Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category

Is there anyone who doesn’t complain about driving in Toronto?
Does anyone have a solution that we can all agree on?
No.

Yesterday Toronto began an experiment on King Street. An experiment that CBC called a disaster on its first day.   This morning I went to check it out for myself.  It was mid-morning so there weren’t many cars.   Also, weekday drivers and Sunday drivers downtown are different.  On weekdays it’s the regulars who know the roads because they drive them all the time.   Does that make a difference? – I’m not sure.

below: At most intersections between Bathurst and Jarvis, traffic is not allowed to proceed straight through – you must turn right.  Streetcars and bicycles are the exceptions.  The traffic signals now have advanced green arrows to allow cars to turn right before the pedestrians cross the road.    Taxis are allowed to go through only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.   You’ll notice that the left hand land has been painted with yellow stripes, i.e. no cars here!

white arrow painted on road directing traffic to turn right

below: Two more changes have appeared. First, the streetcar stops have been moved to after the intersection instead of before. Second, small barricades block the right hand lane after the intersection. These two changes have the effect of blocking cars who try to sneak through on King Street. If there is a streetcar, you’re stuck behind it. I did see a car try to pass a streetcar (on the left) but it was unsuccessful.

streetcar stopped to let on passengers, cars behind it on the street

Many cars were disobeying the new traffic signs, some out of confusion  and some blatantly flaunting the rules.   Cars would pull into the right turn lane but then go through the light anyhow.

below: I wasn’t the only ones watching the traffic.  Global TV was at King and Jarvis while CTV were stationed at King and Church.

Global TV car and truck parked on King street, street car about to pass them

below: CBC interviews people at King & Yonge as a black GMC goes through the intersection.

CBC reporter interviewing people on the sidewalk, traffic on King sreet, a black SUV making an illegal straight through the intersection,

below: The lighter traffic makes for easier illegal left turns!

a black car makes an illegal left turn at King and Church streets

below: Taking pictures of drivers doing illegal things was like shooting fish in a barrel. There were a couple of police cars around but so far there are few consequences to doing what you want. It’s early days yet, right? Apparently starting next week, the fine for illegally going straight through the intersection will be $100 and 2 demerit points.

traffic and street cars on King Street

I have one suggestion and that is to change the traffic lights so that the only green is a right turn arrow. The streetcars would have their own light – something like the ‘white line light’ that is used at King and Sumach as well as at Eglinton and Duplex. Having an ordinary green light is almost giving mixed signals to the drivers.

below:  Hey!  Mr. Bentley watch where you’re going!

two cars waiting for a red light. a white car and a grey Bentley, pedestrians crossing the intersection in front of them.

Take care out there!

people walking past a window, dark outside, reflections of the traffic in the window

It was a rainy commute home for many people last night.  Not too miserable though, just enough drizzle to bring out a few umbrellas and create some wonderful reflections to play with.

woman with umbrella in the foreground, traffic on a rainy night in the background

two white cars in front of a stopped streetcar, 514 Cherry, new streetcar, in front of the Elephant and Castle bar on King Street, people sitting on the streetcar are visible, dark outside, wet and rainy evening

city street on a rainy night, pedestrians on the sidewalk, traffic, trees with autumn foilage, dark blue sky, lights in highrises

lights reflecting on a wet street, crosswalk

International Market in this case refers to an area in Toronto, approximately around the intersection of Dufferin and Eglinton West.

street sins on a pole, a one way sign, plus two signs with street names, Belgravia Ave and Dufferin Street, both with orange tops that have the words International Market

There is definitely a diverse (as in multicultural) feel to the area

below: … such as Jamall, Carribean Custom Tailor

older building, with some green around the doors, sign says Jamall Carribean

below:  and the Lady Ann Superstore African Boutique with the adjacent Centro Cultural Latino American.

storefront, Lady Ann Superstore African Boutique with a mannequin, child size, on the sidewalk outside dressed in red African style clothes.

Because Eglinton Avenue runs through the area….

