking at this graph from the city of Toronto, this work would benefit about 330,000 a day cars (Gardiner West and East) while on the same graph it shows that 470,000 people use the Yonge and Bloor subway lines daily.

    Meanwhile, the TTC’s own Subway ridership report shows somewhat higher daily usage numbers.

    But expansion of that network? – Well, we just have to study it and study it and study it – and it’s going to cost a fortune, money that we don’t have, so where are the Feds and the Province….

    Toronto as a city doesn’t know it’s head from a hole in the ground when it comes to transit planning. Every faction, from the Mammolitis of the world – whose own Ward BIA told him years ago that an LRT would be great along Finch Avenue West, but no, Mammo *demands* a subway, because … well, just *because* – to the Rob Fords who haven’t ever been on transit, but still consider streetcars (even LRT) the Devil Incarnate – keep the balls in the air, juggling while the transit masses suffer in abject silence wringing their own hands. And no one wants to spend the tax money it would actually take to make the transit system “world class.” Somehow the systems in London, Paris, Moscow and similar cities were just magically “there” – it’s not like people thought about this stuff decades and even a century ago and made decisions to enable these systems to exist and expand as needed. Now, Toronto politicians want a new subway *poof* by the time they’re running for re-election so they can use it when they go door-knocking.

    Let the transit users tell you what they *need* (NOT want) – and use analysis to confirm what the reality is (like building the Bloor Subway when the streetcars became too overburdened by passengers and the demand was actually there); let the planners do their planning, based on sound research and reality; and *then* let the politicians release the money, for which they are responsible to the citizens, but tell them to keep their noses out of the planning process insofar as we don’t need any more back of an envelope/napkin-planning. Plus, Steve says there are no crayons left to doodle with, so let’s just start using our brains instead!

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  17. Maybe this is pie in the sky, but could you not build an LRT (Queens St. level), RER (1 level below) interchange station at Roncesvalles that’s built out over the rail corridor. You might have the space to build a large loop station for multiple streetcar lines and could also use it as a jumping off point to cross over the Gardiner and touchdown on the Lakeshore side.

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  18. Hmmm, one thing I just noticed. June 28 is both “City Staff Report to Executive Committee” and “Metrolinx Board Presentation on: RER New Stations”. That seems like… bad planning.

    Steve: For what it’s worth, all of the city materials will be out at least a week before, and there is a presentation scheduled for June 21 in the Members’ Lounge (open house from 3:30 pm, presentation at 5:00) which is open to the public.

    James Schofield said:

    Has the idea of using an automated people mover — the sort of thing seen in many airports — been considered for the Bay St tunnel?

    Steve said: The combined demand for travel over this section is something like 6,000 passengers per hour at peak based on projections for the various lines. That is way beyond an airport people mover.

    It has been considered. Here’s a quick rundown (using DCC Doppelmayr Cable Car as used at Pearson). With a capacity of 25 pphpd per car, you need 4 cars/minute. If you had 120s headways, that’s 8-car consists. Assuming Bay to Front, that’s 1.16km round trip. The airport using 36s dwell times, so you have 84s to travel 580m between stations. However, 36s dwell times are probably not realistic in crush capacity scenarios. At max speed, you need 48s between stations (assuming instant acceleration/stopping), so that’s 72s dwell time.

    Any sort of connectivity to the ACC would push it over the edge. To cross the rail corridor, you’d need to buy air rights from CN/CP (Metrolinx only owns the first 8.4m). Finally, the northern station would be at least 3-4 stories above street level.

    I’d personally prefer to walk it, if I was going anywhere south of Front, and don’t know what I’m doing on Queen’s Quay if I’m going north of Front.

    Steve: There is also the recent Munich People Mover mentioned in a previous comment. It is 400m long between two terminals and uses Bombardier’s Innovia technology, a descendent of the SRT. Walking is fine if you’re up to it physically, but many people are not.

    Chris said: So the answer is to go up = cable car from Humber College to Union.

    Steve said: Paid for of course by the private sector.

    Actually, the private sector did look at cable cars from the Don Lands to Exhibition, and you have the combined issues of station access and columns occupying the road space. I’d have to dig out the plans but as I remember it, it had 2m diameter columns with a span of 30-60m between each.

    Steve: My remark was a dig at the proposed cable car to the Evergreen Brick Works.

    Andrew said:

    If GO stations are built at Cherry, Spadina, Liberty Village, Roncesvalles and Park Lawn, service frequency is increased and fares are reduced then GO would be well used.

