TTC Transit Network Expansion: February 2023 Update

At its meeting on February 28, the TTC Board will receive a report summarizing the status of most of the rapid transit plans in Toronto. This article condenses the TTC report and reorders some sections to group related items together.

Dominant among many projects are, of course, the “big four” provincial projects: Ontario Line, Scarborough Subway, Yonge North Subway, and Eglinton West LRT extension.

Project Status Overview

The effect of major projects elbowing everything else aside is clear in the table below. Some projects do not have in service dates because they are not funded, and the timing of that (when and if it occurs) will determine when various lines can open.

Not shown in this table are several major projects that pop up from time to time:

  • Bloor-Yonge Station Expansion
  • Waterfront West LRT from Dufferin to The Queensway
  • Bloor West subway extension
  • New Line 2 fleet and yard at Kipling (Obico yard property)
  • Sheppard East subway extension
  • Platform Edge Doors

Of these, only the Bloor-Yonge project has funding, and some are only a glimmer in various politicians’ eyes.

  1. Project Status Overview
  2. Short Term Operating Cost Effects
  3. SRT Bus Replacement Capital Cost
  4. Eglinton Crosstown LRT (Line 5)
  5. Eglinton West LRT Extension
  6. Eglinton East LRT (Line 7)
  7. Scarborough Subway Extension (Line 2)
  8. Finch West LRT (Line 6)
  9. The Ontario Line and the 501 Queen Streetcar
  10. Waterfront East LRT
  11. Waterfront West LRT
  12. Yonge North Subway Extension
  13. Service Levels, Operations and Maintenance
  14. Innovation & Sustainability
  15. RapidTO Bus Lanes
  16. Durham-Scarborough and Dundas BRTs

Short Term Operating Cost Effects

When Lines 5 and 6 (Eglinton and Finch West) open, the TTC, and hence the City, will start to pay part of their cost. This will include both direct costs for TTC staff and indirect costs for maintenance activities performed by Metrolinx’ private sector partner.

As for the SRT, it is not yet clear how much of the cost of replacement bus service will be reimbursed by Metrolinx as part of their overall project cost, and whether this will add to TTC budget woes in 2024 and beyond.

Service Disruption Policy and the Recovery of Additional Operating Costs

As construction activities associated with the subway expansion program increase, additional operating costs will be incurred based on additional vehicles required to maintain service levels due to construction delays to operate bus replacement services due to streetcar track and/or subway closures. Work is ongoing between Metrolinx and TTC staff to finalize a policy to govern processes and eligible costs for reimbursement. At this time, the TTC anticipates that service disruption costs will be funded by Metrolinx.

TTC Transit Network Expansion Update at p. 3

SRT Bus Replacement Capital Cost

As the table below shows, we are in the ludicrous situation that the SSE construction is underway and the SRT shutdown is planned for late 2023, but the construction of a replacement bus roadway is not yet funded. The TTC hopes to obtain funding from the province, but “The Province has not committed any funding to date.” [p. 3]

Notable by its absence from this table is any reference to purchase of new buses. The TTC has an embarrassing surplus of vehicles thanks to service cutbacks. Peak service today is about 200 vehicles below what could be operated with the existing fleet.

The costs shown here do not include possible costs of temporary easements “for temporary construction access, bus platforms and lighting, amongst other requirements” [p 13].

Shifting the bus shuttle off of local streets is better both for transit riders, the TTC and other road users. However, getting from “a good idea” to actual implementation is another matter. The longer approval for funding is delayed, the shorter time there will be to recover some of the extra bus shuttle costs.

With bus replacement service operating on local roads with transit priority measures, additional net operating costs of $99.5 million for the 2023 to 2030 time period are anticipated. Should capital funding to construct the busway on the SRT ROW be secured, and construction complete by the end of 2025, operating costs for the same time period are expected to be $22.8 million lower due to lower operator and vehicle requirements once the busway is in operation. In addition to the lower operating costs, converting the Line 3 corridor for bus operation will provide customers with higher-quality service, and reduce travel times when compared to just using regular city streets.

TTC Transit Network Expansion Update at p. 4

Even with the new bus roadway, the TTC faces added costs of $76.7 million from 2026 to 2030.

Once the SSE opens, there will be a cost of $150 to $170 million to demolish surplus Line 3 infrastructure. This cost would be affected by any decisions on a future use for the guideway between Ellesmere and McCowan Stations and the degree to which it might be recycled for pedestrian or cycling use.

Discussions with the Province on various funding issues related to this project are still underway and the report gives no indication of how or when these might be settled.

There is yet to be a commitment from the Province to fund the full requirements of this project. Funding is required in order to advance the busway conversion to detailed design and construction. This part of the project is currently on hold pending further funding.

Transit Network Expansion Update at p. 14

Eglinton Crosstown LRT (Line 5)

The TTC, Metrolinx and Crosslinx Transit Solutions (the P3 partner for this project) have been working through various stages of testing and commissioning. The report describes TTC’s participation in this process and two points stick out in the report. TTC expertise has been an important factor in a project that was to be very much a Metrolinx show. More critically the process appears to be “in progress” with no sense of completion. Considering the many delays in this project, it is disappointing to read a description that gives no sense of an end date, let alone how this would lead to revenue operations.

23 TTC Instructors have completed their training, but operator training has not yet commenced. The training has occurred “on the portion of the line that is available”. This suggests that although cars are operating on both the western and eastern sections of the route, full route operation is not yet routine.

For its part, Metrolinx refuses to commit to an opening date claiming that CTS has no credible plan to reach that point [comment by Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster at their February 18, 2023 Board meeting].

This uncertainty affects TTC staffing, budgets and route planning.

Astoundingly, at such a late date in construction, the TTC speaks of integration of wayfinding for Lines 5 and 6 as a future goal that might be achieved. It speaks to Metrolinx’ isolation that this was not integrated in the original design and contracts for the lines.

Since 2012, the TTC has been implementing one consistent standard across the entire TTC network. These Standards have been made available to expansion project design teams under the guidance of Metrolinx. Their delivery of future transit expansion to the TTC system must provide an optimum customer experience that is consistent throughout the network. The Standards have been designed with this objective in mind and TTC staff will continue to support Metrolinx, as required, to reach this goal, and to ensure that the provincially funded extensions and expansions to the TTC transit network have wayfinding and branding that is consistent with the rest of the TTC system.

In particular, TTC staff are working to get a commitment from Metrolinx staff to ensure that TTC logos, wayfinding and signage will be featured appropriately on provincially owned stations in the TTC network to ensure seamless and safe operation. The intent is that an interim solution will be agreed to for Line 5 Eglinton in time for the opening of this line, and with a final agreed solution to be applied to Line 6 Finch West and to the four provincial subway projects listed above.

Transit Network Expansion Update pp 11-12

Eglinton West LRT Extension

Tunnel work east from Renforth to just west of Scarlett Road began in April 2022. Contracts still to be let include the elevated guideway from Scarlett Road to Jane Street, the tunnel from east of Jane to Mount Dennis Station, and the Stations, Rail and Systems.

Eglinton East LRT (Line 7)

The Eglinton East LRT is planned to run from Kennedy Station east and north to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC). The line’s history has been difficult thanks to Rob Ford’s cancellation of the Transit City plan, and a later incorporation of the EELRT in a deeply flawed scheme to build both it and the SSE with the then-available funding. This would only have been possible if one believed the lowballed cost estimates, but the politics of the day demanded that hopes for both projects be kept alive.

At Kennedy Station, the route from the Line 5 Crosstown tunnel to the surface is blocked by the planned SSE. This forces the EELRT to be built as a separate route east from Kennedy with its station on the east side of the GO corridor rather than with through-running into the Line 5 station.

The report speaks of a “distinct-service concept” which tries to make the best of a bad situation.

A standalone line for EELRT (a new “Line 7 Eglinton East”) creates new opportunities and potential benefits, including cost savings, a shorter construction duration, reduced property impacts, and design flexibility by avoiding dependency on Line 5 Eglinton vehicle, operations and maintenance requirements.

Further analysis is required to confirm potential benefits and refine the distinct-service concept. The TTC will work with the City to advance the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) and 10% design for the distinct-service concept from Kennedy Station to Malvern Town Centre, with an at-grade connection at Kennedy Station, and the Sheppard Avenue segment from Neilson Road to McCowan Road. An updated Initial Business Case and Class 4 cost estimate will be provided to City Council in Q3 2023.

Transit Network Expansion Update pp 20-21

Scarborough Subway Extension (Line 2)

Preliminary works at Kennedy Station include relocation of some equipment and cabling at the east end of tail tracks that connect with the new tunnel, and construction of a new fan plant for ventilation.

Tunneling south from Sheppard is now underway and is expected to finish in early 2025. Unlike other subways in Toronto, the SSE is a large single bore that will hold both tracks (11.9m bore, 10.7m tunnel diameter). This requires a large excavation that is not technically feasible in all locations, but which simplifies construction of stations and turnbacks.

The design for bus interchanges at both STC and Sheppard-McCowan Stations is still under debate. Both of these will have many routes and multiple carriers (TTC, GO, YRT, Durham). At STC, the TTC is concerned that enough platforms be provided for is many bus routes. At Sheppard-McCowan, Metrolinx proposes that the bus terminal be a non fare-paid area compared to the usual TTC practice of bus interchanges within the paid area.

Finch West LRT (Line 6)

The situation on Finch echoes that on Eglinton with an unknown opening date and a not-yet-finalized Train Operating and Funding Agreement.

The Ontario Line and the 501 Queen Streetcar

Construction of the Ontario Line will interrupt transit service in many locations either by complete road closures or by lane restrictions at many construction sites that will affect downtown streetcar service.

  • King-Bathurst Station
  • Queen-Spadina Station
  • Osgoode Station
  • Queen Station (Yonge Street)
  • Moss Park Station
  • Corktown Station
  • Riverside/Leslieville Station
  • Gerrard Station

City Council adopted the following recommendations:

  1. Requested the Toronto Transit Commission to include, in future reports, information on what is being done to maintain and advance time availability of its surface fleet in the construction area, in particular, streetcars.
  2. Directed the Toronto Transit Commission, to increase the availability and efficiency of nearby surface fleets, including streetcars and bus routes, and investigate the feasibility of priority routes, bus-only lanes, and other methods to support and improve public transit.
TTC Transit Network Expansion Update at p. 7

We have little to see for this request, but the initial effect is already known in a delay to work on building the Adelaide Street diversion for the 501 Queen car.

The TTC committed to deliver the first part of this project, the tracks on Adelaide Street from Charlotte Street to York Street. This track work was substantially completed in late 2022. The TTC is still refining the detailed design of the infrastructure with the City and Metrolinx, including elements related to utility relocation, stop locations, and streetscape and traffic signal design. Construction on the remaining portion of the work was to start in Q2 2022. However, the amount and complexity of utility conflicts and relocations that have been identified through site surveys has surpassed previous expectations and has delayed the start of the construction of the streetcar tracks for the diversion. Currently, the TTC, Metrolinx, City of Toronto and various utility owners are working very closely to resolve all of the utility conflicts and relocations as expediently as possible. Metrolinx has identified that the potential delay to complete the streetcar detour work will result in approximately 20 months of shuttle bus service commencing in early May 2023. The TTC is still working closely with Metrolinx and the City on exploring options to optimize the construction schedule of the Adelaide civil and streetcar track construction work to reduce the duration of shuttle bus service.

TTC Transit Network Expansion Update at p. 14

This will compound other works that affect 501 Queen notably:

  • Completion of construction on The Queensway from Sunnyside Loop to Parkside Drive
  • Ontario Line and GO Expansion bridge reconstruction and expansion at Queen & Degrassi.

With more complex utility work on Adelaide, followed by reinstallation of streetcar track, planned road and track renewal on King will almost certainly be delayed to avoid having too many streets downtown closed at the same time.

The City of Toronto, attempting to speed the work on Adelaide, will add the track reconstruction component to a contract already underway for utility work. This will allow track installation to closely follow the utility work rather than waiting for one contract to finish before a separate track construction project begins.

The watermain replacement work on Adelaide Street is progressing well, with the section between York Street and Bay Street already completed and work currently underway on the section between Bay Street and Victoria Street. Subject to Council approval and subsequent project award to Midome, the Adelaide Street works could proceed on the section of Adelaide Street vacated from the watermain construction work, resulting in considerable time savings. With a single general contractor in the area, both the streetcar tracks related work and the watermain replacement work can be readily coordinated with minimal risk and optimum resource sharing.

City of Toronto report at p. 5

The scope of work includes the tangent track on Adelaide connecting with track already installed west of York Street, and the special work at the York/Adelaide intersection. Planned new track on York between Queen and Adelaide is currently Metrolinx’ responsibility, although it is unclear why this has simply not been done by the City with Metrolinx footing the bill.

Operationally, it might make sense to break 501 Queen into western and eastern halves to avoid a very long route (Neville to Long Branch) with at least two major diversions enroute. The challenge is to find loops downtown if these services operate with streetcars especially if continued connection at subway stations is desired. The operational plan for replacement service on Queen has not yet been announced.

Also key to any replacement services will be strongly pro-transit traffic signals and parking restrictions. The laissez-faire approach now seen on King Street simply will not work.

The bus conversion of a major route is possible because the TTC has so many surplus vehicles at current service levels. There is deep irony in the arrival of 60 more streetcars beginning in 2024 at a time when, thanks to construction projects and the slow recovery of system demand, they will not be used. On the bright side, we will not be short of cars to operate the Waterfront extension(s) as and when they are built.

As for the GO/Ontario Line corridor at Degrassi Street (Riverside/Leslieville Station), there will be changes to the TTC power distribution at the bridge to place it underground later in 2023. In 2024, major work on the bridge itself will require that Queen Street be closed. Neither the specific dates for this work nor potential service implications are included in the report. This appears to contradict Council’s wish to be informed on the subject.

Waterfront East LRT

Design for the Waterfront East LRT includes:

  • the expanded Union Station,
  • a new portal at Queens Quay,
  • the reconfiguration of Queens Quay East to the Don River,
  • provision of an LRT connection north via Cherry Street to the Distillery District, and
  • LRT construction on Queens Quay, Cherry and Commissioners to a planned loop on Villiers Island.

This work is 30% complete and is now going through value engineering and constructability review including phasing options. Potential conflicts with other projects include the Ontario Line, GO expansion and the Gardiner/DVP rebuild. A report will come to the TTC and to Council in Q2 2023.

This extension to the streetcar system is flagged in a recent report about housing on Villiers Island that foresees increased density in light of the City’s housing shortage. How quickly this will evolve into funding and at least partial construction of the LRT link remains to be seen.

More density in Villiers Island will require the acceleration of the East Waterfront LRT project. Through the 2017 Precinct Plan, City Council approved a plan for an island community and regional destination that prioritizes pedestrian, cycling and transit infrastructure. With limited connections to the rest of the Port Lands, Central Waterfront, and Downtown Toronto, the LRT will become essential as development proceeds and as Villiers Island evolves into a mixed-used community and regional destination with special parks and cultural, civic and retail amenities.

Villiers Island – Affordable Housing Update p. 9

[For those who do not know: Villiers Island is a new island that will be created when the Don River’s new channel into Lake Ontario opens later in 2023. It is located at the northwest corner of the Port Lands.]

Waterfront West LRT

This project has a short segment intended to link Exhibition Loop to the existing tracks on Dufferin Street. Design was underway, but is on hold pending resolution of the WWLRT’s relationship to the Ontario Line.

There has been a plan for a westward link from Dufferin to The Queensway at Colborne Lodge Drive through a reconfigured Western Waterfront for over a decade, but like so much from the era of David Miller’s mayoralty, it has languished for lack of political interest beyond southern Etobicoke.

Development of the Christie’s Bakery site at Lake Shore and Park Lawn will bring a new streetcar loop and GO station. Which of these is most attractive to potential riders will depend on the frequency and fare for GO service, as well as the degree of demand for travel into the core area by various possible routes.

The WWLRT is not mentioned in the current report.

Yonge North Subway Extension

As on the Scarborough extension, modifications are needed at Finch to allow for connection from the tail tracks into the future line north to High Tech Station in York Region.

