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TTC: Sheppard Subway Extension (Proposed)

KhalilHeron

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made a quick visualization of what this extension could look like elevated
sheppard-ave-e 1.png
sheppard-ave-e 2.png
sheppard-ave-e 3.png

Keeping with the same technology and rolling stock is more than doable for an elevated extension. These all stay within Sheppard's 36m right of way, but there is also ample room adjacent to the right of way in the form of parking lots, driveways, grass, or low-density commercial buildings for large sections. The width of the viaduct is based on the few bridges the subway currently operates on (ranging from 10-11m wide). It is only around 1m wider than the narrowest of Vancouver Skytrain viaducts, (9m on the Canada Line), with most Skytrain viaducts being the same size as Toronto's. While light metro may reduce some construction costs in some areas, the costs of converting the rest of the line and building a new MSF are probably higher. Given that the "proposed" alignment is a straight line, light metro doesn't really offer much in terms of maneuverability compared to the TRs. I don't see converting the line to light metro as making an elevated extension any more feasible. Really the only substantial barriers I see to an elevated alignment are politicians and residents of the area.
 

ARG1

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The "last mile" problem is the same for either transit mode (but probably worse for the subway, since the budget/mode will dictate fewer stops built). This isn't a fault of either the LRT or subway, rather zoning, but I think in either case it's going to be a hard sell to get someone to walk past the car in their driveway. The advantage of a car becomes apparent at longer distances because no matter which mode, you're avoiding more and more stops. So it isn't 10 LRT stops vs 5 subway stops (plus transfers and stops beyond), it's both vs 0 stops. So, if it's not going to be attractive to locals because it can't compete with their cars, and doesn't really get them around the neighborhood, who does it really serve?
You need to read what I say more carefully. I didn't say that Subways didn't have a last mile problem, what I said was that the last mile problem is easier to justify when you can compensate with higher speeds. Let's say it takes you 10 mins to walk to the subway station, and it takes the subway 30 mins to get to your place of work. Let's then say your car during rush hours takes 50 mins to get to work. Which mode are you more likely to take now? Sure the last mile problem exists, but the speed of the subway makes up for the fact that you have to walk to it, thus it balances out.

Now let's take a look at the LRT example again. Even if you disregard the lower speed of the LRT, by the time you reach the LRT station, you could've already went to the Grocery Store and back by car - no contest. In fact its often even worse since the grocery store in all likelihood is located at your LRT stop, meaning that you're not actually making use of the transit. Best case scenerio, you spend 10 mins walking to the LRT, waiting an additional 5 minutes for the train, only to ride it to the next stop for 2 minutes: Its not a competitive setup in any way shape or form.

As for longer distance trips, by having more stops, and running on street, the LRT will probably take 40-45 mins to reach the workplace compared to the 30 mins by subway - meaning its either going to be as fast as your car best case scenerio, or even slower, which again drastically lowers how competitive it is (not to mention LRT system are usually less frequent, and thus more time is spent waiting at the station).
 

44 North

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made a quick visualization of what this extension could look like elevated
Keeping with the same technology and rolling stock is more than doable for an elevated extension. These all stay within Sheppard's 36m right of way, but there is also ample room adjacent to the right of way in the form of parking lots, driveways, grass, or low-density commercial buildings for large sections. The width of the viaduct is based on the few bridges the subway currently operates on (ranging from 10-11m wide). It is only around 1m wider than the narrowest of Vancouver Skytrain viaducts, (9m on the Canada Line), with most Skytrain viaducts being the same size as Toronto's. While light metro may reduce some construction costs in some areas, the costs of converting the rest of the line and building a new MSF are probably higher. Given that the "proposed" alignment is a straight line, light metro doesn't really offer much in terms of maneuverability compared to the TRs. I don't see converting the line to light metro as making an elevated extension any more feasible. Really the only substantial barriers I see to an elevated alignment are politicians and residents of the area.

yeah, no political party is going to present an elevated guideway for 3.2m wide trains running down Sheppard. That's pretty much a given. And what are the peak projections for a Sheppard extension. Like 8k pphpd? Meanwhile a 6-car subway is designed for 36k. You're saying building a line with 400% more capacity than is needed results in "some" construction cost differences? Would be a lot more than some.

Honestly a bit of a headscratcher why more aren't questioning the Prov's (vague) promise for Sheppard. When OL came out loads of newer posters heaping praise, lauding the merits of modern tech, greater capacity of new signal systems, ripping on the previous plan for using legacy subways or not running in open air. Yet for Sheppard...where the heck are they lol. A legacy subway, likely built for 140m trains, extremely excess capacity, no usage of existing surface ROWs, almost certainly deep bore its entire length. Don't get it.
 

