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Metrolinx: Finch West LRT

slapped_chicken

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There is plans for a "Union West" at Pearson. Extending Sheppard to it would make sense. After all, there are 2 "lines" to Union. Realistically, just going to Sheppard West would be enough to make the line useful enough.

As I think about it, Line 4 is potentially very useful up to Jane, where it intersects Line 1 and the Downsview redevelopment, and Jane St. and a future Jane rapid transit line. Line 4 extensions further west will be through hydro lands, ravines, low density suburbia and industrial lands, which may or may not have redevelopment potential. It would be a high cost to bear for an area that is, for now, not offering much ridership potential. It's a worse corridor than the Eglinton west corridor, and many times more expensive than the potential Finch extension.

If somehow, the ridership on Line 5 and Line 6 are far over capacity, then extending Line 4 further west would be reasonable. But, the Finch and Eglinton corridors has about 40k-50k ppd each. I'm not sure what Sheppard has, but it's somewhere under 30k for busses (+50k for Line 4). An optimized subway line can push up to 1000k ppd (Yonge has about 800k ppd now). Honestly, if the LRT's are overcapacity, it's not going to be anytime soon, assuming they can move between 30-50% of the ridership of a subway line.
 

slapped_chicken

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Just imagine if we had left the 401 at 3 lanes, and said that it is cheaper to do that?

happiness noises

Honestly, if they did leave the 401 at 3 lanes, and development around it blocked it from expansion, maybe there would a be a better case for more east-west rapid transit lines (perhaps full subways!) through the northern half of Toronto hehe
 

Rainforest

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happiness noises

Honestly, if they did leave the 401 at 3 lanes, and development around it blocked it from expansion, maybe there would a be a better case for more east-west rapid transit lines (perhaps full subways!) through the northern half of Toronto hehe

I think the cargo traffic would choke. Unless there would be alternative routes for the cargo to bypass Toronto altogether.
 

Rainforest

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Ideally we want to have both high-speed lines that cater to longer-distance trips, and medium-speed LRT / BRT lines that provide local service better than mixed-traffic buses. But of course we need to match the maintenance costs to the travel volumes.

IMO, in the medium term it would be best to extend Finch LRT and turn it into Crosstown. In the west, it would go to the Airport after serving Humber College. In the east, it would run mostly in the Finch median (but maybe use the Hydro Corridor between Yonge and Don Mills) to McCowan, then the main branch would go down to Sheppard and connect to the SSE terminus. Another branch could continue to Malvern Centre.

Finch Crosstown would be relatively affordable, the maintenance costs would be matched with the demand expected in the next 15-20 years, and it would create a E-W connection across the north of 416 useful for a number of trips. Not perfect for long-distance trips, but suitable for many medium-range trips.

Meanwhile, Sheppard would remain as is, acting as a short non-interlined branch of the Yonge subway. It serves some useful purpose, greatly reducing the number of buses that would be needed to connect Don Mills to Yonge if the subway was not there. West and East of the Sheppard subway termini, service can be provided by the mixed-traffic express buses that are already in place. Yes, that route map looks clumsy, but the job is being done.
 

slapped_chicken

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I think the cargo traffic would choke. Unless there would be alternative routes for the cargo to bypass Toronto altogether.

Oops, I almost forgot that highways were filled with things other than peak-hour commuters. Well, there is the unloved 407 corridor, maybe.

IMO, in the medium term it would be best to extend Finch LRT and turn it into Crosstown. In the west, it would go to the Airport after serving Humber College. In the east, it would run mostly in the Finch median (but maybe use the Hydro Corridor between Yonge and Don Mills) to McCowan, then the main branch would go down to Sheppard and connect to the SSE terminus. Another branch could continue to Malvern Centre.

Finch Crosstown would be relatively affordable, the maintenance costs would be matched with the demand expected in the next 15-20 years, and it would create a E-W connection across the north of 416 useful for a number of trips. Not perfect for long-distance trips, but suitable for many medium-range trips.

I do like this idea. A Finch crosstown would finally serve a transit-starved Agincourt and Malvern. Along Finch East has clusters of highrises. I remember laughing when someone thought about extending a subway to Pickering. With an at grade Finch Crosstown LRT, it could be more realistic. Through Durham there is a planned east-west BRT that may be converted to LRT which could be connected to a Finch LRT if it continues south of Malvern. Much like how the Mississauga transitway could, in the future, be converted to an LRT connected to the Eglinton LRT (or operating as a single line). Of course there might be some operational issues with an extremely long Finch line running in street median most of the way. It won't be a very fast line either, but it offers a serious upgrade to transit connectivity and speed over the existing busses for the Toronto that lives north of the 401.
 

Rainforest

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Longer term, we can think how to turn the Sheppard subway into a true long-distance crosstown route. In 15-20 years, the demand for such trips will grow, as the city's population grows.

At that time, we should consider refurbishing the existing Sheppard subway to use some medium-capacity technology, like the one proposed for the Ontario Line. Still fully grade-separated and fast, but more agile than the wide-bodies TTC subways, allowing for cheaper extensions.

