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Finch West Line 6 LRT

This is a false dichotomy. There's no reason a more rapid option doesn't "serve" everyone on the corridor, Line 1 still "serves" me if I have to walk 10 minutes to a station or even take a bus to one.

Toronto has a very odd obsession with building rail (of any shape or size) that replaces *all* local transit service (which you seem to suggest is necessary in OP), which leads to silly things like a suburban tram line (built for billions of dollars!) that has an average speed of ~20kph, better than the bus or not thats *bad* especially in the sprawling burbs.

Even if Finch has just been more like Edmonton's Valley line with long stop spacings you could have gotten a lot more speed, the idea that Albion mall and surrounds needs three stops is . . . some people may have to take buses to the tram if there were less stops, and they'd probably still be better off.

So what are the other options then? How is it possible to speed up the service and not remove stops - and therefore, access - to the line?

Dan
 
So what are the other options then? How is it possible to speed up the service and not remove stops - and therefore, access - to the line?

Dan

Even with the current stop spacing, I cannot fathom why average speed would not be at least modestly better, for argument's sake, 24km/ph.

I would have to deep dive the design, you and some others here are more qualified than I to do that; but I would be interested in looking at:

1) The quality/priority level of Transit Priority Signalling.
2) The number of intersections with traffic lights in total. (particularly any that are closely spaced)
3) The number of intersections at which left-hand turns (by cars) are permitted, and where those turns take priority over the LRT in the cycle.
4) Boarding time assumptions, and whether dwell time can be driven down any.

***

I was on the Spadina LRT last night. Boarded at King heading north, after an evening at TIFF.

Observations:

- On a route with an exclusive right-of-way, service was poorly spaced, running close to every 90s going south, I waited 9M for a NB car.

- We stopped at every single traffic light (Red); except College; that should be mathematically impossible without transit priority, never mind with it.

-Crowded vehicles have longer dwell times, the layouts of the Flexity and the way passengers intuitively board alight suggests some design issues at vehicles/stops (single doors at the rear tend to be overloaded, in part, because riders gather along the length of platforms, but vehicles don't tend to stop w/the rear door at the end of the platform.

- People opening the doors from the outside, after they have all closed is the cause of delay.

- Average delay at an intersection was over 120 seconds, and often included delays to allow for left turning drivers going ahead of the LRT.

- Too many stops. (We're not talking radical cuts here, I would advocate for removing Sullivan and Willcocks)

- Too many lights, We had just started NB from College when we had to stop again for the pedestrian-activated light providing a connection to Spadina Circle. I crossed there plenty of times as a student, without a light. Not needed.
 
People can access transit services by other means than walking to a stop - which should be pretty clear in Toronto where most people get to rapid transit by bus!

You say it as if connecting services, or multiple service levels on a corridor (common in Toronto and around the world) are not an option - which they obviously are.

Reece w/great respect, I think you're been as aggressive here as those who are being aggressive towards you.

It sounds too much like 'your an idiot' and not enough patient reading of what's being said.

Yes, people use buses to get to higher order transit, but they walk to the bus first.

Its completely fair to discuss whether any given proposed walking distance is reasonable, excessive, or too generous in that it inconveniences too many with needless stops.

Most would agree that sub-300M stop spacing on a surface route is unreasonable in the vast majority of cases.

Where there is debate, tends to be when spacing exceeds 500M.

It is completely reasonable to suggest that perhaps stops of greater distance would produce a material net benefit to riders; but it is equally reasonable to suggest that no one wants to walk 1km in pouring rain, freezing winds, or even blazing sun on a hot, humid day to the bus/LRT; and for some, that distance is more than a hassle, its a burden.

Its fair to point that that perhaps for some, Wheel Trans or the like is needed to address their issue. Its fair to consider a parallel 'local' service IF there is willingness to operate that, and it can be done with sufficient frequency to be a reasonable choice.
Its also fair to point out that there is no parallel local service and none will be provided; irrespective of the merits thereof; and if it were, it would likely be at a low frequency rate that most would find unreasonably inconvenient.

