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What Should We Do with King and Queen Streets?

20101108kingqueenxsections.png
Design by Laurence Lui/Torontoist. Click here to view it bigger.


During this year’s election campaign, there was a lot of talk of new subways in the suburbs, but very little discussion of how we could improve transit for the part of Toronto that depends on it most: the downtown. With dust now settling, and a bit of backpedalling on the ripping-of-streetcar-tracks from mayor-elect Rob Ford’s camp, this is a good time to have a reasoned and realistic public conversation about how we could improve downtown transit.
An east-west subway or underground LRT through downtown would be ideal, but given the downtown relief line’s low priority in Metrolinx’s The Big Move, and considering how heavily contested capital funding for transit has become, it is unlikely we will see either in the near future. So how can we, in the interim, improve on-street streetcar operations while enhancing the streets that we all walk, cycle, ride, and drive along?
Above are five options for the streets that house Toronto’s two busiest streetcar lines: King and Queen. Both are long overdue for an overhaul, and with thousands of new residents and workers expected along these routes in the coming decade, the time for discussion is now.
What option do you feel works best along different segments of King and Queen streets? What other options could be considered? Torontoist readers, give your best ideas!

Comments

  • http://undefined Adrian

    How about making both Queen and King one way streets through the core?

  • http://undefined andomano

    Bury the Queen Car through the downtown section. Keep onstreet parking, two way traffic and add bike lanes.
    Extend no parking hours on King and continue “ROW” through an extended rush hour

  • http://ruhee.ca Ruhee

    Burying the Queen car through downtown would be amazing, but prohibitively disruptive and expensive, I think. It’s a total disaster (it took me 45 minutes from Jones to Bathurst on a Sunday afternoon this weekend!) but sharing or one-way would probably be a more cost-effective solution.

  • http://undefined smasharts

    I totally agree with this one – one way streets with streetcars. It feels win-win and fairly low cost in conversion.

  • mark.

    I really like the idea of putting a dedicated streetcar ROW on one side of the street, rather than in the middle.
    While I appreciate these four options, it’s probably a good idea to consider that at various points the varied distance from the front of one building to the front of the building across the street (there’s probably a term for this!). Consider this distance on Queen around John and at Peter – the latter has much more room because the buildings on the north side are set back farther. Right now, the street is straight and this extra room is taken up by a wider sidewalk on the north side. So, it might be that no single ‘option’ will work for the whole street. Nonetheless, the principles of Complete Streets ought to be followed.
    And the intersection of Queen, Peter and Soho is a total mess. Currently, the west bound street car is often held up for many minutes stuck behind cars wanting to turn left onto Peter. Whatever is done with King and Queen, these streets’ relation to the various intersecting streets need to be considered.

  • andomano

    no poll?

  • http://undefined Miroslav

    We have adelaide and richmond as one ways.
    You can’t just remove car traffic. The only people who want that are starbucks sipping NDPers who bitch and think everything should go there way.
    #3 a little for everyone is the best option

  • http://undefined scottd

    Miroslav Glavić> Everybody goes to Starbucks so come up with another cliche and learn to spell.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    The pessimist in me notes that each of these alternatives involves some space being taken away from private automobile traffic, and are thus awfully unlikely in the brave new anti-war-on-the-car Toronto.
    Not bad ideas, though. We need to transition more of Toronto’s main streets away from being automobile-arterial streets.

  • http://undefined Chad

    Adrian, are you envisioning a King and Queen that are one ways not only for cars, but for streetcars as well? People would have to walk the 400 m between those streets for their return trips.
    Richmond and Adelaide are already one way streets, both a mere block from the congested King and Queen. The streets have plenty of lane capacity and few streetcars to deal with. Yet cars tend to pack King and Queen instead.
    Either drivers are ignorant of Richmond and Adelaide or there is something strongly unappealing about those streets. Instead, drivers prefer sight seeing the Horseshoe and the Princess of Wales from the comfort of a climate-controlled vehicle.

