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Ed T.

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Posts posted by Ed T.

  1. Yonge and University are often used for protests, parades and runs and in some cases transit must come to a halt until the event passes or a gap comes along to allow the streetcars through. Putting the additional turns in will allow more of the route to be served before detouring due to the event. The detours ideally are put in place to minimize the sections of the route without service. If the detour requires a bypass of a subway station, you'd obviously want to detour as close to the station as possible so that if passengers choose to walk they can do so easily.

    Good point. I was mainly looking at short turns.

    The thing is, what's really rare is a new turn that's good for both diversions and short turns. The TTC is trying to do both with one curve (so to speak), and the results vary, from pretty good (the Bathurst/College and Broadview/Gerrard curves) to poor (adding curves at King/York without figuring out what exactly this is going to do).

    Ideally, you make up separate lists for "ideal short turns" and "ideal diversions", and merge them. I will note that most of the aproved changes are more for short turns, while the not-recommended changes are more for diversions. (Or so it looks to me.)

  2. Yes, lets pick a few questionable points to imply that none of his points are valid. Great debating there. I want to see your rebuttals to these:

    Completely valid point; at least a bus will only block one lane (assuming that people haven't stopped illegally and blocked the stop). Traffic isn't snarled as bad.

    I don't agree with the "higher operating cost" comment, but there really is no reason that we need to be running streetcars at night. The extra capacity isn't needed except around 2am when the bars are letting out.

    I'm not a streetcar hater by any stretch (I actually love the vehicles), but you're all letting your bias show in bashing on the guy who dared suggest that perhaps there are places where a streetcar isn't the best suited vehicle. Especially when you simply dismiss it as political trash, because it goes against what you believe. I've seen far more biased articles in the Star in favour of streetcars, but I'll bet that none of you would have an issue with such a biased piece.

    A long time ago, I stopped reading newspaper columnists who would put forward "provocative" positions. That's because they almost all use those tricky debating techniques that a course in rhetoric and argument teach you to watch out for--ad hominem, slipperly slope, straw man, et. al.

    That being said, let's examine the whole article paragraph by paragraph.

    Opening two paragraphs: "Streetcars suck" Nice, but an opinion.

    "Do you ever wonder why you don’t see them grinding through Manhattan and other major North American centres? They’re a disaster in mixed traffic, slow-moving and costly to operate." It might be a good question why you don't see streetcars in Manhattan, but the "answer" is merely an assertion. (I've ridden the 5th Ave. bus in Manhattan; buses in mixed traffic seem to be a disaster too.)

    "Those deficiencies don’t stop the TTC from running streetcars even where they don’t belong." Assertion that they are being run where they don't "belong".

    So far it's just been a "steetcars suck" rant, with some pseudo-explanations thrown in.

    The next two paragraphs discuss the slow speed of the Queen car. I think I already rebutted that. By the way, "the 501 streetcar would have finished 202nd if it had been entered in a well-known Toronto half-marathon last year" is a cheap rhetorical device: we're comparing apples to oranges, since half-marathoners don't stop for red lights or serve passengers. If we made a Neville-Long Branch 25K race between a streetcar and the fastest 25k runner in the world, and let the streetcar run express ignoring traffic lights, who do you think might win? (See, I can use rhetorical tricks of my own!)

    "Rapid transit means moving a large number of riders rapidly in an economically and environmentally efficient manner. Clearly, this doesn’t qualify." Good straw man Sherlock, but, bzzt!!! Did anyone say the Queen car was "rapid transit"? Getting rapid transit on Queen would require major infrastructure improvements, whether the vehicle technology is streetcars, buses, or magnetically-suspended monorails from Mars.

    "Unlike a bus, a streetcar can’t pull over to the curb for riders to get on and off. When a streetcar stops it blocks a lane, sometimes two lanes."

    1. Are we worrying about transit riders, or car drivers here?
    2. On crowded streets like Queen or Dundas, how often will the bus unload from the middle lane anyway, because someone has parked "just for a minute" in the No Standing/No Stopping zone? As you correctly pointed out already.
    3. Traffic is going be be slowed by the godawful big number of buses that will be lurching out from stops right in front of drivers. We could reduce the number of buses by using artics, but just makes the "pull over" problem greater.
    4. Drivers in Toronto are weiners anyway. A lot of the time, driver incompetence is why they can't get past a streetcar. Yes, I've driven plenty of times on Queen, College, et. al.