The number of stations has evolved over times as provincial attitudes to cost and political priorities shift. There are now to be five stations at Steeles, Clark, Royal Orchard, Bridge and High Tech. Massive condo development is planned for the north end of the line where the subway will share the Richmond Hill GO corridor.

Whether there will be a station at Cummer/Drewry is still uncertain. This is a matter of cost as well as connection possibilities for surface routes and future development.

At Steeles, as with the northern stations on the Scarborough extension, there will be many bus routes feeding in, and there will be provision for a future Steeles BRT line.

For the Steeles Avenue bus routes, the City of Toronto, York Region, the cities of Markham and Vaughan, and TTC staff have informed Metrolinx of their preference to include centre median bus platforms into the project scope to better connect with the high volume of Steeles Avenue buses. Having appropriate on-street facilities will also reduce the number of bays needed at the off-street bus terminal since bus routes could serve on-street instead of needing to loop into a bus terminal. It is the position of TTC staff that the centre median bus platform is a proven design to best meet customer demand and be compatible with the high volume of buses servicing Steeles.

Transit Network Expansion Update p. 17

Service Levels, Operations and Maintenance

An important issue for future operations will be the standards for service. On the TTC, this can be rather generous in off-peak periods with capacity well in excess of demand (although recently announced cutbacks will trim this). Depending on the responsibility for operating costs, the level of service will affect provincial and City/TTC budgets both for on-train staff and fleet maintenance. The “Toronto-Ontario Subway Agreement in Principle (AIP)” is still under negotiation.

Where a new project is an extension of the existing network (Scarborough and Yonge North), the TTC will maintain the infrastructure and fleet. On Eglinton West, whatever agreement is struck for the initial Line 5 will likely carry over to the extension. O&M responsibilities for the Ontario Line are still under discussion.

Innovation & Sustainability

A brief comment in the report indicates that the TTC is at least contemplating a change from its initial scheme for eBus charging only at garages.

Specifically, requirements [for new projects] include provisions for eBus electrification infrastructure that would enable on-route charging and/or back-up charging locations at a minimum.

Transit Network Expansion Update at p. 12

To the degree that on-route charging occurs, this affects not only the electrical requirements at future stations, but the operational design for buses stopping there and their layover times for charging.

RapidTO Bus Lanes

The City and TTC continue their studies of possible transit priority corridors under the RapidTO banner. As regular readers of this site will know, I believe that this project suffers from a two serious flaws: the potential benefits have been overstated, and there is insufficient attention to the granularity of implementation on various routes.

The poster child for this project was the Eglinton-Kingston-Morningside red lanes. The report (and other reviews) have noted that this was implemented with relatively few problems and good results.

The first RapidTO roadway, Eglinton Avenue East/Kingston Road/Morningside Avenue, introduced transit priority lanes in 2020. The traffic and transit data monitoring on the corridor has shown improvements to transit travel times (up to five minutes in the p.m. peak compared to the week prior to launching the lanes) and ridership (boardings are outperforming system-wide bus boardings) with minimal impact to traffic.

Transit Network Expansion Update p. 21

This project was the “low hanging fruit” of the network because there were already reserved bus lanes on parts of the affected streets, curb lane parking was not an issue, and the lanes were introduced in 2020 when traffic was lower than normal thanks to the pandemic. Some of the time saving came from stop eliminations, not from the priority scheme.

Tracking data for vehicles shows that travel times have grown and in some cases are comparable to pre-pandemic, pre-RapidTO conditions.

Other potential corridors such as Jane and Dufferin are very different streets. Indeed, there has been pushback from residents and businesses about the effect of losing their curb lanes, and implementation will not be as simple as it was for the first corridor.

Some of the most congested corridors are, almost by definition, those where implementing transit priority will be the most difficult. Work is underway for various proposals for Jane Street between Eglinton and Steeles. These will go through a round of public consultation, followed by refinement of the preferred option and another consultation cycle on that option. Work on Dufferin and Steeles proposals will begin this year.

On the King Street transit priority pilot, an important part of the design was fine-grained review of how the street would operate. This is essential to get community buy-in and to understand both the potential and the limitations of the scheme. The primary benefit was not to save travel time, but to ensure reliable travel time and service so that riders could depend on streetcars showing up and taking them to their destinations in a predictable time.

