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Metrolinx: Finch West LRT

Steve X

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Dear God is this thing ever going to be slow. One just has to look at the number of stop lights along the route to see this. Finch maybe Light Rail Transit but, unlike Edmonton or Calgary, it will certainly not be Light Rapid Transit.

I fail to see the benefits of such systems and much seems to be more for political ribbon cutting ceremonies with the "look Mom, we built more rail" as opposed to sound transportation policy. Seriously, can anybody explain to me how this will be any faster than a centre running ROW bus lane? Such systems are also less reliable than a bus system because if there is an accident at a corner {which is where most urban accidents happen} the LRT in both directions will be brought to a screeching halt as opposed to a bus that can just maneuver around it.

The advantages of LRT/streetcar of being zero emitting, lower maintenance & operational costs, having a quieter ride, and faster acceleration over diesel buses were once very valid but that is no longer the case with battery buses. Battery buses now enjoy those same benefits over diesel buses but without the the extra costs of massive infrastructure and separate maintenance and garage facilities. LRT may have higher capacity but even that is now reduced with the introduction of double-articulated electric buses that are already being deployed in China and Latin America.

Yes, steel-on-steel will always have slightly higher acceleration {not that it will make any difference on Finch due to the endless number of lights} and will offer a smoother ride {although far less so on BRT as the lanes are well maintained as it is often the roads themselves that make a bus uncomfortable and not the vehicles themselves} but is that worth the massive extra cost? For the money spent on this one line, a Finch BRT could be built all the way to Finch station and down to the new Woodbine GO with hundreds of millions to spare.

To me, the benefits of NEW LRT/streetcar lines is one of diminishing returns.
Have you used the 36 Finch West regularly?

It's definitely the one that scrapes the bottom on the barrel in terms of reliability. Often late, overcrowded and stuck in traffic for half an hour under the 400. This LRT is no C-Train but a massive upgrade to the quality of the 36. I can see a lot of happy riders.

The best part is zipping by traffic under the 400. It'll just take a few minutes instead of 15-20 min between Jane and Weston. Buses often bus up cause of the traffic leaving people waiting for 20+ minutes jamming into a bus. This LRT will solve that problem.

The problem with Calgary and Edmonton is their system is built in highway or railway corridors. Local access is impossible. Yes it's fast, C-Trains zip by at 80 km/h, something the TTC subway doesn't even do on the Allen but you have to take a bus to the stations.
 

TRONto

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Dear God is this thing ever going to be slow. One just has to look at the number of stop lights along the route to see this. Finch maybe Light Rail Transit but, unlike Edmonton or Calgary, it will certainly not be Light Rapid Transit.

I fail to see the benefits of such systems and much seems to be more for political ribbon cutting ceremonies with the "look Mom, we built more rail" as opposed to sound transportation policy. Seriously, can anybody explain to me how this will be any faster than a centre running ROW bus lane? Such systems are also less reliable than a bus system because if there is an accident at a corner {which is where most urban accidents happen} the LRT in both directions will be brought to a screeching halt as opposed to a bus that can just maneuver around it.

The advantages of LRT/streetcar of being zero emitting, lower maintenance & operational costs, having a quieter ride, and faster acceleration over diesel buses were once very valid but that is no longer the case with battery buses. Battery buses now enjoy those same benefits over diesel buses but without the the extra costs of massive infrastructure and separate maintenance and garage facilities. LRT may have higher capacity but even that is now reduced with the introduction of double-articulated electric buses that are already being deployed in China and Latin America.

Yes, steel-on-steel will always have slightly higher acceleration {not that it will make any difference on Finch due to the endless number of lights} and will offer a smoother ride {although far less so on BRT as the lanes are well maintained as it is often the roads themselves that make a bus uncomfortable and not the vehicles themselves} but is that worth the massive extra cost? For the money spent on this one line, a Finch BRT could be built all the way to Finch station and down to the new Woodbine GO with hundreds of millions to spare.

To me, the benefits of NEW LRT/streetcar lines is one of diminishing returns.
-double articulated are not legal from what I've seen written on this site
-accidents are not a frequent issue (check Steve Munro's analysis of streetcar lines)

The major advantage is capacity and reliability. Secondarily, a train ride is more comfortable than a bus ride (ask someone who easily gets motion sickness) and LRT is better for city building.

From what I understand there isn't enough space to build a BRT to Finch station at grade. Tunneling would be required.

We'll see how this all works out but with the information we have at this time, it seems to me the LRT was the right decision here.
 

