The TTC and City of Toronto have announced that Roncesvalles Avenue will reopen to traffic including the 504C King bus with the beginning of service on Tuesday, March 14.
Work is still in progress to adapt the passenger islands on Roncesvalles for the Flexity ramps, but traffic will swerve around work as it proceeds. Why this wasn’t done sometime in past months is one of those mysteries of construction staging.
Streetcar service on the 504 to Dundas West Station will resume in May, although an exact date has not been announced.
Meanwhile, the 504A Distillery and 504B Broadview Station services will turn back at Bathurst using Exhibition and Wolseley Loops respectively, although many cars in fact only get as far as Spadina and loop back via Charlotte Street. The 504C King bus loops via Church, Wellington and York.
Coming in May will be the removal of streetcar service on Broadview north of Gerrard for track construction, and for the redesign of Broadview Station Loop so that both the King and Dundas platforms will be able to hold two cars at once. Currently there is room for only one car on the Dundas platform.
Streetcar service on the west end of the Queen route beyond Sunnyside Loop is expected to resume in the summer, but again there is no specific date announced for this.
Construction continues on Roncesvalles and on The Queensway. Track work is complete at the intersection, but still in progress between Glendale and Parkside.
According to the latest email update from the city, Roncesvalles Avenue is expected to re-open by mid-March, and streetcar service should resume at the start of May.
After the track and road works on The Queensway are completed, the TTC overhead system must be installed. Streetcar service west of Sunnyside Loop would resume in “the summer”, but with no specific date.
Conversion of overhead on King west from Bathurst to Roncesvalles for pantograph operation is in progress. Segments are in various stages all the way from complete to not yet started with about 50% completion overall. 504 King streetcar service now ends at Bathurst, although many cars turn back at Spadina. 504C King bus service runs between downtown and Dundas West Station via Parkside until Roncesvalles re-opens in March.
The photos below show:
Stop construction southbound on Roncesvalles at The Queesway
Sunnyside Loop, now the temporary western terminus of 501 Queen service. The intersection at The Queensway and Sunnyside will be signalled, but this is not yet activated.
Service on 501 Queen, 504 King, 29/929 Dufferin and 503 Kingston Road has been affected by two major water/sewer repairs both of which struck over the weekend of January 21-22, 2023.
Updated: The south end loop for the 29 Dufferin local service has been extended into Exhibition Place.
Updated: 501 Queen streetcars are now looping via Sunnyside Loop rather than around Roncesvalles Carhouse.
The intersection of King & University is closed due to a water main break which both undermined the road and flooded St. Andrew Station. The station was closed for a time, but reopened on the afternoon of January 22. The station is not currently accessible due to water damage of escalators and the elevator between the platform and concourse levels.
Dufferin is blocked north of Springhurst (the north side of Dufferin Gate Loop) due to a sewer failure. This affects the 29/929 Dufferin bus routes as well as the 501 Queen streetcar which has been using Dufferin Loop as a western terminus during the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles project.
The Queen car has been rerouted west to Sunnyside Loop Roncesvalles where it loops using the carhouse runaround track. Sunnyside Loop is not yet available as a terminus. (Updated Jan. 25/23)
The Dufferin bus services are making a long loop around Liberty Village instead of running south to Dufferin Loop.
Update: This loop has been revised for the 29 service to include Exhibition Place. Also, although the 929 express service is shown as operating east to Strachan, some buses make a shorter loop and turn south from King closer to Dufferin.
The King streetcars and buses are operating on a much-modified route due to the closure at University Avenue.
504A cars would normally operate between Dufferin Loop and Distillery Loop. They are running between Broadview Station and Distillery Loop
504B cars would normally operate between Exhibition Loop and Broadview Station Loop. They are running between Broadview Station and Church Street looping as shown below.
504C buses are in theory providing service to River. However, many of these never get east of Bathurst Street (their normal terminus) due to congestion over the diversion route. Parallel service through the construction zone operates eastbound via Adelaide and westbound via Wellington as shown below, and these buses terminate at River Street.
Information in vehicle tracking/prediction apps is rather scrambled because many vehicles are not where they are supposed to be on the schedule, and extra buses operating on the 504C are not tracked at all.
503 Kingston Road
The 503 Kingston Road streetcars are currently operating as buses and their normal loop downtown would be via York, Richmond and University. This has been changed to run via York, Queen and Bay.
There are no firm dates for reopening the streets and resuming normal service at either location.
Apologies for the soft images here. This is what the TTC provides on its site.
On a day that hinted vaguely of, dare I say it, Spring, I visited King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles to see the current state of affairs.
All track is assembled and concrete placement is underway for the north gate (Roncesvalles Avenue) entrance of the carhouse.
Eastbound road traffic on The Queensway is now using the new curb lane.
Construction of the track foundation between Glendale and Parkside is underway.
Overhead contact wire is up at Sunnyside Loop, although the work to attach it to hangers is not yet finished.
One might think it possible we will see streetcar service at least to Sunnyside on Queen and on Roncesvalles to Dundas West Station this Winter-Spring. Schedule details for the mid-February and late-March changes have not yet been announced.
At the very least, long-suffering residents of Roncesvalles should get their buses back between The Queensway and Howard Park in a few weeks unless the project is delayed in some mysterious way even longer.
The full list of closures begins on p 13 of the report. There is a variety of full weekend, early closing and late opening events (check the legend to the chart).
There are fewer Line 1 closures in 2023 due to ATC (Automatic Train Control) than in 2022 because the main work is complete. However, there is a follow-up phase that will require some weekend closures for testing and implementation. Other work affecting Line 1 includes repair of station finishes on the University subway, elevator installation at Lawrence, various track replacements, and preliminary work at Finch for the Yonge North Subway Extension.
On Line 2, there will be work at Kipling to add a new storage track, preparatory work at Kennedy for Scarborough Subway Extension, preparatory work on the east end of the line for ATC installation, and some track replacement work. As usual there will be several late openings of service on Sundays for beam replacement on the Prince Edward Viaduct.
Many closures involve only an early shutdown of subway service to give a longer overnight maintenance window than would be possible with normal hours of service.
There is a long list of events for the streetcar system, but many of them are short interruptions of overnight/weekend work for inspections or minor repairs.
The major trackwork planned in 2023 is listed both in the report (starting on p 19) and on the TOInview map of City construction projects. The schedule implies that a good chunk of the streetcar system will be shut down at various times during the year. The Ontario Line contributes some of this to the Queen car, but the long-suffering riders on King do not get a break either after years of work at King-Queen-Roncesvalles. Note that Adelaide from York to Victoria is a Metrolinx project and so does not appear in this list.
Some of the dates in the TTC list do not align with info on TOInview. This is very common.
Parts of the schedule simply do not make sense. Some projects have far more time reserved than they should take based on past experience. Some projects will block the routes from carhouses in the east end to the rest of the network either via Queen Street or via Coxwell and Gerrard Streets, and times for these overlap.
Update: The TTC confirms that planned work on Gerrard Street will not occur at the same time as projects on Queen will block access to Leslie Barns and Russell Carhouse. See the map at the end of this section for a graphic view of the planned work.
Details of the Broadview Station Loop expansion are not yet available, nor is it confirmed whether this will actually occur.
I hope to get clarification of what is going on from the TTC.
Feb 27-Mar 26: King Street West from Close to Strachan
Mar 10-Oct 29: Dufferin Loop
Mar 24-Nov 28: Queen Street East from Carlaw to Leslie & Leslie to Greenwood
Mar 31-Apr 7: Intersection of King & Church
May 1-Nov 29: York from Queen to Adelaide (Ontario Line diversion)
May 6-July 8: Intersection of Lower Gerrard & Coxwell
May 6-Nov 21: Russell Yard
May 14-Nov 8: Broadview from Gerrard to Broadview Station
June 18-July 29: Intersection of King & Parliament
July 30-Nov 18: Metrolinx work at Queen/Degrassi overpass
Sept 3-Oct 2: Broadview Station Loop
Sept 7-Oct 29: Queen from Parliament to River & Davies to Broadview
Oct 8-Dec 16: Oakwood Loop
Oct 16-Feb12: St. Clair West Station Loop
The report does not list specifics for 2024, but info already appears on the TOInview map. It is not clear how some of this work will interact with Metrolinx Ontario Line construction at King & Bathurst. There is a proposed track and lane realignment at Bathurst & Fleet, but it is not clear whether this will actually occur, or if the planned work is simply replacement of existing special work as is. Details of the Spadina Station streetcar loop expansion are not yet available.
