Dodgeville

Random Wanderings and Wonderings

Posts tagged: TTC

Grossest TTC e-alert ever

By , March 26, 2012

This TTC alert just popped into my inbox:

ALL CLEAR: All earlier delays on Yonge University Spadina line have cleared. Regular service has resumed. We apologize for any incontinence.

I’m not sure what caused the delays in the first place, but it must have been quite the mess.

(And this is a perfect example of why I read things twice before I hit the “send” button.)

Another TTC ghost stop

By , March 14, 2012

East face of TTC ghost stop on Gerrard at Jones

Here’s another TTC ghost sign, this one on the northeast corner of Gerrard Street at Jones Avenue. The east face, above, is hard to miss. The west face is much more faded but the “AR S” of “CAR STOP” is still barely visible. In the photo of the west face below, you can see the bright white rectangle of the original sign as well as very faint outlines of the “R” and “S” just above and below the big rust patch in the middle of the post:

West face of TTC ghost stop on Gerrard at Jones

A little farther east on Gerrard there’s also a ghost Sunday stop, but it’s only visible as an area of faded yellow paint on a utility pole with no discernible lettering.

Waiting for the 87…

By , March 13, 2012

Waiting for the (Cosburn) 87...

This graffito at a Cosburn 87 bus stop has been flaking off for quite a while now. Whether it was authorized or just tolerated by the homeowner, it’s a simple yet fabulous site-specific artwork.

TTC ghost stops

By , March 8, 2012

TTC ghost sign on Sloane at Eglinton

Before the TTC started marking bus stops by strapping mass-produced metal* vinyl signs onto poles, they used stencils and paint. I’m not sure when they stopped doing that, but I do vaguely remember the metal signs becoming standard in maybe the early 80s. Most of those old painted signs have disappeared or faded with time, but a few of them are still kicking around on old streetcar and bus routes. The one above is painted on an old utility pole on the east side of Sloane Avenue just north of Eglinton Avenue East. The old pole has been cut down to just above the ghost stop, leaving it with no role other than displaying a bit of old paint. As you can see in this Google Street View, the metal sign was strapped over the painted one before the new pole was installed.

Another TTC ghost is on the southwest corner of Kingston Road and Glen Manor Drive:

TTC ghost sign on Kingston at Glen Manor

As you can tell by the snow on the lawns in the background, the picture wasn’t taken this winter. It looks like this stop was originally on a TTC-specific pole that carried the trolley wire for powering streetcars on this line. I’m not sure why the old pole survived; like the one on Sloane above, it seems to serve no specific function any longer.

Without a doubt, the best TTC ghost stops were in the Wychwood streetcar barns, where decommissioned poles were cut up and used as building material to shore up the floor above:

TTC ghost stops holding up the floor in the Wychwood car barns

It’s extremely unlikely that any part of these ad hoc posts and beams survived the conversion of the buildings into the Artscape Wychwood Barns, but it was an amazing surprise to see when it was there.

* Update, March 16, 2012: The newer non-painted signs are actually vinyl, not metal.

Future mayoral material

By , December 12, 2011

The Star has been running a series of articles about the sights and history along the 501 streetcar route.  Today’s installment is an online quiz that asks readers to identify intersections along the route based on clues about nearby buildings or infrastructure. I scored seven out of ten (once again, my relative lack of detailed knowledge of the west end does me in), which makes me a Torontophile on the Star‘s grading scale, just one grade below master Google cheat. But the best thing about the scale is the wonderful snark reserved for those who get just one or two answers correct:

Future Mayor, slightly better than Vancouverite

I guess that having actually ridden the 501 means that I’m just not mayoral material. I’d agree with that sentiment judging by the current administration at City Hall, but I sincerely hope that we’ll have learned our lesson by the next election.

When is it acceptable to delay someone's commute?

By , November 27, 2011

I always marvel at how it’s okay for non-car commuters to suffer “minimal impact” to their travel times, but if a car commuter suffers the same “minimal impact,” everyone screams like it’s the end of the world.

I believe that the language people use says a lot about their beliefs and intentions, so I find it interesting that someone like Rob Ford, in the two quotes linked above, basically sits on opposite sides of the congestion fence at the same time. In defending TTC cuts (or as he calls them, “service level modifications”), he co-opts the reasoning of cycling advocates who defend bike lanes, saying that a few extra seconds of waiting isn’t a big deal. But in his case, he’s applying it to transit riders instead of drivers. It’s a perfect example of windshield perspective: delaying my commute by a few seconds is a travesty; but it’s okay if it happens to those other people. All those buses and bikes just get in my way anyway.

