Tag Archives: BRT

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.

Conversion the Scarborough RT to an LRT Not a Dead Issue according to reports


The possibility of converting the Scarborough RT to true LRT when its current fleet reaches the end of its life, instead of conversion to ICTS Mark-II, is still being considered by the TTC.

In the supplementary agendafor the October 23 TTC meeting, the status update on Transit City includes a section on the planned upgrading and extensions of the Scarborough RT. The following paragraph appears in the document:

The project team is currently re-visiting the option of converting the Scarborough RT from its current vehicle technology to light rail technology, when the current fleet of vehicles reaches the end of its service life.

Read more at the Toronto LRT Information Site

Website: http://lrt.daxack.ca/

Are you looking for transit related information?


Are you looking for transit related information? Have you had enough of the political promises? Look no further than the links below. From opinion on GO Transit expansion to the TTC spending and more, check out these links below for excellent commentary on transit related issues.

  • The Toronto LRT Information Page – informing GTA residents on what LRT (Light Rail Transit) is all about; promoting the idea of LRT as a preferred rapid transit option in most of the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Steve Munro – Transit Advocate – One of the best, if not top, transit advocate for the GTA. Taking time to analyze our transit options and how we spend our precious transit funds in the Toronto area.
  • Stephen Rees Blog – A transit advocate who worked for the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority on wide variety of policy issues. He offers enlightened opinion on transit related issues and light-rail.
  • Durham Transit Review – Covering news about public transit in Durham Region in Ontario.
  • Urban Toronto – Transportation & Infrastructure – Discuss transit related issues in Toronto.

If you have anymore links, please feel free to let me know and I will add them to my blogroll!

Andy MJ
Toronto,
Ontario

The Mississauga BRT


The Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project is a high-efficiency transit corridor running east-west across Mississauga. The BRT will support all-station stop and extensive express bus service for thousands of riders per day, making it faster and easier for you to travel to, from and through Mississauga and the GTA.

Mississauga BRT

For information about the Mississauga BRT, see the link below.
http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/brtbasics

The Subway Now group of York Region and the VIVA BRT


In an effort to be entirely impartial, posting the opinions of others, I’ve decided to list a link to the “Subway Now” group. Although I understand what they are attempting to do I still wonder who is going to really end up paying for the extension of the subway to Richmond Hill at Hwy #7 and Yonge Street. I definitely like the picture of the subway train that they are using for their banner. I wonder if that’s what our new subway trains will look like (O-Train’s from Ottawa). But, I digress! Again, you can read a statement from the website below. Essentially they want to stop plans for a BRT, using VIVA buses, down the middle of Yonge Street in favour of a subway to the 407. Tax payers of Markham, Richmond Hill and Thornhill be prepared to “pay your share” and not expect Toronto to pay for the operation of it alone. Ironically, this extension probably makes more sense then the Sorbara Subway. However, I am worried about the amount of people that will travel on Yonge. Will it end up being a Scarborough RT situation, where the subway cannot handle the amount of people traveling on the line?

As a side note, if you are wondering, yes I’ve added them to the public transit links on the right panel; however let’s not confuse this with outright support. I still think Toronto has larger problems and added more people to an already congested Yonge line is not going to help Toronto’s woes. You will start to see links from various transit advocates in a new panel, as soon as I get to it.

From their website:
York Region should abandon its costly and controversial plans to construct dedicated bus lanes down the centre of Yonge Street, now that the provincial government has committed funding for the subway extension from Finch to HWY 407.

Since the Government is throwing around funds and gifts this season maybe a subway line along Don Mills Road, from Fairview Mall, or Finch, would at least help to alleviate some pressure on the Yonge line. But I guess I am dreaming in Technicolor!

By Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

For more information about the “Subway Now” group, see the link below.

http://subwaynow.ca/

http://subwaynow.ca/blogus/

Sheppard: TTC subway to nowhere? Then finish it!


“Construction booms, but opinions remain sharply divided as the often-derided Sheppard line turns 5. The futuristic chrome plating in Sheppard-Yonge station already looks a little scuffed. But it was only five years ago – Nov. 22, 2002 – that then-mayor Mel Lastman cut the ribbon to open Toronto’s northern east-west subway line, accompanied by a phalanx of dignitaries, reporters, children and musicians”. Read from the Toronto Star article.

