News   Nov 13, 2019
 581     3 
News   Nov 13, 2019
 1K     5 
News   Nov 13, 2019
 4K     15 

TTC: Streetcar Network

wolfewood

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
494
Reaction score
307
I feel like it would be a good idea to have a place to discuss the streetcar network outside of the Flexity deliveries. I'm starting this thread off with fantasy proposals but more realistic discussion would fit in well here. Mods, delete/lock this thread if you disagree.

In terms of the existing network, I feel that a restoration of the Church and Parliament streetcars would be low-hanging fruit the City should grab once there are enough streetcars to run these services. Bay and Dufferin would also be good streets to rebuild for streetcar service south of Bloor. Perhaps from Dupont Station on Line 1 and either the Dufferin Station on Line 2 or even Fairbank Station on Line 5? There should also be a restoration of service north of Bloor on the 511 - presumably the new streetcars are reliable and powerful enough to get up the Iroquois shoreline to St. Clair? More could definitely be done in time but all five of these streets have some amount of existing streetcar tracks and potential for significant ridership. I've attached a streetcar trackage map - though it's missing the Cherry tracks still.

*Edit One more thing - creating a long, downtown-wide loop from Bathurst and Adelaide/Richmond to Parliament. Ideally continuing down Queen on each end and perhaps replacing one or two of the Queen St. trippers (503 and 508?)

In terms of operation, a reduction in stops would probably be worthwhile but I suspect there would be far greater value in encouraging streetcar priority on all routes. There's no particular reason why streetcars shouldn't have priority on mixed-traffic routes except political inertia and lack of will to act. Traffic priority and, at minimum, enforced rush hour restrictions on driving in streetcar tracks should be a given. Longer term cobblestones in streetcar lanes and possibly a small concrete lip to stop drivers entering the centre lanes would keep drivers out.

 

Megaton327

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 28, 2015
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
1,010
I feel like it would be a good idea to have a place to discuss the streetcar network outside of the Flexity deliveries. I'm starting this thread off with fantasy proposals but more realistic discussion would fit in well here. Mods, delete/lock this thread if you disagree.

In terms of the existing network, I feel that a restoration of the Church and Parliament streetcars would be low-hanging fruit the City should grab once there are enough streetcars to run these services. Bay and Dufferin would also be good streets to rebuild for streetcar service south of Bloor. Perhaps from Dupont Station on Line 1 and either the Dufferin Station on Line 2 or even Fairbank Station on Line 5? There should also be a restoration of service north of Bloor on the 511 - presumably the new streetcars are reliable and powerful enough to get up the Iroquois shoreline to St. Clair? More could definitely be done in time but all five of these streets have some amount of existing streetcar tracks and potential for significant ridership. I've attached a streetcar trackage map - though it's missing the Cherry tracks still.

*Edit One more thing - creating a long, downtown-wide loop from Bathurst and Adelaide/Richmond to Parliament. Ideally continuing down Queen on each end and perhaps replacing one or two of the Queen St. trippers (503 and 508?)

In terms of operation, a reduction in stops would probably be worthwhile but I suspect there would be far greater value in encouraging streetcar priority on all routes. There's no particular reason why streetcars shouldn't have priority on mixed-traffic routes except political inertia and lack of will to act. Traffic priority and, at minimum, enforced rush hour restrictions on driving in streetcar tracks should be a given. Longer term cobblestones in streetcar lanes and possibly a small concrete lip to stop drivers entering the centre lanes would keep drivers out.
  • Church: is there a significant need for transit on a street so close to Yonge? And on a street where there are not even buses currently, is it necessary to make the jump to streetcars?
  • Parliament: are the buses currently so busy, and being scheduled frequently enough, that streetcars are a necessary upgrade? Given the significant number of turns on/off parliament both for regular service (506) and irregularly (various detours) wouldn't it slow down both Parliament service and other routes having streetcars going straight wait behind turning ones, have to set switches (often manually given unreliability), etc.?
  • "once there are enough streetcars to run these services": When is that supposed to be? I was of the understanding that the current 204 streetcars on order from Bombardier are not expected to result in an overall capacity/service increase, or at least not a significant one, and that streetcars are expected to still be overcrowded/insufficiently frequent for present demand on existing routes with the 204, let alone sufficient for growth in the coming 10, 20, 30+ years on existing routes, let alone new routes. The option for 60 additional streetcars seems unlikely to happen 1) given a lack of political appetite for expanding streetcar service, 2) given a lack of political appetite for spending to improve transit period, 3) given BBD's performance on the current order; even if the +60 happens, it seems likely that the TTC will need to find a different supplier which would likely take several additional years given Toronto's unique system (curves, grades, accessibility ramp versatility; and to a lesser extent gauge and power supply). Even if we get those extra 60, they are needed on 501, 504/514, and many of the other existing routes quite badly.
  • Bay streetcar service: Bay is maybe a 2-3 minute walk from either University or Yonge, both streets with subway service. Is there a need for streetcar service? The Bay bus is fairly infrequent and I don't generally find it busy between its northern terminus and Union. The bulk of the demand on it appears to be for Queen's Quay East namely George Brown, which is planned to be served by the Queen's Quay East LRT. I don't see any need for a streetcar on Bay anywhere north of Union (well, an underground 509/510/WWLRT/WELRT extension to the relief line at City Hall would be delightful but it's not going to happen given the constrained underground environment [subway, PATH, sewers, various utilities] immediately north of Union).
  • Dufferin streetcar service: I'll largely agree with that one, but for the fact that we can't spare streetcars for it and, as mentioned above, more streetcars are not forthcoming any time soon.
  • 511 north of bloor: my understanding is that it's not just the grade, but a significant amount of the demand on 7 Bathurst north of St Clair West is headed to Bloor, and fairly little of the 511 demand is headed further north on Bathurst, and adding a forced transfer at SCW would more than offset improvements from the small streetcar extension for the few 511 Bloor-SCW riders it would benefit. This would also complicate operations at Bathurst Station's loop.
Also, that track map is missing a good bit more than just Cherry. The 509 isn't connected from Spadina to Bathurst, for one. Also, I don't believe the "St Clair Carhouse" (Wychwood Barns?) is in service anymore. Adelaide is most certainly not in service east of Charlotte, at least, and I'm not sure that all of Richmond and Adelaide from York to Church are there either. It also doesn't show Leslie St&Barns. I think I've seen a more accurate/recent map but sadly can't remember where...
 

