501 Queen streetcar diverted 2nd time this year due to construction — commuters, businesses aren't happy

TTC service along Queen Street is once again mired in construction delays, which is creating headaches for commuters and local businesses.

Toronto's 3rd-busiest streetcar route will be diverted along King Street until Nov. 6

Some Torontonians are demanding to know why track work at the intersection of Queen Street West and McCaul Street wasn't done over the summer. (Shutterstock / Kiev.Victor)

TTC service along Queen Street is once again mired in construction delays, creating headaches for commuters and local businesses.  

Crews began replacing streetcar tracks at the intersection of Queen Street West and McCaul Street last Monday, blocking all traffic between John and St. Patrick streets and forcing the 501 Queen streetcar off course. 

TTC is diverting the 501 Queen streetcar via buses along King Street between Spadina Avenue and Church Street due to track work. (CBC)

Shuttle buses are operating instead. They're being diverted down to King Street between Spadina Avenue and Church Street. 

The delay is set to be in place until Nov. 6 at 6 a.m. along Toronto's third-busiest streetcar route, carrying more than 43,000 passengers a day.

This marks the second time the 501 Queen streetcar has been off the tracks in the last six months. 

Service on the entire 501 line was suspended last summer due to a number of construction projects throughout the busy downtown thoroughfare.

During that time, the TTC spent an extra $1 million per month to run buses on the route, according to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross. It also took 60 buses to provide similar service to the 501 Queen's usual 45 streetcars.

The mess was originally supposed to clear by early September, but was delayed an extra month. Commuters, nearby businesses and residents are now questioning why the track work wasn't done then, too.

But Ross says completing the track work wasn't possible then. 

"There are many construction projects, not just TTC, over the course of the summer," he told CBC Toronto. 

"All of these projects are co-ordinated with the city to ensure there isn't an overwhelming number compressed into just a few short months." 

With temperatures into the mid-20s this weekend, customers on the patio at El Furniture Warehouse, a popular eatery located in the middle of the construction chaos, say it's normally a lot busier on a Saturday.  

"I think people are getting away from the noise and construction," said James Rathbun, who lives across the street from the bar.

Next door, Dayle Carter, a worker at El Mundo, says the store has taken a hit. 

"Business has been a bit slower today, not many people coming in or avoiding the area," she said.

"Usually if it's kind of a nice-ish day, we have more traffic, like on the weekend especially."