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81 Comments

cityscape

Spotted: New Streetcars by Night

The TTC's new streetcars are still making test runs, and they're still really, really long.

SPOTTED BY: YouTube user ttcgeek

WHERE: At the TTC’s Roncesvalles Yard

WHEN: Unknown

WHAT: The TTC has been testing its next-generation streetcars on public streets for quite a while now, and there are plenty of pictures of the new vehicles available online. This video, which was posted to YouTube yesterday, is notable for the especially good job it does of showing how long these things are. The effect is heightened by the fact that the vehicle here actually consists of two separate streetcars, coupled together.

Via Matt Elliott.

Spotted features interesting things our readers discover in their journeys across Toronto. If you spot something interesting, send a photo and pertinent details to tips@torontoist.com.

Comments

  • http://bowjamesbow.ca/blog.shtml James Bow

    Prank idea: Let’s couple them ALL together, and see if we can surround City Hall.

    • Moaz Ahmadmoa

      You’lL have to wait a while for that…but 3 of those LFLRVs on Queen would stretch across Nathan Phillips Square. I’d love to see that ‘streetcar salute’.

      • the_lemur

        You could run them Dundas-Church-Queen-McCaul … 3.2 km, or about 105 streetcars.

  • Moaz Ahmadmoa

    The track at the Roncessvales Yard needs some attention…that was unfairly noisy for nighttime

    Cheers, Moaz

    • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

      In all likelihood, track lubrication was turned off for the test.

      • the_lemur

        I don’t know if they did that during recent test runs from Hillcrest, but it was remarkably quiet: no squeaking, just the occasional clunk from unevenness in the track bed.

  • scottld

    Big mistake. Unless traffic is banned on routes these will create a backlash big enough to make the Toronto’s last streetcars.

    • the_lemur

      They’re only about a car length longer than the current articulated streetcars, they’ll be running less frequently and – most important – the myth of being ‘stuck behind a streetcar’ is the product of poor urban driving habits.

      • wklis

        Before any subway, Peter Witt streetcar trains (front motor streetcar and back trailer) ran on Yonge Street. PCC MU streetcar trains (two streetcars coupled together) ran on Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue, and later Queen Street, during the rush hours. In both cases, the two car streetcar trains were about the same length as one new Bombardier Flexity Outlook streetcar.

        • scottld

          And there was a reason they built the subway. I drive Peter Witts from time to time, amazing beasts.

          • OgtheDim

            Oh please, they built the subway because of demand, not because of the length of the streetcar trains.

          • scottld

            Thats not what I said but I can see how you might think that so I could have been clearer. If you look up the Toronto newspapers from the late 1940′s (you can see some of them in John Sewell’s book Shape Of The City ) it was road congestion (or at least what people thought congestion was at that time).

      • scottld

        The articulated cars are about 76 feet to the new ones which are 99 feet long. So lets round it to 25 feet difference. A Windstar mini van is 17 feet long. So you are adding about 8 feet more to pass plus you have to add the van length again because the passing van has to clear the front of the streetcar so it actually is a fair amount of space if there are parked cars on the right. You would need like 140ish feet of clear road to pass. That will be hard to find unless there is no parking. It will also make it harder for more than one car to pass at a time as you would have to add the second car length and the space between the passing cars.As a city kid I am pretty good at passing streetcars but this will make it harder and I suspect it will lead to people really gunning it to get around.

        • OgtheDim

          So its the fault of the streetcar that people are taking up the passing lanes parking?

          • scottld

            No. But would you buy a streetcar that was twice as wide and ask is it the streetcars fault that there are cars coming the other way on the other side of the street? I think we are all saying something has to change. If it does not these streetcars may make it worse.

          • andrew97

            On a billion-dollar capital project, it’s a little weird to say that things will work fine as long as the city makes a policy change that it never has before and likely never will. So yes, on-street parking should have been taken into account when the streetcars were designed.

        • the_lemur

          Most people don’t drive anything like a Windstar; the problem is drivers thinking they should drive in the lane behind the streetcar in the first place. In fact driving alongside a new streetcar will be less of a problem, as there is more room to stay clear of doors. I agree that on-street parking really adds nothing to the issue of traffic flow.

          • scottld

            I did some searching on average car lengths and the number 16 feet came up over and over. I would love there to be no parking on arterial roads at all until 7pm.

          • the_lemur

            Average car lengths where? Given that the best selling car in Canada is probably something like the Corolla or Elantra, it’s closer to 14 or 15 feet (popularity of pickup trucks may be skewing things).

          • scottld

            I searched on google for Canada and US. Or course its an average and I wondered whether trucks were included because some of todays are huge.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      I really hate that streetcars are the only vehicle on the road that doesn’t allow other drivers to pass right through them.

    • Ken Hunt

      In my experience, the problem with traffic on King or Queen isn’t streetcars, it’s illegally parked cars and delivery trucks.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Don’t forget taxis doing three-point turns. (I’ve seen it. Height of evening rush hour.)

      • scottld

        Part of keeping everybody moving is getting vehicles past streetcars. This will be very hard with cars this length.I also wonder how this will effect emergency services or block intersections. Ken I have seen cities with zero tolerance parking squads and they work but we cant seem to get that together here. Also remember that many streets that have streetcars have parking too.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Part of keeping everybody moving is getting single occupant vehicles out of the way of mass transit. No tears shed for the single commuter “stuck” behind 50+ people in a streetcar (who are, rest assured, “stuck” behind another vehicle of some sort).

          • vampchick21

            This. I take King daily, and the number of single occupant vehicles is beyond stupid. Streetcars are not the cause of traffic jams, cars are.

          • scottld

            I agree. I dont know how to make that politically palatable nor would it work on a route like Bathurst where people live and have cars as they are legally allowed to have. Numbers in the US show young people are not as interested in owning cars as before so things may change on their own.

          • Lee Zamparo

            Another part of keeping everybody moving is maximizing the use of the lanes of traffic we have. On street parking removes one lane in each direction (!) on College, Dundas, Queen, King for all traffic. It’s crazy that we still have this, and doubly crazy during rush hour.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I completely agree. Left-hand turns are also guilty of slowing everything down.

          • DougEarl

            Exactly! They could be used for bike lanes!

          • andrew97

            “Part of keeping everybody moving is getting single occupant vehicles out of the way of mass transit.”

            This is basically the argument in favor of subways.

          • vampchick21

            No, the argument in favour of subways is keeping mass transit out of the way of single occupant vehicles.

          • andrew97

            The Downs-Thomson Paradox: “The equilibrium speed of car traffic on the road network is determined by the average door-to-door speed of equivalent journeys by [grade-separated] public transport” (i.e., subways). In other words, if you keep cars out of transit’s way, and transit off the road, everybody moves faster.

          • vampchick21

            Or conversely, we as a society can put some real thought into when and where we use our cars. And do we really need to move faster or just better? Stupid question, I know, this is a culture that created microwave Kraft Dinner and toaster pizza.

          • DougEarl

            Mmm Kraft Dinner…glglglggh

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            It’s the argument in favour of mass transit, period.

    • Lee Zamparo

      To compensate drivers they should ban on-street parking on the arterials where streetcars roll. Would help *a lot* during rush hour.

    • OgtheDim

      Somebody beat me to it.

    • iSkyscraper

      You may be right about the backlash. TTC has done a horrible job with this asset and set the table for Ford to have a field day:

      http://www.blogto.com/city/2012/03/how_the_ttc_sullied_the_reputation_of_lrt_part_i/

      http://www.blogto.com/city/2012/03/how_the_ttc_sullied_the_reputation_of_lrt_part_ii/

      • scottld

        I fear you may be right.

  • GL

    sure hope that the city gives the streetcars unhindered access to all routes (similar to Spadina, St. Clair

  • brianyyz

    Meh. I’ve seen longer.

    • HotDang

      That’s what she said.

  • Dogma

    Yeah, I would assume they wouldn’t be running tethered together like that.

  • Geoffrey Skelding

    Hey! Keep your feet off the seat!

  • vampchick21

    Traffic is it’s own problem.

  • atorontoguy

    Are these the only length of streetcars ordered? It seems overly long for non-rush-hour service.

    I wonder if they tested turning around at College/Dundas/Lansdowne. With this length it will be a challenge.

    • the_lemur

      Yes, this is the only length they come in. They will be testing them on various routes for the next few months. I know they’ve been on Dundas, not sure about the College/Dundas/Lansdowne triangle, but they’ve already done some pretty tight turnarounds.

      • ttcgeek

        They went around Landsdowne loop at least 5 or 6 times last night after I took this video.

  • the_lemur

    Which they will do only once or twice a day, outside of rush hour.

  • Jojay

    I’m all for public transit but I don’t see these easing congestion at all. Was that even thought about? We need some major streets turned into streetcar only areas or else this will be a disaster. Oh god.

    • TorontoistEditors

      At the current councillor meeting they’ll be looking into streetcar-only lanes for King for the morning rush hour.

  • OgtheDim

    What you are is stuck behind a vehicle that stops more often then it should because the good burghers of this city don’t want to take away on street parking, or give streetcars a right of way, or space out streetcar stops like they do in most of the world (500 metres minimum).

    You notice the streetcars more often then other vehicles because they are there. And, if you ran a fleet of Coke trucks up and own King Street during rush hour, at the frequency of streetcars, you’d be complaining about being stuck behind a “damned Coke truck” all the time.

    And if you took streetcars off, you’d be saying you were stuck behind a bus.

    And if you got rid of buses too, you’d be saying you were stuck behind a lot of taxis.

    Bad traffic planning is the issue, not the existence of streetcars.

    • Mike Mike

      the difference is the coke truck is not stopping every 500 meters to pick people up taking up 2 lanes because for some reason it runs in the middle of the street and picks people up from the sidewalk.

