Travel Times and Speeds on 54 Lawrence East

This article continues my series reviewing operation of bus routes on streets where priority lanes are proposed.

Lawrence Avenue East was not part of the TTC’s original list, but it was added by Councillor/Commissioner McKelvie when the overall package was before the TTC Board. It does not enjoy quite the same standing as the original five routes, and also brought objections from Deputy Mayor Minnan-Wong about both the lack of consultation and viability of this proposal, at least in his part of the city west of Victoria Park Avenue. The proposal now extends east from there to Rouge Hill.

In the analyses presented here, I have used Port Union Road as the eastern reference point because buses between there and Starspray Loop take their layovers in various locations that could skew travel times to the terminal or an alternate nearby screenline.

The article is divided into three sections.

  • The first looks at the route between Victoria Park and Port Union, but in two segments: east of Midland and west of Kennedy. This split eliminates travel time variations caused by layovers at Lawrence East Station.
  • The second part reviews the segment from Victoria Park to Don Mills.
  • The third presents average speed comparisons over the route for pre- and post-pandemic conditions.

In brief:

  • The eastern segment of the route has some times and location of congestion, but these vary a lot with the most severe problems being in the PM peak hour. At other times, the difference between pre- and post-pandemic average travel times is small.
  • The segment west of Victoria Park shows very little change in average travel times over an extended period with one relatively small exception in the AM peak westbound. It would be difficult to justify reserved lanes here based on actual travel time data.

One issue raised during debates at the TTC Board and at Executive Committee was that traffic levels, and hence congestion on Lawrence are affected by demand that has diverted from Eglinton due to the Line 5 Crosstown construction. This effect varies along the route. This should begin to disappear as conditions on Eglinton return to normal over the balance of 2020, and I will track this to see what actually happens.

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