    "This, of course, continually interrupts the flow of traffic. As vehicles get stuck behind the streetcar, their engines idle, wafting emissions into the air and enlarging Toronto’s carbon footprint." So we're blaming cars' emissions on streetcars. We could equally blame them on

    • Henry Ford
    • British Petroleum
    • lazy-asses who drive four blocks to get a double-double at Tim's.

    By the way, agressive buses WILL pull out in front of you, and you WILL have to slow down for them. (I spent the last eight months riding the Finch East bus to/from Seneca College; cars cower in fear on Finch.)

    The next three paragraphs are praise of the streetcars' passenger-carrying prowess. I'm suspecting a bit of "I come not to bury Caesar, but to praise him".

    "Problems arise, though, when these lumbering vehicles leave the density of the downtown core and begin to plod through residential neighbourhoods. Take, for example, the 506 Carlton streetcar. It begins at the High Park loop, and eventually chugs along Carlton Street, Parliament Street, Gerrard Street and Coxwell Avenue." This is nice--assert without facts that there are problems; and throw in a "chugs" that makes me think of Tommy the Tugboat from a childrens' book (as a good rhetorical trick should). By the way, I'm not sure I've ever heard a streetcar "chugging"....although I'm sure some patrons at the back of the car on a Friday night with a two-four on the floor in front of them might do so....

    "Buses would be much more efficient along the route. In fact, buses should be serving less urban intensified sections along all of the TTC’s routes. They’d be faster, cheaper — and less environmentally harmful." An assertion that they would be "much more efficient". What does that mean? Apparently, "faster" (disproven, as a survey of scheduled operating speeds on the TTC Service Summary would show, and which examples I already gave), "cheaper" (maybe, how are you costing this?), and "less environmentally harmful". If the last is about streetcars "blocking cars", well, on these outer ends there are a lot fewer cars to be blockes, so this claim is doubtful. Note that there's no argument that streetcars are intrinsically cleaner than buses, only that buses wouldn't block cars. (Again with the blocking of cars!)

    "A streetcar has a considerably higher operating cost per hour than a bus." Some figures, please?

    "Over the next 10 years, it will spend more than $293-million to replace streetcar track — mostly on roads with other traffic — tearing up the road bed and replacing rail, snarling traffic and disrupting surrounding neighbourhoods." And how much does the City spend to repave roads? Heck, as buses keep getting heavier, their axle loadings go up....there are lots of bus stops where the pavement has bus-tire divots sunk into them. And the lousy pavement on Finch E. is probably due to the heavy bus traffic (there being few trucks along there). I'd like to see the costs for a major roadway rebuild. And how about a breakdown of the $239-million--the "mostly on roads with other traffic" makes me suspicious.

    Also, a road rebuild will snarl traffic and disrupt surrounding neighbourhoods, as will various other infrastructure projects. Finch E. between Yonge and Leslie this spring was an excellent example--could take 15 minutes to get through the single lane sections. Streetcar track work is by no means the only way to get disruption! If the argument was a bit more honest, it would look at the alternatives (e.g. more frequent roadbed rebuilds due to bus traffic).

    "There’s no question that streetcars work most efficiently on dedicated right-of-ways." Duh. So do buses. So do bicycles. So do cars. So do schnauzer dogs. Another straw-man argument. Since we're unlikely to put an ROW on Queen, or Carlton/College, or Dundas, the question is, what will work best on the existing roadway? I would argue it's streetcars, because they can move along the narrow streets easily while carrying lots of people. But saying "streetcars are better on ROWs" is not exactly a good argument against streetcars in the existing (and future) non-ROW routes.

    "In order to separate LRVs from other traffic, the new streetcar lines of Transit City will run on rights-of-way. Riders, drivers, and the environment will thank us."

    Rhetoric--of course Transit City will mostly be on separate ROW. This doesn't tell us anything about how we should operate on existing/future non-Transit City routes like Queen and Carlton. This again is a straw man, like pointing to a GO express bus on the 403 bus lanes, and then saying "why doesn't the Wellesley bus run like that?"

