The Design Drafts – Interchanges


The Design Drafts is a series of articles focusing on the design of the Eglinton LRT (ELRT). This month, we sat down with Crosslinx Transit Solutions Design Manager Hagen Materne to discuss challenges in designing Eglinton and Cedarvale Stations – interchanges with TTC’s Line 1.

What are the biggest unique challenges with interchange station design?

The ELRT interchange stations are designed to fit under and around existing TTC stations, while also providing a seamless transition between both lines. This presents a constructability challenge; we need to keep TTC’s Line 1 fully operational throughout construction.

Architectural and structural solutions take all of these factors into account. We combine carefully staged excavation, support, traffic management and permanent stability – our work needs to be precise. With careful engineering we’ve been able to fully resolve these technical hurdles.

Natural lighting is a big consideration on the ELRT. How were lighting challenges addressed at interchange stations, where the platforms are situated below existing Line 1 platforms?

As with other ELRT stations, entryways have large glassed- in areas, which reflect natural light downward to the platforms. We’ve incorporated multi-storey open spaces that escalators and stairs will travel through, which we’ll finish in white tile to help further push light down to platform level.

The Cedarvale Station Concourse, showcasing the abundant natural light flow

How has Crosstown design aimed to minimize potential crowding in interchanges during peak hours?

Planning and modelling were used to make sure that passenger flows were accounted for. We’ve carefully considered all aspects of the vertical movement elements (escalators, stairs and elevators) such as placement and size, so they can adequately handle flows from existing TTC stations and ELRT riders.

The two interchange stations run through very different neighbourhoods: Cedarvale sits at the foot of Allen Road (many drivers), while Eglinton sits in the heart of Midtown (pedestrians and other transit riders). How did these factors influence design choices?

The ELRT has a consistent design approach providing identifiable entry points – bright, light-filled, glass-clad elements that are welcoming and safe to pedestrians.

As Eglinton station sits under a busy pedestrian intersection, access points are clearly integrated into the streetscape of current and future planned developments – both at-grade and through access-routes below grade. At Cedarvale, our approach is slightly different – entry pavilions are provided for pedestrians at three distinct, safely-accessed points away from traffic. While the station currently serves many bus patrons, most of these will be replaced by the ELRT itself, bringing people directly into the concourse.

Primary entrances at Cedarvale and Eglinton, showcasing the different design approaches]

Given the large size of interchange stations, what additional design considerations have been given to accessibility at Eglinton and Cedarvale?

All Crosstown stations are fully accessible for mobility, vision and other accessibility challenges. Carefully oriented drop-off points, elevator locations, visibility and tactile pathway markings are laid out to create a logical transition through the stations. Integration with existing TTC stations is resolved with elevator and guide strip locations, laid out in a clear fashion.

Interchanges can be complex to navigate. Outside of TTC signage, will LRT stations have any built-in wayfinding features?

All stations are designed with inherent route visibility, allowing passengers to easily interpret their path through the station. This includes: open, double-height spaces; wide and bright corridors with clear waypoints; obvious fare-gate locations; clear on-street visibility of entries, and both natural and electric lighting to guide passengers up and out of stations.

Safety is also inherent in our designs, with clearly located designated waiting areas, transparency where possible for improved visibility, and strategically located collector areas. 

How have the aesthetics and functionality of the LRT been designed with the future in mind?

Transit systems are built both for their current era, and for continued expansion of use. ELRT design beautifully executes our Design Excellence principles to ensure passenger enjoyment. Planning for all routes includes projections decades into the future to allow for increased use as Toronto densifies and expands. Additionally, a large art program will bring spectacular artwork into stations at many places, again improving the aesthetic for passengers using the system.