Ontario Line | ?m | ?s

TopOfRail

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 4, 2022
Messages
9
Reaction score
13
But that's the thing, what have the engineering firms done to earn my trust? Lets look at the currently ongoing public transit improvements in Toronto and my engineering gripes with them:
  • Eglinton West LRT extension - The EPR Addendum is written solely to support the underground+elevated option that was championed by Doug Ford. The alternatives presented were non-sensical and made the underground+elevated option the preferred choice by default. The daily boarding for the current proposal is 5,000 riders lower than the surface LRT option, while being billions more expensive. How is that sound engineering design decision making?
  • Eglinton West LRT extension - Arguably the widest ROW in all of Toronto, but only elevated for 1.3 km of the total 9.2 km length. Elevated is handily cheaper than tunneling. Granted the elevated portion is to get past the Humber River, which is logical. But why not elevate for the rest of Eglinton as well where there is tons of space to do so?
  • Scarborough extension - Again, wide ROWs, but deep stations with zero attempt to look at elevated. The station at Lawrence and McCowan is, I believe, one of the deepest in Toronto. This is to get below river in that area, but Metrolinx went elevated for the Eglinton West LRT, why are they tunneling deep in this location? They aren't even being consistent with their design decisions.
  • Yonge North extension - The distance between the end of the Bridge station and beginning of the High Tech station is around 300m. Stations are one of the most expensive parts of transit building in Toronto, they're building 2 stations within 500 m of each other in the outer fringe of the city. Where is the sound engineering decision making evident in this?
The above are only some of the reasons why I don't trust the city/Province's design decision making process. I don't doubt the skill of the engineers involved in these projects, just that they're decisions are made for them by politicians and others that don't know how to make design decisions. And the engineers are forced to manipulate the numbers to support these decisions.
I agree with a lot of your points. I think the vision for many projects has already been determined before it meets RFQ for engineering design. This is a massive failure on the part of political involvement in what should be an apolitical process. One thing I don't understand is how Metrolinx can back projects that have BCRs of less than 1. A PDBC that yields something more costly than beneficial... shouldn't be built? Let's be frank, this is also the most optimistic point in the project - the cost tends to only go up from this point. I think this happens too often and I'm surprised not more has been critiqued about this in the press. Contrastingly, I find it intriguing to see how CDPQi approach(ed) REM expansions in Montreal, with an albeit brutal but efficient objective - even inciting the dismay of some architectural firms. I guess it didn't work out so well for them either...

On the topic of deep stations, one has to consider the throughput of passengers in these circumstances as well as time. If reachable only by high-speed elevator, you may require a multitude of elevators in order to meet the capacity of stairs or escalators. Not to mention reliability and maintenance. With depth, also comes journey time: it physically takes longer to transfer and navigate. But at the same time, this can also be used as a people movement benefit. There is an interesting case study which I believe is implemented in the London Underground, where making the route longer can reduce crush capacity instances. Consider making the journey from fare gate to platform longer for embarking passengers and much shorter for disembarking passengers. LU has used their tunnels and wayfinding to great effect for this. There is a strange elegance in creating small inefficiencies to create a wider system efficiency that I find is lacking in the modern ethos for design. The symmetry in the snapshot is wonderful, however I often wonder if this generic approach is "good enough".
 

TossYourJacket

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
2,853
Location
Church-Wellesley
Eglinton West LRT extension - The EPR Addendum is written solely to support the underground+elevated option that was championed by Doug Ford. The alternatives presented were non-sensical and made the underground+elevated option the preferred choice by default. The daily boarding for the current proposal is 5,000 riders lower than the surface LRT option, while being billions more expensive. How is that sound engineering design decision making?
Amusingly, the city report on the same project did exactly the same thing, but proposed non-sensical underground/elevated designs to justify council's preferred option of running the LRT in the median. I'm not sure we've ever gotten a non-baised assessment of the design of that line.
 

Allandale25

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
7,885
Reaction score
11,843
Although not substantial construction, I find these updates interesting for what preliminary work/investigations are happening. A recent sample from this month (PDFs trimmed for space. Source.)