In the west, it would continue under Sheppard to Allen Road. After that, flipping from Sheppard to Wilson may be a good idea. Then it will serve both corridors (short feeder bus ride + subway), and reduce the competition with Finch LRT. There is still room west of Allen Rd to get from Sheppard to Wilson entirely on surface, even for a wide-bodies subway, even more so for an agile medium-capacity subway. Then, west under Wilson until it reaches the Albion / Westn Rd junction, and then either towards Pearson in the 401/409 corridor, or cut north-west and connect Brampton to North York.

East of Don Mills, continue under Sheppard to at least Kennedy, to utilize the local development potential. Then either keep going along Sheppard (perhaps elevated) to the SSE terminus at McCowan, or flip to serve STC directly. Then, to the Centennial College Progress campus, then to UTSC, and then it might join the 401 corridor to reach the Pickering GO and link with the Lakeshore West RER service.
 

Rainforest

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I remember laughing when someone thought about extending a subway to Pickering.

Actually, I like that idea :)

But, in due time and with the right transit technology. Certainly that won't happen any time soon; the demand isn't there yet, but it will come one day as the GTA population grows.

And, Pickering can only happen with an agile medium-capacity subway technology. If we retain 3+m wide subway trains with recommended 300m turning radius for the Sheppard Subway, it will never ever cross McCowan.
 

micheal_can

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happiness noises

Honestly, if they did leave the 401 at 3 lanes, and development around it blocked it from expansion, maybe there would a be a better case for more east-west rapid transit lines (perhaps full subways!) through the northern half of Toronto hehe

Check out some of the freeway widths in LA. Then let's talk RT.

If that was ever the case we would have a subway line relieving the Yonge line by now. We’d probably have a SkyTrain-like network in the suburbs too.

The problem is building anything is political. Every single mayor candidate seems to think they need to reinvent transit. I'll bet most of them haven't used it in a decade or more.

Longer term, we can think how to turn the Sheppard subway into a true long-distance crosstown route. In 15-20 years, the demand for such trips will grow, as the city's population grows.

At that time, we should consider refurbishing the existing Sheppard subway to use some medium-capacity technology, like the one proposed for the Ontario Line. Still fully grade-separated and fast, but more agile than the wide-bodies TTC subways, allowing for cheaper extensions.

In the west, it would continue under Sheppard to Allen Road. After that, flipping from Sheppard to Wilson may be a good idea. Then it will serve both corridors (short feeder bus ride + subway), and reduce the competition with Finch LRT. There is still room west of Allen Rd to get from Sheppard to Wilson entirely on surface, even for a wide-bodies subway, even more so for an agile medium-capacity subway. Then, west under Wilson until it reaches the Albion / Westn Rd junction, and then either towards Pearson in the 401/409 corridor, or cut north-west and connect Brampton to North York.

East of Don Mills, continue under Sheppard to at least Kennedy, to utilize the local development potential. Then either keep going along Sheppard (perhaps elevated) to the SSE terminus at McCowan, or flip to serve STC directly. Then, to the Centennial College Progress campus, then to UTSC, and then it might join the 401 corridor to reach the Pickering GO and link with the Lakeshore West RER service.

Switching technologies is a bad idea. Now you are adding to the cost of an extension because you now need to build a maintenance facility, and convert everything already there over to the new tech. Leve it as this tech and expand it as needed.
 

Coolstar

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Actually, I like that idea :)

But, in due time and with the right transit technology. Certainly that won't happen any time soon; the demand isn't there yet, but it will come one day as the GTA population grows.

And, Pickering can only happen with an agile medium-capacity subway technology. If we retain 3+m wide subway trains with recommended 300m turning radius for the Sheppard Subway, it will never ever cross McCowan.
Pickering is getting a subway technically. It's called GO RER.
 

afransen

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happiness noises

Honestly, if they did leave the 401 at 3 lanes, and development around it blocked it from expansion, maybe there would a be a better case for more east-west rapid transit lines (perhaps full subways!) through the northern half of Toronto hehe
We wouldn't be able to move the truck traffic through the city even if it were reserve exclusively for trucks.
 

afransen

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Longer term, we can think how to turn the Sheppard subway into a true long-distance crosstown route. In 15-20 years, the demand for such trips will grow, as the city's population grows.

At that time, we should consider refurbishing the existing Sheppard subway to use some medium-capacity technology, like the one proposed for the Ontario Line. Still fully grade-separated and fast, but more agile than the wide-bodies TTC subways, allowing for cheaper extensions.

In the west, it would continue under Sheppard to Allen Road. After that, flipping from Sheppard to Wilson may be a good idea. Then it will serve both corridors (short feeder bus ride + subway), and reduce the competition with Finch LRT. There is still room west of Allen Rd to get from Sheppard to Wilson entirely on surface, even for a wide-bodies subway, even more so for an agile medium-capacity subway. Then, west under Wilson until it reaches the Albion / Westn Rd junction, and then either towards Pearson in the 401/409 corridor, or cut north-west and connect Brampton to North York.