 

street scene on Eglinton Ave with bus shelter, utility pole, street signs, stores, and billboard

there is a lot of upheaval caused by construction of the Eglinton Crosstown line.

wire fence in front of a construction site, lots of dirt, street and buildings in the background.

below: Completion of the subway/LRT isn’t scheduled until 2021.  That seems like a long way off doesn’t it?

a surveyor at work, behind construction fence and cones and in front of stores, Chamsine, and Shantys take-out, which are two storey brick buildings

below: A subway station is being built at Oakwood Avenue.   Because the space is too small for a conventional crane like the ones you see all over the city, this green horizontal structure is being used instead.  It is supported by the metal beams and can slide along the top rail.

a large horizontal crane stretches over a vacant lot where a subway station is being built

below: Rendering of Oakwood station that I found on the Eglinton Crosstown website.

drawing of Oakwood Crosstown station, design plans, taken from Crosstown website.

below: Immediately south of Eglinton is a small lane, Reggae Lane.  Welcome to Reggae Lane was the second mural painted here.  You can see the original Reggae Lane mural in the background.  I blogged about it when it was first painted two years ago.

view looking down an alley, cars parked behind buildings, two murals, Welcome to Reggae Lane,

below: Some of the concrete planters on Eglinton have old black and white photos on the sides.  This was an Art Starts project.

a small tree grows in a concrete planter in front of a grocery store

below: The pictures are small and difficult to see but they are historical photos of the area – stores, people, parks, etc.

small, old black and white photos reproduced and mounted on the side of a concrete planter outside

below:  One of many restaurants on Eglinton, the Budapest Restaurant and Biguly Bar, obviously Hungarian.

a car parked in front a Hungarian restaurant, the Budapest

below: There is also Uzbek cuisine, the Taj Restaurant.   Uzbekistan is one of the “stans” found in central Asia (near Afghanistan) that gained independence from the former Soviet Union 25 years ago.

a blue food truck is parked in front of the Taj Restaurant, an Uzbek restaurant

below: A yellow phone booth?

a public phone, small yellow phone booth mounted on a blue brick wall

below: Faded memories of years gone by.

looking in the window of a store that sells photo frames and such, an old TV sits in the window too. The pictures are all faded to shades of blue and purple

below: The Popular Car Wash – a great price for a car wash.

an old sign for popular car wah, $5.99 in front of a gas station

I’ll leave you with a few more images of the area.  It’s seen better times but it was an interesting place to walk around.   There are signs of improvement – and we’ll see what impact the subway has once it’s finally finished.

street scene with construction cones and signs, some traffic, sidewalk, pedestrians, and stores,

a window of an empty store that is covered with posters

5 black mailboxes arranged vertically in a row between two doors.

three storey brick building with stores on the ground level, traffic in front,

open door of an electronics store, with some speakers and other electronics on display outside too

looking across Eglinton Avenue to some stores, construction traffic cones in front,

You might recognize the building below – it’s the Cherry Street interlocking tower.  Along with the Scott Street and John Street towers, they housed the the electro-mechanical interlocking for the railway tracks.  Interlocking is an apparatus that prevents conflicting movements through an arrangement of tracks, in other words, it keeps the trains separated so there are no collisions.   It was back in 1931 that the track work for Union Station was completed and the Toronto Terminals Railway interlocking system became operational. The interlocking was installed by General Railway Signal Co. of Rochester NY and it was/is controlled from the three above mentioned towers. Apparently this 1931 interlocking system has operated reliably for 86 years and today it makes it possible for 235 passenger trains travel on these tracks every weekday.

 

small brick building with sloped roof, sign under window that says Cherry street, beside train tracks, two tall condos in the background

The intersection of Cherry and Lakeshore isn’t pretty.  The south end of Cherry passes under the railway tracks, 8 tracks wide, just before ending at Lakeshore Blvd which is under the Gardiner Expressway at that point.

cars stopped at a red light at the south end of Cherry street where it intersects with the Lakeshore, under the Gardiner, a red convertible is the first car at the light.

below: This is the view if you’re walking east on Lakeshore.  The ‘tunnel’ is Cherry Street as it goes under the railway tracks.  The three glass condo towers are part of the Distillery District.

intersection of lakeshore blvd and cherry street from the southeast, cherry street bridge for the tracks, 3 condos of the distillery district, some traffic, billboards, concrete

below: From above –  the best way to help you visualize the intersection.   The very bottom left corner is the north end of the Cherry Street bridge.   Cherry Street and the Lakeshore come together under the Gardiner Expressway before they split again with Cherry continuing south to the Portlands and the Lakeshore curving back under the Gardiner.

