Category Archives: Public Transit

Let’s talk about transit at cross-roads again in Toronto


T1 TTC subway car parked in St. George subway ...

Transit is now on the radar. Everyone is talking about it. Yes, talking! Will we fund transit? How much will it cost? Will it really ever get done? I sense that there are a lot of skeptics; weary of trusting such a bold plan in the hands of politicians. Let’s be honest, we have been here before. We all remember the expansion plan that was pretty much killed by the Mike Harris and the Ontario PC Party. The common sense revolution took hold and since we didn’t have the money it was put on hold. So we got a third of a Sheppard line. However the PC party was not the only government to play with transit. We could have had an entire streetcar / LRT network in Scarborough. Instead we got the RT. What citizens are tired of is talking and fighting over transit. We need action, along with a long-term plan. Provincial and Municipal elections are coming soon. We finally have shovels in the ground. Question is will we fill up the sandbox again just so our grandchildren can continue to talk about it?

By: @iammannyj

The “One City” 30-year plan possibly 20-years too late?


English: "Transit City" billboard pr...

English: “Transit City” billboard promoting proposed LRT expansion in Toronto by the TTC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ford says “No”, and Karen says “Yes”! Most Torontonians know we need subways and better transit. We need a proper transit system in Toronto and transit is a smart investment. I was amazed to see how bad transit is in Toronto, when I attempted to make a simple trip on the roads the other day. To travel on Eglinton, from Wynford to Warden, took approximately 20-30 minutes, and I thought I was taking a short-cut. On another day I got off the 401 and got stuck on York Mills. I could not believe how many cars were on the road.  I understand why people are stressed. Drivers are upset in traffic, it makes sense. Trips that should take 10-15 minutes are now taking 45 minutes to an hour. There is not even a proper strategy for bicyclist downtown.

So what to do now? Well we have ‘another’ new 30-year transit plan. I have some news for our politicians, and I will keep it simple. We don’t have 30-years! I think we actually only have 10 years, max 15. We need shovels in the ground now and some out of the box ideas.

1. GO Transit has lines and tracks crossing through the city. Keep it simple! We need trains running on these lines in minimum 20-30 minute intervals; both ways, not in one direction downtown. Let’s utilize some of the infrastructure that exists and make it better.

2. Open up David Millers original Transit City plan and do more. Lets enhance that plan and fix what needs to be fixed. Get it done! No more long-term plans. Let’s get the maximum value out of the plans we have.

3. Let’s get a downtown “No Frills” relief line for Toronto. It does not have to be fancy. There are under-utilized CP/CN lines in the city. Put something on them and get people moving! In Ottawa they created a line on a single track, with track switching on certain portions of the line. It was not fancy, but they got it done.

4. Where are the BRT‘s and bike networks? Lets use our hydro corridors for BRT’s and a proper bike network.

5. Let’s get inventive and use Lake Ontario to move people to downtown Toronto, between Oshawa, Bowmanville, Hamilton and more.

6. Possibly re-visit Leslie as a relief to the Don Valley Parkway, maybe even using it for transit. We don’t need a massive change, but when we get to Eglinton somehow connect the road to the Bayview extension via a tunnel or via the valley in a creative fashion.

7. Merge transit across the city and lets get Presto implemented everywhere! Should Metrolinx be in charge of the entire transit system across the G.T.A?

We have to stop saying Torontonians, and G.T.A residents, cannot afford new taxes. I don’t like them either, but I don’t like to see people idling their cars. I don’t like stress. It’s pointless, if we know the solution to a better and healthier city. We do not need fancy, we just need to move! We know something must be done, so let’s get it done now; not 30 years down the road. It’s nice to have a plan, but we have had too many since the Liberal Peterson Government. We need transit in 10-15 years, not 30.

Link

Different modes of transit in Greater Toronto – removing political spin and disinformation


Photo By Myke Waddy, Sept 5th 2006. Health Sci...

