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Read these daily “on schedule” posts to find news and other information that affects your daily commute. You’ll learn about public meetings, special events and construction projects that affect transit services today.




Highway 401 Milton bridge demolition
GO, Milton Transit detours, November 18, 19



From 7 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, November 18 until 1 p.m. Sunday, November 19, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation is closing:

  • Highway 401, all lanes, in both directions

at Martin Street Milton (Halton Regional Road 25), as contractors demolish the old bridge structure.

GO Transit is detouring buses operating along these routes, while the highway is closed:

  • 25 Waterloo / Mississauga;
  • 29 Guelph / Mississauga;
  • 30 Kitchener / Brampton express; and
  • 33 Guelph / Georgetown / North York.

Milton Transit is detouring buses operating along these routes, while the highway is closed:

  • 1C Industrial; and
  • 62 Campbellville.

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Image, Ministry of Transportation, Ontario.



Crane blocks Wellesley West,
TTC detour, November 18



The City of Toronto is closing:

  • Wellesley Street West between Bay and Yonge Streets

from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday, November 18, as contractors lift a crane at a construction site.

The TTC is detouring buses operating along this route, while the street is closed:

  • 94 Wellesley.

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Spadina Station car terminal construction:
Buses replace streetcars, November 17, 18



From 10 p.m. tonight, Friday, November 17 until 10 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, November 18, the TTC is replacing streetcars with buses north of Queen Street West during construction in the streetcar terminal at Spadina Station along these routes:

  • 310 Spadina overnight; and
  • 510 Spadina.

510310_station_17111.gif



Weekend events affect transit services,
November 17, 18, 19



Santa Claus is coming to town — or, at least, to 18 cities and towns in the Greater Golden Horseshoe — this weekend.

He’s a busy man as parades welcome him to the Acton area of Halton Hills, Barrie, the Beaverton area of Brock Township, the Bowmanville area of Clarington, Bradford, Brampton, Cambridge, the Georgetown area of Halton Hills, Guelph, Hamilton, the Keswick area of Georgina, Kitchener, the Newcastle area of Clarington, Newmarket, Niagara Falls, Oakville, Orangeville, Oshawa, Richmond Hill, St. Catharines, Toronto, Uxbridge and Waterloo.

Other seasonal events also disrupt transit services in Brampton and Newmarkevt.



The Miracle on King Street



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TTC Flexity 4404, eastbound on King at Bay in 514 CHERRY service, June 22, 2017. Photo by James Bow.

The King Street transit priority pilot project is now in force. The responses to it have been considerably varied but also partisan. Some of the local media have pounced on pronouncements that the experiment has been a “disaster”. They cite the fact that drivers were confused on Sunday, and many drivers broke the law on Monday morning, driving through intersections rather than turning right. Police are out educating and warning miscreants, and tickets will be written for second offences.

However, on Twitter, the response from TTC riders paints a very different picture. Commute times have been halved in a number of cases. Transit columnist Edward Keenan writes to counter the car-oriented doomsayers by calling the King Street transit priority project “a miracle”.

From a seat on the 504 King streetcar Monday on the first weekday morning of the transit-priority pilot project, it sure felt like a streetcar miracle.

The car kept moving, first of all. Through the front window, you could see the streetcar a few blocks ahead. Through the back window, you could see the one a few blocks behind. It was standing-room only, but not the overcapacity mosh pit Torontonians have come to expect. And the trip I took, from Dundas West station to Yonge St., was fully 10 minutes faster than when I timed the same trip three years ago.

(link)

It’s quite common for a major change such as this to face initial confusion and frustration, but the experience of the morning commute clearly shows that for the overwhelming majority of people using King — the 65,000 daily riders who outnumber King Street drivers by more than 4-to-1 — the experiment has substantially improved their commute.

This has great implications for all Torontonians. King Street can now move more people more efficiently than it has in the past. The 504 KING streetcar can take on more passengers while utilizing the same number of streetcars. This means the cost-effectiveness of the TTC’s streetcar operations here have been increased. The TTC is likely making a significant accounting profit on the line’s operations, which will help subsidize more and better transit throughout the city.

There is room for improvement, but the City of Toronto should commit to maintain and expand its pilot project, making it permanent, possibly expanding it west to Dufferin and east to Parliament, and finding ways to further encourage drivers to obey the law. The benefits for all Torontonians are clear.



Eglinton West LRT community meetings,
November 13, 15



Eglinton west lrt - top-bar-logo-1.png

When Mayor John Tory was merely mayoral candidate Tory, a chief plank of his campaign platform was “SmartTrack” an above-ground rapid transit service mostly along GO Transit rail corridors through the city.

One component of the plan would have resulted in heavy-rail trains operating along Eglinton Avenue West from Mount Dennis — at the end of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line to the Airport Corporate Centre in Mississauga, and, possibly, Toronto Pearson International Airport.

smarttrack_fb.jpg

Well, now that Tory is mayor, the SmartTrack plan is still around. Just last month the City and Metrolinx hosted public meetings on the proposals. But it no longer includes Eglinton West as part of the scheme.

In early 2016, the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat released a report that recommended to Toronto City Council that it support light rail transit along Eglinton Avenue West beyond Weston Road.

Council endorsed the report’s recommendations, effectively short-turning SmartTrack at Mount Dennis and re-affirming a proposal that was around long before anyone ever thought about SmartTrack — extending the Crosstown LRT further west along Eglinton. Ontario’s Minister of the Environment had already approved the plan for the extension in 2010 as part of an earlier environmental assessment process.

Toronto City Council had asked the chief planner to review various options for building this western leg of the proposed line. Her team hired HDR Inc. to analyze several variations for routes that would have resulted in a line on Eglinton Avenue. The group also looked at options that would have continued the line further north along the GO corridor, and then toward the airport before reaching the Mississauga airport business area.

The outcome? All heavy-rail proposals would negatively impact the local community. And, all would cost significantly more — but attract significantly fewer ridersthan light rail.

Since then, City, TTC and Metrolinx staff have been refining the original 2010 proposal. Metrolinx is also working with government and transit partners, including the City of Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority to determine the best route for the LRT between Commerce Boulevard and a future Pearson regional transit centre.

The planning team is reviewing stop locations and the feasibility, costs, benefits, impacts and strategic value of possible grade separations along the route.

Now the City is hosting two public meetings to present its plans so far and get your feedback.

They’ve scheduled the events:


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Map of the LRT route from the 2010 environmental assessment process.

In November, 2016, City staff outlined to Council the best locations for stops along the line. The City, TTC and Metrolinx reviewed the original eight to 12 stops between Mount Dennis and Renforth Station on the Mississauga Transitway at Commerce Boulevard. They evaluated each stop, considering how may passengers used the current TTC bus stops, current and projected population and employment, development potential and nearby destinations. Through this process they determined that they preferred just 10 stops to carry forward.

The original stops at Renforth Drive, Rangoon Road, The East Mall and Russell Road / Eden Valley Drive are no longer part of the plan.

EgWest-Preferred-Stop-Locations10x-1.jpg

Staff are now only considering these stops.

In July, 2016, City Council directed staff to considering using grade separations — bridges to carry the light rail line over — or under — as many six busy intersections to avoid blocking north-south traffic: Martin Grove Road; Kipling Avenue; Islington Avenue; Royal York Road; Scarlett Road; and Jane Street.

North-centre-south-ROW-1.jpg

Grade_separation_map.jpg



In the news: Sunday, November 12, 2017



Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe area media report on public transit issues today.

Greater Toronto Area
  • 680 All News Radio report, “Buses versus streetcars: The debate continues”, here.
  • BlogTO post, “King Street transit pilot starts today”, here.
  • BlogTO post, “What the TTC looked like in the 1960s and 1970s”, here.
  • BlogTO post, “Toronto wants a single fare for all transit providers”, here.
  • BlogTO post, “TTC announces plan to switch to electric buses”, here.
  • BlogTO post, “Quick clear squads coming to Toronto highways”, here.
  • BlogTO post, “Toronto just voted to make Bloor bike lanes permanent”, here.
  • Canadian Press article (from the Global News Toronto website), “Bloor bike lanes a good step, but Toronto still lags behind other Canadian cities”, here.
  • CBC News Toronto report, “Toronto City Council OKs fare integration plans with Metrolinx”, here.
  • CBC News Toronto report, “King Street pilot project changes how everyone uses the street”, here.
  • CBC News Toronto report, “‘Quick clear squads’ to be permanent fixture on Toronto’s busiest roadways, city says”, here.
  • CBC News Toronto report, “Transport regulator rejects Via Rail’s efforts to limit wheelchair, mobility access on trains”, here.
  • CityNews Toronto report, “King Street transit pilot starts Sunday”, here.
  • CityNews Toronto report, “Tory admits he hasn’t had time to explore water transportation campaign promise”, here.
  • CP24 report, “Councillor wants auditor to compare cost of Scarborough subway with scrapped LRT plan”, here.
  • CTV News Toronto report, “King Street pilot project will put streetcars first, starting Sunday”, here.
  • Daily Commercial News article, “Tory talks infrastructure deficit at construction conference”, here.
  • Financial Post article, “Are your GPS apps ready for Toronto’s King Street pilot project - and possible mayhem - on Sunday?”, here.
  • Globe and Mail article, “City Council votes 36-6 to make Bloor Street temporary bicycle lanes permanent”, here.
  • insauga post, “Major Changes Are Coming to a GO Station in Mississauga”, here.
  • InsideToronto.com article, “Council supports single fare for all transit trips in Toronto”, here.
  • InsideToronto.com article, “Toronto city council supports making Park Lawn GO station a priority”, here.
  • InsideToronto.com article, “Scarborough strip mall slated for expropriation to power Scarborough subway”, here.
  • Media in Canada article, “Spotted! A Sam Smith listening party on the rails”, here.
  • Metro Toronto column, “Austerity, status quo or city-building: It’s time for Toronto voters to pick a path”, here.
  • Mississauga News article, “Province awards$128 million contract for Cooksville GO Station redevelopment”, here.
  • Mortgage Broker News article, “Transit links are key to Toronto market’s future growth - report”, here.
  • National Post column, “Approval of permanent Bloor bike lanes brings up a step closer to getting along”, here.
  • Steve Munro’s post, “TTC Board Meeting Preview November 13, 2017”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “TTC plans 43 subway closures next year, up from 35 this year”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “Internal Metrolinx report found Scarborough subway ‘not a worthwhile use of money’”“, here.
  • Toronto Star column, “Scarborough subway debate lacks vital information”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “TTC test of new signalling system ‘exceeded expectations’”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “Street overhaul that aims to put transit first set to launch on King St.”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “Eglinton Crosstown wall collapse nets demolition company $60,000 fine”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “Ontario on track for next generation of clean trains?”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “TTC plans to buy first electric buses, targets emissions-free fleet by 2040”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “Bay - Dundas bus terminal looks to recapture its ‘sense of grandeur’”, here.
  • Toronto Star column, “Stub of TTC streetcar pole finally departs: The Fixer”, here.
  • Toronto Star commentary, “What it will it take to make Metrolinx transit plan a reality”, here.
  • Toronto Sun article, “TTC successfully tests automated subway trains and riders were none the wiser”, here.
  • Toronto Sun article, “Scarborough subway debate sends council round the bend”, here.
  • TVO report, “There is no future in which the Scarborough subway is a good idea”, here.
  • Urban Toronto post, “Toronto City Council Makes Park Lawn GO Station a Priority”, here.
  • Urban Toronto post, “Public Meetings on Eglinton West LRT to Begin November 13”, here.
  • Urban Toronto post, “$128 million Contract Awarded for Cooksville GO Station Redevelopment”, here.
  • Urban Toronto post, “Building Foundations on Unstable Soil a Common Issue in the GTA”, here.
Elsewhere in the Greater Golden Horseshoe


"People (and streetcars) are King": Transit pilot
between Bathurst and Jarvis starts November 12



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TTC streetcars operating along King Streets East and West between River and Dufferin Streets serve the busiest surface transit corridor in Toronto. They carry as many as 65,000 passengers every Monday to Friday.

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Despite the large number of riders on King streetcars, service is often slow and erratic. Streetcars share the street with other traffic and left-turning vehicles often delay the cars. In many cases at many times of the day, pedestrians can walk faster than the streetcars can travel the same distance.

King Street also has the largest concentration of jobs in the city, region, and country. The King Street corridor will continue to grow significantly in population and employment in the coming decades, leading to further demand on these already heavily congested transit routes.

Moreover, even though most people travel by transit on King Street and very few by car, the design allocates the most space to motorists.

During its meeting of Thursday, July 6, City of Toronto council approved a pilot project to — temporarily, at least — fix the problem.

King.jpg

Starting 7 a.m. Sunday, November 12, the City is designating King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets as a transit-priority street, hopefully improving the reliability, speed, and capacity of streetcar service. During the pilot, motorists in private vehicles can’t drive through intersections — they can only turn right onto cross streets. Only TTC, emergency and road maintenance vehicles and bicycles can continue along the street without turning. Taxicabs can also operate through intersections — but only from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.

Thumbnail image for King Street Stop Rel1.jpg

Pilot projects such as this help the City try out new ideas, quickly and cost-effectively, and learn what works and what doesn’t. The pilot project continues for about a year, by which time City staff can assess the results and then let Council decide what to do next: make it permanent; tweak it; or cancel it.

The TTC is moving most streetcar stops in the pilot area. Usually, the cars drop off or pick on the far side, instead of the near side. This means that they stop after crossing the intersection. (Two exceptions: the westbound stops at Portland and Bathurst Streets.) At many stops, the City has set up protected passenger waiting areas in the curb lane of the street.

For the first two weeks of the pilot, the TTC is assigning customer-service ambassadors on the street to help direct passengers to the new transit stops on the far side of the intersections.

During the same time, the Toronto Police Service is deploying have a team of officers at key intersections along King Street to educate drivers and enforce the new road restrictions.




9096-King-Street-Brochure_Oct25_Web.jpg

Click on the map to view details of the street design during the pilot project.

At Bathurst Street, motorists cannot drive through the intersection. They must turn left or right. At Jarvis Street, motorists cannot drive through the intersection. They must turn left or right.

Motorists turning right onto King must turn into the streetcar lane, not the curb lane. Motorists turning right off of King must use the right-turn lane beside the curb. At some intersections, the City has installed new signals with advanced right-turn green arrows to provide drivers extra time to turn before pedestrians can cross. You cannot turn left from King onto any street in the area. The drivers of vehicles on north-south streets can still cross King Street.

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The City is* prohibiting all on-street parking* in the pilot area. Parking is available on some side streets and in parking lots and garages nearby. It has also established on-street taxi spaces for cabs to stand or pick up passengers and spots where truckers can stop their vehicles to deliver to businesses.


This video with the TTC’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Byford and Executive Director of Corporate Communications Brad Ross explains the reasons for the pilot project and how it will affect transit passengers and motorists.


Steve Munro offers a more detailed look at the street design on his blog, here.



No subway service, Lawrence to St Clair
this weekend, November 11, 12



StC_to_Lawrence.jpg

The TTC is closing part of its Line 1 Yonge - University subway between Lawrence and St Clair Stations all day Remembrance Day Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12. Line 1 trains operate only between Finch and Lawrence stations and between St Clair and Sheppard West stations this weekend.

Frequent shuttle buses replace the trains, operating from the bus terminals at Lawrence and St Clair Stations and stopping on Yonge Street near all other stations on the closed part of the line.

While the subway is closed, TTC crews work to replace track and switches just south of Eglinton Station.

Lawrence Station does not have an elevator. Instead, passengers requiring accessible service can board TTC Wheel-Trans vehicles between York Mills and St Clair stations. If you’re travelling southbound on Line 1 and you require an elevator should exit the train at York Mills Station and ask any TTC staff member for Wheel-Trans service.

To provide a faster trip for TTC passengers and keep traffic flowing, the City of Toronto is restricting on-street parking from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday on:

  • both sides of Yonge Street between Lawrence and St. Clair Avenues;
  • both sides of Pleasant Boulevard between Avoca Avenue and Yonge Street; and
  • both sides of St. Edmunds Drive between Lawrence Avenue East and Yonge Street.

Shuttle-bus alternatives

Plan your trips on the subway ahead of time this Saturday and Sunday to avoid stress and crowds. Leave extra time in your schedule and expect longer traveling times those days.

While shuttle buses operate frequently, they will be crowded.

Regular TTC buses and streetcars provide less frequent, less direct, but, perhaps, less stressful alternatives. Consider travelling along the University branch, instead of the Yonge branch, to and from downtown Toronto and avoid the shuttle buses entirely this weekend.

Ride buses or streetcars on routes serving streets north or south of the closure to reach stations on the University branch:

  • Ride buses operating along the 84 Sheppard West and 196 York University rocket routes and board the subway at Sheppard West Station, instead of Sheppard - Yonge Station.
  • Ride buses operating along the 96 Wilson or 165 Weston Rd North routes and board the subway at Wilson Station, instead of York Mills Station.
  • Ride buses operating along the 52 Lawrence West route and board the subway at Lawrence West Station, instead of Lawrence Station.
  • Ride buses operating along the 32 Eglinton West route and board the subway at Eglinton West Station, instead of Eglinton Station.
  • Ride streetcars operating along the 512 St. Clair route and board the subway at St. Clair West Station, instead of St. Clair Station.
  • Ride trains operating along the 2 Bloor - Danforth subway line and board the 1 Yonge - University - Spadina line at St. George Station, instead of Yonge Station.
  • Ride streetcars operating along the 506 Carlton route and board the subway at Queen’s Park Station, instead of College Station.
  • Ride streetcars operating along the 505 Dundas route and board the subway at St. Patrick Station, instead of Dundas Station.
  • Ride streetcars operating along the 501 Queen route and board the subway at Osgoode Station, instead of Queen Station.
  • Ride streetcars operating along the 504 King and 514 Cherry routes and board the subway at St. Andrew Station, instead of King Station.

According to the TTC, “Maintaining subway infrastructure in a state-of-good-repair is critical to ensuring a safe, reliable transit system. While the TTC does much of its maintenance work on the subway at the conclusion of service each night, it will continue to require weekend closures to complete improvements to infrastructure and signals, such as automatic train control. One weekend of work during a subway closure equals about five weeks of nightly work.”

In this video, the TTC’s chief executive officer, Andy Byford and executive director of corporate communications, Brad Ross, further explain why the TTC closes parts of its subway network weekends:


The TTC previously closed this section of Line 1 for trackwork projects earlier this fall:

The TTC is closing this section of Line 1 for trackwork projects omce more this year:

  • Saturday, November 25 and Sunday, November 26.


Less frequent Lakeshore West GO trains,
this weekend, November 10, 11, 12



GO Transit is decreasing the frequency of trains along the 01 Lakeshore West line this weekend, Friday, November 10, Remembrance Day Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12.

Trains operate every hour, instead of every 30 minutes, while Metrolinx crews maintain the tracks.

GO is also replacing trains with shuttle buses between Burlington and Aldershot GO stations Friday night and all day Saturday, while Canadian National Railway crews upgrade the signals on that section of the line.


Friday, November 10

Eastbound trains will operate hourly, starting with the train that usually leaves Aldershot GO Station at 9:01 p.m. GO is cancelling the trains that usually leave Aldershot at 9:31 p.m. and 10:31 p.m.

The train that usually leaves Aldershot GO at 11:01 p.m. starts, instead, in Burlington GO Station at 11:07 p.m. A shuttle bus leaves Aldershot at 10:46 p.m. and ends its trip in Burlington at 11:01 p.m.

Westbound trains operate hourly, starting with the train that usually leaves Union Station at 7:43 p.m. GO is cancelling the trains that usually leave Union at 8:13, 9:13, 10:13 and 11:13 p.m.

Starting with the train that leaves Union at 9:43 p.m., all Lakeshore West trains end their trips in Burlington. Shuttle buses operate to Aldershot and then continue to Hamilton GO Centre. The buses leave Burlington at 10:54 p.m. and every 30 minutes until 12:54 a.m. They arrive in Aldershot at 11:04 p.m. and every 30 minutes until 1:04 a.m. They end their trips in Hamilton at 11:19 p.m. and every 30 minutes until 1:19 a.m.


Remembrance Day, Saturday, November 11

Trains operate hourly all day between Union and Burlington.

GO is cancelling the eastbound trains that usually leave Aldershot at 31 minutes past the hour. It’s also cancelling the westbound trains that usually leave Union at 13 minutes past the hour.

Buses will replace all trains between Aldershot and Burlington.

Extra eastbound buses leave Aldershot GO Station at 6:46 a.m. and every hour until 8:46 a.m., then every 30 minutes until 10:46 p.m. They end their trips in Burlington GO Station bus terminal at 7:01 a.m. and every hour until 9:01 a.m., then every 30 minutes until 11:01 p.m.

Extra westbound buses leave Burlington GO Station at 7:54 a.m. and every hour until 9:54 a.m. They arrive in Aldershot GO Station bus terminal at 8:04 a.m. and every hour until 10:04 a.m. They end their trips in Hamilton GO Centre at 8:11 a.m. and every hour until 10:11 a.m.

After about 11 a.m., buses operate every 30 minutes, but only between Burlington and Aldershot. They leave Burlington at 10:54 a.m. and every 30 minutes until 12:24 a.m. They end their trips in Aldershot at 11:09 a.m. and every 30 minutes until 12:39 a.m.

After about 12:30 a.m., buses again operate hourly between Burlington and Hamilton. They leave Burlington at 12:54 and 1:54 a.m. and arrive in Aldershot 1:04 and 2:04 a.m. They end their trips in Hamilton at 1:11 and 2:11 a.m.


Sunday, November 12

Trains operate hourly between Aldershot and Union

GO is cancelling the eastbound trains that usually leave Aldershot at 31 minutes past the hour. It’s also cancelling the westbound trains that usually leave Union at 13 minutes past the hour.


GO’s Lakeshore East trains operate as usually. However, passengers travelling west of Union Station may have to wait as much as 30 minutes longer for a westbound Lakeshore West train.

Some GO Route 15 and 18 buses will run five to 10 minutes late due to the bus shuttles.

Connecting GO buses operating along the 12 Niagara Falls / Burlington, 15 Brantford / Burlington and 18 Lakeshore West routes continue to operate according to their regular schedules, but some buses operating along routes 15 and 18 may operate five to 10 minutes behind schedule, due to the shuttle buses.

Hamilton Street Railway, Burlington Transit, MiWay and TTC buses also continue to operate according to their regular schedules.