  • http://undefined Sandy

    Although I like the idea of the dedicated streetcar ROW on one side, what about a car-free option with the streetcar ROW where the current tracks are? The outside lanes would be pedestrian/biking/patio space — maybe one side for bikes, the other for pedestrian — but this could be done at a significantly lower cost than moving the streetcar tracks.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Come to Montréal and see how one-way streets work. See how it makes car drivers move faster and more recklessly, making it exponentially more dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit commuters waiting for the bus. When a car driver, including myself if driving a car, thinks less about contraflow (oncoming traffic) as they arrive to an intersection because all the traffic moves in one direction, their attention to peripheral activities drops and their vision becomes more tunnel-like. This increases safety risk for the other users of a transportation corridor.
    No. One-way arterials outside a CBD (a downtown), where speeds generally cannot as a function be fast, is unsafely illogical and favours the very kind of urban traffic which put us into this mess in the first place: that is, the idea that one can drive their car in a busy, multi-use city and do so quickly like they’re out in the country or on an exurban, four-lane divided median road.

  • http://undefined friend68

    The experience of Hamilton would, to me, be a good case against one-way streets, as is the existence of Richmond and Adelaide as one-way streets already.
    I would have to vote for “a little for everyone,” but I would also suggest that King and Queen are vastly different from each other and also vary significantly along their route. Part of this makes the elimination of street parking in every scheme seem problematic. Queen West has a lot of businesses that rely much more on the street parking, and the business districts of King near Bar are always going to have taxis to take into account.

  • http://undefined Junction416

    I don’t think its realistic to have the dedicated streetcar ROW on one side as part of the interim strategy to improve transit. Most of the tracks are being replaced now (http://stevemunro.ca/?p=2794) and will be in place for at least 25 years. Ripping up new tracks to move them a couple of metres to the left isn’t going to happen.
    So we should talk about how to improve the transit, bike, pedestrian environment without moving the tracks.

  • http://undefined friend68

    Moving the streetcars all to one side also ignores the massive changes to existing infrastructure.
    I guess the most telling thing in these “options” is in what stays the same. Always no parking, and always the off-centre ROW.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    OK. Richmond and Adelaide have not evolved as commercial-retail-social veins in the way that King and Queen distinctively have. Or Dundas, for that matter. Part of that is historic precedent: that Rich and Addy are one-way primary corridors while the others are not is suggestive of working within human-scale limitations of what people in motion can parse within a set period of time — and what is built and maintained along it in terms of human activity. All have sidewalks, but not all have comparable pedestrian-commercial activities.
    As a consequence, Rich and Addy are largely the province of business mid-rise facilities — and to a diminishing level, the former by-law-carved hotbed of the club district (in other words, the club district would probably not have coalesced there in the 1990s and 2000s had it not been for zoning by-law and permit enforcement). King, Queen, and Dundas, for that matter, are variations on the idea that streets are corridors not of solely travel, but also diversified economic and social activity.
    Put another way, it’s going to be harder to see a small shop on a one-way arterial than on two-way arterials, partly as a function of the average velocities travellers make through those corridors (and unidirectional, meaning that one side of the street, usually the right side, will get more eye time than the left will). To exacerbate this, Rich and Addy are also no longer primary transit corridors the way they used to be when streetcars were active on both. Economically, a one-way becomes less conducive for street-level retail entrepreneurial activity than two-ways do. This is one notable reason why, if looking at one of the most ephemeral, most indicative metrics of entrepreneurial sidewalk activity — the street meat cart — it is no surprise to observe how one sees few or no stalls along Rich and Addy outside the CBD (west of University or east of Jarvis), but see plenty along King and Queen.
    There might be a less nerdy way to explain this, but I haven’t yet run across it.

