TO KEEP DRIVERS OUT OF THE QUEEN’S QUAY STREETCAR TUNNEL, THE TTC TRIES A BRITISH IDEA

The United Kingdom has been doing this for years and it works. A gate (or some variation thereof) is triggered by a transponder on the bus. The bus goes through; automobiles cannot follow as the gate immediately descends.

<CAMBRIDGE, UK, a bus approaches the Bus Gate; photo – Keith Jones>

<PRESCOTT, UK – you can’t beat one of these – photo Allistar Macdonald>

<CBC PHOTO ABOVE – The Queen’s Quay Streetcar Tunnel with a warning red light and do-not-enter sign as it once was.>

<CP24 PHOTO ABOVE – this is a car being pulled out of the tunnel>

<Toronto Star PHOTO – these $61,000 gates were recently installed and should do the trick.>

Over the last four years there’ve been 26 incidents of cars entering the Queen’s Quay streetcar tunnel, causing delays to service and an expensive rescue. The TTC has installed yellow bollards and painted the tracks red – to no avail. But, to defend the driver, especially at night it can be quite confusing down there.

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IT’S COME TO THIS – CYCLISTS ARE USING POOL NOODLES TO KEEP CARS AT A SAFE DISTANCE

The noodles are soft, simple, harmless tubes that remind motorists to leave one-metre’s distance (about 3 feet) between the cyclist and the car.

“I was doored, closely passed and threatened a number of times,” wrote a cyclist on Twitter in May. “I now use a helmet camera, and soon, will be putting the pool noodle back on my bike. If they can’t give us 1 metre of passing distance (IT’S THE LAW!), they should lose the privilege to drive.”

BUILDING UNDERGROUND STATIONS FOR EGLINTON AVENUE’S CROSSTOWN TAKES SOME PRE-PLANNING

Building under one of TORONTO’s busiest streets isn’t a job for amateurs. METROLINX, the provincial transport agency, is constructing three underground transit stations (out of 22) between Yonge Street and Bayview AvenueWhat does it take to build underground rapid transit? – pile driving, excavating, shoring, installing water valves and pipes, re-directing heavy traffic, pouring concrete, laying foundations, erecting temporary bridges, re-routing Hydro lines, assembling new Hydro infrastructure, jack-hammering, building storm sewers and water shut-off valves, working all night . . . and so much more.

The CROSSTOWN, served by LRT’s, will be part of TORONTO’s subway system when it’s finished in 2021. The first phase of the 12-mile line (19 kilometres) will stop at 22 stations – with the possibility of more in the future.

<RENDERING OF EGLINTON STATION – public art by Rodney LaTourelle & Louise Witthoeft, “Light from Within”>

THE FEDERAL & PROVINCIAL GOV’TS ARE ABOUT TO INVEST HEAVILY IN TORONTO TRANSIT

<Ontario Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli, (left), & Amarjeet Sohi, the federal Minister of Infrastructure & Communities; PHOTO – Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star>

<‘NEXT STOP: SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW’, editorial cartoon by BRIAN GABLE, Globe and Mail/Toronto/2017>

After years of pleading, finally the two senior governments have recognized the necessity of improving transit infrastructure in TORONTO. The city will get $4.89-billion from the federal government, and that will be matched with $4.04-billion from the province.  That’s about $9-billion altogether.

$9-billion won’t be enough to build everything on TORONTO’s wish list, but it’ll be a significant boost (covering about 75%) to priorities such as the Scarborough subway extension, Smart Track, the Line 2 subway relief connector, the Eglinton East LRT, and the Waterfront LRT.

<The light at the end of the tunnel – upcoming federal & provincial elections/2018 may have something to do with governmental largesse.  I wonder.>

METROLINX APPEARS TO BE A PROVINCIAL TRANSIT AGENCY THAT’S GETTING THINGS DONE

When it comes to public transit TORONTO is playing catch-up with other major cities and METROLINX is leading the charge.

After a second round of study the provincial agency has recommended the construction of 12 new stations for GO’s regional express rail program (the RER).

Metrolinx estimates the new stops will cost a total of $2.1-billion, but deliver benefits of $6.7-billion over a 60-year period. Six of the stations will be part of Mayor JOHN TORY’s SmartTrack plan.

Metrolinx is presently involved in turning historic Union Station into a major transit hub for the GO suburban network, VIA Rail Canada, the TTC and Amtrak. Expected completion date: 2025.

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT, with 25 stations, is well underway and will link up with 54 bus routes, 3 TTC subway stations, the UP Airport Express and the Kitchener, Barrie and Stouffville GO lines. Expected completion date: 2021.

The Finch Avenue West LRT line will connect northwest TORONTO to the subway and transit services from exurban Peel and York regions. Completion date: 2022.

For more info on Metrolinx & what it’s up tohttp://www.metrolinx.com/en/greaterregion/Default.aspx