    Cherry and Spadina yes, Liberty Village and Park Lawn no. Roncesvalles is awfully constrained. It’s 32.6m wide at the Sunnyside Loop between the shoulders of The Queensway and the Gardiner. With 5 mainline tracks that’s 22.9m, so that leaves 9.7m for platforms, or two side platforms or 1 island platform. There is space to the east, but that puts it 1.8km from Exhibition.

    The other half is expecting there to be spare capacity on the peak GO trains, when GO is already expecting to be capacity constrained in both passengers per train and trains per hour.

    George bell said:

    Maybe scrapping the loop entirely and building a bigger one under Union is a better and more expensive option.

    There are very deep pile foundations in and around Union Station, you might be able to thread the needle or else you need to go very deep, which has it’s own issues.

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  19. Steve:

    Your analysis of the various transit issues are always appreciated. I attended Wednesday’s meeting and felt frustrated by nature of the presentation which featured numerous flowcharts accompanied by very little data. How can the public give meaningful input when the transit options are presented this way. Your detailed analysis of the various options presented at Wednesday’s meeting gives me a clearer picture of the feasibility of each option. The “pie in the sky” nature of each proposal has certainly discouraged me from having an optimistic anticipation of future developments and made me reconsider my decision to send in my suggestions to the planners.

    In reference to this last comment, I want to get your thoughts one one idea that I had considered submitting.

    Could the Queens Quay LRT(east and west)be co-ordinated with the Ivanhoe-Cambridge project at 81-141 Bay St.I had heard that the developer might be open to including an underground terminal for future transit. Specifically,if this underground terminal could be situated in the middle of their project (immediately south of the rail corridor), could the east LRT go up Freeland St, run under Lakeshore Blvd. and then run along the south side of the rail corridor to connect with the underground terminal.As well,maybe the west LRT could connect with this additional underground terminal as well as the current one.

    Steve: All of that is some tricky threading through existing underground structures. The developer of the site on the NE of Bay and Lake Shore has already agreed to building a link from the -1 level of their development into an expanded Union Station Loop.

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  20. I think that movators in the Bay St tunnel will be a good idea if the Queens Quay streetcar line is to be extended east of Yonge but if Queens Quay East is to be served by BRT (preferable), only then should existing Bay St streetcar track should be kept.

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  21. “Frankly, I am not entirely sure how to deal with all of this demand, a direct result of the level of development we have allowed to occur, but it’s not going to be simple.”

    I’m honestly getting the feeling that a Bay tunnel (and yes, it’s going to have to be a deep and rather complicated tunnel all the way, maybe other options exist if it ever goes FARTHER north) to Queen with a new terminal around Nathan Phillips Square is the only way out that doesn’t generate massive operational problems. It’s a long way from a simple project, but does help with the issues around bringing the DRL through so far north. If we could treat it as part and parcel of the DRL it might just be doable.

    Steve: There would be huge challenges to build such a tunnel and its cost would make simply expanding Union Loop look positively cheap by comparison.

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  22. Options 2C and 3D where the LRT route runs along the Lakeshore south of the CNE grounds may have to contend with the Molson Indy route (or whatever it is called these days).

    Steve: Yes, anything that’s going to come through the CNE grounds faces this.

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  23. Replacing existing Bay St tracks with movators will be a significant downgrade and a step in the wrong direction.

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  24. I’m honestly getting the feeling that a Bay tunnel to Queen with a new terminal around Nathan Phillips Square is the only way out that doesn’t generate massive operational problems. It’s a long way from a simple project, but does help with the issues around bringing the DRL through so far north.

    So because the city refuses to spend money to expand Union Loop, because the city refuses to spend money to put the RL in its proper place, we should build a workaround that would likely cost more than both of the “too expensive” options put together?

    Some of the ideas planning staff have carried forward like the tunnel under the rail corridor are far worse and more ridiculous than any enthusiast grade fantasy map I’ve ever seen. I’m sure half of the people reading this comment could probably put together something more credible.

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  25. J Cam said:

    Maybe this is pie in the sky, but could you not build an LRT (Queens St. level), RER (1 level below) interchange station at Roncesvalles that’s built out over the rail corridor.

    You could, but it would be expensive and the question would be ‘why?’, especially because it would by-pass serving St. Joe’s. [hospital]

    Jack Brannigan said:

    Could the Queens Quay LRT(east and west)be co-ordinated with the Ivanhoe-Cambridge project at 81-141 Bay St. I had heard that the developer might be open to including an underground terminal for future transit.

    Isn’t that where the future GO bus station is supposed to be at ground level?

    Steve: Yes, the new bus terminal is to go on the ground floor of this development.

