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A St. Clair Journey

20110405stclair1.jpg
Photo by DdotG from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


Let’s start by getting a few things straight about public transit, especially the varieties that run on rails. The streetcar that travels St. Clair Avenue West along the recently constructed right of way is not light rail transit (LRT)—though it has often been confused with LRT by both politicians and members of the press. While the two share many similarities, the most important being that they run on dedicated lanes that are physically separated from other types traffic, LRT is faster and has a greater carrying capacity than the St. Clair streetcars.
Surface-level LRT is the technology and the strategy at the heart of Transit City. That transit plan favoured LRT because of the great service improvements it would offer, as well as for its transformative power—its ability to remake and revitalize neighbourhoods by increasing activity on and engagement with the street.
This makes all the hoopla about burying more of the Eglinton LRT—now planned under the transit strategy (if we can call it that) favoured by Rob Ford—more than a little curious. We want transit on our streets.


Before you exclaim “We don’t want another St. Clair on our hands,” protesting that the cost overruns and scheduling delays in which the right-of-way got mired make surface rail untenable or intolerable, please turn your attention to a report called “Getting It Right” [PDF]. Commissioned by the TTC, the report assesses the problems in the construction of the St. Clair right-of-way. It concluded that, yes, the City was responsible for cost overruns and delays, but it was hardly the only culprit. And the report’s most central recommendations, if implemented on future projects, will go a long way to alleviating the headaches residents, businesses, and commuters experienced along St. Clair.
Just as importantly, “Getting It Right” questions the implied condemnation in the “No More St. Clairs” chant—with its implied corollary, “Yes To Subways”—that somehow assumes all the problems in the construction of the St. Clair right-of-way can be attributed to the fact that it is street level transit. As if, had it all gone underground, everything would’ve been hunky-dory. Subway supporters exhibit a curious view, it seems, as to how subways are built. Do they really believe that because it’s below ground, there’s going to be no discernible effect on the traffic above? How do these people think subways are built?
Such thoughts established, on to our expedition.

20110405stclair2.jpg
St. Clair West merchants during the constuction fo the right-of-way. Photo by dzgnboy from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


On a dreary Monday morning—yesterday, in fact—and in the wake of the recent provincial-municipal agreement to favour underground transit over the surface, light rail–based Transit City plan, we ventured up to travel the full loop of the St. Clair streetcar line. Heading east toward Yonge Street from Bathurst, what we first noticed was the severe lack of congestion. Wasn’t that the spectre being dangled before us by those bent on burying our public transit? Streetcars getting in the way, causing massive gridlock? Certainly on this particular morning commute, both streetcars and private vehicles flowed smoothly. From Bathurst to St. Clair station at Yonge Street: a brisk 10 minutes.
The time for the entire one-way trip from the route’s easternmost point at Yonge Street to its western terminus at Gunns Loop, just west of Keele/Weston Street, just after rush hour, was 29 minutes. It is a fascinating tour from the northern reaches of the downtown urban core to the outskirts of the western inner suburbs—a sequence that would get lost if traveled underground, a connection between people and communities not made.
Much has been made, justifiably, of the havoc wreaked on businesses during the right-of-way construction. Some 200 businesses apparently closed because of it. It is a situation not uncommon to any area of a city undergoing substantial redevelopment, and there are no easy answers or ways to avoid these effects.
That’s not entirely true. The easiest answer would be to never change anything, maintain the status quo. But that doesn’t seem healthy, hardly conducive to growth and development.

