King Street Update: October 2018 (Part I)

The King Street Pilot will celebrate its anniversary in mid-November after a year of some controversy but unquestionable success in the improvement of transit service downtown. The results for October 2018 continue the pattern shown through the pilot period of a substantially more reliable service on King Street. This reliability is the heart of the King Street project.

October 7 brought a permanent change in the route’s structure to merge the former 514 Cherry operation into 504 King with two separate branches overlapping from Sumach Street to Dufferin Street.

  • 504A operates from Dundas West Station to Distillery Loop on Cherry Street.
  • 504B operates from Broadview Station to Dufferin Loop.

The intent of this change is to give each branch a terminus where operators can have a rest break without blocking following service, something that the former 504 King from Dundas West to Broadview could not manage with the route’s conversion to the longer Flexity vehicles.

This change has also reduced the level of service between Dufferin Street and Dundas West Station, and from Sumach Street to Broadview Station, although this is partly offset by the increase of capacity with the new larger vehicles. However, service reliability on the outer parts of the route is an issue because any bunching or short turns produces a larger gap than would occur with the old service design.

Route 503 Kingston Road Tripper continues to operate to Charlotte Loop at Spadina rather than via Wellington to York Street due to construction on Wellington. This is expected to continue until mid-2019. Service on the 503 is provided by CLRVs and, with rare exceptions, these are the only old cars now seen on King Street.

In this article, the format of some charts has been adjusted to provide more information while maintaining continuity with previous articles in this series.

Part I of this review covers travel times and route capacity. In Part II, I will turn to headway reliability.

Continue reading

King Street Update: September 2018 (Update 2)

Updated November 2, 2018: ERRATA: Capacity charts in the original version of this article omitted 514 Cherry cars from February to June 2018. This has been corrected.

Updated October 11, 2018: Charts have been added at the end of the article giving more detail about the effect of TIFF on operation of the King Street service.

September 2018 brought a major change on King Street with the presence of the Toronto film festival, TIFF, and diversion of service around the festival district. The service design was the same as in 2017, but last year the King Street Pilot and associated traffic restrictions downtown had not begun.

Other service changes in September included:

  • The return to the standard 504 King routing from Broadview Station following completion of track construction on Broadview.
  • Reinstatement of 514 Cherry following a split 504 operation during the construction period. (The split operation will become standard on Sunday, October 7.)
  • The 503 Kingston Road car resumed tripper operations to York Street, but this lasted only to mid-September when the route was extended again west to Spadina (Charlotte Loop) to accommodate construction on Wellington Street.

Peak Travel Times

PM peak travel times continued the pattern seen over the past year, but the TIFF period produced major disruptions because of service diversions. Note that in the chart below, travel times across the pilot area from Jarvis to Bathurst include the time spent on diversion all day on Thursday and Friday, September 6 and 7. Diversions also occurred at some times in the week of September 10-14, but these trips are not included below.

  • Westbound via north on York, west on Queen, south on Spadina
  • Eastbound via north on Spadina, east on Queen, south on Church

The effect of TIFF diversions was worse in 2018 than 2017 with the 85th percentile of travel times on Thursday September 6 hitting 54 minutes. The chart below expands the first three weeks of September and includes four percentile lines rather than the two used in the chart above. Note that the four lines stay close together indicating there was little spread between the best and worst case values.

  • Thursday/Friday September 6/7: The diversion via Queen more than doubled the travel time between the bounds of the pilot.
  • Monday September 10: No diversion or temporary service blockage at TIFF affected the period from 5-6 pm.
  • Tuesday September 11: Service was blocked at TIFF during the 5-6 pm hour:
    • some cars were held producing higher travel times at the 85th and 100th percentiles;
    • some cars diverted (not included below);
    • some cars ran through unimpeded producing a 25th percentile similar to “normal” days.
  • Wednesday September 12: Emergency sewer repairs west of Bathurst required a diversion via Queen for much of the day. No cars operated through King and Bathurst and so there were no trips on King between Jarvis and Bathurst to measure.
  • Thursday/Friday September 13/14: Travel times returned to close to values seen before and after the TIFF period.

Travel times eastbound were also affected by TIFF and the diversions, and the effect was comparable to westbound data.