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  26. I am beginning to tire of pictures of Amsterdam being thrown out as proof that ideas are wonderful and that decent planning research was done.

    Although I guffaw at those people who fret over going up a couple of escalators at Kennedy Station, I must admit that, no, I do not want to walk 500 metres to make a connection to go south then west or east. That is not a network.

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  27. It’s not clear to me whether the proposal for a Queensway LRT in the west end is sparked so much by a desire to provide (massively surplus to the actual demand) rapid transit to The Queensay, as it is a desire to not have any LRT on Lake Shore. At meetings, I have heard people say “put the LRT on The Queensway, there’s lots of room for it there“. I don’t know if there there was much more than NIMBYism behind those opinions, as an LRT on The Queensway doesn’t really address waterfront transit issues.

    I have heard talk that groups invovled the redevelopment of the Lakeview area of Port Credit (just west of Etobicoke Creek) may request an extension of the streetcar (LRT) westward. There is no hope of any extension along The Queensway in Mississauga; an occasional minibus is enough to cover that route.

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  28. Cherry and Spadina yes, Liberty Village and Park Lawn no.

    Have Park Lawn and Liberty Village been ruled out as new stations in the not-yet-released study? Might I ask what else has been ruled out and what’s in? How do the GO plans mesh with the Toronto plans from a network standpoint? From my perspective and limited information it doesn’t look good.

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  29. To modify J Cam’s pie-in-the-sky idea to different (but probably still pie) idea, I think if the DRL were brought west to Roncesvalles before or while curving north, I think there’s merit to creating a new major transit hub there.

    The TTC already owns a huge piece of land there, in the form Roncesvalles Carhouse. It would also be a logical terminus for the 501 Queen, and new Lakeshore and Queensway LRTs, and would better help justify them being high-speed routes towards downtown. Although they would have to build a new carhouse, maybe on the Queensway somewhere. A new GO station could also connect there, and the hub would serve the hospital, Roncesvalles, and the surrounding area very well.

    I think this would solve things on the west end, though of course the DRL would be a major expense. But I think it has to happen in the future anyway, so why not make integral to the plans, and thus not need to worry about streetcar congestion and new tracks east of Roncesvalles.

    Steve: Ronces carhouse isn’t going away any day soon, and dreams of the DRL getting west of downtown are even more fanciful than those of a DRL existing at all.

    We must not make network planning contingent on unlikely events or combinations of factors that reduce the probability of reaching the desired goal. Saying “but it should be done this way” is not enough, especially when a strong argument can be made that a Queen/Ronces DRL is not a good idea generally.

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  30. “I don’t think that streetcar expansion is very useful because it is slow. If GO stations are built at Cherry, Spadina, Liberty Village, Roncesvalles and Park Lawn, ………..”

    And then GO trains will be so slow stopping at these little stops that nobody will want to ride GO except those using it at those little new stations.

    LRT is the way to go.

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  31. The tunnel to Union Station was a stupid choice from day one. It barely copes with the heavy volume of people transferring between the subway and the streetcars just to go one short stop and then a long walk to the ferry docks. There is NO way that tunnel could handle three routes, What should have been done was to run the cars on the surface from Queens Quay north to Front Street and turn west stopping at Union Station, Convention Centre, to Spadina or Bathurst then south to Queens Quay. In other words a continuous on=street loop (operating in both directions) eliminating any need for a turnback loop. Total cost would have been less for all this service that the short tunnel and loop.

    Perhaps it is not too late to do this and turn the tunnel into the pedestrian/bike idea.

    Perhaps a Queens Quay East route running north to Front or Wellington or Adelaide or Richmond and then run east to “loop” south along Leslie or Cherry back down to QQE.

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  32. Could someone explain to me why they paved the streetcar right-of-way along Queens Quay? The bicycle lanes are hard surfaces, and sure could support heavy fire trucks on them. But no, the dim light-bulbs at the city hall decided to pave the right-of-way. Guess they thought that bicycles will not move out of the way of the fire trucks, while streetcars can move to side to let them pass. I’m expecting to see that with any eastward extension.

    The Transit City light rail right-of-ways could end up the same way. Can’t expect the emergency vehicles to use bicycle lanes on the multi-lane roadways, where there is no parking.

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  33. I am off to London a week on Sunday and once again their super deep tube lines. Riding to the surface from the Piccadilly line on the super long escalators is a scary experience. When there are issues where existing infrastructure is in the way – particularly at he Union Station loop – is super deep an option. Is lower down bedrock or is it below the water table. I don’t know how deep the pilings go, is it beyond the feasible tunnel level?

