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King Street (Streetcar Transit Priority)

I basically agree, but wonder about conflicts with accessibility regulations where a reader may be seen to impede someone's ability to hold on.



Agreed.



I think for safety, if nothing else, I strongly prefer transit where everyone has a seat; I realize that's more expensive, and few systems run like that in the real world, nonetheless.....

While I do prioritize riders having seats vs standing, I think that's better resolved through greater vehicle frequency/service than a poor circulation layout.

The biggest impediment to proper layout in our buses, to my mind, is the mixed height floors. I think a 100% low-floor model would be preferable.

The mixed height model creates dead-space on the stairs, and tends to result in under utilization of the rear of the bus, because many people don't want to use stairs, some for entirely legitimate reasons (proneness to falling as an example). Additionally, people with strollers, bundle buggies, and mobility aids can't access that space, the poor sightline from the rest of the bus means people can' necessarily see if there's any open seats up top either.

****

To our transit vehicle experts here; what's in the market now by way of 100% low-floor? Is there a significant price difference vs our current rolling stock? I assume part of the issue w/going 100% low-floor would a change in garage-set up for how buses are maintained...... are there any other barriers to switching?
I'll add here that 100% low floor buses have been a European standard for decades. So, I'd be curious to see any North American companies (of which their European subsidiaries and parents) manufacture 100% low floor buses and their reasoning for not doing so here.
 
Regarding 100% low floor buses, Orion and Nova Bus’s first low floor buses were 100% low floor. They were also designed to have a third door. This never caught on with properties and customers gravitating more towards the partial low floor design. By the mid-2000s that became the industry standard in North America.

Viva’s Van Hool buses were very unique as they are 100% low floor. No one else in North America was offering that by the time they were in service. You can still catch a few of them on Viva Orange and Viva Yellow if you want to try them out.

Off the top of my head, one of the more maintenance intensive items was the drop-centre rear axle. But I wouldn’t say that was much of a barrier. In fact, Nova Bus still uses the drop-centre axle for their current bus even though they are partially low floor. And that bus is still popular as ever, especially now with the TTC.

Offset drivetrain was another thing to be cognizant of. Sometimes the drivetrain is offset to one side for a 100% low floor and third door. If not properly secured, lifting on a hoist could cause the bus to be unbalanced and fall off to the side.
 
I went to King and Spadina and King and University yesterday evening to see things for myself. It’s a complete disaster.

 
I went to King and Spadina and King and University yesterday evening to see things for myself. It’s a complete disaster.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Do yourself a favour and get a bike or take Ubers for a few months. The city and all its institutions have proven to be utterly incompetent with this matter.
 
I went to King and Spadina and King and University yesterday evening to see things for myself. It’s a complete disaster.

What's going on?
 
Every time I have used King walking, there isn't a day that i don't see more than enough of drivers illegal running the the intersections or making that illegal left turn.

Best thing is set up red cameras at all the intersections and it will pay for the staff writing those tickets. Even then, you will still have a fair number of drivers who will pay that ticket as well the many more since they think its their right to do what they want to do regardless its illegal.
 
I think a major factor which is rarely mentioned is how absurdly slow the typical streetcar seems to go, even with no traffic they never seem to go over 20km/h. Then there's the stop and crawl through intersections and a really long dwell time at each stop even to let 1 person on. I remember the ALRVs being way faster on average.
Yep, even on the protected ROWs they absolutely crawl, especially near the Exhibition grounds. And on King St the dwell times are insane, with someone always trying to board at the 4th time the doors have reopened.

I also remember the A/CLRVs moving a fair bit faster than the Flexities when traffic was light, though I think that's just the result of the TTC/city's bad policies, rather than a technical inferiority.
 
I went to King and Spadina and King and University yesterday evening to see things for myself. It’s a complete disaster.

Completely agree - the only way this is going to work is with automated enforcement.
 
Regarding 100% low floor buses, Orion and Nova Bus’s first low floor buses were 100% low floor. They were also designed to have a third door. This never caught on with properties and customers gravitating more towards the partial low floor design. By the mid-2000s that became the industry standard in North America.

Viva’s Van Hool buses were very unique as they are 100% low floor. No one else in North America was offering that by the time they were in service. You can still catch a few of them on Viva Orange and Viva Yellow if you want to try them out.

Off the top of my head, one of the more maintenance intensive items was the drop-centre rear axle. But I wouldn’t say that was much of a barrier. In fact, Nova Bus still uses the drop-centre axle for their current bus even though they are partially low floor. And that bus is still popular as ever, especially now with the TTC.

Offset drivetrain was another thing to be cognizant of. Sometimes the drivetrain is offset to one side for a 100% low floor and third door. If not properly secured, lifting on a hoist could cause the bus to be unbalanced and fall off to the side.
The portal axle was also used on the New Flyer designs until the Xcelsior model was launched in 2008.

And while it was problematic/more maintenance intensive than a standard solid axle, I think that the bigger issue was that the use of an offset driveline also required repackaging all of the mechanical gubbins in such a way as to make maintaining the vehicles more problematic. If you think about it, a high floor bus had everything at and behind the rear axle - the transmission, engine, cooling package, everything was mounted back there, and in many cases allowed for easy access from both the rear, sides and underneath the vehicle. Repacking all of those items in a vertical line complicates things and makes it harder to access parts of it.

And thus, that's why we've landed on the current design of bus here in North America. There is still clear access to all three sides of the mechanical stuff while still allowing a rather substantial portion of low-floor space for the passengers. Of course, the problem with that is that it greatly complicates the ability to design a third doorway for passenger access - but that doesn't seem to be a great loss in the North American scheme of operations.

The thing that may change the metrics of all this is electrification. Electric motors are far smaller than their diesel counterparts, there is no need for a transmission (in the traditional sense) and batteries can be scattered throughout the vehicle, rather than requiring to be located as a monolithic block like a fuel tank does.

Dan
 
The portal axle was also used on the New Flyer designs until the Xcelsior model was launched in 2008.

And while it was problematic/more maintenance intensive than a standard solid axle, I think that the bigger issue was that the use of an offset driveline also required repackaging all of the mechanical gubbins in such a way as to make maintaining the vehicles more problematic. If you think about it, a high floor bus had everything at and behind the rear axle - the transmission, engine, cooling package, everything was mounted back there, and in many cases allowed for easy access from both the rear, sides and underneath the vehicle. Repacking all of those items in a vertical line complicates things and makes it harder to access parts of it.

And thus, that's why we've landed on the current design of bus here in North America. There is still clear access to all three sides of the mechanical stuff while still allowing a rather substantial portion of low-floor space for the passengers. Of course, the problem with that is that it greatly complicates the ability to design a third doorway for passenger access - but that doesn't seem to be a great loss in the North American scheme of operations.

The thing that may change the metrics of all this is electrification. Electric motors are far smaller than their diesel counterparts, there is no need for a transmission (in the traditional sense) and batteries can be scattered throughout the vehicle, rather than requiring to be located as a monolithic block like a fuel tank does.

Dan
As always, you offer great comments and insights Mr Spy. Thank you!
 
Completely agree - the only way this is going to work is with automated enforcement.
The right turn lanes onto King should be signalized just like the left turn lanes are. Obviously yield to pedestrians and no turn on red. Either signal should never turn green if there is a streetcar waiting to enter the intersection. The presence of signals would make automated enforcement more black and white. How long would those cars have to wait to make a turn? They could wait til the heat death of the universe for all I care.
 

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