Rainforest

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The problem with Calgary and Edmonton is their system is built in highway or railway corridors. Local access is impossible. Yes it's fast, C-Trains zip by at 80 km/h, something the TTC subway doesn't even do on the Allen but you have to take a bus to the stations.

I wouldn't call it a problem. LRTs in Calgary and Edmonton play the role of TTC subways, linking the remote suburbs to the centre. To be effective at that, they need to be fast and operate with a wide stop spacing.

Finch West is a more local route, not going all the way from Rexdale to downtown, but just linking Rexdale and Humber College to the closest subway station. For that purpose, the chosen route design is probably fine.
 
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Rainforest

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From what I understand there isn't enough space to build a BRT to Finch station at grade. Tunneling would be required.

We'll see how this all works out but with the information we have at this time, it seems to me the LRT was the right decision here.

Finch is wide enough to add two surface transit lanes, from Keele almost to Yonge (actually to a smaller arterial called Beecroft).

The last 300 m from Beecroft and Yonge are tight, and a tunnel is preferred there. Plus, the volume of transfers would make an underground interchange with the subway preferable. For the same reason, they are building the underground interchange with the Finch West station at Keele; Finch is wide enough for a surface platform, but the riders would have to cross the street in large numbers to reach the subway.

So, indeed it is easier to serve Finch West with LRT.
 
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Rainforest

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Btw, if the funding was available, would there be enough time to extend the Finch line from Keele to Yonge and put it in operation before the heavy construction starts on the Yonge North subway extension?

If that light rail link was already in place, the subway construction pains could be reduced somewhat. Fewer buses would be competing to enter/exit the Finch bus terminal, plus the possibility to temporarily connect part of the #60 Steeles West bus service to the Finch LRT stop at Bathurst, instead of running all #60 buses to Yonge.

However, working on both Yonge North and the Finch extension in parallel is not a good idea, as more roads would be blocked simultaneously. If Finch LRT cannot be brought to Yonge before the major subway construction begins, then it better waits until the subway opens.
 

fanoftoronto

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Btw, if the funding was available, would there be enough time to extend the Finch line from Keele to Yonge and put it in operation before the heavy construction starts on the Yonge North subway extension?

If that light rail link was already in place, the subway construction pains could be reduced somewhat. Fewer buses would be competing to enter/exit the Finch bus terminal, plus the possibility to temporarily connect part of the #60 Steeles West bus service to the Finch LRT stop at Bathurst, instead of running all #60 buses to Yonge.

However, working on both Yonge North and the Finch extension in parallel is not a good idea, as more roads would be blocked simultaneously. If Finch LRT cannot be brought to Yonge before the major subway construction begins, then it better waits until the subway opens.

Definitely doubt the funding can be put in place, designs created, and construction started and completed by the time Yonge North construction starts.

I would hope that Finch LRT between Keele and Yonge is part of the next round of transit constructions in the 2028 timeframe. The design work can be done while the Yonge line construction wraps up. Lines up nicely to keep the Finch-Yonge intersection a bottleneck nightmare for 15 years straight!! Hehe
 

robmausser

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Dear God is this thing ever going to be slow. One just has to look at the number of stop lights along the route to see this. Finch maybe Light Rail Transit but, unlike Edmonton or Calgary, it will certainly not be Light Rapid Transit.

I fail to see the benefits of such systems and much seems to be more for political ribbon cutting ceremonies with the "look Mom, we built more rail" as opposed to sound transportation policy. Seriously, can anybody explain to me how this will be any faster than a centre running ROW bus lane? Such systems are also less reliable than a bus system because if there is an accident at a corner {which is where most urban accidents happen} the LRT in both directions will be brought to a screeching halt as opposed to a bus that can just maneuver around it.

The advantages of LRT/streetcar of being zero emitting, lower maintenance & operational costs, having a quieter ride, and faster acceleration over diesel buses were once very valid but that is no longer the case with battery buses. Battery buses now enjoy those same benefits over diesel buses but without the the extra costs of massive infrastructure and separate maintenance and garage facilities. LRT may have higher capacity but even that is now reduced with the introduction of double-articulated electric buses that are already being deployed in China and Latin America.

Yes, steel-on-steel will always have slightly higher acceleration {not that it will make any difference on Finch due to the endless number of lights} and will offer a smoother ride {although far less so on BRT as the lanes are well maintained as it is often the roads themselves that make a bus uncomfortable and not the vehicles themselves} but is that worth the massive extra cost? For the money spent on this one line, a Finch BRT could be built all the way to Finch station and down to the new Woodbine GO with hundreds of millions to spare.

