After a long delay thanks to construction issues and utilities that were not located where they were expected to be, the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles project has moved into its second phase over three months later than planned.
This affects routes 501 Queen and 504 King.
The 501 Queen bus service was formerly diverted via Dufferin and King to Roncesvalles. It now operates both ways via Queen Street following the normal streetcar route in the west end. Separate diversions remain in place elsewhere on the route for track work east of Bathurst, and for overhead work in the east end.
The 504 King shuttle bus had been operating in two sections. One ran on Roncesvalles Avenue between Dundas West Station and Roncesvalles Carhouse. The other ran from the eastern entrance of the Exhibition via Strachan to King, and then over a large counterclockwise loop formed by Dufferin, Queen, Triller and King.
The 504 bus now operates between Dundas West Station and the Exhibition as one route with the two former segments now connected at Queen and Roncesvalles. Westbound buses continue to operate via Dufferin and Queen, while eastbound buses run via Queen, Triller and King as shown below.
Note that this arrangement means that there are no westbound buses on King west of Dufferin, just as there have been no eastbound buses on Queen since this project began. Queen Street now has two-way service.
At the time I write this (7:00 pm, November 14), the TTC has not updated its website to reflect the new routings.
Sounds like a repeat of the Wellington fiasco with “unknown utilities”. I assume the City really has no idea of what is below their streets, which seems odd as utilities need permits etc. Maybe the Auditor General needs to look at KQR at same time she looks at Wellington. I assume the utility companies are not responsible for the cost of the delays caused by fact they also have no idea of what is where!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Do you have any details about the Nov 21st TTC service changes?
Steve: No. TTC has not issued the list of changes. Their email system is still down, and the GTFS data for November have not been published yet.
Even with a “definitive” list, there could well be selective cancellations of scheduled crews depending on the staffing situation once the vaccine mandate kicks in. This would be similar to the situation early in 2020 when service was trimmed by cancelling crews rather than by rewriting schedules.
I was driving this 504 replacement tonight, and by the end of my shift, we were given the order to operate WB via west on King, north on Wilson Park, West on Queen to route. Perhaps this will be the routing for the duration of the closure? It certainly seems more intuitive and convenient for the ridership.
Steve: Thanks for the update. When this scheme was first proposed back in the summer, I asked why the northbound leg was so far east. The TTC’s response was that they had tried other streets and only Dufferin worked. That didn’t make sense at the time, and I am glad to hear that westbound service has been restored on most of King. I will check the tracking data to see where they are actually going now.
As of 6:15am on Monday, November 15, the buses are back on Queen from Dufferin. I will watch the route for a while to see if this changes.
LikeLiked by 1 person
This morning I waited 20+ minutes at a stop not being serviced by the queen Eastbound bus. The bus is diverting at Dufferin down to King and then back to Queen at Strachan. No information on my stop at Dovercourt. I feel bad for the driver because I for sure was not the first person to be frustrated and asking questions of them.
Steve: Obviously they have started the western chunk of the trackwork (eastward from Fennings toward Bathurst) without telling anybody. Thanks for the update.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Related to the work on Queen, I saw a number of trailers with track panels occupying the centre lanes from Ossignton to Strachan yesterday. Looks like the intersection at Shaw is coming soon. I’d verify whether the TTC has posted about this, but I can’t get past the loading animation on the service advisory query pages…
Steve: Yes, that work has just started. I posted a separate article about it.
Unlike how they do it over a weekend in Europe, Toronto does it over a “year” (or two), to save on money.
Steve: The distinction is that the road under the tracks is not built to carry heavy trucks for decades. If you eliminate this requirement, the work can be a lot faster. In the specific case of KQQR the project is much bigger than the track and involves utilities whose locations were not well known in advance. Even the Europeans run into century (and more) old infrastructure from time to time.
Many local businesses and commuters might prefer a week long closure every 5-10 years rather then a months long closure every few decades, especially, since with limited diversion options, these closures happen repeatedly as different sections are done and as different street features are replaced (sewers, hydro, sidewalks…).
Steve: There are a few factors at work here.
The city has been trying to consolidate road closures for various works to avoid the feeling of unending construction. However, this drives up the likelihood that one component of a joint project will hit a snag, and this seems to happen more often with water mains and hydro than with track. The KQQR project was also complicated by the geometric reconfiguration of the road which required relocation of some facilities including overhead support poles whose new locations turned out to conflict with existing utilities.
Water mains are not replaced as often as track, but there is a of century-old infrastructure under the older roads in the city. The replacement rate has been growing for a decade as Toronto Water’s capital program ramped up with funding from higher-than-inflation rate increases that were approved by Council years ago to address a growing problem with water main breaks and flooding. Needless to say, some of that old pipe is not exactly where it is shown on old drawings.
Combine this with years of track reconstruction projects that included building down to the foundation and street occupancies have been quite long. For tangent track, we have reached the point where almost all of the system now has the newer foundation with steel ties and Pandrol clip attachments. This makes track replacement much simpler. Moreover, installing pre-welded strings of track with rubber sleeves increases roadbad life. The work now underway on Queen required only removal of the top layer of the track down to the ties rather than full excavation. The delay at University was thanks to water main problems, not track construction.
There have also been covid-related delays this year such as on Broadview where a shortage of pipe delayed the water main work for several weeks. While they have been working, the contractor has been speeding through the project.
Intersections trailed tangent track in having the “new” resilient construction, and we will continue to work through migration to this type of structure for many years. Until that happens, intersections will take a long time to rebuild. That said, the TTC and their contractors are getting good at doing the simpler ones quickly, and I expect Queen/Shaw to take about three weeks.
This is cold comfort to residents and businesses who have become used to “forever” projects, and this spills over to a resentment of streetcars. It’s ironic that the Queen project this year was intended to be a “big bang” covering a long stretch of the route, and there appears to be a desire to complete as much as possible before the snow arrives and limit the amount of work that spills over into 2022. The next big project will be on King Street in a few years, and this will include making permanent some of the transit right-of-way changes.
Old utilities found in unexpected places is one thing, but there was a stretch of several weeks, maybe months, when basically no work was being done at KQQR. Is that a problem of various responsible utilities being private or quasi-private and thus not being incentivized/compelled to cooperate well? I mean, probably few people at Toronto Hydro had their feet to the fire, especially with the early-on branding of this as “streetcar work”.
Still there’s upsides. At least KQQR was closed down, unlike Dundas, which slogged through forever in a half-closed state, helping neither construction nor people who tried to drive there.
From photos posted on UrbanToronto, the rails on King are laid and “just” need their top layer of concrete. This project may actually be ending, until it restarts in the spring!
Steve: I had planned to get out to KQQR to see the status, but it’s nice that UrbanToronto has an update too. Now if only there were overhead, there might be a chance of restoring streetcar service on both King and Queen as far as Roncesvalles.