News   May 29, 2020
 3.1K     7 
News   May 29, 2020
 486     0 
News   May 29, 2020
 547     0 

King Street (Streetcar Transit Priority)

Dandy Horse

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
273
Reaction score
1
Location
west of bathurst
Hm so I wonder if bikes will be forced to turn right too or if we'll get "bicycle excepted" signs that would be cool. What about sidewalks? They're incredibly inadequate as it is.
 

MetroMan

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
7,964
Reaction score
4,029
Location
Toronto
For those teased about about a car free King Street who are now afraid of cars taking back space that should be dedicated to exclusive streetcar use, consider that staff will not be presenting multiple options to city council. They will choose one and Council will decide Yes or No. One of them achieves the essence of that goal and Keesmaat clearly prefers it: the alternating loop with streetcar only lanes. She emphasized that fixing transit is the priority and has been tweeting #TransitFirst.

City Planning didn't know what kind of crowd they would encounter tonight so they brought several options just in case. I believe that what they got was generally supportive. We were split into groups but I hopped around listening to each one. There was one guy complaining that this isn't a "transit first plan, it's a transit only plan" but the vast majority of the overflow crowd seemed to be in support. Objections had to do with details, not the overall plan itself. So, I think that Keesmaat will be endorsing the plan that best suits transit and that is the alternating loop.

Cars were never going to be eliminated entirely because of private access. The alternating loop fixes the crawling King Streetcar, widens the sidewalks for the tens of thousands of pedestrians flooding the area every day and maintains access to cars who still have a place on King. This plan sets up the possibility of closing some blocks to car traffic on a schedule. For example, no cars other than taxis or those with local permits between Bathurst and Spadina during club nights. Or no cars between John and University during lunch hour when that block gets flooded with office workers.

Oh, and more more thing: Keesmaat is totally the obvious progressive champion in a run for Mayor. We can stop searching. She's articulate and charismatic and she obviously knows City Hall and policy inside and out. I don't know if she's planning to run but she definitely has what it takes. Whether she goes against Tory in 2018 or leaves her mark as City Planner and runs when Tory exits or is weak in 2022, she'd be an incredible Mayor.
 
Last edited:

TheTigerMaster

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
12,628
Reaction score
4,936
Location
Best Toronto
^I just struggle to see how there will be large amounts of traffic when you are forced to make a right turn at every stoplight.
There are tons of taxis on weekend evenings on King Street, clogging up the street. I made the mistake of driving along King on a Saturday evening during the summer. Never again. The dozens of taxis had me travelling 5 minutes, just to travel the 150 metres or so to the next intersection.

Given that taxis show little regard for driving regulations, I'm sure they'll happily block the streetcars during their passenger drop offs. If there is not going to be physical separation between the LRVs and taxis, I'm inclined to ban taxis outright from the transit corridor to avoid this problem.
 

steveintoronto

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 14, 2016
Messages
10,167
Reaction score
4,336
I don't know why a law abiding cyclist would defend rule breakers who give the entire community a bad reputation. It's good to find a cyclist who understands this. Red light runners and sidewalk cyclists need to be policed if we're going to all get along.
The way to explain this is to make a comparison to driving. If you wouldn't do it when driving, don't do it when cycling, with few exceptions many drivers do anyway, like rolling stops for stop signs...*sometimes* when there's absolutely no affected traffic. I actually get quite vocal with some cyclists, as I would as a driver. Not one cyclist yet has responded to my tirades, because they know they're in the wrong. We'll discuss this further in another forum, you've made some excellent comments.

It will be a YES or NO question that is brought to City Council which makes me nervous.
CP24 had a pretty good report last night, TorStar has a very poorly written and researched article running today. You and some other posters provide details not yet appearing in the media, and crucial ones. You've now got me "nervous" too.

As I left she turned to me and cheerfully said that the progressives on Council just won another vote with the election of Neethan Shan in Ward 42, replacing Raymond Cho.
It's been years...dammit, decades...since I've spoken to Pam. She's got an incredible heart, even if she is on the meek side. She's very well-intentioned. I'm a radical, vocal centrist, but if I had to choose between left and right on council, I'd defer to the left as so many right wingers are reactionary, not rational right. It's left this city languishing in the past, almost unable to embrace change. When Mississauga is more progressive than Toronto, you know there's a serious problem.

Now she presents a list with a bunch of half assed half measures (including already tried-and-failed options) and spends more time yapping about pedestrians and sidewalks than transit. Hijacked indeed.
Ouch. I have hopes for Keesmaat, will discuss further later, but perhaps by trying too hard, and being too effervescent, she's been all over the map on this issue and others, and changed her view too many times.I get the gist of her direction, but her tweets and quotes are contradictory and ambiguous in many cases.

