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Toronto Crosstown LRT | ?m | ?s | Metrolinx | Arcadis

Grade separation isn't a panacea, and comes with its own tradeoffs, most notably in the fact that any new amount of trackage is going to cost much more than if you placed it in the median of the road. Is that a worthwhile tradeoff? A smaller network for having that network run quicker? I don't have the answers, but as with many things in life the answer is in no way simple or easy.

I just wish we could have done something like the REM, that is not a "smaller network", it is huge!
 
There's nothing wrong with having surface running LRTs in their own private rights-of-way, they function perfectly fine all over Europe. Our issues are a lack of transit priority, and, in the case of the TTC, excessively frequent stops and silly operational rules that do nothing but to kneecap their operations.

Having elevated structures where there is no requirement for them is just another frivolous cost and something else to maintain.
Even other cities in North America seem to have figured out how to run grade-separated and street-running light rail together.
 
As much as I love the ion, I think that such a tram built new in Toronto would not be worth. Toronto is a bus to subway transfer city, and if this LRT is not time competitive, people will take a another parallel bus to connect to the subway. Ion has some of the max priority for surface lrts in Canada(boom gates) and still gets major collisions . The Eglinton Lrt might face similar troubles. Recall Transit is built for moving people, not for "aesthetic of roads"
 
There's nothing wrong with having surface running LRTs in their own private rights-of-way, they function perfectly fine all over Europe. Our issues are a lack of transit priority, and, in the case of the TTC, excessively frequent stops and silly operational rules that do nothing but to kneecap their operations.

Having elevated structures where there is no requirement for them is just another frivolous cost and something else to maintain.
Surface running LRTs in street medians have their time and places, namely in dense downtown cores where people are travelling short distances - certainly not large crosstown routes that are mostly grade separated anyway, where the at grade segment does nothing but weakens the rest of the line. The problem with Toronto's LRTs isn't that they're building LRTs at all, but they're building them in the wrong places, and it's the wrong mode for what they want to do.
 
Toronto is a bus to subway transfer city, and if this LRT is not time competitive, people will take a another parallel bus to connect to the subway.

No offense, but this seems like a highly overstated concern. Having their own lanes, even if they are not accompanied by grade separation, already makes the LRT more time competitive than the Eglinton East bus, and the assertion that "people will take another parallel bus to connect to the subway" falls apart when one actually considers the alternatives presented to them. Lawrence East is too far to the north to make it a viable alternative (2.5 km - no one in their right mind is going to choose this option when they have a frequent LRT much closer to them), and fairly slow; and there is nothing south of Eglinton that would constitute a quick ride to the subway. Any cross street such as Warden or Victoria Park has to contend with buses not running in their own private lanes; there is zero chance of any of these buses being competitive to the LRT under the current road design.

Your point about alternatives can only be true if the person lives within walking distance of the Eglinton & Kennedy intersection, and has a choice of whether to connect to the 2 or 5. And even then, that presumes that everyone living along this corridor is only using the LRT as a means to connect to the Yonge subway instead of any local destinations along Eglinton.

Ion has some of the max priority for surface lrts in Canada(boom gates) and still gets major collisions
It's not like the subway has never shut down for anything, though. The fact of life is that sometimes, shit happens and our transit system suffers as a result. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to avoid that, wherever possible, but we should be realistic about what we are concerned of happening and what we can realistically do to prevent it. Let's say we built a grade-separated LRT; this could still be shut down in the event of a power outage, icy weather, vehicle-passenger collision, damaged power collection system, derailment (all things that could also happen on a subway), or, with the elevated guideway, you now also introduce the additional risk of a vehicle down below colliding with it. Now you have to suspend service while the structure is examined to make sure it's safe.

Surface running LRTs in street medians have their time and places, namely in dense downtown cores where people are travelling short distances - certainly not large crosstown routes that are mostly grade separated anyway, where the at grade segment does nothing but weakens the rest of the line. The problem with Toronto's LRTs isn't that they're building LRTs at all, but they're building them in the wrong places, and it's the wrong mode for what they want to do.

Having ridden on street median running crosstown trams in Europe (and not always with functioning transit priority either!), I find this assertion to be dubious. The simple fact of not sharing lanes with traffic alone makes the ride significantly faster than it otherwise would be.

I find the concerns about the lack of transit priority to be highly overstated. Is it an embarrasment to Toronto? Yes. Is it going to make the ride a bit slower and more annoying? Yes. Should the person who suggested this have been fired many years ago? Yes. Is the world going to end over it? No. Does it justify spending millions and millions more on constructing elevated guideways and then maintaining them? I certainly don't think so.
 
