News   Sep 30, 2022
 3.8K     1 
News   Sep 30, 2022
 3.3K     7 
News   Sep 30, 2022
 1.3K     0 

Allen Road/Spadina Subway Urbanization

299 bloor call control.

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
1,973
Reaction score
70
Boldness needed along Allen Rd. corridor
Oct 25, 2007 04:30 AM
CHRISTOPHER HUME
Eb Zeidler would be the first to point out: Toronto has come a long way since he moved here in 1951. But, he quickly adds, we're not there yet.

Though Zeidler admits to occasional frustrations, the venerable architect and city-builder, who was presented with a richly deserved lifetime achievement award by the Design Exchange last weekend, hasn't given up the struggle for urban enlightenment.

Earlier this month, the indefatigable Zeidler got himself onto the agenda of a TTC meeting to help the commission sort out the mess it created along the Spadina line between the Eglinton West and Yorkdale stations. This clearly isn't a subject on which the transit brain trust has devoted much thought; indeed, it's doubtful TTCers are even aware that the route is woefully underused.

Thanks to Zeidler, however, not only do they now know that; they also have a solution.

In its current configuration, the subway runs up Allen Rd., in the middle of what is essentially an urban highway, a vehicular trench. Little wonder there aren't enough people around to make the line viable. Most of those present are stuck in cars waiting for traffic to move.

Zeidler's suggestion, brilliant in its simplicity, is to build over the highway and fill it on both sides with mid-rise residential towers, townhouses and green space. As he points out, there's room for tens of thousands of residents, all of them living on top of a metro.

"I don't think anyone has ever thought about this," Zeidler said, rather sadly, this week. "But I got a positive reception. I estimate you could get 30,000 people in the area and bring some life back to the neighbourhood. Not only would it be good for the TTC, which could sell the land to a developer and make some money, it would be good for the city."

Of course, expecting the city and the TTC management to make such a decision would be asking too much of the poor dears. It's simply beyond their capacity. So, why not start with the land around a single station, say, Glencairn?

A sketch by Zeidler shows new development extending east to west across Allen Rd., knitting the two sides together and providing much-needed living space. The buildings surround a good-sized park, which covers the offending expressway below.

The key to successful public transit – no surprise here – is density. That's why Zeidler's scheme makes sense. This is nothing new, but it eludes our political masters, who revealed the depth of their ignorance when they went ahead with the Sheppard line. That route, which opened in 2002, made a mockery of transit planning in Toronto.

Looking around the city, you'd never know it, but there's an integral (and usually obvious) relationship between transit and development; done properly the two can be seamless and mutually enhancing. Toronto's first subway is still its most successful, the Yonge line from Union Station to Eglinton. Since then it has been a long, slow decline; when the Downsview station was completed in 1996, the subway reached a part of the city so suburban it doesn't even have sidewalks.

Meanwhile, major urban arteries such as Queen St. and Eglinton Ave. never got the lines they so desperately need.

It's too late to undo the damage done by our leadership, civic and provincial. Instead, we must focus on remediation, which is why Zeidler's plan deserves serious consideration.

Given the TTC's sorry history of development, there's no question the scheme could be disastrous. Still, it's worth a try.

As Zeidler argues, "This is our city. We have no choice; we have to fight for it."

I think this has been talked about before... and it's a wonder why it's never really gotten off the drawing board...

Should this go here or in Toronto Issues?
 

GregWTravels

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
170
Reaction score
0
Well, I think it's a good idea, I wonder if it's not a little too soon for something like this. After all, we are still in the process of filling in parking lots in downtown that are only steps from subway stops. Is there really enough demand out there for high density living at this point?
 

rpgr

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
291
Reaction score
0
ooo, more fire for the debate between Dene and Haku.

Personally speaking you should have posted this on your other thread about the the Spadina/York U extension.

I think most of us here would probably say the article is stupid though considering the current climate and the outright lie that between Eglinton and Union station is the most "busy" section seeing as it is only super busy because of Finch and Shepperd stations.
 

CDL.TO

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
4,274
Reaction score
120
Location
Christie Pits
Spadina line between the Eglinton West and Yorkdale stations. This clearly isn't a subject on which the transit brain trust has devoted much thought; indeed, it's doubtful TTCers are even aware that the route is woefully underused.

Hume, Hume, Hume...

Under capacity sure, but "woefully underused"...? My local station is St. Clair West and I can't get on a southbound train during morning rush hour. They are packed up against the doors... I am talking Yonge northbound at College at 5:20pm packed. Every second train short-turns at St. Clair West during this period, but that still makes for a frequency of better than every 5 minutes north of St. Clair W. I can't help but think of Scaberian's comments about how strange things are in this city that anything less than overcapacity is seen as a failure.
 

ShonTron

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
11,527
Reaction score
6,628
Location
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre
"Woefully underused"

Definition, Humeland: Does not require Tokyo subway pushers or waiting for at least one train to go by before

Definition, Real World: Subways and LRTs in most North American cities, with the exceptions of New York, Washington, Montreal, or LA's Blue Line. Not a single TTC route, including north Spadina or Sheppard comes close to say the LA Red Line, MARTA, Baltimore, Buffalo, or San Jose.

Though I think Montreal would look a lot less crowsded if the trains ran more than every 7-12 minutes off-peak. Chicago's really underused, except peak times, they look crowded because most trains are short on weekends and run every 8-10 minutes.

The only transit service in the GTA I can think of that would fit the definition of "woefully underused" are some of the Viva routes.
 

unimaginative2

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
4,554
Reaction score
8
Location
New York
The key to successful public transit – no surprise here – is density. That's why Zeidler's scheme makes sense. This is nothing new, but it eludes our political masters, who revealed the depth of their ignorance when they went ahead with the Sheppard line. That route, which opened in 2002, made a mockery of transit planning in Toronto.

