Posts Tagged ‘public transit’

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!

What to do on a cold day when the wind is vicious and blows right through you?   It blows through my hat, my ears and my brain.  It makes my head hurt.  Not the ideal walking day even with all my winter layers on.   I have been thinking about my walk along Sheppard Avenue and some of the issues with public transit and while doing so I realized that I had never been on the Scarborough Rapid Transit.  With all the talk about Sheppard subway vs LRT, I decided that maybe I should check it out.  So instead of a walk, I went for a ride and took the SRT to McCowan and back.

First I had to get to the SRT which starts at Kennedy subway station.

reflections of a woman in a red jacket sitting on the subway, reflected in the window beside a woman who is standing on the platform

At Kennedy I was a lost tourist as I searched for the route between the subway and the SRT.  Here the SRT trains run above street level so it took a couple of escalators and some stairs to reach the platform.

below: Standing on the platform and waiting for the train.  Kennedy station is at Kennedy & Eglinton and I think that this is the view looking east from there.

SRT tracks curve away from platform, outside, apartment building in the background, some snow on the tracks

below: The train arrives.

platform at Kennedy SRT station with people waiting as a blue train arrives

below: Leaving Kennedy station.   The first part of the route is north and runs parallel to the CNR & Stouffville GO line train tracks.     The red and white cars are the original colour from when the SRT opened in 1985.  In 2015 the TTC began painting the cars blue to match the colour scheme that now goes with “Line 3” on the TTC maps.  They also began two switch over the name of the SRT to Line 3 Scarborough.

the Scarborough RT train as it leaves Kennedy station, the track curves so you can see the front of the train out the window

below: I wasn’t the only tourist on the train!  After being on the subway, it felt a bit like being on a toy train.  The cars are smaller.  The trains are powered by linear induction motors which are quite different from conventional motors.  They push themselves along the tracks using alternating flat magnets.   That’s a very simplistic description of the science of induction motors but I’m sure that you can use google to find more information if you are interested!

looking down the length of an SRT car, two young women are looking out the back window. seats down either side, red on one side and blue on the other

below: The Scarborough RT,  also referred to as TTC line 3, covers  6.4 km on its route from Kennedy station to McCowan station.  There are six stops, Kennedy, Lawrence East, Ellesmere, Midland, Scarborough Centre, and McCowan.  Note the blue colour on the map!

a map of the SRT route is on the wall behind two red seats of an SRT car, view out the window is not easy to see but it is the platform at Lawrence East station

below: Ellesmere station. Apparently it is the least used station in the system, less even than Bessarion.

interior wall of Ellesmere station, covered (plastic?) glass wall, large black letters saying Ellesmere, and a bright red bench, snow on the curved translucent roof

faded TTC symbol on the exterior of a rapid transit vehicle

below: Looking out the back window.  The tracks are standard gauge whereas the subway runs on tracks that are wider so the TTC can’t run their subway cars on these tracks.

looking out the dirty window at the back of a SRT vehicle, tracks and some cityscape

below: This is the view at McCowan station, the end of the line. Although it was a very quiet ride to McCowan, the train was full on the ride back to Kennedy with Scarborough Centre being the most crowded station.   It took 40 minutes to go from McCowan to Bloor/Yonge.

a SRT train is stopped at McCowan station,

***

blurry person standing on the platform at Greenwood station, with reflections of people sitting on the subway

reflections in the subway window along with people sitting on the train