The Pursuit Of European Ideals In Toronto

As expected, upgrade a heritage streetcar line to a light rail standard and ridership increases dramatically.

By making King St. an exclusive route for trams, increased both commercial speed and ridership, so much so, it overwhelmed the servcie.

This is old news as our European friends knew his decades ago and the question must be asked: “Why has this taken so long for it to be done in Canada?”

The power of the simple reserved rights-of-way, brings metro like servcie at a fraction of the cost.

Now, if only we can get that other very successful European transportation option, TramTrain, into servcie in BC, it will revolutionize how we offer public transport in the province. Pursuing European ideals is not a bad thing at all.

Toronto’s King streetcar sees ‘spectacular’ rise in ridership

URBAN TRANSPORTATION REPORTER
TORONTO

Ridership on the King streetcar has surged 25 per cent during the busiest times of the day in the wake of efforts to speed up transit on the key downtown roadway, according to the Toronto Transit Commission.

The rise has been so abrupt that TTC acting CEO Rick Leary said in a report released Thursday evening that the agency is “a bit of a victim of our own success,” with crowds of passengers exceeding vehicle capacity.

“The rationale to do this [change] is to move transit more quickly and get people on transit, and this shows that in spades,” TTC chair and councillor Josh Colle said in an interview.

Mr. Colle called the rise “spectacular” and said that streetcar ridership has not dropped on nearby Queen Street, which suggests that these additional passengers are people new to transit.

The TTC plans to address crowding by using buses on both College and Dundas and redeploying those streetcars to “routes, like King Street, where demand is critical,” Mr. Leary wrote.

Evidence of the rising ridership, which came as part of the monthly report by the CEO of the TTC, emerged amid rising anger by business owners who say that their bottom lines have been hurt badly by the project. Many of them are expected to meet Friday with Toronto Mayor John Tory to argue for rolling back some of the transit changes.

In early November, the city started a pilot project that included a number of adaptations to King Street, between Bathurst and Jarvis, chief among them ending curb parking and forcing drivers to turn off at most intersections. The goal was to preserve vehicle access to all parts of King, while preventing it being used as an auto thoroughfare.

Bronwen Clark, the general manager of Rodney’s Oyster House, a bit west of Spadina, reported dramatic declines in business since then and said that poor attendance has prompted them to close part of their restaurant. She is hoping city leaders can be convinced to relax the driving restrictions in the evening.

“We want the street opened up,” she said. “Then people can be encouraged to go out for dinner.”

Advocates of the project counter that the streetcar sees substantial use outside of rush hour, and that the city failed the last time it tried to have time-based restrictions on King. A quarter-century ago the city reserved the centre lanes of parts of King to streetcars and taxis at certain times of day. Signs mandating this still hang in places over the roadway but the tactic proved ineffective. This failure eventually prompted the current pilot.

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Comments

5 Responses to “The Pursuit Of European Ideals In Toronto”
  1. Rob says:

    Where are all your usual nay-sayers?

    Zwei replies: Speechless?

  2. UBCsubway says:

    Tramtrain is silly name.

    Zwei replies: Well the Germans call it Zweisystem.

  3. Haveacow says:

    Actually Tram-Train is a good name. It perfectly describes the operations of a line which operates on both a mainline railway right of way and a LRT/Tramway right of way. It’s a very efficient use of existing railway lines and keeps the cost down on newly created LRT rights of way. It also helps deal with the geographic scale problem that Light Metro and Metro/Subway Systems have when dealing with regional

  4. Haveacow says:

    Sorry my phone posted the last message too early. Tram-Trains help deal with regional distances better than a Light Metro (like SkyTrain) or full scale Subway/Metro systems (like Montreal’s and Toronto’s). They can make longer distance trips from the outer suburbs to downtown, far more affordable for transit agencies. Especially if you are trying to build rail systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars per kilometre to build. These Metro and Light Metro systems are also extremely expensive to maintain, just like SkyTrain. Far more expensive than TransLink wants to admit.

  5. Richmond says:

    Vancouver has a plan to build trams around false creek to waterfront stations on existing railway track. it is too bad the current mayor thinks it is not needed while the population around false creek is increasing. First avenue and quebec is new city. This plan was only $100 million in 2005. There was a trial in 2010 with a couple trams borrowed from Belgium. The new trams worked well in Vancouver.

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