I will return to the effects of TIFF on all day travel times later in this article.

Here are the full sets of charts:

Continue reading

TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, October 7, 2018

Thanksgiving weekend will bring a major change in the organization of streetcar service on King Street, a further expansion of the new Express Network, and several service improvements mainly during the off-peak period.

2018.10.07_Service_Changes [Revised to correct branch letters on 12 Kingston Road]

King and Cherry Streetcars

As I reported in a previous article, the 514 Cherry route will disappear as a distinct entity. Service on 504 King will be changed to a configuration to the design used over summer 2018 while Broadview Avenue was closed for construction. An eastern and western branch will serve the route overlapping in the central section.

  • 504A Dundas West Station to Distillery Loop
  • 504B Broadview Station to Dufferin Loop

Unlike the summer routes, the Kingston Road streetcar service will remain in its traditional design:

  • The 502 Downtowner route operates between Bingham Loop (at Victoria Park) and University Avenue weekdays until 7:00 pm. This remains as a bus service pending availability of enough streetcars to restore streetcar service to McCaul Loop.
  • Peak period 503 Kingston Road Tripper streetcars operate from Bingham Loop to York & Wellington via King. Service to the Charlotte loop at Spadina, part of the summer design, was discontinued with the return to fall schedules in September.

Scheduled headways on the outer parts of the route are wider than currently operated on the premise that the route will operate with larger Flexity cars rather than the old CLRVs. The TTC’s intent is to have the route completely converted to new cars by the end of the year. As of September 13, about three quarters of the AM peak 504 King cars were operating with Flexitys as well as all of the 514 Cherry cars. Based on Flexity delivery rates, the conversion will not complete before the new schedules go into effect and a few CLRVs will remain at least to late October. The TTC plans to use these only on peak period trippers so that off-peak service is fully provided by Flexitys.

Express Bus Network

Four routes will join the 900-series express network. (For details of stopping patterns, please refer to the table of changes linked above.)

952 Lawrence will operate from Lawrence Station to Pearson Airport via Dixon Road during peak periods. The combined local and express service will provide about 13.5 buses per hour compared to the current 12 at the express stops.

Concurrent with this change, the end of construction at Lawrence West Station, service on the Westway branch will be cut back from Yonge Street to its usual eastern terminus at the Spadina subway. This branch will also change from 5 to 4 buses per hour during the AM peak.

Overall, the total number of buses assigned to this route will rise slightly during peak periods, but weekday off-peak headways will widen slightly.

924 Victoria Park will operate during peak periods replacing the 24E Victoria Park Express. This is only a rebranding, and the number of AM peak buses is actually dropping by one in the new service design.

929 Dufferin will operate weekdays in peak and off-peak until mid-evening between Wilson Station and the Dufferin Loop at the western entrance to Exhibition Place. Concurrently, the peak period short turn at Tycos Drive will be dropped and all of the local 29 Dufferin buses will run through to Wilson Station. The peak period combined frequency at express stops will improve, but local stops will see less service. Both the local and express services will operate with articulated buses.

989 Weston will operate during peak periods as a through service from Keele Station to Steeles overlapping both the 89 Weston and 165 Weston Road North routes. There is no change on the 165 schedule. The combined service at express stops will improve over current 89 Weston levels.

Service on Sheppard East will be reorganized on weekends.

  • On Saturdays, the 85 Sheppard East local service will change from articulated buses to standard-sized vehicles, while the 985 express service to STC will change from standard to artic buses.
  • On Sundays, the 985 Sheppard East Express will change to artic buses.

Concurrent changes will lower the capacity provided on the 85 service while slightly increasing it on the 985 express. However, the headways (time between vehicles) on the express service will widen to offset the use of larger vehicles.

Service on Finch West will be improved on weekends by provision of 939B Finch Express service to Finch West Station during the daytime. There is no change in the local bus schedules, and so this is a net new service, albeit not a very frequent one.