*****

Everyone try and take a breath.

Reece, you're being a bit Utopian from your point of view here; "My preference for greater stop distances would be entirely reasonable if only a completely different service plan had been contemplated and budgeted for" Sure, maybe, but it wasn't and won't be.

Equally, we may not have gotten the LRT investment had that been a pre-condition for it. Now, again, fair to ask whether what's being achieved here provides sufficient value for money........... but in the context of what's been built and planned for; its not reasonable to dismiss all concerns with greater stop spacing as ridiculous.

Other posters also shouldn't dismiss that we could have done better here, and still might, as per my suggested points of review.
 
People can access transit services by other means than walking to a stop - which should be pretty clear in Toronto where most people get to rapid transit by bus!

You say it as if connecting services, or multiple service levels on a corridor (common in Toronto and around the world) are not an option - which they obviously are.
Clearly you don't understand how cities streets were layout or built before we were born, let alone after urban sprawl took hold. It sounds like you don't walk long distances let alone get to transit stops.

The accessions to speed and stop distance defeats the need for people to get to a transit stop, let alone use it. Not everyone is going end to end with most doing 10-30 minutes travel time depending on the route or their need to travel to/from.

How do you see someone getting to a stop that is 800-1500m away other than walking? Are you saying riders need to use a taxi or x to get them to an RT stop or having something running around all the streets trying to find a rider to get them to an RT stop or bus route?

As I have pointed out from time to time, if you live on the street the RT is on, you can get away with stops being 500-1000m apart, but most riders do not. They come in from side streets where it can be 200-1000m away from the transit route and then must walk close to the same distance to a stop for an RT line where stops are 1000m apart or more. I don't support stops under 300m and we have a lot of them.

I strongly suggest you take a walking tour of Finch let alone other RT you talk about and see what riders must deal with just to get to them for walking let alone by bus. Do the same thing for Dufferin St, and other major routes outside Toronto city core to see what riders must deal with on a daily base. You will see the several types of density that exist on them that that will say what the quality service will support the line.

A lot of riders do shop alone on various routes as they are close to them, and businesses rely on riders in their area to keep them in business.

Toronto was built on the back of streetcars and then cars took over that saw most lines disappear altogether with no replacement for them or downgraded to buses. Then there is the need to move from bus to subway where subway is overkill without looking at BRT or LRT/streetcars.

Since you are a young person, you have no issues getting around freely, using transit and forget about people of various ages who have accessibility issues that doesn't allow them to get around freely or use transit.
 
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Clearly you don't understand how cities streets were layout or built before most of us were born, let alone after urban sprawl took hold. It sounds like you don't walk long distances let alone get to transit stops.

The accessions to speed and stop distance defeats the need for people to get to a transit stop, let alone use it. Not everyone is going end to end with most doing 10-30 minutes travel time depending on the route or their need to travel to/from.

How do you see someone getting to a stop that is 800-1500m away other than walking? Are you saying riders need to use a taxi or x to get them to an RT stop or having something running around all the streets trying to find a rider to get them to an RT stop or bus route?

As I have pointed out from time to time, if you live on the street the RT is on, you can get away with stops being 500-1000m apart, but most riders do not. They come in from side streets where it can be 200-1000m away from the transit route and then must walk close to the same distance to a stop for an RT line where stops are 1000m apart or more. I don't support stops under 300m and we have a lot of them.

I strongly suggest you take a walking tour of Finch let alone other RT you talk about and see what riders must deal with just to get to them for walking let alone by bus. Do the same thing for Dufferin St, and other major routes outside Toronto city core to see what riders must deal with on a daily base. You will see the several types of density that exist on them that that will say what the quality service will support the line.

A lot of riders do shop alone on various routes as they are close to them, and businesses rely on riders in their area to keep them in business.

Toronto was built on the back of streetcars and then cars took over that saw most lines disappear altogether with no replacement for them or downgraded to buses. Then there is the need to move from bus to subway where subway is overkill without looking at BRT or LRT/streetcars.