Did she already forget how badly she got destroyed on the Gardiner file?
Tory certainly muzzled her on that one. That story might yet see Tory flip flop.

the option that gives full transit priority (the one that retains through traffic as well) fails a lot of other transit friendly measures too.
Yeah....sigh....I see all the presented options as being nebulous in many respects. I see a number of posters with the same bottom-line concern that I have: Given the chance, many drivers will ignore painted lines and/or bollards, and it's not just taxis.

The ones with improved public realms allow for some farside streetcar stops as well, which improve travel times above the existing nearside transit stops. It also prevents direct street to streetcar boarding level, instead requiring people to continue to risk crossing live traffic lanes to board the streetcar. Nevermind the absolute crapshoot that the single remaining vehicle lane would be.
This is one of the issues, at least in the 'trial stage' that is doomed to indicate shortcomings of a model that done right, would succeed. I'm in the minority on stating that the Bloor cycle lanes are not only a bad model, but dangerous and not conducive to good cycling protocol, mostly because it's such a poorly implemented temporary test. And I'm getting the distinct impression that as proposed, the King 'test' is potentially the same set of failures, and then being judged on that as being a failure of concept, when *many*....*multitudes* of other cities have done it close to as well as can be done, and they're great successes. Why are Torontonians, Canadians in general, so unable to look at others' models and state: "They've got a model already tried and tested that we can tweak to our own needs"? That's one of the great facets of Americans getting things right in many cases. "Hey, they did a great job on that in Lower Slobovia, we can do it and do it even better if we study their model and improve on it."

[...continues next pane...]
 
Last edited:

steveintoronto

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 14, 2016
Messages
10,167
Reaction score
4,336
[...continued from previous pane...]

Considering the impossibility of a car-free King was a known to most at the start, I'm left just as confused as before. Is there a report with more meat on it, or is it only the slides? I saw ridership and latent demand acknowledged, but nothing in the way of projected demand of the options. Or capacity of the options. Is it possible that even with the most transit-focused option we'll be left with speed/capacity/reliability no different than today?
Groan....yeah...."Is there a report with more meat on it, or is it only the slides?" Digging on the background of this, a year ago when this was announced, the City had a report, (I have no link, so this is hearsay) that named not one retained consultancy for this, but *four*! Where are their reports? You exactly describe my flummox on this. Without articulated detail, (like what are the "physical separation" barriers to be?), Plasticine has more definition to it. It's those details (pardon my engineering background) that make a project doable or not. They might as well state: "We've found a wonderful new vehicle to transform our transit system...but it's not been designed or built yet". Offering choices between *concepts* is not going to work, unless they've analyzed them in detail.

RE: 'Crossing the street to board streetcars'
You're exaggerating here - crossing would certainly be with the lights at intersections, same as St Clair or Spadina.
What about mid-block? I have yet to see any reference to light signalled crossings. The failure to mention such details tells me that they really haven't thought this through at all. On the basis of the cause d'etre, moving streetcars as rapidly and unimpeded as possible, you *cannot* have pedestrians crossing willy-nilly. So how is that to be marshalled? It has to be with lights that indicate safe crossing or not. I see absolutely no mention so far of that, let alone of restricting pedestrians from crossing where-ever their vacant minds tell them. It will only take a few fatal accidents to have this whole concept tossed if this isn't thought through first. Other cities have excellent experience on how to fence off the danger and provide crossing points safely. San Diego immediately comes to mind, and if they do it, other cities do it also (London, Paris etc). Paris and German cities use hedges to soften the streetscape, albeit space is limited on King. They can certainly have climbing flowering vines growing on fence screens.

For those teased about about a car free King Street who are now afraid of cars taking back space that should be dedicated to exclusive streetcar use, consider that staff will not be presenting multiple options to city council. They will choose one and Council will decide Yes or No. One of them achieves the essence of that goal and Keesmaat clearly prefers it: the alternating loop with streetcar only lanes. She emphasized that fixing transit is the priority and has been tweeting #TransitFirst.
"Essence"...good term, but the concept needs far greater articulation of detail.

There was one guy complaining that this isn't a "transit first plan, it's a transit only plan" but the vast majority of the overflow crowd seemed to be in support.
If he was right, this would be incredibly easy. The devil is in the unavoidable compromise.

The alternating loop fixes the crawling King Streetcar, widens the sidewalks for the tens of thousands of pedestrians flooding the area every day and maintains access to cars who still have a place on King. This plan sets up the possibility of closing some blocks to car traffic on a schedule. For example, no cars other than taxis or those with local permits between Bathurst and Spadina during club nights. Or no cars between John and University during lunch hour when that block gets flooded with office workers.
Excellent points that I have not seen discussed in the many articles I've searched out and read. These are the kind of details that make or break a concept, and they're being overlooked.