This is an issue across the network, and it will not be helped by pending service cuts. The focus on RapidTO diverts attention from the basics of running a network, rather than planning one route every year or two for priority treatment.

I have been tracking the behaviour of various corridors over the past few years and will publish those data and my observations soon.

Durham-Scarborough and Dundas BRTs

Metrolinx is leading two projects to connect the 905 east and west of Toronto into what will be the outer ends of the rapid transit network.

The Durham-Scarborough BRT will operate via Ellesmere to the new STC Station, and the Dundas BRT will feed into Kipling Station.

As well as the rapid transit link, the Durham line will serve UTSC and other major points enroute to STC. The combined frequency of service along the corridor is projected at 2 minutes during peak periods, and TTC riders are expected to be the majority of users. This begs a question of the relationship between express and local services.

Just over a year ago, in January 2022, the Durham-Scarborough project completed its Transit Project Assessment (TPAP), and it is now in the Preliminary Design Business Case (PBDC) phase. This has not been entirely clear sailing as there are concerns with the road operations for parts of the route.

Through the design process, a number of outstanding challenges that require additional analysis and mitigation measures will be addressed, such as impacts on goods movement operations along the corridor, particularly around Markham Road, and impacts to multi-modal traffic operations in the residential neighbourhood areas on Ellesmere Road between Military Trail and Kingston Road.

Transit Network Expansion Update p.22

The Dundas project is also in the PBDC phase. It will be used by TTC buses within the city, but most of the project outside of Toronto. As with the Durham project there will be a question of the relative importance of express and local services.

18 thoughts on “TTC Transit Network Expansion: February 2023 Update

  1. “Lack of political interest” remains a problem with Toronto City Hall (and since Toronto is a “child” of the Province of Ontario, is also a problem at Queen’s Park).

    For both the city and province (no matter who is in charge), the automobile remains their #1 priority. Why else would the province veto the city’s request to put tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway. Because the automobile owners, mostly in the 905, would get upset.

    The city’s (and province’s) priority should be…
    #1 priority—emergency vehicles
    #2 priority—pedestrians
    #3 priority—public transit
    #4 priority—cycling
    #5 priority—delivery & contractor trucks
    #6 priority—autos with more than one person
    #7 priority—single-occupant autos
    #8 priority—personal trucks or SUVs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Regarding detouring Queen Car forever and a day due to street work and Metrojinx Ontario Line.

    Would it be possible to detour Queen Car via King Street? Eliminates changing to/from bus AND adds to frequency of King Car service!

    Steve: There are various options, although each runs into problems finding loops downtown. Church/Victoria/Queen is time consuming and risk getting snared in the edge of construction at Queen Station. Church/Wellington/York would be nice except that there is no east to south curve at Church & King. Distillery Loop maybe? As for the east end of the route, it’s simpler to break off.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The community newspapers in eastern Scarborough are full of articles and editorials protesting the BRT plans for Ellesmere Rd.

    I suppose Metrolinx will chop down some trees and install the BRT regardless.

    Steve: Ford will announce a subway with a huge terminal in Pickering at the centre of some development by his cronies. The only catch will be that it won’t open until 2040.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Apart from what looks glamorous on the map, recommended by consultants (theory based), and pushed by politicians, TTC must look into where it can generate good revenue. Bloor west extension to Square One can be profitable route and must be started on immediate basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Are there any more details on the 501/503? I’m *guessing* they’ll both loop via Parliament and Broadview, with shuttle buses through downtown to the west?

    In a completely unrelated note, I’m getting very worried about waterfront east. We have what people are billing as “downtown 2.0” coming…massive new employment and residential on an almost unheard of scale…and with a grand total of zero transit actually fully planned and funded. Given the TTC and Metrolinx’ track record with delays and otherwise, I’m worried that all of Waterfront Toronto’s work will end up a bit of a black hole / no mans land for a decade or more as transit finally catches up. Sigh 😥

    Steve: No word yet on replacement service details. Once they finish work on The Queensway, the west end will be open again, but the problem there is that McCaul Loop is not an ideal eastern terminus.


