Archive for December, 2009

Etobicoke-Finch West LRT Comments

Friday, December 4th, 2009

The display boards (2.5 MB) for the open houses are now available.

These boards do not do a great job of showing the proposed connection with the subway at Yonge and Finch. The one cross-section drawing shows the LRT above the subway tracks with pedestrian walkways flanking each side of the subway tunnel. Stairs, escalators, and elevators will connect each end of each of the side platforms of the LRT with these walkways.

Yonge-Finch Drawing 

 What is not shown is that the Finch Subway station is located north of Finch. This means that the pedestrian tunnels head north on each side of the subway tunnel until they are under the mezzanine of the station where stairs, escalators, and elevators take people up to that level where they can reach the stairs, escalators, and elevators to the centre platform of the subway. In other words, there will be three level changes to transfer from LRT to subway. Unfortunately, there is really no way to reduce this without either going with an on-street platform that is on Yonge above the subway station, or having a deep (and expensive) LRT station that is below the subway tracks. My concern is that given the TTC’s track record on maintaining its current lift infrastructure, the chances of a transfer that requires three sets of hardware having one of those out of service becomes remarkably significant.

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Eglinton-Crosstown LRT Comments

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Eglinton-Crosstown LRTI made it out to tonight’s open house at the CNIB Conference Centre. I managed to get a Transit City button and an Eglinton Crosstown button. :-)

I prepared most of my comments ahead of time and attached a printed sheet with the following on it:

The Eglinton-Crosstown LRT has the potential to be an extremely important part of Toronto’s transit network. Station spacing and design are well though out.

However, there are several issues in the design that have the potential to detract from its benefits and attractiveness to the public:

1) Not taking advantage of side-of-the-road right of ways.

A side-of-the-road right of way is not practical where driveways for parking access enter the main road by crossing the right of way, and while there are few opportunities where this situation does not exist within Toronto, Eglinton has two significant stretches that should be taken advantage of: one on its south side from Don Mills west to the eastern portal of the underground section, and the other on its north side west from Jane Street.

The first has no driveways at all and geography dictates that this will continue to be the case. There is one ramp-accessed driveway that is easily avoided by shifting the alignment approximately 100 metres to the south. The second makes use of land that was originally reserved for a new expressway. While there are future development possibilities along this section, the presence of a side-of-the-road LRT right of way can, and should, dictate the development plans to reflect parking access via secondary roads. This is a common practice in GTA municipalities outside of Toronto even without rapid transit plans.

One advantage of a side-of-the-road right of way includes less interference with traffic, which benefits both LRT operations and lessens the impact due to changes to automobile traffic arrangements such as left turns at intersections. LRT crossings of side streets can have railway-type crossing signals and gates that are interlocked to the traffic signals at the intersection (see the photo of Minneapolis’ Hiawatha Avenue for an example).

A side-of-the-road right of way also has the advantage of being less costly to build as ballasted tie construction may be used. For the eastern section, an added benefit is that if future needs dictate running longer trains in the tunnel that are not practical in a median right of way, this operation can extend as far east as Don Mills, where it is expected that a major connection hub will exist. This alignment would require a new underpass at the railway east of Leslie, but the lower cost of ballasted tie construction for this 2-km section should nearly balance that out. Since the station at Don Mills Road will be underground, the transition from side-of-the-road to median can be accomplished without the need for any traffic controlling signals.

2) Out of the way access to the airport that misses significant trip-generators.In an attempt to serve a connection with the Mississauga BRT station at Commerce as well as the airport, an inconvenient out-of-the-way trip that misses significant trip-generators is required.A better approach would be to build two branches west of Martin Grove. One would follow the proposed alignment to Commerce to connect with the BRT station. The other could basically follow Highway 27 (again, using a side-of-the-road right of way) and Dixon Road into the airport. In addition to providing a more direct route to the airport, this line will serve the hotels located on Dixon Road with a convenient transit choice into the city.\

The added cost for this crossing over Highway 401 could be covered by the savings from ballasted tie construction for a side-of-the-road right of way west of Jane Street.

3) Poor connection with Mississauga BRT.

Pedestrian access between the LRT and the BRT station is somewhat awkward, and potentially dangerous with added crossing traffic on foot. An LRT alignment that uses a side-of-the-road right of way would facilitate a same-level transfer facility at this station.

The possibility of Mississauga implementing LRT operations in the future would also take advantage of such an arrangement by sharing platforms or perhaps even with run-through services.

4) Possible problems with Median U-turns

It is hoped that proper consideration and design are given to the operation of the signals at intersections and their corresponding signalised median U-turns. If not, LRT operations may be drastically disturbed by three traffic signals, rather than just one.

In addition to these comments, I also added two hand-written points. One was to encourage better planning for connections with GO Transit as these will become an important part of the transit network by the time the line opens. The other was to encourage rescheduling the construction to permit a phase one opening from Pearson Airport to Allen Road in time for the Pan Am games.

Etobicoke-Finch West LRT Open Houses

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Sorry I missed posting this earlier, but the next round of open houses are being held for the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT. The first was held last night (December 1) but here are the upcoming open houses:

All will be held from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. The dates and locations are as  follows:

  • Thursday December 3 at Julius Banquet Centre - 2201 Finch Avenue West (at Arrow Road)
  • Monday December 7 at Charles H Best MS (cafeteria) - 285 Wilmington Avenue
  • Wednesday December 9 at Elmbank JMA - 10 Pittsboro Drive (east of Martingrove)

 I will add display panels once they become available.

Eglinton-Crosstown LRT Open Houses

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Eglinton-Crosstown LRT

December 2 update: I plan on attending tonight’s open house at the  CNIB Conference Centre. I plan to submit my comments at the open house, and will post them on this site once I have done that.

The next round of open houses will be held for the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT. There will be seven open houses held over the next few weeks. You can read the official notice here.

Here are the display panels for the open houses (each are about 2 MB in size):

All will be held from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. The dates and locations are as  follows:

  • Monday November 23 at York Memorial Collegiate - 2690 Eglinton Avenue West
  • Tuesday November 24 at Etobicoke Olympium - 590 Rathburn Road
  • Wednesday November 25 at Northern Secondary School - 851 Mount Pleasant Road
  • Thursday November 26 at Richview Collegiate - 1738 Islington Avenue
  • Wednesday December 2 at the CNIB Conference Centre - 1929 Bayview Avenue
  • Tuesday December 8 at the Don Montgomery Community Centre - 2467 Eglinton Avenue East
  • Thursday December 10 at Beth Shalom Synagogue - 1445 Eglinton Avenue West