Toronto is Canada's largest city, its financial capital, its entertainment capital, its second most industrially diverse city after Montreal and an
immigration magnet both foreign and domestic. It's a busy place and needs an efficient transit system. We who live and vote here know that all too
We all have memories of overcrowded subway platforms and visions of streetcars lined up to the horizon on Queen St.
When Toronto's candidates for Mayor, including Rob Ford, are not mulling over the personal problems of Rob Ford, chances are that they are mulling
over ideas of how to improve the city's transit system and how to pay for those improvements.
Some of us, Canada's second class citizens of part time shift workers, who live without company pensions, paid holidays or dental benefits, who can't
go out for a beer with colleagues when the shift ends at 8 AM or who wait in the chill of January along windswept Bloor St., Sunday mornings, for the
privilege of strap hanging on one of the crowded, backed up Bloor St. buses (Blue Night Specials) at 7:30 AM, because the subway doesn't open until 9
AM, we, I say we, are all in favor of improving the transit system and eagerly await the improvements, confident that improvements will be made and
anxious only about whether the improvements will actually be extended to use by us.
There has been some discussion about plans but the discussion has been somewhat vague. Floating in the mix are a downtown "relief" subway line, subway
lines in Scarborough and North York and LRT lines in those latter places.
Having brought us to that point, I would like to lighten proceedings somewhat by showing some subway maps from around the world.
Very comprehensive. Layers of tracks and long escalators. Changing trains is a non trivial task. (I've been on it, but many years
Rated the best in the world. Clean, efficient, dependable despite size, complexity and massive use. Daily ridership, 9.8 million and
annual ridership a staggering 3,589,000,000.
, according to wikipedia.org (en.wikipedia.org...
Chicago has sub, surface, and elevated
rail lines. In the literature of the system, it's all "rail". It is hard to get a
definitive outline of the "sub
way". The Chicago transit system is what it is. Having the "el" running past your seedy hotel room window, like
in the movies, might be atmospheric, but possibly grating too. Is this system a muddle, or a beloved workhorse? Maybe both. Maybe there is nothing
wrong with that. Maybe one of Toronto's problems has been fear of not being seen as the brightest kid in the class. Maybe this has stunted the TTC's
growth, while the CTA just barged ahead? With vigor!
In the 1960s
, the design for subways and transit in Chicago looked like this: Torontonians take note. Does this look vaguely familiar?
This should refresh the memory, if it needs it. Toronto:
Not in 1968! This is now and includes uncompleted extensions.
Incongruously simple for a city of 12,000,000 (at least), probably due to issues related to planning and priorities in the
Chinese command economy and to the fact that for the aforementioned reasons it is a system in its infancy. A design (and situation?) not unlike that
of Toronto, he writes without a trace of facetiousness.
Subway issues and subway comparisons are a can of worms. Apples to apples comparisons between cities are extremely rare. The maps tell the tale. One
notices, however, the similarity of the subway plans for Toronto and the original Chicago
plan. They are markedly similar. Toronto's plan seems
frozen in its tracks, while Chicago barged and bulled its way forward. (Barging and bulling is "American" for the British "muddling".)
I would be unjust and unfair to say that Toronto never had a good idea though.
People, candidates and voters alike, need to read this article. Transit pundits will know all about this but what intrigued me was not that there is a
lost subway station in Toronto, but how this station linked to lines in the city and formed a part of an interlinear system
The scheme, known as interlining, meant riders could catch a train at, say, Greenwood and get downtown via Union without changing. The same
system applied to eastbound trains. Riders could get on at Dundas West and get off at Eglinton without switching at St. George, Spadina or Yonge.
Lower Bay enabled two separate routes to pass through the Yorkville station without having to share platform space.
This kind of line intersection causes the "self sortation" of passengers to occur at the end of and along lines, where they board
, rather than
at central junctions, clogged with passengers from the entire line, trying to change trains at once.
This idea was dropped after a few months.
Interestingly, a customer survey conducted at the time found those in favor and those against interlining were matched for numbers. Most simply
didn't care one way or the other.
After just six months, the TTC decided to can interlining and stick with fully separate Yonge-University and Bloor-Danforth lines. The arrival of the
Spadina line meant the second platform at St. George remained vital while Lower Bay was bricked up and abandoned when trains stopped passing
Strictly speaking from the point of view of subway
design, it seems to me that the choices are between building interlinear junctions
where junctions presently occur in the system, allowing for trains to sort passengers when they get on the trains
as opposed to when they reach
the junctions, . . . or building a ring line
in the core of the city that will enable connections to all lines crossing the city by means of
layered tracks connected by escalators, stairs, etc.
Ultimately, it is likely that both of these approaches will be used in future, depending on particular circumstances.
Unfortunately this issue of planning how to improve the transit system is not one issue but two overlapping issues, the second one being the political
one of who gets to reward political backers with the lucrative contracts that will be spawned out of improving the transit system. We get into
"gubmint" here. We get into "profiting from poor planning". This is the sort of situation that brings out the carnival shell game manipulatory
instincts of your typical politician.
This is a big stakes game and keeping the voter "clued out" is part of it, in my opinion.
edit on 14-7-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason
edit on 14-7-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)