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Thread: Sheppard Subway Expansion (Speculative)

  1. Default

    I'm usually very opinionated, but I'm not sure what the best option for Sheppard is. I like extending the subway because it seems like a waste of the existing line to switch to LRT, and because 50 years (comment above from drum118 that Sheppard can't support a subway for 50 years) isn't that far off considering how long it seems to take to build anything. But as I'm not an expert and various experts have come out in favour of LRT... I can at least agree that the whole line should have been LRT in the first place.

    Anyway I see two good options for city:
    1. Transit city including Sheppard LRT plus a combination of additional funding tools - income tax, property tax, parking tax, tolls, congestion charges, distance-based fare increases on the TTC - which would go to fund the downtown relief line and further LRT expansion.
    2. The Sheppard Subway, Downtown Relief line and Finch LRT (etc) with the same funding as above, but somehow make the Sheppard subway contingent on zoning changes to Sheppard (as required) and development charges in order to urbanize the street.


  2. #1922

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    The subway shouldn't have been built in the first place, but now that it's there it's a sunk cost. Unless the city is serious about urbanizing that stretch it doesn't make sense to throw more money at it. The extension to Downsview at least makes some kind of sense because of network connectivity, particularly in light of the extension to York University.

    Maybe the best thing to do about Sheppard East is nothing. Do the westward extension, leave the east end alone for now (until the hypothetical urbanization is under way), and revisit the corridor in 10 years. If it's starting to look like an avenue and we actually see some employment growth then we can start the planning for an extension, and by the time it opens we'll be 20-25 years out (where the numbers might start to look a little more realistic)

  3. #1923
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin10000 View Post
    Why? BRT was ruled out on the original analysis.
    Which to me doesn't make much sense at all. They should have had 2 Hybrid options: Subway + LRT, and Subway + BRT. The fact that BRT never even entered the discussion shows me where their mindset is at.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gweed123 View Post
    Which to me doesn't make much sense at all. They should have had 2 Hybrid options: Subway + LRT, and Subway + BRT. The fact that BRT never even entered the discussion shows me where their mindset is at.
    Not to mention that BRT saves money which allows it to be implemented on more routes like the overcrowded Finch East bus. LRT on several parallel routes is prohibitively expensive.

  5. #1925

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    Would have been nice if they looked "outside the box" and compared a number of creative alternatives. Specifically, continuing the line as an el.

  6. #1926
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    BRT has higher operational costs. When the province has X dollars for infrastructure but no money for operations for the city then LRT makes more sense. You save on the costs the province isn't ponying up for day 2 support and you spread the infrastructure to more routes to achieve those lower operational costs and benefits in more places. The "cheap" bus routes that cost nothing in infrastructure are always what gets targeted with service reductions and cuts because there is no operational budget to pay for those routes. There is no increased investment in the corridor because everyone knows the bus is the easiest to cut in the yearly budget process. With the province giving $8B the problem to be solved is not where the money comes from to build something, the problem is how to pay for it when it is built. BRT gives you increased operational efficiency (reduced operational costs) over a bus in mixed traffic and is cheaper than LRT, but it doesn't give you land value increases, doesn't spawn as much ridership growth, and doesn't significantly impact the passenger to driver ratio.

  7. #1927

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    Quote Originally Posted by gweed123 View Post
    Which to me doesn't make much sense at all. They should have had 2 Hybrid options: Subway + LRT, and Subway + BRT. The fact that BRT never even entered the discussion shows me where their mindset is at.
    Surely it's pretty clear to everyone what the mindset was.

    The mindset was to compare the currently approved LRT plan, to Rob Ford's subway plan.

    We don't need any further explanation of why they didn't look at BRT ... or EHB (elevated horse and buggies).

  8. #1928

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    Quote Originally Posted by gweed123 View Post
    Which to me doesn't make much sense at all. They should have had 2 Hybrid options: Subway + LRT, and Subway + BRT. The fact that BRT never even entered the discussion shows me where their mindset is at.
    The panel was formed to compare Transit City vs. Ford's Subway plan. Why waste time and money revisiting BRT? It was already ruled out.