Since you are a young person, you have no issues getting around freely, using transit and forget about people of various ages who have accessibility issues that doesn't allow them to get around freely or use transit.
1) This is why we should have stronger neighbourhood busses, busses like the Cummer bus. There are more bus routes than just the ones that travel along major arterials.
2) This might not apply to winter time, but don't forget that bikes exist, and could be a very strong solution to the last mile problem (at least for 10/12 months).
3) This is my opinion, but as someone who lived 1000m from RT, I honestly don't care about reduced stops or walking an extra 300-500m. I've said this before but just because a minority of people like me live in the dead between of an arterial, doesn't mean the larger majority of others deserve to have a worse experience trudging through stop after stop. Personally, I would put the limit of RT stop spacing at around ~667m in suburbs, or 2 stops between major arterials (although 1 is preferable if possible). I honestly think Viva Blue is probably a great example of RT stop spacing done right for the most part.
 
1) This is why we should have stronger neighbourhood busses, busses like the Cummer bus. There are more bus routes than just the ones that travel along major arterials.
2) This might not apply to winter time, but don't forget that bikes exist, and could be a very strong solution to the last mile problem (at least for 10/12 months).
3) This is my opinion, but as someone who lived 1000m from RT, I honestly don't care about reduced stops or walking an extra 300-500m. I've said this before but just because a minority of people like me live in the dead between of an arterial, doesn't mean the larger majority of others deserve to have a worse experience trudging through stop after stop. Personally, I would put the limit of RT stop spacing at around ~667m in suburbs, or 2 stops between major arterials (although 1 is preferable if possible). I honestly think Viva Blue is probably a great example of RT stop spacing done right for the most part.

I'm happy enough, in theory, to broadly endorse the above; but I do think its important to real-word test drive an idea to sometimes see how it might work out.

So, I applied your minimum distances to the Spadina LRT.

From Bloor, you get these stops:

Bloor (Spadina Station), Willcocks, Nassau, Queen, Front, Queen's Quay.

So no Harbord, No College, No Dundas, No King, No Bremner/City Place.

Hmmm. I'm going to suggest that maybe, a slightly shorter spacing makes more sense in that case, even as I argued above for fewer stops than we have today.

Lets try this:

Bloor - > Harbord (440M)

Harbord -> College ( 610M)

College -> Dundas (577M)

Dundas -> Queen (490M)

Queen - > King (390M)

King -> Front (325M) *

Front -> Bremner ( 230M) * (There is a pretty compelling argument to consolidate Front/Bremner given the distances, the only challenge is platform crowding given area densities.

Bremner - > (Queen's Quay) 330M.

In the scenario above, there are 5 fewer stops than today. in the SB direction, with Sussex, Willcocks, Nassau, Sullivan and Richmond cut.

I strongly support cutting Willocks, Sullivan and Richmond, I'd be cautious cutting the other 2 mainly for platform crowding reasons.

But I don't think I could find myself supporting 667M minimum spacing in that context; though, doubtless I might support that in other locales, as circumstances merit.
 
Clearly you don't understand how cities streets were layout or built before most of us were born, let alone after urban sprawl took hold. It sounds like you don't walk long distances let alone get to transit stops.
If you hate walking soo much, than just drive a car. Complaining about walking too much, while insisting on using transit seems like a oxymoron.

It doesn't seem fair that the speed of a transit line should be sacrificed for the majority, just so a few entitled folks can have a stop at the end of their street because they don't want to walk too much.
 
If you hate walking soo much, than just drive a car. Complaining about walking too much, while insisting on using transit seems like a oxymoron.

It doesn't seem fair that the speed of a transit line should be sacrificed for the majority, just so a few entitled folks can have a stop at the end of their street because they don't want to walk too much.
I do not think anyone who wants to shave a couple of minutes off their travel time has any moral right to call anyone who wants to not walk long distances in all kinds of weather entitled. Having to stop a couple more times over the course of the journey is a trivial sacrifice compared to having to walk further if you have mobility challenges, or if the weather is shite, and balking at is it the height of entitlement.

As for "drive a car", yes, that's exactly what people who think using transit is an imposition will do. Was that supposed to be some kind of zinger? If you make accessing transit inconvenient, people will give up on transit. Unfortunately, that doesn't do anything to reduce car dependency, now does it? Isn't that what transit advocates want? Or is it enough that you get yours by having a zoomy train, be god damned to everyone else?

If transit advocates want people to use transit instead of the car, dismissing their entirely valid concerns as being selfish and self interested has no part in it.
 
If you make accessing transit inconvenient, people will give up on transit.
If you make transit slow, people will give up on transit.

It's almost as if we should concern ourselves with both factors to maximize the overall utility of transit investments.

The problem is that we can't have stops every 100m. So people will have to walk. We are talking about +/- a couple hundred meters (a few minutes walk) in a trip that will require walking anyway. If people cannot walk, transit is already not a great solution for them--it is inherent in using the mode that you will need to walk. If you cannot walk, this is what wheel-trans is for. One would think that those who have significant mobility concerns and don't want to use wheel-trans may make decisions about where they live that puts them closer to existing transit stops.

The problem with investing several billion dollars to replace bus service with LRT that is no faster is that it essentially needs to be justified 100% on operating cost savings. Otherwise a less costly BRT solution could be considered if it is a matter of improving reliability and capacity. The issues Finch was experiencing with capacity could have been addressed in other, less costly ways.
 
If you make transit slow, people will give up on transit.

It's almost as if we should concern ourselves with both factors to maximize the overall utility of transit investments.

The problem is that we can't have stops every 100m.
To a degree, this is true. But no one is arguing to have stops every 100 m.

My argument is that the ideal stop spacing is 500-600 m. That is a minimum of 5 times greater than the distance you are tearing down in your post. Obviously, this is a flexible guideline; if you have a kilometre long bridge, it doesn't make any sense to drop a stop in the middle of it just to satisfy a minimum distance requirement. And to that effect, I find the TTC's "LRT" routes, as well as many of their bus routes, to be a failure in this respect, there is certainly such a thing as having too many stops. But I find the idea that 500-600 m stop spacing is some kind of attack on good transit to be ludicrous, especially seeing as one of the points of comparison in the discussion was north Yonge, where stations are every 2 km apart. I cannot fathom a world in which north Yonge, without a local/express track arrangement, could remotely be considered a success for the community under which it runs. It's a success if you expect the subway to be a GO train - which I guess would explain the obsession with running the subway deep into the heart of Toronto's suburbs. The thought of subways running as local transit seems to have been left behind in the 80s.

The problem with investing several billion dollars to replace bus service with LRT that is no faster
Objectively, numerically untrue. The quoted travel time for Finch gives an average speed of 18 km/h. As Northern Light has indicated, there are ways to improve this, and I certainly don't think that this is the best we can do. Transit priority, and a nixing of the dumb streetcar speed rules alone, could help quite a bit with this.

But no faster than the bus service? Have you ever looked at the service summary and seen the speeds the Finch West bus runs at?

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During most (note: not all) service periods, the LRT will be faster than the bus. Certainly during rush hours, when it matters the most. The 36B/D/F don't even crack an average speed of 11 km/h in the evening rush hour!

The issues Finch was experiencing with capacity could have been addressed in other, less costly ways.
Please share them.
 
The "wider stop spacing" side of this debate is biased to that opinion because we are arguing in the context of our shared experience - living in the GTA. Here, we built sprawling, car-oriented suburbs where all jobs and culture are 25 km away in downtown Toronto. Of course you want long stop spacing, you commute 90 minutes every morning into another city. You want any little thing to speed up your ride.

I think we need to address this in a few ways:

1. Put more jobs and other amenities in the suburbs. NOT in random locations in suburbs, but in well-connected regional centres.

2. Stop this foolish unlimited suburban sprawl making our urban areas bigger and bigger, forcing longer commute distances. All new population growth should be accommodated by building more densely in existing built-up areas.

