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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Queen street in Toronto

Queen street, one of the busiest east-west thoroughfares in Toronto, has only streetcars to transport commuters along this important commercial vein. Once called Lot street, Queen street runs approximately 16 km from end to end.
I take the Queen streetcar almost every single day and I tell you: it ain't fun. Because the street is so busy, it makes for a horrendous car trip. Because the streetcars are so nasty on Queen, those who can afford it choose to drive. A tad paradoxical? if there were a reasonably clean and efficient way to travel east-west, more people would leave the car at home, or give it up completely as I have. Of course, I have my regrets. I think it's about time the city bite its tongue and start digging (addendum: Forget Boston's "Big Dig") some new subway tunnels.

Toronto, time to get the shovels out again.


condovo said...

Great post. Unfortunately, Toronto can't afford the shovels with which to dig a subway.

Leigh-Ann said...

When I think of Toronto's streetcars, I think of chipped icky yellow paint, cracked red vinyl seats, and the smell. Oh, the smell! Body odor and garlic and onions and wet wool in the winter... nasty!

This comment has been removed by the author.

So true! Though why the chipped yellow paint? The seats, when clean and new, are quite comfortable.
All in all, however, you are right on: the streetcars are so nasty!
(I wouldn't mind it as much if it smelled solely of onions.)

Leigh-Ann said...

I was riding the streetcars in the 70s and 80s... I seem to recall they were painted a pale yellow inside, and there was no such thing as a clean/new seat! I'm really hoping to make a trip to Toronto this year, for the first time since 1995, and I'll definitely try to ride a streetcar for old time's sake.



Please post a comment after your visit. I'd really like to know how you perceive the city after being away for twelve years.

greg said...

I agree with you Dr. And with Condovo. The Bloor line was to be the Queen Street line, but the city pushed it north. And now we (and very few cities) can afford new underground subways, hence the new plans to give Streetcars their own right-of-ways, and the new push to build new Streetcar lines (with their own r-o-w). In fact, at the Queen, King, St.Andrew and Osgoode subway stn, there is another stn on a E/W bias that was meant to accommodate either a E/W Subway line or where the Streetcars would go underground through the city core. Also the southern bridges over the Don were built with a lower level for subways. You may find this site interesting: