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YRT/Viva Construction Thread (Rapidways, Terminals)

smallspy

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I was referring to the mode not the frequency. The soft items like frequency can easily be varied to suit, but the hard items like the infrastructure was what I was referring to. When people look back and realise that what is now York region had a sophisticated electrified rail network 100 years ago only to be replaced by diesel buses they would wonder what happened, and why did they downgrade? We wouldnt be squabbling over tax money to build new LRTs and subway extension if we didnt rip up the tracks to replace with roads and cars.

...."Sophisticated"....

This is a laughable comment that proves that you really don't understand much about either the original North Yonge Railways or any of its subsequent incarnations dating to its end in 1948, and who's vision of transit is pretty grossly skewed by some pretty rose-coloured glasses.

There was nothing sophisticated about it sitting on rattan and wood slat seats next to a coal stove. There is nothing sophisticated about plopping a nickel into a farebox and receiving a transfer. There is nothing sophisticated about waiting at the side of the road with no shelter in the gravel or mud for an hour in the driving rain waiting for a car to roll up.

Please tell me how any of the above is an improvement over waiting in a glass shelter for at most 15 minutes, pre-paying for your trip, and plopping down on a padded seat of a vehicle - rubber-tired as it may be - that provides both heat AND air conditioning as the conditions require?

The streetcars on Yonge were never meant to be a high-capacity system. It was sized, and operated, as a bare-bones commuter run feeding into the City, with only as much service as they needed. It was built on the cheap, run on the cheap, and was cheap to maintain. And it showed.

If you somehow think that is better than the buses that exist there today, well, maybe you should get to work on building that time machine then.

Dan
 

cplchanb

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...."Sophisticated"....

This is a laughable comment that proves that you really don't understand much about either the original North Yonge Railways or any of its subsequent incarnations dating to its end in 1948, and who's vision of transit is pretty grossly skewed by some pretty rose-coloured glasses.

There was nothing sophisticated about it sitting on rattan and wood slat seats next to a coal stove. There is nothing sophisticated about plopping a nickel into a farebox and receiving a transfer. There is nothing sophisticated about waiting at the side of the road with no shelter in the gravel or mud for an hour in the driving rain waiting for a car to roll up.

Please tell me how any of the above is an improvement over waiting in a glass shelter for at most 15 minutes, pre-paying for your trip, and plopping down on a padded seat of a vehicle - rubber-tired as it may be - that provides both heat AND air conditioning as the conditions require?

The streetcars on Yonge were never meant to be a high-capacity system. It was sized, and operated, as a bare-bones commuter run feeding into the City, with only as much service as they needed. It was built on the cheap, run on the cheap, and was cheap to maintain. And it showed.

If you somehow think that is better than the buses that exist there today, well, maybe you should get to work on building that time machine then.

Dan
once again you fail to put on the shoes of the average citizen who has no understanding of frequencies, technologies and what not which is what I am framing my point in. To them they see rail > bus regardless of frequency or what the amenities are inside. Besides I was never arguing about schedules or shelters or coal stoves. Scheduling and the shelter/ train amenities are soft aspects that are easily replaceable. Its the rail infrastructure that is the difference and frankly is regrettable that has been removed in place of cars. We are essentially trying to replicate the what is essentially LRT rail infrastructure that we had 100 years ago but torn down. We couldve developed Yonge st around the rail corridor back then but chose to abandon it for cars.
 

Transportfan

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^^ You need to remember that the Yonge interurban ran in the days before car ownership levels (and comfortable buses) were so high. Once that increased, the system was rendered obsolete in such a low-density corridor.
 

micheal_can

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...."Sophisticated"....

This is a laughable comment that proves that you really don't understand much about either the original North Yonge Railways or any of its subsequent incarnations dating to its end in 1948, and who's vision of transit is pretty grossly skewed by some pretty rose-coloured glasses.

There was nothing sophisticated about it sitting on rattan and wood slat seats next to a coal stove. There is nothing sophisticated about plopping a nickel into a farebox and receiving a transfer. There is nothing sophisticated about waiting at the side of the road with no shelter in the gravel or mud for an hour in the driving rain waiting for a car to roll up.

Please tell me how any of the above is an improvement over waiting in a glass shelter for at most 15 minutes, pre-paying for your trip, and plopping down on a padded seat of a vehicle - rubber-tired as it may be - that provides both heat AND air conditioning as the conditions require?

The streetcars on Yonge were never meant to be a high-capacity system. It was sized, and operated, as a bare-bones commuter run feeding into the City, with only as much service as they needed. It was built on the cheap, run on the cheap, and was cheap to maintain. And it showed.

If you somehow think that is better than the buses that exist there today, well, maybe you should get to work on building that time machine then.

