510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront (TTC)

510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront (TTC)

510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront are streetcar routes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission.

History

Spadina's streetcar service dates back to 1891, when belt line railway service circled the area enclosed by Bloor Street, Spadina Avenue, Sherbourne Street, and King Street. This service ended in 1948, but the tracks were still used by the Harbord streetcar until 1966.

The Harbourfront LRT, originally designated 604 Harbourfront, began service in 1990. It was the first new Toronto streetcar route in many years, and the first ever to employ a dedicated tunnel, running almost 2km from Queen's Quay north to Union Station. Before the Spadina extension, tracks already existed on Spadina from College to King, because otherwise the new LRT would have been disconnected from the rest of the network. When a new dedicated right-of-way opened in 1997, extending the track north along Spadina Avenue from Queen's Quay to Spadina station on the Bloor subway, the whole route was renamed 510 Spadina, replacing the 77 Spadina bus altogether. When the Queen's Quay streetcar tracks were extended west to Bathurst and Fleet Streets, a new route, the 509 Harbourfront, was added in 2000, operating between Union and Exhibition Place. The 600-series numbers were used briefly to represent rapid transit - i.e. subways, Scarborough RT and Harbourfront LRT. This practice was dropped because it was found to be misleading, as the Harbourfront LRT is not grade-separated. Now, subways and RT are referred to internally as routes 1-4, but have no route numbers on official maps. The Fleet Street portion of Route 509 has been converted to a ROW, meaning that both routes operate entirely in their own rights of way, except for the one-way short turn loop at Spadina and King streets, via Adelaide Street West and Charlotte Street; there are no plans to institute a right of way here as it would not benefit operation significantly.

The name ‘LRT’ (‘light-rail transit’), which had been adopted for political reasons to project an image of modernity, was dropped when it led to residents and newspaper reporters imagining elevated guideways like those of the Scarborough RT line running through their streets. It was found that the project was much easier to sell to the public and politicians when it was pitched simply as an improvement to the speed and reliability of traditional streetcar service.

The TTC’s Waterfront West project, which is currently undergoing an environmental assessment, would extend the Harbourfront line from its current western terminus at Exhibition Loop to Queen Street and Roncesvalles Avenue, where it would join the existing right-of-way along the Queensway already used by 501 Queen and 508 Lake Shore streetcars headed to Long Branch Loop.

Effectiveness

However, independent pro-transit researchers say the switch to rail has been less beneficial than promoters had promised. They point to verified transit commission documents obtained by The Globe and Mail newspaper in the spring of 2005 that show service is now actually about two minutes slower (Queen's Quay to Bloor) than on the old No. 77. Published TTC documents also indicate that the route, which with buses was city's best economic performer and one of only seven routes turning a profit, now operates at a considerable deficit.

Transit experts point to two major problems in the line's operation: lack of traffic signal priority, and an inefficient passenger boarding system. While the line was designed to allow streetcars to have priority at all signalized intersections (which would essentially eliminate the requirement to wait for any red lights), the City of Toronto's Traffic Services department has refused to turn the system on, fearing that it will cause too much inconvenience for motorists. With the current non-priority system, streetcars are usually forced to wait for left-turning and through traffic, only to proceed and stop at the other side of the intersection, where most of the passenger platforms are located; the experts claim that this feature alone significantly increases travel times on the line. Critics also claim that the TTC's policy of only boarding passengers at the front doors forces streetcars to wait at least twice as long at each stop, particularly during rush hour. Instead of the current pay-as-you-enter system, many independent transit experts have called for a "proof of payment" system such as exists on the 501 Queen streetcar, where passengers with transit passes or transfers can board at the rear doors without presenting their pass to an operator. During the trip, passengers are subject to random fare inspections, where proof of payment (hence the name) must be presented, with fines levied on those who do not comply. Independent transit planners point to the success of such systems in most of Europe, but see much resistance from TTC planners, who are worried about the financial implications of fare evasion. Still, the TTC has taken some steps to improve boarding, such as placing inspectors at the busiest stops to allow those with passes to board at the rear doors.

Nonetheless, since turning it back into a streetcar route ridership has increased significantly. Ridership has increased from 26,000 per day to 35,000 per day to over 45,000 per day in 2005-2006 [ http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog001.htm, http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/pdf/ridership_cost_stats_bus_streetcar_05_06.pdf] Streetcars on the Spadina portion run every 2-3 minutes every day.

