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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.

Election Day in Canada – May 2, 2011


Stephen Harper, Canadian politician

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Well a historic election has just taken place in Canada. The Bloc was decimated in Quebec, and almost wiped off the map. Newfoundland told Conservatives what to do with themselves. The Greater Toronto Area is painted blue and Toronto has gone NDP Orange. Also, it looks like we have our very first Green member of Parliament. So what went wrong for the Liberals? They took their support for granted. Canadians were looking for change and they did not see it in the Liberals, in Ontario. Yes, there was a lot of vote splitting, however lets be honest. Ontario has been red for a long time. This is a breakthrough for the Conservatives in Ontario. The question is, can they live up to that support?

The G.T.A is an important battleground and they better take note. As for the NDP, they better not take their Quebec support for granted. The Bloc imploded, Liberals were yesterdays news and they did not like the Conservatives. So we are left with the NDP. Jack the time to start working is now. As for the Liberals, there is a lot of soul searching.

However I will offer this advice to all parties. (1) Liberals, you need to go back to your roots. Your party is not dead. I’d rather say that it is in hibernation and healing. Canadian’s have not forgotten you, rather the opposite happened. You forgot them. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Otherwise, what is the point of the Liberal Party. It is time for you to reconnect. (2) NDP you have been given the chance to prove your worth, so do not disappoint. From the people I have spoken to many parked their vote with the NDP. Also, in Ontario, people simply love and trust Jack Layton.  It will be important, despite a majority Conservative government, that the NDP choose their battles well and fight for those who voted for them. Less we forget, as often Canadians do! (3) Conservatives fought a simple and straight-forward campaign. You delivered your message and Canadians listened. We are concerned about the economy and trust in that has been given to you. However, do not take that trust for granted. A lot of Canadians still do not trust the Conservative Party and a lot of seats were gained from vote splitting. Be careful how you govern. Canadians are watching. Do not slip to the right with arrogance. As Harper said, keep a steady ship. If you can prove your worth maybe your quality will be remembered. (4) Finally, to Elizabeth May and the Green Party. You have made Canadian history! Despite the media ignoring you, thank you for running and not giving up. The Green Party should be a wake up call to ALL parties. People voted for Elizabeth May and the Greens across Canada. Their ideas and policies should not be ignored! Summed up in Elizabeth May’s own words “amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic”. People are wary in Canada and if the status-quo parties cannot deliver, Canadians may decide someone else can.

Congrats to Prime Minister Harper, who has finally gotten a majority government for the Conservative Party. We will all watch, wait and see what policies are implemented and what happens in the next Parliament. See you in 2015!

By Mannee Jay

What is the plan for Transit City now? GTA has worst commutes in 19-city survey


Commuters in the Greater Toronto Area suffer through longer round trips than their counterparts in 18 other major centres, including notoriously congested Los Angeles, according to a new report commissioned by the Toronto Board of Trade.

The board’s second annual “scorecard on prosperity” concluded the average GTA commute lasts a punishing 80 minutes for drivers and public-transit riders alike, putting the region an “embarrassing” last place behind not only L.A., but also the gridlocked metropolises of New York, London and Montreal.

“The report shows [commute times in the GTA] are getting worse,” said Carol Wilding, the president of the board of trade. “So there’s another clearly strong proof point and evidence that says they’re getting worse; we’ve underinvested. We’ve got to get on with it.”

Read More

Transit City Cancelled?

Toronto’s commute times are the longest

The Best Sushi in the GTA – Ajax, Ontario in Durham


I do not normally comment on food, however today I will make an exception. I just had some of the best sushi I have EVER tasted. If you are a fan of sushi / Japanese food you will not be disappointed. It is located at 50 Kingston Road East in Ajax (beside Casey’s) with Dine in / Take Out & Party Trays. In case you are not sure they are in the RioCan Durham Centre in Ajax.

www.makimono.ca

The service is awesome and the prices are good!

Andy MJ / a.k.a the G.T.A Patriot.

What goes around comes around?


I am a fan of the Toronto Island Airport. I like the idea of flying out of the downtown Toronto area, using a convenient connection to places like Ottawa, Montreal and points beyond. I also like the Porter Airline concept, along with the use of Q400Canadian technology in the Q400 from Bombardier. I believe that as long as there is not a “quick and convenient” connection to Pearson International or a direct link to Hamilton International, then the airport must stay for the time being. I will not get into the idea of why no one has considered Buttonville Airport, with some type of direct link to downtown or finally completing the Pickering Airport first. That is a topic for another day! Porter Airlines said it has gone to court to try to break up the ties between Jazz Air and Air Canada. Porter airlines has been flying, for a year, out of Toronto Island airport. Now let’s get through the smoke-screen and look at this closely. Is something else going on? I’ve always liked the underdog story; however I think Porter has some larger issues now, not the making of their own. Or are they? Remember that Jazz was essentially “kicked out” of the Toronto Island. Now, SAS has cut 57 flights after grounding all Q400 aircraft. SAS operates on Danish and Swedish domestic routes, as well as European routes. Of course I do not think that there is anything wrong with the Q400. However, that is not a scientific assessment. One has to wonder, with all of the Q400 craft around the world, why has SAS experienced 3 landing gear problem issues in the last 3 months? This has to be investigated. However, Porter will now have arrows flying at them from all directions now. There will be groups and vested interest groups calling for the grounding of Porter. It really does not matter what we think about the Island airport. However I am curious, if the landing gear failed, on landing at Toronto Island airport, would they get out safely or get waterlogged? In addition, if this lawsuit fails, Porter’s days may be numbered in Toronto. However, with all of the backroom deals, bridge construction issues and obvious manipulation of whomever “got dibs” at the Toronto Island airport you really just have to say. “What goes around comes around, eh!”