  6. Why are interchange stations such a nightmare now? I could be wrong (having not been there), but it seems Bloor-Yonge was installed with relative ease.

    Steve: Because the Ontario Line will be 30m underground, not just below Lines 1 and 2 where it crosses them.


  7. Since there used to be old track on York (southbound) and Adelaide where utilities were apparently not a problem, why is it now a problem for the new track? Is the new track structure deeper than the old?

    Steve: I have asked the same question. Considering that the “wrong way” track was not used when the one-way system downtown came in, and that was for the opening of the Gardiner Expressway, there have been decades for all sorts of things to be built. Also, yes, the new track structure is deeper because there is now a concrete slab as a foundation beneath the ties.


  8. Is Cummer/Drewry feasible as a rough-in for future infill, similar to North York Centre?

    Steve: The real question is to leave provision for a station in the design as with “Park Home Station” which was built as NY Centre.

    Bloor west extension to Square One can be profitable route and must be started on immediate basis.

    With a stop at Sherway and then running 8 km express to Square One? There aren’t any demand nodes of note along the way.

    Steve: I can see it getting to Sherway, but beyond is GO territory especially if Metrolinx ever comes to agreement with CP about running more service on the Milton corridor.


  9. Where a bus “RapidTO” route is good enough. No LRT for you. From the anti-LRT people at city hall, they have 5 options for a “RapidTO” on Jane Street.

    1. Keep Existing Conditions with Minor Road & Public Transit Changes
    2. Priority Bus Lanes
    3. Priority Bus Lanes on Key Segments
    4. High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (3+)
    5. Queue Jump Lanes at Key Intersections

    Steve: Also worth noting that there are stop removals planned to varying degrees. The anticipated travel time saving is over most of the route even though riders make shorter trips, and those whose access times/distances will go up will not have as much benefit as those who now use stops that will remain in service.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s depressing as hell to think there are people at city hall paid to plan some red paint and other people paid to sell it as a solution to mobility in Toronto.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Any word on the new Flexity order having the ability to open selected doors? Waiting in the Spadina station tunnel for crew relief adds 10 minutes to an already slow right of way service.

    Fingers crossed this option was included and Leary has the foresight to run the vehicles on this pinch point.

    Steve: I don’t know but will have to ask. It would be a nice retrofit on the rest of the fleet.

    Meanwhile, there is a project in the capital plan to extend the platform so that two cars can load/unload at the same time. Long, long overdue, but I’m not sure when it will actually happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The people who feel that 905 ‘motorists’ are the Kings of the GTA, have, for the most part, never been forced to drive from 905 to 416 on a daily basis, in rush hour. It has become almost impossible!

    Aside from the poor souls who require the use of their vehicles while working in 416; most of the other 905 fat cats sitting in their cars have no sensible transit option for all the valid reasons that are constantly cited in this blog.


  13. The people who feel that 905 ‘motorists’ are the Kings of the GTA, have, for the most part, never been forced to drive from 905 to 416 on a daily basis, in rush hour. It has become almost impossible!

    This is true, but the reason we consider 905 voters politically important is that politicians pretend that things they do will improve life for them.

    Tolls on Gardiner and DVP would have made driving from 905 into town faster (but more expensive). They were shot down because they were unpopular with voters in 905 and outer 416. Now, shockingly, driving into town is slow.

    Highway 413 will encourage more car-only sprawl, induce demand, and will not solve the GTA’s traffic problems. It is still going ahead, with considerable support among 905 voters. (Though we know the reasons it’s going ahead are different from reasons why voters support it.)

    most of the other 905 fat cats sitting in their cars have no sensible transit option for all the valid reasons that are constantly cited in this blog.

    We acknowledge that. Our only problem is that the “905 fat cats” keep on electing politicians who are keeping it that way.

    Even among the brand-new housing in 905/GTHA/GGH, vast majority of it is being built in form of cul-de-sac subdivision sprawl that will never support sensible transit options. Brooklin? Milton? South Kitchener? South Thorold? North Oakville? Hamilton Mountain? (The fact that most of those houses are on tiny lots with stamp-sized backyards only makes it worse. You’re getting neither the suburb peace and quiet, nor the transit service.)

