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Metrolinx: Finch West LRT

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Agreed. Can we please just bring this contractor on to do the Keele-Yonge portion of the Finch West LRT. At its February 20, 2020 meeting, the Metrolinx Board of Directors endorsed a prioritization framework for a proposed Frequent Rapid Transit Network that was inclusive of a proposed LRT extension from Finch West Station to Finch Station; with a forecasted ridership of 6,600 in 2031 and a proposed line length of 6.3 km along Finch Avenue West, the project scored 'High' with a preliminary benefit-cost ratio of 0.36 - 0.65. https://www.metrolinx.com/en/docs/p...220_BoardMtg_Advancing_Transit_Priorities.pdf. We are finally getting transit built north of Bloor. Let's keep it going for the good of all of Toronto!
"We're finally getting transit built north of Bloor"?

There hasn't been a new transit line built on Bloor or south of it since the extension to Kipling in 1980 - 42 years ago!

I would amend your statement to "Finally we're getting transit built!" since it seemed like we were in a bit of a dark age for a few decades there.
 

afransen

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View attachment 437720
Umm… so how do the cars pass each other in a single-file tunnel? Or are they going to have multiple lanes of traffic in this underground highwa… um, I mean… HyperLoop
Either offline stations (with on-ramps and offramps) or merely having the vehicles slow to pass through the station in a mixing zone with vehicles that are arriving/departing.

Here's how the baby system in Vegas works. Just keep in mind this is a pilot system. There are lots of obvious operational improvements that can and will be made as they iterate.

 

EnviroTO

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Yes, for a non-hyper loop you take a freeway, replace the drivers with robots/AI... but you don't stop there for some reason. Instead you go further and take away multiple lanes, take away scenery, and take away fire escapes. It is a win for everyone for sure.
 

INTz

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In the November CLC they acutally have a shot with the elevator installed - sneak sneak peak!
Also a shot of finch west.
1668021702900.png
1668021777507.png
 

superelevation

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I had promised myself I wouldn't get into another LRT/subway debate ... but here I am.

The issue with most American LRT networks is not that they lack capacity - it's that they run the trains, and nobody uses them, because car culture (and garbage planning). American heavy rail networks suffer from this issue too; San Francisco's BART, Atlanta's MARTA, and Miami (among others) also have low ridership. Toronto is busier than any rail transit network in the US, except the New York City Subway. It's not really about transit mode.

That's not an issue in Toronto; thus, our priority should be finding the most cost-effective way to move the largest amount of people with the shortest travel times. That LRT is not rapid in Toronto, is not an issue with the infrastructure itself, but rather our policies surrounding car use. We could give signal priority to transit vehicles tomorrow, if there was the political will to do so. Frequent stops is a planning issue - I have been critical of the Eglinton LRT in the past, but that's a horse which has already been buried underground and turned into fossil fuels.

The planning issues are real issues and the speed doesn't only have to do with lots of stops, you also just cannot go as fast along a street as in a separate ROW.

The problem with the SSE is cost - $6 billion is an absurd amount of money for a suburban extension with three stations. It's New York expensive. An above ground metro could have worked, but where would it go ...

Hypothetically to the exact same places along the wide streets of Scarborough?

Since this thread is about the Finch West LRT, let me say that LRT is the best mode for this corridor - it's (relatively) cheap, and it replaces a heavy-demand bus route. Subway is inappropriate for this corridor in particular, as its demand isn't from through traffic/crosstown traffic, and any stop consolidation with a subway would hurt riders.

Stop consolidation is fine - that's how every "express" service works - you can have buses still running on a corridor with subway. The insistence in Toronto of having rapid transit be both local and express leads to denser than necessary stop spacing on our older subway lines that make getting across the region a real pain, and now we are duplicating with LRT - but without the speed of the dedicated subway row in many cases.

The fact that this is a low-key project, I think, is a great example to learn from. You don't have politicians a-les-Fords trying to meddle with it to buy votes, you don't get tunnels (Eglinton West) that are hugely expensive yet pass under single family homes, and you don't have NIMBYs desperately trying to kill the project/make it supremely expensive, in a classic Toronto manner. It also demonstrates that the main driver to cost is poor planning. This is the least expensive, and probably the best-value (or 2nd, after Ontario Line) project built in the last 40 years.

I don't know about that - everyone brings up people not knowing about projects like Finch as a positive, but I really think it's a double edged sword. If they cancelled it tomorrow most of the same people also wouldn't know?

