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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
More on the Queensway and St. Clair LRT Projects
12/04/2004

I don't actually have anything to add, but James Bow contributed some interesting information in the comments to my initial posting about the possibility of a Queensway LRT project for Toronto.

Here's what he wrote, in case you missed it:

This has been proposed before. Way back when the TTC was considering consolidating its two carbarns at the Molson brewery site on Fleet Street, the speculation was that they'd spend $15 million or so to build a kilometre of track to connect Exhibition Loop with Dufferin Loop. The rationale here was to ensure that an accident on Bathurst Street didn't completely isolate the new carbarn from the rest of the system.

However, it was noted, with the construction of the Harbourfront connection between Spadina and Bathurst, that a link between Exhibition Loop and Dufferin Loop would extend a private right-of-way line from Union Station to Dufferin Street, and there was that enticing Queensway private right-of-way a couple of kilometres away at Roncesvalles. Theoretically, you could run streetcars from Long Branch via Lakeshore, Queensway, King and Dufferin onto the private right-of-way, creating a very reliable line to the downtown core. Only the portion between Dufferin and Springhurst and King and Roncesvalles would be in mixed traffic, and those portions *do* move in rush-hour.

You could conceivably cut back the Queen route to Humber, and restore the old Long Branch streetcar, giving southern Etobicoke residents more reliable access to Union Station and the downtown.

No mention was made of extending service west along the Queensway.

A few other random points of interest:

  1. Lakeshore Boulevard is wide enough to put those tracks on private right-of-way. After St. Clair, Lakeshore Boulevard is the TTC's favoured candidate for such a renovation.
  2. There has been some talk of closing Humber Loop and building a new loop at Park Lawn Drive. The condominium developments in Mimico are increasing the demand for service immediately west of Humber, and the closest loop after Humber is Kipling. A new loop could conceivably fit in with the Lakeshore LRT project.

And, finally, regarding that $300 million pricetag:

The TTC built the Harbourfront connector between Spadina and Bathurst for $13.5 million. That was roughly 850 metres of new track and overhead. As a result, a good rule of thumb is the cost amounts to $15-20 million per kilometre of track.

But 509 Harbourfront opened using CLRVs which were then surplus to the TTC's needs. The TTC no longer has surplus streetcars in its fleet. So, to make a Queensway LRT a reality, the TTC would have to buy new streetcars. These range from $2 million to $5 million per vehicle.

Based on what James has written, I suppose we should call it a Lakeshore and Queensway LRT project.

Normally I wouldn't be pushing for a big expensive project like this when the TTC is in such a state of disrepair. However, as I mentioned earlier, the interesting thing about this project is that it has a similar price to the Front Street Extension, and could be helpful to a similar set of voters. Why not trade one for the other?

And while we are talking about LRT projects, let me quote James Bow once more. This time from his Transit Toronto blog, writing about hearings into the St. Clair LRT:

The City of Toronto and the TTC are holding another two meetings / open houses to discuss the proposal to install private right-of-way streetcar lanes on St. Clair Avenue in 2005, and they would like residents to come out and express their views. As part of the environmental assessment project, everything is on the table, from simply rebuilding the tracks as they are, to dedicated lanes, to scrapping the St. Clair streetcar and installing buses.

Anybody interested in expressing an opinion should come out to either of these meetings; the first one is to be held at the Holy Rosary Parish Centre (356 St. Clair West, east of Bathurst) on Tuesday, April 13 while the second one is to be held at the Joseph Piccininni Centre (1369 St. Clair West, west of Lansdowne) on Wednesday, April 14. Doors open at 5:00 pm for people to examine the displays and the presentation followed by discussion starts at 7:00 pm both days.

As reported in the Globe and Mail today, this remains a controversial proposal. The Globe's article presents some good background, too.

An advocacy group -- SCRIPT: St. Clair Right-of-way Initiative for Public Transit -- fighting in favour of the St. Clair project can be found here. They have some interesting support information, including a Powerpoint presentation designed to win the support of local businesses.

Unfortunately, I can't be fair and balanced here. I cannot find a website for "Save Our St. Clair", whose slogan is "No Barriers! No Right of Way!".

UPDATE: Found itů Save Our St. Clair.


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