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407 Transitway

You're not wrong... however what I would ask is how necessary this really is.

I'm a very vocal on the idea that things like TOD, Urban Fabric, and walkability are extremely overrated when it comes to Transit discussions. While they are very important aspects, especially if we want more efficient infrastructure, thus leading to a more efficient economy, too many people these days seem to fall back to this idea that the only way for a transit line to make sense is if you can plop down Canary Wharf on top of it, which isn't true at all.

In General, one can describe 2 ways in which you can make a transit line/station successful:
1) Urban Fabric and Densification, where you create a neighbourhood/center that feeds off the existence of a transit connection, and build a core that makes doing your day to day tasks convenient.
2) You create a high quality service off the back of strong connections that lead you to those major urban neighbourhoods - and this is the important part.

Let's take a look at York Mills Station. If you weren't familiar with Toronto, you'd think that this station is completely pointless. While it does intersect a major street, the land use is horrible. Its in the middle of a flood plain, surrounded by a golf course, a gas station, some distant apartment buildings, and a small commerical complex at the intersection. Beyond it, its just swaths of detached single family housing. Despite that, back in 2019 it had a larger ridership than ANY STATION ON WASHINGTON DC'S METRO SYSTEM, INCLUDING TRANSFER STATIONS. It even had larger passenger counts than many Subway stations that are in dense urban areas that are fairly walkable and accessible such as Wellesley, and only slightly less riders than the very urban North York Centre. Now why is that? Why is this station in the middle of nowhere this used? Its because it has amazing bus connections that run every 5 minutes, making the station very convenient to access to by bus.

The same principle could easily apply to the 407 Line. Sure, its location means that for the most part its not going to be sitting next to dense walkable areas (although it will definitely serve major destinations such as RHC, Pearson, and MCC), but if it does its job at providing a very fast circumferential throughout the GTHA, then this won't matter. The way it will be used is:
1) You take the transit (either the bus, the subway, or go) to the line.
2) You take the line close to where your final destination is.
3) You then take local services again to reach your final destination.

In fact, we don't even need to theorize, the existing 407 GO Bus services are on their own some of the most used GO bus services on the network, because they do such a great job of providing a circumferential service in the region, especially since it travels on a lightly used highway thus meaning that travel times are relatively fast.

Now, would the line be better if instead of straddling the 407, it was instead tunneled under major arterials like Highway 7 in order to more directly serve more developments? Yes, it would. However, doing so would mean ballooning the costs of the project to levels that would simply be too expensive to justify - especially with current day construction prices. Remember, the line is meant to serve regional interests, not local. As such the need for people to take a feeder service to reach the line isn't that crucial. I don't see the reason to hike the price up tenfold, just to more directly serve some developments.

If the goal is to create yet another commuter line, then, yes, this line makes sense. However, if you want to have this line be an integral part of the community, then this line makes no sense.
 
If the goal is to create yet another commuter line, then, yes, this line makes sense. However, if you want to have this line be an integral part of the community, then this line makes no sense.
If you want it to be an integral part of the community, you shouldn't build it in the highway ROW. Building it on a street would be a lot more controversial and expensive (ie, wouldn't get built).
 
If the goal is to create yet another commuter line, then, yes, this line makes sense. However, if you want to have this line be an integral part of the community, then this line makes no sense.
Quite simply that IS the goal; to be pedantic regional rail rather than commuter, but that IS the differentiation between 407 and Hwy 7 rapid transit. VIVA is part of the community, the 407 corridor quite simply isn't, nor is it intended to be. It's quite literally the transit equivalent of the 407 itself, and more than anything else an enhancement to today's 407 buses.
 
Quite simply that IS the goal; to be pedantic regional rail rather than commuter, but that IS the differentiation between 407 and Hwy 7 rapid transit. VIVA is part of the community, the 407 corridor quite simply isn't, nor is it intended to be. It's quite literally the transit equivalent of the 407 itself, and more than anything else an enhancement to today's 407 buses.
Well put. It is a part of the GO network more than anything, and the plan to go for a light metro is to provide the capacity existing services will need altogether in 30 years time. I would imagine that the cost of building the busway and then operating all those buses would cost a lot more in the long run than an automated rail line. This is obviously only true because it is built along a highway ROW, where the construction costs might end up quite close.

Conveniently, lots of our Urban Growth Centres happen to be along these highways too- by then, the point-to-point connections alone will bring a lot of ridership itself. And let's tack on that the GO Rail connections will be to a much more used network at this point.
 
If the goal is to create yet another commuter line, then, yes, this line makes sense. However, if you want to have this line be an integral part of the community, then this line makes no sense.
I find it interesting how all of our reasoning for the line talk about benefits in terms of regional connectivity and specifically how its not meant to be a local service, yet your thought goes immediately towards "being an integral part of the community". Like no, our point is that it isn't.

Downtown Toronto would like to argue that.
That being said, I get this feeling that you think that this whole line will just be in a highway with no developments at all next to it. That's not true, the line is going to directly serve areas like MCC and RHC. RHC will literally have large developments flank both sides of the 407 directly.
 
I find it interesting how all of our reasoning for the line talk about benefits in terms of regional connectivity and specifically how its not meant to be a local service, yet your thought goes immediately towards "being an integral part of the community". Like no, our point is that it isn't.

