TTC bus knuck­les pack a pow­er­ful punch

Toronto Star - - DEATHS, MEMORIALS, BIRTHS - JACK LAKEY SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR

Like leaves in the fall, you can count on a big and dan­ger­ous bus knuckle in the pave­ment at a lot of busy TTC bus stops.

One of the lesser-known dan­gers on Toronto streets is a raised ridge in the pave­ment that forms at TTCstops, caused by a steady stream of buses that roll up and come to a stop in the same spot.

Over time, the weight of buses causes the pave­ment be­neath their wheels to sink, which has the ef­fect of cre­at­ing a ridge or knuckle in the mid­dle of the traf­fic lane, be­tween the low spots.

We’ve seen bus knuck­les that pro­trude nearly 15 cen­time­tres above the sur­round­ing road sur­face, a deadly ob­sta­cle for peo­ple on two-wheeled ve­hi­cles, espe­cially when the road is slip­pery.

And there are so many that the city is hard-pressed to keep up. The eas­i­est fix is to sim­ply grind down the raised pave­ment, but the knuckle even­tu­ally reap­pears.

Amuch more ef­fec­tive but costly fix is to carve out a sec­tion of pave­ment about the length of a bus and fill it with con­crete that with­stands its weight with­out buck­ling.

The back­log of TTC stops in need of re­pair is so long that the city can only re­place a small num­ber with con­crete each year, which means we have to live with them, even if they’re a dan­ger.

Tony Sal­va­tore emailed us about sev­eral knuck­les in the same area, in­clud­ing a par­tic­u­larly bad one on south­bound Phar­macy Ave., on the north side of the in­ter­sec­tion at Ellesmere Ave.

“These ruts are haz­ardous to cars, cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans,” Sal­va­tore said. “They can dam­age cars (and) also lead to cars swerv­ing un­nec­es­sar­ily

“They are very dan­ger­ous when there is any snow at all on them, or a lit­tle rain.”

Sta­tus: We’ve sent the list of prob­lem spots to trans­porta­tion ser­vices and asked if they can be ground down and added to the list of TTC stops in need of a con­crete pad, if they’re not al­ready on it.

What’s that black cloth in the storm drain? Our col­umn last Satur­day was about plugged storm drains on River St. Among the stuff clog­ging them was black cloth bunched up around the edges of the grate. We thought it was part of the prob­lem, but a reader emailed to say the cloth is there for a rea­son: to pre­vent de­bris from wash­ing into the basin dur­ing rain.

Frank Clar­izio, a di­rec­tor of con­struc­tion en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices with the city, con­firmed that the ma­te­rial is “fil­ter fab­ric,” which pre­vents con­struc­tion dirt and de­bris from get­ting into a basin. The ma­te­rial is stretched across the open­ing and held in place by the heavy iron grate, Clar­izio said, adding it’s a re­quire­ment in con­struc­tion zones. It may be a good idea, but it wasn’t very ef­fec­tive on River St., where the fab­ric came loose and the drains were thor­oughly plugged.

What’s bro­ken in your neigh­bour­hood? Wher­ever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To con­tact us, go to thes­tar.com/your­toronto/the_­fixer or email jlakey@thes­tar.ca. To read our blog, go to thes­tar.com/news/the_­fixer. Re­port prob­lems and fol­low us on Twit­ter @TOS­tarFixer.

JACK LAKEY

A ridge on Phar­macy Ave. is caused by buses stop­ping in the same place.

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