St. Clair & Yonge
St. Clair & Bathurst
Queen St. W from O’Hara to Triller
King St. W from Strachan to Spadina
King & Queen (Don Bridge)
Bathurst St. from Queen to Front
Bathurst & Queen
Bathurst & Fleet
College St. from Bay to Yonge
Main & Gerrard
Russell Yard (continuing from 2023)
Expansion of the streetcar platform at Spadina Station Loop
Update: The following map was included in the staff presentation to the Board on January 19, 2023.
This map contains several geographic errors:
The project labelled Queen & Yonge points at King & Spadina.
The project for St. Clair & Bathurst is shown east of St. Clair West Station rather than west of it.
The project for St. Clair & Earlscourt is shown well west of Lansdowne rather than east of it.
Carstops on Queen East at Wineva and at Waverley are shown as west of Kingston Road rather than east of it.
The project for Queen & Jarvis is shown well west of Yonge.
The project for Fleet Loop actually points to Exhibition Loop.
There are a few more, but my point in cataloguing them is that this is sloppy work and it speaks to the quality of information presented to the Board by management.
Gradually, and several years behind the original target date, the TTC has converted overhead wiring designed for trolley poles first to a hybrid pole/pantograph configuration, and then to pure pantograph style. A map of the current status was included in the staff presentation.
There are some problems with this map which is based off of a track plan that is itself out of date. “Wrong way” track has been removed from the one-way streets downtown, although it still appears here. Also, some work is underway on King West even this is not shown with the orange “in progress” colour. The intersection of King & Shaw had already been converted to Hybrid format when I visited it a month ago. (There are other errors in the map, but please don’t bother commenting with fixes.)
One amusing relic is the legend “Hillsdale Ave” on Lake Shore Blvd West. This was the site of a long-removed wye, the last in the system, and the street is called “Hillside Ave”. “Hillsdale” is in North Toronto.
Again, this is an unfortunate example of how the “official” records of the system are out of sync with actual conditions in the field.
Updated December 23, 2022: The City has issued an update stating that the work on Roncesvalles will not be finished until at least the end of February, and The Queensway will not be complete until Spring 2023.
Stage 3 work on Roncesvalles will be completed by the end of February 2023.
Work will continue after this period with the installation of TTC streetcar track platforms and overhead wiring, with only lane restrictions as necessary.
The final major piece of trackwork installation is underway. Once new paving is in place, the overhead can be restored and, at least in theory, streetcars can return to Roncesvalles Avenue. This is likely to be confined initially to carhouse moves to and from Howard Park until TTC schedules catch up. A service restoration date for 504 streetcars has not yet been announced, but the mid-February schedule change would be the first opportunity. (As I write this, the January changes have not yet been announced.)
With the revised completion dates announced by the City, the first schedule change that could restore streetcars to Roncesvalles would come at the end of March or early April. It is possible that bus service on Roncesvalles could be restored as work north of Queen reaches a point where some lanes can be opened.
Meanwhile, although road construction continues on The Queensway between Sunnyside and Parkside, only the span wires and hangers are up at Sunnyside Loop, but no contact wire. There is still no track between Glendale (St. Joseph’s Hospital stop) and Parkside (the first stop on the Queensway right-of-way). Paving of the new curb lane eastbound from Parkside to Roncesvalles was underway on December 22, and the new eastbound Glendale stop platform is now in place.
Dates for restoration of streetcar service to Sunnyside and to Long Branch have not been announced.
The City’s update puts completion of the road work in Spring 2023. Whether this will include restoration of track and overhead remains to be seen.
As part of work being completed on The Queensway (Parkside Drive to Roncesvalles Avenue), the contractor has uncovered conflicts with underground utilities that require modifications to the designs.
The Stage 2 work is now expected to be complete in Spring 2023. Upon completion, all travel lanes on The Queensway will be restored and northbound access to Sunnyside Avenue from The Queensway will be reinstated.
A major sinkhole on Dundas near Brock caused a service diversion of route 505 Dundas via College and Ossington. This ended in the early evening of December 19. The photo below, provided by reader Raymond Lee, shows the track restoration in progress on December 10.
King & Shaw
Service was restored to King Street west of Bathurst on December 9, 2022. 504A Distillery cars run to Dufferin Loop. 504B Broadview Station cars run to Bathurst Street.
