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What a Transit City Could Look Like in 2040

200909ttccloser.jpg
A closer look at downtown.


Derek Jensen, a longtime Torontoist reader and commenter, started slowly plotting out his fantasy TTC map in the summer of 2007, while living in Seoul. In the two years since, we’ve featured one fantasy map from U of T architecture professor Dieter Janssen, set in 2030, and another from reader Ryan Felix, set in 2050. Jensen staked out 2040 for his, taking inspiration from not only Felix and Janssen’s maps, but also other fantasy TTC maps, Transit City’s real plans, and other transit systems from around the world, all to create an extraordinarily well-thought out look at the possible geography and logic of Toronto’s future transit system.


Jensen’s map, which can be viewed full-sized here, features nine subway lines (Yonge–Lake Shore, Queen–University–Allen, Bloor–Danforth, Scarborough, Sheppard, Eglinton, Don Valley, Weston, and Jane) with stations everywhere from Pearson Airport to Jane and Finch to the Island Airport, as well as thirty streetcar routes, altogether aiming to provide comprehensive city-wide coverage. “In my map,” explains Jensen, “subway lines radiate from downtown, reaching parts of Toronto that are, today, bothersome to get to by transit but are developed and populated nonetheless. From there, streetcar lines bring people to and from the the subways from residential areas. The subways service places like Malvern, Morningside, Rexdale, Thornhill, Long Branch, and the doorstep of Markham, all very lengthy bus rides today.”
As a result, Jensen figures that three-quarters of the city’s population would be no more than a fifteen minute walk from a streetcar or subway stop: “Overall, going east of Yonge and west of Allen Road is easier, getting downtown from just about anywhere is easier, and getting to the airports is easier.” Adjusted for inflation, it’s also cheaper: stay “local”—a zone with shifting boundaries depending on where you depart from—and you’ll pay only the three-dollar base (students pay two dollars, and kids under four and adults over seventy ride free); ride outside of the local zone, and you’ll pay an extra fare of twenty-five cents per every six kilometres outside of the local zone you travel. “That’s the system they use in Korea’s and Japan’s subways, and I think it makes a lot of sense,” says Jensen. “A rider going five stops shouldn’t be paying the same fare as someone going twenty-five or more, but the rate is low enough that a rider crossing the city shouldn’t feel penalized for going farther.” Trips from airports are exempt: they’re three dollars, flat.

200908TTCmap.jpg
A wider view of the entirety of the TTC streetcar and subway system. Here’s a much larger version.


In addition to broader coverage, Jensen also focussed on creating a system that would relieve the pressure on downtown routes and stops during peak hours—not with one Downtown Relief Line, but with a number of lines and routes working in concert to serve a similar function. As Jensen explains: “three streetcar lines from Sherbourne Station (to Spadina, Bathurst, and Dundas West Stations) grant access to downtown while bypassing Yonge & Bloor and St. George Stations; the Weston and Don Valley lines move people in and out of downtown directly; The 514 (Dupont-Dundas West) runs parallel to Bloor, with subway access from downtown and extra streetcar connections from Bathurst and Dufferin; and by splitting Yonge-University-Spadina into two lines”—Queen–University-Allen and Yonge–Lake Shore—”delays at Osgoode Station no longer interrupt trains at Queen Station, as they do today, and both lines continue on to serve other areas.”
“I’m not saying this is the TTC we should or could have today,” says Jensen, but “it’s definitely meant to be a look at how the system and city could develop over the next thirty years. The Yonge–Lake Shore Line, and Commissioners and Regatta stations on the Don Valley line, for example, imply a staggering amount of development along the lake. And if you note the fare, it’s also a system that’s properly supported by the provincial and federal governments,” which, he notes, is “truly a fantasy.”

Comments

  • CanadianSkeezix

    Councillor Vaughan and “CommunityAir” will presumably have some sort of petulant fit upon seeing a fixed link (in this case what appears to be a subway and LRT) out to the Island Airport.

  • montauk

    You are my hero, rek.

  • http://torontoist.is.not.nickwarzin.com tapesonthefloor

    Wow… it looks like a real city.

  • http://undefined TokyoTuds

    Brilliant!

  • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

    Sketching the “geography and logic” are by far the lowest hanging fruits of transit planning. I’d love to see as much creativity devoted to figuring out how to pay for system expansion. As fun as these maps are, they’re not going to excite the non-transit geek enough to get him or her to accept a road toll without screaming bloody murder.
    Think of the incredible stink raised about the St. Clair streetcar right-of-way. The greater per-kilometre cost of LRT and subway lines reflects, in part, that they are more disruptive to construct and are going to encounter vastly more resistance from local businesses. Plans for nipping that kind of opposition in the bud are entirely absent but very badly needed.

  • http://undefined TokyoTuds

    On closer inspection, I see that the splitting of the Yonge-University-Spadina Line at Union Station is a very creative idea. I think it would increase the utility of the lines after they are expanded east and west as you suggest.

  • http://undefined Chester Pape

    The idea of running a line through the Don Valley is pretty laughable, given the opposition the TTC has had to fight to just the idea of running a busway a couple hundred meters through the valley from Redway Road to the Bayview extension…

  • http://undefined rek

    After the inevitable success of the War On Cars, I’m sure the War On NIMBYs will be a cakewalk!
    (The original map I sketched out in 2007 had a line running to and under the islands.)

  • http://undefined TokyoTuds

    Chester Pape, that line looks like it runs up Braodview and not the Don Valley. The moniker given is the Don Valley Line, but it parallels the Don Valley, I think. It needs a bridge to go from O’Connor to East York Town Centre, then continue on the west side of the Don up to Flemington Park and Victoria Terrace. If it were to use the existing rail, it would not work anywhere south of Thorncliffe Park due to the elevations. The other surface rail that goes to Summerhill would be an option, but I think the author’s plan would be to build a new dedicated subway track using cut-and-cover and/or tunnel boring.

  • http://undefined rek

    This is the first I’ve heard of such a project or any opposition to transit in the valley, but what I’ve read suggests it isn’t comparable. Running a line along/through the valley* would not provide addition routes for surface traffic, which seems to be the sticking point of opposition to extending Redway to the Bayview Extension. Or is there some other issue Google isn’t showing me?
    *With the exception of East York Town Centre and Flemingdon Park stations, the Don Valley Line is east of the valley.

  • http://undefined TokyoTuds

    Paul, you are so right about getting the funding sorted out. I think both the plans and the financing can be looked at simultaneously, but we should also account for opportunity cost, and the comparables regarding additional road lanes.

  • http://undefined rek

    Here’s my plan:
    1) Toronto annexes Turks & Caicos Islands (renamed “South Toronto Islands”)
    2) ???
    3) Profit

  • http://www.twitter.com/vicdezen Vic De Zen

    Wow! Great job. That is an diagram of a city I want to live in someday!

  • http://undefined Chester Pape

    Google busway and redway, was something of an issue during the last municipal election. Opposition comes from environmentalists concerned about any loss of greenspace in the valley and Rosedale residents concerned that the busway would be the thin edge of a wedge to car traffic following the same route. Nevertheless there appears to be construction happening at the Bayview end of the route so something is happening.
    I’m still rather baffled by the engineering/cost implications of following the route you suggest, you’re either going to expropriate a big swath of “Prime Riverdale” and cut and cover, or you’re into deep TBM boring under the residential neighbourhoods (both very expensive propositions), as it is the proposed Don Mills LRT is going to have to be tunnelled for it’s southernmost mile or so. There is nowhere east/south of the DVP where a north/south trending surface or shallow route can go following roads, they are all too narrow, and don’t go suggesting Riverdale Park East, that thing is a disused landfill site, that’s a no go for anything but really, really deep TBM boring.

  • http://undefined rek

    Ah, my first googling turned up the Rosedale/traffic issue, but I didn’t note environmental concerns. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one arguing against takes-cars-off-the-roads mass transit from an environmental angle.
    As for how this line could be constructed: I’m no engineer, but I imagined the stretch between O’Connor and Victoria Terrace would have to be tunnelled (unless there’s a huge, simultaneous and conveniently timed condo boom in the area) and bridges built, and much of the rest could be constructed by digging up the roads and building under them. I saw this in Seoul back in the 90s, where they’d dig out the road and cover it with a metal surface so it could still serve traffic while the tunnel was constructed below. Broadview from Queen to Gamble (roughly), and large parts of everything north of Victoria Park/Lawrence East could possibly be built like this. But again, I’m not an engineer, I just wanted to draw a map.

  • http://undefined rek

    Thanks for the positive reception, everyone!
    Montauk – I swear I’ll make it to the next TOist meetup so we can finally meet and exchange autographs.
    (I recall talk of a BBQ at the beach…)

  • http://undefined Tlönista

    I love this map so much. And splitting the Yonge-University-Spadina line is a great idea!

  • http://undefined andrewpmk

    There are so many things wrong with this map.
    - The gap in the middle of Eglinton between Kennedy and Don Mills. Why isn’t there a subway here, especially since the western part of the line is clearly important (it has express service).
    - The Don Mills and Weston lines not ending downtown, but at the Port Lands and the Island Airport (will this even be around in 2040?) respectively.
    - The Don Mills line hopping over to Victoria Park – a long diversion – it should just stay on Don Mills, hitting Lawrence/Don Mills. Victoria Park should be a separate line. Also, why does the Lawrence East LRT stop at Victoria Park?
    - No subway extension to Mississauga. Given that Mississauga is the 3rd largest city in Ontario today, why?
    - GO is surely going to be much more important in 2040 than it is now – GO lines should be shown on the map.
    - Much as I would love the Woodbine/O’Connor LRT (I live near here), I don’t think this corridor will ever justify more than bus service.
    - The LRT loop around the Pacific Mall is just plain weird.

  • Pan Von Sol

    Am I the only one that noticed the additional ferry service at the bottom of the map? (why yes, I did CTRL+F before asking.)
    Service to St. Catherines and Rochester (again) would be sweet, but I don’t understand why Hamilton got one too.

  • http://undefined mboadway

    I agree with Andrew’s comments. I would add that a Lawrence West LRT would be difficult the further east you go–currently 4 lanes abutting housing east of Bathurst. Lawrence West is pretty well served with the current buses, especially east of Yonge. The biggest problem Lawrence buses have is access to the subways. Lawrence near the Allen in particular can be gummed up badly during rush hour.
    I’d like to elaborate on the DRL. I really think that breaking up the proposed DRL and sending the lines to the Island and the Portlands is misguided. I think many of us have heard the reasons for a DRL, but I will rehash.
    A DRL that swoops down from Bloor to Union (Queen or King) and then back to the Danforth actually relieves the subway system line with good incentives. Those who live near the new lines do not have to interchange or use the Yonge line at all to get downtown. To those on the outer fringes of the B/D it offers a quicker trip because it runs diagonally and has fewer stations with the same amount of interchanges. Transit users will want to use it. From an operations perspective, it moves people who currently use the Yonge and B/D lines to another line to get downtown, and it redirects people from the busiest interchange of the system at Yonge and Bloor. Further densification along the old subway lines will be easier due to the freed up subway capacity.
    Yes, with this map, those who live along the proposed DRLs would still use them, because it would still be faster to get downtown. I don’t understand why anyone going downtown on the Danforth would get off at Chester and then do it again at Don River? Same goes to those coming from the west having to change at Keele and then at Fort York. People do not like to change lines unless they have to, let alone change again to an LRT or streetcar. With the proposed changes a resident of the B/D line who works downtown is still more likely to stay on the train and change at St George or Yonge.
    With a DRL, I do not think that Queen east of the DRL would merit anything more than a streetcar or LRT. Lakeshore West should be interchanged with the DRL–same for Queen East if you really believe needs a subway. There are no current options for subway access to the downtown from these areas. Even with one interchange, the trip would be much improved over the current woeful service.

  • http://undefined rek

    “- The Don Mills and Weston lines not ending downtown, but at the Port Lands and the Island Airport (will this even be around in 2040?) respectively.”
    Do you mean ends, or do you mean passing through? I’m not sure why it should matter that the Weston line continues (ever so slightly) beyond downtown; you don’t have to follow it all the way to the end.

  • http://undefined rek

    “A DRL that swoops down from Bloor to Union (Queen or King) and then back to the Danforth actually relieves the subway system line with good incentives.”
    I understand, and I worked from the theory that relieving the entire length of (current) Yonge-Uni-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth more than makes it a fair trade off against the few people who want to go all the way south to get east or west.
    “I don’t understand why anyone going downtown on the Danforth would get off at Chester and then do it again at Don River?”
    (The transfer is at Broadview, not Chester.)
    They wouldn’t, at least I wouldn’t. Transfer at Sherbourne to one of the three LRTs that will take you right across downtown, reaching everywhere the (current) subway stations can and everything in between. Why add two transfers to your trip and still end up needing to catch a street car?
    “Same goes to those coming from the west having to change at Keele and then at Fort York.”
    (The transfer is at Dundas West, not Keele. Are station names that difficult to read at full size?)
    Transferring again at Fort York means half as many station stops as staying on Bloor and transferring south at Spadina or St George.
    Today, if I want to get to the Ikea on Sheppard I have to transfer twice. Is this a flaw in the subway system? Of course not, a subway line can’t go everywhere, you will eventually have to transfer. In cities with decent subway networks sometimes you transfer more than once to get where you’re going.
    Maybe most Torontonians are just accustomed to getting on the subway and not budging until it takes us where we want to go, but you must realize if you’re trying to get to North York you almost certainly will have to transfer, and probably not to another subway and definitely not an LRT, most likely to a bus.

