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TTC: Streetcar Network

ShonTron

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The storage isn' a huge problem; the existing tracks do connect to suburban areas where land parcels for additional car barns can be found.

The difficulty to convince the public, on the other hand .. can that be a sign that the actual riders don't see much value in converting mixed-traffic bus routes to mixed-traffic streetcar routes? The travel times will be same, or maybe slightly worse because it is harder for a streetcar to get around obstacles. The headways might increase if the route does not have very solid ridership already; higher capacity per vehicle = fewer vehicles per hour. The streetcar ride is more smooth, but does it matter that much for the majority of riders?

As I remember, the research on the riders' preferences, bus vs streetcars, produce results that vary from one city to another. While Toronto downtowners appear to prefer streetcars, perhaps for nostalgic reasons in part, that kind of preference isn't universal.

There may be benefits in adding some strategic bits to the mixed-traffic streetcar network, such as extending the 505 north along Dundas (that could relief the Dundas West streetcar loop and allow for more frequent 504 service), or extending 505 further east using Gerrard and then to Coxwell Stn (more service on the route that already has 506 streetcars, plus more room at the Broadview loop for added 504 cars). There is even greater benefit in extending the 512 west to Scarlett, if that line can remain entirely in dedicated lanes. However, trying to convert every bus route to streetcar just because there is a way to fit the streetcar on the street, may not be the path to actual transit improvement.
South Etobicoke is one area where additional streetcar storage space can be found at a reasonable price, though the TTC probably wouldn't want a location too isolated from the network, which Mimico/New Toronto would be. Leslie Barns has only one way in and out, but at least once they reach Queen Street, streetcars can go either east or west, and up Coxwell if for any reason Queen Street is blocked.

There's some room at Hillcrest that could be used to build a small storage facility just for 512 and/or 511 cars, serving a similar function to Wychwood in its last days as an active carhouse.
 

micheal_can

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South Etobicoke is one area where additional streetcar storage space can be found at a reasonable price, though the TTC probably wouldn't want a location too isolated from the network, which Mimico/New Toronto would be. Leslie Barns has only one way in and out, but at least once they reach Queen Street, streetcars can go either east or west, and up Coxwell if for any reason Queen Street is blocked.

There's some room at Hillcrest that could be used to build a small storage facility just for 512 and/or 511 cars, serving a similar function to Wychwood in its last days as an active carhouse.
Would there be a desire for new streetcar lines in the west end of the city?
 

W. K. Lis

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Would there be a desire for new streetcar lines in the west end of the city?
I live in the area. I would support seeing the 80 QUEENSWAY, 40B JUNCTION-DUNDAS WEST, and 512 ST. CLAIR extension (and 312 ST. CLAIR-JUNCTION blue night bus) being replaced with streetcars for examples.
 

torontocolin

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The Queensway is wide enough that you could probably manage a dedicated ROW most of the way from Humber loop to Sherway, but it doesn't have nearly the ridership to justify that much investment. You could extend the 512 down Dundas to Kipling station and then convert Kipling South to streetcar operations, but it would have to operate in mixed traffic on Dundas and we're currently in the process of rebuilding both six points and the area around Kipling station without protecting for a future streetcar, so that would be a tough sell. And if you add the cost of that infrastructure, it would probably be cheaper to find land closer to the core of the network.
 

centralblue

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The Queensway is wide enough that you could probably manage a dedicated ROW most of the way from Humber loop to Sherway, but it doesn't have nearly the ridership to justify that much investment.
With all the mid rise development going in along the queensway from the humber to sherway future ridership will be there. especially with the developments existing and planned between Kipling and Islington. it is only a matter of time before the no name mall at the corner of Kipling and Queensways get majorly redeveloped akin to galleria or agincourt. add all the residential development planned for around sherway. it is a growth corridor.
 

blu_in_green

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I live in the area and would love to see the dundas west loop unloaded. That spot is really no place for Flexitys to be turning around, especially with the possible massive densification with 1540 Bloor and 2280 Dundas West. I would like either a mid-street crossover at Dundas and Dupot (close to 5 new building developments in proposal/pre-construction stage) or extended all the way out to Jane where a new interchange could be shared with an extended 512. Call me crazy....
 

DSC

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I live in the area and would love to see the dundas west loop unloaded. That spot is really no place for Flexitys to be turning around, especially with the possible massive densification with 1540 Bloor and 2280 Dundas West. I would like either a mid-street crossover at Dundas and Dupot (close to 5 new building developments in proposal/pre-construction stage) or extended all the way out to Jane where a new interchange could be shared with an extended 512. Call me crazy....
OK. You're crazy! Expanding the streetcar network more than already 'planned' may be good in theory but the TTC cannot maintain what they now have and are scrabbling around to find $$$ to extend on streets that have already been approved (e.g. waterfront east and west)
 

