King-Queen-Roncesvalles Project Deferred to 2020 (Updated)

Updated February 28, 2019: The TTC has confirmed that schedule and routing for 504 King and 501 Queen will not change at the end of March as originally planned. However, the 29 Dufferin schedule had also been changed to send all buses to the Princes’ Gates loop anticipating streetcar congestion at Dufferin Loop. This schedule change will remain for one schedule period and then be backed out in mid-May.

The City of Toronto announced today that the work planned for this summer at the King-Queen-Roncesvalles intersection and westward on The Queensway to Parkside Drive would be deferred to 2020 because of complications with the project.

Email from Chief Engineer, Michael D’Andrea.

“As you know, in early February, the City issued the tender for the planned project at the intersection at King / The Queensway / Queen / Roncesvalles. This project included: sewer and watermain replacement, replacing the entire TTC overhead and track infrastructure within the intersection and west along The Queensway, Streetscaping, road and intersection works along the Queensway, rehabilitating the bridge over Parkside Drive, removing the right-turn channel at Queensway and King Street and overall intersection / road improvements within the area. Based on feedback received to date from contractors considering the tender, there are areas of construction and design that require additional review and clarity to ensure the construction delivery schedule and budget can be upheld and delivered according to plan.

As a result, the City of Toronto is rescheduling the delivery of this project to 2020.

Efforts are underway between several City Divisions and TTC to firm up the design, schedule, and tender and reporting to the Infrastructure & Environment Committee. We expect to provide additional information to all stakeholders involved (Parkdale BIA / Roncesvalles BIA / St. Joseph’s Health Centre) in April – with more details to follow for the residents in the area at a later date.

We understand that the wait and anticipation for this construction has been a long time coming; however, the City and TTC wanted to ensure that the planned construction will be delivered according to the plan, schedule and budget that works to mitigate traffic and TTC service impacts as much as possible. We look forward to meeting with you and stakeholders soon, to further discuss these measures.”

I await clarification from the TTC whether the route changes contemplated to go into effect with the March 30 schedules will or will not take place. They are probably far enough away from finalization of those schedules to avoid having an inappropriate service design for diversions that are not required now.

When I hear definitively, I will update this article.

Meanwhile, the expected release of streetcars from the west ends of 501 Queen and 504 King will not occur, and this will prevent the change back to streetcar operation on other routes until more of the new cars are available.

16 thoughts on “King-Queen-Roncesvalles Project Deferred to 2020 (Updated)

  1. The schedules for the March 31 Board period were supposed to have been posted at the surface Divisions on Feb 15. Operators are supposed to start picking their work for the Board on Feb 27. It may still be possible to change the schedules, but this would cause delays to the whole process. Look forward to hearing what management decides, although based on previous occurrences they may very well leave things as planned for Mar 31 and make the changes to the next period starting May 12. This is of course mere speculation at this time and will have to wait and see what actually happens.

    Steve: I hope to hear back from the TTC on this subject today, February 22.

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  2. Do you know the rationale for removing the right hand channel? I imagine the intersection becoming quite clogged without the gently outlet to King.

    Steve: This is being done at various locations around Toronto to make for safer pedestrians crossing. That is a particularly bad corner because of the location of the existing streetcar stop, but that is shifting farside.

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  3. What’s frustrating to me is that this is the result of the City of Toronto and TTC habit of leaving detailed design and tendering to the ‘last minute’.

    I have argued with City staff previously that to better managed capital spend through the one-time expense of getting 12 months ahead in capital planning should be made.

    Tenders for work in year x; should be in design in year x-2, and in tender the fall prior to the desired construction season.

    That way the vast majority of ‘unforeseen’ delays can be addressed well in advance and the first 2 months of the construction season don’t go to waste.

    The latter being a function of current year capital spend being approved in February each year, when construction season begins in April. This creates a major timeline problem getting early season tenders out.