view from above, railway tracks, road, waterfront, Lake Ontario,

Also, the intersection can be confusing if you’re a cyclist or a pedestrian, especially if you are coming south on Cherry Street.    It’s one stretch where the undeveloped land under the Gardiner Expressway has been neglected in part because it is also a section of the city that is in limbo – is the Gardiner going to be taken down?  or will it be moved?  or will we debate it until it’s too late to do anything?   As city redevelopment spreads east, there is more interest in this area and in the Portlands adjacent to it.

two old faded street signs one says pedestrians use west sidewalk and the other says cyclists dismount to cross roadway

below: Looking west towards the city.  The Martin Goodman Trail runs along the south side of Lakeshore before turning south at Cherry towards the Portlands.  On the other side of Lakeshore is the Lower Don River Trail that parallels the Lakeshore before turning north at the Don River.   Both trails are part of the PanAm Path.

looking west along the Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Rd, curve of the Gardiner as it passes over the bottom of Cherry Street, downtown skyline with CN tower, cyclists on the bike path on the south side of Lakeshore

The Panam Path was a legacy project from the 2015 Pan Am Games. The path is not completed yet but it starts at the south end of the Clairville Reservoir in the northwest part of the city. It follows the Humber River to Lake Ontario and then runs east to the Don River before heading inland a bit. Eventually it ends at the mouth of the Rouge River.  The path goes under many bridges and there is street art in quite a few of these spots.

below:  Some of the pillars and bents under the Gardiner just east of Cherry Street are the latest to be painted.  Finally some colour!

part of a colourful mural on concrete pillars under the Gardiner Expressway, cyclists in the distance, pillar with street art in the foreground

The first painting was done as part of an Art Spin event at the end of August.  Art Spin is a group that runs bicycle-led events/tours of art a few times a year.    The project is also a part of the STEPS Initiative that promotes public art in the city.

below: XYZ 2017 VAL JAM LUVS DRPN ___ DELUXO OGV  written on top of the snake before it had a tongue.

part of a colourful mural on concrete pillars under the Gardiner Expressway

 

Artists involved:
Daniela Rocha (muisca)
Fathima Mohiuddin (fatspatrol)
Stephanie Bellefleur (bellefleurhaus)
Meera Sethi
If I’ve left anyone out, please let me know

part of a colourful mural on concrete pillars under the Gardiner Expressway - 3 horizontal paintings on the bents,

Some of the concrete in this area is slated for refurbishment so the affected pillars have been left clear for the moment.

painted pillars under an elevated expressway, murals

below: More bird motifs, this time by @fatspatrol

lifters under the gardiner, machinery for artists to reach higher spaces, murals

below: An owl at night, stars in the sky, and purple hills, mural by Muisca.

an owl with the night sky and stars, purplish mountains, part of a colourful mural on concrete pillars under the Gardiner Expressway , a green snake with a long tongue on the vertical pillar on the right

below: A whimsical fun little purple creature with long arms.

part of a colourful mural on concrete pillars under the Gardiner Expressway - drain under the Expressway has been painted light purple and made into a head. Drainpipes are the arms

mural on bents

below: Bullets transforming into birds taking flight.

mural by Meera Sethi, shades of turquoise, bullets on the bottom but transforming into birds as they rise

part of a colourful mural on concrete pillars under the Gardiner Expressway - abstract in turquoise and other bright colours, triangles and lines and blobs

part of a colourful mural on concrete pillars under the Gardiner Expressway - pillars are light blue with birdlike and feather-like patterns at the bottom of two pillars that are close to each other

policeman on horseback as seen through two pillars under the Gardiner expressway

 

 

Today’s blog is going to be short as well as different from previous posts.

below: It’s a selfie!

reflections of a TTC streetcar in the window of a pale blue building.

I have been playing and/or experimenting with taking photos with my phone as I ride on TTC streetcars.  It’s a bit of a game: Is there anything interesting?  Am I fast enough to catch it?  and more importantly….  How dirty are the windows today?

But I’m not going to post the pictures here, except for one above.   Instead, I have put all the pictures on a website:  http://www.asiwalktoronto.com/500series.html  I am trying to see if I can develop some sort of “snapshot” of the city as seen from a slightly different angle than usual.

Thanks for taking a look!

A walk along the Don River.

The Don Valley Brick Works (or Evergreen Brickworks) is an old clay quarry and brick factory that operated between 1889 and 1984.  Today the site consists of 16 heritage buildings and an adjacent 16-hectare public park known as Weston Family Quarry Garden that includes wetlands, hiking trails, and wildflower meadows.

below: Interior of the kiln building.  Some of the kilns have been removed to create a larger open area and year round event space.

large ceiling pipes, exhaust system for old brickworks kilns, some of the old kilns as well

below: anser faces on the exterior yellow brick wall.

yellow brick wall with two large blue anser faces on it, as well as part of the word Toronto in yellow bricks

below: The Brickworks “living map” of Toronto is looking very healthy.  It is “Watershed Consciousness” by Ferruccio Sardella and it depicts the rivers and ravines in the city.    Some of the greens are looking a little tall (like they don’t belong there? a few strays?).

a pink chair and a yellow chair sit in front of a sculpture that is a metal relief map of Toronto, green plants grow in the areas of the map that are ravines and green spaces in the city

below: Bullrushes growing in the wetland area around the pond.

narrow brown bullrushes growing amongst the reeds in the wetlands at brickworks

below:  Ideas!  I’ve been meaning to find the end of this bridge and walk at least part of it – if I do, I’ll let you know!  It’s the bridge that you see beside the Brickworks.  It was built in 1928 and is 335m long.   It is part of the Don Branch of the CPR and it ran from Leaside Junction to the downtown core until the line was closed in 2007.

two people walk across an unused railway bridge

After a short visit at the Brickworks, including a quick bite to eat at the Farmers Market, we headed south.  The first part of the walk was back along Bayview to Pottery Road since Brickworks is on the west side of the Don River and the trail is on the east side.  I didn’t take any pictures – walking along a major road that doesn’t have a sidewalk needs all of your attention.   There is a bike path that parallels Bayview on the east side but getting to it was either a long detour or a dash across the road and over a barrier.   We made the decision to stay on the west side and cross with the lights at Pottery Road.

below: Although the path is through the ravine and it runs beside the Don River, it also runs adjacent to the Don Valley Parkway.  There are only a few places on the trail where you can see the highway but there is a constant rumbling noise from the cars passing by.

cyclist on a path, riding away from the camera, fence to the left of him/her, green signs on the Don Valley Parkway to the far left. exit sign for Bayview and Bloor.

below: This is the same railway line as the bridge shown above but farther down the valley.  A very makeshift bike crossing.

two cyclists walk their bikes across loose pieces of plywood over unused railway tracks

below: Standing at the same spot as the above photo, but turned around 180 degrees… You can see how overgrown the old tracks are.

looking along an abandoned railway line, overgrown tracks, trees on either side, apartment buildings far away in the distance

below: Two different railway lines run down the Don River Valley.   The line shown here, the CN Bala subdivision line,  is very active including use by GO trains that service the Oriole, Richmond Hill, and Newmarket route.   The Bala subdivision tracks continue all the way to Sudbury.

a cyclist walks his bike over a gravel travel under a bridge that has just been renovated, another bike rider is dismounting

below: A quiet spot by the abandoned tracks.

an old rusted side of a railway trestle bridge, lots of greenery from the trees growing around it, a man is standing at one end of the bridge, unused tracks
below: There are a few spots along the trail where there was damage from the high water levels in the spring.  Most if the problems are with the banks od the river.  The trail itself is in good shape.

an orange plastic fence runs between wooden stakes, danger, marking the parts of a riverside trail that got washed away or damaged in high water in the spring

below: Kayaking on the river.

a yellow kayak with two people in it passes under an old railway bridge that has graffiti on it. Don River

below: Keeping an eye on the water level.

surveillance camera on a tall pole, aimed at rulers and markers on the far side of a river, keeping an eye on the water level

cyclists on a path through the trees, a bridge support is beside the path

a big white happy face graffiti on a bridge support

below: Does anyone know what the 6 drum shaped things are?

two boys ride bikes past the Mill Street Junction hydro station, fenced in area with danger signs,

below: Standing on the old metal bridge across the Don River at Eastern Avenue, looking south.  When the Don Valley Parkway was built, it cut through Eastern Avenue.  Eastern was rerouted, swinging north a bit before crossing over the DVP and splitting into Richmond, Adelaide, and Eastern. (depending in which direction you’re travelling).   If you stand on the bridge and look directly east, there is still a road there that dead ends at the highway.  It is now Sunlight Park Road and it is provides access to the BMW dealership that you can see as you drive past on the DVP.