Work is expected to be complete to Charlotte Street by year-end. Work east from York Street to Victoria, and on York Street itself will be done as a separate project in 2023.
Most work on College Street is complete although 506 Carlton streetcar service remains on diversion. The TTC should be restoring the normal route soon, but has not announced a date yet. As of December 19, the 506C bus shuttle operates along College and Carlton streets rather than diverting along Harbord, Hoskin, Queen’s Park, University and Gerrard.
In spring 2023, the City’s contractor will return to complete work on the elevated cycle tracks between Manning Avenue and Spadina Avenue and upgrades to the existing bike lanes between Spadina Avenue and Bay Street.
Updated: This original text has been removed because it proved to be out of date.
The current status is that undocumented underground conflicts still dog this project, which also was delayed to accommodate local festivals. Work on the north side of Wellington is expected to be largely completed in 2022, but the south side will be finished next Spring.
There is no word on when TTC will reinstall overhead so that 503 cars can return to the Church-Wellington-York loop.
Updated December 20, 2022: Detailed charts have been added for the segments between Jarvis and Yonge, and between Yonge and University. Click here to jump to the new part of the article.
This article continues a series looking at the travel times on King Street in the “transit priority” segment between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets with data to the end of November 2022.
With the resumption of commercial and social activities, the comparative calm on King has disappeared, and the street can be very busy in the Entertainment District especially in the evening. The laissez-faire approach to traffic management and enforcement on King did not matter much during the pandemic shutdowns, but the benefits of the priority area are slowly being lost.
This echoes other aspects of the transit system where as a City we seem to have forgotten how to run things well under “normal” conditions either because of permanent funding cuts, or because we have forgotten the effort needed to deal with heavier demand on our services and infrastructure.
The first set of charts in the article takes the long view starting in 2016 to show the evolution from before the transit priority zone was created, then the effect of that zone, the arrival of the pandemic and the return to pre-pandemic activity.
There are two distinct sections of King Street. East of University is the business district, and it is less affected, at least from a transit travel time point of view, because activity there is still below “normal”, pre-pandemic conditions. However, interference from north-south traffic backlogs at intersections is starting to have an effect, mainly in the PM peak. West of University is the Entertainment District and its high density residential neighbourhood where one might ask “what pandemic?” from the number of pedestrians and motorists on the streets.
Later in the article, I will review changes in travel times over short segments between Jarvis and Bathurst.
Here is a brief update on various construction projects in progress.
Excavation continues on Roncesvalles at the north gate of the carhouse while the track panels for the new junction remain on trailers on King Street (see previous update).
Track installation has started south from Harvard Street toward the north gate.
The TTC has not yet announced a date for resumption of through service on Roncesvalles between Howard Park and The Queensway on route 504 King, nor for through streetcar service from downtown to Dundas West Station.
On The Queensway, the eastbound stop at Glendale has finally been taken out of service. Passengers are now directed to use westbound buses to access St. Joseph’s Hospital transferring at Roncesvalles or at Colborne Lodge Drive as appropriate.
The map below was tweeted by @ttchelps. As I write this, neither this map nor the diversion notice for the 504 bus service are linked to the route’s schedule page.
Construction continues on the new eastbound curb lane and the eastbound streetcar stop at Glendale. Work is also in progress on the track between Glendale and Parkside.
Overhead is still not in place at Sunnyside Loop although many span wires and hangers have appeared. The 501 Queen service cannot be extended from Dufferin to Sunnyside until this loop is available.
King & Shaw
According to a City of Toronto construction notice, this intersection will reopen on Friday, December 16. This would allow the 504 King and 63 Ossington services to resume normal operations here.
When the TTC announced their November service changes, this included a temporary option, once King & Shaw reopened, with half of the 504 service turning back at Exhibition Loop (the 504B Broadview cars) and half running through to Dufferin (the 504A Distillery cars). The 504C buses which loop at York Street would shift to a Bathurst turnback.
The TTC has not yet confirmed whether these arrangements will actually happen.
Construction has moved swiftly west on Adelaide and is now in the final stretch between Widmer and Charlotte Streets. The section east from York to Victoria will be rebuilt in 2023.
New overhead has not yet been installed on Wellington Street. The 503 Kingston Road bus is looping via York, Richmond and University from King. Streetcar service should return in the Spring when pantograph-friendly overhead on the downtown loop and on Kingston Road has been installed.
