So? The Eglinton line will meet the Yonge-University line at Eglinton and Eglinton West, despite being different gauges. The vehicles will likely be different colours than each other too ... but how is this relevant?Mississauga would be using a different track gauge.
In the United States, great many of their cities' downtown are empty. Buildings get torn down, not to be replaced with new buildings, but for parking lots. That leads to no parking on the streets, making the streets mini-expressways, but with lanes available for passing the streetcars. In addition, outside of weekday business hours, their downtowns are more barren.
Portland's objectives with adding mixed traffic streetcars are clear: they want to encourage high-density development and discourage car use. The city is trying to manage growth within strict city limits and the streetcars are part of that strategy. You might say they are trying to make their downtown more like Toronto's - vibrant, dense, and livable - by adding an important ingredient in our cityscape, the streetcar.
Those urban expressways you are talking about sound more like the kind of places where they would run streetcars in right of ways (see Paris tramlines in the suburbs). By contrast, this photo from Portland looks very much like the arrangement in Toronto (the lines I saw under construction in Seattle were the same):
From that link, the Portland line is very short (3 miles, or about 5 km). It is similar to Toronto's Bathurst - Exhibition streetcar.
I can see why the Portland line can work well. Being so short greatly reduces the risk of bunching / uneven headways, as well as reduces the effect of speed on the trip time. A 5-km trip at 15 kph will take 20 min, at 20 kph it will take 15 min; not a big deal.
If Toronto wants something like this on Church St or Parliament or Wellesley, basically within downtown, I have no objections. But on longer routes, it will not work so well.
I have wondered if things might/should change once the Eglinton line opens. I'd think a lot of riders that previously got off Bathurst station but started north of Eglinton would be getting off at Forest Hill station. But how many?The streetcars which supply service to St.Clair must use Bathurst to get on/off St. Clair; but they don't pass through Bathurst Station on the way.
I'm not sure there'd be a lot of utility in changing that
Not sure exactly what Portland's plans are, but Minneapolis is planning multiple ~15km lines. I suppose they may put the streetcars in right of ways outside the core, but it's hard to say.
I realize the situation with, for example, Queen St., isn't ideal, but at the same time you can't argue that it doesn't work. Regardless of the flaws, ridership on existing long streetcar lines is very high, and they make an enormous positive impact on the city.
From personal experience riding the Queen streetcar the problem with keeping streetcars running smoothly comes mostly from the dense, busy central areas like Queen and Spadina.
Considering the number of people walking and taking TTC in the core, vs driving, the logical thing would be to reduce the space available to automobiles by 25% or more, for example, by creating pedestrian malls/transit corridors on King or Queen. The idea seems shocking and revolutionary in this city but you will find such things in Melbourne and Portland (sure these are small cities with more spread out population and space to spare) but also Amsterdam (which is a big city, has narrow streets, density, and an extensive surface transit system).
I have wondered if things might/should change once the Eglinton line opens. I'd think a lot of riders that previously got off Bathurst station but started north of Eglinton would be getting off at Forest Hill station. But how many?
It may make sense to stop the 7 at Forest Hill, and then run a separate service south from there. The current plan is to leave the 7 unchanged.
If the tracks went to Eglinton instead of St. Clair, it would be a no-brainer to extend the 511 streetcar service to Forest Hill.
Running a bus service just between Forest Hill and Bathurst seems silly, if they need less vehicles. Maybe you could extend the 511 up to St. Clair West, and do something else between St. Clair and Eglinton. The 33 Forest Hill runs up Spadina, not too far to the east, providing service mostly between St. Clair and Eglinton. To the west there's something similar on the 90 Vaughan, providing service on Vaughan. You could do something similar on Bathurst between St Clair and Eglinton. Or perhaps loop the 33 somehow to do a circle in both directions.
Perhaps a loop can be made further north nearer to Roselawn, or at the church at Bathurst and St Clements.That's an interesting option. Although, finding space for both the bus loop and the streetcar terminus at Bathurst & Eglinton will be challenging, the intersection is very tight.
Perhaps a loop can be made further north nearer to Roselawn, or at the church at Bathurst and St Clements.
There would be some small duplication of service with the Bathurst North bus, but the area near Bathurst and Roselawn is fairly dense with apartment buildings anyway. A streetcar loop + stop there could mean those residents don't need to take the bus for one stop before transferring to streetcar to continue southbound.
Any new streetcar loop needs to be built to the real turning radius of the new fleet, not the current network. Duel end cars would be a lot better using stub ends.