Read the daily “on schedule” posts to find news and other information that affects your daily commute. You’ll learn about public meetings, special events and construction projects that affect transit services today.
The City of Toronto is closing
- the Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway in both directions between Highway 427 and Carlaw Avenue
from 10 p.m. Friday, April 25 until noon Sunday, April 27 for the City’s annual spring maintenance program.
Also, starting Monday, April 28, the City will close the eastbound lanes of the expressway between the Humber River and Carlaw Avenue overnight. During these closures, City workers will set up barriers for three major construction projects, all part of the City’s Gardiner Expressway strategic rehabilitation project.
While the Gardiner is closed, City workers will:
- clean 1,000 catchbasins to make sure they drain properly;
- install pavement markings on about 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) of highway;
- repair potholes;
- inspect bridges;
- maintain many of the static signs;
- maintain the closed-circuit television system, including six traffic cameras;
- inspect 200 overhead signs;
- repair about 300 metres (984 feet) of guard rails; and
- sweep and remove litter.
Closing the Gardiner affects buses operating along these GO Transit routes to and from the Union Station GO Bus Terminal: 16 Hamilton / Toronto express, 18 Lakeshore West early-morning / late-night, 21 Milton / Toronto, 31 Guelph / Georgetown / Toronto, 65 Newmarket / Toronto, 71 Stouffville / Toronto and 90 Lakeshore East early-morning / late-night.
GO is likely detouring the buses along Lake Shore Boulevard, instead of the Gardiner but the buses serve all regular stops. However, GO Transit Control monitors road conditions and may direct bus drivers to detour along other streets, depending on traffic flow.
Motorists that would usually drive along the Gardiner will seek alternate routes on nearby parallel streets, increasing traffic volumes along Lake Shore Boulevard, The Queensway, King and Queen Streets, among others.
The extra traffic may delay TTC service along these routes: 6 Bay, 15 Evans, 29 Dufferin, 47 Lansdowne, 63 Ossington, 65 Parliament, 66 Prince Edward, 75 Sherbourne, 76 Royal York South, 80 Queensway, 110 Islington South, 123 Shorncliffe, 172 Cherry St, 501 Queen, 504 King, 505 Dundas, 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina and 511 Bathurst.
Also, work on the project continues to block access to Humber Loop from Lake Shore Boulevard West for TTC streetcars operating along the the 301Queen overnight, 501 Queen and 508 Lake Shore routes. Shuttle buses replace the cars west of the Humber.
This weekend, starting 7 p.m. Friday, April 25 to the end of service Sunday, April 27 GO Transit is upgrading the train tracks at the South Blair Street crossing in Whitby to improve pedestrian and motorist safety in the area.
During the work, GO will only provide hourly service along the 09 Lakeshore East line between Oshawa and Whitby GO Stations. GO shuttle buses will operate between platform 5 at Oshawa GO Station and the bus loop on the north side of Whitby GO Station.
GO buses operating along the 90 Lakeshore East and 91 Newcastle / Oshawa express routes continue to operate to and from Oshawa GO Station, where passengers can connect with the shuttle buses. Regular 30-minute train service will continue west of Whitby.
GO is encouraging passengers who normally drive to and park at Oshawa GO, to consider driving to Whitby GO instead this weekend.
During this period of less frequent service, GO will build temporary tracks to allow trains to pass through the area as it builds a new underpass to replace the the street-level crossing.
The underpass will eliminate the need for trains to sound their whistles, improve pedestrian and motorist safety and traffic flow in the area and allow trains to move more efficiently, once the East Rail Maintenance Facility is operating.
GO previously reduced train service from 7 p.m. Friday, April 11 until the end of service Sunday, April 13 also to work on the South Blair Street crossing.
This spring, the TTC is replacing its tracks on a cross-over section of the 2 Bloor - Danforth subway line immediately east of Victoria Park Station. The work will use newer technology and design of rail components for new track at cross-overs to provide a smoother ride of passengers through this section.
Starting the week of Monday, March 31and continuing for about six weeks, weather permitting, the crews will prepare to replace the tracks in this open-cut section of the subway by removing the “ballast” — crushed stones supporting the tracks and ties. This work can only take place overnight when subway trains aren’t operating — from about 2 until 5:30 a.m. 5:30 a.m.
They’ll use one to two subway work-cars with a vacuum-like unit to remove the ballast, instead of requiring crews to shovel the ballast from the track area. This less time-consuming method is also less likely to damage underground cabling and possibly disrupt subway service. While the vacuum unit includes a noise suppressor, you should also expect some noise from the equipment when it is fully operating.
The also TTC plans to close the subway over three weekends in May and June in the east end of the line to finish replacing the track at the cross-over. This work will occur around-the-clock those weekends. The TTC will provide service details at a later date.
More overnight work will take place in the area after the three weekend closures.
Track ballast bears the load from the railroad ties, helps water to drain from the tracks and also reduces vegetation that might interfere with the track structure. It also holds the tracks in place as the trains roll by.
Last week, crews finished the second section of track west of Lower Simcoe Street by pouring the concrete base between Ann Tindal Park and the east leg of Robertson Crescent. The crews delivered the rails overnight, and this week will continue installing the rails for this section. (Since rails extend from about 60 metres (200 feet) to 100 metres (330 feet), the crews usually move the rails overnight to protect public safety and reduce disrupting traffic. “Paid-duty” Toronto Police Service officers help guide the crews though intersections and protect the public.)
Crews also got ready for rebuilding the next stretch of track just west of York Street by saw-cutting the roadway, removing asphalt and preparing the track bed. Work continues this week.
The work will block the east leg of Robertson Crescent overnight from 5 p.m. Monday, April 21 and until 5 a.m. Tuesday, April 22 and from 5 p.m. Tuesday April 22 and until 5 a.m. Wednesday, April 23 to complete utilty access portals (“manholes”) and catch basins in the roadway. The west leg of Robertson Crescent / Rees Street will remain open for vehicles entering and exiting the area. At the end of each shift, crews will plate the work area to allow traffic to move safely along the east leg of Robertson.
Crews reopened Lower Simcoe Street to northbound traffic last week after installing a new utility access portal in the intersection.
This week, contractors will change the temporary traffic lanes on Queens Quay to accommodate upcoming work to rebuild the track bed near Spadina / Queens Quay Loop. They expect to start digging out the intersection of Lower Spadina Avenue and Queens Quay West this Friday, April 25.
They’ll gradually shift the westbound traffic lanes to the south-side curb lane between Peter Slip Bridge and Yo Yo Ma Lane by the end of the week.
Crews continue installing the foundations for poles to support the TTC’s overhead wires, street lights and signals:
- Crossing intersections with Queens Quay West at Bay / Lower Simcoe / Rees / Spadina: This week, crews continue with exploratory test pits, using hydro-vac trucks. This work will expose, locate, and identify sub-surface conflicts and obstructions in advance of installing the street light pole foundations.
- Between Bay and Rees Streets: This week, crews work on pole foundations near 10 / 20 Bay and the remaining pole foundation at the north-west corner of York Street.
- Between 401 Queens Quay West and Yo Yo Ma Lane: Crews continue excavating foundations and the beams for pole cantilevers in this area. They’ll also continue hydro-vac operations for pole foundations due to new obstructions.
The TTC continues to replace streetcars operating along the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes with buses during this project.
The City of Toronto has now reopened Lower Spadina Avenue to northbound traffic between Queens Quay West and Lake Shore Boulevard West last week. It will remain open until April 25, when TTC crews start installing rails in the intersection of Lower Spadina and Queens Quay West. The TTC will maintain the current detour routing for buses operating along the 510 Spadina route along Dan Leckie Way during this brief period.
In sections A and B, the inner loop area, crews are installing overhead cabling.
Last week, crews completed the “rebar” (metal reinforcement bar) floor structure for the splicing chamber and pouring the concrete walls in section C near Queens Quay West. (The splicing chamber is an underground vault for connecting cables.) This week, they’ll strip the forms and backfill the area before starting work to tie in conduits to the new chamber. Contractors expect to finish the chamber in the next two weeks.
Crews are also getting ready to rebuild section D, the intersection of Lower Spadina Avenue with Queens Quay West, by delivering rail to the site, starting Friday, April 25. They expect to start installing the rail the week of May 5.
Outside of the Spadina Loop area, they’ll start building the last splicing chamber, just east of the intersection of Queens Quay West with Rees Street and Robertson Crescent after they install of a utility access portal (a “manhole”) and catch basins and tie into a new storm line in the east leg of the Robertson Crescent laneway.
Crews are also revising the traffic management plan to prepare for the work on the Queens Quay West / Lower Spadina Avenue intersection:
- Maple Leaf Quay west laneway: Crews will close the laneway access at Shoppers Drug Mart, but vehicles can still exit Maple Leaf Quay from the west side of the building. Eastern Construction will extend the Maple Leaf Quay laneway west behind 410 Queens Quay West, allowing vehicles to exit onto Lower Spadina Avenue. This lane will be only available for traffic exiting the site — and it will only be available during this phase of construction. The work will not impact the east driveway entrance and exit to Maple Leaf Quay.
- Lower Spadina Avenue: The northbound lanes of Lower Spadina will close at end of this week. TTC buses operating along the 510 Spadina route will to detour to Dan Leckie Way. The work will not impace southbound traffic on Lower Spadina.
The TTC continues to replace streetcars operating along the 510 Spadina route with buses south of King Street West. It’s also operating buses, instead of streetcars, along the 509 Harbourfront route.
The work continues close southbound curb and median lanes on South Town Centre Boulevard between Highway 7 and Clegg Road, from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30p.m. each day, reducing traffic to one lane in each direction.
At South Town Centre and Clegg, expect lane restrictions in all directions, one lane at a time, for temporary traffic signal work, from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
Work on the project also continues to block Cedarland Drive to traffic until the end of August.
