The Travails of Cherry Street

A recent meeting of the Corktown Residents’ and Business Association included a discussion of problems with the new 514 Cherry service. As reported by

… a resident of the King/Sumach area … commented that the screech of the streetcars turning at King and Sumach was so loud as to prevent sleep. Apparently the issue has been ongoing since the inauguration of the 514 (Distillery Loop–Dufferin) line on June 19.

The issue—which took the meeting somewhat by surprise—was amplified by other attendees, who also noted that there were substantial problems with streetlight timings at the Cherry/Front and Cherry/Eastern intersections, as well as with poorly-delineated turning lane stripes which have led to vehicles accidentally getting onto the streetcar right-of-way and then being unable to get off. (There have been earlier, similar incidents with the slightly older right-of-way at Queen’s Quay.)

Deputy Mayor and area councillor Pam McConnell’s office was aware of the issues and noted that streetcar service was now suspended (replaced with shuttle buses) between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. A public meeting was subsequently scheduled with the councillor’s office and the TTC.

Problems at King & Sumach have continued since the 514 opened for service including:

  • dewirements causing overhead to be pulled down
  • derailments
  • traffic signals that do more to delay transit service than “prioritize” it (this is also a problem further south on Cherry)

When the TTC began rerouting the 514 service late in the evening, the alleged purpose was “railgrinding” and this is still reflected in the URL for the service notice which is called “514_railgrinding.jsp”. The activities underway at the intersection were clearly aimed at the derailment problems by altering the rail profile on the curves.

There is a long-standing slow order for east-west operation on King that has nothing to do with this, but is no doubt related to a few cases of overhead failure.

Meanwhile, the traffic signals here and at other locations on Cherry appear to be on a fixed cycle that has no relationship to whether transit vehicles are present. So much for “transit priority”.

On the subject of wheel squeal, the TTC’s official line is that the new streetcars are supposed to be self-lubricating, and that this would be triggered by GPS information. That’s a good line, but it does not fit with actual conditions.

  • There is a wheel greaser on the southbound approach to Distillery Loop.
  • The GPS-based automatic greasing has not yet been turned on for the new cars. (Anyone with contrary information is welcome to correct me in the comments.)
  • Most of the service on 514 Cherry is provided by CLRVs that do not have automatic greasers.

I have outstanding requests for further information on these issues to both the TTC and to City Transportation, and will update this post as and when they reply.

TTC Proposes Bus Route Changes for Spadina Extension to Vaughan

The TTC has launched a page with detailed descriptions of proposed route changes that would take effect when the Spadina subway extension to Vaughan (a.k.a. Line 1 TYSSE) opens in late 2017. This includes a survey of riders what they think of the new routes. The map below is taken from the TTC’s site which has much more detailed descriptions.

Note that the station now known as Downsview will be renamed Sheppard West, and the next station to the northwest will be called Downsview Park.

Pioneer Village Station (previously known as Steeles West) will be a major hub as the terminus for many TTC routes in this area. Some routes will continue to operate through York University, but its function as a terminus will be replaced by the new subway station.


In brief:

  • All service now provided by the TTC north of Steeles Avenue will be replaced by York Region Transit operations plus the new subway.
  • 105 Dufferin North will be cut back to end at Steeles Avenue.
  • 35 Jane will terminate at Pioneer Village Station, and the 35B service to Black Creek Pioneer Village will be replaced by an extension of 108 Downsview.
  • 195 Jane Rocket will terminate at Pioneer Village Station.
  • 108 Downsview will be extended north to Pioneer Village Station replacing the 35B service.
  • 41 Keele will be extended through York University to Pioneer Village Station. The 41B service to Petrolia and Canarctic will be replaced by 107 Keele North.
  • 107 Keele North will be cut back to Steeles and will terminate at Pioneer Village Station. The 107B service via Chesswood will be replaced by 117 Alness.
  • 117 Alness will be shifted off of Dufferin/Allen to replace the 107B service in the area between Dufferin and the GO Barrie corridor.
  • 84D Sheppard West to Oakdale and Norfinch will be extended to Pioneer Village Station.
  • 196 York University Express will be replaced on Sheppard by an 84E Express service from Yonge to Sheppard West Station. Service to York U is replaced by the subway.
  • 106 York University will be modified by the replacement of the large loop around York U campus with a run through to Pioneer Village Station.
  • Overnight services on 335 Jane, 341 Keele and 353 Steeles will now loop around the York U campus rather than only serving the existing bus terminal at the Common.
  • 60 Steeles West will connect with the subway at Pioneer Village Station, but will not operate into the York U campus.
  • 199 Finch Rocket will be cut back to Finch West Station rather then operating to York University.
  • 36 Finch West will operate through Finch West Station.

Please leave comments about these changes in the TTC’s survey.