    Same thing with industrial areas. Even when there’s a bus, they didn’t build the sidewalks. (And yes! It is possible to build a factory where people can arrive by bus! You just have to want to try.)

    They are in a hole, they keep on digging, and they’re wondering why it’s getting wetter and wetter.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jarek: I agree with most of your points, but they don’t alter my original statement [I don’t like the present situation any more than you].

    There are three items that I would like to refute:

    [1] The voters of Central York often elect Liberals, provincially and federally. The results of the last Fordfest were disappointing to any sane person up here.
    [2] I believe that most of us are dead set against 413; for both environmental and ‘directional’ reasons. Hostile lawn signs are beginning to appear.
    [3] Ironically, the most entrenched Conservative voters in York Region are people in the few remaining rural areas, who, for the most part, do not have to commute, and certainly not during rush hour.


  15. I appreciate that there’s people in the 905 – even the deep 905 – that don’t like or want the car-choked status quo, but at some point, a community is what it votes for. Like, I didn’t like John Tory, but he was elected in Toronto, so I don’t really get to say “Toronto isn’t like John Tory”.

    Were the voters of Central York under the impression that the PC candidate who was re-elected in the Richmond Hill riding in 2022 with 51% of the vote would act and vote pro-transit and anti-sprawl?

    Is the 51% who voted for them beating down the door of said PC MPP demanding all-day two-way service on the Richmond Hill GO line or funding for 2-hour transfers to the TTC or support for the vulnerable road users law? Or letting the MPP know their dead-set opposition to the 413? Or their deeply-held belief that new homes built in the GTA must be built transit-equal, if not transit-first?

    I feel for the voters that Liberals haven’t done much better on the transportation file. At some point it will be worth it to go with an alternative to the big 2 or big 3.


  16. Isn’t the need for the new facility at Kipling negated by the decision to buy semi-permanently married pairs for line 2?

    Steve: With paired cars rather than 6-car sets, they strictly do not need Kipling, but they have no place to put a bigger fleet for the transitional period. Also, a west end yard will allow them to feed service in at both ends and reduce dead head times.


  17. Straphanger Ben: Isn’t the need for the new facility at Kipling negated by the decision to buy semi-permanently married pairs for line 2?

    Steve: With paired cars rather than 6-car sets, they strictly do not need Kipling, but they have no place to put a bigger fleet for the transitional period. Also, a west end yard will allow them to feed service in at both ends and reduce dead head times.

    Is the fleet supposed to be significantly bigger during the transitional period, even in the case of a simple 1:1 replacement? And if that’s the case, is building Kipling yard a prerequisite before new cars begin arriving, given that the existing storage space is already at or over capacity? I also wonder if they would link the new cars into 6-car sets when Kipling yard opens, given that the new yard would be designed to handle them.

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have a hunch that another year will go by and by the end of the year we’ll still be at square one (unable to move forward due to being unsuccessful in receiving funding for whatever reason).


  18. Just curious about your thoughts on reasons for the lack of firm timelines on the Eglinton Cross. Is it possible Metrolinx is trying to avoid the issues that plagued the Ottawa LRT: pushing ahead with going into revenue service even when so many problems were outstanding? I share the concerns of many about the project and lack of transparency, but it feels like, from reading your reports on the Ottawa LRT inquiry, similar issues may be at play here (with Metrolinx, looking at this from an admittedly optimistic perspective, holding the contractor’s feet to the fire).

    Steve: There have definitely been contract performance issues between Metrolinx and Crosslinx some of which are still involved in litigation, I believe. Obviously Metrolinx will not want a repeat of Ottawa, although there are likely differences in the situation. The legal battles in Toronto have, so far, gone in Crosslinx’ favour whereas in Ottawa it is RTG and its various partners/subcontractors who are on the hook for many problems. Either way, the lack of transparency on a major public sector project is immensely galling and at some point they are going to have to be more public about the issues, or open and hope for the best. If Ottawa is any indication, that is not a good strategy.

    A change of government is at least three years away, and there is always the danger that the new team will be captured by Metrolinx and IO just as the Ford Tories were after the Wynne era.


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