SRT Shutdown: How do we deal with it?

Discussion in 'Transportation & Infrastructure' started by gweed123, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. gweed123

    gweed123 Senior Member

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    So there has been a lot of talk about how to upgrade the SRT, but there has been very little talk about what to do during the 4 years that the SRT is going to be shut down. I put some thought into it, and I came up with a low-cost way to keep the replacement buses actually moving while construction is underway.

    What I came up with is the idea of a Scaborough Busway, running primarily through the hydro corridor. The corridor has 3 distinct segments:

    1) Mixed traffic from STC to the hydro corridor, with maybe some queue jump lanes at major intersections. Widening McCowan would be too expensive.

    2) Hydro corridor BRT with a dedicated roadway. Far side stops at all major intersections, with the station areas being 4 lanes to allow for passing.

    3) Hydro corridor BRT through the narrow hydro ROW leading down to Kennedy Station.

    Scarborough Busway.jpg

    What I envision is a couple different bus routes using this Busway to reach Kennedy. I also envision an express bus from STC to Kennedy, with few to no stops in between. There can be 5 or 6 bus routes throughout Scarborough that can be rerouted to use this Busway, especially the ones that used to dump passengers off onto the SRT.

    I have also included a possible eastward extension to Morningside, using the hydro corridor. I have also shown mixed traffic branches to Malvern and to UTSC. This extension would allow the Busway to still have a usefulness even after the SLRT is in operation.

    I think that this solution is the best way to avoid total bus gridlock while the SRT is shut down.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
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  2. nfitz

    nfitz Superstar

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    Overcooked. Run a non-stop express bus in traffic from Scarborough Centre to Kennedy - perhaps with a queue jump lane here and there. Travel times shouldn't be that much worse than the SRT - even the existing 131 Express bus from Scarborough Centre to Kennedy (which isn't express all the way) only takes 7 minutes longer than the SRT in AM Peak. Traffic is bad out there, but it moves. Also simply enhance the 43 service (43E) and perhaps the 57 to help serve the Lawrence East area
     
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  3. gweed123

    gweed123 Senior Member

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    I just figured that with the frequencies required in order to carry that number of people with on-street bus service that it may be more than the streets can handle.

    Even if it's only handling 5,000 pphpd from STC, not using artics is still a bus ~2 minutes. It's going to be a near constant stream of buses heading down to Kennedy.
     
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  4. BurlOak

    BurlOak Senior Member

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    How long the shut-down is and how it is handled is a huge problem that should have been the driving force in determining how to up-grade the line. I assume that is one of the reasons why the TTC decided to upgrade the SRT to Mark II trains in 2006. This was under Richard Ducharme, an engineer.

    When things were switched to LRT a year later (with Ducharme being forced out and Gary Webster taking over), TTC obviously assumed that the 4 year minor inconvenience to Scarborough residents would not be a concern. Just stick 'em on a bus. (It seems that not all engineers agree that LRT everywhere is the way to go).

    When MTO does rehab work on highways, they always consider the construction staging and make every effort to minimize the disruption to traffic during construction (i.e. shift lanes, but generally still maintian number of lanes).

    For the North-East Scarborough residents, maybe this is another example of customer service at the TTC.
     
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  5. nfitz

    nfitz Superstar

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    Can't think it's currently handling 5,000. At peak they only run 6 4-car trains. With a train every 3.5 minutes, that's 17.1 trains an hour. With a maximum capacity of 220 a train (55 a car) that's about 3,770 an hour.

    Still, with TTC's maximum reported capacity of 48 on a standard 12-m long bus, that would take 78 buses an hour, or one every 45 seconds.

    No reason they couldn't use Artics. Assuming they can get 72 on an 18-m long bus, then that's still 52 buses an hour. But is that high? Looking at other routes, the southbound AM on the peak on the Leaside Bridge sees a 44 buses an hour between the 25, 56, 81, and 100 - and it hardly seems overcrowded. Eglinton East, just east of Yonge, sees over 50 buses an hour between the 34, 51, 54, 56, and 100. Finch East sees 43 buses an hour just between the regular Finch East service and the Finch Rocket

    It will be busy, but it should be doable.
     
