King-Queen-Roncesvalles Update September 2020

The City of Toronto has issued an update for the project at the intersection of King, Queen, Roncesvalles and The Queensway.

This is a complex piece of work with many components that will stretch into 2022 including:

  • Reconstruction of the bridge over Parkside Drive on The Queensway
  • Extension of the streetcar right-of-way east from its current end east of Parkside to Roncesvalles together with provision for left turns across the right-of-way at Glendale and at Sunnyside
  • Reconfiguration of the KQQR intersection (see my article from April 2020 for diagrams of the planned changes)
  • Replacement of old water main and sewer infrastructure
  • Replacement of TTC overhead (this will make the wiring in this area pantograph compliant)
  • Reconstruction of streetcar track
  • Reconfiguration of Roncesvalles Avenue from Queen to Harvard (just north of the North Gate to the carhouse) with cycling lanes and transit platforms matching the section done several years ago from Harvard to Dundas
  • Revision to the existing loading islands on Roncesvalles for compatibility with the boarding ramps on the news streetcars

The construction will begin on September 8, 2020 on the underside of the Parkside Drive bridge. This will only have a minor effect on transit service, and the only change to the 501 Queen service is that it will not stop at Parkside during September and October.

2021 will see the main construction work on Queen and The Queensway beginning in February and extending to into 2022 as shown in the staging map below.

Stage 1 from February to July 2021 will affect the curb lanes of The Queensway as well as water main, track and overhead work extending east to Triller Ave.

Stage 2 from July 2021 to April 2022 will affect the middle lanes of The Queensway and King Street south of the intersection.

Stage 3 from April to August 2022 will affect Roncesvalles Avenue.

See the construction notice linked above for details.

There is no word yet on the TTC’s arrangements for service or what the interim configurations of routes will look like. Continued access to Roncesvalles Carhouse via the North Gate will remain available until the planned work in 2022 at which point all access will have to shift to the south gate during construction between Queen and Harvard.

However, there will be periods where the KQQR intersection is impassible in both directions while it is reconfigured and rebuilt. This will require Queen and King services to turn back somewhere further east TBA with bus replacements.

It is not clear whether there will be a period in fall-winter 2021-22 when streetcar service can be restored west of the carhouse. I will pursue details of the project staging with the City and TTC.

The City plans to have a project website available, but it is not up as I write this article on the evening of September 4.

14 thoughts on “King-Queen-Roncesvalles Update September 2020

  1. Has it all been tendered now? If so, that should fix it pretty much in the schedule.

    Steve: Yes the contract has been awarded. However, the City is still being vague on some details every time I ask them, and the TTC has not said a thing about service arrangements.

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  2. Thank you very much, Steve. It’ll be shared onto the Friends of Roncesvalles Avenue Facebook page.

    Steve: You’re welcome. It was passed on to me by Ric Amis of Parkdale Residents Association.

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  3. Apologies as this is not related to this project but any idea on what’s going on at the King Church intersection? There were TTC crews on site Friday and there were spray paint markings down all around the junction.

    If I’m not mistaken this intersection was rebuilt recently but it’s looking rough in several spots. They can’t possibly be thinking of undertaking more concurrent work on King, could they?

    Steve: I was there on Saturday and they were digging up the eastern portion of the intersection. This special work is in very rough shape with many loose pieces. It is planned to be completely rebuilt in a few years when there will be a major job to rebuild King Street, but it has been in bad shape with a lot of patches and slow orders for quite some time. This work will tide them over until that job.

    The last time it was completely rebuilt was before the switchover to “panel track” where entire pre-welded segments are dropped into place and the intersection is built with padding around the track to reduce vibration and concrete damage.

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  4. “The last time it was completely rebuilt was before the switchover to “panel track” where entire pre-welded segments are dropped into place and the intersection is built with padding around the track to reduce vibration and concrete damage.”

    I have to wonder if these intersections, regardless of the old or new style, are being damaged by the endless parade of dump trucks carrying full loads from condo excavation sites downtown pass over almost all year long every year. If so, has anyone thought of requesting they be routed in a way they will pass over other areas that don’t destroy infrastructure? Or would that be way too much to ask of developers?

    Steve: The streetcars are heavier than the dump trucks. The problem lies in how the intersections were build originally.

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  5. Did the continuation of the east bound bike lane on The Queensway (from Colborne Lodge to King/Queen/Roncie) survive the updates? Thank you.

    Steve: It ends at Glendale where provision is made for crossing to the north side and thereby into the local streets west of Roncesvalles.

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  6. The City and TTC are failing to provide safer cycling to/from Parkdale/High Park, and it’s pretty foul, considering we’re a fifth of the way in to the greenhouse century.
    Sure, it’s all a bit complex, and we don’t always need separated bike lanes, but to fail to make these simpler and easier connections is bad, and so far the designs seem to indicate they’re INCREASING the danger to bikes, in two rightwards curves, which vehicles invariably squeeze to the right.
    The two areas are King St., approaching Queen, where they propose a bump-out, and not a slip-through for bikes. The second increased danger is for westbound cyclists going west from Roncesvalles over the many streetcar tracks, along with a rightwards curve. By narrowing the road, and failing to provide a relatively few meters of separated lane where they make sense, it’s not only exposing cyclists to likely speeding traffic, there is likely greater risk from wheels being caught in tracks, as the angle of crossing is far too close to parallel for safer passages by many, especially novices. It’s as if TTC/City are Just Fine with keeping Parkdalians caged in to the area whilst spending multi-millions, and no, at times the City/TTC don’t deserve bail-outs and PTIP helps as they abjectly fail to provide safe, direct, continuous cycling.
    Aah, bikes are the competion sometimes.
    Province pays the hospital bills; not our problem.
    Why not tell the speeding cars to take the indirect sidestreets instead, or better yet, build some sub-regional transit through this corridor, like Relief West, so we can toll the G/Lakeshore, and reduce the pollution and yes, terrorism of traffic, which can include bikes at times, yes, as we are quick and quiet, and often over-take with not enough warning/space.

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  7. Wondering if this reconfigured intersection will allow cars to turn left onto Roncesvalles from the Queensway as has been discussed for years?

    Steve: Yes. The eastbound carstop is shifted to the east side of the intersection with a Ronces-style bumpout to make room for a left turn lane east-to-north.

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  8. Would like to see if the traffic lights at Glendale, Sunnyside, and Roncesvalles will actually give true priority to the crowded streetcars, or will the left turning single-occupant automobile get first go and force the streetcars to wait?

    Steve: My suspicion is that as at other “priority” intersections along The Queensway, left turns might interrupt streetcars. A lot depends on how far in advance of intersections the streetcars will “claim” their priority over one or two autos that are sitting in the left turn queue. The larger problem, I fear, will be with the eastbound left turn at Roncesvalles.

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  9. As the local Councillor doesn’t seem too worried about cycling safety, hmm, would he support a subway here instead? Or some form of transit expansion, with a focus on sub-regional/express instead of milk runs along the waterfront as per 1992 WWLRT EA figgering there were two (2) types of transit demand, though EAs have become another endangered species in Contario, so mere plans and logic really don’t matter now, and the federal level will keep shipping out the billions because they don’t want to ‘involved’ in how tax money gets ‘used’, and they too aren’t that worried about cycling safety either, though perhaps precedent with ISTEA.

    Steve: The local Councillor, Gord Perks, has no use for subways as you very well know, and moreover he was involved in supporting the Waterfront West alignment via a reconfigured Lake Shore and Colbourne Lodge Road rather than trying to shoehorn in a connection at the already overloaded KQQR intersection as in the original WWLRT plan. If you want to slag his positions, at least be accurate about where he stands.

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  10. Re: better yet, build some sub-regional transit through this corridor, like Relief West

    Why build transit through this corridor when there’s a perfectly functional corridor 10 metres to the south? Rebuilding Sunnyside and Parkside stations on the Lakeshore West rail corridor (and adding a few stations around Lib Village and Fort York) and running a local stopping service every 10 minutes with TTC fares would be cheaper than any other higher-grade transit we can build in the area. The only difficulty is convincing Metrolinx they are in business of moving people inside of Toronto, rather than delivering suburbanites in 12-car-long trains to Union.

    Steve: If Sunnyside Station were rebuilt, extra space will be required in the corridor for platforms, and this will not eliminate the need for transit service on streets at the KQQR intersection. People have to get to and from a Sunnyside Station after all.

    The various Parkdale stations are another issue. The one that once was on the Lake Shore corridor (“South Parkdale”) was located at Jameson Avenue which is only a short distance east of Sunnyside. It has even worse problems for access by connecting passengers because it is not on any transit line. The station was demolished in 1911 when the corridor was grade separated.

    The Parkdale Stations at Queen and Dufferin on the Weston corridor gave up their platform space to additional tracks, and there is no room to add platforms to make this a stop.

    Liberty Village is served by Exhibition Station on the Lake Shore corridor, and a proposed Smart Track station on the Weston corridor at King Street, although the latter may never see the light of day as it will be expensive to build in a very cramped part of the corridor. In any event, serving Liberty Village from GO corridors will not do anything to serve demand on the streetcar corridors at KQQR and points beyond.

    There are plans for a new station at Park Lawn, but a burning issue (which it shares with other “local” stations) is that service will not be frequent enough to attract riders.

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  11. Thanks for this perspective: I”m not sure where it’s all at, including what Mr. Perks/Gord thinks is OK, and what is possible, and at times he won’t be alone in saying nothing’s possible due to the constant over-ruling of the core by the suburban ‘carservatives’. But between GO, the two major carterials of Gardiner/Lakeshore, and the number on the King/Queen cars, I hope you’d be agreeing there’s sufficiency in demand to justify some form of faster sub-regional transit, not so much of a milk run.

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  12. Cycling is now already dangerous in Parkdale, and elsewhere, from extreme disrepair of track concrete nearest the curbs, if the TTC/City want to fix obvious, dangerous, widespread risks. Closer to the core, RIchmond/Adelaide are pretty good facilities, but they fade out by Strachan, so there are very few access routes into/out of Parkdale but King and Queen. The Queen and Dufferin intersection is pretty horrible and dangerous, including unenforced driver behaviour.

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  13. addressing Steve’s reply (selective quoting mine):

    … this will not eliminate the need for transit service on streets at the KQQR intersection … will not do anything to serve demand on the streetcar corridors at KQQR and points beyond.

    Right. I meant to address the suggestion of new sub-regional, but higher grade than the existing local streetcar lines, transit. KQQR is important for Parkdale and Roncesvalles, but it’d be nice to have better ways to get anywhere farther east or west than 30+ minutes on a non-ROW surface route on a street clogged with cars.

    And incidentally, the distance between past/hypothetical Sunnyside/Roncesvalles and Parkdale/Jameson stations is just over a kilometer – spacing rather well suited to dedicated-corridor urban rail operations. Jameson would have a decent amount of walk-in trade from the nearby buildings assuming TTC fare – certainly more walk-in than majority of GO and probably “SmartTrack” stations – and if the street wasn’t terminally clogged by drivers trying to reach the Gardiner, extending the Lansdowne bus would be a no-brainer.

    I’ll put down the crayons now …

    … and don’t get me started on GO planning to have six or eight tracks on the Weston sub southeast of Lansdowne to run a UPX train every 15 minutes, an Aurora train every 15 minutes (both on owned corridors!), and a few extra regional trains. In developed countries this is done with 3 or 4 tracks …

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  14. Steve, work will soon start on the King-Queen-Roncesvalles track replacement project, which was originally scheduled for last year. This long-overdue project would require replacing streetcars on stretches of the “501 Queen” and “504 King” routes with buses.

    This would, in turn, free up streetcars for use on other routes operating with buses, notably “511 Bathurst” where there’s two track replacement projects expected to be completed by the end of this year. When are streetcars expected to return to the “511 Bathurst” route?

    Steve: January 2021, I believe.

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