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TTC Subway/RT Ridership Change

A while back, I did a post on the 2009-2010 TTC Subway/RT Ridership visualized as a map with representative station sizes. The TTC has available data from 2 years later (2011-2012). So I have updated this map. But I did a comparative version where the increase or decrease in ridership is indicated by colour change and a white ring showing the amount of change. Its an interesting visualisation to see where some clusters of increases or decreases are occurring. Make sure to click the map to open the bigger version.

subway proportion - 2011-2012 Comparison

Additionally, here are some raw number and percentage changes. The average station increased by 1385 riders, or 3.1%.

Top 5 Raw Increases

  • St. George – 27,110
  • Bloor-Yonge – 12,640
  • Eglinton – 8,950
  • Finch – 7,540
  • Downsview – 6,570

Top 5 Percentage Increases

  • Lawrence East – 21.5%
  • Downsview – 20.8%
  • Royal York – 19.6%
  • Bayview – 13.8%
  • Bathurst – 13.7%

Top 5 Raw Decreases

  • King – 6,150
  • St. Andrew – 3,840
  • Kipling – 3,510
  • Osgoode – 2,290
  • Kennedy – 2,260

Top 5 Percentage Decreases

  • Midland – 19.9%
  • Bessarion – 19.69%
  • McCowan – 12.74%
  • King – 10.2%
  • Osgoode – 9.9%

Now for some technical details.

The sizes of the stations are set as a proportion of Yonge-Bloor Station. The sizes of the lines are based on the total ridership divided by the number of stations. This is designed to increase the size of the SRT and Sheppard lines, as I did not feel it was fair to compare total ridership for lines that have less than 10 stations, with those that have more than 30.

This is based off of what the TTC labelled as 2009-2010 ridership and 2011-2012 ridership.  It is supposed to represent ridership for an average weekday.

The TTC listed the connecting stations (Yonge-Bloor, St. George, Spadina, Sheppard, and Kennedy) separately for the different lines. I combined them for the purpose of this map.

Also of note, is that the numbers are for people getting on and off, so each rider would create a count at the station they get on, as well as get off. Transferring would create additional counts.

If you liked this post check out the TTC Surface Route Ridership.


A Farewell for Now…

I write today to let you know that I am going to be taking a break from this project for the foreseeable future. It has been a great experience, and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I have some other goals in my life right now which I am prioritizing over this project.

I am going to be studying Urban Planning at Ryerson in the fall, but I am starting coursework on bridging my previous Microbiology studies much sooner. There are also some other projects I would like to work on before then.

So for now, I am putting this blog on hiatus. I would like to continue it again at some point, but I have no idea when that will be. I may post more sporadic shorter articles in the interim, but that remains to be seen. So I guess this is a farewell, for now. Until next time…


Dufferin Grove

Dufferin Grove is a neighbourhood with a lot of caché these days. Almost all of it can be attributed to Dufferin Grove Park, which has become the marquee community oriented park. This hub of amenities and community events has been built due to the hard work and engagement of the community. It has become a model for this type of park development, with many iconic central neighbourhoods and parks emulating its success, and following in its footsteps. But it is also spreading further, with suburban neighbourhoods like Mabelle Park in Islington following suit. It is not so much that it needs to be copied exactly , but that the culture of “yes”, and community engagement can be replicated in order to empower communities to build the capacity to undertake the projects they want in their community.

Dufferin Grove also had a beginning, which in this case starts with the Denison Family, who were early landowners in this area, after emigrating from England in 1792. they named their various estates by familiar monikers such as “Dover Court”, or “Rush Holme”. In 1834 they began cultivating much of the area after clearing the forest. However, the land values would grow, and by the 1880s, the area was subdivided for residential purposes.

On a side note, let me just say that saying it started with them sounds very colonial, as if there weren’t First Nations people in this area for centuries before European settlers arrived. While I have, and will cover First Nations history when possible, I don’t have the time to look into a complete history of an area, and just want to give a brief overview. Also, the concept of a neighbourhood is often defined on the basis of street grids (sometimes natural features like valleys or ravines), which is very much a tradition brought over by European settlers, so there is a sense in which looking through this particular lens of history is justifiable. But that’s enough of that, we should get on with our walk.

Dufferin Grove is located east of Dufferin, west of Ossington, south of Bloor, and North of Dundas.