Construction Projects

Three construction projects end with the October schedules:

  • Lawrence West Station will re-open as a bus terminal for 59 Maple Leaf and the Westway branch of 52 Lawrence. The 109 Ranee and 400 Lawrence Manor buses, which had been stopping on street, will move back into the bus loop. Concurrently, because of the large number of buses on Lawrence serving this station, the through services to Yonge Street will continue to use on street stops and riders will require transfers to enter Lawrence West Station unless they are Metropass or Presto users.
  • Track construction at Lansdowne and Dundas will complete. The 47 Lansdowne, 402 Parkdale and 505 Dundas routes will resume their normal operation. Given the speed of recent construction projects, this is likely to occur before the official schedule change.
  • City construction at Yonge and Sheppard is finally complete and the 97 Yonge bus will resume its normal route rather than being split at Lawrence.

Seasonal Services End

Various seasonal services will end including the trial operation of 175 Bluffer’s Park. Its future will be the subject of a report to the TTC Board in 2019.

Miscellaneous Changes

1 Yonge-University-Spadina operations will be modified to improve reliability in three ways:

  • On current schedules, four trains in the AM peak originate at Finch Station rather than operating from Wilson Yard. This will be increased to five.
  • At the end of the AM peak, trains running in to Davisville currently short turn northbound at Lawrence Station. This requires co-ordination with the southbound service and can cause delays and gaps. On the new schedules, these trains will run through to Finch northbound, and then dead head southbound to Davisville. Although this will remove a problem at Lawrence, it could worsen queuing problems northbound at Finch.
  • In the evening, all trains running in to Wilson Yard will do so southbound from Vaughan using the new north entrance to the yard, rather than short turning northbound at Wilson.

Peak period service will be modified on a few routes:

  • 11 Bayview will get better AM and PM peak service.
  • 12 Kingston Road will gain a new branch 12D operating to UTSC and providing a through service on Kingston Road. However, this will run only every 30 minutes during the AM peak, 25 minutes during the PM peak, and the actual usefulness of the service is dubious. Concurrently, service will be reduced on the existing 12A/C branches. This change is more about political optics in southern Scarborough just in time for the election than it is a real contribution to better service. [Lettering of branches corrected Sept 13/18 at 3:55 pm.]
  • 25 Don Mills will get better service on its 25C branch to from Sheppard to Steeles during weekday midday and PM peak periods.
  • 925 Don Mills Express will see a slight improvement in AM peak service.

Off peak service changes include:

  • 54 Lawrence East will receive better service on both branches on Saturday afternoons.
  • 63 Ossington will receive better late evening service on Saturdays.
  • 95 York Mills Saturday service will be revised both to operate more frequently, and to extend the hours of the 95B service to UTSC which now ends eastbound from Yonge just before 7 pm into the mid-evening.
  • Saturday afternoon service on 102 Markham Road will improve slightly, but evening service north of Steeles Avenue will be cut from every 20′ to 30′ at York Region’s request.
  • 112 West Mall will receive improved weekday midday service.
  • Service on 129 McCowan North will be improved on Saturday daytimes primarily by trimming excess running time.
  • 131 Nugget will get better service on Saturday afternoons.

Details of all changes are in the PDF linked above.

King Street Update: August 2018

This article continues the series reviewing the operation of transit service on the King Street transit priority pilot. August brings two major events that affect service on King Street, although the traffic problems are concentrated at the western part of the line: the Caribbean Carnival and parade on Saturday, August 4th, and the CNE from mid-August onward, especially with the air show in the final days of the month. Both of these bring congestion through Parkdale notably at the approaches to The Queensway and to Jameson Avenue westbound.

Peak Travel Times

As usual, we begin with the PM peak travel time chart westbound from Jarvis to Bathurst. The 85th percentile line has higher spikes in August, and the three largest relate to specific events:

  • Wednesday, August 8: A delay near Church Street held a few cars causing a jump in the 85th percentile value although the change to the 50th (median) percentile was much lower. The cause of the delay is unknown because the TTC did not issue a service alert.
  • Tuesday, August 21: Severe congestion westbound to Spadina from about 5:40 pm onward drove up both the 85th and 50th percentile values. Again, there was no TTC alert indicating a problem.
  • Friday, August 31: “Police activity”, as the alert put it, required diversion of streetcars in both directions due to an incident west of Yonge Street. The spike in the 85th percentile was caused by one car that crossed Jarvis at about 5:30 pm but was not diverted. As a result its trip, including the delay, was included in the 5-6pm data for the pilot district. As with the August 8 data, note that the change in the 50th percentile is small and on a par with typical day-to-day variations.