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  6. scarberiankhatru

    scarberiankhatru Senior Member

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    The obvious answer is extend the Danforth line to STC.

    Another obvious answer is that the SRT service is poor enough that no one will notice it's gone. Actually, that's not far off from the truth. People will make do. Shutting down the SRT will force some people into their cars, probably 20-30%. Some of these drivers will simple drive to subway stations and perhaps a few GO stations. A relatively small percentage of riders will be permanently lost, but it will be some. There's no way to replace a fully-grade separated "rapid transit" line with an equivalent service.

    Building a busway through the corridors just adds unnecessarily to the cost. Some of the routes that feed Kennedy can easily see beefed up service. Midland, Brimley, etc. The Midland bus is already time-competitive with the RT. The main barrier to more buses on these routes is traffic on Eglinton, though perhaps it can be tweaked with short bus ROWs and turn signals. It's not that bad by Midland but if you're going to Brimley or McCowan, the travel time becomes significant before you even begin to turn north.

    Running Midland/Brimley/McCowan buses through STC to Kennedy is one thing, but that only helps some people and those who find it convenient to transfer onto these routes on their way to STC or UTSC, whatever. For a lot of people, their best option will be to diffuse themselves out amongst all the other routes in Scarborough. Maybe they take Lawrence or Finch or Sheppard instead and go over to the Yonge line. Maybe they'll find it fast enough to just make multiple bus transfers and work their way around Scarborough (unlike the rest of the city, Scarborough's bus routes are mostly excellent in terms of speed and reliability and it makes transferring very painless). Riders who switch to other, existing bus routes might also be 20-30%. This could go up quite a bit if GO service is coordinated/expanded so that people can actually start using the Stouffville line or can easily connect with the Oshawa line. It's a good opportunity to roll out Rocket branches on all arterials.

    But you're still going to need some kind of pure express, point-to-point service for ~40-50% of the riders with a stop on the way at Lawrence. Many people will gravitate towards whatever designated/direct/express route is offered to them and ignore all other options. There will also be large enough crowds going to STC, Centennial, UTSC that express buses will be viable and popular (Kennedy-STC direct, Kennedy-UTSC direct, etc.). Midland works. It can handle the 2-3 minute service needed. Could probably get that up to 3-4 minutes if more people switch to their cars or simply move their residence or job and if GO/Rocket routes are improved. That's not a particularly unreasonable addition of buses to an arterial road like Midland.
     
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  7. nfitz

    nfitz Superstar

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    It might be if you have an infinite supply of money. However a 6-km subway extension costing in the neighbourhood of $2-billion would cost more than the actual rehab project. Clearly it isn't the solution to deal with the the SRT to LRT conversion issue.
     
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  8. rbt

    rbt Senior Member

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    What they discovered is that both the cost and timeline for the Mark II upgrade were optomistic.

    In fact, I remember the wording in the study that Mr. Soberman used:

    Mark II: over $600M and 18 months
    LRT: Up to $900M and 3 years

    Note the "over" and "up to". Turns out they were essentially the same value with any extension being far cheaper for LRT.

    I also distinctly recall Mr. Soberman pushing the subway extension option but city was expecting to be paying for this item without help.
     
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  9. ShonTron

    ShonTron Moderator

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    I'm also in agreement that a busway is not necessary. The city just spent funds building a bike path, complete with bicycle signals, on the Gatineau hydro corridor where your proposed busway would go.

    Brimley and Midland are both underutilized roads that can accomodate the bus shuttles that would be subsituting during reconstruction. However, I think the installation of a bus-only dual left turn lane from WB Ellesmere to SB Midland and EB Eglinton to NB Midland (similar to those installed for Brampton Transit at Queen and Central Park) or bus-priority jughandles would eliminate the biggest issue, which is left-turn delays. Perhaps queue-jumps at Lawrence, would be the only necessary stop between Kennedy and STC (and perhaps at Ellesmere/Brimley).