Towered

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With all the mid rise development going in along the queensway from the humber to sherway future ridership will be there. especially with the developments existing and planned between Kipling and Islington. it is only a matter of time before the no name mall at the corner of Kipling and Queensways get majorly redeveloped akin to galleria or agincourt. add all the residential development planned for around sherway. it is a growth corridor.
Precisely, but this being Toronto, we'll naturally wait until the area explodes and then argue why no transit expansion was planned a decade sooner.
 

torontocolin

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With all the mid rise development going in along the queensway from the humber to sherway future ridership will be there. especially with the developments existing and planned between Kipling and Islington. it is only a matter of time before the no name mall at the corner of Kipling and Queensways get majorly redeveloped akin to galleria or agincourt. add all the residential development planned for around sherway. it is a growth corridor.
I don't disagree that the area is densifying rapidly, but you could (and should!) dramatically improve bus service in that corridor first. I think most people living in that area are taking the Gardiner, but even if they're taking transit downtown they'll likely have a better time heading up to Bloor and taking the subway. If the full connection between the Queensway and Exhibition is built, maybe you can make that service attractive enough to lure people away from the subway, but given that we don't have the money to even build that connection yet, let alone the desperately needed Waterfront East line, I think upgrading a 30-minute frequency bus to rail probably shouldn't be a priority.

I live in the area and would love to see the dundas west loop unloaded. That spot is really no place for Flexitys to be turning around, especially with the possible massive densification with 1540 Bloor and 2280 Dundas West. I would like either a mid-street crossover at Dundas and Dupot (close to 5 new building developments in proposal/pre-construction stage) or extended all the way out to Jane where a new interchange could be shared with an extended 512. Call me crazy....
Signalizing Edna Ave would largely solve that problem. There's also a Metrolinx designed plan which would have the streetcars enter and exit through a signalized Edna and relocate the streetcar loop within the station, but it's currently unfunded as far as I can tell.

But even if one or both streetcar lines were extended, the cars would still need to enter the subway station. On street transfers are less convenient and safe for riders, so downgrading the transfers is basically a non-starter to begin with. And even if they were willing to consider it, the street isn't wide enough for two island stops, and the only access point to the station is on the west side and far enough north of the light that people would definitely jaywalk. And thanks to the Crossways building, the wind really rips through that area in the winter. The loop probably does need to be expanded at some point (same with Broadview), but they could manage that pretty easily by taking over the parking lot immediately west of the existing bus/streetcar terminal.
 

salsa

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With all the mid rise development going in along the queensway from the humber to sherway future ridership will be there. especially with the developments existing and planned between Kipling and Islington. it is only a matter of time before the no name mall at the corner of Kipling and Queensways get majorly redeveloped akin to galleria or agincourt. add all the residential development planned for around sherway. it is a growth corridor.
Below are daily ridership numbers (Mon-Fri) from 2014:
Finch West bus: 42,500
Queensway bus: 2,300

To me, the idea that a few midrise condo developments will somehow get us from half-hourly bus service to LRT-level demand similar to Finch, is wishful thinking of the highest order. It's true that there will be some degree of new travel demand generated by new development, but because this is in Etobicoke, a lot of that will really just end up on the Gardiner Expressway that runs next to it. The rest will be split between the Queensway, and the numerous north-south bus routes that provide more useful connections to the subway.
 

blu_in_green

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Signalizing Edna Ave would largely solve that problem. There's also a Metrolinx designed plan which would have the streetcars enter and exit through a signalized Edna and relocate the streetcar loop within the station, but it's currently unfunded as far as I can tell.

But even if one or both streetcar lines were extended, the cars would still need to enter the subway station. On street transfers are less convenient and safe for riders, so downgrading the transfers is basically a non-starter to begin with. And even if they were willing to consider it, the street isn't wide enough for two island stops, and the only access point to the station is on the west side and far enough north of the light that people would definitely jaywalk. And thanks to the Crossways building, the wind really rips through that area in the winter. The loop probably does need to be expanded at some point (same with Broadview), but they could manage that pretty easily by taking over the parking lot immediately west of the existing bus/streetcar terminal.
From what I understand the Metrolinx study really has very little influence over the TTC infrastructure and it is approaching 10 years out of date.

Doing something further west of the current station also adds land appropriation for property that could support a condo, which would mean as a seller, I'd be expecting top dollar.

I'm not sure I really see a signalized Edna solving the traffic issue, especially with the planned densification.

An on street transfer may be less convenient, but this the is the same situation the UP/GO riders are facing, along with most all other streetcar stops on the line.

When you add the pros of getting the service to support the Junction (or beyond), it seems to me like the pros outweigh the con (of having to go upstairs and turning left to catch the car on the street turn right and catch it behind the station).

Maybe there is a better solution possible once an underpass is built to take passengers to the east side of Dundas W when trying to catch a northbound streetcar.
 

torontocolin

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From what I understand the Metrolinx study really has very little influence over the TTC infrastructure and it is approaching 10 years out of date.
This is true, and I'm sure that if the TTC did move forward with making changes to the station they would design a new solution themselves. My point was just that this problem has been considered and there are possible solutions with the existing land use.

