KQQR & Dundas West Update: May 2022 (Updated)

Updated May 11: The schedule for completion of the final phase of the work at KQQR has slipped to fall 2022 according to the project website:

Previous delays, combined with some periods of adverse fall/winter weather, COVID-19 related labour shortages and supply chain issues have deferred completion of Stage 2 work (KQQR intersection, The Queensway and King Street West) to September 3, 2022.

Work on Stage 3 (the final stage) will start on Roncesvalles Avenue from the KQQR intersection to Harvard Avenue on September 4, 2022, and will be completed by the end of December 2022.

Work on the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles project continues with installation of new overhead at the intersection, completion of some new lane layouts, and utility work along the Queensway. Track construction is moving, albeit slowly, west from Sunnyside Loop toward the end of the existing right-of-way east of Parkside Drive.

At Dundas West Station, the road has just been closed north of Bloor except for a single northbound lane, and on Edna from Dundas to the west end of the loop for special work replacement. (As of May 9/22)

Traffic in the area is quite snarled because there are also minor track repairs underway on Dundas south of Bloor, and reconstruction of Bloor Street continues westward in the area to which much traffic has diverted.

Bus diversions are not the same as originally advertised.

  • 40 Junction operates eastbound to Dufferin Station via Dupont and Dufferin returning westbound via Bloor, Lansdowne and Dupont.
  • 168 Symington eastbound turns east rather than west on Bloor to Dufferin, returning westbound via Dufferin, Dupont, Lansdowne and Bloor.
  • 504C King is supposed to be diverting southbound via Parkside Drive and Howard Park to Roncesvalles, but was running via Bloor and Dundas.

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles

May 9, 2022

Eastbound road traffic is now using the streetcar lane, but the new lane arrangement and the curb separating the streetcar lane are now in place. The King Street leg of the intersection is complete, but not yet open.

On The Queensway west from Sunnyside, road rebuilding and track installation proceeds in bite-sized segments. It has now reached the point of blocking eastbound access from The Queensway to St. Joseph’s Hospital’s main driveway, and there is still a “slalom” where traffic shifts from the regular curb lanes to the streetcar lanes for a short distance.

Along the south side of The Queensway, utility work is still underway.

Dundas West Station

May 9, 2022

At Dundas West Station, the rebuilt track for the 504 King platform and the exit to Edna Avenue are in place, and excavation for the new 505 Dundas track is underway.

Dundas Street is blocked off except for one northbound lane, and Edna Avenue is closed in anticipation of track replacement for the north and east sides of the loop.

504 King Core Area Travel Times 2019:2022

In previous articles, I have documented the benefits of the King Street transit priority corridor between Jarvis and Bathurst Streets. This had the combined effect of reducing travel times at certain times, but more importantly of providing greater regularity.

Since the covid-19 pandemic began, traffic downtown has been considerably quieter than before. This article updates the stats on the priority corridor to show the period from immediately before the pandemic to the end of March 2022.

The changes in travel time in mid-March 2020 when a state of emergency was declared are quite evident, although to varying degrees by time of day and direction. The brown vertical lines in the charts mark this point.

The charts below are arranged with eastbound times in the left column, and westbound times in the right showing averages for various hours of the day beginning with the AM peak and running into the mid-evening.

In some periods that saw a drop in March 2020, travel times have not changed much over the past two years. Small changes are evident in early 2022, notably in the times for evening trips westbound where entertainment district traffic typically affects streetcar service, but not to the degree of pre-March 2020.

Comparable data for some suburban bus routes tell a very different story with a recovery to or beyond pre-pandemic travel times through 2020 and 2021. I will review several routes in a future article, and will return to King Street in fall 2022.

Note: Data in these charts include only vehicles on route 504 although the segment between Jarvis and Bathurst has been shared by other routes from time to time.

KQQR & Dundas West Update: April 2022

Work on the reconstruction and reconfiguration of the King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles (KQQR) intersection and approaches to it resumed in April after a winter hiatus. Work has also begun at Dundas West Station for the reconstuction and realignment of the streetcar loading platforms.

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles

April 4, 2022

A significant change at KQQR is the removal of the “slip lane” which allowed eastbound traffic on The Queensway to “slip” past the intersection onto King Street without stopping. However, this created a safety hazard for pedestrians trying to reach the south sidewalk and the bridge to Sunnyside Park. The first four photos below show the construction of the revised junction from various points of view.

