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RapidTO priority bus lanes on Morningside Avenue to improve transit reliability and capacity

10/9/20 6:00 PM

Mayor John Tory was joined today by Councillor and TTC Board Member, Jennifer McKelvie (Ward 25), Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 24), Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21), and Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 20), and Rick Leary, CEO of the TTC, to officially introduce Toronto’s first RapidTO priority bus lanes on Morningside Avenue.

RapidTO is a planned network of transit priority corridors across the city. The new lanes on Morningside Avenue officially begin service this Sunday, October 11 and are part of the Eglinton East Corridor. While the Morningside Avenue lanes will span two kilometres, the new corridor will be fully in place by the end of November and include approximately 8.5 kilometres of new priority bus lanes on Morningside, Eglinton Avenue East and Kingston Road.

Improved reliability and increased capacity of bus routes in the RapidTO network will result in a faster and more reliable commute and improve access to places of work, healthcare and community services.

The new red painted lanes will be accompanied by a public education campaign to raise awareness of this important new initiative, as well as an educational campaign to help drivers, cyclists and pedestrians understand how to interact and manoeuvre with the lanes.

Drivers who enter the red lane improperly or travel in the lane can receive a ticket for improper use of a bus lane which includes a $110 violation amount and three demerit points. This will be enforced by the Toronto Police Service.

Eglinton East, including Morningside, is among the TTC’s most heavily-used corridors and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to play a significant role in moving people around the city. It emerged as the top candidate for the accelerated installation of priority bus lanes based on an assessment of several factors including improvement to transit reliability, available right-of-way and considerations for transportation equity and inclusion of Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

By late November, the 8.5 kilometre Eglinton East corridor will see painted red lanes that run along Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue from Brimley Road, through to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. The existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on Eglinton Avenue East will be converted to priority bus lanes, and curbside general-purpose lanes on Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue will be converted to priority bus lanes. The priority bus lanes will be reserved for buses and bicycles 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and identified using red road markings and signage.

The priority bus lane on the Eglinton East corridor is anticipated to increase transit reliability and reduce transit travel time on average between two to five minutes per trip. The decrease in travel time equates to annual savings of $2.5 million in operating costs and a one-time capital cost savings of approximately $6.3 million. These cost savings could allow the TTC to reinvest in other transit opportunities in this corridor, as demand increases or in other areas of the city.

The Eglinton East corridor serves seven of Scarborough’s eight Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Providing the priority bus lane advances Action 7.2.1, to explore bus transit lanes on heavily used bus corridors in the inner suburbs to improve speed and reliability of existing transit service, of the City Council approved Poverty Reduction Strategy 2019-2022 Term Action Plan.

On July 14, the TTC Board approved a report to fast-track the installation of priority bus lanes and other service-enhancing measures on five of its busiest corridors. The report is part of the TTC’s 5-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook, a multi-year action plan for service-related improvements to public transit in Toronto between 2020-2024 and beyond.

The Eglinton East corridor, as part of RapidTO, was first announced by the City and TTC on July 8. On July 28, City Council unanimously approved traffic and parking regulation amendments along the Eglinton East corridor to make way for faster, more efficient and reliable priority bus lanes.

More about RapidTO is available at http://www.toronto.ca/rapidto.

The approved Eglinton East corridor RapidTO bus priority lane report is available at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.EX15.1

More information about the TTC’s Bus Lane Implementation plan, including ridership data, graphics and maps, can be found at http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Commission_reports_and_information/Commission_meetings/2020/July_14/Reports/5_Bus_Lane_Implementation_Plan.pdf.

Quotes:

“This is a new and very exciting beginning for Toronto’s RapidTO network. We are installing these priority bus lanes as quickly as possible. Soon priority lanes on Morningside Avenue, Eglinton Avenue and Kingston Road will help us quickly improve access and mobility for Scarborough residents and enhance confidence that bus travellers will get where they need to go on time. Building transit rider confidence will help ensure the TTC continues to be a critical part of our pandemic response efforts.”
- Mayor John Tory

“Bus priority lanes provide an important pathway to help ensure the TTC surface network remains a fast, frequent and safe option for a growing number of riders who are relying on our services during the pandemic. Priority corridors are in communities that are home to essential frontline workers and where TTC buses are the primary mode of travel. We’re determined on getting more RapidTO bus lanes across the city and keeping our riders in the fast lane.”
- Rick Leary, CEO of the TTC

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City of Toronto News Release issued on October 9, 2020

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