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Union Station Revitalization | ?m | ?s | City of Toronto | NORR

Student99

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Those now-irreplaceable shots are wonderful. They belong in an archive somewhere. The best way to preserve heritage is to capture it before it’s gone.

- Paul
Agreed!
I wish they could have saved part of the old concourse, or elements of it. Way more interesting than the "historic" Via concourse, IMO.

Also, the food court seating looks really uncomfortable. No padding on any seats?! None in GO concourse either. I guess they want to deter people from lingering too long.
 

W. K. Lis

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Agreed!
I wish they could have saved part of the old concourse, or elements of it. Way more interesting than the "historic" Via concourse, IMO.

Also, the food court seating looks really uncomfortable. No padding on any seats?! None in GO concourse either. I guess they want to deter people from lingering too long.
More likely so that patrons do not set up "offices" in the food court.
 

WillTo

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Agreed!
Also, the food court seating looks really uncomfortable. No padding on any seats?! None in GO concourse either. I guess they want to deter people from lingering too long.
No power at the tables either :-( Only the bar stools
 

Miscreant

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Agreed!
I wish they could have saved part of the old concourse, or elements of it. Way more interesting than the "historic" Via concourse, IMO.

Also, the food court seating looks really uncomfortable. No padding on any seats?! None in GO concourse either. I guess they want to deter people from lingering too long.
I think padding in food court seats is pretty uncommon.
 

DatTranzitGuy

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I'd forgotten which string it was that I made the claim that the step risers and tread didn't look up to modern building code. I was down there last week, and measured them. Much to my surprise, they are, from memory, a 7" rise and 10.5" tread. There's still something very wrong with them though, and the description "fire escape-like stairs" is completely apt. Someone somewhere must have posted an analysis on-line.

Edit to Add: Thinking about how the same challenge was handled on the Bay Street Concourse , the answer, and it was an interesting one, was to use a common landing between the flights of steps such that an airy space and sense of easy flow happened. The devil for the York ones is the *confinement*. It's psychology, not actual step infrastructure, that's the problem. It's a serious spatial design flaw, and could perhaps be fixed next revamp just by joining the landings into a congruent mall. That would also disburse crowding load too when some platforms are full, others not, just as happens (or happened, God help us if they've changed it) at the Bay concourse.

What a world of difference! And to me, this look, like some of the University Subway stations (Dupont immediately comes to mind) is still inviting, and highly functional.

Those stairs look wider, I'll measure any differences when the Bay Concourse opens again.

In all fairness, ceiling height looks to be different, but I'll measure that too given the next chance.
Is the bottom picture in the bay concourse?
 

Richard White

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Actually no in this case - Metrolinx/GO is notoriously resistant to having escalators - and I don't believe they are responsible for that portion of the project anyways.

AoD
Metrolinx and GO are resistant because of an issue that occurred in the Bay Concourse in 2006. In November 2006, an escalator malfunctioned in rush hour causing serious injuries sending 8 people to hospital. The escalator was working fine until all of a sudden it sped up and everyone was piled on top of each other at the bottom. See here: https://toronto.citynews.ca/2006/11/09/emotional-witness-recalls-scary-union-station-escalator-accident-that-sent-eight-to-hospital/

The problem was that a train had let out and everyone was using the escalator to get from the platform to the concourse.

The incident highlighted the fact it may be unsafe and unwise to have an train disembark using an escalator. Some people walk faster than others and if you have 1500 people trying to use an escalator accidents can and in that case did happen. It is safer to use stairs than it is an escalator. With stairs you can stop and wait for people to walk down them but with an escalator you are forced to keep moving into people no matter if they are off it or not.

