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TTC: Scarborough Subway Extension (formerly LRT replacement) (City of Toronto, Design Phase)

Rainforest

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Steve often talks about how various people have made LRT look bad, but truth be told when the St. Clair and Spadina "LRTs" were built we were promised fast and frequent service (some councilors said it would be comparable to a subway in speed), now if you have ever taken these lines you know how true that is and why LRT's may not have such a good name. . .

St. Clair and Spadina are quite useful for short trips, in that case the frequency matters more than speed. Pre-covid, sometimes I used to take the St Clair line in order to get from one branch of Line 1 to the other. Bloor was too crowded, going all the way through Union would be boring, while the Sheppard / Wilson / Lawrence buses may have big gaps or get crowded. St Clair streetcar was the best choice; it took ~ 9 min to bridge the 2 km gap, which is technically slow, but in practice I didn't mind because the trip was so short.

Likewise, Spadina streetcar works well if you need to get say from Queen to College. You don't need to wait for long, the streetcar always comes within a few min (unlike the Queen or Dundas streetcars; those are completely unpredictable).

Comparing to the proposed suburban LRTs: indeed the St Clair and Spadina lines are poor examples. The suburban lines will be much faster, primarily because of the wider stop spacing, plus a different built form (greater distances between the traffic light). Who should be blamed for the confusion: the LRT proponents or the opponents, is a matter of debate. Maybe, that's just the generic tendency of the public to equate what they haven't seen to what they have seen.

At least, Steve never makes factually inaccurate claims. He has his preferences, posters here have their own preferences, not all preferences align 100%. That's just fine.
 

Rainforest

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I thought the downsize, was they didn't leave enough space for overhead - not the curve itself being a problem. There's other alternates to that these days, including third rail for the LRT, or even short-term batteries.

Yeah, maybe that's possible. If designed with the corresponding mindset (no matter what, we will have a Plan B that ensures the section between Kennedy and STC opens on time, even if that means some extra costs).
 

Jaye101

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Seems strange to see people advocate for an LRT to the Scarborough Centre for it's only rail connection.

Maybe for an East-West line of sorts but not it's main connection. The SRT has been overcapacity during rush ever since the 90s. I really don't see an LRT only solution here, but I do think that an East-West LRT through STC to Centennial and onwards to Malvern is a grand idea. Maybe a connection to the Stoufville GO line at the West end of the line near Midland-Ellesmere?

Nonetheless, I'm glad they voted the idea to revisit the LRT down.
 

Aplus23

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Seems strange to see people advocate for an LRT to the Scarborough Centre for it's only rail connection.

Maybe for an East-West line of sorts but not it's main connection. The SRT has been overcapacity during rush ever since the 90s. I really don't see an LRT only solution here, but I do think that an East-West LRT through STC to Centennial and onwards to Malvern is a grand idea. Maybe a connection to the Stoufville GO line at the West end of the line near Midland-Ellesmere?

Nonetheless, I'm glad they voted the idea to revisit the LRT down.

The LRT makes perfect sense because its more affordable and faster to construct, what are the downsides to that?? The SRT broke down because of technology inferiority, the LRT would not fall in that category, and with it already being in a dedicated ROW, the times and speed would be comparable to subways.

As a scarborough resident that takes the transit, I am not glad that outside the ward politicians like to dictate whats needed and beneficial for Scarborough transit riders. The 7 stop LRT would've gotten the job done, just like the EELRT
 

Voltz

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Seems strange to see people advocate for an LRT to the Scarborough Centre for it's only rail connection.

Maybe for an East-West line of sorts but not it's main connection. The SRT has been overcapacity during rush ever since the 90s. I really don't see an LRT only solution here, but I do think that an East-West LRT through STC to Centennial and onwards to Malvern is a grand idea. Maybe a connection to the Stoufville GO line at the West end of the line near Midland-Ellesmere?

Nonetheless, I'm glad they voted the idea to revisit the LRT down.

The capacity of the SLRT would have been double the projected demand,, 4x that of the SRT, Just because people didn't 'see' it working, does not make it so. There would also have been more stops within the Scarborouogh Centre area, and there is no chance of that east-west LRT,
 

Jaye101

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The capacity of the SLRT would have been double the projected demand,, 4x that of the SRT, Just because people didn't 'see' it working, does not make it so. There would also have been more stops within the Scarborouogh Centre area, and there is no chance of that east-west LRT,

The LRT makes perfect sense because its more affordable and faster to construct, what are the downsides to that?? The SRT broke down because of technology inferiority, the LRT would not fall in that category, and with it already being in a dedicated ROW, the times and speed would be comparable to subways.

As a scarborough resident that takes the transit, I am not glad that outside the ward politicians like to dictate whats needed and beneficial for Scarborough transit riders. The 7 stop LRT would've gotten the job done, just like the EELRT

As I've said before, when David Miller was mayor I supported the idea. But in 2020 I would be lying if I said I didn't resent him a little for not pursuing any subway lines beyond the York U extension.

Now I'm not saying the LRT wouldn't have gotten the job done. However, the current LRT line has been overcapacity for years. It should be expected that replacing it with another LRT may be resented, even if it's capacity is adequate. This combined with the fact that the LRT offers no direct connection to the rest of the city, and the much despised transfer at Kennedy. It's really a non starter.

It's hard to convince people that Vaughan Centre, a mere idea at the time, deserves a subway, but Scarborough Centre, a route with an overcapacity LRT where the TTC operates a parallel bus service deserves an LRT-only solution. Combined with the fact that many see a subway extension as an inevitability - an inevitability that's price tag grows exponentially.

I'm no fan of Doug Ford, but a subway to Sheppard East in Scarborough is a game changer for the Borough. As I've said before I do see a place for LRT in Scarborough, even at it's centre. But I do not support it as the only solution. People in Scarborough deserve equitable access to transit compared with the rest of the city.
 

syn

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As I've said before, when David Miller was mayor I supported the idea. But in 2020 I would be lying if I said I didn't resent him a little for not pursuing any subway lines beyond the York U extension.

Now I'm not saying the LRT wouldn't have gotten the job done. However, the current LRT line has been overcapacity for years. It should be expected that replacing it with another LRT may be resented, even if it's capacity is adequate. This combined with the fact that the LRT offers no direct connection to the rest of the city, and the much despised transfer at Kennedy. It's really a non starter.

It's hard to convince people that Vaughan Centre, a mere idea at the time, deserves a subway, but Scarborough Centre, a route with an overcapacity LRT where the TTC operates a parallel bus service deserves an LRT-only solution. Combined with the fact that many see a subway extension as an inevitability - an inevitability that's price tag grows exponentially.

I'm no fan of Doug Ford, but a subway to Sheppard East in Scarborough is a game changer for the Borough. As I've said before I do see a place for LRT in Scarborough, even at it's centre. But I do not support it as the only solution. People in Scarborough deserve equitable access to transit compared with the rest of the city.

I believe he did, but the truth is the Mayor has limited power in the grand scheme of things.

The Vaughan extension was very political too. Sadly provincial politicians have been playing games with transit for a long time now.

I think it says something that here in 2020 the only major transit projects to be completed and/or under construction are all from the Miller era.

As for a subway, I think it's important to remember that the Vaughan extension wasn't just about Vaughan, York was connected as well.

A Sheppard East extension to the Rouge/Zoo with a stop at STC, an LRT from Kennedy to STC, and Eglinton East LRT and a DRL connected to Don Mills would've been the best solution in my mind.
 
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syn

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The LRT makes perfect sense because its more affordable and faster to construct, what are the downsides to that?? The SRT broke down because of technology inferiority, the LRT would not fall in that category, and with it already being in a dedicated ROW, the times and speed would be comparable to subways.

As a scarborough resident that takes the transit, I am not glad that outside the ward politicians like to dictate whats needed and beneficial for Scarborough transit riders. The 7 stop LRT would've gotten the job done, just like the EELRT

Someone mentioned before that for all intents and purposes the RT is a subway.

An LRT replacement would've been like their own version of the Ontario Line.
 

WislaHD

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The technology never mattered. The degree of separation was the only thing that ever mattered. The Scarborough LRT was fully grade-separated from traffic, so for all intents and purposes was a subway/rapid transit line as far as I am concerned.

As for St. Clair, I never understood why it gets so much hate. I haven't had to take it during rush hour granted, but whenever I used it (usually midday or evening), it always works quickly and effectively. It is an excellent part of our system.
 

syn

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The technology never mattered. The degree of separation was the only thing that ever mattered. The Scarborough LRT was fully grade-separated from traffic, so for all intents and purposes was a subway/rapid transit line as far as I am concerned.