The fifth photo looks west on The Queensway at Sunnyside showing early stages of converting the mix-traffic streetcar lanes to a right-of-way matching what is already in place from Parkside westward.

April 20, 2022

By April 20, two weeks later than the photos above, work had progressed to complete the new south sidewalk and to concrete all of the King Street approach. That leg now awaits the asphalt top layer.

In the view SW across the intesection there is a mixture of permanent and temporary poles and signals, as well as the beginning of the spiderweb that will hold up new overhead for the junction. Some of the new traffic signals have been hung, but they are hooded or faced away from traffic pending the changeover from the temporary ones.

On both sides of Roncesvalles north of Queen/Queensway, work has begin on bases for new overhead poles.

West of Sunnyside, work has begun on track installation, but this will be done in stages as road traffic is shuffled around between old and new lanes. In the eventual configuration, the streetcar lanes will be reserved and protected with a curb east to Roncesvalles except where needed for lane crossings.

The TTC has not yet announced a date for resumption of streetcar service to Sunnyside on King and on Queen, nor further west on The Queensway to Humber and Long Branch.

Dundas West Station

The existing King streetcar track has been demolished and excavated for a new foundation. Track for the Dundas cars will be shifted and a new longer loading platform will be provided here.

Looking W through Dundas West Station streetcar loading area

Dundas West Station Reconstruction (Revised)

The TTC will begin work on reconstruction and expansion at Dundas West Station Loop on Monday April 11, and the project is planned to be mainly completed by June 18. The full notice is on the TTC’s website.

The timing of various stages of the work has changed from the original plan discussed in a previous article.

The original plan was to replace the trackwork on Dundas north from Bloor including the special work at the loop entrance first, followed by the track on Edna Avenue (the north side of the loop), and finally within the loop itself including expansion of platform used by 505 Dundas.

In the revised plan, the area within the loop will be done first working from west to east, followed by the track on Dundas Street, and finally the track on Edna Avenue.

The new phasing also changes plans previously announced for diversion of connecting surface routes.

During phase 1 (April 11 to May 7), the loop will be closed and all surface routes will divert:

  • 40 Junction, 168 Symington and 312 St. Clair Night buses will loop on street stopping on Edna Avenue.
  • 504C King shuttle buses will divert via Bloor to High Park Station and will serve Dundas West Station with on street stops a Bloor & Dundas.
  • 505 Dundas and 306 Carlton Night cars will divert to High Park Loop.
  • 402 Parkdale Community bus will divert as required (TBA).

During phase 2 (May 8 to June 18), some of the diversions will change:

  • 505 Dundas, 504C King and 402 Parkdale will continue as in phase 1.
  • 40 Junction and 168 Symington will divert to Lansdowne Station via Dupont and Bloor Streets respectively.
  • 312 St. Clair Night bus will divert to Keele Station.
  • 306 Carlton Night service will be replaced with buses and these will operate to Keele Station similarly to the 504C service.

Effective June 19 most routes will return to normal except for two that must await completion of new overhead wiring at Dundas West Station:

  • 505 Dundas will continue to operate to High Park Loop.
  • 306 Carlton will continue to operate as a bus service, but will terminate at Dundas West Station.

Additional work to be undertaken includes:

  • Emergency track repair on Dundas south of Bloor.
  • Construction of a “bump out” pedestrian area at the eastbound stop on Dundas just east of Roncesvalles.

There is no effect on subway service, and the station will remain open for access to trains.

Dundas West Station Reconstruction (This Article Is No Longer Current)

Note: This article is based on the originally announced plans for Dundas West and these were subsequently revised. See the article at Dundas West Station Reconstruction (Revised).

The loop at Dundas West Station will see track replacement and reconfiguration of the 505 Dundas platform. There will be three stages to this work:

  • Early April: Special trackwork replacement on Dundas Street south from Edna Avenue (the north side of the station) including the station entrance.
  • Late April/Early May: Track replacement on Edna Avenue.
  • Mid May through June: Track replacement within the station and expansion of the 505 Dundas platform.

During the first stage, the southbound lanes of Dundas will be closed from Edna to Bloor.

During the first and second stages all transit traffic will be diverted as shown in the map below.