For comparison, here is the eastbound chart.

Here are the full sets of charts:

Continue reading

Goodbye to 514 Cherry (Updated)

Updated August 28 at 11:45 am:

I inquired of the TTC whether the restriction at Distillery Loop was due to noise, and whether the CLRVs, when needed, could be operated on the 504B Dufferin service which does not go to the Distillery.

They have replied that:

  • “We have a commitment from Rick and community relations that we do not operate legacy cars into Distillery Loop. We will short turn any CLRVs on that branch at Parliament.”
  • “We were trying to avoid having any CLRVs operating through the peak point to maximize scheduled capacity. All the CLRVs are also scheduled as swing cars, so that had to be considered as well. As a result, we had to split the CLRVs between the two branches. We will prioritize LF deployment on the remaining CLRV runs on 504A first to minimize missed trips from Distillery.”

Thanks to Brad Ross for the update.

Original article:

Effective with the October 7, 2018 schedules, the 514 Cherry car will disappear from the streets of Toronto.

Since June 24 it has been on a temporary hiatus during the reconstruction of Broadview Avenue and a revised service on the 504 King car. On September 2, the “standard” service will resume on 504 King, 514 Cherry and 503 Kingston Road, but it will only last a month.

In October, the TTC will make the summer route split permanent and will operate two separate routes, both under the name 504 King:

  • 504A will operate from Dundas West Station to Distillery Loop
  • 504B will operate from Broadview Station to Dufferin Loop

The two services will operate at the same frequency and will be scheduled, to the degree anything like this actually happens on the TTC, so that they blend in the central part of the line rather than running in pairs. That will probably be greatest challenge given the TTC’s chronic inability to manage branching routes and the less than professional manner in which some operators run right behind their leaders rather than spacing out the service.

Most of the recovery time (layovers) will be scheduled at Dufferin and Distillery Loops so that streetcars are not sitting in subway station loops with queues extending out onto the street.

All service will be scheduled to operate with new Flexity low floor streetcars, although until the end of 2018, the TTC expects to be short a few cars and will substitute CLRVs (standard sized old streetcars).

Some CLRVs will operate in the peak periods through the end of the year and will be designated on runs that operate outside the busiest hour in the morning and afternoon peak periods. These will be replaced by low-floor streetcars, as available, at the divisional level.

Where a 504A streetcar is designated for CLRV, these cars will turn back via Parliament, Dundas, Broadview, and Queen, at the divisional level, as CLRVs are restricted from entering Distillery Loop. [From the Service Change Memo for the October 2018 Board Period]

This arrangement means that there could be random gaps in service to the Distillery depending on vehicle allocations of the day, and operators of these cars will lose their east end rest break.

The effect of the new service design varies depending on the day of the week and the location on the route.

On weekdays, the total number of cars in service goes down, although this is offset by the scheduling of larger Flexitys replacing the CLRVs. All will be well if the TTC actually fields a full service of Flexitys unlike the situation on 501 Queen where for many years CLRVs were sent out on schedules intended for the larger articulated ALRVs. [That was nominally “fixed” with the February 2018 schedules, but this was a very long-overdue correction to reflect the TTC’s inability to actually muster a full service of ALRVs.]

  • AM peak service between Dundas West and Dufferin, and between Broadview Station and Sumach (the point where the Cherry line branches off) will change from a mixture of CLRVs and Flexitys every 3’40” to a Flexity every 5’15”. This is, just barely, a one for one replacement of capacity, but not on the peak part of the route.
  • PM peak service on the outer ends will change from a CLRV/Flexity mixture every 4’15” to a Flexity every 6’00”.
  • Midday and evening service on the outer ends of the line will also be less frequent, and it will be essential that all service actually reaches the terminals.
  • Service in the middle part of the route from Dufferin to Sumach will generally be more frequent and will operate with all Flexitys once they are available.

On weekends, the total number of cars in service goes up during all periods. The effect is that even though only half of the service is scheduled to run through to Dundas West and to Broadview Stations, the change in frequency is small. The central part of the line will see better service both in frequency and capacity.