  • http://undefined Brendan

    Leave King and Queen alone -
    Create one-way peak period express streetcars / ROW on Adelaide and Richmond. Stops at say Parliament, Jarvis, Yonge, University, Spadina and Bathurst only. The tracks are already there for a decent portion of the route… or use both sets of existing streetcar tracks and have cars that do even longer stretches without stops.

  • http://undefined Ben

    We lefties prefer to avoid starbucks, and will always opt for an independent coffee shop. It’s the liberal party supporters who go to the starbucks; it’s the middle of the road between an independent shop and Tim Horton’s, which is favoured by the corporatist right.

  • http://undefined Ben

    The best would be:

    1. leave the tracks where they are
    2. no left turns
    3. widened sidewalks on alternating blocks through busy commercial areas

    This is the idea that the TTC was pursuing 4 or 5 years ago, but it lost steam when the King St / Entertainment district BIA let loose their dogs of war.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    I have seen a one-way street downtown work. The catch is that it was a converted two-lane street with extra space being given away to parking, it was made a 30 km/h zone, the curbs were 3 cm high, and the parking and travel lanes switched sides every 200 m or so to enforce the speed limit. I’d love if we could do this on parts of Queen, but it’s probably not going to happen.
    As an extra note, tracks at the outermost lane are going to cause problems at intersections due to required turn radius. Stops at Spadina would have to be moved even further away from the intersection, while intersections like Queen and McCaul simply do not have enough space to accommodate this arrangement.

  • http://undefined rek

    A mix of 3 and 5 would be ideal. 5 is very attractive, but parts of King and Queen just aren’t dense enough for foot/bike/transit traffic to sustain the businesses there. Certain sections could retain lanes for cars (though I third Adrian’s one-way suggestion), but they shouldn’t be continuous: King and Queen are too narrow to be major east-west corridors.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Of these five variations, none are practically sufficient. #3 is particularly dangerous, while #5 is unrealistic. But all come back to the same basic problem: where to put the abundance of private cars — an average tally which for transportation planners might be predictable over time, but volatile on a day-to-day basis based on special events, weather, detours, peak hours, and so on.
    Offsetting streetcar rails is simply too intensively costly a capital expense to achieve with the predictable income this city receives. Such a change, if the political will were near unanimous, would require a fundamental revision to the official city plan and secondary site plans along those areas immediately implicated.
    Perhaps re-dedicating Richmond and Adelaide as permanent car corridors, with appropriate capital upgrades to the streets (i.e., removing the tracks now in disrepair) and removing private cars (except by special permit) along King and Queen would enable car travellers to get to where they need — even if it necessitates a walk up to two short blocks to King or Queen destinations (the short walk is the use-exchange value of choosing to move a private car inside a busy city). Meanwhile, the King and Queen corridors, by keeping tracks in situ, opens the outer lanes to special permit traffic, while the former street parking lanes are rededicated as changed-grade lanes for bicycle traffic with the option of extending the pedestrian walks even further to encourage street-level uses (cafés, kiosks, public spacing generally).
    Then again, good ideas and bad alike are usually set aside for the closest alternative to what is already in place, so visioning ideas like these usually go straight to the dustbin.

  • http://undefined Lee

    As Junction416 points out, most of the King and Queen trackage on Queen and King is new-ish, and relocating it to the curb lanes is ridiculous to expect given the cost.
    Also, most of these of these plans seem to forget about allocating space for loading platforms for the cars closer to the middle of the street (or people supposed to just jump into the oncoming cars/bikes? ;)
    You miss mentioning the TTC’s earlier suggested plan for a King transit mall, with alternating north/south expanded sidewalks, and no through traffic. (http://transit.toronto.on.ca/spare/0216.shtml) Of course, even a test of this failed in council, mostly from cries against removing on street parking.

  • http://undefined rek

    There are a number of ways to control the speed of traffic that don’t rely on motorists paying attention to signage. Speed bumps, cobble stone lanes (there’s something about them that makes you hyper-aware), alternating parking sides (as mentioned elsewhere), et cetera.

  • http://undefined Peter Kucirek

    I agree, this is a good idea. Use #5 for the sections of King/Queen which pass through the more ‘touristy’ parts of downtown (I suggest Bathurst to Parliament), and # 3 for everything else.
    The only major issue I can see with #5 is delivery truck access. I see that it is labelled ‘restricted auto access’ – presumably this refers to delivery truck and taxis – but how does this work? Are trucks/taxis going to be blocking the bike lanes occassionally?

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    So if one has a history of patronage at Starbucks/Second Cup, Timmies, and independently owned places, what does that politically reduce them to? Where does Coffee Time and all its independent knock-offs play into this?
    Incidentally, I go where I can depending on what money I have, where I am geographically, and how much time I can spare. That means I have bought coffee at all of the places you socio-economically classified in simplistic terms.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    In downtown, yes, but I wasn’t referring to the CBD (downtown) in this circumstance. I was referring to the use of one-way primary arterials like Rich and Addy outside the CBD. Toronto mercifully isn’t saddled with extensive one-ways outside its core the way Montréal is. It should also come as little statistical surprise to note that Montréal leads the continent in pedestrian-car incidents (unfortunately, bicycles are counted as pedestrians for this survey, making it hard to distinguish walking from riding) as it also has disproportionately many one-way primary corridors.
    For what it’s worth, a one-way primary arterial would not include the likes of, for instance, Christie south of Bloor, Shaw in general, or other secondary and side streets. When a street is not designed as a main arterial, the safety concerns with those side streets are on a different order than primary one-ways.

  • http://undefined Jason

    One way streets with two-way dedicated LRT lanes is my prefered outcome, at leats until the DRL is finally built through the core (or possibly a Queen subway line).
    One way street can in some cases hurt a hurting city’s streetlife (i.e., Hamilton), although Toronto is a very different animal and one only has to look at equally vibrant cities in order to realize that sometimes one-way streets make sense and that often they will not hurt the streetlife at all.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    This may be, yes, but there are functional reasons why those aren’t used more often in contemporary transportation planning for main streets.
    For cobblestones, there is a legitimate safety concern with stopping distances of rubberized vehicle wheels (especially on wet, slick cobblestones), an immediate hazard for bicyclists on non-smooth surfaces, and a minor hazard of pedestrians injuring themselves with twisted ankles and the like. Aesthetically, they’re wonderful for side streets where traffic moves along very slowly (under 20km/h, basically).
    As for traffic calming otherwise in the form of speed humps, this brings up two points. For emergency vehicles which need to use those routes to reach a destination, this can slow response times. For municipalities, it impacts the bottom line of maintaining fleet vehicles and their suspension upkeep. And for having humps along streets where streetcars are being used, there are logistical design approaches which have to be dealt with to allow continued streetcar use without private vehicles attempting to circumvent the humps.

  • http://undefined smasharts

    I don’t think burying will work – there are the existing subway line to consider – and the disruption!Keeping the streetcars on top keeps things way more flexible.

  • http://undefined andomano

    The Sheppard Subway was built without disrupting the Yonge Line… It can be done!

  • http://undefined Shaun Smith

    This is a very important and long overdue discussion. I commuted by bicycle along these streets for many years and am convinced that the solution is one that you have not detailed above. I do think we need to get parked cars off these streets (I might extend it to Dundas and College as well) but I do not think dedicated streetcar lanes are a good idea for these narrow streets. In my opinion, such lanes will simply re-introduce a congesting factor. Two-way traffic, with no parking, open streetcar lanes and open bike lanes would, in my opinion, be the most flexible solution.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Removing on-street parking: agreed!

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Why #3 is so dangerous: be that bicyclist in the lane between a car and a contraflow streetcar coming towards you. One mistake by the driver or you and its divide-and-conquer (your body, courtesy of a streetcar).