Can you be more specific with your allusions to American style LRT? What specific parts of the US do you have in mind when you write something like this? The stereotype of American LRT projects strikes me very much as being extremely overbuilt, running large, empty vehicles on routes that are more tourist novelty than useful mode of transit. What we are seeing with projects like Finch West, with the exception of the lack of transit priority, is much more in line with what they have in many large European cities.

"In line with European cities?" Most Euro cities have a large backbone metro and S train system - we do not currently have that in Europe. Our "LRT" is very American in flavor - just look at Houston, Portland, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and on and on and on . . .
 

turbanplanner

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I had promised myself I wouldn't get into another LRT/subway debate ... but here I am.

The issue with most American LRT networks is not that they lack capacity - it's that they run the trains, and nobody uses them, because car culture (and garbage planning). American heavy rail networks suffer from this issue too; San Francisco's BART, Atlanta's MARTA, and Miami (among others) also have low ridership. Toronto is busier than any rail transit network in the US, except the New York City Subway. It's not really about transit mode.

That's not an issue in Toronto; thus, our priority should be finding the most cost-effective way to move the largest amount of people with the shortest travel times. That LRT is not rapid in Toronto, is not an issue with the infrastructure itself, but rather our policies surrounding car use. We could give signal priority to transit vehicles tomorrow, if there was the political will to do so. Frequent stops is a planning issue - I have been critical of the Eglinton LRT in the past, but that's a horse which has already been buried underground and turned into fossil fuels.

The problem with the SSE is cost - $6 billion is an absurd amount of money for a suburban extension with three stations. It's New York expensive. An above ground metro could have worked, but where would it go ...

Since this thread is about the Finch West LRT, let me say that LRT is the best mode for this corridor - it's (relatively) cheap, and it replaces a heavy-demand bus route. Subway is inappropriate for this corridor in particular, as its demand isn't from through traffic/crosstown traffic, and any stop consolidation with a subway would hurt riders.

The fact that this is a low-key project, I think, is a great example to learn from. You don't have politicians a-les-Fords trying to meddle with it to buy votes, you don't get tunnels (Eglinton West) that are hugely expensive yet pass under single family homes, and you don't have NIMBYs desperately trying to kill the project/make it supremely expensive, in a classic Toronto manner. It also demonstrates that the main driver to cost is poor planning. This is the least expensive, and probably the best-value (or 2nd, after Ontario Line) project built in the last 40 years.

Okay, rant over.
I feel like not one single person here or really any urban planner has asked people why they don't use transit?

I'm not a fan of the SSE but look at the reality of people who want to go to STC. You have a seat and get to Kennedy, you have to go up 3 levels wait several minutes for the SRT (or future lrt) to arrive waiting in the cold or heat, and you're likely going to be standing the whole ride and you've added several mins to your trip and a vehicle change.

Why are people so against, LRT's? Look at our existing ROW streetcars? I've spent 30 mins not seeing a streetcar on 512 despite the schedule being every 5 mins. A subway station is sheltered from the elements, and generally you'll hear an update if there is a delay or suspension.

Plus even with 100% signal priority most people who don't take transit (in Canada or the US) still wouldn't ride as what's the chance the place you're going to or from has good transit, and switching vehicles won't be a huge pain?

If I'm going anywhere near downtown and it's north of Dundas, I'm just driving as I know transit will require at least 3 vehicles and a 15-20 min walk each way. Do you blame people for not getting out of their cars?
Plus SAFETY! Every time I've taken the ttc I've been or seen someone harassed by someone screaming and clearly out of their mind.


People here will argue back and forth about signal priority meanwhile people aren't taking transit because they feel unsafe or don't want to walk 20 mins to a stop.
 

afransen

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People here will argue back and forth about signal priority meanwhile people aren't taking transit because they feel unsafe or don't want to walk 20 mins to a stop.
You won't get many choice riders when it takes 2-3 times longer to get somewhere by transit than driving. It doesn't have to be faster, but it should be competitive. Comfort and convenience (transfers) are important factors, too. I don't think people mind transfers too much if the connecting service is frequent and you don't have to walk hundreds of meters of the transfer.
 

Mr Finish Line

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Plus SAFETY! Every time I've taken the ttc I've been or seen someone harassed by someone screaming and clearly out of their mind.


People here will argue back and forth about signal priority meanwhile people aren't taking transit because they feel unsafe or don't want to walk 20 mins to a stop.
It's unfortunate that some people don't realize that they are far more likely to be injured or killed in a car than on transit. Perceived safety and actual safety are frequently not the same thing.
 