Operation

Despite its political image as a ‘modern, rapid transit’ streetcar line, the 604 Harbourfront route was originally operated using rebuilt PCC streetcars, which were referred to as "Red Rockets" in a branding effort. These were soon replaced by Toronto's CLRV streetcars, which form the majority of the city's current fleet. There are calls for the TTC to operate ALRV (articulated, or double-length) streetcars on the line, but that is seen as being highly unlikely due to a shortage of such vehicles. The TTC's 2007-2010 capital programme contains funding provisions for the purchase of all-new light rail vehicles, such as the Bombardier Flexity or the Siemens Combino; the purchase of 204 such vehicles has been approved by the commission, and deliveries are set to begin in 2011. For more information about Toronto's streetcars, see the main article Toronto Streetcar System.

Because of the amount of shared track, the Toronto Transit Commission has grouped the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes together for accounting and measurement purposes.

Route

hared line

Most stops along the 509 and 510 routes are surface stops with islands separating the regular traffic from the streetcar tracks. Streetcars enter underground subway stations at Union and Spadina TTC stations, and a dedicated underground streetcar station at Queen's Quay-Ferry Docks.

* Union - interchange with the Yonge-University-Spadina line, and with VIA Rail and GO Transit via the above-ground Union Station
* Queen's Quay-Ferry Docks - an underground station with stairs to the surface
* York Street at Queen's Quay West: access to Queen's Quay Terminal and Harbourfront Centre
* Lower Simcoe Street at Queen's Quay West: access to Queen's Quay Terminal
* Rees Street at Queen's Quay West: access to Rogers Centre and CN Tower
* Lower Spadina Avenue at Queen's Quay West - a loop allows cars to wait

509 Harbourfront

* Dan Leckie Way at Queen's Quay West
* Bathurst Street at Queen's Quay West: access to Toronto City Centre Airport and island airport ferry docks
* Fleet Street at Bathurst Street: access to Old Fort York (east entrance) and Fort York Armouries
* Stadium Road at Fleet Street: access to HMCS York
* HMCS York: Fleet Street between Stadium Road and Fort York Boulevard: access to HMCS York
* Fort York Boulevard at Fleet Street: access to Old Fort York, Fort York Armouries, Canadian National Exhibition Princes' Gates
* Strachan Avenue at Manitoba Drive: access to Canadian National Exhibition Princes' Gates and Ricoh Coliseum
* Exhibition Loop near Exhibition GO Station between the Horse Palace and Ricoh Coliseum

510 Spadina

Unlike the stops on the old Harbourfront route, most of the Spadina stops have streetcar traffic signals, partial shelters, and railings to protect patrons from the traffic. Except late at night, 1 in 2 or 2 in 3 streetcars operate only between Spadina subway station and King Street, the busiest portion of the route.

* Spadina Station (Bloor Street West, Spadina Avenue & Spadina Road)
* Sussex (Sussex Avenue & Spadina Avenue): access to University of Toronto
* Harbord (Hardbord Street & Spadina Avenue): access to University of Toronto
* Willcocks (Willcocks Street & Spadina Avenue): access to University of Toronto
* College (College Street & Spadina Avenue): access to University of Toronto
* Nassau (Nassau Street & Spadina Avenue): access to Kensington Market and George Brown College
* Dundas (Dundas Street West & Spadina Avenue): access to China Town
* Sullivan (Sullivan Street & Spadina Avenue)
* Queen (Queen Street West & Spadina Avenue): access to Fashion District
* Richmond (Richmond Stret & Spadina Avenue): access to Fashion District
* King (King Street West & Spadina Avenue): access to Fashion District
* Front (Front Street West & Spadina Avenue)
* Bremner (Bremner Boulevard & Spadina Avenue): access to the Rogers Centre
* Lower Spadina Avenue (Queen's Quay West & Lower Spadina Avenue)
* Rees (Rees Street & Queen's Quay West): access to the Rogers Centre and the CN Tower
* Lower Simcoe (Lower Simcoe Street & Queen's Quay West): access to Queen's Quay Terminal
* York (York Street & Queen's Quay West): access to Queen's Quay Terminal and Harbourfront Centre
* Ferry Docks (Bay Street & Queen's Quay West)
* Union Station (Bay Street & Front Street West)

tops

Stops along 510 consist of a raised concrete platform with a partially covered shelter and railings along the entire boarding area. Platforms are located on the far-side of most intersections, to make room for left-turn lanes on the near side. TTC streetcars are equipped with a Surface Vehicle Automatic Stop Announcement System (SVASAS) which calls out the stops through the P.A. system and on the L.E.D. board (e.g. "Next Stop: College Street").

References


* [http://toronto.rezrez.com/gettinghere/trainsbuses/index.htm Trains and Streetcars]
* [http://www.transittoronto.org/streetcar/4108.shtml Route 510 - Spadina Streetcar] (Transit Toronto)
* [http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog001.htm Light Rail Now! Newslog]

ee also

*Toronto streetcar system


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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