  • http://undefined Ben

    So if one has a history of patronage at Starbucks/Second Cup, Timmies, and independently owned places, what does that politically reduce them to?

    This individual would be a whooshitarian, which is more of a mindset than a political outlook.

  • http://www.michaeljeremybrown.ca/ Michael Brown

    Starbucks = Liberal
    Tim Hortons = Conservative
    Ideal Coffee and independent places = NDP
    Coffee Time = Tea Party (wear cheap suits and ties when campaigning even if you can afford the expensive ones)

  • http://undefined Chad

    Wow, a King Street transit mall looks really good! I can picture a beautiful summer night in front of the Lightbox with patio dining and only taxis and streetcars rushing by.
    Two ideas I like: The alternating parking lanes effectively creates one block, one way mini streets that force taxis and delivery trucks to turn right at each intersection. And the increased sidewalk space allows the curbs to go right up to the tracks at the strategically placed streetcar stops.
    Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to accommodate bicyclists. If the curbs are extended to the tracks, then bicyclists would be blocked by both the curb and the always perilous parallel tracks.
    Maybe the Roncesvalles Bump-outs could work on King. The plan there is to have bicycles rise up to sidewalk-level where pedestrians are waiting for their streetcar. I hope it will prove to be a success once construction wraps up on Roncey in the next few months. A King Street flowing with pedestrians, streetcars, bicycles, and the occasional taxi would be very compelling indeed.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    A what?

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Ah. I got it. Thank you for clearing this up for all of us!
    I’m headed over to Country Style for coffee. Anybody want anything?

  • http://www.michaeljeremybrown.ca/ Michael Brown

    The position of streetcar tracks I believe is a little bit of a sacred cow. They didn’t move them on St. Clair nor are they slated to be moved on Queens Quay. Plus there is usually a requirement for emergency vehicles (fire trucks, ambulances) to have suffficient clearance to ride down the streetcar ROW in an emergency.
    I like option 2 and 5…

  • http://www.michaeljeremybrown.ca/ Michael Brown

    French Cruller and coffee black please….

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    First: how do you vote, if you please? I don’t want joe incompatibility issues arising.

  • thelemur

    Leave streetcars in the middle as in 1, but remove on-street parking and add bike lanes at the curbs. Alternatively, make Queen and King one-way for cars, with streetcars separating cars from a two-way bike lane, possibly making Adelaide and Richmond two-way in the process. Eliminate left turns as much as possible.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Two is less bothersome as a cyclist, because by law, the cyclist may use the available lane as any other single vehicle might. This would allow drivers to use the road, but it would eliminate any possibility of treating the arterial like a speedway.
    Maybe it’s time for the most commercial stretches of King and Queen to assume a woonerf approach of same-grade, multi-modal (that is, walking, biking, driving, transit) rights-of-way. Speeds will be slow, but steady, as everyone looks out for everyone at all times. This means putting away your mobile devices, everyone. And I do mean everyone — bicyclists most definitely included along with drivers and pedestrians.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Not to nitpick, but a woonerf is really meant for residential areas. Commercial/shopping zones call for a winkelerf:
    http://www.cdv.cz/image/zklidnovani-dopravy-historie-breda-holandsko/

  • http://undefined Shaun Smith

    The bike lanes I’m suggesting would be at the curbs.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    You’re right, absolutely right. Thanks for correcting that. I used to have that bookmarked on my long-gone stolen computer.

  • http://undefined rek

    Bike lanes and sidewalks do not have to be separate entities. Osaka manages it with blue bricks (or was it blue-painted asphalt?) at sidewalk grade by the curb. If we’re talking about extending sidewalks to meet street car tracks, why not incorporate the bike lane on that side of the street while we’re at it and kill a few birds with fewer stones?

  • http://undefined Crash

    With all the other streets is there some way of banning all left turns. 3 rights = a left. Maybe use a Michigan Left at major cross streets.