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TTC Sheppard SubwayI could not help myself but to comment on this well written article from the Toronto Star. As always, I still feel that the Sheppard line must be completed before going to Vaughan. VIVA already had a plan for an LRT into Toronto, which would have served the needs to Vaughan residents. As I mentioned before along with going east to Scarborough Town Centre and western portions should be completed also, with the possibility of going north to York University or better yet, west towards Jane and Finch and beyond. The northern portions of the City of Toronto deserve a subway crossing the top of the city from East to West, line the Bloor-Danforth line. I am all for an LRT network, but I also feel that if you start something than it should be finished. Politicians and planners like to talk about intensification and density. If this is the case, please tell me why we are even talking about a subway to Vaughan, better yet to York University? I agree that the Sheppard line could have simply been an LRT; however it is too late for that now. What we have is a subway that should be finished. The problem has always been the cost and unfortunately the longer we wait, the more expensive it gets to dig.

TTC chair Adam Giambrone has been quoted many times saying “Instead of spending a billion dollars to finish the line, we can do (about) 10 times as much LRT for that same amount of money,”.

Sure he is correct! However how is having an LRT along Sheppard, from Malvern to Don Mills station going to provide a seamless mode of transportation for users? Or is it a case of lets just put something there so we do feel so bad about Sheppard? To be honest I understand what they are attempting to do for the city of Toronto. While they are offering the money lets take it and build something quickly before they take the money back. Who knows what will happen if another government gets in power in the future. But lets be honest, are we making the right choices with Transit City? LRT’s can work in the right circumstances if it is done properly, however has anyone noticed the fiasco on the St. Clair ROW? In the end it will be a better option for St.Clair residents, however I beg to wonder if they have really thought out the plan. Not every area has the charm of St.Clair. That’s not to say that other areas are not charming, just different. Streetcars and trams just work well in certain parts of the city where interchanges between stops need to be short in distance.

Looking at the Sheppard line, if it was completed to Scarborough Town Centre, there could have been the opportunity to even go south and connect it to the Bloor-Danforth line. Or better yet, in the not so distant future go west and then south connecting it to the airport? Sure I am dreaming in Technicolor, but I am starting to wonder if they are making the best choices for the city? What about the “intensification” at Scarborough Town Centre? The development that would take place at Scarborough Town Centre would be immense, if the city allows it. There is a large opportunity to allow for high-density development in this part of the city.

I personally believe that they should concentrate on providing upgraded LRT’s for the downtown areas of Toronto, on ROW’s and utilizing “Transit Malls”. In the downtown area “Transit Malls” can work. Queen Street and King Street are early candidates. There are also other routes in the downtown region that could use tram or streetcar type service. In addition, I have often wondered why has Toronto not considered VIVA styled buses for Toronto on BRT’s, instead of LRT’s? VIVA has shown that it can work! Providing people with a comfortable ride and information, as to when the bus will arrive are good options for the city. Don Mills could use a VIVA styled BRT, stopping at only at Steeles, Finch, York Mills, Lawrence, Eglinton, Flemingdon Park and then express to downtown. There are many areas in the city where a VIVA styled system could be used.

Vanhool Extended

In the end we need to finish the Sheppard line and do more with it! Let’s go west with the Sheppard subway line and finish the project; providing fast and convenient transit for other portions of the city. We do not need to go to Vaughan! The city of Toronto needs to take care of its own transit priorities. We can make it work! We just need a politician with vision that will do what must be done!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

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GTTA and the MoveOntario 2020 Plan – Phase 2


It looks like the GTTA has received funding for the following projects. Maybe I am still in disbelief until I see shovels in the ground? I am not in favour of all of the plans listed, but this definitely will be some good news for once for public transit in the Greater Toronto Area. What seems to be lacking is funding for Transit City, other than the head start funding. What is interesting is the Durham BRT funding, which will be a definite boost to transit in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa.
By: Andy MJ (a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot” / Toronto, Ontario)

