Three readers sent in complaints last week about missing transit shelters at the Queensway and Windermere Avenue along the TTC’s 501 Queen line.
Sharon Chambers of Swansea writes, “Over the past two years there has been a considerable amount of new construction in the area: Condos, townhouses, etc. There is a small TTC shelter going west but nothing going east.” She states that there is no protection for streetcar riders heading downtown, and conditions have been “extremely windy and cold.”
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I was surprised to learn that the TTC has very little to do with the 4,000 transit shelters across Toronto. That responsibility largely falls to the city’s road department and the private advertising firm — currently CBS Outdoor — that installs and maintains the structures. The Queensway transit right-of-way is apparently one of those rare locations where it’s up to the TTC to pay for new shelters.
The surrounding roadway has also been under construction, but progress on equipping the new, wider streetcar platforms, even with proper sign poles, has been slow. The good news: Some protection should be in place at Windermere by “mid-February,” according to TTC.
What took so long? Don Pardoe, an acting supervisor with the City’s works department, says he mediated an agreement between the TTC and the company over a year ago. He says there was a problem with funding the shelters, but the TTC agreed to pay.
Inexplicably, the transit agency wouldn’t comment on the issue, except to say that the construction order has now gone through.
TTC spokesperson Danny Nicholson told In Transit that the delay was due to an “oversight.” And CBS Outdoor confirmed they would install the shelters soon.
Meanwhile, riders — including new residents to the area — have had to wait in all sorts of weather, and Ms. Chambers says the city did not satisfactorily explain what was going on.
So far it’s unclear whether shelters will be similarly delayed on St. Clair Avenue West, where a new streetcar right-of-way is being built.
Next week, a tender closes on a mammoth 20-year contract to provide the city with thousands of upgraded transit shelters plus litter bins and other “street furniture.” Transportation director Andy Koropeski says that whoever wins the bid will be responsible for making sure shelters are properly cleaned and maintained. This is similar to provisions in the existing contract, but the new one will require the successful firm to increase the number of new shelters erected every year to about 100.