A neighbour has kindly shared the following message with me:
“I wanted to let you know. I found out from Mark Grimes’ office the streetcar no longer stops at 39th street.”
The neighbour mentions her daughter had been waiting one morning and the streetcar went right by.
“I inquired with Mark Grimes office,” the neighbour adds.
“They also did not know about this until they inquired with TTC. They have removed the stop in planning for the new street cars which are longer. They claimed the stops were too close together. I do not know if the buses still stop, but I think they do.”
She adds: “Another example of poor communication from TTC.”
By way of following up on the story, I visited the site and took a photo of a TTC information item at the former streetcar stop at Thirty Ninth Street and the south side of Lake Shore Blvd. West, which I had not read closely until now:
The text reads as follows:
508 Lake Shore
This streetcar stop has been removed from service as part of an ongoing program to enhance safety for our customers. All streetcar stops with island platforms are to be at signalized intersections where our customers can have crossing protection.
The bus stop continues to be in service for routes 110 Islington South and 123 Shorncliffe.
Please use the next streetcar stop to the east at Lake Shore Blvd and Thirty Seventh St.
[End of text]
It’s my understanding that the intention of the TTC has been to communicate the required information. It’s great, as well, to read the reference to customer safety, as it explains the reason, from the perspective of TTC management, for the decision.
To increase the chances that the message is communicated effectively, especially if there is no other notice, and in the absence of community consultation, it may be useful to have a prominent heading on such a posting, in bold large-font text, such as:
This Streetcar Stop Has Been Moved Two Streets East
Generally speaking, the less text a person needs to read in such circumstances, the better. I speak from the perspective of the reader.
From the viewpoint of a writer, of course, the requirements of such a communication task may appear a bit different, but in the end the reader’s needs are indeed paramount. Without quick and effective engagement with the reader, or viewer, or listener, there is little or no communication.
I’m pleased to share with you the following message, which features interesting details that I wasn’t aware of, from a TTC Official:
Thank you for sharing the article. I am happy to provide you with more details from our Service Planning Group.
As you know, TTC is planning for the introduction of the new, low-floor streetcars to replace our existing streetcars, and the new streetcars will accommodate wheelchairs, other mobility devices, and customers with significant mobility challenges. With this forthcoming change, it is now more important than ever that all streetcar stops with passenger platforms be located at traffic signals. Signals provide crossing protection for customers moving between the sidewalk and the streetcar platform, rather than requiring them to wait for a gap in traffic to cross between the sidewalk and the streetcar. Passenger platforms, without the crossing protection provided by signals, are not as safe.
The intersection of Lake Shore Boulevard at 39th Street is not signalised, so we assessed these stops to determine if there was sufficient customer use to justify the expense of installing and maintaining a new traffic signal at this location. Our most-recent ridership counts showed that these stops are relatively-lightly used, so TTC decided to remove those stops, thus requiring customers to, instead, use the nearby stops at 37th Street. Signs were posted at the previous streetcar stop at 39th Street to explain this.
While it is still a few years before the new streetcars will be operating on this section of Lake Shore Boulevard, there is work to be done in preparation for the new streetcars. As part of this work, the platforms at the stops on this section of Lake Shore Boulevard were widened so that the streetcar’s ramp can be deployed and customers using mobility devices can manoeuvre onto and off of this ramp. We have widened all of the streetcar platforms on this section of Lake Shore Boulevard, except for the westbound platform at Long Branch Avenue. The widening of that platform requires a minor road widening, and there is a new development planned on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard which also requires modifications to the roadway. We plan to coordinate this platform with the roadwork for the adjacent development project.
Please let me know if you have further questions and thank you again for the opportunity to address this issue.
[End of message]