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Dufferin Jog To Be a Thing of The Past

Posted by Rick McGinnis / September 10, 2009

Dufferin Jog construction TorontoIt's taken over a century, but the detour known as the Dufferin jog is finally being straightened, after years languishing on the city's wish list of improvements. Pedestrians, TTC riders and drivers passing through the eastern gateway into Parkdale might not notice much going on at the moment, but by the fall the signs of this momentous alteration to the west end streetscape will be hard to ignore.

John Bryson, manager of the city's Structures and Expressways department, describes what will happen once the $40 million project, which kicked off in June, reaches its crucial phase later this fall. The first of a two-part process will start with the shifting of two of the four railway lines that travel over Queen on an 111-year-old landmark underpass.

Dufferin jog site construction"The railway will shift their rail lines to the south so we can finish the north half, and we'll finish the north half with normal excavation, cast in place, and then we'll move the railway lines onto the north half and we'll start on the south half. We will take out the limestone walls on Queen Street and we will be saving that limestone for another purpose, and then we will have the opening for Dufferin on Queen Street."

Queen and Dufferin ConstructionRight now, the only evidence of the work going on at the heart of the jog is a quartet of massive steel anchors screwed into the north wall of the underpass on Queen, next to where Dufferin will re-emerge, and another four steel supports positioned to help take the weight of the rail lines.

Queen and Dufferin Railway ConstructionHorses still traveled dirt roads when Dufferin last crossed Queen at grade, intersected by railway lines, but the construction of the Queen St. Subway in 1898 made Dufferin's dogleg detour onto Peel and Gladstone avenues and Queen a supposedly permanent part of the city landscape. In some ways, it'll be a shame to see the jog disappear, as it's one of the few remnants of the days when railways shaped the way Toronto grew.

Bryson says that the underpass is in fine shape, and that the only issue so far is meeting the schedule for the vital rerouting of GO and CN trains, and that they'll probably be finished by late spring or early summer. "My suspicion is that there will be some kind of ribbon cutting ceremony mostly because next year's election year."



John Leschinski / September 10, 2009 at 09:29 am
What's the rational for bothering with this short jog? I've never been too bothered by it; is it really an issue for most people?
Jerrold / September 10, 2009 at 09:33 am
I've been saying since the idea was born and costs estimated that the cost-benefit doesn't justify this work. It's what, a 30 second detour? I guess it'll improve congestion issues during rush hour, but how much?
Geoffrey Skelding / September 10, 2009 at 09:47 am
I attended the public meeting when the jog project was about to get underway ... apparently eliminating the jog will save tonnes and tonnes of gasoline, and reduce pollution in the area because vehicles won't be idiling so much at the multiple intersections they need to move through to do the jog. That was enough of a reason for me to support it - and hope it opens on schedule. I think it also opens the way for a Dufferin LRT or something like that in the future as well.
Arleigh / September 10, 2009 at 10:16 am
This is just a back of the envelope reaction but I don't see how it can save gas or reduce pollution in any significant way when compared against all the gas guzzled and pollution spewed by cars in the city. What percentage is $40M of the city's budget available for infrastructure to fight climate change and pollution?

And won't more people get in their cars to fill in the available capacity created? I thought we had gotten past this idea of improving traffic flow. I bet a pedestrian overpass would be cheaper and have a more positive impact on the neighbourhood.
Darlene / September 10, 2009 at 10:28 am
I think the current detour through Peel is annoying and dangerous for motorists and cyclists, and a bit creepy for pedestrians at night, not to mention the horrible state of the road in general on Peel & Dufferin.

I say horray for the jog elimination, though it does seem expensive.
bart / September 10, 2009 at 11:06 am
I can't wait for this to be finished! I live off Dufferin and drive through the jog regularly and although the 30 extra seconds isn't too bad when there's no traffic (like at 4am) it does get congested pretty bad during rush hour and for a downtown arterial road that leads to the expressway I'm surprised they didn't get rid of it many years ago. I'm also hoping this will improve that sketchy stretch of the street and keep the Dufferin bus route running more efficiently.
IloveConstruction! / September 10, 2009 at 11:12 am
About damn time. The F-ing chaos Dufferin/Queen/Gladstone is is a nightmare. Anyway they can fix it the better. While they are at it I hope they demolish those dilapidated houses on Peel. They are all one heavy breeze away from tipping over as it is.
What a shithole.
J / September 10, 2009 at 11:22 am
Why are so many people crying foul because Dufferin is getting some improvement money allotted to it? This has to be one of the most neglected streets in Toronto, in every way. Even if this change turns out to be nothing more than an aesthetic improvement, oh well, nothing wrong with changing something that looks like crap.
andi / September 10, 2009 at 11:46 am
As is, the instersection is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. Turning cars often don't stop for people crossing the street, or for cyclists, even when they have the right of way. I think it's well-worth the money to improve this area.
Gillian / September 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm
In addition to improving traffic, this change will allow pedestrians to safely move from West Queen West to Parkdale without having to navigate that scary underpass. Despite the increasing hipness of Parkdale, the current underpass is still a significant mental barrier for some.
Joel M / September 10, 2009 at 01:59 pm
This will also help the 501 streetcar a bit, currently it has to wait for two traffic signals in a row, both full of left-turning traffic from the people who want to stay on Dufferin. They could even put left turn restrictions on the new intersection during rush hours where they couldn't do this before. 29 Dufferin buses also get bogged down in this intersection too, having to wait for traffic to make a right turn and then a left, when after this they will just go straight through on a green.