    Once the track is in place and paid for, why not run streetcars if a night service is required? Any "extra cost" for streetcars is likely in the trackwork. How much exactly are you going to save by running a bus instead of a streetcar? Both need an operator; there's the majority of your operating costs. Maybe someone here can comment on cost of maintenance between streetcars and buses. How about hybrid buses.....how long will they last and how expensive will they be to keep running?

    As far as "bashing" the guy, I pointed out that his "facts" (such as they are) on speed, and operation in "less urban intensified sections" are not very good. Where did I dismiss it as "political trash"? (Someone else did, but I didn't.)

    Finally, "Yes, lets pick a few questionable points to imply that none of his points are valid"

    As far as I can tell from a careful reading of his not-well-organized argument, there are only three substantive points:

    1. streetcars are slow (unless they're on a ROW)
    2. streetcars block traffic
    3. streetcars aren't good for service on "less urban intensified sections"

    My posting dealt with 1) (except for the ROW part) and 3). I have now added 2) and the ROW straw man and dealt with them. And shot down a number of additional rhetorical tricks which may appear like "points", but only serve to camouflage lack of substantive points.

    As far as "great debating" (said no doubt with sarcasm), the original article was full of "great debating", if dishonest rhetoric is "great". It's something of a waste of effort to point out and rebut, though, because the writers of screeds like these never listen, they just trot out the same talking points over and over.

    [This just wasted an hour of my time....]

    Actually for the last month or so while riding the Queen car, the shuttle buses on both 502 and 503 would pass us. So Buses are clearly faster than streetcars.And this is on the same street. I usually wait for a bus even if its behind the streetcar, it always passes the streetcar, Always.

    Could be scheduling, could be lack of supervision on the shuttles (go fast, get a long layover), could be that passengers avoid the bus and stick with the streetcar, could be drivers liking to goose the quick Orion Vs that seem to be operating there.

    If Queen was operated by PCCs on a tight schedule, and the shuttles were GM New Looks, which would be faster??

    Anyway, I already gave the anecdote of the CLRV by far outrunning a (D40LF) shuttle bus on Lake Shore.

    Heck, I think the 501 ALRV I was on Thursday morning left the 504 shuttle bus behind, passing through Parkdale.

  3. Um, actually, no, it's not. Read it again.

    He makes some very valid points, and doesn't spend the entire article bashing on them either.

    Which points are those?

    He spends a lot of time on streetcars' lack of speed, quoting 13.5 km/h for a Queen car.

    Now, where he gets 13.5 km/h I don't know; the service summary shows a slowest service speed of 14.5 km/h for a Neville-Humber car in afternoon peak.

    Wellesley buses are as slow as 10.7 km/h. The Dufferin bus runs about the same speed as a Queen car. The Pape bus is slower than the Queen car.

    There is no evidence that buses would operate any faster than streetcars on what he calls the "less urban intensified sections" of routes like Carlton. On narrow streets with parked cars, buses may even be slower. The Lansdowne bus is no speedster, and Lansdowne is pretty much what the "less urban intensified sections" of our streetcar routes look like (having hosted a carline in the past).

    I recall being on a shuttle bus on Lake Shore, because something had blocked streetcar service. By the time we got from Humber loop to Park Lawn and were ready to turn west on Lake Shore, a Swiss CLRV went past westbound ahead of us. Granted, the bus had a load of people who had been waiting at Humber, but the streetcar was also picking up people waiting on Lake Shore. Anyway, the CLRV smoked us, disappearing over the horizon by the time we were at Kipling. (Too bad, I would have liked to ride a Swiss CLRV on Lake Shore; it would have been like 1979.)

  4. Some additional thoughts:

    1. Ideally, downtown short-turns on E-W routes should service Yonge and University stations, both ways.
    2. Less ideal, serve Yonge before turning, University and Yonge after turning
    3. Minumum: serve Yonge before/after turning

    In my opinion, any short turn which does not let passengers get off at Yonge before turning, or does not pick up at Yonge after turning, is unacceptable 95% of the time. (The 5% where it might be acceptable is if it puts an empty car ahead of a packed car that has picked up at the subway.)

    I'm using http://transittoronto.org/archives/maps/tt...car-2010-03.jpg as my track diagram.