My guess is that Ford will always rail against congestion while simultaneously taking actions that will only make it worse, all in the vain pursuit of saving a few seconds and/or dollars. The only question is how long this council will let him get away with it.

Cutest TTC alert ever

By , June 17, 2011

If you sign up for them, the TTC sends out service alerts as text messages or emails. They’re usually pretty humdrum: a bus diversion here, a subway alarm there. But one of this morning’s alerts was a little different:

A family of ducks on the SRT tracks has caused the TTC to hold service on the line temporarily while we humanely work to relocate them.

(Sent at 8:07 a.m.)

And then a little while later:

ALL CLEAR: The family of ducks have been safely relocated and regular service has resumed on the SRT Line

(Sent at 8:45 a.m.)

All together now: Awwww.

Offroad streetcar

By , April 24, 2007

An old PCC in Pickering

I always hear about old streetcars sitting out in farmers’ fields or doing duty as storage sheds in the middle of nowhere, but I’d never seen one for myself until this past weekend. This one is on Finch Ave in Pickering, just east of Scarborough-Pickering Town Line.

I would have gotten in closer for some pictures, but the place was plastered with ‘no trespassing’ signs and there was no one around for me to ask about it. I assume that they’re tired of having transit and photo geeks crawling all over their property, but what do they expect with a rusting old PCC sitting in their front yard?

Preliminary Doors Open 2007 sites online

By , April 10, 2007

The city has released the preliminary list of buildings taking part in Doors Open Toronto this year. Here are the locations I’m going to try to visit this year:

  • The Distillery District has a number of normally off-limits sites open, including the Malt Kilns and the Scale Tank Loft.
  • The Lambton House is on one of my regular cycling routes, but I’ve never been inside.
  • The Queen’s Wharf Lighthouse on Fleet Street first joined Doors Open last year, but I was unable to make the trek that weekend. I won’t miss it this year.
  • Canada Post’s South Central processing plant must be one of the more fascinating operating industrial sites to take part in Doors Open.
  • Although Todmorden Mills is just down the street from my house and I’ve been there more times than I can count, they sometimes open up the old Don train station for Doors Open.
  • The Toronto Police Marine Unit has a wonderful old wooden patrol boat in the boathouse that I’d love to admire from aclose.
  • The TTC has two intriguing sites open: Lower Bay and the Harvey Shops on Bathurst.

Two more posts will follow in a few days: one recommending sites I’ve visited on previous Doors Open weekends, and another lamenting buildings that are not taking part this year.

Toronto: Transit City?

By , March 17, 2007

The TTC released its Transit City plan yesterday, to a predictable mix of hope and FUD (video) from the usual suspects. I freely admit that I’m no TTC expert, nor am I artistically inclined enough to offer alternative fantasy maps. Even most of my comments on the specifics of this plan would simply echo what’s available elsewhere, so I won’t add my voice to the cacophony. But I do have some preliminary thoughts on Transit City.

First, despite the upcoming hysterics of the naysayers — which will no doubt include my own city councillor and notable small-thinker Case Ootes — this plan is easily achievable if accompanied by some political will. Keen transit advocates are right that subways are just not practical or affordable for blanketing the city with transit and that LRT is the way to go. Will this network be expensive? Yes. But unlike the expense of, say, the Sheppard subway or the Spadina subway extension to Vaughan Corporate Centre, it will also be extensive.

Money and political issues aside, the two biggest threats to the success of this plan are internal: the city’s transportation department and the TTC itself. The TTC has become notorious in recent years for managing service quite poorly. In particular, they seem to focus too much on easily-graphed and ineffective internal performance targets rather than real-world performance from the customer’s perspective. This singlemindedness absolutely must change.

As for the transportation department, they have to be forced to give the TTC true signal priority along all of these routes. No ifs, ands, or buts. No half-baked priority like they’ve implemented down Spadina. Cars should always stop for an LRT; an LRT should never stop for cars.

Simply put, the city’s directive to the traffic managers should be that a TTC vehicle on a dedicated ROW should only need to stop when picking up or dropping off passengers. If an LRT vehicle is approaching an intersection, the lights should change in its favour, even if that means cutting short the cycle for intersecting traffic. Even if it means preventing cars from turning left until the LRT has passed. Even if it means stranding pedestrians at a traffic island. To be a true transit city, we have to stop treating the TTC in general, and surface routes in particular, like some kind of transportation backwater.

Although a lot of reports are labelling Transit City as more dream or fantasy than realistic plan, I hope that the Transit City network is only the beginning. The details aren’t set in stone and will be quibbled over for years to come, even as construction proceeds. But we finally have a real and achievable vision for a city-wide rapid transit system. We shouldn’t let this one slip away.

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