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No offense, but this seems like a highly overstated concern. Having their own lanes, even if they are not accompanied by grade separation, already makes the LRT more time competitive than the Eglinton East bus, and the assertion that "people will take another parallel bus to connect to the subway" falls apart when one actually considers the alternatives presented to them. Lawrence East is too far to the north to make it a viable alternative (2.5 km - no one in their right mind is going to choose this option when they have a frequent LRT much closer to them), and fairly slow; and there is nothing south of Eglinton that would constitute a quick ride to the subway. Any cross street such as Warden or Victoria Park has to contend with buses not running in their own private lanes; there is zero chance of any of these buses being competitive to the LRT under the current road design.
You really overvalue the streetcar having it's own lanes. The only real benefit that offers is the ability the skip past traffic during rush hours. Remember, this is the suburbs, and all of these modes are competing with the car. In this context, is the LRT time competitive with the car? Are people going to be riding this thing compared to if it was an el or a subway? Probably not as much.
Your point about alternatives can only be true if the person lives within walking distance of the Eglinton & Kennedy intersection, and has a choice of whether to connect to the 2 or 5. And even then, that presumes that everyone living along this corridor is only using the LRT as a means to connect to the Yonge subway instead of any local destinations along Eglinton.
Actually that's exactly what most people will be using this corridor as. Have you ever lived in this city?

And to be honest, the use of LRT as the mode only makes sense as long you use this as the context. The moment you don't just have to go to the Yonge Subway or LIne 2, it's even more questionable. If you want a rapid crosstown route that leads from Scarborough to Pearson, the use of LRT technology is even more questionable.
It's not like the subway has never shut down for anything, though. The fact of life is that sometimes, shit happens and our transit system suffers as a result. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to avoid that, wherever possible, but we should be realistic about what we are concerned of happening and what we can realistically do to prevent it. Let's say we built a grade-separated LRT; this could still be shut down in the event of a power outage, icy weather, vehicle-passenger collision, damaged power collection system, derailment (all things that could also happen on a subway), or, with the elevated guideway, you now also introduce the additional risk of a vehicle down below colliding with it. Now you have to suspend service while the structure is examined to make sure it's safe.
But there is a massive difference. A subway is a fully grade separated and isolated corridor where interference isn't expected to happen. Nobody is expected to ever cross the tracks, no vehicle is ever expected to drive over the tracks, it's completely isolated. Compare that to a line where all of that is true, and we're talking about the Toronto Streets where people JWalk like it's their hobby. Don't forget about people just casually driving onto the tracks, something that almost never happens on the Toronto Subway unlike say... the Queens Quay Tunnel. In fact there have already been a few cases of drivers driving into Sunnybrooke Park Station, and the line hasn't even opened yet.
Having ridden on street median running crosstown trams in Europe (and not always with functioning transit priority either!), I find this assertion to be dubious. The simple fact of not sharing lanes with traffic alone makes the ride significantly faster than it otherwise would be.
In what small towns have you ridden them? Remember, trams work really well in small towns like Kitchener-Waterloo where things aren't really that far, however you wouldn't see a city like Paris building large crosstown tram routes.
I find the concerns about the lack of transit priority to be highly overstated. Is it an embarrasment to Toronto? Yes. Is it going to make the ride a bit slower and more annoying? Yes. Should the person who suggested this have been fired many years ago? Yes. Is the world going to end over it? No. Does it justify spending millions and millions more on constructing elevated guideways and then maintaining them? I certainly don't think so.
Without transit signal priority, this thing will be slow - and in fact even with light TSP, you're still going to be spending half of the time waiting at Red Lights, which immediately a failulre of any form of rapid transit, especially that which tries to compare itself to the existing Subway system. Toronto in this case isn't just embarassing itself compared to European cities, it's embarassing itself against other Canadian Cities like Montreal and especially Vancouver, the latter of which in a few short decades built a massive elevated rail system that has now exceeded the size of the Toronto Subway. Meanwhile we're building almost subway where 1/4 is on the surface because????

Like please, tell me a good reason why Eglinton had to have been an LRT. Please.
 
Having their own lanes, even if they are not accompanied by grade separation, already makes the LRT more time competitive than the Eglinton East bus, and the assertion that "people will take another parallel bus to connect to the subway" falls apart when one actually considers the alternatives presented to them. Lawrence East is too far to the north to make it a viable alternative (2.5 km - no one in their right mind is going to choose this option when they have a frequent LRT much closer to them), and fairly slow; and there is nothing south of Eglinton that would constitute a quick ride to the subway. Any cross street such as Warden or Victoria Park has to contend with buses not running in their own private lanes; there is zero chance of any of these buses being competitive to the LRT under the current road design.

