Thursday, June 26, 2008

East-West on TTC North of Bloor

I've come to realize that east-west travel north of Bloor in Toronto sucks. Hard.

I've had to work out of our Don Mills and York Mills office a few times recently. When I leave from the office, I get a taxi chit, so getting there is relatively painless. But on days when I head straight there, I rely on the TTC. I life at Dufferen and Eglinton, so I figured getting there was a matter of taking a bus along Eglinton to Don Mills, then another bus up Don Mills. Something like this:

Or possibly a bus up to York Mills, and another one along York Mills. Two transfers, not a big deal. Boy was I wrong.

The problem with my idea is that there is no bus that travels completely along Eglinton, or York Mills, or even Lawrence. The problem is that any route you take forces you to cross the two forks of the subway:

Every bus not only stops at the subway, but usually stops, and then turns around. So in practice, I need to take four separate buses to get to my location:

I've studied the TTC route map extensively, and there's really no other way around this. At best, I can go to York Mills, and hopefully catch the 96 bus, which would take me to Yonge. But that's still three buses when it should be two, and that's if the 96 comes often enough to make it worth the wait.

If I lived on or south of Bloor, this wouldn't be a huge problem. There's the Bloor-Danforth subway line, or the streetcars and buses that go unstopped along the major streets. Yeah, there's the short-turning streetcars and such, but for the most part, you should be able to take a fairly uninterrupted journey.

I don't understand why it's not more like this north of Bloor. I understand feeding the subway line; the line takes people downtown, which is probably the most common destination for the largest number of people. But why do the east-west buses have routes that take them to a subway station, then turn around? Why can't they just stop briefly in the station, then turn keep going? And why can streetcar drivers take a fairly long shift across Queen or College, but any time a bus stops at a subway the station, the driver has to change shifts or use the can, forcing people on the bus to wait?

I'm not a transit planner, so I'm sure there's an explanation for this. If there is, I would seriously love to hear it. But I suspect that this problem is only going to get bigger as the city grows and more office spaces are forced to move to the inner-burbs like Don Mills.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dufferin Bus Improvement!

Well, the TTC never got back to me about my earlier complaint but it looks like they were listening to me!

I finally tried taking the Dufferin bus from Bloor yesterday (I've since given up and am doing the 20-minute walk home from Eg West Station instead) and noticed that they have a collector standing at the side door letting people in from there. It's a nice step. Even nicer would be if they didn't assume TTC riders were criminals and gave them the benefit of the doubt, but I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Thanks TTC.

Snow Removal Anger!

In my long-standing tradition of not updating my blog, then getting angry about something, then writing an angry letter to a politician, then posting it here, here is a letter I wrote to Howard Moscoe regarding the snow removal. Remember, this is Torontorants. I'm a crank, okay?

Mr Moscoe,

I am a resident of your ward.

I'd like to express briefly express my regrets about the recent snow removal plan.

a) This should have started much sooner. Read: a day after the first snowfall.
b) The planning of this seems poor. Why was Dufferin St. between Eglinton and St. Clair being worked on during rush hour this morning, but none of the side streets? You'd think it would be wise to tie up a lane in a major artery during non-rush hour times.
c) I know resources are limited, but my humble st, Allenvale Ave, still hasn't received snow removal, nor have any of the streets in my vicinity. The snow removal schedule available on the City of Toronto website is cryptic and confusing to say the least. I'm a pretty smart person, I work with complicated data a lot, and I couldn't figure it out. So I can't tell if my street is behind schedule. But it's a huge inconvenience for everyone on our street.
d) I noticed, on my walk to Eglinton West subway station in the morning, that some of the streets in more well-off areas in Mr. Mihevc's ward have been cleared. Is it just a coincidence that from what I've noticed so far, streets with higher-income residents have been cleared over streets with lower-income residents? I'm not saying this is necessarily favouritism at work, but I would like some assurance that the removal plan and execution was based on a plan that was best for everyone involved, and the order of removal didn't favour one particular street or area over another.

I know this snow is not convenient for us, and it's part of life in Canada that we have to deal with. But I believe it could have been handled much better and wanted to give my feedback as such.

thank you,
Tom Robertson