Dundas at Brock Street
A large sinkhole appeared under the streetcar tracks on Dundas at Brock due to a burst 120-year old sewer. The City expects the street to be restored by the end of December, but the TTC will then have to restore the track and overhead. Until that work is finished, tentatively by the end of January 2023, the 505 Dundas service is diverting both ways east of Lansdowne via College and Ossington.
Media coverage is available from CBC and CITY, among other sources.
The diversion of 506 Carlton streetcars around the College Street reconstruction project is expected to finish by the end of 2022. Streetcars continue to operate both ways via Bay, Dundas and Ossington.
The KQQR project is heading into the home stretch with work now underway on the North Gate to Roncesvalles Carhouse, and roadway construction and paving on The Queensway west to Parkside Drive. Alas, there is no announced completion date.
At the North Gate, recently completed utility work allows the area to be excavated in preparation for the new special work. This track has not yet been rebuilt to current standards (a program that will take years to complete as the cycle time is 20-30 years) with a concrete foundation, pre-welded track mounted on panels, and a top layer of concrete that can be removed for repairs without disturbing the two layers below.
The new track panels are sitting on trailers on King Street east of Roncesvalles awaiting installation.
Meanwhile there is some preliminary work on new overhead leading north into this area, but the main installation cannot occur until the new track is in place and overhead trucks can drive under the new wire.
On The Queensway itself, overhead has begun to take shape at Sunnyside Loop, but it is still not operational. This leaves the 501 Queen service turning back at Dufferin Street.
On King Street east from The Queensway, conversion of overhead suspension to pantograph compliance has finally started. This area and Kingston Road are the last two major areas to be converted.
Along the south side of The Queensway, much of the new curb is now in place and concrete for the new curb lane will likely appear soon, weather permitting. At Glendale eastbound (St. Joseph’s Hospital) the bus stop is even more rudimentary than on previous visits. Passengers wait in the temporary crossing area (which is now at least concrete rather than a wooden bridge), and then move across the traffic lane to board a bus when it arrives.
Between Claude and Parkside (the easternmost part of the existing streetcar right-of-way) excavation is in progress to remove old track and wooden ties in anticipation of completing the new trackwork between Glendale and Parkside.
The priority transit lanes and other traffic measures have been in place on King Street between Jarvis and Bathurst Streets since the fall of 2017, five years ago. This article updates past charts and observations with data to October 2022.
There are three quite separate areas on these charts:
2016 to fall 2017: This is the pre-priority era in which travel times were longer and, during parts of the day, quite unpredictable.
Fall 2017 to March 2020: This is the era of transit priority pre-pandemic. There is a marked reduction in both the length and variation in average travel times during most periods.
March 2020 to October 2022: This is the pandemic era. A further drop in travel times occurred almost immediately as this period began, and values have only begun to climb upward in recent months.
A troubling question, difficult to answer this early in the “recovery” period, is how far up both average trip times and the variation in these values will climb. Motorist have had free rein on King Street for two and a half years, and the “priority” scheme is a shadow of its former self.
The situation will be further complicated when Queen Street closes for Ontario Line construction and traffic diverts onto Richmond and Adelaide with, no doubt, some spillover to King. There is no sense that robust priority measures will be in place for transit, but instead that the focus will be on moving traffic generally through downtown. Transit will benefit, to the extent it might, from the “rising tides lift all boats” philosophy that sees any benefit to auto traffic as having a spin-off value to transit. That is a false but commonly used analogy.
In the charts below, there two galleries, one with westbound and one with eastbound data. This allows a reader to open the gallery and step back and forth through different hours of the day to see how the data change.
All of the charts have the same layout.
The x-axis gives the date over the past five years.
The y-axis is time in minutes with the bottom of the axis at 10 and the top at 40. This gives more “breathing room” for the variations as there are “zero” values in the chart only where there are no data due to a diversion or missing data in the TTC feed. The upper value of 40 clips some of the very high peaks, but these are rare.
There are two lines showing the 50th percentile (mean, blue) and 85th percentile (yellow) for the travel times.
There are various vertical bars marking significant events including the start of the King Street pilot (green), the onset of Covid (brown) and the annual film festival (red, omitted for 2020 and 2021).