1660941513390.png

1660941537561.png

1660941822370.png
 

ARG1

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
2,141
Reaction score
5,236
Location
Ottawa
To be fair, I don't support SCC needing to be 25m below ground either. Scarborough has literally the widest streets in all of Toronto, which is ripe for either cut-and-cover shallow stations or elevation.

Also, this is a horrible argument: "they're doing it in other projects, why not here?"
A bad engineering decision is a bad engineering decision regardless of where it is being implemented.

With regards to Queen and Osgoode stations, I do understand why they'd rather go that deep than deal with the myriad of engineering challenges with a shallow tunnel, but it more seems like there is no proper decision making process.

How much more expensive is it to have shallow tunnels between University and Yonge streets vs the currently proposed deep tunnels?
How much time is saved by going shallow vs going deep and having the passengers traverse 4 sets of elevators/stairs to get between lines?

It would be super easy for Metrolinx to nix any naysayers by providing the cost-benefit analysis of shallow vs deep tunnels. If it's going to cost (just for an example) $5 billion extra to tunnel shallow, then it's a moot point to support shallow tunnels. But they don't provide any of their decision making processes and that makes me suspicious if they even do any proper cost-benefit analysis for the different options.
The problem is that deep for the sake of being deep is becoming a bigger and bigger issue these days, especially in North America. Look at projects like Silicon Valley BART, Seattle's 2nd Subway, or NYC's SAS. These projects are built super deep with deep stations simply because politicians don't want their constituents to be '"negatively impacted by construction", which means minimal surface impact. All these projects could be built far shallower and far more convenient for general use. With the context in mind, it's also easy to assume that the same thing is being done with the Ontario Line, whether or not that's true only the engineers know.
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
8,580
Reaction score
15,538
^After the Crosstown experience, I defy anyone to prove that deep tunnelling prevents anyone from being “negatively impacted by construction”.

At the same time, we know that in our downtown, the OL tunnel cannot be shallow. It makes good sense not to disturb all the utilities and foundations that cut and cover would encounter. Excavating to the inevitable depth required would be expensive and hugely intrusive.

Plus, I’m guessing that as a percentage of overall project cost, the expense of the insertion and extraction shafts is large - such that the cost of an incremental mile or two of tunnel is attractive once the sunk costs (so to speak) of those two end shafts are assumed. And the end shafts have to be situated where most appropriate for the surface environment. However, there must be a tipping point where the added expense for deeper station shafts overtakes the cost of cut and cover where it is feasible. The entire project doesn’t have to be tbm’d just because part of the line must be tbm’ed.

- Paul
 

smallspy

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
5,162
Reaction score
6,661
^After the Crosstown experience, I defy anyone to prove that deep tunnelling prevents anyone from being “negatively impacted by construction”.

At the same time, we know that in our downtown, the OL tunnel cannot be shallow. It makes good sense not to disturb all the utilities and foundations that cut and cover would encounter. Excavating to the inevitable depth required would be expensive and hugely intrusive.

Plus, I’m guessing that as a percentage of overall project cost, the expense of the insertion and extraction shafts is large - such that the cost of an incremental mile or two of tunnel is attractive once the sunk costs (so to speak) of those two end shafts are assumed. And the end shafts have to be situated where most appropriate for the surface environment. However, there must be a tipping point where the added expense for deeper station shafts overtakes the cost of cut and cover where it is feasible. The entire project doesn’t have to be tbm’d just because part of the line must be tbm’ed.

- Paul
I don't think that anyone is realistically suggesting that cut-and-cover is the best way to build the downtown sections of the Ontario Line.

However, there is an argument to be made about tunnelling closer to the surface (but not as shallow as cut-and-cover), especially with the connections to the Yonge and University Lines. It seems penny-wise-yet-pound-foolish to build something for the sake of building it easier, rather than building it the utility for which it was originally envisioned. Building it shallower - which would involve Yonge-Eglinton-style construction for many years, it's true - would greatly improve the connections between the lines, which is one of the purposes for which the line was conceived.

Dan
 

JasonParis

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
Reaction score
2,226
Location
Corktown
There are a few, but Covent Garden station is one. Used it before - not the greatest experience when I was, but it did the job. Not sure if the system is up to handling any serious rush hour crowds though.