Photo By Myke Waddy, Sept 5th 2006. Health Sciences LRT Station, Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Explaining different modes of transit in the G.T.A; removing political spin and disinformation

Found a great article on transit through “What happens to public opinion when LRT is explained”. It is a great piece, which is quite informative. Take some time to read the article. Cherise Burda takes to time to explain the differences between subways, light rail, GO Trains, rapid bus and right-of-way streetcar modes of transit.

Trying to ease the pressure in downtown Toronto


http://www.thestar.com/mobile/news/cityhallpolitics/article/1168829–councillor-rallies-support-for-double-edged-subway-relief-plan

Link

New construction timeline for Transit City


Overview of Anonas LRT Station

Overview of Anonas LRT Station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New construction timeline for Transit City

Despite 16 months of flailing on the transit file, all four of Toronto’s new provincially funded light rail lines will open within the original timeframe of 2020.

Only the hotly contested Sheppard LRT will be completed much later than it would have been before Mayor Rob Ford came to office and stalled all plans for street-level transit expansion.

Now, instead of the Sheppard LRT opening in 2014 as originally scheduled, work will only begin that year. The Finch LRT is scheduled to break ground in 2015. Both projects are expected to take about four years to complete.

The debate over Subways or LRT transit is over – David Miller will see his vision for Toronto


"Transit City" billboard promoting p...

David Miller‘s original plan for Transit City will go ahead. The debate is over and it’s time to move on. It is pointless to delay building transit in Toronto and we should accept the conclusion. According to the original plan, if Transit City was started on time the Sheppard portion would have been completed by 2014. Hopefully the province will get it done quickly and on budget. Any further delays will add to the overall costs. Oddly enough construction on the Sheppard portion of the LRT will not begin until 2014, in a municipal election year. Is it a coincidence? Rob Ford may want to consider leaving this issue alone during the next election. Let’s look at the Downtown Relief Line (DRL), or something else. Unless he has a Federal ace card up his sleeve he may find himself on the wrong side again.

http://www.thestar.com/mobile/news/transportation/article/1167448–metrolinx-recommends-sheppard-lrt-building-start-in-2014

David Miller launching "ICT Toronto"...

David Miller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Poll shows that we want subways and we are willing to pay for it


The Toronto Transit Commission's bus #1303, a ...

The Toronto Transit Commission's bus #1303, a Daimler Buses North America/Orion Bus Industries Orion 07.501 "VII" NG HEV, travels west along St. Clair Avenue East on the 102 Markham Road route in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Greater Toronto Area supports a local sales tax dedicated to public transit and other infrastructure by 74%. Just when you though the transit debate was over in Toronto, we may be in for another round. In one corner Mayor Rob Ford who wants subways without taxes and on the other side council who wants taxes but no subways. As I said before there must be some compromise, but so far egos are prevailing. Both sides want to win, at the expense of others. If we plan on creating subways, with taxes, we should first look into a Downtown Relief Line and get something to help the Yonge line. I remember a while back wondering why council never looked into sending the Sheppard line south, through the Don Valley overground and running express to downtown; connecting at possibly York Mills, Lawrence, Eglinton and then express downtown. It should be interesting to see what debate turns up in Toronto council regarding this poll. Maybe we should forget Toronto and just fund transit initiatives in Peel, York and Durham region. It should be another interesting month in the G.T.A.

A great source for transit information – The LRT Information Blog


Subways North of Steeles

my photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With transit in Toronto taking a back seat to casino expansion and red-light districts it’s nice to see that there is still action taking place outside of the G.T.A. In particular York Region and expansion of the Yonge line, north of Steeles and LRT expansion in Peel. With the Yonge line I am still a bit concerned about the load factors affecting affecting travel along the route. Toronto needs to seriously look into expansion of a Downtown Relief Line, as soon as possible; to ease the congestion on the Y-U-S. The Toronto LRT Information Page provides updates and commentary on both the Yonge Subway extension and the Brampton / Mississauga LRT expansion plans.

Read more

Subways for the Downtown Relief Line


The war over Sheppard was barely finished and Andy Byford is already talking about a Down-town Relief line; hoping to take the pressure off the packed Yonge-University-Spadina subway. For years transit leaders have talked creating a line, however other priorities have always taken precedence. With Andy Byford openly talking about the line, maybe we will start to move away from the wrangling over transit. Originally the plan was part of the “Big Move”. The line, initially, would start at Pape station and then move onwards, with a limited amount of stops, to Union station.