Service to the Distillery District will be improved compared to the 514 Cherry schedule during all periods. (This change was quite evident with the summer 2018 schedules, and will no doubt be missed for the period from September 2 to October 6 where the “old” Cherry service will operate.)

Overnight service on 304 King will continue to operate between Dundas West and Broadview Stations, but all runs will be scheduled with Flexitys.

The PDF linked here shows the details of the changes. I will publish the full list of October service changes in a separate article.

20181007ServiceChanges_504King

As a parting thought, it will be intriguing to see how many years it will take for the last of the signage, advertising and other TTC materials (notably the onboard route maps) to lose the 514 Cherry car. At least, only two months after the change, the cars are not all calling “Short Turn” at every stop.

King Street Update: July 2018

This article is part of a continuing series tracking the behaviour of transit service on King Street during the pilot implementation of pedestrian and transit priority measures. The last update was in May, and I skipped June because there was little new to report.

Although we are now into the summer when conflicts with pedestrians and space constraints from recent takeovers of curb lanes with a variety of artworks and seating areas, travel times on King have not been affected. In fact, thanks to the re-activation of Transit Priority Signalling (TSP) at various locations on July 7, travel times have actually dropped during some periods.

Peak Travel Times

Continuing the tradition of these articles, here is the travel time chart for the 50th (median) and 85th percentile values westbound from Jarvis to Bathurst from September 2017 to the end of July 2018.

The collection of charts for five periods during the day for the two directions are linked here:

The following service disruptions show up in the charts above for the June-July period:

  • June 14, 20 and 26 eastbound: Congestion eastbound to University Avenue from 5-6pm (typically this is caused by north-south traffic blocking the intersection)
  • June 26 eastbound: Service held at Church Street just before 2pm (and therefore counting in the 1-2pm travel time stats) by a fallen overhead wire.
  • June 26 westbound: Service held at Peter Street at about 10:40 pm by a collision.
  • July 10 westbound: Service held east of Bathurst Street at about 1:15 pm by a collision.
  • July 25 westbound: Service held near Church Street just before 9 am. Reason unknown (no TTC eAlert was issued).

Continue reading

Broadview Avenue Reconstruction Summer 2018 (Updated August 9, 2018)

This summer, the TTC will rebuild the special work at the intersections of Broadview with Dundas and with Gerrard, as well as replacing the tangent track between these two locations. Minor repairs are also planned between Gerrard and Danforth.

This post will track the progress of the work.

As of August 9, the TTC has announced that the intersection will reopen to traffic and normal routes for 504 King, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton will resume on Sunday, August 12 at 7:00 am.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

By the fourth day of the project, the old intersection had been demolished and the new concrete foundation was nearly ready for the new track.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

On day seven, the intersection is fully in place, and work is in progress on various connecting tracks.

 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

These photos illustrate the first stage in replacing track that was built with the now-standard three-layer technique. At the bottom is a concrete slab, and in the middle layer are steel ties with mount points for Pandrol clips that hold the rail in place. The top  layer of concrete goes from the top of the ties to the rail head.

In the first photo below, the machine is cutting away the concrete between a pair of rails to the depth of the first layer and throwing the spoil into a dump truck. The second photo shows the resulting structure with the rails still in place, but only a narrow band of concrete on either side. In the third photo, the remaining concrete is broken away from the track.

 

Friday, July 13, 2018

The photos below work north from Dundas Street. In some of them, the old track has been removed while it others it remains in place. The last photo shows the result after the track is removed with the connection points for the Pandrol clips exposed but not yet cleaned up for new track installation.

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The photos below show the progress of attaching new rail strings to the pre-existing structure.

In the first and second photos, the attachment points for the Pandrol clips are exposed, but the rail strings have not yet been placed.

In the third photo, the rail is positioned on the ties, and the rubber vibration insulation has been placed around the rail.

In the fourth photo, the clips have been installed locking down the rails.

In the fifth photo, covers have been added over the clips, and concrete work (in the foreground) has already begun. A gauge bar is used to verify the rail spacing. Although the attachment points for the clips effectively dictate the gauge, there is a bit of play, and the rail is checked and adjusted if necessary before the concrete pour.