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

    I’m also worried. As heartening and informed as the debate here is, the initial talk in the mayor’s office is going to be about #1 versus #0.
    What’s option 0? It looks a lot like #1, only without the streetcars.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Try not to confuse option 0 with option -1. The Ford government-elect has spoken positively about -1, which is the all-cars option, with buses replacing sidewalks. Or something.

  • http://flickr.com/aged_accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Roundabouts in limited circumstances might be something to at least table rather than dismiss forthwith. It would heavily depend on easements adjacent to the intersections that could arise as candidates. Queen and Spadina comes to mind, as does a smaller version at Queen and Bathurst (streetcars would be able to move clear down the middle of the more constrained roundabouts with an arm barrier to prevent non-streetcar traffic from using it).

  • http://undefined uskyscraper

    There is no question that if starting from scratch you would put the streetcar in a curb lane with ROW. That’s how other cities with new lines are doing it. But Toronto has a massive legacy network and there is value in that network so realistically you are not going to change the placement of the tracks.
    Instead, energy should be focused on the following, all of which would greatly speed and improve service:
    - fare collection – modern tech, machines are at stations not on vehicles, all POP. No paying the driver, ever. He needs to drive, not count coins.
    - stops – cut half of them right away. No one lays out modern streetcar stops at the density of, say, Bay, Yonge, Victoria, Church. Heck, the new streetcars will practically stretch from one stop to the next. Delete these asap.
    - left turns – banned. Drivers will learn to go around the block making right turns instead.
    - driving in streetcar lane – banned at rush hours. Won’t work well, but can try.
    - stations – move them to AFTER the traffic light, as they are in most cities.
    - vehicles – low floor, lots of doors, to speed boarding
    - ticket cams – streetcars act as rolling red light cameras and snap your plate if you block them or commit other infractions.
    - maps – put the rail vehicles on the maps for crying out loud. This is psychological more than physical, but if the lines appear as bus lines on the bus map and do not appear at all on the rail maps, then we will continue to treat and operate them as pokey slow buses. (Think about how a tourist to Toronto would find a streetcar on a map)
    I think we have a long way to go in terms of what can be done with the existing infrastructure before redoing the street entirely. Just learn from Melbourne and the dozen US cities now building streetcar lines…

  • http://undefined Luckysod

    Two-way streetcars in a dedicated ROW in the centre of both streets. They can’t be placed on one side as then they can’t make any turns, and we still need some cars to short turn on these routes to accommodate rush hour. One way for bikes on one side of the streetcars (which will be deserted in the winter) and for cars on the other. Move parking to the back lanes that parallel King and Queen. They are a huge, hidden, underused resource. Most shops have one or two spaces off the lane. This should be for customer parking. Plus any new buildings should have both public and private parking spaces. You can’t remove parking entirely from the area or all those small shops that make it a destination will suffer.
    We really need a subway under Queen Street, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon, or ever. In its absence, the City should bite the bullet and discourage car traffic by both charging tolls on all highways into the city and a congestion fee in the downtown core. Five or even ten bucks a day to drive in the area from Parliament to Lansdowne, Front to Eglinton, would pry a lot of people out of their cars. Set all the money collected aside into a subway or underground LRT account. A no-brainer, I reckon. Ain’t going to happen, though, more’s the pity.

  • http://citypainter.ca citypainter

    While King and Queen can be frustratingly congested at times, these are both very successful urban streets. So I’m not sure that there’s justification for drastic changes such as making them one-way without trying some tweaks first.
    I agree with the no-left-turns idea mentioned above. Even one car waiting to turn left blocks many other vehicles, including the streetcars, creating large delays for only a small gain. It seems counter-intuitive but taking three rights and going around might be faster for all in the end.
    Another idea to consider is something I saw in NYC last month for the first time on some major streets like 8th Ave. What they did is put the bike lane on the road between the parked cars and the curb. Essentially, the car parking area is pulled out from the curb about 6-8 feet and delineated with painted lines (and in some cases, concrete or different paving). The parked cars become a buffer between moving motor vehicles and bikes. The danger of a cyclist being “doored” remains the same except on the opposite side.
    By the way, I’m thrilled with the sensible and mature level of conversation here. Nice to see so many people at least thinking about these ideas.