Doing something further west of the current station also adds land appropriation for property that could support a condo, which would mean as a seller, I'd be expecting top dollar.
That parking lot is basically decking on top of the subway tunnel. It's not particularly suitable to a condo.

I'm not sure I really see a signalized Edna solving the traffic issue, especially with the planned densification.
And you don't think on street boarding would have a significant negative impact on traffic at that intersection, including on other TTC vehicles attempting to service the station?

An on street transfer may be less convenient, but this the is the same situation the UP/GO riders are facing, along with most all other streetcar stops on the line.
The UPX transfer was never the design, and has only been the case because of Metrolinx's incompetence. Hopefully it will be rectified soon.

By my count, eight of the current streetcar/subway interchanges are on street and eight are off street. All eight of the on street interchanges are in the downtown core and were designed more than sixty years ago.

When you add the pros of getting the service to support the Junction (or beyond), it seems to me like the pros outweigh the con (of having to go upstairs and turning left to catch the car on the street turn right and catch it behind the station).
You can still extend the 505 (or just have a new line entirely) to serve the Junction without transitioning to on street boarding. And that also conveniently ignores the fact that the current connection is shielded from the elements. Or that not every transfer is between the subway and streetcar. Or that this would add significant foot traffic to the station entrance, which is already very busy. Or the confusion that occasional riders would face with the fact that every other vehicle services the station, including the 504, but the 505 rolls right past it.

Maybe there is a better solution possible once an underpass is built to take passengers to the east side of Dundas W when trying to catch a northbound streetcar.
That would certainly improve the situation, but there is no current plan to build that underpass.
 

W. K. Lis

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Steve Munro's article on

501 Queen: Streetcars vs Buses November 25-29, 2019

See link.

During the last week of November, the first to see streetcars return to The Beach after almost three months’ absence for construction at Kingston Road, the line had a major disruption thanks to a broken rail near Roncesvalles. This rail damaged the track brakes on 22 Flexity cars, and while the TTC searched for the problem, the line was completely switched to bus operation.

Streetcars ran on Monday and Tuesday, November 25-26, and on Wednesday November 27 until midday. Buses ran from the afternoon of November 27 to the end of service on Friday,November 29 (actually Saturday morning).

There have been calls from certain quarters on City Council for a comparison of the operation of both modes. I published an analysis of route 505 Dundas in May 2018. Broadly speaking, it showed that buses outrun streetcars only when there is no traffic in the way and operators can drive as if they are on the suburban streets they are used to.

The substitution on 501 Queen gave an opportunity to compare the two modes over the entire route, not just over a segment running with buses due to construction. This article reviews the data from November 25-29 for 501 Queen.
The data reveal various aspects of bus and streetcar operation on 501 Queen, and by extension, on other routes where a substitution might be contemplated. The results for 501 echo those seen in the 2018 article on the 505 Dundas route.
  • Across the entire route, buses travel faster than streetcars, but their performance varies from place to place, hour to hour.
  • On sections of the route where traffic is not free flowing, and where stops are busy, buses do no better than streetcars and during some periods they are worse.
  • Where traffic is free flowing, some of the advantage buses have arises from driving at above the speed limit which is 40 kph within the old City of Toronto, and 50 kph on the Lake Shore section west of the Humber River.
  • The effect of streetcar slow orders at numerous locations is clearly evident in the data.
  • Dwell time for buses appears to be slightly longer than for streetcars. This could be due to loading delays, but in turn that could be caused by the bus service being overwhelmed by streetcar-level demand. (There were complaints about the quality and capacity of the replacement service.) Also, buses lose time getting to and from curbside stops, but this is not necessarily reflected in “dwell times” because they are merely slow, not stopped during these moves.
  • I am unable to comment on service quality with buses because many vehicles were not logged on to VISION with the 501 route number. Therefore, their data do not appear in the extract I received. However, there were enough vehicles to get a sample of their behaviour and determine travel times.
 

thettctransitfanatic

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With all the mid rise development going in along the queensway from the humber to sherway future ridership will be there. especially with the developments existing and planned between Kipling and Islington. it is only a matter of time before the no name mall at the corner of Kipling and Queensways get majorly redeveloped akin to galleria or agincourt. add all the residential development planned for around sherway. it is a growth corridor.
Queensway is slowly but surely becoming a condo lined, urban corridor, with the very suburban stores and malls in the background, but, if there will be a expolosion in a ridership or not is something that is warranted
 

W. K. Lis

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Queensway is slowly but surely becoming a condo lined, urban corridor, with the very suburban stores and malls in the background, but, if there will be a expolosion in a ridership or not is something that is warranted
The question would then become, should The Queensway in Etobicoke be a streetcar right-of-way with the bus stops replaced with streetcar stops, or a more of a light rail right-of-way with stops at the major intersections (with removal of the minor bus stops completely)? And what is a "major" intersection along The Queensway?
 

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