      • dsmithhfx

        Leave the car home.

      • vampchick21

        you poor, poor driver. So inconvenienced! #FirstWorldProblems

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        If it ran along the curb you’d complain about the loss of parking spaces.

        • the_lemur

          Ha. There’s a Coke truck that often parks in the bike lane on College near Queen’s Park. No parking spaces there but annoying all the same.

          • dsmithhfx

            At least there’s zero tolerance for barbie jeeps!

  • iSkyscraper

    These new vehicles are very 2015 indeed.

    The question is whether or not the TTC can stop operating streetcars like it’s 1945.

    - get rid of on-board payment (I know it is coming, but come on already)
    - get turning and even through cars out of the streetcar lanes (stop screwing around. Transit must take priority of limited street space)
    - optimize traffic signals (this includes moving stops to AFTER the light)
    - cut the number of stations in half (Yonge-Victoria-Church — seriously?)
    - put streetcars on the rail maps and clean up the nomenclature (they are not LRT on Spadina or St. Clair. They are streetcars. And they need to go on the maps like every other city they operate in, not appear like a regular bus route.)
    - put up displays showing NextBus tracking (little detail, but important)

    All of the above should make it easier to get to the munitions factory, er, app developer workspace on time.

    • wklis

      The new streetcars will have PRESTO. The driver will NOT do the collecting of fares.

      • iSkyscraper

        If I’m not mistaken, these will have on-board PRESTO vending machines. While most people will have smartcards, having on-board vending, even by machine, is idiotic. On a packed streetcar with more people trying to get on, how exactly does a person pause in front of a wide-open vending machine to slowly process payment?

        All payment machines should be OFF-VEHICLE. Period.

        This is how New York’s Select+ bus service works on their express articulated buses. No onboard payment.

        • wklis
          • iSkyscraper

            Don’t get cute. The problems are all related. Too many stops means they can’t afford machines for all of them which means on-board payment which means conflict at the 75 busier stops as some prepay and others figure they will just cram on and fight their way to an on-board machine. They will of course then blame the crowds if later asked for their POP. London does not put Oyster vending machines on double decker buses for this very reason. Most LRT operators keep payment machines off their vehicles also, even if they sometimes include street-running (like the three NJ Transit LRT lines). All payment should be off vehicle. And there should be fewer stops.

  • the_lemur

    I certainly do drive, but I don’t drive behind streetcars (unless I have a left turn coming up very soon).

    The myth is the idea that drivers have no choice but to be behind a streetcar if they want to be in that lane or get where they’re going.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Anyway, I was the sole spectator at the following night’s test runs at Russell and was much closer to these leviathans. I could tell you about the hydraulics in the coupling. Video. Pictures.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      “Me, me, me, me, me.” – Joe Clark

      • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

        No me, no coverage – that night (and, as it turned out, the next).

        Also, I touched their bellows.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Oh you poor thing.

  • vampchick21

    Really? Trust me, no one in cars are paying any attention to it. At. All.

  • vampchick21

    #FUGM (with a healthy dose of don’t care to understand the world outside your private bubble)

    You do realize that traffic is caused by cars, right? Cars carrying only the driver? Many, many cars carrying only 1 person per, being the driver. If more of those very people took the time to think about when to drive and when to take another form of transportation to get to where they are going, the roads would be less congested.

    But you carry on with your entitled little opinion. Keep the transit riding peons out of your sight, right? Car is king, 1950′s blah blah blah.

  • vampchick21

    Yup, entitled, self righteous, FUGM.

  • dsmithhfx

    “I’m not inconvenienced because I don’t drive on roads with streetcars”

    Stupid wanker.

  • the_lemur

    I live near a road that has streetcars AND buses and which runs north-south. I have no choice but to use it (by car, bike and on foot) at some point but it’s never inconvenienced me.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    We don’t live in a utopian world, and if we did I guarantee you would bitch about having to pay for hundreds of subways lines to replace the surface routes.

    Roads are meant for people, not private vehicles.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Toronto’s had anti-litter bylaws for much longer than that, to little effect.

  • OgtheDim

    Oh my gosh…and hour and a half?

    Welcome to the world of 1 out of 3 people taking transit in this city.

  • DougEarl

    We’re going to need a new mayor when these things hit the street, because Rob Ford’s head is going to explode.

  • DougEarl

    No. The more road space you open for cars, the more congestion you get.

  • DougEarl

    So more streetcars then, and longer ones too.

  • vampchick21

    Seriously dude? I’m a smelly hippy? Actually I’m a 40 year old career woman who lives in a condo, but nice try. And yes honey, you do have a bit of a case of FUGM, deal with it. Your very attitude regarding transit, people who take it, and your personal convenience shows that very, very clearly. While it’s very commendable that you contribute to charities, it doesn’t erase your entitled attitude or permit it. Frankly you come off in here like a spoiled little child.