East of Don Mills, continue under Sheppard to at least Kennedy, to utilize the local development potential. Then either keep going along Sheppard (perhaps elevated) to the SSE terminus at McCowan, or flip to serve STC directly. Then, to the Centennial College Progress campus, then to UTSC, and then it might join the 401 corridor to reach the Pickering GO and link with the Lakeshore West RER service.
I wonder if for some of these crosstown lines where we don't have good rail ROWs for GO RER type service if it makes sense to add some passing sidings to enable express service to pass local trains. Some of these lines are going to be rather untenably long if you're riding from one end to the other. Would require ATC to coordinate effectively, I imagine.
 

slapped_chicken

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We wouldn't be able to move the truck traffic through the city even if it were reserve exclusively for trucks.
It's a bicycle lane..er..wait...it's a bus lane! ... no... it can't be... it's a truck lane!

I wonder if for some of these crosstown lines where we don't have good rail ROWs for GO RER type service if it makes sense to add some passing sidings to enable express service to pass local trains. Some of these lines are going to be rather untenably long if you're riding from one end to the other. Would require ATC to coordinate effectively, I imagine.
At that time, we should consider refurbishing the existing Sheppard subway to use some medium-capacity technology, like the one proposed for the Ontario Line. Still fully grade-separated and fast, but more agile than the wide-bodies TTC subways, allowing for cheaper extensions.
Ooh, I've been dreaming of a REM-like service across the northern corridor across YYZ, North York, Scarborough, Peel and Durham. A narrower light metro vehicle that can have grade crossings, lower turning radius and other cost savings but still grade separated and quick. If a Sheppard line uses such a system with more spaced out stations in the outer sections, it could be a speedy alternative or 'express' for not-so-local travel across that part of the GTA compared to those other crosstown lines on Eglinton, Finch. It would be a good complement to RER as there aren't any perfect crosstown corridors for a full RER line (I think) and would be well really well linked to the TTC in its central section.

Switching technologies is a bad idea. Now you are adding to the cost of an extension because you now need to build a maintenance facility, and convert everything already there over to the new tech. Leve it as this tech and expand it as needed.
I mean, it comes down to this. If the cost of converting the existing system to accommodate a new technology is lower than the cost difference by using the Toronto Rocket standard for the long term expansions, it is worth it. At some point, if this becomes a 25+ km crosstown line, it will be significantly cheaper in the long term to adapt to a new flexible medium capacity system akin to REM or Sydney Metro or Skytrain, instead of our famously thicc rocket trains with their big curves
 

afransen

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Ooh, I've been dreaming of a REM-like service across the northern corridor across YYZ, North York, Scarborough, Peel and Durham. A narrower light metro vehicle that can have grade crossings, lower turning radius and other cost savings but still grade separated and quick. If a Sheppard line uses such a system with more spaced out stations in the outer sections, it could be a speedy alternative or 'express' for not-so-local travel across that part of the GTA compared to those other crosstown lines on Eglinton, Finch. It would be a good complement to RER as there aren't any perfect crosstown corridors for full RER (I think) and would be well really well linked to the TTC in its central section.

You don't even necessarily need to sacrifice stop spacing for reasonable local transit (1-1.5km or so). If you have a passing siding before some/all the non-express stations for the local trains to wait in when an express train is near behind them, they wait there for the express to blow through the station before rolling in. It slows down the local service somewhat, but makes the same track practical for longer distance travel with high average speed. Doesn't add as much capacity as twinning the lines, but if we run into capacity issues maybe we just add more parallel lines. Of course, you could just add local stops over time as development demand warrants.

I mean, it comes down to this. If the cost of converting the existing system to accommodate a new technology is lower than the cost difference by using the Toronto Rocket standard for the long term expansions, it is worth it. At some point, if this becomes a 25+ km crosstown line, it will be significantly cheaper in the long term to adapt to a new flexible medium capacity system akin to REM or Sydney Metro or Skytrain, instead of our famously thicc rocket trains

I think this is the right way to think about it. Sheppard is an orphan line. It will never be cost effective to meaningfully extend it to a cross-town line. It would be better to make it work as part of a longer extension on both ends with a lighter & more cost effective system. The current investment is a sunk cost.
 

slapped_chicken

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Doesn't add as much capacity as twinning the lines, but if we run into capacity issues maybe we just add more parallel lines. Of course, you could just add local stops over time as development demand warrants.

Yep. Consider a Sheppard crosstown rapid transit with 1-3 km stop spacing and grade separated (including the existing tunnelled portion) that crosses much of the northern portion of the Toronto and into the urbanized 905 at either ends. Then consider the Finch crosstown LRT which provides local service, and is only 2 km to the north for most of the route (although this may change as we go further west or further east outside of Toronto). So there's the parallel service, only 2 km away, a 20 minute walk or 5 minute bus ride away ;) . Steeles and Lawrence (West) may get some form of BRT in the future, which sets them up for a potential LRT in the year 3000 AD.

With a Sheppard line, it could be possible to add local stops over time if needed in high density areas, much like how the current subway has reduced stop spacing in the core.
 
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