This article continues the series reviewing the operation of transit service on the King Street transit priority pilot. August brings two major events that affect service on King Street, although the traffic problems are concentrated at the western part of the line: the Caribbean Carnival and parade on Saturday, August 4th, and the CNE from mid-August onward, especially with the air show in the final days of the month. Both of these bring congestion through Parkdale notably at the approaches to The Queensway and to Jameson Avenue westbound.
Peak Travel Times
As usual, we begin with the PM peak travel time chart westbound from Jarvis to Bathurst. The 85th percentile line has higher spikes in August, and the three largest relate to specific events:
- Wednesday, August 8: A delay near Church Street held a few cars causing a jump in the 85th percentile value although the change to the 50th (median) percentile was much lower. The cause of the delay is unknown because the TTC did not issue a service alert.
- Tuesday, August 21: Severe congestion westbound to Spadina from about 5:40 pm onward drove up both the 85th and 50th percentile values. Again, there was no TTC alert indicating a problem.
- Friday, August 31: “Police activity”, as the alert put it, required diversion of streetcars in both directions due to an incident west of Yonge Street. The spike in the 85th percentile was caused by one car that crossed Jarvis at about 5:30 pm but was not diverted. As a result its trip, including the delay, was included in the 5-6pm data for the pilot district. As with the August 8 data, note that the change in the 50th percentile is small and on a par with typical day-to-day variations.
For comparison, here is the eastbound chart.
Here are the full sets of charts:
August continued the July service pattern with overlapping branches of 504 King operating from Dundas West to Distillery, and from Dufferin to Victoria Park (Woodbine Loop evenings and weekends). The Distillery branch was operated almost entirely with Flexitys, while the Dufferin branch used a mixed of Flexitys and CLRVs for weekday service. This sustained a higher capacity on King than would have been the case with more of the older, smaller cars.
Eastbound at Jameson
The AM peak hour at Jameson includes only the Dundas West branch cars, and shows the continued domination of this service by Flexitys.
Eastbound at Bathurst
At Bathurst, both branches of 504 King are present giving a higher total capacity. The values here are not double those at Jameson (above) because CLRVs are still part of the mix on the Dufferin branch, although declining.
Westbound at Yonge
The PM peak capacity at Yonge includes both branches of 504 King. The proportion of CLRVs has stayed fairly constant through the summer.
Here are the full sets of charts:
The Effects of the Caribbean Carnival and the CNE
Although it is not part of the King Street Pilot, the section of the street through Parkdale often sees congestion that echoes onto other parts of the route with widened headways, short turns and less-than-usual service reliability. Events at Exhibition Place and on the Gardiner Expressway can divert considerable traffic to King, or create periods when King West is overloaded particularly at intersections where motorists try to turn off of King.
Westbound travel through Parkdale is affected primarily by queues of left turns westbound at Dufferin, Jameson and The Queensway. Here are a few charts illustrating how the travel time from Bathurst to The Queensway varies over the month.
Weekday travel times show some effects from the PM peak period, but these are comparatively small. The rise in travel times that is particularly evident on Thursday the 9th (yellow) is a common problem on routes where the period of “rush hour” traffic restrictions is not wide enough to cover the actual period of higher demand.
In the last week of August, the CNE was in full swing and the Air Show began operation late in the week. The effect on travel times is quite obvious.
The eastbound effect of the CNE is caused mainly by traffic congestion from The Queensway to Dufferin.
The most extreme example comes on the day of the Caribbean Carnival parade when traffic on King operates much more slowly than usual in both directions from Dufferin to The Queensway.
These events also affect travel times on Queen Street, and so a simple diversion of 504 King service onto Queen would not provide relief.
Week 3 of August is the transition into the CNE, and the effect is visible on Queen for Friday data.
Week 5 shows effects similar to those on King, but not as severe.
Saturdays show longer travel times for the parade day, August 4, but the effect is not as severe as on King Street.
I like to think I am smart enough to read up on and know about planned diversions in advance, but this surprise extra TIFF diversion tonight (Tuesday) right at the start of rush hour had me bamboozled. Apparently a very large number of people had the same experience. I was lucky working at King and York I could get on a stray 503 that had meandered downtown and was empty. It was crush loaded leaving Bay, where there were no TTC staff to explain what was happening to the very confused crowd. Yonge was a zoo where one hapless TTC redshirt was sacrificed to the masses to explain that, yes, the TIFF diversion had restarted and you had to walk over to Church and wait for one of the 504’s which were jammed in Queen Street traffic to finally make it back down to King.
Steve: I don’t agree with what TIFF has been doing, but the following info was included in the press release and the web page:
“Regular TTC service resumes at 5 a.m. on Mon., Sept.10 but due to red carpet events on King St., brief service diversions will be necessary on Sept. 10 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on Sept. 11 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.”
Quite bluntly, TIFF should be kicked off of King Street except for Friday after the PM peak and on the weekend.