As for St. Clair, I never understood why it gets so much hate. I haven't had to take it during rush hour granted, but whenever I used it (usually midday or evening), it always works quickly and effectively. It is an excellent part of our system.

I think the hate is a by-product of the construction issues and concerns local merchants had.

At this point it should be clear it was a resounding success. It's definitely a more pleasant, efficient ride than it was before the ROW.
 

Northern Light

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Its a tad OTP, but I'll indulge; the problems w/St. Clair and Spadina are essentially the same.

As touched on by @Rainforest; Stop Spacing is an issue.

Neither line needs its stops cut back massively; both would benefit from some trimming in that department.

On Spadina, chopping the stops at Sullivan and Willcocks would be fine.

But there is also a need for proper transit-priority. The problem is not stopping at College, its stopping at College twice, once on the nearside of the intersection for a red light; then again on the farside for a stop.

Likewise on St. Clair, Russell Hill Rd, Tweedsmuir, Vaughan Rd, Winona, one of Northcliffe or Glenholme, and Laughton need to come out, plus proper transit priority.

Both services are good, and better than what preceded them; but both could be a bit better with just a bit of political will.
 

superelevation

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Spadina and St. Clair are not "LRT". The stop spacing is too close, there is very little or no "transit priority signals", and the vehicles are required to "stop" at each single-point track switch. They could be, IF (and it's a big IF), the powers-that-be (Toronto Transportation Department, NIMBYs, anti-transit Councillors) get around to actually improve public transit, instead of sticking with the status quo. And of course, if the budget is there.

They were 100% talked about and advertised as LRT, whether or not they are isn't the point. Torontonians got a taste of "LRT" and there were lots of issues.

Which councillors have said that Spadina or St. Clair would be comparable to subway in speed? I don't remember that (which mostly means my memory is poor!). We heard such comments about Eglinton and even some of the other modern LRT lines.

I thought the downsize, was they didn't leave enough space for overhead - not the curve itself being a problem. There's other alternates to that these days, including third rail for the LRT, or even short-term batteries.

Mihevic for one

St. Clair and Spadina are quite useful for short trips, in that case the frequency matters more than speed. Pre-covid, sometimes I used to take the St Clair line in order to get from one branch of Line 1 to the other. Bloor was too crowded, going all the way through Union would be boring, while the Sheppard / Wilson / Lawrence buses may have big gaps or get crowded. St Clair streetcar was the best choice; it took ~ 9 min to bridge the 2 km gap, which is technically slow, but in practice I didn't mind because the trip was so short.

Likewise, Spadina streetcar works well if you need to get say from Queen to College. You don't need to wait for long, the streetcar always comes within a few min (unlike the Queen or Dundas streetcars; those are completely unpredictable).

Comparing to the proposed suburban LRTs: indeed the St Clair and Spadina lines are poor examples. The suburban lines will be much faster, primarily because of the wider stop spacing, plus a different built form (greater distances between the traffic light). Who should be blamed for the confusion: the LRT proponents or the opponents, is a matter of debate. Maybe, that's just the generic tendency of the public to equate what they haven't seen to what they have seen.

At least, Steve never makes factually inaccurate claims. He has his preferences, posters here have their own preferences, not all preferences align 100%. That's just fine.

1) Spadina is super unreliable headway wise, despite the dedicated ROW I used if for years, its also painfully slow, I too used it for short trips tho
2) I think thats debatable, he makes a lot of questionable statements RE metrolinx

Its a tad OTP, but I'll indulge; the problems w/St. Clair and Spadina are essentially the same.

As touched on by @Rainforest; Stop Spacing is an issue.

Neither line needs its stops cut back massively; both would benefit from some trimming in that department.

On Spadina, chopping the stops at Sullivan and Willcocks would be fine.

But there is also a need for proper transit-priority. The problem is not stopping at College, its stopping at College twice, once on the nearside of the intersection for a red light; then again on the farside for a stop.

Likewise on St. Clair, Russell Hill Rd, Tweedsmuir, Vaughan Rd, Winona, one of Northcliffe or Glenholme, and Laughton need to come out, plus proper transit priority.

Both services are good, and better than what preceded them; but both could be a bit better with just a bit of political will.

