Planning – making allowances

It is really critical that the TTC, the city of Toronto and Metrolinx, move much more deliberately to make allowances for future capacity and systems improvements.  Plans for the Union Station approaches for LRT need to reflect the real demands required.  The city should also be looking how it would handle LRT in station on the BDL line, as well as any potential locations along a new DRL.  The obvious one being the new Eglinton LRT Line  needs to have an allowance in its station design to allow a tie to a new DRL.  The station that links Sheppard subway and LRT line also needs to have an allowance to not just link these but a DRL, and a Don Mills LRT reaching further north.  A DRL that stretched that far should also be making allowances for the conversion of the Lawrence and York Mills bus routes to LRT.

The approach to the Union Station, streetcar loop, and the potential approaches for a Waterfront West LRT, are very worrying.  The fact that Union Station underwent massive changes, and there does not appear to be an allowance for a new Loop or platform to permit very substantial increases in vehicle frequency for the East Bayfront – and likely routes further east, and a waterfront west, route also finding there way to Union is quite worrying. While the have included plans to increase capacity, the choice to not expand now while the staion was under construction will make it to deal with later.  When the combined frequency is looked at, it is hard to see how the current loop would handle it, (or even the proposed expanded loop).  If we were to suggest that the WWLRT was a 5 minute service, Spadina is a 2 minute service, Harbourfront as a 5 minute service and say East Bayfront as a 5 minute service, that alone has 66 cars per hour arriving at Union, if the East Bayfront and WWLRT were to grow as one would expect (ie each being on the order of 2-3 minutes – as there is not the option allowed for a multi-car configuration), it could easily be in excess of 90 cars per hour.  It is hard to imagine the current Union loop managing that, and even with a loop that allowed cars to load and unload on opposite sides and pass each other, it would need to be able manage a new car every 40 seconds – and even the proposed configuration with 2 platforms and passing tracks.

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