W. K. Lis

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It's unfortunate that some people don't realize that they are far more likely to be injured or killed in a car than on transit. Perceived safety and actual safety are frequently not the same thing.
From link.


In the USA, because of the OPEC oil embargo, America allowed turning right on red lights. In the Netherlands, they went a different route, they turned to cycling to save on oil.
The (US) Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 required states to allow rights on red (in USA) to receive certain federal funds. Decades later, every state in the U.S. allows rights on red everywhere — other than New York City — except when prohibited by signage.
Letting drivers turn on red can save gas, but there is a trade-off. Though recent studies are lacking, the body of research shows that allowing rights on red compromises safety for people who walk and bike.

Permitting rights on red increases pedestrian crashes by 60 percent and bike crashes by 100 percent, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found in the 1980s.
 

turbanplanner

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It's unfortunate that some people don't realize that they are far more likely to be injured or killed in a car than on transit. Perceived safety and actual safety are frequently not the same thing.
Look at all the people being harassed on transit? The ttc has literally said to someone being pushed on the tracks it's your fault for travelling alone!!

You can't even compare safety unless you tally up all car vs transit journeys. I take transit 5 or 6 times a week round trip. Nearly every single time someone is screaming and clearly unwell or there is a service suspension I've had to deal with. I've never felt my safety in danger driving and I'm close to 1000km a week.

Even if you feel transit is 10000x safer than driving your trying to get people out of their cars. Telling them they're wrong isn't going to win them over.

Literally from the TTC alerts twitter within the last hour:

Line 2 Bloor-Danforth: No service between Ossington and St George while we deal with a disruptive customer
 

DirectionNorth

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The planning issues are real issues
Many American LRTs run in their own ROW. The Sacremento LRT, mostly in a separate ROW, had less ridership than the Finch West LRT on a 70 km system. Or Dallas, with 92,000 daily ridership on 150 km (!) of rail, also mostly on their own ROW.
and the speed doesn't only have to do with lots of stops, you also just cannot go as fast along a street as in a separate ROW.
It's not only about top speed, but also how much that speed costs. TSP costs nothing. Grade separation, on this corridor, would cost billions extra, and you'd have to eliminate stops on what is mostly a local corridor.
Hypothetically to the exact same places along the wide streets of Scarborough?
Rhetorical question. Of course that is where it should have gone.
Stop consolidation is fine - that's how every "express" service works - you can have buses still running on a corridor with subway. The insistence in Toronto of having rapid transit be both local and express leads to denser than necessary stop spacing on our older subway lines that make getting across the region a real pain, and now we are duplicating with LRT - but without the speed of the dedicated subway row in many cases.
Finch West doesn't need a subway line. Who would use it? Transfer from Y-U, ride three stops, then transfer to a local bus?

And how much would a subway cost?
I don't know about that - everyone brings up people not knowing about projects like Finch as a positive, but I really think it's a double edged sword. If they cancelled it tomorrow most of the same people also wouldn't know?
NIMBYs bring the price up and get things cancelled ... I suspect that a cancellation would bring more attention ("government cancels rail project, hundreds of millions wasted on nothing") but if 2018 Doug Ford didn't cancel this, I think it would have been fine.
"In line with European cities?" Most Euro cities have a large backbone metro and S train system - we do not currently have that in Europe. Our "LRT" is very American in flavor - just look at Houston, Portland, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and on and on and on . . .
I'm mixed on this, but GO will be an S-Bahn by 2030 and the subway network is rapidly expanding. When I see American systems, I see low-frequency "suburban express" routes running on the path of least resistance (often segregated ROWs) with garbage connections and per km ridership far lower than the current 36 FINCH WEST. Out of the cities you mention, both Portland and SLC run on-street mainly in the downtown core.
I feel like not one single person here or really any urban planner has asked people why they don't use transit?
We have. Our conclusions are different than yours.
I'm not a fan of the SSE but look at the reality of people who want to go to STC. You have a seat and get to Kennedy, you have to go up 3 levels wait several minutes for the SRT (or future lrt) to arrive waiting in the cold or heat, and you're likely going to be standing the whole ride and you've added several mins to your trip and a vehicle change.
It's always about the $$$
Why are people so against, LRT's? Look at our existing ROW streetcars? I've spent 30 mins not seeing a streetcar on 512 despite the schedule being every 5 mins. A subway station is sheltered from the elements, and generally you'll hear an update if there is a delay or suspension.
Why is the 512 so bad? Is it because the TTC sucks [censored] at route management, and transit runs unreliably because of poor signal timing?

Toronto always seems to default to the most expensive option. Seemingly a collective failure of imagination?
Plus even with 100% signal priority most people who don't take transit (in Canada or the US) still wouldn't ride as what's the chance the place you're going to or from has good transit, and switching vehicles won't be a huge pain?
Which is why we want good transit to go as many places as possible ... a subway would require a transfer too.
If I'm going anywhere near downtown and it's north of Dundas, I'm just driving as I know transit will require at least 3 vehicles and a 15-20 min walk each way. Do you blame people for not getting out of their cars?
No, but again, that's why we need to consider what will allow us to make transit as convenient as possible with the $$$ we have been given by our political overlords
Plus SAFETY! Every time I've taken the ttc I've been or seen someone harassed by someone screaming and clearly out of their mind.
People here will argue back and forth about signal priority meanwhile people aren't taking transit because they feel unsafe or don't want to walk 20 mins to a stop.
"Safer" American systems that run garbage service (that make the TTC look good!) get high ridership because they're safe, right?
 
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turbanplanner

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Many American LRTs run in their own ROW. The Sacremento LRT, mostly in a separate ROW, had less ridership than the Finch West LRT on a 70 km system. Or Dallas, with 92,000 daily ridership on 150 km (!) of rail, also mostly on their own ROW.

It's not only about top speed, but also how much that speed costs. TSP costs nothing. Grade separation, on this corridor, would cost billions extra, and you'd have to eliminate stops on what is mostly a local corridor.

Rhetorical question. Of course that is where it should have gone.

Finch West doesn't need a subway line. Who would use it? Transfer from Y-U, ride three stops, then transfer to a local bus?

And how much would a subway cost?

NIMBYs bring the price up and get things cancelled ... I suspect that a cancellation would bring more attention ("government cancels rail project, hundreds of millions wasted on nothing") but if 2018 Doug Ford didn't cancel this, I think it would have been fine.

I'm mixed on this, but GO will be an S-Bahn by 2030 and the subway network is rapidly expanding. When I see American systems, I see low-frequency "suburban express" routes running on the path of least resistance (often segregated ROWs) with garbage connections and per km ridership far lower than the current 36 FINCH WEST. Out of the cities you mention, both Portland and SLC run on-street mainly in the downtown core.

We have. Our conclusions are different than yours.

It's always about the $$$

Why is the 512 so bad? Is it because the TTC sucks [censored] at route management, and transit runs unreliably because of poor signal timing?

Toronto always seems to default to the most expensive option. Seemingly a collective failure of imagination?

Which is why we want good transit to go as many places as possible ... a subway would require a transfer too.

No, but again, that's why we need to consider what will allow us to make transit as convenient as possible with the $$$ we have been given by our political overlords

"Safer" American systems that run garbage service (that make the TTC look good!) get high ridership because they're safe, right?
Let me know what have you learned from asking transit riders?

I haven't seen the TTC or really any proposals that ease peoples worries. The CEO fired a constable for arresting someone who was harassing passengers, so they're being a lot less active.
Now regular riders are the ones who suffer.

It's idiotic there are no regular patrols or even permanent constables at large interchange stations. When the CEO said more staff were deployed to keep us safe after a NY subway shooting, the union said this wasn't true.


Management clearly doesn't care at all about peoples safety, the comments they've made about people who have been attacked gives insight into their opinions.
 
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Undead

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There are many small details which together add up to a good or bad transit experience.

It's things like:

covered walkways
consistent cleaning in all seasons
good lighting and sightlines
quality materials
seating
pedestrian protection near transit stops
public realm enhancements around stops

And we know the TTC, GO and other regional transit operators often skimp on most of these. So one can totally understand why people don't like taking transit. It's death by a thousand cuts.

edit: yes, duh, the last mile is a major issue. Every transit nerd here, so basically each one of us, is painfully aware of this. Over time, we must invest in BRT and BRT-lite with fare integration connecting to many/most GO stations.

As has been mentioned upthread, the TTC's excellent subway ridership comes from the large and frequent bus network. And remember, these are buses stuck in brutal traffic with no signal priority or dedicated ROW. Imagine how much ridership we're leaving on the table by failing to implement relatively simple improvements.

In fact, effective last mile bus connections will be the determining factor in whether GO RER succeeds or fails. I suspect it will be the latter because it doesn't matter how frequent trains run if no one can access them because the lot is full by 9:30.

And, very worryingly, GO's extensive plans and investments make very little mention of local/last mile connections. I'm afraid much of the $15 billion, or however much it is, RER program will be significantly underused without viable local bus connections.
 
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