TTC - Downtown Relief Line

Original Proposed DRL for Toronto

At the moment the talk merely hovers around Pape to Union, however there is the potential possibility of sending it north to Eglinton East (through Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park). Doing this could negate the need for a Don Mills LRT, opting for a BRT. There may also be the possibility of sending the line, over-ground through the Don Valley, to the Sheppard line; which would at least give some sense of completion to the line.

Leaside Bridge

Over-ground is definitely a cheaper option than underground. However a big problem is the Millword (Leaside) bridge. Sending a subway under the bridge would be quite costly. Closing the bridge, for subway construction, would be a traffic nightmare for the area. I imagine, for now, sending the line into the Don Valley area is out of the cards, however you never know what options the TTC may come up with; being that the Don Valley and the option of by-passing Thorncliffe all together or utilizing the open corridors in the area (Hydro, etc…) It will be interesting to see if any happens or if the DRL is ever built. Some will have to be done to move pressure from the Yonge line. I imagine the next civic election will be something to behold in Toronto. With Mayor Ford pushing for subways and both levels of government out of cash, how will these subways be built?

Game over for Rob Ford in Toronto?


It seems that the transit debate is over. With a vote of 24 – 19, Rob Ford lost his battle to get the Sheppard Subway built and completed. Torontonians’ have endured a long battle over transit, with Rob Ford championing the cause of subways for the suburbs. Unfortunately it seems that he lost that battle and now we will finally turn to the alternatives of Light-Rail-Transit, using Bombardier made vehicles. For some the thought of never seeing the Sheppard subway completed, forever ended at Don Mills Road, seems to be a hard pill to swallow. So is the battle now over? I can only say, with an upcoming federal budget it would be nice to see a surprise and real long-term funding for transit. Years ago David Miller pressured the government, to no avail. Maybe both sides should have gotten their heads together to look at the bigger picture? For now the debate is over and we will move forward with the options we have. Maybe now we can start to explain to the citizens of Toronto the differences between a streetcar and a LRT (or tram). Rob Ford claimed that he will win the war. So what does this mean for Toronto? Of course, with an upcoming budget maybe we will just need to talk about it a bit longer

The Sheppard Subway

Stuck between a rock and a tunnel?


Well its come down to the wire and a final vote on the future of transit in the city. Will we go with an LRT module for Sheppard, leaving an unfinished subway at Don Mills? Or will we go all in and spend all of our capital on one project? In the end the choice should be yours, however its not. Its unfortunate that such an important decision will be decided by a group of politicians that cannot seem to get anything done on transit. What will the long-term legecy be for the people of Scarborough? A subway, an LRT or 20 more years of talking?

Running out of cards to play. What will Mayor Rob Ford do?


Seems that Rob Ford is stuck “between a rock and a hard place”. With the provincial government planning major cuts where does Mayor Ford get support for subways from? Today the recommendation will be for a LRT option, on Sheppard Avenue; putting the nail in the coffin, to ever seeing the Sheppard subway completed. Years ago stated that maybe the Sheppard subway should have gone west and complete the northern part of the Spadina line into York Region. Now Sheppard will remain a short stunted subway, forever displaying the fact that Howard Moscoe was possibly right. What do I mean? An option, like the Eglinton Cross-Town line, was available. If the Sheppard subway was an underground LRT, similar to Eglinton, I have a feeling we would have not had the debate. More than likely, due to costs, the Sheppard line, Eglinton and others may have already been completed. Now we will have to live with the decisions made. We cannot turn back the clock and convert the Sheppard subway into a LRT. It’s too late. So what do we do now. The people of Scarborough rather have something, then nothing. I imagine years from now we will still be complaining about Sheppard. Unless the Harper conservatives and the Federal government come of the rescue, Mayor Ford may end up with no choice but to concede to the Sheppard LRT. Unless he has a trump card “up his sleeve”?