20110405stclair3.jpg
Photo by St-Even from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Now, more than a year into the new St. Clair streetcar’s run, it looks, to a guy riding along observing the scenery, that the decimation did not take hold. While there are certainly empty storefronts and “for lease” signs in windows along the way, there are no more than the same trip taken along a stretch of Bloor Street, for instance, might reveal. Like everywhere else that is seen as a going concern, there’s a growing presence of chain outlets like Starbucks, Second Cup, and Tim Hortons vying for consumer dollars, alongside St. Clair’s old-time European spots. Trendy cafés and bistros are popping up beside more homespun eateries that themselves are expanding beyond the Italian, Portuguese, and Caribbean flavours traditional in the neighbourhood. Within less than a 10 minute streetcar ride, you can find Brazilian, Peruvian, and Colombian restaurants, too.
This kind of variety promises only to mushroom as the area undergoes increased densification. Between and around the two subway stops on St. Clair along the Yonge-University line, condo developments continue to spring up (including an especially interesting one in the old Imperial Oil building just east of Avenue Road). Towers are even spreading west from this more traditional area of concentration, out past Bathurst Street into what was once considered purely low and medium rise territory. Yes, proximity to a subway has much to do with that, but the fact that this is happening now would suggest that the St. Clair right of way has enhanced rather than diminished the street’s desirability.
Is it too much to suggest that St. Clair Avenue is undergoing a renaissance? My scant two hours spent traversing it tells me no—there is something of a rebirth going on. Even on a rainy Monday morning, people were out, going about their business. Traffic moved—traffic moved, it is worth repeating—smoothly, with very few aggressive flare-ups and accompanying horn-blaring. And on the streetcar, getting from point A to point B was painless. No. Joyous? Maybe a little too far. A very pleasant journey, we shall say.
Before falling in line behind our mayor’s misguided, bull-headed, ill-advised march to rid our streets of everything but cars, trucks, and buses, we all need to pay a visit to St. Clair Avenue West. Sit our asses down on the streetcar and take in the view. Hop off, have a drink and a bite to eat. Watch some soccer or buy some shoes. Not only is such an outing now easier for transit users and car drivers alike, it is more enjoyable—the exact opposite of what Mayor Ford would have you believe.
Daren Foster is also known as Cityslikr. He tweets, and writes a lot about City Hall.

Comments

  • bill keenan

    I live at the outer edge of this, and it's made st. clair accessible, i would NEVER have taken the bus before across st. clair, it took hours. i use the streetcar every day now

  • http://twitter.com/JonHorvatin Jon Horvatin

    Because of the much needed bump in capacity, LRT trains are significantly longer than streetcars. This will lead to congestion yet to be seen with streetcar routes. Barring the conversion of a significant portion of drivers to new LRT riders. I've traditionally been pro subway, but this new underground LRT strikes a very nice compromise in my personal opinion. :)

  • http://twitter.com/JonHorvatin Jon Horvatin

    Mind you, I forgot to mention, this is another excellent and thorough reporting. I'm more and more impressed as I read articles here. The big names like The Star could learn a lot from you guys. :)

  • amugsgame

    I occasionally drive the length of St. Clair from Lansdowne to Vaughan (and vice versa) to visit friends, and often it's during rush hour. I find the new St. Clair to actually be one of the smoothest and least stressful drives on the whole city. The lights seem to be synced-up nicely, the u-turns work beautifully, and because of the restricted lane space there is no erratic lane changing or intrusive illegal curb parking by taxis and selfish drivers.

    I love it.

  • Toronto_Dave

    Great article. Clearly, St. Clair is hardly the disaster it's so often cited as being, even if its construction was a nightmare – but as you said, it's not like it would have been easier if they had built a subway.

    I'd say this should be required reading for the anti-Transit City crowd. But of course, let's be realistic: I don't expect the Ford camp to be persuaded by anything that resembles “facts”, “evidence” or any of that downtown elitist crap.

  • Nick

    Any idea on the number of new business applications on St. Clair since the RoW opened, Daren? I've read in several sources that there has been an “uptick” but not sure how many that represents. I'm glad you actually rode the RoW to counteract the St. Clair-is-a-disaster chant of the mainstream media (the construction maybe…). I concur with your report, both as a streetcar passenger and as a driver.

