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Waterfront Transit Reset Phase 1 Study

How should Toronto connect the East and West arms of the planned waterfront transit with downtown?

  • Expand the existing Union loop

    Votes: 121 74.2%
  • Build a Western terminus

    Votes: 8 4.9%
  • Route service along Queen's Quay with pedestrian/cycle/bus connection to Union

    Votes: 18 11.0%
  • Connect using existing Queen's Quay/Union Loop and via King Street

    Votes: 4 2.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 12 7.4%

  • Total voters
    163

CapitalSeven

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Some putative ideas have surfaced in a Star article, including swaths of LRT across Lake Shore Boulevard and converting the Bay street tunnel to a pedestrian walkway. Several of them seem inspired more by the same approach that put the DRL under Queen, i.e. cost and complexity are the main consideration, actual transportation value not so much.
 

georgevicbell

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Sadly no discussion tonite during the presentation of prices, priorities or performance of the options. It had the feel of a very very high level overview with no analysis of feasibility, cost or utility.

Pricing, priority and performance are what is needed to make decisions.

The city should be getting ridership and ballpark pricing for each option and combination of options as part of these reports by default, along with a suggested order of building things. Otherwise the politicians are just picking based on their "appeal" - ie how many votes they will get. No way to build a transit system.
 

44 North

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I sure as hell hope one of the options presented is to fully grade-separate the section between Bay St and the Lower Don Lands, and to do it affordably. In-median doesn't work in a dense downtown with traffic lights every hundred metres, nor does running it along the sidewalk ala QQW work all that great either. Slow orders, slow speeds, and less reliability = lower capacity than projected/promised. We'd simply be repeating the same mistakes of underbuilding just as we did when the Harbourfront LRT was first built.

Elevate the streetcar through the East Bayfront or trench it...I don't care, just so long as it isn't in-median. We want to connect the eastern waterfront with quality, fast transit. And transit that can actually meet the ever-increasing projections for jobs/population/transit demand for this pocket of the city.
 

drum118

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Sadly no discussion tonite during the presentation of prices, priorities or performance of the options. It had the feel of a very very high level overview with no analysis of feasibility, cost or utility.

Pricing, priority and performance are what is needed to make decisions.

The city should be getting ridership and ballpark pricing for each option and combination of options as part of these reports by default, along with a suggested order of building things. Otherwise the politicians are just picking based on their "appeal" - ie how many votes they will get. No way to build a transit system.
What good is that when this is only a direction at what should be look at to city council. Until City council decides what it is welling to look at as well funding to do it, waste of time and money.

A number of those options will be remove by council and that when you do what you are asking.

A number of those options need to disappear now. One thing is clear for sometime, Union Loop is going to be history and that was known back in 2008 when TTC brought out their loop expansion plan. At $400 million, not going to fly in servicing a development plan for the central area that is 4 times more densities today than 2008, if not more.

A few things have been change since the last stakeholder meeting as well a different tune.
 

drum118

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I sure as hell hope one of the options presented is to fully grade-separate the section between Bay St and the Lower Don Lands, and to do it affordably. In-median doesn't work in a dense downtown with traffic lights every hundred metres, nor does running it along the sidewalk ala QQW work all that great either. Slow orders, slow speeds, and less reliability = lower capacity than projected/promised. We'd simply be repeating the same mistakes of underbuilding just as we did when the Harbourfront LRT was first built.

Elevate the streetcar through the East Bayfront or trench it...I don't care, just so long as it isn't in-median. We want to connect the eastern waterfront with quality, fast transit. And transit that can actually meet the ever-increasing projections for jobs/population/transit demand for this pocket of the city.
There will be far less lights in the east than the west, but unless council over ride the approved EA for the east, it going to be the same as the west with a few changes.

Make sure your position is on record, as this is what this direction is all about at this time.
 

44 North

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I'll definitely make my position known. Anyone with half a mind who has read the East Bayfront LRT projections - while also following the ongoing proposals for massive developments like Unilever, Lower Yonge, LCBO, 3C, and (possibly) Expo 2025 - can at least partially agree that what was proposed in the EBF LRT EA can be considered a prime example underbuilding transit. Not to mention a prime example of repeating the transit mistakes made in the western waterfront. And AFAIK I'm not the only one who thinks it's imperative to grade-separate the critical Bay to LDL section. One of the largest developers in the eastern waterfront made his voice heard, and no doubt there were many who agreed with him.

This isn't a diss to in-median streetcars. They're an excellent mode, and serve their purpose perfectly in most instances. Where they suffer is in older high-density downtowns with a tight network of blocks, narrow streets, high frequencies of incidences resulting in service disruptions, and ultra-high traffic volumes (both peds and autos). This is exactly why major cities the world over opt to grade-separate the critical central sections of their light rail lines.

As for the promise of there being less traffic lights, or that speed / reliability / capacity will be as high as projected...we've seen this promise before. Spadina, Harbourfront, St Clair... All great additions, but all fell short of being able to achieve what was envisioned. The EBF LRT proposal saw an additional traffic light after its EA was complete, and I'm sure we'd have seen several more hindrances had we followed through with that plan (both prior to shovels hitting the ground, and post-construction as the area further built out). And side-of-the-road alignments? Clearly they're proving to be problematic, further reducing speed / reliability / capacity (see: QQW).

If we can spend ~$4,000,000,000 building a whopping ten kilometres of deep bore LRT on Eglinton, with several ~$100M stations that will remain severely underused in perpetuity, then I don't see why we can't (affordably) grade-separate a measly 2km stretch of streetcar tracks along the burgeoning eastern waterfront (using either trench, cut/cover, or elevated). Not 6-car deep bore heavy rail subway, not proprietary monorail, not some hulking 1930s-era EL like found in Chicago or NYC. This is a carte blanche scenario, nary a nimby to complain, connecting an area the size of TO's core. So I definitely think it's worth it in this instance to put a critical 2km stretch of streetcar line above or below grade.
 

W. K. Lis

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The Union streetcar loop needs to be upgraded, not replaced with a walkway. In fact, it streetcar tunnel under Bay Street should be extended north to the proposed City Hall station of the Yonge (AKA Downtown) Relief Line. And expanded to handle all streetcar or LRT expansion in the downtown.
 

robmausser

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Converting the underground streetcar tunnel with a pedestrian walkway is single handedly the WORST idea any transit planner in Toronto has ever conceived and I am not a political person but I will fight this decision tooth and nail if it ever even becomes considered.
 

Tuscani01

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Sadly no discussion tonite during the presentation of prices, priorities or performance of the options. It had the feel of a very very high level overview with no analysis of feasibility, cost or utility.

Pricing, priority and performance are what is needed to make decisions.

The city should be getting ridership and ballpark pricing for each option and combination of options as part of these reports by default, along with a suggested order of building things. Otherwise the politicians are just picking based on their "appeal" - ie how many votes they will get. No way to build a transit system.
Adam Vaughan tweeted that cost is not a worry. The Fed's are set to announce funding for it in the fall (he mentioned this during a Jane's Walk a few weeks ago)
 

TheTigerMaster

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Regarding what @44North mentioned, my preferred alignment for Strachan to Parliament is Option 3C, North of Rail Alignment.

In the City Planning proposal, this would see the Waterfront LRT continue east from the existing Exhibition GO Station, along the go rail corridor in an exclusive right-of-way with a terminus at Bathurst and Front street. I'd modify this proposal to, rather than have the line terminate at Bathurst and Front, extend it east to Union along Front Street in a in-street right-of-way.

The Union Station connection would be the most challenging component of this proposal. The cheap option would be to have the streetcar connect to Union Station with a surface stop at Front, and stairs leading down to concourse level. From there, the LRT would continue east along Front, and then turn south along either Bay or Yonge to connect to Queens Quay East.

The more expensive option would be to have the LRT continue south via Lower Simcoe and go underground north of Bremner. The LRT tunnel would turn east from Lower Simcoe onto Bremner, where it would connect to the existing Union Station streetcar tunnel. This would require a half kilometre of tunnelling, and building a new junction to connect to the existing streetcar tunnel.

The third option would be to follow the same alignment as Option 2, but not go underground until Bremner and York. That would require only 300 metres of tunnelling, but would require the LRT to traverse left and right turns at Front and Lower Simcoe and at Bremner and Lower Simcoe.

I like these proposals because:
  • It won't duplicate existing transit services provided by the 509 Harbourfront Streetcar
  • The dedicated right-of-way along the GO rail corridor would provide more than three kilometres of true rapid transit.
  • Far fewer traffic lights than any other alignment
  • It's currently a 21 minute trip between Exhibition and Union via the 509. My proposal would likely cut that travel time in half (if not more).
  • This would likely eliminate the need to rebuild Union Station Loop.
First option, with surface LRT in red, and fully separated LRT in green.


Here's a map of the second and third options, with surface LRT in red, and fully separated LRT in green.
 
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gweed123

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Converting the underground streetcar tunnel with a pedestrian walkway is single handedly the WORST idea any transit planner in Toronto has ever conceived and I am not a political person but I will fight this decision tooth and nail if it ever even becomes considered.
I actually like the idea of a pedestrian tunnel, including a moving walkway. The Lake Shore/QQ area between Yonge and York is going to be seeing a huge amount of densification in the next 10 years (Star lands, LCBO lands, etc).

Very few people are going to wait for an LRT at Union to ride it one stop down to QQ. The majority will just walk. Same for people trying to access the ferry terminal. Why not facilitate that? Also, converting the existing tunnel to a walkway is hundreds of millions less expensive than expanding the loop and adding new tunnels.