AoD
You can take the stairs at CG too, but most just queue for the lifts.
 

Rainforest

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
4,922
Reaction score
2,962
But that's the thing, what have the engineering firms done to earn my trust? Lets look at the currently ongoing public transit improvements in Toronto and my engineering gripes with them:
  • Eglinton West LRT extension - The EPR Addendum is written solely to support the underground+elevated option that was championed by Doug Ford. The alternatives presented were non-sensical and made the underground+elevated option the preferred choice by default. The daily boarding for the current proposal is 5,000 riders lower than the surface LRT option, while being billions more expensive. How is that sound engineering design decision making?
  • Eglinton West LRT extension - Arguably the widest ROW in all of Toronto, but only elevated for 1.3 km of the total 9.2 km length. Elevated is handily cheaper than tunneling. Granted the elevated portion is to get past the Humber River, which is logical. But why not elevate for the rest of Eglinton as well where there is tons of space to do so?
  • Scarborough extension - Again, wide ROWs, but deep stations with zero attempt to look at elevated. The station at Lawrence and McCowan is, I believe, one of the deepest in Toronto. This is to get below river in that area, but Metrolinx went elevated for the Eglinton West LRT, why are they tunneling deep in this location? They aren't even being consistent with their design decisions.
  • Yonge North extension - The distance between the end of the Bridge station and beginning of the High Tech station is around 300m. Stations are one of the most expensive parts of transit building in Toronto, they're building 2 stations within 500 m of each other in the outer fringe of the city. Where is the sound engineering decision making evident in this?
The above are only some of the reasons why I don't trust the city/Province's design decision making process. I don't doubt the skill of the engineers involved in these projects, just that they're decisions are made for them by politicians and others that don't know how to make design decisions. And the engineers are forced to manipulate the numbers to support these decisions.

There is a good reason to have both the Bridge and High Tech stations on Yonge North; both will be placed entirely at the surface level in the same rail corridor, and will be a lot cheaper than a typical subway station.

And, a partial justification can be found for the underground Lawrence & McCowan station. An elevated line would conflict with the Hydro wires that cross McCowan just north of the Lawrence intersection. Although in that case, there is a feeling that they just didn't want to explore any alternatives. They could place a shallow underground station south of Lawrence, make the Lawrence lanes go on a low bridge over the emerging subway tunnel, and let the subway cross the creek on the bridge while remaining well under the wires. Or, perhaps re-route the Hydro corridor a bit.

Overall, I agree with most of your points. There is no reason to tunnel so much of the Eglinton West LRT. There is no need to place the STC station 25 m below the surface.

Yonge North rises questions, too. Metrolinx wanted to cut the cost by utilizing the Bala Sub rail corridor. But, that requires tunneling under the Royal Orchard area houses. Facing the public opposition, Metrolinx agreed to place the tunnel deeper than originally planned, and add a very expensive deep station at Royal Orchard. Taking into account the slightly greater total length, are we even saving anything compared to the original plan that had the line follow Yonge? But Metrolinx cannot back down now, their credibility is at stake.
 

LemonCondo

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 29, 2022
Messages
307
Reaction score
398
DC actually has a subway station so deep that the only way to access it is via a high speed elevator. There are no escalators/stairs other than an emergency stair well. But to your point, that'd never happen here.
Édouard-Montpetit Station on the Montreal REM will be deeper and will also not have stairs. (They have emergency stairs of course.)
 

EnviroTO

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
4,631
Reaction score
1,796
Location
Yonge & Mt.Pleasant
Metrolinx keeps commenting about some architecturally breathtaking bridge across to Don River, and includes renderings of a rather plain arch bridge. Am I missing something? Is it going to a design competition? The bridges in the Portlands redevelopment are unique and striking. A white arch bridge had been done many times before.
 

innsertnamehere

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
17,673
Reaction score
17,685
Metrolinx keeps commenting about some architecturally breathtaking bridge across to Don River, and includes renderings of a rather plain arch bridge. Am I missing something? Is it going to a design competition? The bridges in the Portlands redevelopment are unique and striking. A white arch bridge had been done many times before.
the architecturally breathtaking bridge will be the south Don River crossing by the West Don Lands, not the north ravine crossing.
 

Top