  • http://twitter.com/cmhughes_ca Chris Hughes

    I've lived in the St. Clair and Dufferin neighbourhood for almost 8 years now, so I've seen St. Clair before, during and after the installation of the right-of-way. And to be clear, I drive my car and ride the streetcar along this route, so I'm not speaking from a purely TTC-user experience.
    In my view, St. Clair prior to the ROW was traffic chaos. Drivers weaved radically between lanes and track lines attempting to move past each other. The streetcar was constantly braking for drivers weaving around them – usually unsignalled and poorly executed. Few dedicated left-turn lanes resulted in plenty of illegal turns, which usually resulted in more backups and frustration.
    The ROW has brought some much-needed order to this stretch. Well signed and controlled left-turn lanes, dedicated lights and clear markings have proven to be a major improvement. Driving along St. Clair now is much smoother than before. To be clear, it can be quite busy; the stretch between Bathurst and Caledonia (sometimes even to Old Weston) can get congested on busy weekend days, but this is nothing new. I certainly would not say it is any worse since the introduction of the ROW.
    As for the retail scene, I would agree that there may be a small renaissance happening. The strong, popular neighbourhood merchants have all survived handily, I would say, and at the same time there has been an influx of new merchants who have done some very good work improving facades and cleaning up the visual landscape.
    I'm a little dissapointed that this line will not receive the new LRT cars, but the service on this line is now very consistent, which helps a lot.
    Did it take too long? Yup. Could it have been done better? Probably. Were the hysterical warnings of impending doom posited by the likes of the “Save Our St. Clair” group completely overblown? Absolutely.

  • http://twitter.com/mark_dowling Mark Dowling

    There is an imprecision in using “LRT” when LRT can mean streetcars in one city and heavy rail cars in Europe (“tram-trains”). While LRT as planned for Toronto will have higher capacity than streetcars (being trains of 2 or more 30m long trams rather than the current single 18 or 23m streetcars) it will not be faster unless city council steels itself to space stops widely. This has been guaranteed by burying the line, since the infrastructure cost of an underground station, with its lighting, elevators and so on, massively increases the cost of each additional stop.

    Burying the line will cripple the possibility of rapid expansion elsewhere, but the reality is that TTC has blown any benefit of doubt by its damning failure to get even traffic signal priority implemented on lines like 510 Queens Quay/Spadina. Steve Munro (http://www.stevemunro.ca) just wrote this week about how terrible line management by the TTC is enraging riders on that line by improperly spacing streetcars with resulting massive gaps in service.

    In cities like Dublin, LRT has been implemented fairly well and the public demands more of it. In Toronto, the Spadina and St Clair lines have been botched by politically demanded additional stops and kowtowing to the demand for left turn lanes rather than forcing cars to loop around. Opponents say “this is LRT” and why is the public to believe otherwise when instead of building a showcase line the TTC insisted on a massive expansion plan while simultaneously botching rebuilds of existing lines?

    As for St Clair's “renaissance/rebirth”, it seems like a reach to celebrate the arrival of TimHo and Sbux into the vacancies created by the departure of non-chain businesses. The City should have abated the property taxes on business on St. Clair as soon as delays became apparent *and they are making the same mistakes on Roncesvalles right now*. These new businesses are benefiting on the double from low rents and an improved (to a point) transit service, but that's no comfort to the businesses that did close above the usual level of retail turnover.

    I'm sure that's what Joe Mihevc, who has had a tough time given how his prize project has been botched, would argue it's a success. What else can he say? “I'm sorry, but TTC and Roads made Palacio look like a prophet instead of the slave to local car-centric interests he actually is?” Gord Perks is already blaming the private contractors for Roncesvalles when in reality the ability of the City to manage a streetscape rebuild, water main work, gas main work and a streetcar rebuild in one project is deeply questionable. Even with a tunnel there will be surface impacts from the Eglinton LRT – just look at Front Street right now.

