A Queen-sized headache

Track work means summer of pain for area residents

Pamela Trudel’s commute to work has become a daily headache.

The Beach resident and transit user says her rush-hour ride from Victoria Park and Kingston Road into the financial district has been prolonged by route disruptions as the city and TTC conduct streetcar track and watermain replacement work on Queen Street E. between Greenwood and Coxwell avenues.

“Most days, it’s really frustrating,” she says.

The streetcar route diversions have meant that Trudel’s usual 503 Kingston Road route isn’t operating into the downtown core.

For Trudel and other riders in her area, the other option is the 502 Downtowner streetcar route, which along with the 501 Queen has been replaced with shuttle buses east of Leslie that divert around the dug-up portion of Queen. The buses shortturn at Parliament Street, but riders can transfer from bus to streetcar at various stops between Leslie and Broadview Avenue to get to the downtown core.

However, Trudel says, those streetcars into the downtown — the 501 and 504 — are inevitably packed to the doors.

“Every day you try something different because it’s hit and miss as to what’s going to get you to work on time,” she said. “Sometimes it works, a lot of times it doesn’t.”

A usual 45-minute commute, Trudel says, now takes an additional 10-30 minutes.

To mitigate the disruption, Trudel has started a petition asking the TTC to reinstate the full 502 route, which normally travels to McCaul before looping back eastbound.

“Most people can connect with the subway or at least they’re downtown [at McCaul],” Trudel says. “They’re hitting the heart of the financial district.”

She’s garnered almost 100 signatures on paper and more on her online petition. It has caught the attention of TTC chief manager Andy Byford, who has been corresponding directly with Trudel.

Byford acknowledges the diversions have been inconvenient but says to run the full line the TTC would need extra shuttles on the route and they are currently tapped out. Extra buses have already been dedicated to imminent works projects for Spadina Avenue and for Harbourfront.

Byford said the TTC is instead focused on at least making the shuttle run as best as it can by increasing route supervision, handing out info flyers, and closely monitoring shortturns.

He’s also been out onsite to mitigate bunching and gapping.

“We will continue to try and make this thing run as smoothly as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, some Beachers are resigned to the construction work, saying they understand the work needs to get done. But, it doesn’t mean they’re willing to use the public transit alternative.

“Right now, I’m taking the car,” Connaught Avenue resident Liz Lundy said. “My husband’s taking his bike, so we’re not using [transit] right now.”

The construction work is expected to be complete in November.

[align=right]— With files from Shawn Star[/align]
[align=left]For more on how the Queen Street E. construction is impacting local businesses click here.

About this article:

By: Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Jun 11 2012 6:09 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto