Eglinton-Crosstown LRT Comments

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.

4 Responses to “Eglinton-Crosstown LRT Comments”

  1. Republic of Toronto Says:

    >>> Poor connection with Mississauga BRT

    This is what you get when 2 municipalities have different agendas and funding sources as well as outdated costing/funding approval process. Although the Renforth area (which includes Commerce) is designated as a potential “mobility hub”, there is no impetus from higher levels of government to implement this. One cannot expect much when the political framework with executive body and funding resources are not in place to facilitate a wholistic approach to transit development.

    Cal’s comment: It goes beyond “when 2 municipalities have different agendas and funding sources”. Even within Toronto, we are seeing variances from one Transit City project to the next which should be consistent. We still treat transit development as individual, isolated projects. We should be treating transit planning and development with a view to the network as a whole.

    It all surrounds money. If you throw lots of money, you get the good stuff. With limited funding you get what you see. Additionally, who would be responsible for maintaining a combined station? Mississauga or Toronto? In our current situation, it is much easier to build a tunnel or bridge to the USA then to connect 2 transit lines within our own province.

    >>>The possibility of Mississauga implementing LRT operations in the future …

    LRT along the BRT route is a pipe dream. BRT facilitates a variety of operations and routes within a single corridor that an LRT cannot. This corresponds well with Mississauga’s urban pattern and dispersement of residential and employment densities.

    >>>Not taking advantage of side-of-the-road right of ways.

    The reason for centre of the road is that the City intends on developing areas such as the Richview corridor (Martin Grove-Scarlett) and other currenlty underutilized or unused spaces along the side of the road.

    I addressed the issue of developing the Richview corridor. With the LRT development coming first, let’s dictate how that development should evolve with the presence of the LRT line, not the other way around. In places where non-direct access from parking facilities to main roads has been implemented, traffic flows better on the main roads. Yes, it is possible to improve the movement of transit vehicles AND other vehicles at the same time, so why not do so?

  2. Michael Forest Says:

    One concern is: did the ridership projections / models take into account the shift of passengers onto new faster lines?

    Local demand on Eglinton, even with density growth, will never exceed the capacity of LRT. But what if people start transferring to it, instead of Bloor subway, from the N-S bus routes?

    They now claim that the average speed of Eglinton LRT between Don Mills and the Airport will be 30 kph. If this is true, it will be in the same ballpark as Bloor.

    Current peak demand on Bloor subway is 24,000 pphpd. If half of it shifts to Eglinton, it is 12,000 pphpd already. Adding the local flow, the density growth, and the increase of transit modal share, we could see 15,000 or 18,000 instead of currently projected 7,000 pphpd.

    15,000 pphpd and using 3-car trains (500 people per train) would require 30 trains per hour, or a train every 2 min. This is doable on the tunneled section, but hardly possible on the street-median sections.

    Cal’s comment: I would presume that shifts in passengers are taken into account, but how accurately is hard to say.

    I would say that suggesting that half of Bloor’s load being shifted is rather optimistic. Bloor is carrying people from both sides of it, so taking half of that load away is rather dubious. Most of the load coming from south of Bloor, and even south of the half-way point between Bloor and Eglinton would not change, though there are exceptions.

    The load on the street-median sections of Eglinton are not expected to be as heavy as the centre part of the line. While the main reason for tunneling is because there simply isn’t the space for street-median on that part of Eglinton, I do see that part of the line becoming more heavily-used compared to the rest in a way that could justify longer trains within the tunnel. Stations are to be finished initially for 2-car trains and roughed-in for 3-car trains. However there is additional ‘utility’ space that feasibly could be used to extend underground stations to four or even five car lengths if that were ever to be needed. This is one reason why I encourage the use of a side-of-the-road ROW between the eastern portal and Don Mills, as future needs that may require longer trains in the tunneled section could extend all the way to Don Mills.

  3. Rob cazzolli Says:

    I attended the meeting at York Memorial Monday night and I must say it was very well laid out and informative. I have been attending all your seminars and I’m just as excited as your are to see this LRT get underway.

    I have owned and worked at 2120 Eglinton Ave West (3 blocks east of Caledonia) for the last 25 years and we presently employ 15 people, half of which commute by TTC. There are five units in our building all of which have employees or customers that rely on the transit system. Up to now we have had the luxury of having the bus stop 100 ft. away. In fact there are presently four stops between Dufferin St and Caledonia Rd (acceptable distance between stops for the commuters)

    As per your proposed stops we are going to be at a great disadvantage.

    Cal’s comment: I don’t usually comment mid-paragraph, but I need to point out for those new to the site that this site has no affiliation at all with the TTC. The word “your” preceding things related to the Eglinton-Crosstown plans may suggest otherwise. I have not edited this comment in any way, as I am taking it as an open letter to the TTC via this site…

    Your plans do not provide a stop for over 1.2km (between Dufferin and Caledonia). Some people who are located between these two stations, will be required to walk 600 meters in either direction to access a station and even more if the riders are not located off the Eglinton LRT line. Our community is that of lower income middle class. We also have an aging population that no longer drive and rely heavily on the TTC. You’ll be doing our community a great injustice if you don’t consider putting another strategic stop between Dufferin Station and Caledonia Station for your riders .

    I took a good look at your proposed stops east of Dufferin and they are much more frequent. I carefully logged the distances with my car odometer so these are approximate figures….

    Dufferin to Oakwood - 500 meters

    Oakwood to Eglinton West - 600 meters

    Eglinton West to Bathurst - 800 meters

    Bathurst to Chaplin - 600 meters

    Chaplin to Avenue Rd - 750 meters

    Avenue Rd to Yonge - 850 meters

    The fire code by-law requires this project to have a designated fire escape (EBC) no less than aprox. 360 meters and no greater than aprox. 720 meters. Right now that designated area is on Little Blvd.. Harvie Avenue is the mid point between the proposed stops of Dufferin Ave. and Caledonia Rd. station and one block east of Little Blvd. Since this Eglinton LRT already needs an exit point at Little Blvd. why wouldn’t the committee consider a stop at Harvie Ave. instead.

    If they consider a stop at Harvie it will still be 600 meters between the two proposed stops, and would eliminate the EBC at Little Blvd. This is not so unusual, considering you have less distance covering the same number of stops between Dufferin St. and Eglinton West station.

    Have the designers and planners carefully considered that there may be a lack of ridership if the stops are too far? Has there been studies asking riders if 1.2km between stops is acceptable (well above the Yonge and Bloor subway lines average)? Have they considered that they may lose riders presently using the Eglinton Bus line because now it would require them to walk further, adding time to their commute. Do you think people are prepared to walk over 1/2 kilometer to their destination points in inclement weather? Loss of ridership translates to loss of revenue.

    I realize that there are a list of factors that you have to consider for these proposed stops, but our community fits that demographic of the TTC rider. There are lot of people that reside in between these two stations, there are discount stores and supermarkets big and small, apartment buildings that house lower income earners, and some commercial and light industrial as well.

    Our community rely on the bus stops we have become accustomed to and enjoyed over the years. It has been a great service to our community. PLEASE DON’T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US. DON’T ELIMINATED ALL OUR STOPS

    This enormous undertaking is all about increasing ridership while offering convenience, serviceability, and a cost efficient alternative to automobiles. I can’t see you having one without offering the others as well. I like to reiterate how excited I am about this project and how much I support it, but I want to see it being a viable project - one that can potentially meet all of our objectives and benefit us all.


    Rob Cazzolli

    These are some very important points to make regarding this project. I do hope you have sent these to While the TTC has indicated that they do not plan to have parallel bus service on Eglinton, I strongly suspect that usage patterns will dictate that some form of service will be necessary. It may not be an “Eglinton bus” as we know it today, but may be a number of new routes make significant jogs along Eglinton to provide the local service necessary. I don’t believe comparing Eglinton to Bloor and the Danforth where subway stops average about 850 metres apart as transit user patterns have developed significantly differently along the two east-west corridors.

    For the record, let me point out that the cost of building an entire station, as opposed to an emergency exit is very significant. Aside from the size of the excavation and the infrastructure for the platform(s), the fire code also requires that there be two exit paths on each platform, and the building code requires accessible access as well, meaning elevators that are not required for the emergency exits. All of this makes adding a station instead of an emergency exit a very non-trivial task.

  4. Matt Fisher Says:

    Uhh, the two branch model appears to be the earlier thinking. I know some will say “Oh no! Transfers!” Nevertheless, it makes sense. And I live in Ottawa, often hailed as the embodiment of BRT with the Transitway. At the same time while we are planning to convert part of the Transitway to LRT, the bus boosters’ other favourite model, Curitiba Brazil, is planning to replace BRT with a subway.

    At the same time, yes, I feel the space set aside for the Richview Expressway would be more appropriately suited for LRT. :)