Dan

If the line had been maintained, those cars would have disappeared like the PCCs have on the Streetcar lines. You would instead be riding a somewhat modern train with many of the features you desire.... or wait, it would be like GO.
 

Neutrino

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Well, we kinda sorta did build a train on Yonge later on...
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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^^ You need to remember that the Yonge interurban ran in the days before car ownership levels (and comfortable buses) were so high. Once that increased, the system was rendered obsolete in such a low-density corridor.

This isn't incorrect, but it kind of dodges around how our travel patterns have changed. We went "all in" on cars and abandoned transit and that's how we're in our current mess. Am I the only one who saw WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?

Yes, it's simplistic to point out people took trains from downtown all the way to Oak Ridges in the 1920s and here we are, in 2019, questioning the need for a subway connecting up to Highway 7. But it's not wrong either.

It's less that the line was "obsolete"and more that we were so enamoured, as a culture, with cars, that we thought we didn't need the rail line anymore. History shows, rather clearly, we were wrong there (though obviously not in the radial line's previous form). Toronto made this mistake at a far smaller scale than many American cities - which is why our downtown has thrived and why we still have some streetcar routes - but to be clear: cars didn't make the need for interurban rail obsolete, they merely fooled a generation into adjusting its priorities too far in the wrong direction.
 

Bureaucromancer

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It's less that the line was "obsolete"and more that we were so enamoured, as a culture, with cars, that we thought we didn't need the rail line anymore. History shows, rather clearly, we were wrong there (though obviously not in the radial line's previous form). Toronto made this mistake at a far smaller scale than many American cities - which is why our downtown has thrived and why we still have some streetcar routes - but to be clear: cars didn't make the need for interurban rail obsolete, they merely fooled a generation into adjusting its priorities too far in the wrong direction.

I'd also add that the mantra I've bee hearing of late, that the legacy systems were hopelessly low grade infrastructure, has a truth to it, but like the ones above misses the mark. Compare the North Yonge Railways to, say, Pittsburgh's light rail, and you see the core of something viable. If we had wanted to there was every ability to maintain private right of ways where they existed and upgrade incrementally in a fashion that would have resulted in full rapid transit eventually, and avoided 80 odd years of nothing better than a local bus.
 

smallspy

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once again you fail to put on the shoes of the average citizen who has no understanding of frequencies, technologies and what not which is what I am framing my point in. To them they see rail > bus regardless of frequency or what the amenities are inside. Besides I was never arguing about schedules or shelters or coal stoves. Scheduling and the shelter/ train amenities are soft aspects that are easily replaceable. Its the rail infrastructure that is the difference and frankly is regrettable that has been removed in place of cars. We are essentially trying to replicate the what is essentially LRT rail infrastructure that we had 100 years ago but torn down. We couldve developed Yonge st around the rail corridor back then but chose to abandon it for cars.

I'm not even sure that the average citizen thinks that rail-based transit is superior. There are a lot of people who take the streetcars begrudgingly. A lot of auto drivers certainly curse the streetcars when they get caught behind them. They cost a lot more to buy and maintain than buses.

(Now, if you claimed that the average rider would think that rail-based transit is superior, I might be more inclined to agree with you, although there are certainly some that feel otherwise.)

But you know what's not superior? Waiting an hour between cars. It doesn't matter how nice the equipment is.

No matter what way you try to frame it, frequency is an important part of the equation. There's a reason why 70%-plus percent of the people on the TTC any given day use it despite having a car. A lot of it is convenience - the buses arrive pretty frequently, the trains arrive pretty frequently. Compare this with the suburbs - if you have a car, you're not likely to take transit.

Going back to the North Yonge Railways, the line was never going to stick around no matter what. It was too long, too inefficient, too infrequent. It would have cost too much to bring it up to downtown standards. To claim that it it was usable as LRT infrastructure is laughably inaccurate. There's a reason why the streetcar lines in the core have stuck around and still exist (for the most part), while the lines in the suburbs have all been removed.

If the line had been maintained, those cars would have disappeared like the PCCs have on the Streetcar lines. You would instead be riding a somewhat modern train with many of the features you desire.... or wait, it would be like GO.

The line was never going to be able to maintained. It's only been in the past 30 years or so that ridership has been high enough along that corridor to justify a rail line. What happens in the intervening 40 years?

I'd also add that the mantra I've bee hearing of late, that the legacy systems were hopelessly low grade infrastructure, has a truth to it, but like the ones above misses the mark. Compare the North Yonge Railways to, say, Pittsburgh's light rail, and you see the core of something viable. If we had wanted to there was every ability to maintain private right of ways where they existed and upgrade incrementally in a fashion that would have resulted in full rapid transit eventually, and avoided 80 odd years of nothing better than a local bus.