The people on Peel and Gladstone can re-design their streets as 4 lanes will not be needed anymore, bike lanes and trees instead of having cars blazing around the 2 sharp curves on their street 24 hours a day.

The new bridge will also be bigger and allow for GO Train expansion as well. All in all it seems like a worthwhile project to me.

W. K. Lis / September 10, 2009 at 05:22 pm
Now if only the streetcar tracks could be extended north on Dufferin to Dundas or College, at least. If so, then the 522 Dundas Exhibition streetcar could make a return, on a modified route.
Colin / September 10, 2009 at 09:25 pm
Gillian - there will still be an underpass on Queen.
Adam Sobolak / September 10, 2009 at 09:52 pm
Something poetic about "Dufferin Construction" being in charge.
gadfly replying to a comment from Arleigh / September 11, 2009 at 07:48 am
Oh, goody, my favorite argument: let's not build it because people will use it.
The sooner our so-called transportation planners start dealing with the fact that our 1850 planning has fouled up the city, we can rejoin the 21st Century.
The city is a spaghetti-weave of streets that just end or jog. A partial list would include: Dundas St. W., Davenport, Dupont, St. Clair (just past Mt. Pleasant), Lawrence (Bayview), nearly all streets at High Park, Avenue Rd. (take your pick - Upper Canada College, or the 401, Mt. Pleasant at Lawrence. The list goes on and on.
It really makes one wonder if anyone at anytime in the 19th Century thought beyond the first quarter million people to move into and around the city! Cities with far worse natural obstacles (mountains, major rivers, oceans) managed their street planning better than Toronto ever did. We brag about Toronto having a 'grid' street pattern, but a cursory glance at a map lays that lie to rest.

And now we are paying for it in gawdawful traffic and unnecessary delays for everyone. I say kudos to the Dufferin 'straightening.' Now, are they going to make it 6 lanes?
John Leschinski / September 11, 2009 at 08:33 am
Dufferin will always have a weird detour in it at Downsview.
FThem replying to a comment from John Leschinski / September 11, 2009 at 08:39 am
No one cares about Downsview.
We are concerned with our well being.
anastassia / September 11, 2009 at 01:20 pm
hopefully the car breaking roadvwill be fixed.
steve / September 12, 2009 at 01:30 pm
Where is Dufferin ? and who cares.
Ratpick replying to a comment from Arleigh / September 14, 2009 at 04:46 pm
"I thought we had gotten past this idea of improving traffic flow. I bet a pedestrian overpass would be cheaper and have a more positive impact on the neighbourhood."

Ummmmmmm, 501 streetcar? Dufferin bus? Should those not flow?

Traffic flow is extremely important in a city where so much transit is on the surface, mixed with evil cars and trucks.
Bongo replying to a comment from John Leschinski / November 9, 2009 at 11:21 am
"What's the rational for bothering with this short jog? I've never been too bothered by it; is it really an issue for most people?"

It creates huge traffic problems, haven't you seen? Not just for cars, but for streetcars and buses too. It also confuses people visiting the area, and makes for sometimes strange traffic conditions for cyclists trying to get by.
Bongo replying to a comment from John Leschinski / November 9, 2009 at 11:36 am
Oh and here's a juicy one: Using Google maps, search for "Canadian Tire" and zoom in on the Queen/Dufferin area. You can see a location come up on Dufferin to the North. Click the photo thumbnail that appears. That fairly large industrial lot has been vacant for awhile. Not surprising they'd open up a location here, there's no equivalent store nearby. Haven't read anything about this online, but doesn't surprise me.

Assuming it's true, there'll be a lot more cars coming South down Dufferin. At least they have an excuse for fixing that road, which to me is one of the worst downtown. But that traffic will be going right through a school zone. Will make things interesting.

I hope the traffic speed will be slowed somehow along dufferin southbound approaching queen. I hope it isn't going to be like South of Bloor along the shopping mall. Cars seem to just ramp their speed up double along that stretch. I think it has something to do with the fact there's no parked cars along that stretch and nothing to stop for except the Mall entrances. When I'm on my bicycle I haven't to pay extra attention.

At least the flow will be better through Queen... so even though there'll be increased traffic, maybe it won't be as bad as the rest of Toronto... errrr.... ummmm.... yea.

Poor house-owners along that stretch. Oh and poor Parkdale poor people that get pushed furthur West. How far can they go? Eventually they hit the middle-class area around High Park/Roncesvalles. There's got to be affordable spots for poorer people downtown, we can't just keep spreading the condo yups out.
Chris / March 8, 2010 at 04:06 pm
Anyone opposed to this project had better give their head a shake. If you don't like it, don't use it. Simple as that.
Joe Tackspaier / November 19, 2010 at 04:59 pm
It's about time! They should of done this along time ago. I drove through there earlier today, and what a time saver! All you hippies who were against this project can go ride your bikes/with basket's attached and mopeds right into lake Ontario!
m / June 18, 2011 at 02:59 am
Thy removed the jog to accommodate the railway expansion. It says it in the article. It is hyperlinked to GO and CN .
John P / December 3, 2013 at 11:40 am
Thank God for this path. What a ridiculous detour we had before and those who think it was OK are not drivers. Now they need to repave all of Dufferin. Every time I drive along it, I feel like I'm driving on a 3rd world street.
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