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At Christie, It’s Two-Parts Escalator and One-Part Stairs

accessttc.jpgTTC stations can either be accessible, or not. Except for Christie Station, shown here. It’s neither not accessible nor accessible.
It’s as if the TTC ran out of escalator: There’s an escalator that almost reaches the station floor, followed by a short flight of stairs. At the transfer point (no transfer required though), there’s a small platform in which to rest. What gives?
Christie is different for several reasons. On October 15, 1976, a subway train caught on fire in the station, causing many of the tiles to be replaced. The train was a victim of arson, just before making one of its last runs of the night. It can be seen here. The fire was fairly significant, destroying four subways and closing a section of the Bloor-Danforth line for a number of days. This, however, did not affect the escalator completion (it in fact pre-dated it). So, without any further voice on the issue, chalk this one up to lethargic efforts by escalator architects. Unless there’s something we’re missing on the matter?


  • Joe Clark

    Detroitis– rather, Torontoist’s acumen continues to astound.
    Did you do a little thought experiment and visualize the angle the escalator would take if it went all the way down to the floor? Could that angle possibly exceed safety and usability guidelines?

  • sean lerner

    Joe Clark – I don’t follow your argument. There must be a reason why the escalator doesn’t extend, but the angle of the escalator isn’t it. If that escalator did extend, the angle would remain the same – the escalator would just be longer.

  • Jeff Goldblum

    And even if extending the escalator would have exceeded safety and useability guidelines for some reason (er, maybe it was one of those curving escaltors?), why not just build the escalator a different way, or in a different exact location, in the first place?

  • chris

    Pape Station is the same way. Crazy.

  • sean lerner

    I don’t think Pape is the same way (it’s my home station). It does have an escalator, then at a different spot a set of stairs, and then another escalator, but it doesn’t have the weird few steps before escalator that Christie has. Broadview also has the weird few steps before escalator thing going on too.

  • Joe Clark

    Try mentally extending the bottom of the escalator to the bottom of the existing stairs. Did you also consider that the undercarriage of the escalator requires space, which could not intrude into the ceiling below?

  • Josh

    what? i thought i banned joe clark.
    uh the angle argument is what we call a non-starter. the escalator can hit the subway floor at the same angle as it descends to the platform. unless you can bring a more compelling reason, you pathetic letter-writer, don’t comment.

  • tyrone

    those science centre escalators are also pretty rad… its like the ‘country cousin’ to those massive paramount escalators.
    Also, one of the downtown Vancouver subway stops has a super long escalator, where at the top, you can’t even see the bottom!
    and while I’m at it, I would like to start a petition to bring back the movator to Spadina station.

  • Bono

    Has this blog really been about escalators and angles?
    There’s an election looming, Leafs won, more Iraqi abuse, The OC is picking up, Potter is out on Friday, Sound of Music on DVD, the return of the quintessential DJ of this millenium… and angles and escalators are being discussed?

  • chris

    The thing with Pape that gets me is that small bank of steps… an escalator would make the station completely escalator-accessible, not just partially accessible, which is the issue with Christie. I find the Pape Station inaccessibility especially problematic given the fact that there is a seniors’ centre right across the street. Actually, same thing with Broadview AND Christie… Hmmm.

  • SpupEh

    A bunch of things:
    First of all, even if the escalator went all the way down, it wouldn’t make the station accessible; ask anyone in a wheelchair. An elevator would do more for accessibility than even a complete escalator.
    Second, Joe’s first argument refers to the overhead clearance space required by code. I haven’t been to Christie Station, but I know that you need at least 6’5″ overhead clearance in residential stairs and I imagine at least that much for an escalator in a public zone. Is there an overhead projection that required the escalator to start further forward?
    Third, Joe makes a good point about space required beneath and in front of an escalator. Note the landing in the picture; if the escalator was extended downward, it would hit the floor level not where the current stairs begins, but somewhere beneath the existing landing. Then there would be the space required for the escalator’s service pit below the floor — typically extending 4-6′ below and 3-5′ in front of the beginning of the escalator. I can’t quite see it from the picture, but the landing in the picture is probably the access hatch to the service pit for the escalator, since the stairs themselves look pretty solid.
    Does this escalator lead from a mezzanine level that is above the subway platform level? Perhaps there is an issue in the subfloor (like the ceiling of the subway platform below) that requires part of the service pit to be above the level of the floor, hence the awkward stairs-and-landing construction pictured.
    Alternately, does this escalator lead directly from the subway platform level? Is it oriented perpindicular to the tracks? If so, perhaps there wouldn’t be enough room for a service pit to fit between the tracks and the start of the escalator had the escalator been constructed to begin where the current stairs begin.
    Of course, this all begs the question of why the original construction didn’t take all this into account when they were laying it out. Maybe they retrofit an escalator into where stairs used to be. Maybe somebody just fucked up somewhere along the line.

  • James Bow

    There are a few places where an escalator is preceded by a short flight of stairs. These tend to be in the older part of the station. Christie and Pape stations, you’ll notice, were built in the mid 1960s. I don’t remember the other stations off the top of my head, but I think you will find that all the stations built after 1975; possibly even the stations built after 1968, all have escalators that run the correct length.
    What you are seeing at Christie and Pape is a budget savings measure. Custom made escalators were significantly more expensive than standard length ones. Rather than spend the X thousands of additional dollars to install a custom installation, the TTC went with a standard set and built up the stairs to meet it.

  • Josh

    thanks. i believe james bow.

  • anon

    London’s Trocadero has a looong escalator (at least 4 stories) that takes you up, where you immediately realize there is no down escalator, only hundreds of arcade games cleverly designed to keep you so distracted it takes 15 minutes to find the stairs down to the exit.