According to a report in the Etobicoke Guardian, the proposed LRT for Lake Shore Boulevard West has been shelved by the City of Toronto.
The original proposal would have seen a Right-of-Way (ROW) running along Lake Shore Boulevard West between Humber Loop and Long Branch Loop. The proposal had been met with some resistence from locals, especially to do with being able to cross the Lake Shore, etiher by foot or by car.
Some complained, for example, of how discouraging the service was already, and the lack of time based transfers. Neither of these issues have been properly attended to by the TTC, especially as they claim the ROW would help encourage people to use the streetcar line in south Etobicoke. Yes, the streetcars might run faster along their own right of way, but without enough of them making past Humber, and the requirement to pay two fares to go shopping, the TTC did not, and still does not, encourage people to use the service.
While I am a great believer that a ROW is normally a great improvement for a streetcar line – I do see the decision to shelve a ROW along Lake Shore Boulevard West as being practical for a few reasons, namely;
- The Lake Shore is not crowded with cars all day. Even during the rush hour, streetcars are still able to move relatively easily.
- There are no time based transfers. Unlike other major transit agencies in cities like Mississauga, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver, the TTC does not – and has been very vocal – against time based transfers. Time based transfers allow people to travel in any direction within a set period of time, normally 1.5 to 2 hours. This would allow for local trips to be made on one fare, not only reducing the dependency on the car, but also increasing demand for service.
- Service frequency. Right now the 501 Queen car should be operating relatively frequently along the Lake Shore, but service is infrequent and unreliable due to congestion along Queen Street. This will not be improved by a Right-of-Way.
My recommendation would be for the TTC to improve the service along the Lake Shore and make it reliable and useful for local residents. Once done, and only then, should a Right-of-Way along the Lake Shore be discussed again by the TTC.