I think the point of kalis0490 wasn't that the riders will go on a detour just to avoid the LRT. If someone is already on Eglinton and wants to go in the direction where the LRT goes, obviously they will board the LRT.

Rather, the concern is that people will not go out of their way to use the LRT, and therefore will not push the LRT ridership up enough. Say, someone on the southbound Vic Park bus will not transfer to ECLRT at Eglinton, but rather will stay on the bus all the way to Danforth. Or, someone at Steeles and Kipling will take a Steeles bus to Pioneer Village subway, rather than taking a shorter bus ride to Finch and then LRT to the Finch West subway.

Is that a major problem? I guess it's not. Finch will get enough riders from the existing and new highrises along the route. The Eglinton line is located centrally, and thus will have enough riders who take that line because it is the most direct option for them, rather than because it is particularly fast.
 
You really overvalue the streetcar having it's own lanes. The only real benefit that offers is the ability the skip past traffic during rush hours. Remember, this is the suburbs, and all of these modes are competing with the car. In this context, is the LRT time competitive with the car? Are people going to be riding this thing compared to if it was an el or a subway? Probably not as much.

Is the tram's ability to skip traffic not a massive boon, in and of itself? People opt to drive their car in the suburbs because they routinely see overcrowded buses having to contend with the same traffic as they are - so, if the travel time isn't any faster, why take transit, when they have the comfort and privacy of their own car? But if they see an LRT zooming by while they rot in traffic, they may reconsider.

If you want a rapid crosstown route that leads from Scarborough to Pearson, the use of LRT technology is even more questionable.

Why can't it be both a crosstown route and a local service provider? The choice of rolling stock should depend on what the demand is in the given corridor, not far how it goes. The original proposed Downtown Relief Line was supposed to be a mere 7.4 km, so I guess by that logic it would have been sufficient to stick streetcars on it, right?

A subway is a fully grade separated and isolated corridor where interference isn't expected to happen. Nobody is expected to ever cross the tracks, no vehicle is ever expected to drive over the tracks, it's completely isolated.
This is incorrect; it's isolated from interfering traffic, and if it's in a tunnel it's isolated from the weather conditions (provided the tunnel is built correctly, a watermain doesn't burst, etc). Everything else that I described can and does happen on metro lines and can severely disrupt operations when it does.

As for the issue of cars driving over the tracks, do you think that Toronto is alone in having stupid drivers who are not aware of their surroundings? There would be no service disruptions at stations like Spadina or Queen's Quay if the tracks were set in concrete, and anyone who mistakenly drove into the tunnel was able to drive right out.

In what small towns have you ridden them?
Small towns like Prague? It has a few metro lines, but many more tram lines and you know what? Despite not being built on elevated guideways over the street or underground (some don't even have a median based ROW, they just have markings on the road indicating the lane is their own, and some run on narrow, pedestrian only roads) they are fast, efficient, and reliable.

however you wouldn't see a city like Paris building large crosstown tram routes.

I'm not sure this is a reasonably true claim to make. Paris, like many other western European cities, abandoned their trams because of a misguided belief that buses were the future, but they seem to have re-established a fairly expansive new network for themselves:


Lines like T1 and T2 seem to skirt around the edges of the Paris city centre, not unlike the Eglinton Crosstown. And their lengths are fairly similar, too...

There are other cities further east which have big populations and big tram networks, including in appreciably long crosstown routes, such as Vienna, Berlin, and Budapest, to name but three.

Also, I'm calling shenanigans on your assertion that trams only work in "small towns [sic]" like K-W where "things aren't really that far". The total length of ION to date is the same as the Eglinton Crosstown!

Meanwhile we're building almost subway where 1/4 is on the surface because????

Maybe because out in Scarborough, unlike the central parts of Eglinton, is wide enough to justify having a median based ROW instead of wasting insane amounts of money tunneling or bridging? If Eglinton was a stroad along its entire length, like it is out in the sticks, there would be zero argument for burying it at all. It would be cheaper, too.

Like please, tell me a good reason why Eglinton had to have been an LRT. Please.

Last I checked, this wasn't the topic of discussion. The topic of discussion was whether the Eglinton LRT should've been built in a median based ROW, as it is, or been fully grade separated. The mode of choice is a completely different topic. We are trying to figure out how to best make what we have work, not how to devise a time machine so we can go back 15 years and ensure the Eglinton line was built as a subway.

