Etobicoke-Finch West LRT Comments

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.

There have been discussions regarding the use of side platforms at this station. A centre platform will better serve terminal operations, but if this line is extended to the east, side platforms will keep the pedestrian flows separate. I have suggested that a finished centre platform with space roughed in for later addition of side platforms might be a better approach. Now this might sound like a “palatial” overbuild like was done at Yonge-Sheppard station (Steve Munro’s word), but I am not suggesting that at all. Simply build the cavern wider at this time. Do not build the stairs, just the space for them. This may even cost the same as the proposed side platforms, as the extra cost for the wider “cavern” could be offset by only having to build two sets of stairs, escalators, and elevators instead of four. If separate platforms are ever needed, their addition would be easier with this space built now.

Along most of the route, there is a 36 metre wide roadway right of way,  which allows the standard LRT median to be constructed. Where centre platform stops will be used, the roadway ROW must be 40 metres. In some cases this will require some property acquisition. Between Yonge and  Bathurst, the roadway allowance is less than 36 metres and this project will bring that up to the 36 metre standard. This will require property acquisitions almost completely along this stretch of the route on both sides of the road. Hopefully, this will not be a major issue. I personally would not have a problem with being able to turn the front metre or two of my property into (tax free) cash. ;-)

Finch Avenue under Highway 400 is four lanes wide on each side as there is an approach lane for the ramps on each side. These approach lanes will be changed into normal traffic lanes with the ramps branching off of them in order to maintain three through-driving lanes in the vicinity of the 400. The one thing I found odd in the plan, realize until after I had left the open house and passed by the 400-Finch interchange, is that they plan to change the right-turn off ramps (southbound 400 to westbound Finch and northbound 400 to eastbound Finch) from merging lanes into signalized double right turn lanes. Even with the wider road, there appears to still be plenty of room to maintain the current merging lane arrangement, which I suspect will make for smoother traffic flow with less likelihood of causing backups.

Overall, the design is pretty good with reasonable stop spacing. The details of the Humber College terminal are still being worked on with the college. The plan only shows the line turning off of Highway 27 to a south side-of-the-road right of way at Humber College Boulevard.

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