    • Westbound Queen turnback is perfect: loop at McCaul loop, serving Queen and Osgoode stations both way
    • Westbound Dundas and Carlton are okay: use Bay and McCaul, clockwise for Dundas (Bay, College, McCaul, Dundas), counterclockwise for Carlton (Bay, Dundas, McCaul, College)....if you want the University line station, stay on the car (if the operator lets you); you'll be at the "wrong" University station, but how often will that really matter?
    • Westbound King is a mess: either you have to go loop via Spadina and Charlotte (pretty far west), or you can play a joke on riders by looping via Church, Wellington, and York (missing King and St. Andrew stations eastbound, and St. Andrew westbound).

    To improve westbound short-turns, my suggestions:

    1. Add entrance/exit tracks to McCaul loop to the north, so Carlton and Dundas cars can run south on McCaul, turn around, and re-enter service northbound McCaul to route. (Minor tweak to be sure.)
    2. Add something for King. I'm not sure what's obvious. My devilish suggestion would be to hit up a new condo development to put in an off-street loop as close to Simcoe as possible. Possibly would also make a turnback for the Cherry St. route???
    • Eastbound Queen turnback is fine: Church, Richmond, Victoria. Traffic can slow this down, though. At least, I've been waiting westbound at Victoria, 501 Church goes east, turns out of sight....and never seems to reappear....
    • Eastbound Dundas is fine via Church Queen and Victoria (it seems that that could be done the other way around, but it's a bunch of nasty left turns)
    • Easbound Carlton is a problem: either a big loop via Church, Dundas, and Parliament, or some awful trip down Church, turn around in the Queen/King/Church/Victoria area--I think there are a few ways to do this, but it's a lot of left and right turns
    • Eastbound King can be done like the Lake Shore turnaround using Church, but it's a lot of turns again

    My suggestions to improve eastbound short-turns:

    • Add link from King to Adelaide; Toronto St. would work if property owners don't object too much....lets eastbound King cars turn just after Yonge, and return quickly
    • Carlton....I'm a bit stymied, there's no easy or quick way to do a turnaround once you're on Church. I don't think an off-street loop is justified, although maybe there's an eastside loop location that would serve more than just Carlton short-turns that I haven't thought of. (Hmm, Transit City double-ended cars + crossover??)
  5. I'm pretty sure you meant "Eastbound Adelaide"...

    Victoria Street south of it, is barely a lane when you have delivery trucks and parked cars everywhere. Toronto street could work, as it's more open and closer to Church for the return (of going westbound) by using SB Church.

    Umm, yeah, I did mean eastbound Adelaide.

    I didn't have a really good mental picture of Victoria, except that it's one-way northbound.

    Toronto St. might run into opposition from denizens of the few very fancy old buildings left on that street. I think Conrad Black used to hang out there. He's in jail now, but I bet there would be other influential opponents. At least it shouldn't be a *really* busy short-turn.

  6. TTC is looking at adding options to the streetcar system for turns/diversions:


    Summary (see the report for costs and justifications, i.e. "shortens Rogers Rd. diversions, allows new short turn for Harbord car" (well maybe not those exactroutes)

    1) Northbound Bathurst to Westbound College

    2) Eastbound College to Southbound Bathurst

    3) Westbound Carlton to Southbound Church

    4) Eastbound King to Northbound York

    5) Northbound Broadview to Westbound Gerrard

    6) Full T installation Ossington North & South to both ways on College and both ways on Dundas

    7) Installation of track in both directions on Ossington between Queen to Dundas

    8) Installation of track on Jones Ave in both directions between Queen to Gerrard

    9) Installation of loop northeast corner of Broadview and Queen

    10) Installation of track on Dufferin in both directions between Queen to Dundas

    Staff sez 1-5 should be incorporated into rebuilds; 6-10 "shouldn't be pursued at this time".

    Seems like an ideal topic to hash out in its own thread.

    My take on the TTC's justifications (again, see the full report for details of "routes effected (sic)" and costs):

    #5 (Northbound Broadview to westbound Gerrard): Would be the most useful of the "recommended" additions. This is because Broadview works in tandem with Parliament for a whole whack of short turns. The option to do a counter-clockwise short turn via Broadview/Gerrard/Parliament ought to be useful, yes?

    But I do have concerns about the justifications given by the TTC for some other curves:

    #3 Westbound Carlton to southbound Church (new short turn for Dundas and Carlton cars)

    Why would you want to short-turn a westbound Carlton car at Church? Bay is already there and used for short turns; and riders will have to walk to College station/Yonge St.