  • urbanprophet

    As a resident of Regal Heights (south of St. Clair, Alberta to Dufferin) I have witnessed this “renaissance” first hand and it is certainly coming back…slowly. And there is definitely a buzz these days as new shops open up. My biggest beef with this project is the quality of the construction work itself. If you look closely, the cement work on the sidewalks is sloppy and substandard and looks like a rush job. The trees that were planted haphazardly are for the most part dead! I often wonder if the city did what home owners do when renovating by holding back payment to the contractor until all deficiencies were completed…doubt that! And the upkeep of the streetcar platforms by the ttc is sub par…I think the glass gets cleaned every six months? Just think of what this strip could be like if the city and ttc held up their part of the bargain, this would lend itself to a pride of ownership among business owners and residents alike that would attract more business and community events to the St. Clair W. strip. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    You seem to be comparing LRT to mixed-lane streetcars to invent a “congestion” boogeyman. The only place LRT intersects private vehicle traffic is at intersections, where traffic has to stop anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamCF Adam C-F

    If you're referring to the Tim's at Vaughan and St. Clair, that was previously a Harvey's. Two Starbucks have opened up on St. Clair in recent years. The one at Christie replaced a TD bank when it merged with Canada Trust and the other is the ground-level retail space created during the condo construction at Bathurst, which prior to the condo was a TD Canada Trust, which is now integrated into the condo development. I'm not a big fan of the chains and was particularly annoyed with the Christie/St. Clair Starbucks when it opened up right across the street from World Class Bakers so soon after it opened. But to say chains have been replacing local businesses is incorrect.

    St. Clair has had a fairly strong revitalization among its small businesses with stores like Leah's, The Stockyards, Prop and Desoto's coming to life. Combined with the Wychwood Barns, the neighbourhood is more of a destination than it's ever been. And I hear more patio licenses are in the works so this summer will be even better.

  • http://twitter.com/robswizzle Rob Elliott

    Everything you said is on the nose.

  • http://twitter.com/andreat76 Andrea T

    I live near St. Clair & Christie and take the streetcar daily, usually between Christie and St. Clair West, sometimes all the way out to Yonge Street. It really is quick and during rush hour streetcars come frequently enough that you can see the next one (or ones) when one has arrived. Outside of rush hour it's sometimes a long wait, but it helps to plan accordingly (or have a good streetcar smartphone app). On Saturday evening it took me around 20 minutes to get from the stop on the west side of Yonge Street to Ossington. I was impressed.

    I do believe that the delay in the line's completion was caused by a combination of City and protesters who contributed to the delay with their action. I also think that there are a number of reasons for businesses shutting down. Only recently three on the same block between Bathurst and Wychwood closed, one of which has a handwritten note on the door from the landlord. It's possible that all three have the same landlord and that the landlord was cleaning house/raising rent/whatever. Maybe not.
    Meanwhile on the north side of St. Clair just east of Christie Chuck and Co. (burger shop) has replaced Cafe Leopold. Video 99, unlikely a victim of the TTC project, moved out and the store was divided into two spaces for two new businesses: One a hair salon, one a dog day care. Clothing store Levi's, on the south side near Bathurst for over 30 years, was recently replaced by a fruit and vegetable store. Restaurants come and go all the time but some have been there for years. It's the evolution of neighbourhood business.

  • originalritz

    To be fair re: the cleanliness of the streetcar platforms, they've only been open fully for the past year, and it's been a FILTHY winter. Hopefully they get squeegee'd soon though.
    One thing I did observe, however, when the glass shelters originally got put up, was that the construction seemed a bit shoddy. Each shelter has on it a large rectangular box with a glass front that has inside it a poster with a small history of the neighborhood, et cetera (which haven't really gotten past the “sample” posters originally placed in there). When they first erected the shelters, these display cases were hanging on an angle, as if only one side had been fastened tightly to the unit itself. It just gave each shelter a bit of a rushed, shoddy look, as if they didn't take the time to properly align everything. And it was consistent down the line, each one hanging on a bit of an angle.
    I think it's been corrected now, but it seemed to take forever.
    And the shelters recently had long horizontal pieces of “art” put on top of them, which gives each one a bit of its own personality. Although I'd like to know more about how each piece was selected and their relevance for the area.