In the sixth photo, the concrete pour is underway north from Dundas.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Demolition of the old intersection at Broadview & Gerrard is well underway. Work began on July 24.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Most of the concrete foundation is in place ready for track to arrive.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The central diamond had been placed and part of the southern quadrant was roughly in position when I visited about noon. The diamond is unusual in that it is not a 90 degree crossing, and there the curve coming out of the east side begins within the diamond itself. Also, the intersection slopes from south to north.

The only other intersections with a non ninety degree diamond are at Bathurst & Queen, Dundas & McCaul and College & Spadina.  [Thanks to reader “Max” who pointed out the Dundas/McCaul location, and L. Wall who pointed out Spadina & College both of which I missed in the original article.]

August 2, 2018

At midday, the intersection was almost completely assembled with only the approaches still in progress. The City of Toronto tweeted yesterday that the intersection work is ahead of schedule and should open on August 20.

Great news! Broadview & Gerrard St E expected to fully reopen by Aug 20, ahead of schedule as crews make excellent progress on TTC track replacement. Thank you for your patience during this work. [Tweet from @TorontoComms August 1, 2018]

Diversions in Progress

The assembly of the intersection will likely take the balance of the week through to August 4, and then there are the connection tracks to the adjacent structures. Once concrete is placed, it would be about a week before before traffic could return. This has now been announced for August 12.

504 King and 505 Dundas buses have shifted to use the roads connecting to Gerrard at St. Matthews. 506 Carlton buses divert via River, Dundas and Logan both ways. When the intersection reopens to traffic, the replacement bus service will operate on the normal route. Streetcars return to 504 and 506 on Sunday, September 2.

Ooops!

The TTC has confirmed that although the Board approved addition of a north-to-west curve at this location back in 2010 (along with other changes), corporate amnesia caused this to be omitted from the current work.

King Street Update: May 2018 Data (Part II)

This article continues the analysis of the King Street Pilot with May 2018 data. Part I is in a separate article.

Many topics are covered here, and the intended audience is those readers who want to look at the details of how routes operating on King Street behave. The sections include:

  • Headway reliability on 504 King both in the downtown pilot area and at the terminals.
  • Short turning on the 504 King car.
  • Headway reliability on 514 Cherry and 503 Kingston Road.
  • Headway behaviour for the consolidated 504, 514 and 503 services downtown.
  • A detailed review of 504 King operation on certain days in May 2018.

A common factor through this article is that while travel times in the pilot area have improved thanks to the transit priority scheme, the headways on all affected services are erratic, especially on 514 Cherry and 503 Kingston Road.

The pilot transit project on King is intended to make service more attractive to riders, and this can occur in various ways:

  • Travel times through downtown are shorter and more reliable than during the pre-pilot period.
  • Route capacity has improved partly from schedule changes and recapture of excess travel time, but mainly through the replacement of the older streetcars used on King with larger ones, primarily the new Flexity cars.
  • Headway reliability (consistent times between cars) can be improved if random congestion events are reduced or eliminated, and reliable travel times lessen the need for short turns.

No one change by itself “solves” King Street’s problems, and all three are needed to achieve benefits that will attract riders.

An important part of a transit journey is the time spent waiting for a vehicle. One reason the subway is so popular, aside from its speed, is that trains come frequently and reasonably reliably, although this has become a sore point in recent years. Surface route reliability has always been an issue, and although trips may be faster, there is still the issue of how reliably vehicles actually show up to carry riders.

Continue reading

King Street Update: May 2018 Data

This article is part of a continuing series reviewing operations on King Street during the transit priority pilot. In Part I here, I review travel times and line capacity in the King Street Pilot’s area. In a follow-up Part II, I will look at headway reliability not just downtown but on the outer ends of the 504 King, 514 Cherry and 503 Kingston Road lines, as well as details of 504 King operation on days when it was badly disrupted.

There has been enough accumulation of data since November 2017 to establish that the pilot has a benefit, although the exact nature varies depending on location, weather and other factors. I will not publish this analysis again until August by which time the effect, if any, of the revised route structure to take effect on Sunday, June 24 will have been in place long enough to accumulate sufficient data. By then there will also be a number of major downtown events to use as reference points in how well the pilot area sustained its transit service.

Continue reading

Those Vanishing Streetcar Stops

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.