    Why do you need another short-turn routing for Dundas, when it already has the Church/Victoria option available? Unless it's short-turning eastbound at Parliament and doesn't want to take the Broadview return trip?

    #4 Eastbound King to northbound York

    This is supposed to shorten Queen and King westbound diversions. What's a westbound diversion (Queen or King) doing eastbound on King in the first place?

    And it's a pretty awful place to short-turn an eastbound King car, short of Bay and Yonge. I think a northbound track on Victoria from eastbound King, to westbound Adelaide, would allow a King-Victoria-Adelaide-Church-King short turn for eastbound King cars. And get King riders to/from Bay and Yonge stops. (There is otherwise no short turn for eastbound King cars before Parliament.)

    Further opinions.....

    In my opinion, one of options 7 and 10 would be nice; I would extend 10 to College. That would link all the E-W routes (except St. Clair, obviously). 7 would have to be combined with 6 for full effect (Shaw makes up the southernmost leg.)

    Another N-S connection in the far east end would be nice, but runs into lack of streets, and topography. Woodbine is a bit too close to Coxwell and doesn't serve a whole lot of diversion purposes (unless upper Gerrard is blocked, in which case Carlton could turn at Woodbine loop). Connecting Kingston Rd. with Gerrard via Main St. would return trackage that was there for (if my memory serves) the "Little York" branch of one of the old radial operations, allowing some useful diversions of Carlton and Kingston Rd. cars.

    <dream>Bring back trackage on Dundas north of Bloor....</dream>

  7. Beautiful! Very nice, thanks for sharing!

    It looks like the B-D line ran with a 4-car set at the time? How long did that last?

    For quite a while, there were six-car trains in peak periods and I think midday; by 7 PM they were four-car trains. On the Yonge line, 8-car Gloucesters had two cars uncoupled on the right side of the southbound platform of Davisville; if you chose the right train/car you could watch them do it through the end window because the trains didn't go out of service.

    Something the subway rider learned in those days was not going too close to the end of the station on off-hours. The train might stop waaaaay back there and you had to run. Operators would honk their horn to alert you that they were a short train and not going to come close.

  8. 1. Alternating between branches has been used on the 123 Shorncliffe since Early 90s (I think even 1989). There must be a reason behind having another branch of the 123 Shorncliffe to warrent this type of service to continue.

    2. There must be a reason why the frequency is so poor in the PM Rush South of Sherway. Could be the fact that maybe higher frequencies aren't needed because the ridership may not warrent that type of service? If there is such high ridership south of Sherway then maybe 123 and 123C should be operated at all times including rush hours.

    3. Like you said just watch the sign and they'll do fine. What's the point in having a destination sign on a bus? If the person can't be bothered to take a look at the sign to see where the bus is going then SOL for them. That's why there's signs.

    4. You have a point there but I'm wondering on how many riders use that specific stop. If anything maybe a sign on that stop to direct riders to use the North side stop for Kipling Station bound might do some good. Either or they'll reach Kipling Station anyways.

    5. To be honest? Yes it's confusing but I highly doubt it's making a huge impact on the 123 riders as you make it sound. If it was so bad as you've mentioned then the TTC would have done something long ago to fix that problem.

    6. Read my reply numbers 3. 4. and 5.

    7. If the rider knows he or she is on a Kipling bound bus and that's where he or she is intended on going then why should they care what roads the bus goes on? They're on the bus anyways that's going where they want to go and that's to Kipling Stn.

    1. This is a wishlist of route changes, so "tradition" isn't very convincing here. The 123A variant appears on a 1990 route map but not 1986. However, the 123 didn't go beyond Sherway to Long Branch loop until some time after 1993--the routing via Brown's line appears on a 1998 map. If we are going to argue tradition, then running Shorncliffe to Sherway only is the traditional route. (I suppose the route was created in the early 1980s; it's shown on a 1985 route map anyway.)

    2. I have *no* idea why afternoon peak service is so bad, unless the buses are assigned elsewhere. The other possibility is that the TTC figures riders will take a 110 variant instead--I know I do, though I'd rather not. Service to Long Branch loop is on a 9-minute headway midday, then doubles to 18 minutes at 3 PM and stays at 18 minutes to 6 PM, when it improves to a 12-13 minute headway. Maybe the route could be a 20-minute route all day. Heck, if we train those Long Branch residents, a half-hourly bus will probably do! They have the Queen car to fall back on!