Over the next few weeks, expect work on the project to block these side streets north and south of Davis Drive:
- Bolton Avenue; and
- Wilstead Drive.
Look for “road closed” signs, which will provide the most up-to-date information on the dates of the road closures. Detour signs will be in place to guide drivers to alternate routes around the closed streets.
Crews will start working as early as 4 a.m. Monday, April 21 at the northeast corner of Davis Drive and Hill Street. Expect construction-related noise around the work area.
York Region Transit has temporarily closed the westbound bus stop at Bolton Avenue, across from Southlake Regional Health Centre. (YRT buses operating along the 50 Queensway, 55 / 55B Davis Drive, 58 Mount Albert routes usually drop off or pick up passengers at this stop.) Board or exit westbound buses at Patterson Avenue or Bayview Parkway.
During Davis Drive rapidway construction, GO Transit passengers riding express buses operating along the 65 Newmarket / Toronto route and York Region Transit passengers riding local buses operating along the 44 Bristol, 50 Queensway, 54 Bayview, 55 / 55B Davis Drive, 58 Mount Albert, 223 Newmarket GO shuttle and 520 / 521 Newmarket community routes should expect delays.
This Sunday, Easter, April 20, York Region Transit starts implementing some of the recommendations of its 2014 Annual Service Plan. While that might be good news for taxpayers who are looking for savings on their property tax bills, the news isn’t so good for commuters.
YRT is reducing service hours along several routes, including Viva orange, 10 Woodbridge and 23 Thornhill Woods among others.
It’s also introducing or revising dial-a-ride services along more routes.
On September 25, 2013, railfan Geoff Bannister from West Somerset, UK, paid a visit to Toronto and stopped by Roncesvalles carhouse. There, he saw TTC LRV #4401 in one of the yard tracks, undergoing daytime testing. Granted permission to photograph the car, he kindly donated this shot to Transit Toronto.
One of the TTC’s new low-floor streetcars will make its first public appearance during the Toronto Beaches Lions Easter Parade, which takes place this Sunday, April 20, starting at 2 p.m.
For the first time, four generations of TTC streetcars — including some of the TTC’s most popular streetcars from the past and present — will share the tracks for the annual event. The cavalcade of cars along Queen Street East between Neville Park and Woodbine Loop (at Kingston Road) is a regular highlight of the event.
Toronto’s new streetcar joins the the Peter Witt streetcar that served the citizens of Toronto from 1921 until 1963 and the PCC streetcar that was the backbone of the TTC’s streetcar fleet from 1938 until 1995. The TTC’s current streetcar, the CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle), will form the fourth member of the quartet of streetcars in the parade.
The Peter Witt served the citizens of Toronto from 1921 until 1963. At one time, Toronto owned the largest fleet of PCCs in the world — 745 cars. CLRVs have been operating along Toronto streets since 1977. Their longer, “bendy” cousins, the ALRVs (articulated light rail vehicles) have been carrying Torontonians around town since 1983.
Air-electric PCC 4088 leaves Neville Park Loop. Photo donated by Curt Frey.
Toronto’s new streetcar starts regular service Sunday, August 31 along the 510 Spadina route. Members of the public will have their first chance to board the new streetcar during Doors Open Toronto Saturday, May 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the TTC’s Russell Division, (“Connaught Barns”), 1433 Queen Street East between Coxwell and Greenwood Avenues.
During the parade, streetcars in regular service along the 501 Queen route will turn back at Kingston Road starting at 1 p.m. Buses operating along the 64 Main and 92 Woodbine South routes will also divert from their regular routes during the parade.
Small Peter Witt car #2736 operates on Queen Street westbound (but not in the Beach!) in the early 1960s. Note the PCCs behind it. Photo by Peter Lambert, donated by Curt Frey.
From the Transit Toronto archives, read:
- a history of the Peter Witt cars in Toronto by James Bow, here.
- a history of the Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) cars in Toronto by James Bow with information from John F. Bromley and Dave Imrie, here.
- a history of the Canadian All-Electric PCC cars by P.C. Kohler, here.
- a history of Toronto’s post-war used PCC fleet by P.C. Kohler, here.
- “Red Rocket Renaissance: the A-15 PCC cars” by P.C. Kohler, here.
- a history of the Canadian Light Rail Vehicles by James Bow, here.
- a history of the Articulated Light Rail Vehicles by James Bow, here.
- a history of the light rail vehicles by James Bow, here.
CLRV 4021 faces eastbound at King and Yonge. This August 1999 photo is by Rob Hutch.
- the Peter Witt photo gallery, here.
- the Air-Electric PCC photo gallery, here.
- the Pre-1970s All-Electric PCC photo gallery, here.
- the Post-1970s All-Electric PCC photo gallery, here.
- the CLRV photo gallery, here.
- the ALRV photo gallery, here.
The TTC has been conducting on-street testing of its new streetcar fleet since the early hours of March 14, 2013, when the first test vehicle ran from TTC’s Bathurst Street facility (Hillcrest) to Bathurst Station and back. Photo: TTC.