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Toronto: Not the Hokey Pokey, The Transit Two Step

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posted on Jul, 14 2016 @ 08:25 AM
This morning as I tucked into my Raisin Bran my eyes wandered over to the front page of The Star, lurking as usual, near the corner of the kitchen table. The headline read:

Council supports one-stop subway to Scarborough

Toward the end of the article two more extensions of the subway were mentioned, one being an extension of the Sheppard Line, beyond Don Mills Station, which had been rejected earlier when a proposed LRT Line to Scarborough was still on the table and another extension of the Bloor Danforth line from Kipling Station to Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, at the western edge of Toronto.

Here is a map (2017 TTC Projection) of the subway system that does not include either of these suggested extensions but which does show stops on the extension of the University line up to Vaughn and stops on a proposed Scarborough extension between Kennedy Station and and even beyond the stop at Scarborough Town Center, which was just approved by City Council.

The extension projects underway and those proposed or "envisioned" represent significant increases in the carrying capacity ambitions of the subway system.

For the general public, it might be well to take a step back at this point and suggest to them a way of thinking clearly about transit matters and subway expansion in particular.

There is a lot of political clamor around the subject. People want to be included into the system. Politicians respond to the desires of the public for inclusion. Planning battles will always have much more than a tincture of strictly political considerations involved in them. But let's leave politics aside for a moment and look at the subway expansion problem in strictly logistical terms.

In theory, as Subway Extension increases, Street Traffic Congestion should decrease. The theory being that people will park their cars in the suburbs and take the subway downtown instead of driving there.

Unfortunately, the corollary to this is that as Street Traffic Congestion decreases, Subway Congestion increases, particularly in the downtown core of the system.

It would seem logical therefore, that any extensions of the subway system at the outskirts of the city, should be accompanied by expansions of the system in the core in a kind of subway improvement "two step".

An engineer might even attempt to bring abstract logic into the world, as it were, and suggest that expansion of the downtown core should precede and prepare the way for extensions of the system at the fringes.

It's a question of balance and moving forward in a deliberate manner.

As things stand now, I don't see evidence of anything resembling a balanced, prudent approach to subway expansion, that anticipates and takes into consideration the fact that what you do at one end of the system, the suburbs, will have an effect at the other end of the system, the downtown core.

This process, expansion, would seem to require a "two step" approach. Extension of the extremities would always need to be accompanied by an expansion of the core. Am I wrong in thinking that?

Nobody, at this juncture appears to be talking about "downtown relief". Maybe this is method and not madness. I hope that is the case but I am not confident of it.
edit on 14-7-2016 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 14 2016 @ 11:47 AM
a reply to: ipsedixit

As someone who really has no invested interest here, I must say after reading your post I come away with 2 thoughts..

You make slot of sense and the idea you propose would seem logical...


You should maybe consider posting this as a letter to the editor of your local newspaper/website.

Good post!


posted on Jul, 14 2016 @ 12:56 PM
Toronto also suffers from the dog-bone effect of having students who want to live downtown and colleges at the far end of the commuter line. In this situation they end up with large clusters of residents living close to the downtown and college train stations that guarantee them a seat on the train. The only solution to this is to have half-route trains that go to and from either downtown or college.

posted on Jul, 14 2016 @ 04:10 PM
a reply to: Mike Stivic

Thanks. I appreciate the compliment. I think some of the things written in these forums do get circulation in the right places in our city, if they merit attention. "At this point in time", as Richard Nixon would say, ATS is the venue for my stuff. If it is significant, it will be seen by the right people.

posted on Jul, 14 2016 @ 04:24 PM
a reply to: stormcell

Not so sure about that. That's closer to a nuts and bolts judgment than I would feel confident about. You may be right. Without a lot of detail, I couldn't say. It sounds complex and expensive. My gut reaction is "no" and "keep it simple".

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