  • originalritz

    I live in the St. Clair and Vaughan area, and have since 2007, so I've observed the whole St. Clair ROW from the midst of it until it finally wrapped up. I can't add much to what other people have said already, but just to comment on the streetcar rides themselves, I frequently hop on around Wychwood and go over to the Dufferin or Lansdowne area, and I can honestly say I've never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a streetcar to show up. I use the text message notifications, and they are usually spot on. It's actually quite remarkable. On a transit system that is oftentimes frustrating and usually unpredictable (at least in terms of surface routes), it's great to live in an area where something is actually working properly!

  • http://profiles.google.com/davidwright David Wright

    I just bought a home near St Clair and Silverthorn (near the west end of the line), and the transit has been a pleasure. The immediate area is a bit shabby for shops and decent watering holes, but further east on St. Clair is nice and I'm also a 20 min walk to the Junction.

    I wouldn't have bought in the area if it wasn't for the ROW streetcar, so you can call me a datapoint on the streetcar's revitalization effect.

  • wklis

    Does anyone have the numbers on how many businesses went out of business when the original Yonge Street subway was being built?

  • http://twitter.com/accozzaglia accozzaglia

    Dear people, this here is LRT.

    It works just fine — even greatly so — above ground, reduces congestion by keeping people at signalled lights far less so, and moves faster than a 19th century streetcar technology. We lost something very important when we lost the framework for the Transit City LRT system.

    Until you've known LRT in person, then you don't know LRT at all.

  • pickle_juice_drinker

    I too live in the area.

    I think what is most telling is that back in the day, after the lawsuit stopped construction but before the real work actually began, the 512 ran as a bus in mixed traffic along the western third of the line.

    It was spectacularly unpleasant. Slow (er than even the old streetcar) and very, very swervy.

    Lesson for anybody that thinks buses are superior: go ride a bustituded route and see if you still make that claim.

  • iSkyscraper

    I'm so purple with rage over the sheer ignorance of people who voted for and continue to support Ford in the face of what almost every other city on the continent (THIS continent, not even talking Europe here) is up to regarding surface rail (streetcars, LRT and everything in between)…. I can't even begin to write about it. Which is why I made this cartoon a while back to express my opinion as only a talking bear can. It's still pretty applicable, even with the new transit plan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • http://treehugger.com Lloyd Alter

    It is a joy, it is a huge success, it is fast. Sidewalk cafe life has suffered a bit since they were narrowed, but new stores are coming in, it is a pleasure living in the area. I find the driving is easier too, much more organized and dependable. But this message never gets out, nothing but complaints. Thank you for this post.

  • http://twitter.com/KocaKola Andy Savella

    The ride on the streetcar system can be a bit overcrowded at St. Clair during rush hour. I have been late for work many times travelling from Christie because of it and it is a section that needs improvement. I have made a habit of leaving earlier now but sometimes even that isn't enough when 3 streetcars in a row are too crowded to let people on.

  • http://twitter.com/mark_dowling Mark Dowling

    Vancouver managed to create huge amounts of excitement about light rail by creating “the Olympic Line” from Canada Line to Granville Island. 550,000 people over 60 days using 1800m of former freight right of way, two borrowed vehicles, a short passing track and a speed restriction imposed by safety rules. Why? Because the borrowed vehicles were new Flexity cars, not cars which looked past their prime.