To me, the benefits of NEW LRT/streetcar lines is one of diminishing returns.

The Finch West LRT is not meant to be rapid transit. It is more of a local service.

The reason for Transit City was to look at routes that had way too much bus service, and to upgrade to a higher capacity system.

An LRT still serves way more people than even an articulated bus on a BRT. Less drivers to pay, etc. The system can accommodate 2 LRT's paired together, which is way more capacity than a double articulated bus. Double articulated buses also have trouble in winter conditions.
 

robmausser

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Finch is wide enough to add two surface transit lanes, from Keele almost to Yonge (actually to a smaller arterial called Beecroft).

The last 300 m from Beecroft and Yonge are tight, and a tunnel is preferred there. Plus, the volume of transfers would make an underground interchange with the subway preferable. For the same reason, they are building the underground interchange with the Finch West station at Keele; Finch is wide enough for a surface platform, but the riders would have to cross the street in large numbers to reach the subway.

So, indeed it is easier to serve Finch West with LRT.

I still think even with the Finch LRT, we should build rapid transit in the hydro corridor, as was proposed several times in the past.
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APTA-2048

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The advantages of LRT/streetcar of being zero emitting, lower maintenance & operational costs, having a quieter ride, and faster acceleration over diesel buses were once very valid but that is no longer the case with battery buses. Battery buses now enjoy those same benefits over diesel buses but without the the extra costs of massive infrastructure and separate maintenance and garage facilities. LRT may have higher capacity but even that is now reduced with the introduction of double-articulated electric buses that are already being deployed in China and Latin America.
Battery electric buses weren’t even feasible when this line was conceived. Not to mention battery electric buses still have a ways to go if the TTC’s recent reports are any indication. LRVs also don’t have to be recharged. You could run one for 24h if you really wanted to. Battery electric buses also require their own infrastructure and different maintenance procedures. Also the lifespan of a battery electric bus is probably 12 years. The LRVs are expected to last way longer than that.
 

Amare

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Out of curiosity, are there current provisions in place with the construction of the Finch West LRT @ Finch West station that allows for the easy eastward extension to Finch Station? (ie: So there arent any magical discoveries that create a forced transfer situation like we're seeing with the Eglinton Crosstown at Kennedy)
 

Towered

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Out of curiosity, are there current provisions in place with the construction of the Finch West LRT @ Finch West station that allows for the easy eastward extension to Finch Station? (ie: So there arent any magical discoveries that create a forced transfer situation like we're seeing with the Eglinton Crosstown at Kennedy)

I really hope such a consideration was baked in to the design given that the initial Finch LRT proposal did extend all the way to Yonge, but this is Toronto...
 

Rainforest

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I still think even with the Finch LRT, we should build rapid transit in the hydro corridor, as was proposed several times in the past.
View attachment 404334View attachment 404335View attachment 404336

Not a bad idea, but there would be some challenges too:

1) Potential resistance of Toronto Hydro against the use of their lands for BRT lines or LRT tracks.

2) The Finch corridor doesn't really serve Rexdale or Humber College; it diverts south-west soon after the Hwy401 crossing.

Edit: Finch Corridor east of Yonge can be considered for the transit service; either as a continuation of Finch LRT, or as a separate BRT line.
 

ssiguy2

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Have you used the 36 Finch West regularly?

It's definitely the one that scrapes the bottom on the barrel in terms of reliability. Often late, overcrowded and stuck in traffic for half an hour under the 400. This LRT is no C-Train but a massive upgrade to the quality of the 36. I can see a lot of happy riders.

The best part is zipping by traffic under the 400. It'll just take a few minutes instead of 15-20 min between Jane and Weston. Buses often bus up cause of the traffic leaving people waiting for 20+ minutes jamming into a bus. This LRT will solve that problem.
But how would that be any different from a centre running bus lane?

I don't think Finch is a waste of money but for what it provides, I don't think Toronto is getting much bang for the buck. Is it better to build an 11km streetcar ROW {which is what this is} or a 30km BRT for the same money while serving tens of thousands of more people and hundreds of more destinations?
 

fanoftoronto

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But how would that be any different from a centre running bus lane?

I don't think Finch is a waste of money but for what it provides, I don't think Toronto is getting much bang for the buck. Is it better to build an 11km streetcar ROW {which is what this is} or a 30km BRT for the same money while serving tens of thousands of more people and hundreds of more destinations?

- Higher average speed
- Greater comfort
- Higher capacity
- Proven ability to stimulate urban development
- Environmentally friendly
 

ARG1

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