As a rail-fan, I’m looking forward to the new Toronto Streetcars that will begin their service in 2013. As a driver, I am dreading the day – and I know it will happen sooner, rather than later – when I have to pass one of those things on the road.
As you can see from the graphic below, which I’m told is to scale, the new streetcars are almost twice as long as the smaller CLRVs that are currently in use, and a third longer than the ALRVs. On streets like St. Clair and Spadina, this won’t be a problem because thankfully the streetcars have their own right-of-way to travel in, but on streets like Queen, King and Dundas, it’s going to be a free-for-all.
With four sets of doors and the need for a much longer stopping zone, drivers will have a very hard time passing these cars on roads where the new streetcars are integrated with traffic.
I will admit that the new streetcars are a vast improvement over the older ones as far as moving more people quickly. I was lucky enough to have visited the mock-up last year that was at the TTC’s yards and even got to sit the driver’s seat. Sadly though the new cars lose some of the charm that the current cars have (I’ve always felt that TTC streetcars were something of an iconic identity for Toronto)