    3. If the buses had clear destination signs like the streetcars, maybe. The destination is not very obvious on the signs found on the NF LFs and Orion VIIs. Especially when two 123 buses show up at the same time--and they do--it's not as easy to figure out which one you want as you'd think sitting in an easy chair. I've been on those paired buses, and seen the confusion of would-be riders.

    5. Riders either have "figured" it out or their head hurts and they haven't bothered. How many times do TTC service planners stand at Evans and Gair and try to figure out which bus to take? As for the operators, *they* know where they're going, and that's good enough for them.

    (I think that the Sherway "hub" and the Evans 15 bus are the Queensway equivalent of the 171 Mt. Dennis route and wherever Mt. Dennis operator changeoff locations are.)

  9. What's so confusing about the set up now? As what Dan said 123 serves the area very well with additional rush hour service between Kipling Stn and Sherway. I don't see why 80 Queensway should go to Kipling Stn either. 80 serves Queensway from Sherway to Parkside Dr then North to Keele Stn. Keep the routes in that area as is. 123 Shorncliffe is a relatively quick route between Kipling Stn and Long Branch via Sherway. and no transfering needs to be done by anyone.

    Well, let's see:

    1. The current alternating-branching arrangement (123/123C and 123/123A) means double-headway waits on the differing segments (East Mall/Evans vs North Queen west of East Mall--yes there are people boarding and alighting at those stops)
    2. The 123A in the afternoon peak periods (which alternates with 123) only goes to Sherway, which means service to Long Branch is worse in PM peak than at any other time of day at an 18-minute headway (and yes I've complained to the TTC about this): as good an argument for separate Sherway and Long Branch services as any (in the PM peak, I'll go to Islington Station and catch a 110A or 110B--slower but more frequent than 123 to Long Branch)
    3. Standing on the southwest corner of Evans and Brown's line at the E/B Evans stop, you can catch a 123 to Long Branch or to Sherway--watch the sign! (At certain times of the day, they go through Sherway at the same time and therefore are running in convoy to add to the confusion)
    4. However, if you want to go to Kipling, you might want to stand on the north side of Evans at the W/B stop, because a Kipling-bound 123C won't be coming back (although a Kipling-bound 123 will) (but you'll get to Kipling quicker from Evans/Browns Line on a E/B Kipling-bound 123 than on a W/B Kipling-bound 123C)
    5. However, in the PM peak, you might want to catch a W/B Long-Branch-bound 123 from Evans/Browns Line to Sherway, because you may be able to catch a 123A at Sherway instead of waiting for the W/B Kipling-bound 123 (although an E/B Kipling-bound 123, should one show up shortly, will still be the fastest) [CONFUSED ENOUGH???]
    6. The same rigamarole applies to other stops on Evans between Brown's Line and Sherway Gate, notably Gair Dr.
    7. A Kipling-bound 123C actually does the west-on-Evans to north-on-West-Mall loop *twice* in one run for that feeling of deja-route all over again

    Another thing....while at my local stop at 39th and Lake Shore I can catch whichever of the subway-bound buses show up first (123, 110), when heading home on the subway, I have to guess whether I'm better off going to Kipling for a 123 or getting off at Islington for a 110X. I don't have a PDA to keep the schedules and the TTC doesn't provide pocket timetables. So usually I go to Kipling, except in PM peak. It would be *nice* if all Long-Branch bound bus routes left from the same station, so we could take the first one to come, but that's going to be awkward.

  10. Operationally, no, but it would be good for those getting on the 110 thinking they're going to Lake Shore which is where most folks get off on there.

    p.s. I know about the 38 <_<

    Of course 110A and 110B go to Lake Shore as well. Just not anywhere close to Islington and Lake Shore....

    The mess of alternately-branching routes in S Etobicoke could use a cleanup. Two problems are: 1) Sherway Gardens is a more major terminal than demand really requires; 2) It's a long stretch between Kipling and Brown's Line; if you want to get to the subway anywhere in that stretch, you can catch the 110B (peak hours weekdays) or walk or take a Queen car to Kipling (or Brown's Line). Oh, and my pet peeve: I'm always going to Long Branch loop; the Shorncliffe takes me on a scenic side-tour of Sherway Gardens which has taken hours--HOURS--from my life. (The routings are reminiscent of west-end Ottawa where routes meander to go to two "hubs" very close to each other: Carlingwood Mall, Lincoln Fields Transitway station.)

    There are several ways to skin this cat. Here's one:

    1) Turn 123 Shorncliffe into 123 Shorncliffe-Sherway, don't go to Long Branch Loop

    2) Extend 80 Queensway to Kipling station either via West Mall or North Queen/East Mall to Bloor--brings transit service to two unserved streets, and connects the west end of Queensway to the subway (probably a more useful connection than the east-end one at Keele)

    3) Extend 15 Evans south to Long Branch via Brown's Line

    4) A new Long Branch loop-Kipling station route via Lake Shore, 30th, Horner, Kipling to provide a connection to the subway 7 days a week

    5) Rename 110A to Horner, get rid of 110B

    A different approach might be to run Horner out of Kipling station and loop it at Islington/Lake Shore. The 110A/110B are pokey routes with slow scheduled speed, and they sure feel like it.

    Of course, a look back through the history of routings on Transit-Toronto shows that many different schemes have been tried over the years. 123 Shorncliffe indeed only ran to Sherway Gardens in 1993 and 1985. (Someone at Long Branch loop would have to catch a Horner/Islington South to get to the subway.)

    It'd be cool to bring back the 80A branch via Bellman and Valermo, seen in 1968.... Actually, if you create several good direct N-S connections, maybe you want an Evans-Horner-Judson circle route that could take to to one of the connections....

  11. How special is it to spot two vehicles which have some connection, such as consecutive fleet numbers?

    It wasn't today, but a few days ago I saw 2392 (on a Keele 41 run) immediately followed by 2393 (presumably on a York U. express run). As GM buses are retired, it will be increasingly "special" to spot consecutive numbers running in order. I remember quite a while ago seeing 4000, with 4001 immediately following, on Spadina. (Squint and it's Lake Shore Blvd. in 1978.)

    Of course, these special sightings are an accident both of vehicle assignments and timing. Oh, and actually noticing things like fleet numbers!

  12. Well, first of all, next time I get a too-loud vehicle (bus, subway car) I'll report it! Fortunately not all TTC vehicles are too loud. If we send in complaints, the TTC ought to do something about it.

    I was on 8022 this morning; its volume was about right: clearly audible, but doesn't blank out your consciousness and hurt your ears. And then I had a short ride on 8008 where the announcements were, if anything, too quiet.

    Maybe the NF-LFs have very inconsistent sound settings?

    The scientific approach would be to get a sound meter, of course. 110dbA is at the very top limit of how loud the announcement should ever be: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/phys_agents/exposure_can.html

    It would be interesting to see just how loud some of those announcements might be. In fact, just the background sound levels on buses and subways may be loud enough that, if this was industry and we were workers, we'd be required to wear hearing protection.

    The New York subway was measured at up to 95dBA. http://gothamist.com/2006/10/11/_columbias_mail.php

    In Ontario, as a worker, you'd be allowed at most one hour a day exposure to such a noise level (unless, I suppose, you had hearing protection).

    Another thing I need to remember is to take some earplugs with me. Earplugs are cheap; fixing damaged ears isn't!

  13. Quite often I find automated stop announcements to be painfully loud. This is most likely on Queensway Orion VIIs, although last night I was on a Queensway NF LF where I plugged my ears (and heard the ennouncements PERFECTLY clearly, thank you very much). Oh, and the BEEP-BEEP when the rear door unlocks can also be extemely loud.

    I recall a few subway trains on the Bloor-Danforth which also were too loud; may have been T1s.

    By contrast, streetcars are almost never a problem, and most of the Orion Vs on Finch East are okay (although I take the express which minimized the announcements in any case).

    Particularly annoying is that the announcements seem to vary in volume, occasionally being almost bearable, and then suddenly "THE!!! NEXT!!! STOP!!!! IS!!!!!".

    Is there some sort of compensation for ambient noise? If so, it is not working very well. And a good quantity of the Queensway buses I ride are too loud--maybe 20%--while a lot more are simply loud.

    Has anyone taken a sound level meter on these buses? I suspect the announcements are way over the safe level, but I don't have an SPL meter, nor the funds to purchase one.

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