  • rek

    “I don’t understand why Hamilton got one too.”
    Waterfalls! Over 100 plus!

  • http://www.flickriver.com/photos/doitintheroad/ dcooper

    That confirms it, NOW you’re my hero, rek.

  • http://undefined pigleg

    Seamless zoned fare system with GO is the holy grail, here’s why: I recall the Paris “GO Transit” equivalent (called RER) is integrated as if it were just another kind of subway. It was amazing – these act like express lines to get across town in a flash, then you transfer off on a subway when you get into the right neighborhood. We’ve heard “Too Slow” as one criticism of transit city, but it would work well integrated with the regional line concept, especially if we add the midtown GO line. As well, I could argue that GO transit *IS* the downtown relief line – already built and ready to go, no tunnelling required. Just a zoned fare scheme. I dare you to try it – draw one of your fantasy maps, but ink in the GO lines and add some interchanges with the current TTC lines… it starts to look like the web of Paris! Okay… so we’d want to electrify GO, and we’d have to run more GO trains… but start with the lakeshore & milton lines and build from there I say!

  • http://twitter.com/JasonParis Jason Paris

    Love the downtown relief linessss. Also glad to see you weren't married to one technology and realized that complicated cities need a variety of technologies to match the needs of the corridor.

  • http://twitter.com/blobot Robert Ruggiero

    I think this plan fails to realize the growth that the City of Toronto is pushing in Etobicoke City Centre (2 locations, Etobicoke's old City Hall, and the Dundas, Islington, Bloor Kipling triangle), Scarborough Town Centre, and North York City Centre.
    It also needs to connect more to Mississauga City Centre. We must remember that the GTA is a multi-nodal city region.

  • nevilleross

    I'm sorry, but although this map is somewhat interesting, my previous stated opposition to any more subway lines in Toronto still stands.

    This would cost more than Transit City does, and without any federal monies, would bankrupt both the city and the province, creating resentment towards Toronto from other parts of Ontario, and most likely from the rest of Canada as well. The tunneling alone would be disruptive to the environment, as well as to the neighborhoods above (many houses would have to be taken by the city and razed to make way for emergency exits, the same thing that caused controversy when first proposed for Coxwell and Greenwood stations. Torontoist published a denunciation of this love of subways, yet now it's publishing a map showing a future fantasy concept of them crisscrossing the city? What gives? Fantasy or not, for me it's a ton of epic fail and epic folly, and shouldn't be encouraged (hell, if Ford or anybody else loves them so much, why not buy and play the games Take The A-Train or Railroad Tycoon? They'd all have a lot more fun.

    Again, sorry folks, but I'm just not connecting with it.

  • John Duncan

    The “Other interesting stories” box is a little broken. Take a look at the date on this article–September 2009.
    This was from before the province backed away on Transit City funding, and it looked like we might possibly be entering an era of sustained transit infrastructure investment rather than letting the City rot.

  • nevilleross

    I'm sorry, but although this map is somewhat interesting, my previous stated opposition to any more subway lines in Toronto still stands.

    This would cost more than Transit City does, and without any federal monies, would bankrupt both the city and the province, creating resentment towards Toronto from other parts of Ontario, and most likely from the rest of Canada as well. The tunneling alone would be disruptive to the environment, as well as to the neighborhoods above (many houses would have to be taken by the city and razed to make way for emergency exits, the same thing that caused controversy when first proposed for Coxwell and Greenwood stations. Torontoist published a denunciation of this love of subways, yet now it's publishing a map showing a future fantasy concept of them crisscrossing the city? What gives? Fantasy or not, for me it's a ton of epic fail and epic folly, and shouldn't be encouraged (hell, if Ford or anybody else loves them so much, why not buy and play the games Take The A-Train or Railroad Tycoon? They'd all have a lot more fun.

    Again, sorry folks, but I'm just not connecting with it.

  • John Duncan

    The “Other interesting stories” box is a little broken. Take a look at the date on this article–September 2009.
    This was from before the province backed away on Transit City funding, and it looked like we might possibly be entering an era of sustained transit infrastructure investment rather than letting the City rot.