Archive for the ‘Eglinton-Crosstown LRT’ Category

Eglinton Crosstown TBMs On the Move

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

Over this weekend, the west-end TBMs for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line were lifted out of their extraction shaft on the west side of the Spadina Subway Line at Eglinton West Station, and moved a short distance above ground to a launch shaft east of the subway line.

Early Saturday morning, the first of the two TBMs heading east, named Dennis, made this journey. On Saturday, the second TBM, named Lea, was hoisted out of the extraction shaft and began its move to the east side of the subway line.

Here are three photos of Dennis taken around 2 am Saturday morning where it is in place east of the subway line being prepared for lowering:

Dennis viewed from just east of the launch shaft

Dennis viewed from its south side at the launch shaft

Dennis viewed from just west of the launch shaft


Here are four photos of Lea taken around 2 am Sunday morning where it is in place east of the subway line and being lowered:

Lea viewed from just east of the launch shaft

Lea viewed from just west of the launch shaft, still being shifted into place for lowering

Lea viewed from just west of the launch shaft as it is in place and about to be lowered

Lea viewed from just west of the launch shaft as it is being lowered

Norm Kelly on Eglinton-Crosstown

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Update: the interview mentioned here is available on Newstalk 1010’s website by downloading the February 2 Jerry Agar show. To save you going through the whole show, I have a copy of just the interview by clicking here (this is 5.2 MB).

This morning, Councillor Norm Kelly was on the Jerry Agar show on Newstalk 1010 speaking on why the Eglinton-Crosstown line should be underground for the entire route. He outlined five factors that are looked at to decide whether something should be underground or at grade. For a councillor who is in his second term on the TTC commission, he quite clearly doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground, but what do you expect from the city’s number one flip-flopper?

Allow me to go through he points he made:

  1. Speed. He claimed that the underground option is 70% faster.I don’t know where he gets this figure from, none of our other subway lines have an average speed that is 70% faster than the expected average speed of the original plan for the LRT on Eglinton. Perhaps he is comparing the average speed of the original plan with the top speed the vehicles are capable of doing. Top speed means nothing if you have to stop to pick up passengers, something that is rather important for a mass transit system.More importantly, speed of the line itself means nothing without the bigger picture of what the typical commuter’s average travel time will be. The underground option will eliminate a number of stops on the line, which helps increase the average speed of the line, but dramatically increases the average amount of time the typical commuter takes to get to where they are going as they now need extra time to get to a stop that is farther away from where they are coming from or where they are going.
  2. Capacity. Underground can carry more people than a road median surface alignment. Yes and no. Underground, we could easily run five-car trains, but the practical upper limit to train length for a road median alignment is only three cars. The trouble is, the underground stations are being designed for only a three-car length. There is a “utility” section at each end that will likely still have level track, so it is conceivable that the stations could be expanded for four-car trains, but that is it.The underground section can move faster with the use of ATO, but one must consider just how much capacity is needed where. The central core that was to be mostly underground in the Transit City plan needs higher capacity capabilities for future needs, but does that mean the expense of that capacity should be spent for the entire line. One of the big advantages of LRT is the ability to move from an area of high capacity in a dedicated right of way, to a reserved median or side-of-the-road right of way, to even a mixed with traffic operation. This latter example is not part of any of the Transit City plans, but is a viable way of extending a line further out in the suburbs at a lower cost where the need warrants.
  3. Building for Today or for Tomorrow. This is always a biggie, particularly with arguments for full subway. The claim that need for the line will outgrow capacity at some point. This often ignores that there is a significant amount of overlap in capacity between different modes. Just because we need to justify 10,000 ppdph to say that a full subway is needed today does not mean that LRT falls apart the day the needs reach that figure.Furthermore, the lower cost of building at-grade LRT allows us to meet the needs of today and for a significant time in the future economically while allowing the construction of parallel LRT services on other corridors to cover future growing capacity. Instead of spending X dollars on a single line that has a huge capacity that will not be needed for some time (or maybe not ever), spend X/3 dollars to build a line that meets today’s needs and the needs for the next couple of decades. During that time, another X/3 dollars can be spent to build a parallel line 4 km away on another main corridor to double the capacity AND be more convenient to people closer to the other corridor. The bonus is that WHEN a problem shuts down a line, there is a back-up available for commuters.
  4. Impact. A median right-of-way has a significant impact on the street.Sure it does, but this is sometimes a good thing. Certainly at Yonge and Eglinton, it would be a bad thing, but Transit City recognized that and placed the line underground there. Out in Scarborough, Eglinton was designed as a major artery with a minimum 7-lane road allowance. Median right of way has a very positive impact in this environment, and it is often overlooked that the elimination of buses taking up road space improves this impact even more. An underground line with longer station spacings will still require buses to clog up traffic.
  5. Cost. Underground costs more, but Kelly claims that operational savings will outweigh this in the long run.What operational savings? There may be some when it comes to station maintenance, since there will be fewer stations to maintain. Longer trains does reduce operational cost, since more people can be carried with a single operator, but don’t forget the underground stations will only be three cars long.Does Kelly expect the east end of the line to grow in capacity to the point that the masses will cry to have it put underground? The money to put this part of the line underground should be used to provide rapid service to other parts of the city that need it now.

The Transit City plan for Eglinton-Crosstown was not perfect. The TTC was very pig-headed about some issues, such as ballasted tie construction at the side of the road where practical. It is true that there are very few places in Toronto where this is practical, but parts of the Eglinton-Crosstown route are ideal for it. From the east portal of the underground section to Don Mills, the line should be built along the south side of Eglinton and not down the middle. Don Mills station was to be underground, and the line may remain underground to just east of the Don Valley Parkway. Between there and Victoria Park, it is possible to place it on the north side of the road and have it move to the middle of the road on an elevated structure at VP.

What a Waste

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Update at 11:26 am on August 11: Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne just stated on Newstalk 1010 that this is an unnecessary expense. She has cancelled it and has ordered the TTC to withdraw the ads seeking the consultant. 

 I have a problem when the focus is on subway construction when capacity needs are sufficiently met for the foreseeable future by LRT, but even LRT can have its costly waste.

It was reported in yesterday’s Star that the TTC is seeking a qualified consultant to choose art for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. I have great concerns about spending any money on a frill such as this, but just wait to hear what they are spending: the two-year consultant contract pays $420,000. That is just for the consulting work, and does not include what will be spent on actually purchasing and installing any art work.

It makes me wonder if the space for artwork wouldn’t be better used for advertising. I know there are those who are opposed to being inundated with ads everywhere, but is being inundated with what someone else feels as artistic any better? At least advertisements don’t cost us to put up and actually bring in an ongoing stream of revenue. Perhaps there could be a special contract that requires advertisements to somehow be artistic. I’m sure there are a few ad agencies that would jump at the chance to get in on that, and instead of us forking out a few million dollars (which I am speculating will be the total cost of consultant and chosen art), it costs nothing up front and we get a permanent revenue stream.

I would be willing to take that contract for half its amount, but even that is a waste.

When Stubbornness Trumps Financial Logic

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Respect for the Taxpayer. That was Rob Ford’s mantra that got him elected. He will stop at nothing to save the city’s taxpayers a few bucks.

Nothing could possibly be more important than saving the taxpayer a few dollars, right? Well, not if it involves some form of rail transit construction on the surface.

According to Steve Munro, Queen’s Park offered the city $2 billion towards the Sheppard Subway project provided that the they would allow the eastern part of Eglinton to remain on the surface. The city slammed the door on this idea. Not that an extension of the Sheppard line is a great idea, but if half of its funding could be secured this easily, why wouldn’t it be?

My position on the plans for the Eglinton line is that at least the section from the eastern portal between Leslie and Brentcliffe and Don Mills Road, the line should be built on the south side of Eglinton rather than down the middle. Looking further into this, it should be possible to continue a side-of-the-road right of way at least as far as Victoria Park or even Pharmacy. Between there and where it would go underground near Kennedy station, a median right of way is likely the best implementation.

Taxpayers be damned in order for the Fords to get their way.

Notice of Completion: Environmental Project Report

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Eglinton-Crosstown LRTThe City of Toronto and the TTC have completed an Environmental Project Report on the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT. A copy of the official notice can be seen here.

The 30-day review period started March 12 and runs to April 11. See the notice for the list of locations where the report may be viewed.  It will be officially available online only until April 11, but I have placed a copy of it here (with file sizes in parenthesis):

There are also three volumes of appendices (in 44 parts!). I expect to add them here, but for now you can go to the official link.

I have a few reservations about their conclusions and am considering submitting these in writing over the next couple of weeks. I will update this post before I forward them.