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Transit City Plan

Which transit plan do you prefer?

  • Transit City

    Votes: 87 81.3%
  • Ford City

    Votes: 20 18.7%

  • Total voters
    107

Whoaccio

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I found this comment from the Metronauts site interesting:

I grew up in London and Montreal - and didn’t lean to drive until after university. I’m not sure how much the emotional attachment is the real ‘driver’. Commuting by car loses it’s appeal pretty quick. For shopping, errands and weekend trips - certainly.

What I’ve learned about Toronto over the last few years is that it’s a very divided place. Montrealers will tell you they’re from Montreal even if they live in Laval or the South Shore. I always remember ‘Torontonians’ saying they were from Etibicoke or Mississauga’. It always seemed odd.

Now having lived here for a decade, I can see the divisions are starting to disolve somewhat. However, there is still a big crew of what I refer to as ‘downtown dinosaurs’ - if you read John Barber in the Globe, you’ll know what I’m talkng about.

The mentality is that the “‘burbs†can’t be allowed to influence things. I see Transit City as an attempt by the downtown dino’s to remake the “suburbs†in the image of some of the inner city streets: slow streetcar lines for local travel.

A cynic would see this as a way to keep those suburbanites out of the core - trap them into slowly travelling up and down their suburban street, without really helping them ‘join’ the city as a whole.

I don’t think this is the the case - at least not intentionally. It’s more a failure to put themselves in others’ shoes.

-J Albert

Transit City, social engineering at it's most devious?
 

Hipster Duck

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Whoaccio, you ought to read Jonathan E Richmond's paper "the Mythical Conception of Rail Transit in Los Angeles" available here, which chornicles how the powers that be conspired to ram a light rail agenda in the transit planning for LA in the 1980s and 1990s. As with Transit City, light rail advocates went to tremendous truth-bending lengths to prove that their mode was more favorable over investment in bus upgrades and relied on nostalgia and sentimentalism to win over politicians and legislators to the light rail cause.
 

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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LA may not be suited to light rail, but I think parts of Toronto can do it. Torontonians are used to transferring. I think if we have a network of east-west and north-south routes, everyone can get where they want with one or two transfers at most. Really, you should take one route to get as far east-west as you need to go, and one route to get as far north-south as you need to go, and that's it. Whether one is bus, light raild or subway shouldn't matter too much, but it should be based on the demand along that particular corridor. And it should be relatively consistent along that corridor. e.g. we should avoid having subway, light rail and bus along the same corridor, e.g. (my favourite example) Sheppard East.
 

kEiThZ

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Question: Will they get rid of the bus on Sheppard once the TC line is in place? With 460m stop spacing, a bus is hardly necessary. That's about 5 mins worth of walking from stop to stop.
 

DENTROBATE54

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Question: Will they get rid of the bus on Sheppard once the TC line is in place? With 460m stop spacing, a bus is hardly necessary. That's about 5 mins worth of walking from stop to stop.

West of Morningside, yes. I think they plan on veering the LRT line into Malvern T.C. and hence forego the service to Meadowvale. 13 Rouge Hill will probably be reinstated for the Morningside to Lawrence East stretch.
 

W. K. Lis

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Whoaccio, you ought to read Jonathan E Richmond's paper "the Mythical Conception of Rail Transit in Los Angeles" available here, which chornicles how the powers that be conspired to ram a light rail agenda in the transit planning for LA in the 1980s and 1990s. As with Transit City, light rail advocates went to tremendous truth-bending lengths to prove that their mode was more favorable over investment in bus upgrades and relied on nostalgia and sentimentalism to win over politicians and legislators to the light rail cause.

One of many rebuttals to Jonathan Richmond's 1996 paper: http://list.jca.apc.org/public/sustran-discuss/2005-July/003980.html
 

kEiThZ

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West of Morningside, yes. I think they plan on veering the LRT line into Malvern T.C. and hence forego the service to Meadowvale. 13 Rouge Hill will probably be reinstated for the Morningside to Lawrence East stretch.

Interesting. As currently proposed though the spur to MTC is along Neilson Rd. If they turn off for MTC, then service would have to end at Neilson. I'd like to see them take service to Morningside and then back down to Kennedy if and when the SM LRT is built. I really like the fact that this plan turns MTC into a nice mini-hub that'll vastly improve service for the north east by shortening bus trips (with quick rides to MTC) and getting people on comfortable and faster LRT and SRT earlier in their trips.
 

W. K. Lis

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From the rebuttal by Michael D. Setty, I found this quote referring to Toronto, that I found interesting. It was written, before the Transit City announcement:

Mees uses Toronto to compare with Melbourne-the latter blessed with a rail network even more extensive on a per capita basis than Tokyo, the most extensive in the Western world, despite Melbourne's relatively low density and Anglo roots. But Toronto has managed to maintain much per capita higher transit patronage than Melbourne, despite the TTC's relatively short subway and streetcar system being confined to a relatively small core area. The difference is explained by consistent funding and service policies, extensive coordination between different modes and types of service, as well as centralized regional transportation planning (at least until the most recent
neoconservative provincial government was elected!)

Toronto's most profound transportation decision was to focus on expanded transit service, not just roadways, beginning subway construction in the early 1950's. Virtually all American cities constructed freeways, with the most negative results Detroit, similar in size to Toronto but very much a social and economic basket case. Even in 2003, two decades after the last significant expansion of the Toronto subway system, the subway plays a central role in transit and transportation, serving as at least one link in about 2/3 of all linked transit trips within the old Metro Toronto boundaries. Toronto's newest challenge is to extend the same sort of transit thinking and investment--that has proven so successful during the last 50 years within old Metro Toronto to serve the outer suburbs.