Oh, and more more thing: Keesmaat is totally the obvious progressive champion in a run for Mayor. We can stop searching. She's articulate and charismatic and she obviously knows City Hall and policy inside and out. I don't know if she's planning to run but she definitely has what it takes. Whether she goes against Tory in 2018 or leaves her mark as City Planner and runs when Tory exits or is weak in 2022, she'd be an incredible Mayor.
I stated that months back, and the *potential* is certainly there, unfortunately, she's now playing for the cameras on it, and losing her objectivity in the cause of vanity. I'm sure Tory has realized that he'd best not cross her too many times. Her statements on the Yonge Street growth hormone overdosing are to be commended, albeit it remains unchecked. She has "All The Right Stuff", doubtless.

Given that taxis show little regard for driving regulations, I'm sure they'll happily block the streetcars during their passenger drop offs. If there is not going to be physical separation between the LRVs and taxis, I'm inclined to ban taxis outright from the transit corridor to avoid this problem.
Exactly my stance. Even in the 'test' stage, a concrete curb will be essential to judging the viability of the "dedicated lanes". For taxi drop-off, a regulation would be needed that only disabled passengers can be dropped on the loop. Fit ones have to be dropped at the closest intersection and off of King.
 
Last edited:

bobbob911

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
544
Reaction score
122
For those teased about about a car free King Street who are now afraid of cars taking back space that should be dedicated to exclusive streetcar use, consider that staff will not be presenting multiple options to city council. They will choose one and Council will decide Yes or No. One of them achieves the essence of that goal and Keesmaat clearly prefers it: the alternating loop with streetcar only lanes. She emphasized that fixing transit is the priority and has been tweeting #TransitFirst..
That may be how Jennifer *wants* to frame it - I guarantee there will be a number of additional proposals generated by the councilors as it makes its way through council. I wouldn't be surprised if all 3 get a vote.
 

Avenue

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Messages
909
Reaction score
752
So Keesmat spends the last year tweeting pretty pictures of this and that and when the curtain is pulled back it looks nothing like any of those things.

Maybe now would be a bad time for a reminder that Keesmat's cubs put a bullet point in the charts justifying a Queen subway because, not to worry, putting it under the busiest transit corridor in the city was wasted effort in light of the super mega hyper transit improvements coming on King.

Now she presents a list with a bunch of half assed half measures (including already tried-and-failed options) and spends more time yapping about pedestrians and sidewalks than transit. Hijacked indeed. Does she figure nobody would pick the poison pill options and saddle commuters with marginal and inadequate improvements for transit? What kind of gambit is this?
When I read about the options on the Star yesterday, my immediate thought was, what's with all the discussion dominated by "seating, marketplace tables, patios or performance spaces" on the actual street? Is there a shortage of patios and restaurants in the city? It's hard to take her seriously when people waste hours everyday commuting short distances within the city, which has serious economic and life quality implications and all she's focusing on is patios on the street.

Tweeting pictures of this and that, indeed. I once saw her tweet a picture of the streets of old Istanbul, which is about as useful as tweeting a picture of a hospital from the 18th century.
 
Last edited:

bobbob911

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
544
Reaction score
122
RE: 'Crossing the street to board streetcars'
What about mid-block? I have yet to see any reference to light signalled crossings. The failure to mention such details tells me that they really haven't thought this through at all. On the basis of the cause d'etre, moving streetcars as rapidly and unimpeded as possible, you *cannot* have pedestrians crossing willy-nilly. So how is that to be marshalled? It has to be with lights that indicate safe crossing or not. I see absolutely no mention so far of that, let alone of restricting pedestrians from crossing where-ever their vacant minds tell them. It will only take a few fatal accidents to have this whole concept tossed if this isn't thought through first.
You are over thinking this. In absence of any details to the contrary, I would assume this design is exactly like every single other streetcar we run in the city. Stops/boarding are at intersections.
 

bobbob911

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
544
Reaction score
122
When I read about the options on the Star yesterday, my immediate thought was, what's with all the discussion of "seating, marketplace tables, patios or performance spaces" on the actual streets? Is there a shortage of patios and restaurants in the city? It's hard to take her seriously when people waste hours everyday commuting short distances within the city, which has serious economic and life quality implications and all she's focusing on patios on the street.
1000% agreed! I see no real value to an engineered (as opposed to organic) pedestrian causeway where the goal is to have people sitting mere feet away from a streetcar lumbering down the road!

And don't forget - the city is thinking of jacking up patio fees by 1000% anyways :)
 

Rainforest

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
4,089
Reaction score
1,471
It looks to me that Option 1 is the only one that's workable.

Options 2 and 3 will still allow through traffic, but force it into a single file in both directions, causing huge delays if a car is trying to make a right turn, stops to drop somebody off, or worse, breaks down.