MoveOntario 2020 Foundation Investments Total: $791.3 million

  • Hamilton A-Line, James-Upper James corridor and Airport connector – $6.9 million
  • Hamilton B-Line, King-Main corridor – $17.4 million
  • Hamilton James Street North GO/VIA Station – Gateway to Niagara – $3.0 million
  • Halton Region Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – $57.6 million
  • Bolton GO Transit service improvements – $600,000
  • Dundas and Hurontario higher-order transit corridor development – $26.5million
  • Mississauga Transitway Hub: Airport-Renforth Gateway – $39.0 million
  • York-VIVA Highway 7, Pine Valley Drive to Kennedy Road – $62.0 million
  • York-VIVA Yonge Street, Richmond Hill Centre to 19th Avenue – $19.0 million
  • York-VIVA Yonge Street, 19th Avenue to Newmarket – $29.0 million
  • Toronto-York Yonge subway extension to Richmond Hill (Phase 1) – $423.7 million
  • Toronto-TTC Transit City Light Rail Transit (LRT) head start – $7.1 million
  • Toronto Yonge Finch-Steeles BRT – $17.3 million
  • Durham-Highway 2 BRT Spine – $82.3 million

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See more information from the link below:

http://www.urbantoronto.ca/showthread.php?t=7454

Toronto unveils ambitious works agenda


“The TTC takes up 46 per cent of the 2008 capital budget. It has to replace aging streetcars, buses and subway cars. Some $79.4 million will be spent on 234 subway cars to replace aging ones and boost capacity. A further $175.5 million will pay for 193 conventional and 50 Wheel-Trans buses and $55 million to start buying 204 low-floor, accessible Light Rail Vehicles to replace existing streetcars. Also, $54.8 million will be spent to improve train control and signals on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line.”

One of the problems I have with the subway going to York University, and beyond, is understanding the need. Do we really need a subway going to York University or would it be better served with a Light-rail network? We should note that if the money, currently tied up to expand the subway to Vaughan, were used instead to fund LRTs, then we would have enough funds to expand the light-rail network throughout the entire city. This expansion would benefit more users of the TTC, rather then the select few. I guess, I am also at odds with the money being spent because they are building a “bus rapid transitway” to York University, despite the expansion of the subway. If they can build a BRT, than why not just keep it simple and make an LRT. The problem is the province seems to be in control of transit expansion and the TTC, not David Miller.

By Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

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Control of TTC deserves study


Transit advocates at Toronto City Hall passionately oppose any suggestion that Queen’s Park might snatch the TTC from municipal hands and put it under a region-wide transportation authority.

“I would fight that tooth and nail,” Mayor David Miller said in a recent interview. “It would be worse than stupid,” declared Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, a member of the Toronto Transit Commission’s governing board. “It reminds us of Mike Harris, who forced the megacity onto Toronto,” said commission chair Adam Giambrone.

From their standpoint, the city would be correct in resisting a transfer of the TTC to the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, an agency set up last year to co-ordinate commuter services from Hamilton in the west, to York Region in the north and to Durham Region in the east, and everywhere in between.

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Invest in transit now, not later


In reading the history of Toronto and the TTC, high investments were made in public transit, which helped the TTC become one of the top transit systems in North America. However during an episode of the Agenda with Steve Paikin, which airs on TVO, one of the panelists mentioned that we need to make investments in transit now, not later. He pointed to the fact that Toronto’s population was at the size of the Mississauga’s, Brampton’s and York Region’s of today and they were digging subway infrastructure. Fast forward to today and places like Mississauga, Brampton, Durham and York Region are bursting at the seams and there is no talk of subways or light-rail. With the Move 2020 plan, the Liberals essentially promised to build pretty much everything that was, and is, on the books. I am not sure I believe that the 17+ billion dollars will be spent (this is Dalton McGuinty); however I do hope that this plan has been carefully thought out. How do these plans help to move large amounts of people quickly and defiantly? Should we not be talking about subways and LRT’s for places like Mississauga and Brampton? We have band-aid solutions now, like the Viva bus service and ideas for BRT right-of-ways, but what about heavy investment in transit. What purpose does bringing the TTC service to Vaughan serve? YRT/VIVA should concentrate on building service for York region, not only relying on Toronto. People do not necessarily head only to downtown now. Hurontario, in Mississauga, would be perfect for an underground subway. Where are the brave politicians, like the days of the old TTC guard, who will make the investment in public transit? If we continue to move down this ‘slow’ path, the Greater Toronto Area will eventually come to a stand-still. We do not need personal political projects that ensure politicians get elected. We need some brave individuals that we put their reputation on the line and do the right thing. Let the people in the know, use their knowhow and get the transit job done for GTA residents now, not later.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario