TTC Transit Expansion Update

At its February 10, 2021 meeting, the TTC Board receive a long report entitled Transit Network Expansion.

The raison-d’être for the report is to obtain the authorization to increase staffing by 34 positions that would be funded by Metrolinx, but would be part of the TTC’s stucture. Many aspects of projects underway by Metrolinx depend on TTC input and acceptance because they affect lines the TTC will operate and, at least partly, maintain. A new Transit Expansion Assurance Department within Engineering & Construction. The authorization include provision for temporary expansion beyond 34 should this be required.

This move is intriguing because it implies Metrolinx has accepted that it cannot build new lines completely on their own without TTC input, especially when they will operate as part of the TTC network.

The report also requests authorization for:

[…] the Chief Executive Officer, in consultation with the City Manager, City of Toronto where applicable, to negotiate a Master Agreement and/or other applicable Agreements with the Province and/or any other relevant provincial agency for the purposes of the planning, procurement, construction, operations, and maintenance of the Subway Program, in accordance with Board and City Council direction, and to report back to the Board on the results of such negotiations. [pp. 2-3]

There is a great deal more involved in building and operating transit projects than holding a press conference with little more than a nice map. Now comes the hard part of actually doing the work. Whether Metrolinx will negotiate in good faith remains to be seen, but the TTC and Toronto appear to be less willing to hide Metrolinx’ faults in light of the Presto screwups.

Another recommendation has a hint that all is not well with consultations, as that should be any surprise to those who deal regularly with Metrolinx.

Request Metrolinx to conduct meaningful engagement with the TTC’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) as part of the Project Specific Output Specification (PSOS) review and design review for all projects within the provincial programs. [p. 3]

The operative word here is “meaningful”. ACAT has already complained of difficulties with Metrolinx including such basics as poorly designed elevators on the Eglinton Crosstown line that cannot be “fixed” because they have already been ordered.

Right from the outset, the TTC claims to have a significant role, a very different situation from the days when Metrolinx claimed it would be easy for them to take over the subway system.

The TTC continues to play a key role in the planning, technical review, and implementation of all major transit expansion projects in Toronto and the region. These include the Toronto Light Rail Transit Program and the provincial priority subway projects, referred to collectively as the “Subways Program”: the Ontario Line; the Scarborough Subway Extension; the Yonge North Subway Extension; and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. [p. 1]

In support of the staffing request, the report goes into great detail on many projects:

Two projects are not listed among the group above, but there is a description buried in the section on Bloor-Yonge expansion.

  • Overall subway system capacity and service expansion
  • Any discussion of the Line 2 renewal project

There is no discussion at all about renewal and expansion of surface service. This is just as important as new lines, but it is not seen as “expansion” with the political interest and funding that brings. Yes, this is a “rapid transit” report, but the core network of subway lines dies without the surface feeder routes, and many trips do not lie conveniently along rapid transit corridors.

The map below shows the location of most of the projects, but there are some odd inclusions and omissions.

  • The RapidTO bus corridors are not included.
  • City-funded GO stations at St. Clair/Old Weston, Lansdowne, King/Liberty, East Harbour and Finch/Kennedy are shown.
  • GO funded stations at Woodbine Racetrack, Mount Dennis, Caledonia and Park Lawn are shown.
  • The planned improvement at between TTC’s Dundas West and GO’s Bloor station is not shown, nor is any potential link between Main and Danforth stations.
  • SmartTrack stations are shown, but there is no discussion of how GO or ST service would fit into the overall network.

The following two maps have attracted a lot of attention, although they do not tell the full story. Much as I am a streetcar/LRT advocate, the presence of the entire streetcar network here is misleading, especially in the absence of the RapidTO proposals. Some of the streetcar lines run in reserved lanes, although thanks to overly generous scheduling some of them are no faster than the mixed-traffic operations they replaced (notably St. Clair). However, most of these routes rank equivalently to the bus network in terms of transit priority. If we are going to show the streetcar lines, why not the 10-minute network of key bus route?

The map is also distorted by having different and uneven scales in both directions. The size of downtown is exaggerated while other areas are compressed.

For example, the distance from Queen to Bloor is, in reality, half that of Bloor to Eglinton and one quarter of Eglinton to Finch. It is also one quarter of the distance from Yonge west to Jane or east to Victoria Park. For comparison, the TTC System Map is to scale, and it shows the city in its actual rectangular form.

This map gives an impression of coverage, but masks the size of the gaps between routes as one moves away from the core. Bus riders know all about those gaps.

By 2031, the network is hoped to look something like this. No BRT proposals are shown, but we do see the waterfront extensions west to Dufferin, and east to Broadview (East Harbour). Also missing are the GO corridors which, by 2031, should have frequent service and (maybe) attractive fares. They are (or should be) as much a part of “Future Rapid Transit” as the TTC routes.

This map is trying to do too much and too little at the same time. It also reveals a quite selective view of “regional” transit.

I am not trying to argue for a map that shows every detail, but it should exist (a) in scale and (b) in formats with overlays showing major parts of the network and how they relate to the overall plan. When people concentrate on the pretty coloured lines, they tend to forget the other equally important parts of the network.

The City-Province Relationship

City Council is on record with a raft of “directives” about how the relationship between the TTC and province should work. How much weight these carry in the real world of negotiations with Metrolinx remains to be seen. Some of these should be self-evident, in that responsibility for maintaining and operating extensions to existing lines should fall to the TTC. The situation with new, self-contained routes such as Crosstown, Finch West and the Ontario Line is not as clear. The actual agreement had a much-watered down version of this:

City/TTC will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Provincial Projects and the existing transit system, including in respect of labour relations. [p. 7]

The City also wants the fare structure to be unified within Toronto, not based on distance, and set by the TTC. Someone should remind the TTC’s fare policy study team that fare-by-distance is off of the table, at least if one believes that the City would or could hold to this policy in the face of provincial pressure.

City Council directed staff as part of work with Metrolinx on the Ontario Line, to ensure that: (a) there is full and affordable fare integration between all lines, systems and technologies, including a single fare for rides within the City of Toronto; (b) fares not be established based on distance; and (c) fares for any new lines be established by the TTC Board. [p. 7]

Funding and cost sharing remains somewhat vague as to quantity, but it is clear that the City will be on the hook to pay O&M costs for the system built by the province, even to the point that if 905 municipalities refuse to contribute their fair share. The report is silent on the continued subsidy of the Vaughan extension by the City of Toronto. There is no discussion of how the operating costs due to third party maintenance contracts (for example, running vehicle and infrastructure maintenance on the Crosstown) will be set and audited.

The arrangement between the Province and the City related to operations of the Provincial Projects will reflect the following core terms:

• Farebox revenue from the Provincial Projects will be applied to defray operating costs;
• In respect of a Provincial Project that extends beyond the boundary of the City to another municipality, the Province will negotiate with the relevant neighbouring municipality to secure an ongoing operating contribution, commensurate with the level of subway service provided in that municipality and,
• Subject to [the] above, any net subsidy required to operate each of the Provincial Projects will be the responsibility of the City.

The Province will define with the City, through ‘Operating & Maintenance (O&M) Agreements’ for the Provincial Projects, the specific roles and responsibilities of the parties, including (but not limited) to: (a) The performance of all maintenance functions; and, (b) The associated funding responsibilities of all maintenance functions. [p. 7]

The City will get several new lines at no cost on their capital budget, and with a substantial reallocation of federal funding. In October 2019, City Council authorized that federal monies formerly intended for the Scarborough and Relief Lines be reallocated to other capital projects. Meanwhile, Ontario hopes for a 40 per cent federal contribution to its projects, and all of this is coming from a limited pot of available federal subsidy.

This is a big shell game where the municipal, provincial and federal shares move from project to project, and there is no acknowledgement that each level has limitations on its spending. The combined value of the four key provincial projects – Scarborough, Richmond Hill, Eglinton West and Ontario Line – is in striking distance of $20 billion. The supposed federal share would amount to $8 billion, more than half of all announced national federal funding through to 2028. When Premier Ford announced his transit plans, he claimed that Ontario would go it alone if the feds did not contribute funding, but his resolve will be tested if that 40 per cent share does not appear.

Meanwhile at the City level:

Subject to entering into the Preliminary Agreement, and in anticipation of the realization of the City’s project expectations including project benefits as described in this report, City Council endorse the re-allocation of the federal funding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Public Transit Infrastructure Fund Phase 2 in accordance with the following, and direct the City Manager to advise the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario accordingly:

a) up to $0.660 billion for the Province’s proposed three-stop Line 2 East Extension as described in the 2019 Ontario Budget; and

b) up to $3.151 billion for the Province’s proposed Ontario Line as described in the 2019 Ontario Budget and Initial Business Case.

Source: Toronto-Ontario Transit Update at p. 5

Moreover, a large bill will be due as operation of the new lines ramps up. This has implications for future growth of service overall because a disproportionate amount of available operating funds could go to running new rapid transit lines. The TTC’s mid-to-long range planning does not acknowledge this looming problem. Thanks to the secrecy of Metrolinx’ contracts with private-sector partners we have no idea of the future costs that could be billed to the City as “operating and maintenance”, nor how these might be affected by policy decisions on service levels and quality.

Note that the reallocations above are separate from the City’s recent decision to redirect $1.238 billion in municipal funding to the Eglinton East LRT (1.6 per cent on municipal property tax bills).

  • $880.4 million in funding supported by the Scarborough Subway Extension levy (1.6 per cent on property taxes), and
  • $357.1 million from the Transit SSE Development Charge Reserve Fund.

The distribution of responsibilities between the TTC, Metrolinx and the operating company contracted by Metrolinx will be complex. The chart below is the TTC’s view of how things might work. Of particular note is that Metrolinx has responsibility for almost nothing except one key component – the service plan – and that is jointly with the TTC. There is no discussion of who has ultimate authority over service levels, nor of how future demand growth would be addressed.

Control Centre Integration

As part of its operating responsibilities and requirements, the TTC will integrate the control centre function for the Crosstown, Finch and Ontario lines in its Transit Control Centre (now located at the Hillcrest complex). Work is already underway in preparation for the Eglinton Crosstown opening in 2022.

In the case of the Eglinton Crosstown Line:

Critical to support an integrated transit network to provide a seamless, customer journey is a fully physically and procedurally integrated transit control centre. With the addition of the LRT, the TTC’s Transit Control Centre is being modified to include the systems required to control and monitor train movement, fire alarms, traction power, and other important activities that Transit Control currently performs for TTC network. […] It is expected that this work will be completed by February 2022. [p. 40]

In the case of the Ontario Line:

The TTC’s role as operator includes an integrated transit control centre, stations management and responsibility for the customer experience and customer journey. [p. 35]

Bloor-Yonge Station Expansion

I have already written about this project (see Expanding Bloor-Yonge Station) and have little to add here.

In brief, a new eastbound platform will be provided on the lower (Line 2 Bloor-Danforth) level to separate eastbound and westbound passengers. The upper level concourse areas linking Lines 1 and 2 will be substantially expanded by building out underneath Bloor Street to provide added circulation space. Ventillation capacity will be greatly increased to bring the station to current fire code.

This diagram shows the lower (Line 2) level of the station.

This drawing shows the upper concourse and Line 1 level.

Note how much of the expansion lies under Bloor Street and how the subway structure overall is constrained by existing buildings. The diagrams below show the outlines of the existing and expanded station on both levels.

The schedule for this project is:

  • Q2 2021: Stage gate 3 with project baseline and updated cost estimate
  • 2022: Early works
  • 2024: Primary construction begins
  • 2029: Expanded station opens in advance of Line 1 Richmond Hill extension

Funding of $500 million from each of the City of Toronto, Ontario and the federal governments is hoped for, although not all of it has been secured.

Expansion of Bloor-Yonge stations in various ways has been proposed from time to time over past decades. Aside from the engineering complexities of some schemes, there was a sense that “fixing” Bloor-Yonge and some improved signalling was all that was needed. Even worse, the need for “relief” of subway demand was downplayed on the premise that much more frequent service, and hence greater capacity, could be operated.

Only in the past decade, roughly, has the TTC acknowledged that more service has many knock-on effects on fleets, stations, power and more, and that the idea that we could just fit everyone into trains on the existing lines was complete folly. This attitude suited an era when the emphasis was on suburban expansion without the pesky difficulty of accommodating riders downtown.

Things have changed, and now we are playing “catch-up” with planning for riders and capacity that should already exist, not be in early stages of design.

Lines 1 and 2 Capacity Expansion

A priority for the TTC and the City, the Line 1 and Line 2 Capacity Enhancement Programs are a vital body of planning, engineering, and operational design work that is crucial to moving customers effectively on the TTC subway network. This TTC program will identify and deliver a significant suite of enhancements that will allow more frequent subway service to be operated on both lines. The comprehensive program is designed to deliver sufficient capacity to meet projected demand well into the future, and to ensure that additional ridership from increased development, a growing Toronto population, and the subway expansion projects can be safely and effectively accommodated.

Increasing system capacity is not simply a matter of running more trains. Many aspects of operations and capital needs are affected. All of these must be co-ordinated so that the promise of system improvements is supported, not undone. Past TTC planning has been too simplistic with a focus on single topics such as the automatic train control program or selective upgrades to key stations. The list now flagged by the TTC includes many items that have been ignored, at least in public discussions, in the past.

Inter-dependencies include but are not limited to:

• impact to existing terminal and interchange stations
• turnback operation
• electrical traction power
• fire ventilation and train control systems
• train storage and maintenance requirements, as well as
• station capacities

These are all an integral part of the existing subway operating environment that are dependent and/or require integration and interface management with expansion projects.

The report assumes that fleet growth can be handled through smaller storage facilities on the outer ends of the Richmond Hill and Scarborough extensions, as well as modifications to Greenwood Yard. There is no discussion of co-existence of current and future fleets during delivery, nor of a potential new carhouse at the Obico Yard lands southwest of Kipling Station which the City is acquiring.

The provincial projects have a bearing on TTC fleet expansion and new rail maintenance, and storage facility plans. TTC new subway train procurement plans for existing lines will require modification to include additional trains funded by the Province for Line 1 Yonge extension and Line 2 East Extension. The larger train fleets will require a re-evaluation of TTC plans for the size and location of expanded subway maintenance facilities.

If the capacity must be increased at Bloor-Yonge, this affects the number of trains required over the entirety of Lines 1 and 2. Past fleet estimates were based on the existing level of service, not on the higher level possible with ATC. Politically there may be a desire to see “full service” to the end of a line, but that has implications for both capital and operating costs. For example, early plans for the Scarborough extension included a turnback at Kennedy. This was cut in the one-stop extension plan, but is now reinstated in the station design.

Running more trains requires more power. Bringing more passengers to stations requires more circulation space including vertical links between platforms and the street, and improving stations to current fire code notably for ventilation.

Line 1 Richmond Hill Extension

The Richmond Hill extension has been an apple in York Region’s eye for decades. The idea that somehow additional riders would fit on the Yonge line goes back to the 1990s when a recession cut TTC ridership and peak subway demand by twenty percent (annual rides dropped from 450 to 360 million). That transient situation set the stage for the idea that there was plenty of room for more riders, an assumption that was unshakeable for years. Some TTC management could not understand why a “relief” line would be needed when everyone from Richmond Hill would easily be handled on the existing line with a few more trains.

The extension might have as many as six stations, although it remains to be seen whether the provincial government will leave all of them on the map. Within Toronto they would be at Cummer and at Steeles. Up to four more would be in York Region.

This project was taken over by Metrolinx/IO with Doug Ford’s new transit plan in April 2019. Capital funding would come from the province, although there is an appeal to the federal government for a 40 per cent contribution. Whether this will actually be available will depend on how funding in various envelopes (some only recently announced) is divvied up. There is not enough to pay for everything.

As to operating costs, as noted earlier, “the Province will negotiate with the relevant neighbouring municipality to secure an ongoing operating contribution”. Negotiate? When Ontario wants to do something in Toronto, they simply huff and puff and legislate Toronto’s objections out of their way. Toronto was already hornswoggled into paying roughly $1 million per month to subsidize the Vaughan subway, and Toronto taxpayers have every right to demand that York Region pull their weight. (That sweetheart deal was engineered by a former Liberal MPP for Vaughan, Greg Sorbara.)

Marginal new revenue from the extension will be low because so many riders will already be TTC users who pay fares for their trip south from Finch Station.

The TTC expects that the line will be designed not just for existing Yonge-University service levels, but for more frequent service to come when the benefits of of ATC are exploited starting in late 2022. They expect that the extension:

[…] has sufficient end of line train maintenance and storage facilities to support operation of the extension, and operation of more frequent service on the existing line. [p31]

The extension would be targeted to open in 2029-30 following opening of the Ontario Line to relieve demand on Line 1.

The next major step will be “the evaluation of the Province’s recommended alignment and station locations”. The City, York Region, and the Province continue to discuss the number and locations of stations, but much will depend on how much Queen’s Park wants to spend on this extension. The service plan from Finch northward will be an important component here. If all trains run through to Richmond Hill, the fleet will have to be bigger. This will affect the initial capital cost, the amount of train storage required at Richmond Hill, and the operating cost for which York Region will, in theory, be responsible.

Line 2 Scarborough Extension

The Scarborough extension, a subject of much controversy over the years, will reach the initial stage of work in 2021 with “early works” including:

  • utility relocations,
  • expansion of the substation and ventilation structures at Kennedy Station,
  • preparation of the tunnel boring launch and extraction sites, and
  • construction of headwalls at stations and emergency exits.
  • and

The contract(s) for tunneling, station construction, and fitting out the line will be awarded in winter-spring 2023 according to the most recent update from Infrastructure Ontario. The target opening date is sometime in 2029-2030.

The existing SRT will be decommissioned in 2023, and planning is now underway for various interim service options and routings.

Ontario has taken over funding responsibility for this project, and hopes for a 40 per cent federal contribution. Toronto already had a $660 million federal share lined up for the Scarborough LRT, later the TTC’s subway extension project, and the City has agreed to transfer this to Ontario’s SSE project. It is nowhere near 40 per cent of the roughly $6 billion touted as a current project cost.

The extension will include a pocket track east of Kennedy Station where service can be turned back so that only half of the trains run through to Sheppard/McCowan Station in a manner similar to the practice on Line 1 north of Glencairn Station in the AM peak (pre-covid service design). As with the Richmond Hill extension, if political pressure forces the TTC to run full service to the end of the line, this will affect fleet requirements, train storage and future operating costs.

Construction of the line directly affects both the proposed Eglinton Crosstown East Extension (Kennedy Station to UTSC and beyond) as well as operation of faster bus service in the Eglinton corridor with the RapidTO bus lanes. There will also be an effect on the SRT replacement service to the extent that bus replacements are affected by congestion from the construction activities.

The next major event for this project will be a review of provincial station designs.

Line 3 Ontario Line

The Ontario Line has been discussed in many articles on this site before, and I will not repeat that information in detail. It is planned as an automated transit line running from the Exhibition to the Science Centre by way of a meandering route across downtown, through the planned East Harbour development and then north to Eglinton. The vertical alignment proposed is a mix of underground, at grade and elevated running.

There has not been any announcement on the Ontario Line’s fleet (allegedly it is up to the eventual “operating” company to select a fleet), but Metrolinx routinely uses photos from Vancouver as an example of what they have in mind.

The alignment is effective settled, at least in Metrolinx’ mind, although there is an ongoing battle about the route from the Don River to Gerrard Station, and also rumblings of opposition to an elevated structure through Thorncliffe/Flemingdon Park.

Opening is planned for 2030.

Because the Ontario Line will be sui generis on the Toronto network, the City wants to ensure that it is part of the TTC’s fare territory rather than having its own tariff. However, the report only speaks of Ontario Line transfers to and from GO Transit (which would occur at Exhibition and East Harbour Stations), implying that the main concern is that a “TTC” fare is collected from riders who transfer between the two provincial services.

Any special fare payment arrangements at the two stations with OL-GO train connections be consistent with applicable TTC fare policy and fare collection plans. [p. 35]

There is also a concern that the Ontario Line not interfere with existing and planned streetcar operations at the Exhibition. Now that the OL station has been shifted entirely north of the rail corridor, it is less likely that the new line will interfere with streetcar operations to the south.

It does not preclude the continued operation of the TTC’s existing Exhibition Loop, and does not preclude the proposed extension of streetcar tracks between Exhibition Loop and Dufferin Street. [p. 35]

The next major planning step will be a detailed evaluation of the proposed alignment and stations.

Current plans for the Ontario Line would divide the construction and operations into three parts:

  • Southern civil works, stations and tunnels (west of the Don River).
  • Rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance.
    • The requests for proposals for these two contracts are in market closing in late 2021, and with contract award expected in fall 2022.
  • Northern civil works, stations and tunnels (east and north of the Don River): A request for qualifications will be issued on spring 2022, with a request for proposals in fall 2022, and contract award in spring 2024.

Recent comments by the CEOs of both Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario suggest that the award of a few large contracts like this may not be the way they will proceed in the future, and so it is unclear just how the work will actually be broken up and managed. Much will depend on the market response to the proposal calls.

Originally, the Ontario Line Maintenance & Storage Facility was to be located in the northeastern portion of Thorncliffe Park close to the Gatineau Hydro corridor in what is now an industrial area. The province and City are discussing possible alternate sites because of the City’s concern about employment lands in the area and the effect on the road network. Nothing specific has been revealed yet, and it will be interesting to learn if an alternative can be found. One aspect of site selection will be the amount of actual train storage, as opposed to maintenance space, given that with automated equipment, smaller storage areas can be sprinkled around the line rather than consolidated at one location where operators would pick up their trains.

Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT has been under construction for several years, but is planned to open in April 2022 although there is some doubt about whether this will actually be achieved. Metrolinx has not yet announced a formal date, but the timing is politically important because of the provincial election likely in mid-2022. The transition to revenue service has begun as shown in the chart below.

Staff recruiting is already underway (these are net additions over the bus operators who will be redeployed to service elsewhere). Total TTC staffing is projected at 235 positions. Train-the-trainer sessions will occur through 2021 with training of operating staff to follow through late 2021 and into 2022.

Two major interchange stations (Kennedy and Cedarvale/Eglinton West) will be complete by fall 2021, but the overall timeline is constrained by work at Eglinton Station that is projected to be ready concurrently with the start of revenue service. Note that the project schedule is two years old.

The TTC will be responsible for:

  • Integrated transit control
  • Train operations
  • Station operations
  • Fare inspection and Transit Enforcement
  • Customer service

Capital funding including life cycle maintenance (e.g. replacement of vehicles and major overhaul of infrastructure) is covered completely by the province, while the City of Toronto is responsible for all operating and day-to-day maintenance costs offset by fare and other revenue. As with other lines, there is a difference between the gross and net new revenue because existing riders will not be paying new fares. Of course the TTC will no longer bear the cost of most of the bus service now operating in the Eglinton corridor except for a residual service between Don Mills and Weston Road.

The detailed operating and funding agreements are still being negotiated. These include:

  • Train Operator Service Agreement
  • Municipal Operating and Maintenance Funding Agreement
  • Presto Agreement

The Presto Agreement includes the maintenance of fare gates supplied by the TTC. In the original design, Metrolinx had planned to use pillar-mounted fare machines except at subway interchange stations with, but this would have presented a different fare collection process to riders on the Eglinton line than on other parts of the system.

Line 5 Eglinton West Extension

The western extension of the ECLRT was originally planned as an integral part of the Transit City network, but this was replaced by the western branch of SmartTrack. When that plan came unglued thanks to its technical impossibility, the LRT scheme resurfaced, although that word is not exactly appropriate given Premier Ford’s insistence on burying most of the extension lest it interfere with road traffic in Etobicoke.

Ontario will fund the extension, but hopes for a 40 per cent federal contribution. The proposed scope extends only to Renforth Station. A further extension to Pearson Airport has not yet been announced, and this is entangled in plans for a major new passenger gateway to the airport. The section between Jane Street and Scarlett Road will be above ground for the Humber River crossing, and it will include a turnback so that more frequent service can be operated over the central part of the ECLRT than to Renforth and the airport.

Early works will begin soon, and award of the tunneling contract is expected in spring 2021. However, there is no date yet for the stations, railway and systems contracts even to enter a request for qualifications stage. The opening date target is 2030/2031.

Line 5 Eglinton East Extension

The Eglinton Crosstown east extension would run from Kennedy Station east via Eglinton and Kingston Road, then north via Morningside to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC). The scope of the project now includes the original Transit City link north from UTSC to Malvern via Sheppard and Neilson. The maintenance and storage facility (MSF) will be north of UTSC. This would be shared with a future Sheppard East LRT if that is ever built.

The capital cost is estimated at $4.0-4.4 billion including the full extent of the route and the MSF.

Originally, the extension was expected to be on the surface, but it is now planned to include underground sections west of Midland to Kennedy Station and at the Kingston Road-Lawrence-Morningside intersection.

The City of Toronto is now working on a detailed business case and a Transit Project Assessment. Funding for about one third of the full project was recently reallocated from the Scarborough Subway project, but there is no sense of how much might be available from provincial or federal partners. There is no target opening date.

Line 6 Finch West

The Finch West LRT is under construction with substantial work on the maintenance facility near Norfinch already completed, and preliminary works underway along the line.

The alignment is almost entirely at street level except for an underground station at the eastern terminal (Finch West station) and at the western end (Humber College).

As with the Eglinton Crosstown, the line and vehicles will be owned by Ontario, but will be operated by the City/TTC. Ontario will fund most of the capital cost with up to $333 million coming from the federal government.

The opening date target is 2023, and the TTC aims to have a similar operating agreement for Line 6 Finch as the one for Line 5 Eglinton Crosstown for consistency.

Waterfront East and West

Waterfront transit plans have existed for decades, but they do not get the attention of much larger subway and LRT projects in the suburbs. There are many components, but each has proceeded as an incremental change rather than as a single, integrated project. Development planning, especially in the eastern waterfront, has assumed that transit would be available to serve new homes, offices, academic and recreational sites. Actual delivery of transit lags far behind the brave hopes for a “transit first” neighbourhood.

  • The original Harbourfront LRT (originally route 604) on Queens Quay between Spadina and Union Station opened in 1990. This included the connection track on Spadina north to King.
  • The Spadina 510 LRT opened in 1997.
  • The Queens Quay link from Spadina to Bathurst opened in 2000 launching the 509 Harbourfront service from Union to Exhibition Loop.
  • A westward extension from Exhibition Loop to Dufferin Street is now in the design stage, but this work is on hold for co-ordination with the Ontario Line and other plans for Exhibition Place and Ontario Place. The intent is to provide through service (in effect a rerouted 508 Lake Shore car) from southern Etobicoke to Union Station via The Queensway, King, Dufferin and the Harbourfront route.
  • A further westward extension from Dufferin to Colborne Lodge Road and The Queensway exists as part of a preliminary plan for the western waterfront, but this design has been dormant since the election of Rob Ford as Mayor.
  • The first segment of eastern waterfront service on Cherry from King to Distillery Loop opened in 2016.
  • Planning and design are underway for an eastern leg on Queens Quay from Bay including reconfiguration of the street in a manner similar to Queens Quay West and expansion of stations in the Bay Street tunnel. The scope was recently extended from Parliament to Cherry including a connection north to Distillery Loop.
  • Further eastern waterfront extensions include:
    • south on Cherry to the Ship Channel
    • east on Commissioners to at least Broadview, or beyond to Leslie Barns
    • south on Broadview from Queen to Commissioners through the planned East Harbour development

The hoped-for opening would be in the late 2020s, but beyond the 30 per cent design work now underway, there is no committed funding for this project.

Bus Priority Lanes

RapidTO Bus Lanes

The first of the “red lane” RapidTO corridors went into operation in October 2020 on the Eglinton-Kingston-Morningside corridor. There has been some improvement in travel times by buses, but the benefit of the reserved lanes is muddled by the concurrent removal of some local stops on the route. Implementation was comparatively easy because most of the roads are wide and on-street parking for local businesses and residents was not an issue.

More than red paint will be needed to keep non-transit traffic out of any “bus only” lanes on narrower streets. Proposed lanes on Jane and Dufferin have encountered substantial pushback about the conversion of curb lanes for exclusive 7×24 transit use.

The corridors under consideration are:

  • Jane Street
  • Dufferin Street
  • Steeles Avenue West
  • Finch Avenue East
  • Lawrence Avenue East

The City and TTC hope to implement one new corridor annually, although this could be a challenge due to political reaction in some locations. A related issue is the gradual return of road traffic in the post-pandemic era and the capacity of roads to handle a return to “normal” conditions, let alone a shift from transit riding to autos.

[I have been tracking travel times on the BRT corridors and will publish updated reviews in coming months.]

Durham-Scarborough BRT

Metrolinx and Durham Region are planning to build 36 km of dedicated bus lanes and platforms from Oshawa to the Scarborough Town Centre via Highway 2, Kingston Road and Ellesmere Road.

This project is in the preliminary planning stage. On Ellesmere, the design is likely to use median lanes and stops. The degree to which this would be shared by existing TTC services will depend on the stop locations and how these map to existing local and express services.

A Transit Project Assessment will be completed by the end of 2021. There is no target opening date.

Dundas BRT

Metrolinx is developing a business case for a 40 km BRT between Waterdown in Hamilton and Kipling Station. Design work has started, but primarily for the Mississauga section, with little done on the Toronto segment. As with the Durham-Scarborough BRT, the ability of local buses to use any reserved lanes will depend on stop locations and the ease of access for inside-Toronto service to and from the lanes.

The next stage in planning will be the evaluation of the recommended alignment, stop locations and operational model. There is no target opening date.

31 thoughts on “TTC Transit Expansion Update

  1. Still “crickets” on a 512 ST. CLAIR westward extension. Likely won’t happen with the current crop of anti-streetcar commissioners and councillors at city hall (and MPP’s at Queen’s Park).

    Steve: Also, an important point here was to connect 512 St. Clair to Jane and thence to Finch carhouse. However, with the Metrolinx edict that Transit City use standard, not TTC gauge, that possibility evaporated. If the Jane LRT is ever built, I doubt it will come south of Eglinton anyhow.


  2. Excellent summary. Thank you once again Steve for your 15 years of service on this site.

    I can’t get over the fact that the Yonge St. station on the Eglinton Crosstown line will be called ‘Eglinton’. I had assumed that this stupidity would be reconsidered by this point, but alas, no.

    Even naming it ‘Midtown’ would be better (and entertaining to read the bunfight that ensues).

    Steve: With my preference for obscure but colourful station names, I would pick “Cowbell Lane” which, as you may know, is immediately east of Yonge running south from Eglinton. Of course, if it’s history you want, we could name it after Montgomery’s Tavern. Surely if we can call what should have been Steeles West “Pioneer Village”, we can wander a block or two from the nominal station location to pick up names of interest!


  3. Thank you for your comprehensive analysis, Steve. I find it interesting that Metrolinx is proposing a GO station at Woodbine casino. I never knew the casino had such high passenger volumes to warrant a new station. The 37A, which serves the casino, only runs about every 20-30 minutes during weekdays and seems to serve the casino just fine — rarely have I encountered a full standing load on that route pre-Covid.

    Steve: The pols from northern Etobicoke never cease trying to resuscitate “Woodbine Live”, although they would have to work at it to better Del Duca’s Kirby Station efforts.


  4. I suppose it won’t show up in Toronto for a while but the City of Mississauga, province and federal governments last month announced an agreement to fund a 2km section of Mississauga’s proposed 6km Lakeshore East BRT (Long Branch GO to Port Credit GO).

    The funded section is in the east end, just west of the Toronto boundary (itself just west of Etobicoke Creek/Marie Curtis Park West) to just east of Cawthra Road. Staff said they are talking with the City of Toronto about what happens further east towards Long Branch loop.



  5. Thanks for the article!

    Also, could explain more to me about the “bad design” of Crosstown elevators?

    Steve: The issue, as it has been explained by ACAT members to the TTC Board, is that it is not always possible for someone in a larger chair/scooter to turn around inside the elevator. Depending on the placement of the control panel, it might not be reachable when someone comes into the elevator.


  6. A thing about the proposed GO station at Woodbine Racetrack that is not really publicized but evident when reading some of its design/EA documents is that the new station is partly intended as replacement for the Etobicoke North GO station. Etobicoke North is too close to the Highway 401 underpass/tunnel and cannot remain in its current configuration once the additional tracks under the 401 (now under construction) open because the platform is in the way of new track.

    Of course there is also the issue of Etobicoke North only making sense in a world where people drive to its parking lot then take GO to downtown. This is not happening much at the moment and it’s not clear if or when it will resume.

    Woodbine doesn’t appear to be a terrible location for a regional train station, but whether GO/TTC/MiWay would actually manage to service it like a regional train station is another question.

    Yet another question is how regional or provincial transit in the area would look like if the airport’s station plans come true, but I’m not sure if anyone in the area is thinking about integration at that scale.


  7. Disabled advocates have been pretty unhappy with the setup at the new Kipling “mobility” hub now that MiWay has moved there.

    Harbourfront 509 was 2000, not 1990.

    Steve: Thanks for catching that. Fixed.

    It seems logical to me that the western terminus of the Ontario Line should feed into some kind of West Waterfront LRT. This would make that leg of the Ontario Line serve some purpose.

    Although, unless Ontario Place relocates, the “Ontario” part of it is getting sketchy.


  8. If all of the projects mentioned in this report are in operation before the first person lands on Mars, I’ll count that as a huge win.

    I feel like some politicians and other bad-faith actors are masters at _seeming_ to avoid the sunk cost fallacy. They correctly realize that time, money, and effort already spent can’t be restored, but then go on to select a less optimal solution into which they continue to sink costs, often at a higher rate than before.


  9. Thanks Steve for this great summary. It still seems like the Ontario Line is a chaotic and poorly thought through replacement for the Relief Line subway foisted on the city. I am surprised by your suggestion that this might be a separate fare. Didn’t the ridership projections when this was announced assume that this would be a free transfer from the rest of the TTC network? If so it seems clear that if it is a separate fare then ridership would be radically lower. Some riders may be able to go direct to their destination just on this line, but many won’t, and most people seem to have a low tolerance for paying 2 fares.

    Best wishes
    Andre Sorensen

    Steve: I think that the City does not trust the province to bring in a single TTC fare for the network, or if it is, then we won’t recognize it. It’s important to remember that some of Metrolinx policies and planning go back to a period when they thought they would be taking over at least the TTC’s rapid transit lines and could do with them as they wished.

    On the subject of fares and ridership, remember the whole fiasco with Smart Track and the SSE where unless ST ran very frequent service and at TTC fares with full transfer privileges, it got no riders, There is still no guarantee of what ST service and fares will look like, and all we are really doing is keeping John Tory’s ego from having to admit ST was a complete sham, a con job from day one. The irony is that Tory was taken for a ride by the consultants who sold him on the idea in the first place.


  10. The TTC’s proposed operating arrangement for the Ontario Line does not seem to follow best practices for unattended operations.

    Most unattended operators rely on station staff to manage minor faults with trains, since there are no on board staff to do so. Splitting train and station ops makes this impossible, and will make it harder for the operating company to respond to mechanical failures. The other alternative is for the operating company to pay people to remain on call, with no other responsibilities, but that is not ideal.

    Steve: The problem lies with Metrolinx and the politics of who-does-what, not with the TTC. Mind you, it will be nine years before we find out if this arrangement will work, and maybe by then a few things might have changed. I am always amazed at how some people assume that “automated” means you don’t need people at all.


  11. “Steve: Also, an important point here was to connect 512 St. Clair to Jane and thence to Finch carhouse. However, with the Metrolinx edict that Transit City use standard, not TTC gauge, that possibility evaporated. If the Jane LRT is ever built, I doubt it will come south of Eglinton anyhow.”

    This can be fixed. Re-gauge St. Clair to standard gauge and run it as a Transit City line. Please note that due to the isolation of the St. Clair from the rest of the streetcar network this is not even remotely like suggesting that, say, the King St. line be re-gauged (but not the parallel Queen St. line and others pieces of track used for diversions and short turns).

    The St. Clair streetcar line could be progressively cut back to each turning loop as the LRT construction proceeds from west to east; at any given stage a bus bridge between the previous end of the line (just east of the end of the LRT at that stage) and the current end of the line would be needed. Note that this approach would not work for the main downtown part of the streetcar network due to the interdependencies between different routes’ tracks.

    It makes absolutely no sense to use the TTC’s weird historical gauge all over Metro Toronto and beyond just so the Jane and St. Clair routes can be interlined. This is one area where Metrolinx clearly got it right; although given most of the other stuff that comes from them, I’m a little confused how that happened. It is way more important that future interoperability between the Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, Toronto, York, and Pickering LRT systems be facilitated than that one or two places near downtown Toronto be able to interoperate LRT and streetcar.

    Steve: I am not going to worry about regauging St. Clair until I see the Jane line under construction south of Eglinton. Major construction just to run St. Clair with as part of the suburban network really is not high on my priority list.


  12. While standard gauge on LRT systems in Ontario is a good idea, speaking of space exploration, I think we might see people on the moons of Jupiter before LRT in Burlington _and_ Pickering.


  13. When choosing the BRT corridors, it may be a good idea to give priority to some Scarborough arterials. Those corridors can help to deal with the SRT shutdown, and then remain as permanent features after the subway is built.

    Lawrence East is already on the list, and is a good choice. Hopefully the bus lanes can be added between Brimley and Don Mills by 2023, then several bus routes can be directed to the ECLRT’s Science Centre station. Don Mills has the bus lanes already, to get from Lawrence to Eglinton. Plus, the 2-km bus-only road in the former SRT corridor can connect the Lawrence BRT to the Kennedy terminus. Buses will travel from STC to Kennedy Stn via Brimley or Midland, then a short section of Lawrence BRT, and then the bus-only road. Once the subway opens and the Lawrence / McCowan intersection is no longer jammed, the BRT can extend all the way to the east end.

    Kennedy would be another candidate, at least from Steeles to Lawrence by 2023. Part of the Kennedy buses would travel from Steeles to Lawrence, then a section of Lawrence BRT, and then the bus-only road to Kennedy Stn. Once the subway construction ends, the BRT can be extended south of Lawrence.

    Sheppard east of Don Mills is yet another option. This one is a bit controversial due to the plans to build some form of rail transit, but it doesn’t look like rail is coming anytime soon. So, interim curb lanes for buses isn’t a bad idea.

    Speaking of other corridors currently on the TTC’s list: Jane, Steeles West, and Finch East are all useful, but not very urgent IMO, and each have some technical challenges. And for Dufferin, the need is definitely there, but that corridor is by far the most challenging due to the width limitations.


  14. Someone should point out to Metrolynx that, based on over 100 years of experience, only TTC gauge transit lines survive in Ontario.


  15. How much money can be saved by switching back to LRT in Scarborough? The money saved can be applied to the Eglinton East LRT.

    Steve: We don’t have a current estimate for the Scarborough Subway because Metrolinx does not release that sort of info, but it is reportedly pushing $6 billion. That could easily build both the Eglinton East and Scarborough LRT lines with money left over including the full SLRT to Malvern. The TTC estimate for Eglinton East is $4.0 to $4.4 billion, but this includes the carhouse which would be shared by both lines.

    But a generation of politicians has sold voters on the idea that “Scarborough deserves a subway” and so that’s what they are going to get. Eventually.


  16. First, a quick Thanks, as always Steve your summaries and analysis are extremely helpful and the work is very much appreciated.


    Second, quick question, at this point in the Eglinton East LRT proposal is it a known commodity whether the existing bridge on Morningside Avenue over Highland Creek can support the LRT?

    Steve: From the Transit City Eglinton-Malvern line EA:

    The widening of the existing structure to accommodate the LRT facilities would require significant structural modification, including the strengthening of 6 girders and widening of the superstructure, substructure and foundations to support the widened superstructure. The future rehabilitation of the existing structure will be more complicated and would have significant impacts to the LRT operations. Therefore, both Option 1A and
    Option 2A are not recommended.

    The preferable alignment option on Morningside Avenue between Highland Creek and Ellesmere is Option 2C – Widening the existing structure for bicycle lanes and constructing a new structure for LRT right-of-way. Option 2C would provide an appropriate LRT profile so that a LRT stop could be constructed at the Ellesmere Road intersection. It would also create lesser disruption during rehabilitation of the existing Highland Creek bridge structure than the other options.

    The line would have run up the middle of Morningside to Fairwood Crescent, then swung to the east side of the road to cross on the new bridge. It would continue on the east side of Morningside north to Ellesmere and then run along the south side of Ellesmere. That part of the line has changed now and so the old EA isn’t a lot of help on the UTSC segment.


  17. Steve: We don’t have a current estimate for the Scarborough Subway because Metrolinx does not release that sort of info, but it is reportedly pushing $6 billion. That could easily build both the Eglinton East and Scarborough LRT lines with money left over including the full SLRT to Malvern. The TTC estimate for Eglinton East is $4.0 to $4.4 billion, but this includes the carhouse which would be shared by both lines.

    Scarborough subway pushing $6 billion? It is supposed to be less than $5 billion but let us assume $5.5 billion. The Eglinton East LRT is up to $4.5 billion. Therefore, in order for both the Eglinton LRT and the LRT to Malvern to be built with the Scarborough subway money with substantial money to spare, the LRT to Malvern would need to be built at a cost far less than $1 billion (say with only $500 million or so). Your analysis does not hold water. The Eglinton East LRT and the LRT to Malvern will together cost much more than the Scarborough subway. You might also be using old numbers from 15 years ago that are no longer valid due to inflation and other factors.

    Steve: The numbers quoted are current.

    From the Winter 2020 Infrastructure Ontario project status, we have the Scarborough Stations, Railway and Systems contract estimated at $2-4 billion, and the tunneling contract at over $1 billion. This does not include the trains which would be procured under a separate contract as part of the TTC’s overall refresh of Line 2.

    From the TTC’s report on the status of projects, we have the $4-4.4 billion number for Eglinton East, but this includes the carhouse north of UTSC and the Malvern extension. If the SLRT were built, that would be the line to Malvern, not the Eglinton/Morningside one. Moreover depending on which cost estimate one uses, the SLRT included either a share of a carhouse on Sheppard, or a dedicated carhouse on its own right-of-way near Bellamy. These factors must be taken out to avoid double-counting.

    I stand by my claim.


  18. “…it is not always possible for someone in a larger chair/scooter to turn around inside the elevator. Depending on the placement of the control panel, it might not be reachable when someone comes into the elevator.”

    I am now rolling my eyes. Elevators are not exactly an item on the unknown cutting-edge of technology. Knowing how the TTC works, I would also bet dollars to doughnuts that the following three events occurred:

    1. Whoever the TTC is obtaining these elevators from warned the TTC about the problem.
    2. The TTC blew off this warning.
    3. Whoever the TTC is obtaining these elevators from made darn sure that their contract makes this 100% not their problem.

    Steve: If the TTC were designing the elevators, they would have been correctly designed because they would listen to ACAT. This was Metrolinx, who blew off criticism of the design even though at the time the issue was first raised, the line was years from opening.


  19. I don’t understand Toronto.

    St. Clair is at grade, has an exclusive right of way, stops at traffic lights, and is powered by an overhead catenary. Marked on the map as a thin red line, like the Toronto trams (“streetcar”, in Toronto’s parlance).

    Finch West is at grade, has an exclusive right of way, stops at traffic lights, and is powered by an overhead catenary. Marked on the map like the Toronto metro (“subway”).

    From a user perspective, is there any real difference between the two? Shouldn’t they have their own visual style, different from the trams or the metro?

    (Don’t railfan me about Toronto gauge or MSF’s. Regular people don’t see that).

    Steve: The significant difference is that on Finch, the plan is for fewer stops and higher average speed, although I will believe it when I actually see it. TTC has been padding schedules outrageously lately in the name of service reliability, while doing nothing about headway management. The scheduled speed on 512 St. Clair is now lower (!!!) than it was in the old days of “mixed traffic” operation, and cars get a very generous amount of “recovery time”. This during a pandemic when ridership and traffic interference, to the degree there is any, are way down.

    I feel an article coming on about this route among others. TTC is very good at wasting vehicles so that management’s “on time performance” stats look wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. “This was Metrolinx…”

    Now I am given to a combination of eye rolling and face palming. I don’t know which is worse: A provincial government agency that takes it upon itself to design the nitty-gritty of interaction with a local community or one that consistently blows off local advice on how to do so without screwing it up.

    I will now take another wild guess about the terms and conditions upon which the TTC will be operating the Eglinton Crosstown. My guess is that this problem (and many others) is about to be foisted upon Toronto so that it is our problem and not Metrolinx or the provincial government.

    Of course, the provincial government made its priorities crystal clear when our Glorious Leader called the Legislative Assembly into emergency session in order to opt out of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to deal with the pressing, burning emergency of… reducing the number of Toronto city councillors. I can think of a few things that maybe are of slightly more importance that DoFo getting revenge upon the politicians that opposed him when he was a Toronto city councillor.

    Steve: A thug. An ignorant thug, and his agencies take their cue from the top. Mind you, Metrolinx had lots of experience being opaque under the Liberals but Dougie enabled them to reach new depths.


  21. The scheduled speed on 512 St. Clair is now lower (!!!) than it was in the old days of “mixed traffic” operation, and cars get a very generous amount of “recovery time”.

    This is an issue to me personally, since I am currently living about a block away from the Wychwood stop on St. Clair. I remember the Good Old Days of three minute headways when the TTC did a pretty good job of living up to its previous slogan, “A car always in sight.” That is, if you count “in sight” as heading away because I missed the car!

    Today, the scheduled headways are at least twice as long. And any form of “transit signal priority” is a complete joke. I look forward to reading any coming article to see if it confirms my lived experience.


  22. Steve: The scheduled speed on 512 St. Clair is now lower (!!!) than it was in the old days of “mixed traffic” operation, and cars get a very generous amount of “recovery time”. This during a pandemic when ridership and traffic interference, to the degree there is any, are way down.

    We said it all along that the St Clair debacle was a BIG waste of money and time and that it would not only slow traffic but that it would also slow not just buses but that it would also slow streetcars. Now, Steve finally agrees with us. The biggest problem with the St Clair debacle was that the decision makers did not listen to the local business owners and local residents who were overwhelmingly opposed to the St Clair streetcar project. Instead, the St Clair debacle was imposed upon us by the decision makers in Downtown. As a result, many businesses have closed on St Clair and many historic buildings taken down and replaced with Downtown style glass boxes i.e. condos.

    Steve: Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are misrepresenting what I wrote. The line was faster after it reopened with the right of way. However, over the years TTC has padded schedules so that their “on time performance” ooks better, and cars waste time laying over at terminals. The major change in travel speed happened with the introduction of the new cars, and with changes in the transit signal priority setup that worked against the TTC in some places. What is very striking about the right-of-way operation is how consistent travel times are. This is akin to what we saw on King Street.

    And please don’t talk to me about “Downtown” decision makers from the point of view of St. Clair. You are “downtown” to most people in Toronto now.


  23. STANDING OVATION to Jim’s comments about streetcars being forced upon people’s neighborhoods against the local population’s consent. The same thing happened not only on St Clair but also on Spadina, Queens Quay, King, and in Corktown. Many businesses ran out of business on King as a result of the streetcar project and condo developers bought those properties and are installing ugly condos as replacements all along King. In Corktown, an extremely noisy streetcar system was forced down people’s throats against their wishes. The problem is that whether it is streetcars on St Clair, King, Spadina, in Corktown, or opponents of the Scarborough subway, it is the same small group of people behind all of these and more. It is the same small group of people who show up to every TTC Board meeting, every meeting about every transit project in Toronto whether in Scarborough or Downtown or anywhere else, it is the same small group of people doing online surveys over and over and over again, it is the same small minority with a voice so loud that the vast majority cannot even be heard. I think that proof of address should be required to attend public consultation meetings so that people from Downtown are not able to make their voices heard about local matters in Scarborough. These online surveys should also be modified to make sure that no one fills them more than once and proof of address is a must. The decisions around public projects must be more democratic and local residents must be consulted and proof of address is a must.

    Steve: A note to readers: this person shows up under different guises regularly. This is one of his (?) less vitriolic “contributions”.


    Normally I delete your comments, but this one deserves a reply.

    The complaints of noise in Corktown originally came from one house owner who had set up a recording studio in his basement. Then came the streetcars. The TTC claimed that all would be well with the new cars that would include GPS-based self-lubrication for the wheels. This never quite showed up on the street. Now they are working on changes to the wheel design. The TTC has not been doing a good job lately of dealing with wheel squeal, and their most recent “solution” is slow orders on curves at loops rather than simply fixing their wheel greasing device. These are legitimate complaints, but they do not support your overall thesis about “downtowners” forcing projects onto various parts of the city. There was a huge amount of community involvement in planning the West Don Lands (as the area the Cherry street car runs through is known).

    Spadina, Queens Quay, the King Street Pilot (as it once was) and St. Clair were also the product of a lot of community input, not simply “the same small minority”. And of course you trot out Scarborough, your favourite hobby horse. Scarborough could have had an LRT line running entirely on its own right-of-way years ago. The original proposal goes back to the 1960s and the TTC, but then Bill Davis had a better idea and we, after a long wait, got the SRT in the 1980s. The line could have been converted and extended to Malvern, but Dalton McGuinty was gunshy and used the Pan Am Games as a pretext to “wait”. We are all still waiting.

    King Street businesses? Those buildings had already been snapped up by developers long ago. Restos that went under were those whose only trade were the tourists who evaporated when theatres closed. Meanwhile the locals ate and drank elsewhere knowing where decent food was to be had.

    There are a LOT of local residents in Scarborough who want the originally proposed Transit City LRT network, but you probably would claim that’s just “fake news”. How do you know that online surveys come from a minority of people? Do you have the raw data including originating IP address, datestamps, claimed location, etc? And you always hide behind a pseudonym, changing it every time, but easily recognizable as the same author.

    Now get stuffed.



  24. “…local business owners and local residents who were overwhelmingly opposed to the St Clair streetcar project. “

    It was opposed by a few ideological loudmouths. Do you have a source for the “overwhelming” statement?

    I live about a block away from the Wychwood stop on St. Clair. I have yet to meet anyone who is opposed to the ROW operation. But lots of my neighbours, and I myself, are dissatisfied with the infrequent service and long headways. And with the transit signal priority, which is a sick joke. The St Clair project is good, the problem is with the lousy implementation of streetcar operations.


  25. Of interest perhaps to Kevin and others, the #1 ask in public consults for St. Clair was for some improvements to cycling, and the changed design meant it was more dangerous than before.

    Otherwise, am pretty disappointed in most all of the proposals; another comment perhaps.

    Steve: It would be interesting to contemplate how the St. Clair design might have gone in the current climate which is more bike-friendly. For one thing, I don’t think that wasting a few metres across the width of the street on extra poles and a generous “amenity space” for garbage cans and the like would have survived when better use might have been made of it. There was a hard fight, but both the City and TTC would not budge. They had a consultant who “knew better”. Even allowing for that, however, cycling lanes would have been tricky to fit in.


  26. I guess in “Peter’s” world LRTs are coming to Lawrence Ave W, Wilson, Sheppard, Finch, Richmond, Adelaide, Jarvis, Sherbourne, etc. etc. Everwhere properties are being purchased by developers and being turned into condos, ugly or otherwise. Oh, sure, there’s an LRT coming on Finch, but I’m talking east of Allen, all the way out to, I dunno, Birchmount? Meadowvale?

    I wonder what accounts for the postwar (World War II, that is) housing being torn down and replaced by faux-chateaux. Maybe express bus routes?

    “Small minorities with loud voices” sure describe the NIMBYs in my part of Toronto. I should want them in charge of planning? What, COVID-19 isn’t enough of a problem, we need more nuisances?

    Steve: You forgot the part about how all of those developers are downtown.


  27. Steve was very tolerant of two recent posters. My normal policy is “Don’t feed the trolls,” but there was some particular bovine effluent that I keep running into. So I will respond.

    “…local residents who were overwhelmingly opposed to the St Clair streetcar project.”

    And you know this how? Are you are gifted with mental telepathy so that you know how large numbers of people think? I will point out that we live in a democracy and the local councillors in the area actually affected were in favour of the project. I live one block away from Wychwood and St. Clair. Out of all my neighbours that I have talked about it, 100% are in favour of the dedicated ROW. I certainly do not claim that this is more than a tiny fraction of the local residents, but I do claim that 100% of local residents are represented by their local councillor.

    This is something that I run into over and over. People who claim to know what others think or who claim to speak on their behalf. Canada is a democracy. The only people who get to speak on my behalf are the ones that were democratically elected.

    “…the same small minority with a voice so loud that the vast majority cannot even be heard.”

    Wow! That’s an impressive minority! How do I join that minority? I really want to get that kind of power for myself. Unless the cost of membership is to submit to male genital mutilation. Then I’ll take a pass.

    Once again, I run into this over and over. Conspiracy theorists who believe that there is a small minority group that controls everything. All too often it is some loathsome bigot who less-than-subtly hints just who is in this minority group conspiring to control everything.

    Of course, there really is a minority group that actually does have outsize influence. That would be real estate developers who have lots of money to hire PR flacks and to donate to a politician’s re-election campaign. But somehow I think that is not the people to whom the poster was referring.

    “I think that proof of address should be required to attend public consultation meetings so that people from Downtown are not able to make their voices heard about local matters in Scarborough.”

    Oh? Should I have no say in where my tax money gets spent if it is not in my neighbourhood? Of course, if this poster were consistent in his belief, then he would also say that people from the suburbs should not make their voices heard about projects Downtown. But I observe that this person seems to have no inhibitions in commenting about projects Downtown and in Scarborough and on St. Clair. Which leads me to conclude that he is a forked-tongue, bald-faced hypocrite.

    Once again, I run into this over and over. The idea that nobody who lives downtown should ever dare criticize any project in the suburbs, while people who live in the suburbs can and should criticize any project downtown. The hypocrisy is fairly naked. I, of course, am of the opinion that truth is truth no matter where the person speaking the truth happens to live.

    Steve: The fact that we are ruled by an egotistical bully whose party received fewer votes in the 2018 election than the two major opposition parties combined really pisses me off, but we’re stuck with that effect of “first past the post” and wins at the riding level rather than by overall votes.

    I am tired of having complete idiots define my life in terms of their white suburban middle class desires and lifestyle. But I don’t make that the theme of everything I write, unlike certain trolls whose comments feature homophobia, misogyny, racism, and belief that everything wrong with Scarborough was caused by “downtown” in general and me in particular. Those comments go directly to the trash bin.


  28. Just one comment on the St Clair right of way (I used to live in that neighborhood):

    After the project construction began, there was a municipal election. A candidate in that ward was fielded on the platform of opposition to the project and lost badly to Joe Mihevc (who championed the project). The councillor in the neighboring ward also won handily (and is still a councilor to this day I believe). If the residents of St. Paul were so opposed to the project one would have expected a different result. I can confirm that service and wait times were improved, at least initially after project completion in that it was faster to go from St. Clair West to St. Clair station on the street car than using the subway and transferring twice. Prior to that it wasn’t for me.


  29. ponerology: Just one comment on the St Clair right of way (I used to live in that neighborhood):

    After the project construction began, there was a municipal election. A candidate in that ward was fielded on the platform of opposition to the project and lost badly to Joe Mihevc (who championed the project).

    My comment: You have selective vision and you only see things that you want to see. Don’t forget that there was another candidate (Mr Rob Ford for the mayor’s chair) who was fielded on the platform of opposition to the St Clair DEBACLE and on the platform of opposition to streetcars and he won in a landslide. You seemed to have missed the points of those comments. The point was that local populations are not being listened to. Why do we have a certain individual from East York going to every single public consultation being held for the local population not in East York? If these consultations had been for the people of East York, they would be held in East York but why do we have a certain individual from East York taking up seats meant for the local people from whether it be Downtown or Scarborough or anywhere else not East York? And he has the BIGGEST mouth too. I am not naming him but he may come forward and reveal himself. He is omnipresent on this site.

    Steve: The writer is a bullshit artist, a purveyor of “fake news” who shows up from time to time here. I will reply (once) to set the record straight.

    The “East York” resident referred to is me (the only “omnipresent” person on this site). For the record, I do not live in East York whose boundary is almost one kilometre away. I live in Toronto.

    Public consultations are intended for all interested parties. “Interest” can extend beyond the immediate vicinity of a project meeting especially when the implications are substantial on a network scale. Mind you, if I could tell certain councillors who represent suburban wards that they can just piss off for any issue in the old City of Toronto, I would be quite happy. But they have a responsibility to represent their constituents on city-wide matters including taxes and spending. We would not be spending megabucks rebuilding the Gardiner Expressway if only those living in its immediate vicinity had anything to say about it.

    The implication is that somehow by my presence I prevent others from being heard or even from attending meetings. In fact, I tend not to talk much at all and view such meetings as opportunities to gauge local feeling and to network with others. Sometimes I have been invited by community groups for an “expert” but outside opinion in dealing with the TTC or Metrolinx. In cases where I have a formal presence, such as an advisory group, I am there either by invitation, or because the project sponsors feel I have something to contribute.

    As for the “disaster”, that is a term invented by opponents of David Miller who preferred to paint the project in the worst possible light.

    Finally, it may come as a surprise to the writer (“anonymous”) that Rob Ford did NOT win in a landslide. The actual results were Ford 47%, Smitherman 35.6%, Pantalone 11.7%, others 5.7%. More people voted against Ford than for him although to be fair, I suspect that even without Joe Pantalone’s self-serving “last hurrah”, his votes would not all have gone to Smitherman. He ran a poor, lazy campaign that did not take Ford seriously as a candidate until it was far too late. But Ford became Mayor just as another Ford became premier thanks to the ongoing NDP-Liberal battle that hands elections to the Tories.


  30. Thanks Steve/commenters.

    With St. Clair, and lack of safer cycling, while it’s tight, I do wonder if having the streetcars/RoW split to be on either side of the road, with biking space between sidewalk and tracks, if that’s a better fix. All the interior/middle space of the road could be left for cars/deliveries/parking/turns – and it might work, it might not, and it might be superior as transit-waiting would be on side of the street/bike zone, though yes, cyclists can be less-safe towards waiting/exiting transit users.

    Steve: The streetcar lanes are staying where they are for many reasons, not least of which is that the infrastructure is reasonably new. Also, all of the utilities have been moved to curb lanes so that they can be repaired without excavating the streetcar tracks. This is the kind of decision that should be made before a street is completely rebuilt.

    With most of the rest of the transit schemes/plans, it’s not so good to lousy in my view, including how we are failing to make the surface Relief option of the extended U of railtracks from Dundas W./Bloor through the core perhaps via Wellington up to Main/Danforth any sort of priority for us, and thus enabling a building of options shut, again. That’s also not new, like the using of those diagonal/faster corridors for sub-regional to core transit, and this construction and service could likely also cut out the need for a very costly money-pit rebuild of Yonge/Bloor.

    Especially if we did surface Relief of Yonge instead, which is starting perhaps with the boosting of Richmond Hill GO and there’s a massive/costly flooding relief tunnel program underway that we should really try to get value from, not just build, but adjust thinking/plans, unless we are very committed to ensuring that the construction industry gets very very very well-off.

    With the Weston corridor intensifications, there is also a strong need to value highly the nearly direct east-west corridor from Queen/Dufferin over to Front/Bathurst area for TTC usage for expediting Queensway/transit to the core via Front St., though again, it’s now more complex from having evermore buildings. We would now likely need to double-up/stack transit with the TTC on the bottom ie. almost tunnelled, but this would be a way to also more directly serve the Liberty Village with increased transit, a bit overdue, like improving the transit from Etobicoke as per that 1957 plan etc.

    The climate crisis is upon us; too bad we’ve not been doing all that much to ease it, apart from a lot of self-congratulation.


  31. The St. Clair ROW runs through the old wards 17, 21, and 22.

    Ward 17, Davenport
    Rob Ford: 6,006 (41.7%)
    George Smitherman: 4,407 (30.6%)
    Joe Pantalone: 2,975 (20.7%)
    Total votes: 14,399

    Ward 21, St. Paul’s
    Rob Ford: 5,818 (32.2%)
    George Smitherman: 8,979 (49.7%)
    Joe Pantalone: 2,602 (14.4%)
    Total votes: 18,056

    Ward 22, St. Paul’s
    Rob Ford: 7,903 (32.3%)
    George Smitherman: 13,411 (54.8%)
    Joe Pantalone: 2,443 (10.0%)
    Total votes: 24,454

    Rob Ford got 19,727 votes in those three wards.
    George Smitherman got 26,797 votes.
    Joe Pantalone got 8020 votes.

    Source: Torontoist

    Rob Ford’s “opposition to the St Clair DEBACLE” didn’t exactly get him a bucket of votes there? From the local population? That these trolls are trotting out?

    Since we’re supposed to listen to the local population, we can throw out everyone from Willowdale and Rexdale!

    Steve: The stupidity and blind ignorance to facts of the trolls is breathtaking. The problem is that he translates the misinformation into personal loathing. Trumpism on a small scale.


Comments are closed.