3. Improve regional transit. You wouldn't get from Newmarket to downtown Toronto by driving down Yonge or Bayview, you would take the 404/DVP. Similarly, you shouldn't take the subway for those long distances either. The subway is not regional transit, that's what GO transit is for. Let the subway be the subway and let GO be GO.

The good news is, we're already doing all of these steps.

The bad news is, specifically in the context of Yonge North, the Richmond Hill line sucks and will actually be slower than an extended subway for most trips. That's a tricky one.
 
To a degree, this is true. But no one is arguing to have stops every 100 m.
You're selectively quoting. I said 100m not because it was seriously proposed, but because that is a lower bound on stop spacing. Clearly people will need to walk some distance to a stop, whether that is 200m, 300m, 400m, 500m is a difference in degree, not in kind. There is walking involved. So, you should turn down the temperature a bit in assigning nefarious motivations to others who are suggesting a different balance of speed and accessibility may be optimal. Clearly that conclusion was reached for other LRT projects in the region, such as Hurontario LRT which is being built with an average stop spacing of 1km. I don't think that is a travesty or an outrage, perhaps you feel otherwise.

The thought of subways running as local transit seems to have been left behind in the 80s.
Subways cannot be local transit because the stations cost upwards of $500M each, at least in Toronto.

Objectively, numerically untrue. The quoted travel time for Finch gives an average speed of 18 km/h. As Northern Light has indicated, there are ways to improve this, and I certainly don't think that this is the best we can do. Transit priority, and a nixing of the dumb streetcar speed rules alone, could help quite a bit with this.
18 kph is achievable with buses with BRT lite measures such as dedicated lanes or queue jumps. That would have cost perhaps some tens of millions for paint, signs and minor changes to the ROW.
 
I'm happy enough, in theory, to broadly endorse the above; but I do think its important to real-word test drive an idea to sometimes see how it might work out.

So, I applied your minimum distances to the Spadina LRT.

From Bloor, you get these stops:

Bloor (Spadina Station), Willcocks, Nassau, Queen, Front, Queen's Quay.

So no Harbord, No College, No Dundas, No King, No Bremner/City Place.

Hmmm. I'm going to suggest that maybe, a slightly shorter spacing makes more sense in that case, even as I argued above for fewer stops than we have today.

Lets try this:

Bloor - > Harbord (440M)

Harbord -> College ( 610M)

College -> Dundas (577M)

Dundas -> Queen (490M)

Queen - > King (390M)

King -> Front (325M) *

Front -> Bremner ( 230M) * (There is a pretty compelling argument to consolidate Front/Bremner given the distances, the only challenge is platform crowding given area densities.

Bremner - > (Queen's Quay) 330M.

In the scenario above, there are 5 fewer stops than today. in the SB direction, with Sussex, Willcocks, Nassau, Sullivan and Richmond cut.

I strongly support cutting Willocks, Sullivan and Richmond, I'd be cautious cutting the other 2 mainly for platform crowding reasons.

But I don't think I could find myself supporting 667M minimum spacing in that context; though, doubtless I might support that in other locales, as circumstances merit.

Let me clarify something since it seems you overlooked this part...
Personally, I would put the limit of RT stop spacing at around ~667m in suburbs, or 2 stops between major arterials
Ie, I was specifically excluding downtown/city centre tramways like Spadina. My Point was RT in less dense/more sfh land use areas such as what you'd find along Finch or York Mills or whatever.
 
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The "wider stop spacing" side of this debate is biased to that opinion because we are arguing in the context of our shared experience - living in the GTA. Here, we built sprawling, car-oriented suburbs where all jobs and culture are 25 km away in downtown Toronto. Of course you want long stop spacing, you commute 90 minutes every morning into another city. You want any little thing to speed up your ride.
This is not entirely up to date. A lot of the people on suburban TTC buses are commuting to Amazon and similar warehouse jobs. The load distribution on the 416 bus system in 2024 is different from what it was in 2019

As much as the banks are trying to kill WFH to save their office real estate investment funds, WFH has replaced downtown (and 905) offices and reduced conventional commuting, while e-commerce is driving a boom in warehouse jobs among other things that require in-person manual labour
 

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