Thoughts as a newcomer of the famous TO street cars?
I haven't yet ridden one, and I would like to see some data on their energy and temporal efficiency. So far, they are like buses that can't go everywhere. I am unimpressed with Toronto's traffic management. Specifically, it's very disconcerting that you can street park and basically block an entire lane of traffic on 4-lane streets (2 each way) like Bloor, Jane, Dundas, etc.
Also, who's a newcomer, eh?
When I lived close to the point where Queen and King Streets meet, I commuted by streetcar for 2 years on Queen E. and 5-6 years on King E. I'd say I preferred it to a bus/subway commute. The streetcar seemed to be more reliable than the other two in bad weather. I believe streetcars had been considered more energy efficient than buses, but I don't know if that would still be the case with the improvement in the energy efficiency of buses.
The tracks are even more hazardous when wet if not crossing at a right angle. The one fall I took on streetcar tracks happened when I was going over wet tracks at a curve. Got a sprained ligament in my hand from that one.
I took another fall in avoiding a parallel streetcar track. I was on Queen just before Yonge where the road and sidewalk had been dug up, with a very narrow strip between the streetcar track and the hole. A little too narrow - I fell into the hole, still clipped into my bike (I had just started using clipless pedals), and landed on a large soft traffic cone. No injury on that one.
I commuted by bike through Toronto traffic, mostly along Spadina Rd., for about 10 years to junior high school, high school and university. That was before bike lanes existed in Toronto, also before cyclists wore helmets.
It's been a long time since I commuted down Comm. Ave in Boston and had to deal with T tracks. Is the issue that you're on thin tires and you get stuck in a slit? or that the rails are slippery?
Yeah, my bike has 700x25 tires, and the grooves around the rails are large enough for my tires to fit in them unless I cross them at an oblique angle. I think most road/hybrid bike tires would be susceptible to the Death Grooves.
Apparently this is a recognized problem, though I think this approach is susceptible to sampling bias (of emergency room injuries).
Go to the end of Roncesvalles where it meets King and Queen in the wee hours and practice bunny hopping over that labryinth.
Streetcar tracks will become amusing obstacles rather than death traps.
...but ya man, they're sketchy as hell, especially when the roads are slick.