  • Routes 40 Junction and 168 Symington will divert to Lansdowne Station.
  • Route 504C King Shuttle will divert to High Park Station.
  • Route 505 Dundas will divert to High Park Loop.
  • Route 306 Carlton night car will divert to High Park Loop.
  • Route 312 St. Clair-Junction night bus will divert to Keele Station.
Route diversions for Dundas West Station reconstruction Stage 1 April 2022 (TTC)

During the third stage, service will return to Dundas West Station, but with an altered arrangement:

  • Routes 40, 168 and 312 will loop on street via Bloor, Dorval (one block west of Dundas) and Edna. They will drop off and pick up passengers at temporary on-street stops.
  • Route 504C King will continue to loop at High Park Station.
  • Route 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton schedules will be blended to provide even service at High Park Loop
  • Route 306 Carlton night will be converted to bus and will operate to Dundas West Station using the same on-street loop as as the daytime services.

With the realigned 505 Dundas loop track and platform, the overhead will be shifted to match the new setup.

Although a date for resumption of normal service has not been announced, one might reasonably expect that this would occur with the schedule change at the end of June 2022.

I will detail other service changes planned for March 27, 2022, in a separate article.

TTC’s webpage for this project is here. (This link has changed because the TTC updated the page to reflect the revised plans.)

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles March 2022 Update

Construction has resumed, although not exactly at a “breakneck” pace, at the complex junction of King, Queen, The Queensway and Roncesvalles. Here are photos showing the current state of things.

Slip Lane Removal

On the southwest corner of the intersection, there used to be a “slip lane” that allowed eastbound traffic veering from The Queensway to King Street to bypass the signalled intersection. This was fine for motorists, but a danger to pedestrians. In the new intersection layout, this lane has been removed and the sidewalk will be expanded to make this a conventional 90-degree junction.

King Street Realignment

King Street formerly met Queen at an angle, but this has now been straightened out. With the new intersection geometry, the two streetcar lanes split apart east of the intersection. This will align the future tracks on the north side with sidewalk “bumpouts” for the northbound and southbound carstops.

Track and Overhead Construction

Many new overhead support poles have been installed around the intersection, and they are festooned with coils of future span wires. West of Sunnyside Loop, excavation of the trackbed has started together with construction of foundations for centre support poles.

Planned Restoration of Streetcar Service

In the announcement of February 2022 service changes, the TTC anticipated that 501 streetcar service would be restored to Sunnyside Loop in the May 2022 changes.

In May, the 501 bus shuttle will be shortened from Broadview to University, but streetcars will continue to operate only to Bathurst Street (Wolseley Loop). I have asked the TTC for an update on streetcar service restoration and await a reply.

TTC Announces Streetcar Diversions and Bus Replacements (Updated)

The TTC has posted several notices on its website detailing recent and planned service changes on several streetcar routes.

Updated November 21, 2021: Modified to pick up new and replacement pages on the TTC’s website.

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles Project

The TTC’s KQQR page has been updated to reflect the new routings implemented over the November 13-14 weekend.

With the south leg of the intersection now closed and Queen Street open for east-west traffic, the 501/301 Queen bus service now operates straight along Queen Street.

The 504/304 King bus service diverts westbound via Dufferin and Queen as it has done for many months, but now runs through to Dundas West Station. The eastbound service from Dundas West heads east on Queen to Triller and south to King.

This map does not show the diversion implemented for the track work at Queen and Shaw Streets that requires the 501/301 services to divert both ways via Strachan, King and Dufferin. That project also requires a diversion of 63 Ossington via Queen, Dufferin and King.

There is also a TTC page under their Construction Notices (as opposed to Service Advisories) for the KQQR project. This page is extremely out of date.

Queen East Overhead Conversion for Pantographs

The 501 Queen Streetcar currently operates as far east as Russell Carhouse (east of Greenwood) during overhead upgrades on the east end of the route. The 503 Kingston Road car continues to operate over its full route to Bingham Loop. A 501N shuttle provides service between Leslie Street and Neville Loop.

On November 21, this arrangement will change, and the 501 Queen cars will be extended to Woodbine Loop at Kingston Road. The 501N shuttle bus will loop via Eastern and Coxwell Avenues. The 503 service will remain as is.

This change will remain until January 2, 2022 when streetcar service to Neville Loop should be restored.

Other 501 Queen Diversions

Two diversions are in progress for the ongoing track replacement project on the central part of the Queen route:

  • 501 buses divert between Bathurst and Spadina via the Richmond/Adelaide pair.
  • 501 buses divert between Dufferin and Strachan via King during track replacement at Shaw & Queen.

501 streetcar service will be restored to Queen Street between Neville Loop and Wolseley Loop (at Bathurst) on January 2, 2022.

The map for the diversions is in this notice. That page is now partly out of date due to the extension of the 501 streetcars to Woodbine Loop on November 21, 2021.

Photo by Raymond Lee

506/306 Carlton / 505 Dundas Changes for Sewer Work on Coxwell Avenue

From November 21 until mid-February 2022, the Carlton streetcars will turn back at Broadview via Broadview, Dundas and Parliament. This loop is currently used by the 505 Dundas car due to water main work on Broadview north of Gerrard.

The 505 Dundas service will be diverted and extended to Woodbine Loop via Broadview and Queen Street while the Carlton car is looping at Broadview.

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles Moves to Phase 2

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.

TTC Service Changes: September 5, 2021

September 2021 will see expansion of TTC service in anticipation of returning demand including in-person learning at schools and universities. Many express bus routes will be improved or enhanced.

In a reversal of past practice, schedule adjustments for “on time performance” will actually reduce rather than add to travel times in recognition that buses do not need so long to get from “A” to “B”, and that they can provide better service running more often on their routes than sitting at terminals.

Full details of the schedule changes are in the spreadsheet linked below.

Continue reading

Street Construction Project Update: June 2021

Several construction projects are underway by both the TTC and various utilities in locations that affect streetcar service in Toronto. This article is a compendium update.

Wellington and Church Streets from Yonge to King

One might have the sense that Wellington Street has been under construction almost forever. The 503 Kingston Road streetcar which normally would loop via Church, Wellington and York to King has running west to Spadina and turning back through Charlotte Loop.

The section of Wellington from Yonge to Church was supposed to be rebuilt this spring, but work suddenly halted a few weeks ago. The reason for this varies depending on the source, but basically there are conflicts between utilities underground and proposed reconstruction plans. Considering the number of agencies involved in this project, and the amount of planning/co-ordination that is supposed to have happened, the situation is a testimonial to appalling project management.

The City’s press release puts it this way:

In March, the City and TTC began construction to renew aging streetcar infrastructure on Wellington Street East (between Yonge and Church Streets) and on Church Street (from south of King Street East to Front Street East). The City encountered a number of complex infrastructure challenges that impacted construction including conflicts with underground utilities infrastructure, alignments that have not been properly cleared and scope changes.

City of Toronto, June 18, 2021

The track has been replaced from west of Yonge (the point where a previous reconstruction left off) to just west of Church.

According to the City, this project is “paused” for, among other things, giving merchants access to the sidewalk under the CafeTO program. However, construction will not resume until 2022 giving merchants and condo residents yet another year’s disruption when they had hoped the street would be restored. My correspondent in this area advises that the BIA is much displeased and wants the construction finished in fall 2021.

Broadview Avenue from Gerrard Street to Danforth Avenue

Streetcar service has been suspended on Broadview for a watermain replacement project that was due to get underway in May. A recent Construction Update (which is not yet online as I write this) advises that:

Unfortunately, due to an ongoing industry wide watermain pipe shortage, construction on the Broadview watermain project will be delayed until such time as the material is available which is anticipated to arrive at the end of July. This material delay will impact the project completion date, which is now estimated to be completed in spring 2022.

Broadview Watermain work may not commence until approximately late July or early August 2021. Once all pipes and materials can be secured by our contractor a revised project schedule and a Construction Update will be issued.

City of Toronto, Construction Update #1, June 14, 2021

What is not clear yet is whether this work will be broken into two segments allowing streetcars to return for some period over the fall and winter. Moreover, the TTC had plans to rebuild track in the same section of Broadview in 2022, and this work will have to be co-ordinated with whatever plans the City will have to complete its watermain construction.

King-Queen-Queensway-Roncesvalles

The mammoth project to reconfigure and rebuild the KQQR intersection and the 501 Queen trackage west to Parkside Drive continues.

There are photos of the ongoing work in various locations:

I visited the site on June 20, and here are a few shots of the current status.

The excavation ends just east of Sunnyside Loop which will be rebuilt in this project. The intersection at Sunnyside will gain a traffic signal to assist streetcars in leaving the loop and turning east onto their new right-of-way.

There is no sign yet of whatever barriers will be added to separate road traffic from the streetcar lanes.