    Steve: This depends on just where we are talking about. South of Front is the old lake bed, and so building anything deep there is quite a challenge. There were problems with water building the rather shallow Bay Street tunnel, never mind going deeper. Yes, if you go down far enough, you hit bedrock. Remember, however, that the streetcars (oops LRVs) have to get to and from this level from their normal location on the surface. It’s not just about long scary escalators. There is probably something to say for a separate loop, but on the east side in conjunction with the new bus terminal, but the TTC has been wedded to the Bremner line for so long, it’s hard to get them to think of anything else.

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  34. Maybe a crazier idea would be to make the north south route stop at three stations (Union, queens quay, island) cancel the plans for the new ferry terminal and cancel any orders for new ferries…close up half of he existing portal and make the route go across queens quay east to west with a transfer at an upgraded/slightly more south queens quay stop. Keep half of the portal open for out of service train movements.

    This adds service to the island, which reduces pedestrian movements at queens quay and it saves having to build a new ferry dock and buy/operate ferries or expand the loop (at the expense of a tunnel to the island and some minor modifications to the portal).

    Probably a non starter for lots of reasons. But we got lots of crayons still before we get to the pencil or pen stage 🙂

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  35. A hard surface that can support bicycles won’t necessarily support fire trucks. I’d assume the bike lane foundations aren’t built to highway standards.

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  36. After reading these plans(?) I am beginning to wonder if Water Front Toronto should rearrange the last two letters of the logo.

    Steve: The latest plans are City Planning’s doing, not Waterfront Toronto. Planning took every scheme that has ever been proposed, including some of the railfan fantasies that show up at public meetings, and thrown them all into the hopper. I get the impression they are trying to avoid offending anyone by dropping proposals without detailed evaluation. This is laudable to a point, but it just confuses the issue by having so many variations in play with so little critical comment.

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  37. In a perfect world, having the vision and alternate funding mindset would save most if not all of the waterfront LRT issues terminating at Union Station.

    The parking lot across to the East of the ACC at 33 Bay Street which is under development with Ivanhoe Corp. has current provisions for a GO Bus terminal.

    What is possible is a super LRT loop with Queens Quay east and west and Bremner terminating there to be built from scratch without disruption to current service operations (save blowing out the eastern Queens Quay tunnel).

    This is a vertically integrated LRT station with GO buses.

    The diagonal walk from this new underground station through the existing loop would be a mere half block.

    Often times using private construction opportunities for public transit seems like a no brainier, where are the planners and opportunists that are needed in times like this?

    Paying for this effort could be as simple as offering property tax free for 20-25 years,

    Tunneling Bremner from the new 33 Bay Station, popping up at Spadina continuing down Fort York to Lakeshore west and then on out to Etobicoke in RoW.

    To bend the ears of of some of our near sighted planners and politicians when things seem so simple.

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  38. A “very good” construction cost may not represent good value for the task at hand, but that’s not part of the evaluation.

    I don’t have much hope here for anything but the cheapest to win out. The cheapest option won out in the RL study despite losing in the technical evaluation and coming up with significantly lower relief/total ridership in the city modeling. As you say, value was not in the evaluation. I keep harping on it but it’s true. No matter what is chosen in the waterfront reset, it will be the cheapest option. It would be sheer coincidence if it also happened to be the best value.

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  39. Even without considering the loads resulting from a WWLRT, I have a hard time imagining that the Union loop can handle the existing service plus the EBLRT. One potential workaround for that would be to only send some portion of the cars through the loop, and through-route the rest of the service along Queens Quay.

    As for the Union-to-Humber segments, what seems clear to me is that there are two conflicting priorities that they are trying to serve with the same plan. If you want to improve travel times from the west to the core, a more-or-less express LRT running along Lakeshore (stopping at Spadina, Bathurst, Ontario Place/CNE, and Roncy/Sunnyside/Colborne Lodge) is the best option. But this does absolutely nothing to relieve the King Car through Parkdale and Liberty Village. Enhanced service north of the rail corridor is the only way to do that, but the traffic conditions in the area and lack of room for a new ROW make it a slow and inefficient way to try and move large numbers of people in from Etobicoke.

    What I’d really like to see is Lord Business… I mean Mayor Tory… commit to a transit lanes on King (or even Queen…) for, say, a two month period and commit to strict enforcement. The City and TPS has shown no inclination to actually make a plan like that work, but if the Mayor really got behind it the way he did with his no illegal parking thing we could actually see what effect it might have, and hint at what we might get if Toronto ever has the balls to make much of King a transit-only street.

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