Travelling around the subway system, it can appear as if almost every structure more than a decade old is under repair. This year, the TTC has embarked on a campaign to clean stations better — as well as fix ceilings, walls and floors.
Then there are larger reconstruction projects, which seem to engulf entire stations. The Yonge line’s St. Clair stop is just one example — it’s being refit with accessible doors and elevators among other work. Although new sliding doors were visible to patrons since last year, they remained shut tight. TTC rider Michael Takasaki decided to record the months-long closure by photographing the closed doors every day starting in October 2006.
To find out more, go to the website Torontoist.com and look under the category “Transit.”
Back on June 11, I spoke at length with two managers in the TTC’s construction department, Sameh Ghaly and Akram Yoannis.
Ghaly says that, in general, contractors are given a time frame to complete various components of a project. Although the St. Clair doors were in place early on, they were not scheduled to open until later in the contract, and necessary parts of the opening mechanism were installed gradually over time. According toTorontoist.com, the doors have opened, at last.
To those of us who aren’t engineers, some construction projects seem incomprehensibly drawn out.
Take Broadview station. Along with adding elevators, the TTC decided to combine several projects and work started back in 2003. A second streetcar platform was put in to reduce congestion by November of that year and the station has been getting new bus bays, as well as emergency tunnel fans.
Says Yoannis, “The station is very tight and sometimes you can’t do everything you want at once — you have to basically ‘stage’ the construction so you keep the station in operation.”
He reports that delays have totalled almost a year. Although negotiations are underway to determine if the contractors must forfeit any financial damages, he says most holdups are due to “unforeseen site conditions” — often underground obstacles no one expected.
The station should be done by August, says Yoannis, and the adjacent park relandscaped in the fall.
Pape is one of the next stations due for multiple projects — including a full makeover at street level.
The Broadview jobs were spread over three distinct contracts, says the TTC’s Ghaly, but at Pape, “we’re putting them all in one,” which should shorten the timetable.
The TTC posts occasional construction progress reports on its website ttc.ca, but how about reaching riders inside stations?
That’s where we’re most curious what’s up — especially when work lasts for years.