I don't care if Eglinton was a subway or LRT, if the city wants to waste even more money because of some misguided ideas about the nature of rapid transit, they are free to do so. I'm just offering my experiences with riding tram systems elsewhere that the lack of transit priority, while embarrassing and generally inconvenient, doesn't make this project worthless, nor does it justify spending millions more on grade separation on an extremely wide suburban street.
 
Actually that's exactly what most people will be using this corridor as. Have you ever lived in this city?

And to be honest, the use of LRT as the mode only makes sense as long you use this as the context. The moment you don't just have to go to the Yonge Subway or LIne 2, it's even more questionable. If you want a rapid crosstown route that leads from Scarborough to Pearson, the use of LRT technology is even more questionable.
TTC data showed that most transit trips in Scarborough are not headed downtown. 48% of trips are within Scarborough itself and 23% were headed downtown (not necessarily the Yonge subway). Without having more granular information, I would simply assume the same for the eastern portion of the LRT.
 
Is the tram's ability to skip traffic not a massive boon, in and of itself? People opt to drive their car in the suburbs because they routinely see overcrowded buses having to contend with the same traffic as they are - so, if the travel time isn't any faster, why take transit, when they have the comfort and privacy of their own car? But if they see an LRT zooming by while they rot in traffic, they may reconsider.
The reason people opt to drive in the suburbs is because they were designed for the car in mind, and with the long distances required to get to work, you need a fast mode of transportation. When you're in a streetcar that has to stop at every red light on top of having to stop at stations that are placed way too close together, the car becomes far more competitive and useful at all times outside of rush hour.
Why can't it be both a crosstown route and a local service provider? The choice of rolling stock should depend on what the demand is in the given corridor, not far how it goes.
Because that's fundamentally diametrically opposed. People who are travelling crosstown want to travel long distances, and thus extra stations and constant red lights hurt that goal. You can either have a more long distance express service with longer stop spacing, or a more local service with shorter stop spacing, you can't please everyone.
The original proposed Downtown Relief Line was supposed to be a mere 7.4 km, so I guess by that logic it would have been sufficient to stick streetcars on it, right?
Funny you mention that because that's quite literally what the plan was during Transit City. The initial Don Mills LRT was only going to end at Pape, however they were studying bringing it down to the portlands where it would connect to the future East Bayfront LRT. That was quickly dropped because they realized that Line 1 needed actual relief.

Ignoring that, this really isn't that big of a gotcha as you think it is. First let's address the fact that the original DRL Phase 1 only being 7.4km was a mistake, it really should've tried to at least Eglinton from the start. Even ignoring that phasing problem, the DRL was never going to "just" be 7.4km. There was already a northern extension to Sheppard, and a possible western extension to Dundas West in the works, so you really can't look at that 7.4km in isolation. Finally, let's assume that we're only talking about that 7.4km in isolation and assume that no extension would ever be needed anywhAlso, I'm calling shenanigans on your assertion that trams only work in "small towns [sic]" like K-W where "things aren't really that far". The total length of ION to date is the same as the Eglinton Crosstown!ere. You know what? Streetcars on that corridor would probably be fine - of course it's not just the 7.4km.
This is incorrect; it's isolated from interfering traffic, and if it's in a tunnel it's isolated from the weather conditions (provided the tunnel is built correctly, a watermain doesn't burst, etc). Everything else that I described can and does happen on metro lines and can severely disrupt operations when it does.
I'm not talking about the possibility of something happening, I'm talking about the likelihood. People walk on Subway tracks all the time, there's nothing new about that. But the chance that something goes wrong, whether it's an accident or pedestrians JWalking is increased exponentially when you're in an environment like the surface section of Eglinton. Now you are running trains on street in suburbs where the possibility of a car ramming and tboning you is always looming. This isn't a binary issue.
As for the issue of cars driving over the tracks, do you think that Toronto is alone in having stupid drivers who are not aware of their surroundings? There would be no service disruptions at stations like Spadina or Queen's Quay if the tracks were set in concrete, and anyone who mistakenly drove into the tunnel was able to drive right out.
Who said anything about alone? I'm talking about the drivers we do have, and the precedent we have in our own. Also embedding the tracks (which won't happen by the way) doesn't solve the problem. If anything it just gives a green light for people to for instance use Science Center as a way to avoid the Don Mills intersection.
Small towns like Prague? It has a few metro lines, but many more tram lines and you know what? Despite not being built on elevated guideways over the street or underground (some don't even have a median based ROW, they just have markings on the road indicating the lane is their own, and some run on narrow, pedestrian only roads) they are fast, efficient, and reliable.
Prague has a population that is 3x smaller, and an urban area that is 6x smaller. In fact, if we just include the central Eglinton Crosstown and Eglinton West Line lengths at ~28km, it looks like this on a map of Prague:
1659715105095.png