Rainforest

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These neighborhoods of single family homes are dependent on cars to do everything -- groceries, shopping, commuting. If we want to dent car dependency, we need to make it easier to make these local trips without one. That means making it easy to get to the store nearby instead making it easy to get to Yonge or Malvern. The LRT, at least, was a good compromise on locality and speed -- throwing down a surface stop has a cost of virtually nothing while still letting you get to Malvern reasonably fast. If you have options for travelling locally (bike/walk/transit) then not only is it less likely you need to travel far to begin with, when you do need to travel, it's easier because the roads aren't clogged with people doing local trips.

Whereas you spend $300MM+/km to tunnel through suburbia without the 20,000pphpd to justify it.

LRTs have a role to play. However, 20,000 pphpd is an insane threshold for subway construction. None of the existing subway termini, or sections leading to those, serve anywhere near 20,000 pphpd. The subway trip towards downtown starts with a light load at the terminus, then more and more riders are added at each subsequent station. For a 20,000 throughput at the terminus, the trains would have to be 2/3 full leaving the terminus, and then most of the riders waiting at the subsequent stations would not be able to board.

TTC used 10,000 pphpd as the threshold until recently. That's a more sensible number, about 1/3 of capacity. Even then, it is not clear how to handle the demand if it happens to be in the 8,000 - 9,000 range, a bit too high for an at-grade LRT and a bit too low for a subway. But that may be a hypothetical concern, not fitting any of the existing cases in the GTA.
 

11th

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These neighborhoods of single family homes are dependent on cars to do everything -- groceries, shopping, commuting. If we want to dent car dependency, we need to make it easier to make these local trips without one. That means making it easy to get to the store nearby instead making it easy to get to Yonge or Malvern. The LRT, at least, was a good compromise on locality and speed -- throwing down a surface stop has a cost of virtually nothing while still letting you get to Malvern reasonably fast. If you have options for travelling locally (bike/walk/transit) then not only is it less likely you need to travel far to begin with, when you do need to travel, it's easier because the roads aren't clogged with people doing local trips.

Whereas you spend $300MM+/km to tunnel through suburbia without the 20,000pphpd to justify it.
You may have forgotten that many of the single family homes in the inner suburbs do not front main arterials. Their local trips would be getting from their home to the nearest main road.
To lessen car dependency (of short trips), ironically would involve punching in new arterials left and right throughout the inner suburbs and then lined them with mid-density mixed use.
 

ARG1

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LRTs have a role to play. However, 20,000 pphpd is an insane threshold for subway construction. None of the existing subway termini, or sections leading to those, serve anywhere near 20,000 pphpd. The subway trip towards downtown starts with a light load at the terminus, then more and more riders are added at each subsequent station. For a 20,000 throughput at the terminus, the trains would have to be 2/3 full leaving the terminus, and then most of the riders waiting at the subsequent stations would not be able to board.

TTC used 10,000 pphpd as the threshold until recently. That's a more sensible number, about 1/3 of capacity. Even then, it is not clear how to handle the demand if it happens to be in the 8,000 - 9,000 range, a bit too high for an at-grade LRT and a bit too low for a subway. But that may be a hypothetical concern, not fitting any of the existing cases in the GTA.
There's actually an interesting case study in Moscow about what happens when the terminus station of a line is the busiest (and in this case its not the busiest on the line, but the busiest on the network). Its called the Vykhino (Выхино) effect: where by the time the train leaves the first station, the train is already at crush load and as such it literally cannot pick up any passengers on its way to the city center. Until the construction of new lines right next to it, they had to run special services that bypassed the station outright so that the rest of the line had a train that they could get onto - and even with the introduction of Line 15, its still not enough.
 

afransen

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These neighborhoods of single family homes are dependent on cars to do everything -- groceries, shopping, commuting. If we want to dent car dependency, we need to make it easier to make these local trips without one. That means making it easy to get to the store nearby instead making it easy to get to Yonge or Malvern. The LRT, at least, was a good compromise on locality and speed -- throwing down a surface stop has a cost of virtually nothing while still letting you get to Malvern reasonably fast. If you have options for travelling locally (bike/walk/transit) then not only is it less likely you need to travel far to begin with, when you do need to travel, it's easier because the roads aren't clogged with people doing local trips.

Whereas you spend $300MM+/km to tunnel through suburbia without the 20,000pphpd to justify it.
Frankly, encouraging active transportation (walking and cycling) is a better user of resources and a better way or reducing short distance car trips. Real grade separated rapid transit is the only way to address longer distance car trips.

I'd be fine with BRT as a cost conscious interim solution.
 

afransen

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The "last mile" problem is the same for either transit mode (but probably worse for the subway, since the budget/mode will dictate fewer stops built). This isn't a fault of either the LRT or subway, rather zoning, but I think in either case it's going to be a hard sell to get someone to walk past the car in their driveway. The advantage of a car becomes apparent at longer distances because no matter which mode, you're avoiding more and more stops. So it isn't 10 LRT stops vs 5 subway stops (plus transfers and stops beyond), it's both vs 0 stops. So, if it's not going to be attractive to locals because it can't compete with their cars, and doesn't really get them around the neighborhood, who does it really serve?
This must be why no one rides line 1 right?

Short local trips are better done with bikes or feet.
 

duffo

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There's actually an interesting case study in Moscow about what happens when the terminus station of a line is the busiest (and in this case its not the busiest on the line, but the busiest on the network). Its called the Vykhino (Выхино) effect: where by the time the train leaves the first station, the train is already at crush load and as such it literally cannot pick up any passengers on its way to the city center. Until the construction of new lines right next to it, they had to run special services that bypassed the station outright so that the rest of the line had a train that they could get onto - and even with the introduction of Line 15, its still not enough.
We could call that the Finch Effect here..
 

44 North

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Using LRTs to get people to get out of their cars for local traffic is impractical in low density environments. In a car you can carry a massive amount of groceries and items, all while taking only 5 minutes to get to your destination. If you want to do grocery shopping with local transit, first you have to spend 10 minutes getting to the LRT, then wait around 5 minutes for the next train, all to ride maybe 1 stop. You're not going to get anyone out of their car with that.

The reality of LRTs is that they are fantastic as local transit - in high density environments where people live and work right next to the LRT. With the way Toronto suburbs are designed, LRTs absolutely fail at being adequate local transit - any transit on a Toronto Arterial can only function as a funnel to another subway line. This is why if we look at what regions in the 905 are doing - they're building BRTs with wide stop spacing that serve as longer distance commuting options - NEVER TO ACT AS LOCAL TRANSIT.


Full Stop: They are a good compromise on locality and capacity, LRTs are a disaster when it comes to speed. If you want speed, you build BRTs for their low cost, or Light Metros - end of story.

On the surface, LRTs in low density suburbs make sense, and I could understand why at a high level view they sound appealing: They are lower capacity than regular metros whilst being relatively cheap: Perfect for the amount of traffic one might expect on a suburban arterial. The reality however is that LRTs absolutely fail at providing suburbanites actually useful transit when you consider their needs: The average suburbanite travels up to 10km on their weekday commutes to reach their destinations: LRTs with tight stop spacing that Toronto wanted to build with Transit City and that you're advocating for absolutely fails at this. By being slow, the LRTs become extremely unattractive as a mode of transit for general purpose use, and as such are bad at getting people out of their cars.

I've used this example a million times, but I'll reiterate it again: Compare Portland's transit system with Vancouver's transit system - 2 cities with very similar populations and similar polycentric designs. Portland built a massive LRT network - prioritizing quantity over quality, meanwhile Vancouver built massive high speed elevated metro lines into its suburbs that are fed by frequent bus services - prioritizing quality over quantity. Despite having far less kilometers of rail, Vancouver has a ridership that is 5x higher than that of Portland's. Its so bad in fact that in the worst months of COVID, Vancouver's transit ridership was still higher than what Portland had pre COVID.

Needn't pick and choose different cities in different countries when we have a good 1:1 case here. Eglinton West. Projected to have greater ridership as a surface LRT than the grade-separated ("subway") option. Your hyperbole that LRT "absolutely fails" is out the window since we see 20% more riders, and at 20% the cost to boot. .
 

ARG1

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Wrong. Depends if they make up rules that slow them down. (IE. no "real" transit priority transit signals.)
As has been discussed to death at this point, true TSP is far from the only thing slowing down LRTs. For safety reasons, vehicles that operate on street have to operate slower than their grade separated counterparts, especially when at intersections and crossing the street - that's of course assuming you have TSP that is guaranteed to give a green light whenever an LRT arrives which even the strongest TSPs can't claim to have. Best case scenerio with TSP, you minimize how long you wait at a red light - shortening from an average of a minute to an average of 10-15 secs.
 

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