Building over the Allan is a good idea. This, however, shot the article's argument all to hell. He then goes on to say that for a subway, sparking development and increased density is vital. He neglects to mention that Sheppard has spurred significantly more development than any subway since the Yonge line.
 

rpgr

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
291
Reaction score
0
Hehe, glad to see you bunch have the same ideas (and criticisms of the article) I do.

Shepperd was able to spur development because of the combined accessability of both a subway line and a highway line.

When it was first built it didn't look like much but as time goes by (esp. if they expand it a bit) they can really build up the North York/Scarborough area. It's quite ripe for redevolpment (and it is happening). Cheap land (comparatively speaking) on a major transportation route? Hmmm. Shepperd stradles the 401, intersects with QEW/404 at Don Mills.

With good planning the mix of condos and suburb residentials you could really earn quite a bit of tax dollars there. The benefits are not immediately felt but come 2010ish things will really change.
 

scarberiankhatru

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
5,274
Reaction score
6
Even if 30,000 people lived above the Allen, they'd provide fewer riders for the line than one route like Finch West.

More than Bloor Danforth? Not yet I would think.

If you include all the density that was unlocked in the North York Centre area and take into account Sheppard's much shorter length, I'd say yes. There's even condos going up east of Don Mills largely based on the assumption that the line will be extended.

The only transit service in the GTA I can think of that would fit the definition of "woefully underused" are some of the Viva routes.

Maybe Viva Green doesn't count because no one rides it - it can't be underused because it's unused :) I've been left on the platform more than once because Sheppard trains have been full...this could be prevented by running at proper frequencies, but, still.
 

rpgr

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
291
Reaction score
0
More than Bloor Danforth? Not yet I would think.

Bloor Danforth is more sprawl than anything. Sure, tightly packed sprawl but sprawl all the same (except around the Young/University lines). In terms of planning, the area on Shepperd between Young and Leslie will see better usage per acre although that's all thanks to all the "super condos" that nobody would have bought prior to 2005.
 

rpgr

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
291
Reaction score
0
One thing I've always noticed about "city planners" is that they tend to want a centralization of things. Sure it works in small countries and small areas but not one single planner ever takes into account the huge "landmess" (yes, pun intended) the GTA is. As a country, Canada is just very sparesly populated. Second biggest country in the world yet people per acre is really small (even taking into account nobody wants to live in the frigid north).

A lot of these so-called "city planners" seem to take into a Europeon or East Asian approach into compacting people as much as possible. Problem is there is so-much sprawl around the GTA because we can (should is a different matter).
 

Panzerfaust

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 1, 2007
Messages
246
Reaction score
0
Please, for God's sake don't turn this into another Sheppard Subway circlejerk. That's what the Spadina Subway Updates thread is for. :p

On topic, this seems like an extremely good idea to me. It's surprising that it hasn't been brought up before, though I'm sure it would be very expensive to cover the whole expressway and subway line.
 

michaelpelzfox

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
The Beach
I sent Hume this email:

Chris,

I actually had this idea several years ago as a planning student... Here is another related idea:

That subway on Allen really should have gone up Bathurst. Why not turn the subway up Bathurst from St. Clair West Station, and turn the existing tunnels and right-of-way up the Allen over to GO (or whomever) for commuter rail. The corridor through Yorkdale, Downsview Park, York University and Vaughan Corporate Centre is more suited to commuter rail.

Granted it would cost money to build a subway on Bathurst, but this is investment spending - not consumption spending right? The density along Bathurst is already there, and people there would take much pressure off the Yonge line. The Yonge line could then have extra capacity for shooting farther north up Yonge. Perhaps the Allen ROW and existing tunnel from Lawrence to St. Clair could help get a train out to the airport?

I'd be happy to talk. My number is (416) 617-xxxx and email is mfox@xxxx.

Michael.
 

DENTROBATE54

Banned
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 24, 2007
Messages
597
Reaction score
0
First off, let me just say I'm tired of the Sheppard debate myself, I was just exemplifying Eglinton's merits in constrast to Sheppard, that's all.

The problem with growth around the York region is the lack of a highway (we don't count the 407 due to tolls unless Toronto charges tolls on all highways) and it is the same way with Eglinton... When combined, a transit route and a major highway is what spurs forward major development/redevelopment. One or the other is not enough as evidenced by the bloor line in places.

But doesn't Eglinton and Black Creek in effect serve as highways through the York Centre area? That's why I think decking Black Creek over would create new commercial/residential units and draw people over from Weston and Keelesdale. If a subway line went as far as this point, there might not even be a need for continuence west on Eglinton, if the line were interlined with Geogretown GO. Hence an abridged Blue 22 that serves a local purpose as well.

Meanwhile, major urban arteries such as Queen St. and Eglinton Ave. never got the lines they so desperately need. "Woefully underused"

Here, here! I don't think however the Allen line is that worthless. Only Glencairn sees appallingly low patronage. The bus-shuttling that occurs at Eglinton and especially Lawrence, sees quite decent numbers (comparative to Ossington or Pape volumes). Anyway the Allen's fine as is, if you don't recall most of Spadina was going to be razed in favor of a lengthier highway once. The greatest impedence to pedestrian entry is crossing at the exit lanes. Moderate tunnels could be built for far less linking Lawrence Square/Lawrence Manor directly to the station.

Maybe Viva Green doesn't count because no one rides it - it can't be underused because it's unused

Once I rode on it from 407/Warden with a grand total of... five other passengers. Maybe it's how they're routing it. If they encompassed the Leslie/Beaver Creek area and nullified most of the stops south of 14th (no one got on/off through this area except for Seneca) it'd fair better.
 

Top