Given the high passenger volumes at Union (and various other stations), GO transit refused to build escalators for liability reasons. I do believe they even removed the ones they had.
 

steveintoronto

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The incident highlighted the fact it may be unsafe and unwise to have an train disembark using an escalator.
Some people walk faster than others and if you have 1500 people trying to use an escalator accidents can and in that case did happen. It is safer to use stairs than it is an escalator.
This is interesting, especially in light of the present 'best practice' in other jurisdictions. I was Googling to get some background, and oddly, first hit was this:
Here's Why Elevators Are Safer Than Escalators. Don't believe everything you see in horror movies. ... However, the odds you'll actually be injured in an elevator are relatively slim. In fact, if you're going to be injured moving between floors, an escalator is likely to be the culprit.Sep 18, 2018
Here's Why Elevators Are Safer Than Escalators - Best Life
https://bestlifeonline.com/elevator-escalator-safety/

As to the stairs vs escalator point: It all comes down to the ergonomics of the stairs, and the psychology of spatial awareness. Anecdotally, many folks I've spoken with have an issue with the York Concourse steps/stairs. There's something peculiar about them. I dread using them when going down with a bike or a dog. At the very least, they are 'unintuitive', which lends itself to people second-guessing their next step, highly dangerous in itself, especially in crowds.

Interesting discussion here: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k9001781-Subway_access_stairs_or_escalators-New_York_City_New_York.html

And some jurisdictions still rely on escalators to move massive numbers of people:
The LIRR terminal would initially be accessed via stairwells, 22 elevators, and 47 escalators connecting to the existing food court at the lower level of Grand Central. The number of elevators in this terminal would exceed the 19 escalators in the remainder of the LIRR system combined.[8] The MTA would build and open additional entrances at 44th, 45th, 47th, and 48th Streets, as well as connect the new station to the existing 47th Street concourse.[9]:3[10] The escalators would be up to 180 feet (55 m) long and descend more than 90 feet (27 m). The escalators and elevators would be one of the few privately operated escalators and elevators in the entire MTA system.[8]
[...]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Side_Access

Crossrail is installing a whopping 81 new escalators across the network. Canary Wharf comes out the winner here, boasting 17 new escalators, more than any other single station. The longest escalator is at Bond Street, a 60 metre bad boy that brings passengers down to platform level 25.7 metres below.Aug 16, 2017
In Photos: Installing Crossrail's Escalators | Londonist
https://londonist.com/london/transport/in-photos-installing-crossrail-s-escalators

It might be time for Metrolinx to re-examine their reputed policy...
 
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steveintoronto

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There will be escalators in the new Union Bus Terminal.
I'm finding references to escalators in a number of Metrolinx projects. Short on time to reference, but here's some:
Keelesdale (formerly Keele) Station | Crosstown

www.thecrosstown.ca › The Project › Stations and Stops

May 4, 2018 - Keelesdale Station will be an underground station located at the intersection of ... Thestation will include an off-street bus loop with four bus bays to serve TTC buses. ... floors and allstations will have main entrances with elevators and escalators for passenger accessibility. ... Copyright © 2018 - Metrolinx.

Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit, Toronto - Railway Technology

https://www.railway-technology.com/.../eglinton-crosstown-light-rail-transit-toronto/

Up to 54 bus routes, three subway stations and several GO Transit lines will be ... The main entrances of all the stations will be equipped with lifts and escalators.

City, Metrolinx Reveal Early Plans for 6 SmartTrack Stations | Urban ...

urbantoronto.ca/news/2017/10/city-metrolinx-reveal-early-plans-6-smarttrack-stations

Oct 11, 2017 - The city proposes six new SmartTrack stations; Metrolinx proposes two ... overpass and then descend to track level by elevator or escalator.
[...]
- Google search for "Metrolinx escalators", lots more hits.

Not to mention that Union Station has escalators! The one down from the main hall to the GO York Concourse is an excellent example, I know it all too well as with a dog, you avoid each and all escalators (toe nails get caught).

And I do believe...tada...escalators down from the York Concourse to the food level.
 

Richard White

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I'm finding references to escalators in a number of Metrolinx projects. Short on time to reference, but here's some:
- Google search for "Metrolinx escalators", lots more hits.

Not to mention that Union Station has escalators! The one down from the main hall to the GO York Concourse is an excellent example, I know it all too well as with a dog, you avoid each and all escalators (toe nails get caught).

And I do believe...tada...escalators down from the York Concourse to the food level.
Union station itself has escalators but they are far from imminent passenger traffic. They are in the food court and the exit from the York Concourse which do not see thousands of people in a span of a few minutes.

The one escalator that GO transit had thrust upon them is on track 25 which I believe was a former VIA track. They have someone at the bottom at all times during operation to prevent a catastrophe. If there is an issue the person is there to shut the escalator down immediately. The escalator is there by force, not by choice and as it is part of the station (which is owned by the City of Toronto and not GO transit) it has to stay.

Even VIA rail has attendants at the bottom of all their escalators to prevent people from being trampled.
 

steveintoronto

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Even VIA rail has attendants at the bottom of all their escalators to prevent people from being trampled.
You're 'objective reasoning' leaves a lot to be desired.

Persons with disabilities or tired and weary after a long trek would need even more than that at the bottom of a difficult set of stairs. "Ah, but there's the elevators" some might respond. Sure are, for escalator users too.

Why would Metrolinx and others, quite a few who are considerably more 'leading edge' than Metrolinx, still not only use escalators, but use them profusely?

The alternative in many modern stations isn't stairs, albeit logic alone dictates their being available, but elevators are returning in great numbers. Even Onion is using them, albeit like all on the TTC, Metrolinx and Onion, they're as slow as a turtle stuck in molasses...on a good day.

The point remains: There's something very wrong about the stairs to platforms provided within the glass cowls on the York Concourse.

They are of a configuration I haven't seen elsewhere on Metrolinx or the TTC. Or anywhere for that matter other than emergency exits.

And to think that somehow they're safer than an in-line escalator (which also isn't perfectly safe) is fantasy.

I've just searched yet again for this 'Metrolinx policy against escalators'. I can't find it. Anyone have a link or written reference?
 

steveintoronto

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Most likely, it is best to avoid or split up l-o-n-g escalators. For maintenance and safety reasons, to have shorter escalators.
Absolutely, albeit the speed change on a landing, especially for those with wheeled baggage, would be disruptive of overall flow and balance. You're on the right track though, as this is required on stairs, not on escalators, the reason being that the dangers of continuous flights of steps are known and recognized.

I can see under crush conditions far more danger with steps, especially as the ability to 'stand to one side' to traverse the distance isn't available for some odd reason on stairs. Jedis excepted.

Meantime those backward Germans are so behind the times:
Daily press, 2016-01-21, 10:02 AM

Modern escalators for metro network: thyssenkrupp wins major order in Munich
  • 102 escalators for MVG-local transport network in Munich
  • Record order intake in Germany
  • Shifting transport from road to rail a central challenge for major cities
  • [...]
  • Innovations for megatrends
    Many major cities find themselves weighed down by an increasingly overloaded infrastructure coupled with a growing population. Shifting transport in the city from road to rail is a central challenge. thyssenkrupp supports cities around the world with innovative solutions meeting the requirements of urbanization. “We want to jointly address the challenges of urbanization with our customers. It is essential to find new solutions for inner-city transport which save time and reduce consumption of energy and environmental resources” Tietze says.

    For example, by enhancing access to existing metro stations, the ACCEL transportation system has the potential to draw commuters who previously shunned public transport because they are not within easy reach of a station. Applying linear motor technology from the Transrapid magnetic train, ACCEL can transport as many passengers as typical fully automated cabin systems, move up to 7,300 passengers per hour per direction. By creating new access points, ACCEL is capable of increasing the catchment area of each station and therefore the number of passengers by up to 30 percent. With ACCEL, the capacity utilization of metro systems throughout the world can be maximized, offering an alternative to the cost-intensive construction of new stations or interconnecting underground passageways. Another advantage: The number of vehicles on the road would also drop.[...]
I'm sure Doug Ford will put a stop to this!
ESCALATOR MODERNIZATION
If you’re starting to face problems with your escalators, our modernization solutions will increase their lifespan, giving you the flexibility of replacing the entire installation or just individual components. This will ensure your escalators comply with the latest standards and are as energy efficient, safe, and reliable as possible.
[...]
IMPROVED SAFETY
Safety is the starting point of every KONE escalator and autowalk. By modernizing, you can make your escalator even safer. We offer a full set of safety upgrades and modular modernization packages covering electrification, the step chain, drive, and aesthetics. With investing to safety upgrades you can bring your equipment in line with the latest safety codes and standards –giving you and your customers more peace of mind.
http://www.urban-hub.com/cities/the-rise-of-the-modern-escalator-a-city-staple/
 
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