I would not rely on disencouraging through traffic by making it slow. There will be enough idiots who choose King anyway, even if they have alternatives. Drivers that have no choice (local destination), tourists, and people who do not come to downton frequently, will suffer. In case of Option 3, streetcar riders will suffer as well, as the streetcars will share the single lane with general traffic.
 

bobbob911

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
544
Reaction score
122
It looks to me that Option 1 is the only one that's workable.

Options 2 and 3 will still allow through traffic, but force it into a single file in both directions, causing huge delays if a car is trying to make a right turn, stops to drop somebody off, or worse, breaks down.

I would not rely on disencouraging through traffic by making it slow. There will be enough idiots who choose King anyway, even if they have alternatives. Drivers that have no choice (local destination), tourists, and people who do not come to downton frequently, will suffer. In case of Option 3, streetcar riders will suffer as well, as the streetcars will share the single lane with general traffic.
I think you have that backwards - Option 1 (Option A) is a hard separation between streetcar lanes and car lanes. You are right that this will cause major problems for car traffic in case of a car breaking down in the lane. Options B & C would potentially allow traffic to drive around the broken car into the streetcar lanes.

If someone has time on their hands and wants to drive down a slow King st (or is driving during non-busy periods), I say more power to them. That's why I prefer keeping the possibility of through traffic.
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
6,057
Reaction score
7,178
And right on cue:

Metro Morning Verified account ‏@metromorning
.@Mirvish, with 2 theatres on King West, says the message the King Street redevelopment sends to ppl is "don't come downtown."
https://twitter.com/metromorning/status/831475141762772992

AoD
I'm not defending this viewpoint, but those who want to see the most change need to recognise that change is painful and there are reasons for some peoples' resistance. You have to analyse and mitigate the resistance, not just dismiss it.

Mirvish's business depends on the parking lots around the theatres. The people who come downtown to see shows still drive. You can tell them "just use transit" but that is actually a daunting and fear-inducing prospect. Frankly, I'm at the age where I think twice before taking GO downtown for evening events with my spouse, because the trip home involves cars full of shit-faced college students who in their compromised state of judgement just might take a poke at me if I tell them to sit down and shut up (as I have had to do). And let's not bring the 501 into this. Also, this demographic does have mobility issues. A walk to the garage may still be OK but a walk all the way to Union (or even to St Patrick, with stairs down and up again) may be a challenge. You see lots of walkers and canes at the Royal Alex. It would help if the 504 were a priority for low-floor streetcars - we have no confirmation yet that it's a priority for Flexity rollout. Worst case, we build transit priority and a pedestrian mall but the streetcar still isn't barrier free yet. Lastly, until RER gives late evening service on more routes, transit may not be an option. Driving to Finch and taking the subway means a fairly lengthy journey at a late hour, and a dark parking lot that may not be secure.

We need some facts about this demographic and how much the changes might affect businesses like Mirvish's. And we need effective mitigating strategies, like how the access to the parking garages around the theatres will be maintained.

- Paul
 
Last edited:

steveintoronto

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 14, 2016
Messages
10,167
Reaction score
4,336
And right on cue:

Metro Morning Verified account ‏@metromorning
.@Mirvish, with 2 theatres on King West, says the message the King Street redevelopment sends to ppl is "don't come downtown."
https://twitter.com/metromorning/status/831475141762772992

AoD
lol...tell that to New York, London or Paris. Not that they have anything cultural on us...Mirvish, owning a theatre in London, (The venerable Old Vic, just across from Waterloo Station) should know that. London not only has a congestion charge, they're now looking at limiting diesel vehicles and buses.

See:
Commuters warned of new air pollution risk

Public transport worse than driving for exposure to harmful particles

Ben Webster, Environment Editor
February 14 2017, 12:01am, The Times

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/commuters-warned-of-new-air-pollution-risk-n53q82c09

Although this is behind a subscription barrier, it is in many other major UK publications today. If anyone wants excerpts or the entire article (it is the best one I've read) ask, and I'll find the appropriate forum to post. Accessing the link will get you the first few paragraphs of the story. Telegraph et al have their own non-subscription copy. Lest that headline is misleading, the Study is highly pro-transit and against single occupant vehicles.

Paul: In the interests of exactly those that insist on driving to the theatre to park, taxis must be regulated against accessing the loops unless their passengers include a disabled person. How far is it to walk to the corner for anyone in a reasonably fit state of health?
 
Last edited:

BMO

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 17, 2008
Messages
1,587
Reaction score
314
So it looks to me like only one option has physically separated streetcar lanes - the other two pedestrian friendlier options only have "streetcar priority" lanes.

Seems to me the choice is obvious - is the goal here to optimize transit speed or is it worth diluting that to get extra pedestrian frontage?
Not only that, but has there ever been any indication that there's a lack of pedestrian space?
 

Top