[Emphasis mine.]
 

unimaginative2

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W.K. Lis, you've exactly proven the point we've all been trying to make for years. I've ridden Melbourne transit, and there is one major difference between their system and ours. Melbourne did not build a subway and instead chose to retain a streetcar network as the backbone of its system. That's why its per capita ridership is significantly lower than Toronto, despite a more extensive rail system in terms of mileage. If cities want high transit ridership, they have to offer the reliable, fast service that only fully-grade-separated rail rapid transit can provide.
 

CDL.TO

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In that rebuttal to Richmond's paper that W.K. Lis posted, the pro-Light Rail commentator mentioned the example of Sacramento.

The author states that ridership is split between the two lines, with "about 2/3 on the East Line, 1/3 on the Northeast Line (the reverse of original predictions)".

Why the discrepancy? The author states that "the East Line has exceeded all expectations, primarily due to the fact that LRT service is reasonably fast and direct". While "unlike original assumptions, the Northeast Line operates about half the speed needed to be auto-competitive, wandering up 12th Street, across the American River, and along a rather slow, indirect route until the last few miles of relatively fast running on the old I-80 Bypass right-of-way to Watt Avenue. From 12th and K Street, the trip take 23 minutes to go 7-8 miles".

The successful East line runs alongside major arterials, in a Richview corridor type fashion, and utilizes rail corridors to allow for a highly grade-separated operation that allows for high speeds. The unsuccessful Northeast line utilizes on-street and median ROW running for much of its length... what some would characterize as being "where the people are".

Although we can be sure that there is more going on than just that factor, the pro-light rail author makes it clear that travel times matter. Unfortunately, travel times is something that Transit City doesn't seem to see as important.
 

scarberiankhatru

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If the city wanted to create a Transit City where travel times matter and would help create said Transit City, they'd add Rocket bus routes to every major street. Too bad Transit City is simply a plan to add LRT lines, not to create a Transit City.
 

Hipster Duck

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W.K. Lis, you've exactly proven the point we've all been trying to make for years. I've ridden Melbourne transit, and there is one major difference between their system and ours. Melbourne did not build a subway and instead chose to retain a streetcar network as the backbone of its system. That's why its per capita ridership is significantly lower than Toronto, despite a more extensive rail system in terms of mileage. If cities want high transit ridership, they have to offer the reliable, fast service that only fully-grade-separated rail rapid transit can provide.

Exactly. Light rail, which is impeded by being a surface mode of transport, doesn't have the speed, reliability or capacity of a heavy rail, grade-separated system.

At the same time, it lacks the flexibility and circulator-like aspects of bus transportation since it is fixed to a route. To mask this, light rail planners shortern stop distances to promote walkability to stations, which severely compromises the speed of the service, but still doesn't offer a bus' flexibility of serving riders in a wide catchment area. It really is the worst of both worlds.

LA may not be suited to light rail, but I think parts of Toronto can do it.

I disagree. Outside of Toronto's dense pre-war core, the two cities have very similar ridership patterns. Toronto's outer 416 (where Transit City will be built) and Los Angeles are both hybrid transport cities where the built environment is primarily designed for private cars, but still effectively accommodates a very high bus ridership.

Light rail is not a form of transportation effectively suited to any post-war North American city, and there are very few examples of it being an unequivocal success anywhere . Calgary is the only city where I would deem LRT to have worked (at 200,000 riders it is comparable to Ottawa's busway), and that's because the system is grade-separated with metro-level station design - it is essentially a diet subway - and the proportion of employment concentrated in the CBD is one of the highest I can think of.
 

acetradamus

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Please, give Sheppard East riders a mode of transit that reduces travel time by an appreciable amount.

Expensive LRT that does little to improve travel times and frequency is not necessary and dooms the corridor to crappy slow service for decades.

All we need are some limited stop express buses, but not the fake 190 express that is shackled to a schedule which allows for too much time between stops.
Let the buses run wild.
 

Whoaccio

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Eglinton Crosstown could compare to the C-train if it were handled correctly. More likely than not though, it will be dumbed down so as to be "compatible" with the rest of the city's glorified streetcars. It wouldn't surprise me if they ended up giving an order that all trains must stop dead before entering an underground station, ring the horn and check for passengers, then proceed into the station. Has anyone been on the Harborfront "LRT" recently? The entire underground segment proceeds at snail's pace of late.
 

scarberiankhatru

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All we need are some limited stop express buses, but not the fake 190 express that is shackled to a schedule which allows for too much time between stops.
Let the buses run wild.

The "fake" 190 express actually does save a considerable amount of time - considerable considering it only overlaps the 85 for about 5km. When traffic is really bad, the 190 gets clogged up like any regular bus route, and during times of no traffic, it will go slower than it needs to or even pause for a while to stick to the schedule (if memory serves me correctly, the trip always takes at least 17 or so minutes even though it could often be done faster). Rocket routes would really make a noticeable difference not just if they let the buses run wild but if the routes are long enough...you'd notice a huge difference in the 190 vs the 85 travelling from, say Meadowvale to Don Mills.

Rocket routes also increase capacity since round trip times are shortened and since stopping only at major intersections or at intersecting routes retains virtually all of a corridor's turnover potential and serves the majority of riders. Moving to articulated buses, speeding up fare collection, etc., can all be done for next to no money compared to the billion dollars required to convert each arterial road to LRT. How long would it take to get a Rocket branch up and running on Wilson or Warden or wherever...a month or two? In the time and cost it takes to get one single Transit City line up and running, the entire city could be covered in Rocket routes.
 

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