A moving walkway will add at most a minute or two to the trip of someone going from Union to say Parliament, but conversely all Waterfront LRT trains diverting into Union is going to add several minutes to every trip that begins and ends along the Waterfront (ex: Bathurst to Parliament).

As long as the walkway moves people at a decent clip, I don't see an issue with it. Having said that though, I would still like to see the QQ & Bay station be underground, that way the connection between the walkway and the LRT is direct.
 

44 North

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Regarding what @44North mentioned, my preferred alignment for Strachan to Parliament is Option 3C, North of Rail Alignment.

In the City Planning proposal, this would see the Waterfront LRT continue east from the existing Exhibition GO Station, along the go rail corridor in an exclusive right-of-way with a terminus at Bathurst and Front street. I'd modify this proposal to, rather than have the line terminate at Bathurst and Front, extend it east to Union along Front Street in a in-street right-of-way.

The Union Station connection would be the most challenging component of this proposal. The cheap option would be to have the streetcar connect to Union Station with a surface stop at Front, and stairs leading down to concourse level. From there, the LRT would continue east along Front, and then turn south along either Bay or Yonge to connect to Queens Quay East.

The more expensive option would be to have the LRT continue south via Lower Simcoe and go underground north of Bremner. The LRT tunnel would turn east from Lower Simcoe onto Bremner, where it would connect to the existing Union Station streetcar tunnel. This would require a half kilometre of tunnelling, and building a new junction to connect to the existing streetcar tunnel.

The third option would be to follow the same alignment as Option 2, but not go underground until Bremner and York. That would require only 300 metres of tunnelling, but would require the LRT to traverse left and right turns at Front and Lower Simcoe and at Bremner and Lower Simcoe.

I like these proposals because:
  • It won't duplicate existing transit services provided by the 509 Harbourfront Streetcar
  • The dedicated right-of-way along the GO rail corridor would provide more than three kilometres of true rapid transit.
  • Far fewer traffic lights than any other alignment
  • It's currently a 21 minute trip between Exhibition and Union via the 509. My proposal would likely cut that travel time in half (if not more).
  • This would likely eliminate the need to rebuild Union Station Loop.
First option, with surface LRT in red, and separated LRT in green.


Here's a map of the second and third options, with surface LRT in red, and separated LRT in green.
K, wait. Do we have a report on options yet? Been searching but can't find one.
That being said, and without getting into fantasy alignments, I think one thing is clear: waterfront transit would be heckuva lot easier with bidirectional LRVs (for both east and west lines). We can keep the direct Union connection, but modify and expand the loop into a three-tail track terminus.
 
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TheTigerMaster

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K, wait. Do we have a report on options yet? Been searching but can't find one.
That being said, and without getting into fantasy alignments, I think one thing is clear: waterfront transit would be heckuva lot easier with bidirectional LRVs (for both east and west lines). We can keep the direct Union connection, but modify and expand the loop into a three-tail track terminus.
Yup we do, here's a link to yesterday's presentation: http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/uploads/documents/waterfront_transit_reset_study___final_presentation_may_25_2016_1.pdf

What I propose is just a modification of Option 3C, to extend it to east to Union, rather than terminating at Bathurst.

Bidirectional LRTs would surely be much easier to work with. For example, with my proposal there could be a surface LRT stop at Union Station on Front Street with no need for a loop
 

smallspy

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I actually like the idea of a pedestrian tunnel, including a moving walkway. The Lake Shore/QQ area between Yonge and York is going to be seeing a huge amount of densification in the next 10 years (Star lands, LCBO lands, etc).

Very few people are going to wait for an LRT at Union to ride it one stop down to QQ. The majority will just walk. Same for people trying to access the ferry terminal. Why not facilitate that? Also, converting the existing tunnel to a walkway is hundreds of millions less expensive than expanding the loop and adding new tunnels.

A moving walkway will add at most a minute or two to the trip of someone going from Union to say Parliament, but conversely all Waterfront LRT trains diverting into Union is going to add several minutes to every trip that begins and ends along the Waterfront (ex: Bathurst to Parliament).

As long as the walkway moves people at a decent clip, I don't see an issue with it. Having said that though, I would still like to see the QQ & Bay station be underground, that way the connection between the walkway and the LRT is direct.
Except that because a majority of people are travelling along Queens Quay from Union rather than TO Queens Quay, you are now forcing them to make another transfer. Those people headed to the Ferry Docks will benefit, sure, but everyone else headed east or west from there will have to endure two transfers rather than one.

Bidirectional LRTs would surely be much easier to work with. For example, with my proposal there could be a surface LRT stop at Union Station on Front Street with no need for a loop
Bidirectional vehicles are all fine and dandy until you get to the terminus. Because of the various steps - shut down the controls, walk to the other end, activate the controls, and then any latency in the signal system to change the switches and any signals - you can never run vehicles as closely together as you could with single-ended vehicles running around a loop.

Dan
Toronto, Ont.
 
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