    To show Flexity off in Toronto we stuck a Minneapolis car on the back of a trailer and stuck it in Dundas Square because of our odd track size and power wiring downtown. If St Clair had been rebuilt to Transit City standards (possible because it is an isolated piece of the “legacy network”) maybe people would have a closer idea of what service on the more suburban streets could be like, such as no off-street loops and low-floor vehicles.

  • mboadway

    I too live in the area. The build was really painful, but I am OK with the results so far. I do think they could tweak it to make it bit better.

    There's no question that many business have closed down over the last 5 years–especially as you go further west. New ones have opened. I don't know which of the businesses that opened or closed can be attributed to the ROW. The area right around Christie looks great, although it was helped by the work done to the Wychwood Barnes. I'd like to say there is a lot of renewal further west, but frankly renaming a couple restaurants, opening the odd bakery and a new outpost of fried chicken chain does not yet make a renaissance at Dufferin. To say nothing of St Clair Gardens. My fingers are crossed.

    Getting to the subway is so much better for all the reasons mentioned above. The predictability of the arrival of a streetcar and the length of the trip is such a relief from before. Unlike pre-ROW, I now know how long it will take me to get to work by public transit. Could it be improved? Sure. The lights still do not appear synced for the streetcars. We often stop at the light, start and then stop again at the far side stops where passengers get off. If the left turns and u-turns lights for cars were after the normal green light, it would save time.

    I amazed that some find the drive better than before. I drive on St Clair between Yonge and Lansdowne a minimum of 3 times a week. There may be less chaos, but getting from point A to point B by car is much slower than before. This was to be expected of course–there is a lane missing from each direction and new green arrow turns. Traffic bunches up at the same locations as before, although it is worse at Avenue Road and Bathurst/Vaughan. In non-peak hours, a car parallel parking stops traffic in one direction. (This is brutal when an event is going on at the Piccinnini). Unsurprisingly, the lights are not synced up for cars at all. Going under, over or near the speed limit will still get you stopped at most lights. Certain times on weekends can be like peak times, but without the extra lane. There are more stopped, idling cars than before. I expect that things will get much worse between Old Weston and Keele once the new developments go up.

  • Functionalist

    Several are still hanging on an angle. The city also promised to bury the overhead wires along the sides of the street, but significant stretches of St. Clair still have a thick black wire strung between poles, dangling almost onto the ornamental pedestrian lighting. Near St. Clair West Station, the sleek new poles weren't even used; they just put the new lighting onto some old concrete poles.

    All these deficiencies should be addressed as they're the critical final details. The biggest one is the fact that there's no plan to replace the underpass between Old Weston Road and Keele that has been reduced to one lane in each direction for cars and is quite ugly.

  • Functionalist

    This piece is a welcome defense of the project which has overall been an improvement. But there are so many deficiencies too, like the overhead wire that remains along the sides of the street along many parts, the nasty underpass between Keele and Old Weston Road that has only one lane of traffic in each direction for cars, that's dark and crumbling. Many trees seemed to be dead on arrival.

    One also has to ask why isn't the streetcar that much faster? Why isn't this LRT? It would be a good demonstration to Torontonians as to how it works. These streetcars don't seem to have priority at intersections, and all the stops are a hassle. Why has the streetcar had virtually no impact on development around St. Clair and Old Weston Road to Gunn's Lopp? There are many lots which have been empty for decades or redeveloped to car-oriented suburban specs.

    Also, learn some urban geography. The end of the line just west of St. Clair Avenue West and Keele Street is hardly “the outskirts of the western inner suburbs” but still rather central. In fact, we're talking about the north end of The Junction here. Go to Etobicoke to see the outskirts of the western inner suburbs.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffranson Jeff Ranson

    Does anyone know why the St. Clair stops tend to be just after intersections not before them?

    It seems odd to be sitting stopped at a red light, then stopping again 50' further to pick people up. Why do I get the feeling that it has something to do with accommodating left hand turn lanes…

  • http://piorkowski.ca qviri

    It is to allow left turn lanes. In theory. the wait at the red light is supposed to be avoided thanks to transit priority. I expect you've seen the reality.