I started walking at Dufferin and Bloor, heading south, and finished at the same place heading west.

Starting by exiting Dufferin Station, you will find an inauspicous subway station (albeit one under renovations), alongside an older low rise industrial building with Bell on its nameplate. I think it is reasonable to assume on that basis, that the building is used for some sort of telecommunication infrastructure or offices.

For such an important demarcating street of west end neighbourhoods, I have always found that Dufferin itself is not particularly distinguished. One usually has to stroll along the east-west arterials or side streets to find the action.

Dufferin Mall has a very large footprint on the street here, and it also has two minds about how it wants to meet the street. The northern end of the mall is full of surface parking and big stores like Wal-Mart, whereas the southern end has a more interesting facade where pedestrians can enter. It is also where the convoys of 29 buses drop off new shoppers, and pick of the ones who have tired themselves out.

The defining feature of Dufferin Grove though, is of course, Dufferin Grove Park. With a full range of community offerings including art and theatre, community events and meals, a bake oven, campfires, farmer’s markets and community gardens, and a bevy of recreational facilities and playgrounds, it is the shining beacon of Toronto neighbourhood parks. The Friends of Dufferin Grove Park, and in particular, Jutta Mason have been tireless in making this “outdoor community centre” function. A culture of yes, and the willingness to do things without necessarily having the city’s permission have been integral to the process. Although that has lead to fighting with city staff as well. However this hard work has payed off, and not just for Dufferin Grove, Toronto now has a policy on outdoor bake ovens, which should make it easier for more parks and community groups to get them in the future. Hopefully this policy is a sign of a less risk averse city, and one more willing to say yes itself to what communities want in their public spaces.

It would be a beautiful park even without all the efforts of the community, with gorgeous looming trees providing respite in even the sunniest of days. With all of the community features of the park, the natural elements almost feel like an added bonus, as opposed to the main element.

Another interesting aspect of the park is the COB courtyard. They needed to have proper facilities for the snack bar that developed next to the wading pool and main playground area. So they went full out and built the facility out of cob, a material made of straw, clay, and sand. This material has been historically popular in certain regions in the UK, but has been gaining traction in the sustainability movement, as well as for its ability to be sculpted quite effectively. This cob based structure even comes complete with a composting toilet.

Right below this fluorishing park though is what appears to be a large long vacant building, quite the contrast to what was just experienced.

Its not all abandoned buildings though (thats the only one I saw actually), like much of this part of the city, there are many beautiful older homes floating about the neighbourhood streets.

Some of the local schools such as Kent School on Dufferin fit in with the architectural motif. Others, such as Dewson Street Junior Public School have more of a modernist feel to them.

There is a highrise cluster on Dovercourt, just south of Bloor. Like most, the towers surround an open area in the middle. Also like most, it simultaneously feels integrated into, and distinct from the surrounding neighbourhood. This particular cluster is nicely framed by Portuguese Presbyterian Church, and adjacent to Centennial-Japanese United Church, providing a nice contrast between the modernist concrete towers and the older Victorian Churches.

The neighbourhood stretches from Bloor to Dundas, but Bloor is usually considered part of Dovercourt Park to the north, and Dundas is usually attached more to Little Portugal/Beaconsfield Village to the south, so College ends up being the main retail strip of the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood.

It is not the most vibrant section of College, with most of the Little Italy panache petering out after Ossington. It can, however hold its own with a mix of residential buildings and eclectic shops.

Fuzzy neighbourhood boundaries can often be perpetuated by real estate developers wanting to grab onto more well known identities. Here we have the red carpet rolled out for the IT Lofts sales centre (the actual building replaces surface parking), relying heavily on Little Italy branding.

College and Dovercourt is an important cornerstone of the strip with a large institutional building in the form of a YMCA, and Cataplana, a Portuguese restaurant in a building that looks like it has a story behind it; unfortunately not one that I know.

Up at Bloor, we find the renovated Bloor-Gladstone branch of the library, which added a glass cube onto the west side of the building. The glass addition is a great place to take a break and read a book, or use a laptop or tablet, as comfortable arm chairs sit along the window where the user can look out onto Bloor Street (maybe not the best place if you want to be distraction free). At Bloor West, we also hit the interface of Dufferin Grove and Dovercourt Park, the subject of a later walk. Until next time…