This is before we include the possible eastern extension (although that could be a separate line at this point), or eventually replacing the Mississauga Transitway in the west. In other words, yes Prague is small when compared to Toronto.
I'm not sure this is a reasonably true claim to make. Paris, like many other western European cities, abandoned their trams because of a misguided belief that buses were the future, but they seem to have re-established a fairly expansive new network for themselves:
Paris' trams aren't pretending to be Metro Lines, and certainly aren't crosstown routes. Whilst they are long, nobody uses them to travel end to end because there is usually a metro or RER line to connect to. Eglinton meanwhile wants to be a backbone of the Toronto transit network, they simply cannot be compared
Maybe because out in Scarborough, unlike the central parts of Eglinton, is wide enough to justify having a median based ROW instead of wasting insane amounts of money tunneling or bridging? If Eglinton was a stroad along its entire length, like it is out in the sticks, there would be zero argument for burying it at all. It would be cheaper, too.
It also means it's wide enough to have an elevated guideway like Vancouver and not cause any problems with shadowing like you see in cities like NYC.
Also, I'm calling shenanigans on your assertion that trams only work in "small towns [sic]" like K-W where "things aren't really that far". The total length of ION to date is the same as the Eglinton Crosstown!
You know what, KW actually has problems with this as well. Part of what makes it long is the fact that's really windy with many curves, and guess what, the fastest way to get end to end (Conastoga to Fairview) isn't even on the LRT, but on the mixed traffic 7 bus.
Last I checked, this wasn't the topic of discussion. The topic of discussion was whether the Eglinton LRT should've been built in a median based ROW, as it is, or been fully grade separated. The mode of choice is a completely different topic. We are trying to figure out how to best make what we have work, not how to devise a time machine so we can go back 15 years and ensure the Eglinton line was built as a subway.
If it was built grade separated, it shouldn't be an LRT end of story, Ottawa shouldn't be an example to follow.
TTC data showed that most transit trips in Scarborough are not headed downtown. 48% of trips are within Scarborough itself and 23% were headed downtown (not necessarily the Yonge subway). Without having more granular information, I would simply assume the same for the eastern portion of the LRT.
That's because Scarborough is massive. Someone living at Finch/Markham or Rouge Hill is unlikely to use the TTC to get downtown, compared to say, taking the TTC Bus to Agincourt or Rouge Hill, and taking the GO train downtown. Hey guess what, that counts as a trip within Scarborough as far as the TTC is concerned. In fact, considering the size of Scarborough, 23% heading downtown on the TTC is actually a lot.
 
I don't think either side of this debate is going to be able to persuade anyone to their side. We've had countless arguments about this since the inception of this thread.

We're within 1 year of the line opening. We'll know within a few months of opening date what the average speeds are for the surface section and the underground section, and we can confer again to see how all of our assumptions and analyses fared.
 
For the money we spent on this line, we could have had a TTC grade metro line from Mt Dennis to Kennedy with half the stops but twice the capacity and twice the speed.

The tunnels are subway sized, we just filled them in with concrete for the trams.

And the eastern surface section could have been an elevated subway.

Ontario Line: 11B$ for 15.6km -> 705M$ / KM

Crosstown: 12B$ for 19km -> 631M$ / KM

Thats ignoring that 6km runs along the road which means we are spending subway levels of money for half the capacity for a line that BARELY RUNS FASTER THAN THE BUS IT IS TRYING TO REPLACE.

WHY ARE THERE 3 STATIONS BETWEEN EGLINTON AND EGLINTON WEST? THE TRAM IS 100M LONG, THERE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE STATIONS EVERY 700 M.

Terrible fucking economics.

Just typing this out gets me mad.

What other midtown road can we use to create a crosstown line? Its Lawrence or St Clair and both have greater obstacles than the Eglinton corridor. Lawrence has the Bridal Path. And St Clair has the Don Valley at its widest.
 
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We should shut the line down and replace it with a real fucking subway.

We paid for a subway, had the delays of a subway and got a fucking tram that doesn't even get priority over left turning cars.
 
Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 9.49.35 AM.png


We need to remove the Hakimi Lebovic Stop.

The end of the eastbound platform is less than 50m from the end of the westbound platform of the warden station.
 
The tunnels are subway sized, we just filled them in with concrete for the trams.
Surely with the wider trains, and lack of catenary, you have to fill the tunnels a bit more Line 1 and 2 trains.

So many other misleading comments - but this one really jumped out.

Also, why not just make one big post, rather than 3 consecutive posts about this project?
 

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