  • andrewpmk

    Streetcars = LRT, they're exactly the same thing. The implementation of LRT is much better in other cities than in Toronto, but it's still a relatively low capacity, low speed method of transportation. It's hard to transplant solutions that work in a smaller city like Dublin (metro area population 1.6 million) to Toronto (metro area 5 million). In big cities like Toronto, light rail is useful for lower demand routes like St. Clair, but light rail is not a substitute for subway construction like Miller made it out to be.

  • andrewpmk

    Streetcars = LRT, they're exactly the same thing. The implementation of LRT is much better in other cities than in Toronto, but it's still a relatively low capacity, low speed method of transportation. It's hard to transplant solutions that work in a smaller city like Dublin (metro area population 1.6 million) to Toronto (metro area 5 million). In big cities like Toronto, light rail is useful for lower demand routes like St. Clair, but light rail is not a substitute for subway construction like Miller made it out to be.

  • Transity Cyclist

    Unfortunately for you, none of the major Toronto corridors that have received much attention lately (Eglinton, Sheppard, or Finch) demand high-capacity transit. Light Rail, and plain old streetcars, were enough to handle their present and future demand. Miller was correct to choose LRT.

    Eglinton
    Current peak ridership < 3 000 passengers/hour
    Future peak ridership = 5 000 passengers/hour

    Finch
    Current peak ridership= 1 010 passengers/hour
    Future peak ridership = 2 800 passengers/hour

    Sheppard
    Current peak ridership = 1 100 passengers/hour
    Future peak ridership (with LRT) = 3 000 passengers/hour
    Future peak ridership (with subway extension) = 5 000 passengers/hour

    Peak ridership required to justify a subway = 10 000 passengers/hour

    I can't understand why Subway Advocates love to claim that these major corridors need a subway without any numbers to back them up!

  • http://www.urbandaddy.wordpress.com urban daddy

    Hi. St. Clair is a disaster. I lived through the Sheppard subway – 4 years of delays and that was painful. I live very close to Eglinton and am dreading that they are talking about closing Allen Road between Lawrence and Eglinton to hold the machines. I do hope that improved transit will bring new stores to our area, but I’m so happy the LRT will be underground so we’ll still have lanes to drive on, walk on, and cycle on.

    As a local resident I would go to Eglinton 99/100 times so I can avoid St. Clair and all the u-turns and parking hassles that come with that mess in the middle of the road.

    I think it was a horrible decision that the city will use as an example to never do again.

  • Long Branch

    urban daddy’s obviously a car driver, given his preoccupation with parking. But for the majority of us who travel by transit along St Clair, the streetcar line is much much better. See http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/much-maligned-st-clair-line-not-so-bad-after-all/article2330468/ and it’s accompanying graphic.

  • AllanG

    Good piece. However, the so-called “debate” about St. Clair was always framed as being about cars versus public transit. People like Rob Ford maintain that a car with one person is equal to a full streetcar and that the streetcars get in the cars way. The lone driver should have more rights than the TTC-travelling public. It is a form off elitism. The debate over the St. Clair ROW was always about cars versus transit. Anyone who rode the St. Clair line before the ROW can remember regular delays from either left-turning cars or even worse, accidents on the tracks. The ride for TTC users is much, much improved and is now reliable.

    Some drivers cannot see beyond their next left turn. The mayor is pandering to them and as he reiterated on his radio show just last Sunday, if he had his way, he would rip out all streetcar tracks to make his drive smoother.

    • wu tang

      So Toronto should build/create 4 more of theese streetcar ROW as the DRL. One should be along Queen street from Roncy to Main, the other on Dundas from Roncy to Main. The ROW can go north on Roncy and north on Main to the Bloor Danforth line. DRL problem solved.

      • OgtheDim

        The issues requiring a RL are most acute on the Yonge line.