  9. #1929

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    Quote Originally Posted by EnviroTO View Post
    BRT has higher operational costs. When the province has X dollars for infrastructure but no money for operations for the city then LRT makes more sense. You save on the costs the province isn't ponying up for day 2 support and you spread the infrastructure to more routes to achieve those lower operational costs and benefits in more places. The "cheap" bus routes that cost nothing in infrastructure are always what gets targeted with service reductions and cuts because there is no operational budget to pay for those routes. There is no increased investment in the corridor because everyone knows the bus is the easiest to cut in the yearly budget process. With the province giving $8B the problem to be solved is not where the money comes from to build something, the problem is how to pay for it when it is built. BRT gives you increased operational efficiency (reduced operational costs) over a bus in mixed traffic and is cheaper than LRT, but it doesn't give you land value increases, doesn't spawn as much ridership growth, and doesn't significantly impact the passenger to driver ratio.
    Operational costs are higher for regular buses as they have to run more frequently but the rest of the planet gets around that by using articulated or even double articulated buses.
    Also if Toronto was concerned about operational costs then the Eglinton battle wouldn't even exist. For the sake of just 3 or 4 stations between DM and Kennedy, Toronto is going to turn a low operational cost automated system to one that requires a driver for every train.
    Seems to me that if long term operational costs are a real concern than there should be no discussion about making Eglinton totally grade separated as opposed to running down the middle of the road.

  10. #1930

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    Quote Originally Posted by nfitz View Post
    Surely it's pretty clear to everyone what the mindset was.

    The mindset was to compare the currently approved LRT plan, to Rob Ford's subway plan.

    We don't need any further explanation of why they didn't look at BRT ... or EHB (elevated horse and buggies).
    I thought it was to figure out what would be best for that corridor, not just to limit it to the few options currently on the table?

  11. #1931

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    Quote Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
    I thought it was to figure out what would be best for that corridor, not just to limit it to the few options currently on the table?
    No. The mindset was to compare determine what was more beneficial: the SELRT, a subway extension to Vic Park, and a hybrid.

  12. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin10000 View Post
    No. The mindset was to compare determine what was more beneficial: the SELRT, a subway extension to Vic Park, and a hybrid.
    Not sure what a hybrid would be. Subway to YorkLand and LRT (with transfer in the mezanine) from there?

    To take the subway to Consumer and LRT from that point would require the city to kick in a few hundred million. Ford hasn't shown he is interested in putting in any money at all. If he was willing to kick in $300M to match the Fed investment then he could have started construction nearly a year ago.

    That $300M was available to him too (Miller left it as a surplus). It was spent on a property tax freeze and eliminating the vehicle registration tax.

  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by calimehtar View Post
    I like extending the subway because it seems like a waste of the existing line to switch to LRT, and because 50 years (comment above from drum118 that Sheppard can't support a subway for 50 years) isn't that far off considering how long it seems to take to build anything.
    It may not seem far off, but a lot can change in 50 years. "Light rail" hasn't even been around that long. It's been barely 100 years since cars started to be mass-produced. The demand for mass transit per capita will likely be far lower in 50 years than it is today because of technology like self-driving cars.

    And if it does turn out that the LRT is insufficient in a few decades, it's not the end of the world to build the subway then. Since it costs something like 3x the cost of the LRT, you end up paying a 4/3x as much in total. It's more expensive, but not a total disaster (like a subway running at 1/3 of capacity would be), especially if you offset the operational savings in the meantime. You can also look at the premium as the cost of hedging your bets, which definitely isn't imprudent.

    Further, if Sheppard were to get so dense as to overflow the LRT, that would be such a radical transformation from the current situation that you have to think money for a subway would become a lot more readily available. There would likely be other alternatives to consider at that point as well, e.g. building the subway on Finch instead, building a few branches out from the DRL that would almost certainly exist already, or even keeping both and spacing the subway stops pretty far apart so it's more of an express system, with the LRT being oriented towards shorter trips.

    I like subways, but government spending should to be justified on sound facts, not speculation that something MIGHT be a worthwhile investment in 50 years.
    Last edited by DTGeek; 2012-Mar-18 at 19:57.

  14. #1934

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
    Operational costs are higher for regular buses as they have to run more frequently but the rest of the planet gets around that by using articulated or even double articulated buses.
    Have fun in the snow.

  15. #1935
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
    I thought it was to figure out what would be best for that corridor, not just to limit it to the few options currently on the table?
    Exactly. When you look at most of the Transit City rationale reports (specifically the one for Jane), the rationale for discounting BRT is complete BS. The chart of the capacities of different modes even had the projected ridership of Jane right in the middle of the BRT line, but it was rejected for some very vague and half-baked reason.

    Let's just call it like it is: the choice for LRT on Sheppard is political, nothing more. There is no doubt that BRT can handle the projected load on Sheppard for at least the next 20-30 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleo View Post
    Have fun in the snow.
    Seems to work just fine in Ottawa...

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