  • http://undefined uskyscraper

    Citypainter, what you saw are referred to as “floating parking lanes”. Here is a slideshow of a section of Columbus Ave in Manhattan: http://bit.ly/d5m7Fe
    These are not new in many places but, to be frank, Toronto is so far behind the times on bike lanes that they seem revolutionary. Unfortunately, the narrowness of many Toronto streets makes them tough to pull off but somewhere in the city a pilot program should certainly be tried. Once they are installed people notice them, as you did, and then momentum will shift.

  • thelemur

    Considering the size of the Queen/Spadina intersection and the potential turns that a grand union allows, I’m thinking that doesn’t leave much a roundabout to drive around. Roundabouts are meant as a way to avoid the need for traffic lights, and I imagine there would still be signals needed to guide streetcars vs cars, right?
    Also, if Queen and/or King are made at least partly one-way or if streetcars are to run alongside traffic in both directions, and moving the ROW is so onerous, how about widening one sidewalk to the edge of the tracks and dividing that sidewalk into grade-separated pedestrian and bike paths?
    (pedestrians, bikes, curb, tracks, 2 lanes of cars, pedestrians)
    Something like these:
    http://fietsbult.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/080617station_home-011.jpg
    http://www.provelo.org/IMG/jpg/TramGermoir07_24.jpg

  • http://undefined mmackenzie

    Good point about the NYC bike lanes. It’s quite similar to what you find in Europe. It takes some getting used to, especially for the uninitiated pedestrian, but it keeps bike/car contact to a minimum.
    What ever approach is taken, it should definitely emphasize changing turning lane behaviour. Moving to a one-way street, or banishing parked cars doesn’t make sense. The former makes streets speedways, the latter drives business owners mad.
    In Vancouver, I worked on the design of Granville Street, which now has flex parking. The sidewalks are extra wide and ramped, during the day cars can park on them (roadside portion), but at night it’s only for pedestrians.
    On Queen, this might mean no parking on weekends, or some variation. Another option to consider anyway.
    Great discussion.

  • http://undefined dowlingm

    Were streetcars to go one-way only in the core then Richmond and Adelaide tracks would have to be fully reinstated since King and Queen often act as diversions for each other such as yesterday when hydro wires had to be fixed at Queen/Dufferin.

  • http://undefined the_yellow_dart

    As a Tim Hortons swigging NDP supporter, I find your generalization doesn’t fit me very well.

  • Robert Ruggiero

    Great discussion here. I completely agree – streetcars need their own lane. If we can accomplish that, we could probably avoid building the DRL (although, I’d still want it). I don’t want to see the streetcar lane be impenetrable, like Spadina. I’d rather see it articulated differently, and still be used occasionally when something is blocking the travel lane.
    Also, I’d like to see the sidewalk on the northern side of the street wider than the southern side. Both King and Queen run east-west, which means the northern sidewalk gets the southern afternoon sun.
    Just a question – what’s the advantage of putting the streetcars off to one side, instead of in the centre?

  • http://undefined jamesbow

    So, I got to ask: what constituency do Coffee Time customers represent?

  • http://undefined George

    We should suck it up… and build a Queen Street Subway Line…and dump the streetcar altogether.
    Take it from Roncy to The Beach, where the TTC Streetcar yards are now.
    We can dig deep — really deep — into our pockets and the ground.
    If you’ve been in the subway in Eastern Europe, they are WAY down there…
    we can do this too.
    Subways are ALWAYS going to be expensive, so we should just get ‘er done now.