Corktown is getting their streetcar back

TTC officials confirmed the 514 Cherry streetcar’s return of full time service of at a community meeting with Corktown and Distillery District residents on June 27.

The news was met with dismay by residents living near King and Sumach—but those living south of the intersection greeted the information with a sigh of relief.

514 Cherry is returning full time

The June 27 meeting was a follow up to the Nov. 16, 2016, meeting about the elevated noise and squealing issues caused by the 514 streetcar turning on King and Sumach, which disturbed residents living in that area. A temporary solution—introducing a Wheeltrans shuttle service that replaced the 514 streetcar service between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., with service suspended till 10 a.m on weekends—came out of the Nov. 16 meeting.

But the temporary solution caused new problems for residents south of King and Sumach. They reported safety concerns while waiting for the shuttle, as well as disruptions to work schedules caused by delays related to route transfers.

Area resident Emily Daigle also expressed concern over accessibility issues: transferring from a streetcar to a shuttle was problematic and was, she felt, more of a priority over the noise level problems.

Since the November meeting, the TTC has worked towards reducing the noise by deploying new low-floor streetcars as well as conducting additional noise measurements. The TTC has also improved the signage at the Cherry St. intersection: TTC drivers had had to honk frequently to warn speeding motorists that they were violating the TTC right of way. The new signage includes more prominent “Do Not Enter,” “No Right Turns” and “No Left Turns” warnings.

In addition, the TTC has also ensure that there is sufficient lubrication on the track (which, per their report, is in good condition). The trailing switches at King and Sumach have been cleaned regularly and is well-lubricated and in good condition.Additionally, the TTC has inspected and confirmed the Distillery Loop lubrication system to be in good condition as well with improved remote monitoring. Furthermore, the concern of speeding streetcars crossing the King and Sumach intersection was addressed with the TTC officials stating the use of GPS monitoring to track

Finally, the TTC has inspected and confirmed the Distillery loop lubrication system to be in good condition and will continue to monitor it remotely.Furthermore, the concern of speeding streetcars crossing the King and Sumach intersection was addressed with the TTC officials stating the use of GPS monitoring to track

Community concerns about speeding streetcars crossing the King and Sumach intersection was addressed. TTC officials advise that GPS monitoring will continue to track streetcar speed; the new speed is 10 km/h. Streetcar drivers who go above 20 km/h will be pulled out of service.

The meeting discussed evidence of lower noise levels since the November meeting with testing of noise measurements occurring as recently as May 4, 2017. TTC’s Head of the Streetcar Department, Steven Lam, discussed the measurements using graph charts that showed the levels of noise frequency to be trending down at both the East to South turn and North to West turn at the King and Sumach intersection as well as the intersection at Broadview and Queen and Bathurst and Fleet. Lam explains how the testing results show an improvements in noise levels compared to the results of measurements taken in August and October 2016.

TTC representatives confirmed that the testing of noise measurements occurred on dry days which elicited concern from the audience as both them and TTC officials recognize that noise levels are much higher after rainfall as it washes away the lubricant with humidity making it worse, which the TTC officials combatted by stating that lubrication of streetcar wheels will be heavily monitored during poor weather. Lam responded to these concerns by explaining that the TTC has worked to increase dispensing of lubrication on the streetcar wheels by using larger lubrication containers and increasing the frequency of lubrication on the wheels.

TTC officials provided updates on the 514 Cherry service included that the route has been using all new low-floor streetcars since May 2017 and noise mitigation operation is working towards the right direction as indicated by evidence of noise level reduction. Additionally, updates also included that the on-board wheel lubrication has improved.TTC officials also confirmed the next steps that they will take to continue to combat issues raised by Corktown and Distillery District residents will include more noise measurements in August 2017 to verify lowering of noise levels.

TTC officials also confirmed the next steps that they will take to continue to combat issues raised by Corktown and Distillery District residents will include more noise measurements in August 2017 to verify lowering of noise levels.

The TTC is working on wheel mounted “noise dampening rings” to further reduce the high-pitch squeal experienced by residents near King and Sumach and Lam commented further by stating that the prototype will be tested October to December, 2017 with it being put in action tentatively in Jan. 2018.

Regular 514 streetcar service will resume in July (date TBD). Wheeltrans bus service will end.

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