Pearson Transit Hub | ?m | ?s | GTAA

mdrejhon

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^ I think that opportunity is simply gone, unless the GTAA and Metrolinx play Sim City like China or Dubai. It's simply not politically justifiable to rip up a spur which is still brand new. But it's definitely within GTAA's interest to reduce congestion on surrounding roads and thus improve transit options beyond a dinky bus stop in the basement.
Metrolinx has to be involved with GTAA somehow, as Metrolinx is going to run a lot of services to that transit hub. Metrolinx won't run services if GTAA builds it somewhere that Metrolinx can't afford to get to. So Metrolinx is involved, because they control where they build the rails.

But what *does* it have to gain by hosting a transit hub on its own land? The hub will not generate by itself any revenue (aside from a convenience store on the platform). As long as travel times are reasonable, YYZ has no need to become a (ground) transit hub by itself. It has a near-monopoly of travel options of 8 million people.
GTAA and Ontario(Metrolinx) definitely needs to team up, in order to pull off such a project. There's no way to do a good Pearson Rail Hub (or two) without pulling in a lot of Metrolinx services (whether it be Eglinton Crosstown, GO trains, GO bus, UPX, RER, and probably HSR). They can't afford to let high speed trains go by (and take business away from Pearson) without building a good Pearson integration to compensate for the cannibalization (e.g. Toronto-Ottawa flight traffic may be displaced by HSR). It's in GTAA long term 30-year interest to make sure that they are involved in a Pearson Hub, even if an Ontario company (Metrolinx) ends up the one funding the building of the Hub.
 

SaugeenJunction

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Back to the basics here, do we think John Tory would even support SmartTrack/RER running along the Weston Sub, then some how connecting to Pearson verses his current Eglinton heavy rail plan terminating at the "Airport Corperate Centre" South? By keeping SmartTrack on the Weston Sub there is alot more of a chance of really creating a "Union Station North". Will Tory play ball and plan for the future?
 

mdrejhon

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HSR trains typically only reach their top speeds in the countryside and slow down significantly in major urban centres. I recall seeing somewhere that the Weston sub rebuild supports 120 km/h (not totally sure on that number), so HSR trains won't be going any faster than that anyway. There's no reason that a tunnel through the airport couldn't be built to the same standard.
Correct. However, we're also concerned about Kitchener and London performance, as HSR does not serve just Pearson. Curves towards Pearson will slow service from Union to Kitchener, and vice-versa. So HSR will probably continue onwards on its existing alignment, and we'll need some form of an upgraded LINK (or an upgraded electric UPX that replaces LINK) to provide extremely frequent rapid transit.

The experience can be seamless if the Pearson Rail Hub (at Woodbine) is built to be high tech, ultramodern, fancy, and with ultra-frequent train service (2-3min headways) to all of the Pearson concourses. 12-15 minute high speed train every 15 minutes to Perason Hub, then an average 1-2 minute wait, then you're in a Pearson concourse in a few more minutes. Would beat UPX, if the infrastructure is designed as su9ch, and would prevent cannibalizing the speed of Kitchener/London HSR service.

And we already have a corridor straight enough between Georgetown and Weston curve, to achieve 250kph, especially if the curve under the 407 is slightly straightened (there's enough greenfield there to double or triple the rail curve radii, to keep a train nearer to 200kph+). S9 Pearson travellers coming from the west, could be zooming pretty fast after Georgetown heading eastwards towards Pearson, if the high speed track was set up as such, and the residential area puts up with that.
 

mdrejhon

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Back to the basics here, do we think John Tory would even support SmartTrack/RER running along the Weston Sub, then some how connecting to Pearson verses his current Eglinton heavy rail plan terminating at the "Airport Corperate Centre" South? By keeping SmartTrack on the Weston Sub there is alot more of a chance of really creating a "Union Station North". Will Tory play ball and plan for the future?
SmartTrack Eglinton (original Tory plan) and SmartTrack Bramalea (GO RER plan) is not necessarily mutually exclusive. The SmartTrack trains would be every 7.5 minutes to Weston, then every other train continue alternatingly down Eglinton versus down towards Bramalea (With a Pearson Hub stop).
 

Komiksulo

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Maybe a first step towards a Malton hub would be to build a westward-facing curve from the UPX spur to the mainline so that a shuttle from Malton could get to Pearson? But still, extending the UPX spur in any way would require a complete rebuild of Pearson UPX station. At the least.
 

wopchop

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Maybe a first step towards a Malton hub would be to build a westward-facing curve from the UPX spur to the mainline so that a shuttle from Malton could get to Pearson? But still, extending the UPX spur in any way would require a complete rebuild of Pearson UPX station. At the least.
Unless you avoided reconstructing the Terminal 1 station totally. They could build two westward facing curves, one that connects the UPX spur to westbound rail corridor, and one that turns westward to Terminal 3. In effect, you would have a Y-spur, where the lines deviate, radiating from just north of airport road, east of Viscount Parking Garage. Or, you build an entirely new spur that curves around the northwest side of Viscount and down Network Road.

For reference, the construction cost for the Spur + Pearson station was $128.7m (2010$)
 
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diminutive

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The whole 'transit-to-the-airport' thing really can become the great white whale of transit planning. As far as overall transit problems facing the GTA, transit to and from the airport is really pretty low on the list in terms of importance. That doesn't mean never invest in transit to Pearson, but 90% of the proposals here are completely overkill for the number of people who will ever ride them. Even the Crosstown extension to YYZ was overkill. Yet here we're talking about HSR, the Finch LRT and god knows what else.

Also, everything in the GTA is a 'hub' now. Apparently there are 51 "mobility hubs" in the GTA. Just calling something a hub doesn't mean there is enough passenger demand to warrant big capital projects.

If any airport needs improvements in transit connections, it's probably YTZ. Considering it's right downtown it's insane how many passengers rely on cabs to get there. And unlike Pearson, the area around YTZ isn't an industrial expanse, so any investment would kill more than one bird.
 

Komiksulo

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If any airport needs improvements in transit connections, it's probably YTZ. Considering it's right downtown it's insane how many passengers rely on cabs to get there. And unlike Pearson, the area around YTZ isn't an industrial expanse, so any investment would kill more than one bird.
Start with signage. Where, exactly, do you pick up a shuttle bus at Union to go to the Island airport? I have no idea. Front St? The bus terminal? The south entrance?

If you take the streetcar, you get off the 509 at the corner of Bathurst and Queen's Quay and walk past the park to the entrance. Is there signage directing people there?

What further improvements could be made?
 

Komiksulo

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And another thing about Pearson... Is it even *possible* to walk or ride a bike to the terminals? I know there was a walkway off Airport Road that led to steps and a stop for the inter-terminal buses, but it was closed for construction when I went by there a few days ago, and there seemed to be no other option. Are we supposed to walk or ride to the Viscount Rd Link station?
 

crs1026

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I'm not in favuor of making ever last inch of the city bike friendly....or pedestrian friendly, for that matter. There will never be that many people combining air and bike travel. (yes, it can be done, but realistically, why would you?)

The airport terminals are (by design) a long way from anything - and most travellers take luggage. Next time I cram myself into one of those tiny little Rouge seats, I don't want a sweaty long distance cyclist sitting next to me :)

- Paul
 

mdrejhon

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The airport terminals are (by design) a long way from anything - and most travellers take luggage. Next time I cram myself into one of those tiny little Rouge seats, I don't want a sweaty long distance cyclist sitting next to me :)
All those in favour of adding a bike lane to the Pearson airport runways, please raise your hand!

Next vote: Whether or not to put a bikeshare station at the northeast corner of the taxiway connecting to Runway 14.

(I actually have a SoBi membership).
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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Where would you propose the tunnel start, and the tunnel ends? It's a worthy debate.

If the tunnel is short, those are rather sharp curves away from the existing surface rail corridor that forces a high speed train to slow down significantly. Best to not bother building the tunnel, if it is going to slow down the HSR train. Waste of money if the tunnel causes the HSR train to arrive later, no? You can make up the speed difference using a high-performance fast LINK upgrade, versus a tunnel curve forcing a HSR train to go slow. Look at how straight the railroad is north of Pearson. A high speed train takes 15 kilometers to accelerate to 300kph, and that's a straight line.

I would start the tunnel East of Etobicoke North station, around Islington/401 and run it under the 401 to Dixon, under Dixon to Pearson. The sharpest curve would be the transition from/to the existing Georgetown S tracks to the tunnel under 401.

*Additional thought*

Removing the heavy rail requirement (HSR/Inter city trains), perhaps the best option for other services (LRT, BRT, Bus) to the airport to connect at a hub is to build said hub at the surface parking lot by the Link train station. Riders would used the Link train to get to the terminal, would streamline airport service for transit agencies.
 
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crs1026

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The whole 'transit-to-the-airport' thing really can become the great white whale of transit planning. As far as overall transit problems facing the GTA, transit to and from the airport is really pretty low on the list in terms of importance. That doesn't mean never invest in transit to Pearson, but 90% of the proposals here are completely overkill for the number of people who will ever ride them. Even the Crosstown extension to YYZ was overkill. Yet here we're talking about HSR, the Finch LRT and god knows what else.

Also, everything in the GTA is a 'hub' now. Apparently there are 51 "mobility hubs" in the GTA. Just calling something a hub doesn't mean there is enough passenger demand to warrant big capital projects.

If any airport needs improvements in transit connections, it's probably YTZ. Considering it's right downtown it's insane how many passengers rely on cabs to get there. And unlike Pearson, the area around YTZ isn't an industrial expanse, so any investment would kill more than one bird.

Some very good points (hey, no fair injecting a dose of reality into a good discussion!).

A single rail station somewhere on the Weston Sub, a single link between it and the airport, a single link to transit on Eglinton, and appropriate transfer points and infrastructure for BT, MiWay, and TTC routes (with these bus routes being rationalised to a more seamless optimal network) is all we ought to be talking about. (BTW many transit professionals wince at the use of the term 'hub' - it tends to separate the theorists and politicians from those who actually do stuff. Real Transit Pro's prefer to talk about 'transfer points', which in their minds is little more than a pad of concrete, some lights and shelters, and signage....nothing Taj-Mahalish)

I disagree that it's not a priority however. The airport area is one of the GTA's most job-intensive areas, and it's horrendously traffic-congested. Better transit has a big potential contribution here. As for air travellers, linkages that would reduce automobile traffic to the airport also have high priority. I'm not embarassed to be thinking about how to best utilise the lines that will be build anyways - ECLRT, RER, Finch LRT - but I agree that we should not be dreaming up new, additional, money-needing routings or infrastructure. Much of what is being dreamed of can be achieved with bus shuttles - not nearly as sexy, but an order of magnitude cheaper.

- Paul
 

mdrejhon

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Agreed that the importance of this hub is relatively low at the moment, but when it becomes a station on the high speed train route, then, now the ballgame changes.

The Pearson Hub(s) borders into the realm of a grand long-term plan -- considering the idea of 700 redevelopable acres right near the airport -- and the Pearson Hub stop of the high speed train.

So it's a white elephant idea today, but won't be in perhaps 2040. That said, it's never too early to begin planning for a simple RER platform that has the ability to interchange with other transit (e.g. UPX) with land provisions for large future expansions over the following 20-30 years.
 
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