    What should be approved in February is year x+1 (in the current year 2020).

    That way the machine can work smoothly.

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  4. Yet another example of a City project ‘imploding’ at the last minute. (Incompetence? Over budget?) The final work on Wellington appears to be going the same way with the final (streetscaping) phase probable being ‘rescheduled’ to 2021. (This is still under discussion as the reaction from local merchants and residents has been strong and they have put up with 3+ years of street construction that will end in the next month or so.) The final stage, new streetscape from Yonge to Church, has been planned to be completed later this year and is partly supported by s37 charges and funds from the BIA. The plans for it are, apparently, ready to go to tender, Council has approved the necessary traffic changes around the Flatiron Building and the prospect of a further 2 years of temporary sidewalks and dreadful road surface are not going down well. I assume that the TTC will not return the (new) overhead that they have already removed until the streetscape is all done so we will not see streetcars on Wellington until the final phase is completed.

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  5. Hi Steve,

    The 504 is often stuck in the congested left turn lane (turning NW onto Queensway). Does the current re-design offer any relief from this? A dedicated Streetcar lane? If they are revisiting the design, might be worthwhile to look at this.

    Cheers, Andrew

    Steve: No, there is no change in the westbound lane configuration. A big issue here is also the allocation of green time which tends to favour east-west movements over north-south, in part because there are separate phases for west/northbound traffic and southbound traffic.

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  6. Neil: Do you know the rationale for removing the right hand channel?
    Steve: This is being done at various locations around Toronto to make for safer pedestrian crossing.

    Indeed, similar changes were completed last year at Woodbine & O`Connor and I have to agree that it is much, much safer now for pedestrians.

    Steve: A similar, albeit smaller scale, change was at Upper Gerrard and Coxwell.

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  7. The tracks on The Queensway between Glendale and Sunnyside Aves now have a restricted speed zone in effect, although I am happy that the 501L will continue to be streetcars for another year. The question is now, will the TTC put useless service changes into affect, or not, which we will see I guess.

    Steve: Yes, this project has already been deferred at least once, and the track is getting really bad out there.

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  8. Another case of city hall deferring, deferring, and more deferring, to “save” money. (Just like the snow windrow removal being deferred until spring.)

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  9. Will (or can) a different project be moved up on the docket to this year in place of this?

    Steve: Probably not because the big ones involve advance orders for special track work. Track for future years’ projects will not yet have been manufactured. The intersection at Queen, Kingston Road and Woodbine Loop is planned for later in 2019, but I don’t know if the KQR deferral will affect the timing of this. A few other future projects are linked to bridge reconstructions and so cannot be shifted on their own.

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  10. So I’m curious: Does this push the KQR project into a timeline in alignment with when construction for the Legion Road/Park lawn streetcar ROW could feasibly occur?

    (A TTC Waterfront LRT briefing note from Nov 2017 was vague on timelines, but made it sound like that second project could happen relatively soon if there was the desire for it)

    Planning on going to the Waterfront reset consultation on the 4th, so maybe my questions will be answered then.

    Steve: I very much doubt that the Park Lawn issue will be decided by next year. The developer is only in the early stages of planning the “Mr. Christie’s” site.

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  11. Does that mean that Roncesvalles won’t be fixed ? I think one of the projects tied with redoing the intersection was re-constructing all streetcar stops on Roncesvalles Avenue to be compatible with the Flexity ramps…

    Speaking of which part 2… how are the stops not compatible?

    Steve: I suspect the ramp issue will be put off for another year. The compatibility problem is that when the new islands were built, they didn’t have the correct dimension for the height to match with the ramps as they extended. Judging by the amount of work that was done on Spadina, this should not be a huge job, but if Spadina was any indication, someone will figure out how to make it take forever.