That's only possible however where the ridership allows it. It could be argued that the Yonge Subway is the modernization of the original Yonge streetcar line - and in which case, yes, we took something which was maybe "low grade" and antiquated, and made it better.

But there are a lot of places where the ridership stagnated for too long and the lines were not able to continue operation in the face of that. To continue your Pittsburgh Light Rail example, while two lines remain, check out how many lines they lost since the 1950s. Philadelphia is another.

Dan
 
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TJ O'Pootertoot

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Going back to the North Yonge Railways, the line was never going to stick around no matter what. It was too long, too inefficient, too infrequent. It would have cost too much to bring it up to downtown standards. To claim that it it was usable as LRT infrastructure is laughably inaccurate. There's a reason why the streetcar lines in the core have stuck around and still exist (for the most part), while the lines in the suburbs have all been removed.

Getting hung up on the mode misses the point. Richmond Hill was connected by transit, along the Yonge corridor, 100 years ago. Today that's even more true. We could have had something more efficient for moving people than the current system (infrequent busses + GO, which only offers direct-to-downtown service) if we'd maintained and updated that corridor. Obviously that line could not literally have been upgraded to LRT but there are still options - even if the ROW had been maintained as a bus lane, for example. But there was no regional planning to make that happen, even if it was viable (or not viable at the time but held for future use).

And you're right there was arguably a gap between the travel pattern of 100 years ago and what's emerged in the past 30 years and it's a bit simplistic to suggest the radial line could have "evolved' into the current subway. I'd just say we'd have been better off, and perhaps developed better land use patterns, if we'd maintained that transit corridor instead of giving it over to the car. Yonge Street was always the region's prime corridor and we should never have let it become what it's become.

Anyway, it's academic at this point and what's done is done. Looking around North America, we could have done a lot worse.
 

smallspy

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Getting hung up on the mode misses the point. Richmond Hill was connected by transit, along the Yonge corridor, 100 years ago. Today that's even more true. We could have had something more efficient for moving people than the current system (infrequent busses + GO, which only offers direct-to-downtown service) if we'd maintained and updated that corridor. Obviously that line could not literally have been upgraded to LRT but there are still options - even if the ROW had been maintained as a bus lane, for example. But there was no regional planning to make that happen, even if it was viable (or not viable at the time but held for future use).

While I don't disagree, consider this: Did we know 70 years ago - when the streetcar/radial line was abandoned - that the corridor would be as important as it became?

It's easy to look back today with the benefit of hindsight and say "Yeah, they should have done this". But the fact of the matter is that did we know then what we know now? The answer is almost certainly "More than likely no, we didn't." Otherwise, a lot of decisions that were made then wouldn't have been made in the way that they were.

Keeping the line to use from then to now - assuming all else being equal - would have required scarce funds. Would those funds been in place to keep the line as-is? (I would argue that no, because they abandoned the line because of the costs it incurred versus the revenues it created.)

For the record, the ROW still exists - largely as the northbound and southbound lanes of Yonge Street. The tracks were laid on the east and west sides of a then 2-lane Yonge Street.

And you're right there was arguably a gap between the travel pattern of 100 years ago and what's emerged in the past 30 years and it's a bit simplistic to suggest the radial line could have "evolved' into the current subway. I'd just say we'd have been better off, and perhaps developed better land use patterns, if we'd maintained that transit corridor instead of giving it over to the car. Yonge Street was always the region's prime corridor and we should never have let it become what it's become.

Again, with hindsight it's easy to make that determination. The decision that was made at the time was made with the information and knowledge available then.

Anyway, it's academic at this point and what's done is done. Looking around North America, we could have done a lot worse.

I agree completely.

Dan
 

micheal_can

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The line was never going to be able to maintained. It's only been in the past 30 years or so that ridership has been high enough along that corridor to justify a rail line. What happens in the intervening 40 years?


Dan

Yes, because bus manufacturers knew that they had to make them unpleasant.
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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While I don't disagree, consider this: Did we know 70 years ago - when the streetcar/radial line was abandoned - that the corridor would be as important as it became?

We didn't have an Official Plan or anything like that but I think it was pretty clear, even then, Yonge Street was the spine of the "GTA." Development wasn't contiguous the way it is today but you still had Toronto, North Toronto, North York, Thornhill, RH, Oak Ridges, Newmarket etc. going all the way up along its length. From the moment Simcoe made it, I think it was pretty clear how important it was.

But ,yeah, it's not I think people were shortsighted in not anticipating how the city and region have grown - you're right that that's not entirely fair because we have hindsight - but I do think it''s one of those things (like RC Harris being smart enough to make room for a subway under the Bloor Viaduct) where someone with real vision could have seen it. We've generally lacked that. So, yeah, I agree and I don't BLAME anyone, it's just one of those unfortunate things that happens over a city's history. Hardly the biggest missed opportunity or mistake either :)
 

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