    The York University busway has proven its worth as the Keele/Finch area is a jam due to the subway construction there; SRT/LRT work in Scarborough will be entirely isolated from surface traffic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
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  10. scarberiankhatru

    scarberiankhatru Senior Member

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    Yeah, some dedicated turning lanes/signals would be needed or the replacement bus route's travel time would end up being 12-20 minutes, which is not an improvement. Using Midland or Brimley, 10-15 minutes would be doable. The replacement route's bus bay locations also matter because looping around Kennedy and STC's platforms does add time. They'd probably need on and off bus bays, each sited to minimize getaway time.

    No, the solution to the conversion issue is to not waste time and money converting it. We've already wasted six years of the SRT's remaining life and may not be able to wait much longer.
     
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  11. BurlOak

    BurlOak Senior Member

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    I was thinking of this study

    http://www.toronto.ca/srtstudy/pdf/srt-strategic-plan-report.pdf

    It shows an 8 month shutdown for SRT upgrade and 36 months for LRT conversion. Costs are $360M and $490M respectively.

    I am not sure why this report is wrong and a future report is correct. The sceptic in me says that the (political?) decision was made to use LRT, and future studies were slanted in favour of LRT.
     
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  12. rbt

    rbt Senior Member

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    Yeah, that's the second (final) cut of the Soberman report. Dollar values are not inflation adjusted in that one, it does not include extensions, nor does it improve on the transfer at Kennedy. That was a minimal

    What's important is that in the Soberman presentation before that report it was initially described as "at least 8 months" for SRT and "up to 36 months" for LRT. Turns out when the engineers got involved they came up with about a 6 to 10 month difference between the two options.

    Add in consideration of the SRT extension to morningside to Sheppard and all of a sudden LRT is the cheaper option.
     
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  13. drum118

    drum118 Senior Member

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    If you attended the meetings where Mr. Soberman spoke to the public and at TTC meetings, he change his mind between them both for this line as well the Sheppard line.

    In fact, it has been said that both reports were political change from what was really written by Mr. Soberman to what was change by TTC staff to reflect the current out come.

    I supported the BD extension to STC back then and still so today, regardless of the cost.

    The 8 month out of service to convert Mark I to Mark II is under estimated since the tunnel still has to be rebuilt regardless if it was for Mark II or LRT. Since Mr. Soberman was the salesmen for the Mark I system in the first place, he knew that the tunnel was built to stop all other types of vehicles from using this line if the Mark I fail to sell world wide. I have heard him say this first hand.

    There is a way of using the existing SRT route for subway, but would require a new Kennedy Station, as well taking it off line for 9 months or less to make the new connection.

    We will see artics been used during the rebuilding of the existing SRT to LRT with a 2 minute headway at peak time. They will run mostly express between STC and Kennedy. I believed TTC is looking at some express from the other 2 high ridership stations, while riders will have to use current bus routes to get to/from Kennedy.

    3 years to convert to LRT is about right and this will depends on how fast the existing line is torn up, but most of all, the tunnel and Kennedy station.

    LRT is only needed to go east of STC, though in my long range forecast, I do see a subway going north into the 905 by Markham Rd.
     
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  14. ssiguy2

    ssiguy2 Senior Member

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    Only in Toronto could it take 18 months and $600 million to convert a tiny 6km line.
    Vancouver's 18km Millenium line from the word it was announced to the day it opened took 22 months including the enviornmental reviews. The new 11km Evergreen SkyTrain line is going to take 20 months to construct including a one km tunnel and is only going to cost $1.4 billion.
    Where the hell do they come up with these numbers? I wish I owned a construction company with TTC contracts, I'd love to get a piece of the action. Even the Montreal Mafia road contractors would have wet dreams about this kind of largess.
     
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  15. gweed123

    gweed123 Senior Member

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    Good analysis. I too ultimately favour a B-D extension to STC, but I know that right now both the political climate and the SRT lifespan are not working in its favour.

    The difference between the SRT revamp and the subway option is about $500 million, so presumably if the City really wanted to it could finance that difference itself.

    The biggest question would then be how quickly can a plan be put together, and can the SRT last that long.
     
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