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