metal work of the side of a bridge frames the view of a river and trees and city buildings, Don River, abandoned bridge

I couldn’t see any park in that area so I decided that if there is a Sunlight Park it’s teensy tiny.  Luckily I didn’t stop there – I did some research and discovered that Sunlight Park was actually the first baseball stadium built in Toronto.   It was built in 1886 and was first known as the Toronto Baseball Grounds – four storeys, wood, and the home of the Toronto baseball team from 1886 to 1897.   And where is Sunlight in all this?  The stadium became known as Sunlight Park after the Sunlight Soap factory that was built by the Lever Brothers in 1900/01 in the same area.   The stadium was demolished in 1913.

below: The building in the background was the Lever Brothers (the Unilever) soap factory.  There is now a sign on the building that says firstgulf.com – they are the development company that owns the site.  NOW magazine published an interesting story about the building as it looks at the moment (with lots of great pictures!).  The path through the striped underpass joins the Don River Trail to Corktown Commons.

two men walk through a park towards an underpass under a railway track, factory in the background.

 Stay safe.  Protect the plants (and the humans!)

altered sign. Instead of saying Protect the Plants it now says Protect the humans.

Something a little different, a change from streets and alleys.   Sometimes the GTAA (Greater Toronto Aviation Authority) runs “behind the scenes” tours of Pearson airport, tours that take you by bus out onto the tarmac for an up close and personal view of the aircraft.  I had the opportunity to take part in one of these tours this week.

I’m not an authority on types of airplanes – not since my son was little and we used to spend time identifying airplanes in books and at Heathrow airport.  ‘Concorde’ was one of his early words as it was often parked at the edge of the airport near the motorway.  Extra trivia – did you know the Russians had their version of the Concorde?  It was the Tupolev T-144, a prototype of which flew 2 months before the Concorde (in Dec of 1968).   The story of the T-144 is not the biggest success story.  One of them crashed at the 1973 Paris Air Show and only 55 passenger flights were made before the plane was relegated to cargo flights.

Back to the present –

below: One of the stars of the show was this large Emirates airline Airbus 380.  It flies in and out Pearson three times a week.  Here it has already unloaded its passengers and been moved to the holding area away from the gates.

emirates airlines Airbus A380 parked at Pearson airport, front door open with stairway as crew is cleaning the airplane , trucks and carts beside it.

below: In case you’ve ever wondered what happens after you flush an airplane toilet (and even if such thoughts have never crossed your mind!).   Sorry about the reflections – sometimes we had to take pictures through the bus window.

truck with the words lavatory waste is parked beside a large aircraft that has just unloaded

below: The Airbus 380 has a wingspan of 80 metres.

wing and one engine of an airbus A380 with another Air Canada jet on the runway in the background

below: Refueling a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – with its curved wing dominating the photo.

a large Air Canada plane being refueled

below: The view out the front window as we drove past the gates of Terminal 1.

looking through the front window of a bus as it drives on the tarmac behind aiplanes parked at gates

below: A smaller pink airplane, WOW airline from Iceland, taxis to a gate.

pink airplane from Wow airlines taxis to a gate at the airport

below: There’s a lot of room under an airplane!  A Luthansa 747 named Dresden.  It seems that Lufthansa has named their airplanes after places in Germany.

the back of a large airplane is in the top part of the photo, service trucks and other airplanes in the background are in the lower part.

below: Planes and service vehicles at Terminal 3

view of a large airplane from the back, parked at a gate at airport

below: The large yellow cable supplies electrical power to the aircraft when it’s not running.  C-GGOK is a De Haviland Dash 8-400 turbo twinprop airplane that was scheduled to leave for YQB (Quebec City) shortly after this picture was taken.

large yellow cable connects the back underside of a small airplane, an electrical connection while the airplane is not running its engines

a young man waving, a luggage cart at an airport

below: Our group, our bus, and puffy white clouds.

a group of people in orange safety vests standing by a bus parked on the tarmac at an airport.  Many of them are taking pictures, an Air Canada Rouge aircraft is parked behind.

Tomorrow it’s back to the streets!