They both actually have TSP, its just that like Eglinton it is highly limited . . .
 

GenerationW

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Miller and the left has been out of power for ten years now. The leaders that came after had plenty of time to move forward on the relief line and let the transit city projects run its course without the need for interference. They had an entire decade to get it started, and to prove that their overall management of the city was better than Miller's. An entire decade, and what do they have to show for it? Absolutely nothing.

So when will people like you finally give some due credit where it truly belongs? For starters,
  • The cowardice of the Wynne government in rejecting dedicated revenue tools has forever ensured that money for transit will be scarce, bitterly fought for and stretched thin between competing priorities in every budget/election cycle. We will continue to fight over which badly-needed line gets to happen first and which ones will be left to our grandkids to deal with, but it didn't have to be this way.
  • Transit City was never intended to take this long to be done and over with. But the Liberals allowed every line to be reduced in scope, delayed by many years, or eventually cancelled. Contrary to popular belief, Rob Ford never had the authority to unilaterally tear up transit plans without a council vote. Everything that he did was done with the blessing of the Liberals, and later made worse by city council's inability to stick to a transit plan for more than a few months.
  • Miller's priorities was not downtown-centric enough for you, but his successor ran on an anti-downtown platform and consumed all his political capital on suburban subway expansion. Then John Tory ran on SmartTrack which nobody asked for, attacked the business case for the relief line, diverted city resources from the planning work on the RL, and has now lost control of the whole thing to Doug Ford.
  • For a long time the TTC insisted that we didn't need the relief line thanks to ATC and new trains, while at Metrolinx the relief line was only a 25 year priority under the original Big Move plan. If the need for a relief line was so obvious back then, then maybe the technocrats should have given better advice to their political overlords.
People like you? You people?? I'm mortified!

How could the DRL have possibly progressed under Rob Ford? He had zero interest in it. At least under Tory serious planning finally began before Doug's Ontario Line took over.

What major local transit projects started construction during Miller's tenure? Technically, only Spadina.

I completely agree about the cowardice of the Wynne government regarding tolls.

Timelines for transit plans are always overly optimistic. Transit City was no different. But it might have helped if Miller's hand-picked successor didn't finish a distant third in 2010, or if Miller was actually honest instead of the sleight-of-hand maneuver he pulled off by producing his transit plan well after getting re-elected in 2006 and then not defending it in 2010. Guess he can join Wynne in the coward's room. As for the Liberals reducing TC's scope, that was due to the financial crisis. Why would Transit City be exempt from world events?

The belief that Rob Ford had the authority to unilaterally tear up transit plans without a council vote was popular only in his head. The 2011 Ford-McGuinty MOU clearly required a vote. The irony is that if Rob had brought the MOU immediately to council, he likely would have won.

I completely agree that SmartTrack was a waste of time and resources, but we'd still be in the same position regardless. With no provincial funding from Wynne or Ford, it's not like the DRL would be past the point of no return had Tory fully committed to it from day one.

Your DRL history is incorrect. The TTC spent the late 80s and 90s trying to get downtown support for the DRL, with no success. Then they figured Miller would surely be interested seeing as how he was championing downtown development. They figured wrong.

This is a rather one-sided view of history.

Yes the province had an interest in pushing the technology - but Scarborough council was just as complicit. They weren't innocent victims in all of this.
Scarborough council had little choice because it was either the SRT with the province paying an unprecedented 75% of it plus any cost overruns, or nothing.

As I've said before, when David Miller was mayor I supported the idea. But in 2020 I would be lying if I said I didn't resent him a little for not pursuing any subway lines beyond the York U extension.
Miller never pursued York U/Spadina. He actually had no use for any subway. The main drivers of the extension were York Region, Greg Sorbara and Karen Stintz.

McGuinty got Miller's support in exchange for billions of provincial support for future transit. That was later revealed to be $12 billion, which was reduced to $8 billion following the 2008 financial meltdown.
 
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kEiThZ

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Transit City would have had a much easier ride if Miller didn't attempt to use LRT to kill subway expansion on Sheppard East with a linear transfer, as one of the plans first priorities. Dunno if that was his idea or the casting couch expert he had, but it was politically boneheaded. Especially, with Mk II offered up to a Scarborough already fed up with the SRT.

Should have launched with Eglinton. And should have pushed for conversion of Sheppard.
 

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