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  12. I really hope the bike lanes become continuous up to Roncesvalles as it’s one of those nasty gaps in the network, and prevents many Parkdalians from easily cycling to High Park. If there’s any worry about how to spend the money, there are significant repair issues with many many of the trackbeds in the narrower segments of concrete on the outside of the tracks, closest to the curb, and cyclists at times need a bit of extra space to avoid a car door or parked car, and at times there are cyclists’ deaths that hmm, what happened to make her/him fall?

    These disrepair issues are in all parts of the old core, so there’s no point in calling 311 about them all; or it would be a full-time job, and how annoying that they want a street address. No, there should be some program of road/track inspection vs. out-sourcing to shitizens hmm? If you see something, ignore it unless it’s on TTC property, (which those tracks may be?), and by keeping cycling dangerous, it limits the competition, right.

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  13. Note from Steve : I have combined two comments in one here.

    From Feb 22: Speaking of new streetcars, Bombardier has managed to deliver a total of 2 in the last month. What gives?

    From Feb 24: OK: Bombardier snuck 2 quickies in while I was typing my letter. That is still pathetic [4 in one month] compared with their promises. The total of 2 from Millhaven makes me wonder WHICH Millhaven ‘plant’ they are using.

    Steve: Back in 2018, the TTC expected to receive two cars from Kingston before year-end, but the second one was only delivered recently (4573), and it is not yet reporting its location. Of the Thunder Bay cars, as I write this the vehicles up to 4528 have been delivered, and 4529 is in Toronto enroute to Hillcrest. 4520 was the last car delivered in 2018, and so that means we have 8 or 9 more now from Thunder Bay, not very impressive. That said, there is always a holiday shutdown at that plant and so deliveries fall off in January, and then cars that should have shown up earlier were delayed in transit by weather. Still, Bombardier does not seem about to resume a rate of almost two cars a week from Thunder Bay yet, and who knows what’s up at Kingston where I think they have been preoccupied with other orders.

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  14. Hey Steve, any idea what the original plans were for the diversion? I’m assuming this would have brought a temporary return of the 514 since the 504A wouldn’t be able to go west of Dufferin, but what would the 504A bus and 501L bus routing look like?

    Steve: No, I don’t know what was planned for diversions. Other readers who may have seen the schedules that were discarded may have that info.

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  15. The King, Queen, and Roncesvalles intersection delay is another example of the city defer any needed infrastructure upgrades to the future, in “hopes” that the costs will go down (never does).

    We have another such example with the Scarlett Road Bridge and road improvements at the Scarlett, St. Clair, and Dundas intersection. That study was complete in 2008. Construction was supposed to start in 2018 and last approximately three years. Will it start in 2019? Too bad we can’t legally take bets on it.

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  16. The deferring of the King-Queen-Roncesvalles construction project means it will cost more.

    Do you remember the Queens Quay construction project? It took just over two years – to remove the old streetcar tracks (which had deteriorated) and fill them with tarmac, then rebuild Queens Quay West with new sewage/drainage and utility system and new streetcar tracks with upside-down-L (cantilevered) poles which hold up the overhead wires. The completion date was delayed more than once, at least twice. There were reasons for the delays – the complexity of the project, and winter weather which means the accumulation of snow and (especially) ice.

    Weeks ahead of the the start of construction (start date October 2012) – on Sunday, July 29, 2012 – the TTC took streetcars off the “509 Harbourfront” route, the only streetcar route operating on Queens Quay West at that time, and replaced them with shuttle buses. The Queens Quay streetcar tracks were finally completed, and streetcars returned to the “509 Harbourfront” and “510 Spadina” routes were up and running starting Sunday, October 12, 2014. Also ahead of the start date of construction (October 2012), the main branch of “510 Spadina” route to Union wasn’t running (between the spring of 2012 and October 12, 2014), and that route was using shuttle buses – first between Spadina Station and the Queens Quay-Spadina loop, and later between King and the Queens Quay-Spadina loop; streetcars retrurned to “510” Spadina on Sunday, November 18, 2012, but only as far south as King Street.

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