wolfewood

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
494
Reaction score
307
In terms of Bay and Church, I see both streets as potential relief for the Yonge Line south of Bloor. The DRL will take a fair amount of riders off the Yonge Line (especially a DRL Long running from Don Mills or Steeles) but the DRL will address demand from the suburban east end more than it will downtown traffic. So the goal of having a Church and Bay streetcar is to offer alternatives to Line 1 downtown. In terms of demand, there's fairly significant ridership on Spadina, one block west of University, so I suspect there may be more demand for good downtown service.

In terms of turns, presumably any significant increase in the size of the streetcar network would include improvements to the infrastructure. Certainly switches could be better designed city-wide.

I'd imagine with the 60+ we could still run a couple new routes. I will say a lot of this is pie-in-the-sky too. I get that the political will isn't there at the moment, I'm thinking of what would be ideal for the city's streetcar network.

Good point about the 511. Perhaps the tracks would be best extended to around the new Forest Hill station on Line 5, same as I suggested for a Dufferin streetcar.

Also didn't realize the map was that out of date. It dates from 2011 according to Transit Toronto.
 

lead82

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 18, 2007
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
396
Location
Forest Hill
First priority should be to build the QQE LRT and then beef up service on the existing lines so that a streetcar is always in sight. Dufferin would be a Street that makes sense to build the next streetcar line. From the Ex to Eglinton it would be a very busy route. However, I don't think the TTC or the city is in any mood to improve or expand streetcar service. The new meme is LRT and subways. Mixed run streetcars don't make sense which I agree with. Dufferin doesn't have room for LRT or streetcars on ROW so I don't think anything will happen on Dufferin any time soon.
 

Megaton327

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 28, 2015
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
1,010
First priority should be to build the QQE LRT and then beef up service on the existing lines so that a streetcar is always in sight. Dufferin would be a Street that makes sense to build the next streetcar line. From the Ex to Eglinton it would be a very busy route. However, I don't think the TTC or the city is in any mood to improve or expand streetcar service. The new meme is LRT and subways. Mixed run streetcars don't make sense which I agree with. Dufferin doesn't have room for LRT or streetcars on ROW so I don't think anything will happen on Dufferin any time soon.
Streetcars still have the advantage of carrying more passengers than buses, a more comfortable ride, and zero emissions/minimal noise at the point of operation, among other benefits, but I'll agree to a modified version of your statement in that I think developing new streetcar routes, non-ROW/non-LRT, should not be a priority for the city any time in the foreseeable future given the litany of more important things to spend our non-existent money on.
 

wolfewood

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
494
Reaction score
307
Streetcars still have the advantage of carrying more passengers than buses, a more comfortable ride, and zero emissions/minimal noise at the point of operation, among other benefits, but I'll agree to a modified version of your statement in that I think developing new streetcar routes, non-ROW/non-LRT, should not be a priority for the city any time in the foreseeable future given the litany of more important things to spend our non-existent money on.
I can agree with that more or less but I still think there are possibilities for easy upgrades to the system as well. Reinstating a form of Church and Parliament streetcar service - even as a supplement to existing bus services - would be as simple as turning streetcars at Carleton and King respectively. Longer term more track could be built with loops on Line 1 or 2 but in the meantime the major impediment seems to be a lack of streetcars and political will to expand a useful aspect of the downtown transit network.
 

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
15,397
Reaction score
4,330
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way
One problem that remains to be fixed is the requirement that streetcars have to stop at each and every track single-point track switch. Service can be improved if they didn't. In Europe, they use double-point switches (like we have on the subway). However, because on "cuts, cuts, cuts" on the TTC budget, there is no money available. I put the blame on the suburban Councillors who do not use public transit and see no need to improve streetcar service.

IMG_1347.jpg

IMG_1348.jpg
 

Attachments

Rainforest

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
3,924
Reaction score
1,239
One problem that remains to be fixed is the requirement that streetcars have to stop at each and every track single-point track switch. Service can be improved if they didn't. In Europe, they use double-point switches (like we have on the subway). However, because on "cuts, cuts, cuts" on the TTC budget, there is no money available. I put the blame on the suburban Councillors who do not use public transit and see no need to improve streetcar service.
In that sense, having a network with many redundant tracks has its disadvantages. Redundant tracks unused for regular service do allow to bypass construction areas more easily, but they result in more track switches where streetcars have to stop. Perhaps the riders will be happier with faster regular service, at the cost of having to ride replacement buses during the construction periods.

Btw, I didn't see many redundant tracks on the European streetcar systems.
 

Rainforest

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
3,924
Reaction score
1,239
Dufferin streetcar would be problematic for a number of reasons. On one hand, such line would need to run from the south all the way to Lawrence or Wilson. There is no room for either streetcar terminus or a bus loop at Bloor or at Eglinton, and quite a few of the existing riders pass through at those points. But on the other hand, the steep hill south of Eglinton will make the surface streetcar problematic.

IMO, the only way the Dufferin streetcar can work is if a large part of the route is tunneled. The tunnel may have to go from College all the way to just north of Eglinton. North of the former Belt Line, Dufferin widens and there is room for 2 surface streetcar lines plus 4 general traffic lanes. South of College, the streetcars could run in mixed traffic, but only if restrictions are placed on some of the currently allowed left turns. For example, cars trying to make a left from northbound Dufferin to westbound Queen create a long backlog in the PM rush.

Obviously, the 5-km long tunneled section with reasonably frequent underground stops will cost a lot, and hence it can't be a near-term priority.

Getting Waterfront East LRT done will produce much more benefit for a lower cost.

For Dufferin, fully electric articulated buses may become a viable solution well before the streetcar line can be funded. Electric car/bus technologies are evolving very rapidly these days.
 

TransitBart

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
2,208
Reaction score
1,476
Location
Leslieville
I can agree with that more or less but I still think there are possibilities for easy upgrades to the system as well. Reinstating a form of Church and Parliament streetcar service - even as a supplement to existing bus services - would be as simple as turning streetcars at Carleton and King respectively. Longer term more track could be built with loops on Line 1 or 2 but in the meantime the major impediment seems to be a lack of streetcars and political will to expand a useful aspect of the downtown transit network.
To avoid a shitshow at Broadview a second eastern terminus to 504 could send a portion of the cars up past Carlton to Castle Frank Station. Wait till the Flexities are backed up down Broadview at Danforth waiting for space on the 505 and 504 loops.

ALRVs work on Queen (501) because neither terminal point is a subway station. Dundas West and Broadview are considerably busier terminals than Neville Loop and Humber Loop and Long Branch Loop.
 

TransitBart

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
2,208
Reaction score
1,476
Location
Leslieville
One problem that remains to be fixed is the requirement that streetcars have to stop at each and every track single-point track switch. Service can be improved if they didn't. In Europe, they use double-point switches (like we have on the subway). However, because on "cuts, cuts, cuts" on the TTC budget, there is no money available. I put the blame on the suburban Councillors who do not use public transit and see no need to improve streetcar service.

View attachment 117756
View attachment 117757
The question is @W. K. Lis - what is to be done about this other than belabouring it?
 

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
15,397
Reaction score
4,330
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way
The question is @W. K. Lis - what is to be done about this other than belabouring it?
The city (and the province) has to give the TTC the operating budget it needs to do the upgrades. The TTC in the past 6 years has seen cuts, cuts, and more cuts. Time to reverse that. The TTC can only be more "efficient" if it is properly funded.
 

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
15,397
Reaction score
4,330
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way
To avoid a shitshow at Broadview a second eastern terminus to 504 could send a portion of the cars up past Carlton to Castle Frank Station. Wait till the Flexities are backed up down Broadview at Danforth waiting for space on the 505 and 504 loops.

ALRVs work on Queen (501) because neither terminal point is a subway station. Dundas West and Broadview are considerably busier terminals than Neville Loop and Humber Loop and Long Branch Loop.
Should the Relief Line (and SmartTrack) be built, the 505 DUNDAS streetcar line could be extended east on Dundas Street East from Broadview Avenue to Carlaw Avenue and north to loop at the proposed Gerrard Stations. Either with on-street transfers or off-street loop transfers.

 
Last edited:

Steve X

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 16, 2016
Messages
1,499
Reaction score
761
To avoid a shitshow at Broadview a second eastern terminus to 504 could send a portion of the cars up past Carlton to Castle Frank Station. Wait till the Flexities are backed up down Broadview at Danforth waiting for space on the 505 and 504 loops.

ALRVs work on Queen (501) because neither terminal point is a subway station. Dundas West and Broadview are considerably busier terminals than Neville Loop and Humber Loop and Long Branch Loop.
I don't know about this one. TTC can't run branch routes properly. They'll have one branch leaving at -2 while the other is +2. When they get to the merge point of the route, they'll be almost bunched.
 

Top