Readers who follow me on Twitter will know that the question of which streetcar stops are being removed has been a simmering issue for some time. The question has become less “what is the list” than “why is it impossible to get the list”.
A related matter is the degree of consultation, or not, that preceded implementation of the changes.
Several changes for The Beach (Queen Street East and Kingston Road) were announced in an email newsletter from Councillor McMahon, and the format of the list, complete with stop numbers, made it clear that this was a TTC document.
TTC will proceed with the following streetcar stop relocations on May 13 to support the deployment of new streetcars:
On Kingston Road:
- Move the westbound stops #2786 (Malvern Avenue) and #2799 (Walter Street) to a new stop at the midblock pedestrian signal at Glen Manor Dr
- Remove the farside westbound stop #2801 at Woodbine Avenue to a new stop nearside of the same intersection
On Queen Street:
- Move the stops at Kent Road, and Woodward Avenue, to new stops at the pedestrian crossover at Woodfield Road
- Move the eastbound stop #3055 at Laing Street to a nearside location at Alton Avenue
- Move the eastbound stop #6807 at Kippendavie Avenue east to the signalized intersection at Elmer Avenue
- Move the eastbound stop #6815 at Scarboro Beach Boulevard and the eastbound stop #6812 to the signalized intersection at Glen Manor Drive
- Move the stops at the unsignalized intersections of Lee Avenue and Waverley Road to the signalized intersection at Bellefair Avenue
- Move the westbound stop #6818 at Sprucehill Road closer to the pedestrian crossover at Beech Avenue
Courtesy of the fact that the TTC’s own website contains out of date information about stop locations while the list in NextBus is current, it did not take long to track down the remaining changes, but the bizarre part of this is that repeated attempts to simply get a list from the TTC ran aground.
Today, I took an inspection tour of the affected locations to verify what has happened, and here is my list:
On King Street:
- Stops both ways at Trinity Street removed
- Eastbound stop at Fraser replaced by a new stop at the signal at Joe Shuster Way where there is already a westbound stop.
On Queen Street (in addition to the above):
- Stops both ways at Connaught removed. (How will operators ever change cars without a transit stop?)
- Westbound stop at Simcoe replaced by a new stop at the signal at St. Patrick. Now if only the TTC would put an eastbound stop there to replace the one they dropped in the last round at McCaul, and thereby break up the long gap from John to University.
- Eastbound stop at Gladstone farside replaced by nearside stop. [Thanks to a reader for spotting this.]
- Westbound stop at Beaconsfield shifted east a short distance to align with the new traffic signal at Abell St.
- Eastbound stop at Wilson Park shifted west one block to Triller where there is a crosswalk and an existing westbound stop.
On The Queensway:
- As a result of the restoration of streetcar service to Humber Loop, the stop at Parkside is back in service. This is reflected on NextBus but not on the TTC’s own site.
On Dundas Street:
- Westbound stop at Crawford shifted one block to Shaw Street where there is a traffic signal and an existing eastbound stop.
On College Street:
- Stops both ways at Clinton removed. (Thanks to readers who pointed this out in the comments.) [Updated May 18, 2018]
Now that wasn’t hard at all, was it?
(There may be more that I have missed, and if anybody spots one, leave a comment and I will update the article.)
What is not clear is the degree to which local councillors or residents were consulted about this change. This gets us into a rather murky bit of TTC management bafflegab. When the original proposal was before the TTC board in May 2014, there were motions amending the staff recommendation including:
Chair Augimeri moved that the Board:
1. authorize staff to proceed with the recommended changes to the stops in the staff report where consensus has been reached; and
2. refer the remaining stops identified in the staff report back to staff for further consultation with local Councillors and for report back to the next meeting.
The motion by Chair Augimeri carried. [Minutes of May 28, 2014 Board Meeting, Item 14]
It is quite clear that the Board intended that the proposals in the report had to be accepted by those affected. (For the record, there never was a follow up report provided by staff.)
The current round of changes includes several stops that were not part of the original list. When I pressed TTC management on what appeared to be a lack of notice of the change, not even bringing the scheme to the Board for approval, I was told that the 2014 motion was by an old Board and the staff were no longer bound by it.
Say what? Management can simply make up whatever policy they want when the Board is replaced in a new term of Council?
This is not a question of a nerdish railfan wanting to track the locations of stops, but of a much larger issue that will affect many parts of the City when the TTC turns it attention to bus routes. Some of the stop spacings on bus routes are embarrassingly short, and if the same principles are followed as for streetcars, a lot of buses won’t stop as often, or as conveniently as they do today.
Many of the changes are quite reasonable and take into account the fact that there are now both crosswalks and traffic signals at locations where they did not exist when the transit stops were first installed. This type of change has less to do with new streetcars than simply reflecting the updated street design.
Another justification for elimination of stops in the 2014 round was that this would speed service. In fact, the effects were minimal because many stops that were dropped were not at traffic signals, and they did not represent much delay to streetcar service. This time around, most changes are relocations.
Memo to Councillors with bus routes: Pay attention to what the TTC is up to in your ward.