We talked of spacings. 2km is a local spacing for most urban rail that is local. Yes, shorter distances do exist, but 2km is still considered a local service. 5-10km is more of a regional rail type system. 10-20 km is more the commuter rail. This is why it confuses me as to what you want.

That being said, I get this feeling that you think that this whole line will just be in a highway with no developments at all next to it. That's not true, the line is going to directly serve areas like MCC and RHC. RHC will literally have large developments flank both sides of the 407 directly.
The fact that much of this highway is bordered by SFH along most of it, and the Hydro corridor as well tells me that there isn't much development in the York Region section.
 
We talked of spacings. 2km is a local spacing for most urban rail that is local. Yes, shorter distances do exist, but 2km is still considered a local service. 5-10km is more of a regional rail type system. 10-20 km is more the commuter rail. This is why it confuses me as to what you want.
What? You seldom see subway stations spaced as much as 2km, much less more. I'm not sure I follow your point about commuter rail having 10-20km stop spacings. That is not really what GO looks like today, and if anything it is going to tend toward 2-3km spacing as it electrifies and becomes more frequent.
 
What? You seldom see subway stations spaced as much as 2km, much less more. I'm not sure I follow your point about commuter rail having 10-20km stop spacings. That is not really what GO looks like today, and if anything it is going to tend toward 2-3km spacing as it electrifies and becomes more frequent.
I am not just talking of transit in the GTA.
For example, the Skytrain in Vancouver, once out of the downtown core is spaced about 2km.
What is the average spacing of the GO stations? I am not talking RER, I am talking all the existing stations. For instance, the RH line, what is the spacings?
You have the Green Line in Edmonton. What are the spacings?

What it sounds like is that this would be RER, which is decades away.
 
I am not just talking of transit in the GTA.
For example, the Skytrain in Vancouver, once out of the downtown core is spaced about 2km.
What is the average spacing of the GO stations? I am not talking RER, I am talking all the existing stations. For instance, the RH line, what is the spacings?
You have the Green Line in Edmonton. What are the spacings?

What it sounds like is that this would be RER, which is decades away.
The Skytrain isn't a local service, it is essentially a Regional Metro akin to a system like BART or WMATA (ie, its both a Metro and a Regional Rail Route). Something similar could be said about the Valley Line as well as all the other Albertan LRT lines (as well as many LRT lines in the US). The Valley Line is less of a local tramway, and more of tram-train, where it acts as a long distance regional service out in the suburbs, but then becomes a local tramline when it reaches downtown Edmonton.

This is before I bring up that the 407 Line isn't going to have an "average" of 2km stop spacing, 2km is going to be the minimum stop spacing. In actuality it will be closer to a range between 2-8km, depending on the location
 
The Skytrain isn't a local service, it is essentially a Regional Metro akin to a system like BART or WMATA (ie, its both a Metro and a Regional Rail Route). Something similar could be said about the Valley Line as well as all the other Albertan LRT lines (as well as many LRT lines in the US). The Valley Line is less of a local tramway, and more of tram-train, where it acts as a long distance regional service out in the suburbs, but then becomes a local tramline when it reaches downtown Edmonton.

This is before I bring up that the 407 Line isn't going to have an "average" of 2km stop spacing, 2km is going to be the minimum stop spacing. In actuality it will be closer to a range between 2-8km, depending on the location
Couldn't they utilize some of the York Sub ROW to save on costs?
 
Couldn't they utilize some of the York Sub ROW to save on costs?
I forsee 2 issues with the York Sub.

1) It doesn't really go where stuff is being built. The goal is to serve areas like RHC and VMC, and whilst it could serve VMC, it can't serve RHC or areas like Commerce Valley. I imagine the York Sub should be better looked at as an alternative for Steeles RT.

2) I imagine Metrolinx wants to steer clear from the York Sub if they can. Long term I imagine the sub is envisioned as *THE* east-west corridor of the GTHA, and if we ever want to retake the midtown corridor from CP, The need for the York Sub to be acceptable for full freight operations would be even more important.
 
I forsee 2 issues with the York Sub.

1) It doesn't really go where stuff is being built. The goal is to serve areas like RHC and VMC, and whilst it could serve VMC, it can't serve RHC or areas like Commerce Valley. I imagine the York Sub should be better looked at as an alternative for Steeles RT.

2) I imagine Metrolinx wants to steer clear from the York Sub if they can. Long term I imagine the sub is envisioned as *THE* east-west corridor of the GTHA, and if we ever want to retake the midtown corridor from CP, The need for the York Sub to be acceptable for full freight operations would be even more important.
There are some parts where it's literally right beside the 407, if the ROW has space for 2 more tracks on the north or south side they could build it besides the current corridor (where appropriate).
 
There are some parts where it's literally right beside the 407, if the ROW has space for 2 more tracks on the north or south side they could build it besides the current corridor (where appropriate).
Row has plenty of space... I operate on it... but I think something or similar to the GO sub next to the Kingston would be more feasible... aka a separate CP sub next to the current CN York and then MX going for the North Toronto/Galt subs
 
I think if Light Metro is used for 407 Transitway, it could be built to REM specs, something inbetween a subway and regional train, and be part of GO's branding if they wanted. With fare integration coming, I don't think it matters so much from a user standpoint. You could have both GO and local transit buses stopping at stations and have people transfer to the Light Metro.
 

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