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


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Weekend Lakeshore West GO Train service extended starting October 28


Starting Sunday, October 28 weekend train trips will now start and end at Aldershot GO Station, rather than Oakville GO Station. The extension offers new weekend service for Bronte and Appleby passengers. This is a big improvement and gain for G.T.A residents. On weekends one can now take trips from Oshawa to Burlington. Hopefully, this is permanent and at some point maybe all-day service to Hamilton will begin. We can only hope that further improvements start to appear on other GO transit lines around the Greater Toronto Area.


For more information, on the changes, go to the GO Transit website.

Merging the TTC and GO under GTTA control?


The Toronto Star, CityTV (Breakfast Television) and other media outlets are reporting that the TTC maybe “high-jacked” by the Liberal Government of Ontario, which may have been secretly planned all along. Rumors are flying high that the TTC may be taken over by the Government of Ontario and merged with GO Transit, under the umbrella of the GTTA (Greater Toronto Transit Authority). Many have believed that this would eventually happen, since the TTC has become so large and important to the welfare of the GTA that it may have become just too large for the City of Toronto to handle. Of course speculation is that this may have been their plans all along. Many have wondered, for a while now, why the province was so adamant on expanding the TTC into Vaughan, and beyond, when it seem illogical for Toronto to care on managing transit into the other regions of Toronto. Greg Sorbara, one of the proponents of the plan, tied up funds to ensurCity Halle that the expansion into Vaughan took place. If this is the case it may have simply been the master plan of the province. Now the Liberal Government has a majority and there would be no stopping them from doing this. Of course this is only rumored, however one has to wonder if this was not the plan, than why bother with the GTTA? The Metropass has passed the mythical bar of $100, now costing $109 dollars. With the TTC complaining about funding, almost every year, the province may simply believe that the TTC is just too much for the City of Toronto to handle, removing control of the Toronto symbol from David Millers hands.

Ironically, moving the control of the TTC to the province would allow Toronto to better balance their books, now that council passed the new taxes. In some ways it would seem that the province may have been waiting for the results. Or it maybe a simple choice of choosing what they feel is best. We know that the Liberal government, although they promised, has not uploaded services that were downloaded during the Mike Harris years. What would happen if the province simply decides to take control of the TTC, covering all costs and leave everything else as is? Would, removing the TTC from Toronto’s books balance the budget? It definitely would help, however how would service be affected? Would the province run the service as is, or run it like GO Transit? Would they merge services with GO Transit? Would they start Zone fares? Would you be able to jump on the “GO” and then to the TTC seamlessly? There are hosts of unanswered questions. Or, is it time for the TTC to simply grow up?

TTC StreetcarThe TTC is a Toronto icon, from the storied streetcars of yesteryear to the way the subways were originally created along Yonge Street. I will not go into a rant about the TTC not being able to innovate and change the way they do business. The TTC, unlike other transit systems across North America, receives little Federal funding for operating costs. However, at least the Federal government did kick in the needed funding for the extension of the subway to Vaughan (ill-conceived, but done nonetheless). If this really does happen then some of the moves the government made, along with their promises for Move2020, would make sense. What we should debate is whether this is a good idea or a bad one? I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea, but do not be too quick to jump on the bandwagon? Does the province understand the needs of Malvern, King Street West, Don Mills, North Etobicoke or the Beaches? What about those routes that do not make a lot of money? Will they be continued or operate like other jurisdictions? Do they think streetcars or buses are more important? Do they care to support the “Transit City” initiative or Subway expansion? What does this mean for the YRT and VIVA? How about Mississauga Transit? These are all unanswered questions, which Torontonians, and GTA residents, should think about and want answers to. What maybe good for Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga and others, may not be good for Toronto, and so visa versa. The debate on merging the TTC with GO, and surrounding systems, has been going on for years, with pros and cons on both sides. This was not on the table during the last provincial election; however loosing the TTC may be the evolution of progress or the greatest public transit “coup” ever conceived by the Province of Ontario.

Read more news from the Toronto Star Article, below.
http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/269896


Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

CITY-TV moves from 299 Queen Street West and gets a new Toronto home at Dundas Square


CITY-TV’s iconic street level studios are moving. The television station’s new parent announced they will be leaving their long-time residence at 299 Queen Street West for a new location on Dundas Square. Yesterday, Rogers Communications announced it had entered into an agreement to buy the Olympic Torch building at 35 Dundas St. East.

I do not want to believe that they are actually moving to there new location, however since the CRTC felt that they could not own both CFTO and CITY-TV they had to go to Rogers. I did not expect Bell to give up the “hallowed” location of 299 Queen Street West. Its unfortunate, however I wonder how this will affect City-TV personalities that work for City-TV and other enterprises such as Bravo, FashionTelevision and others. In some ways I was surprised that the CRTC did not allow Bell to choose, which station to give up. I am sure that they would have given up CFTO, but in the end this may be the best possible situation. We could not expect Rogers to continue to run City-TV from 299 Queen Street West. Being near “Dundas Square” may actual bring some change to the station and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the City-TV gang.

To see the full article, see below:

read more | digg story

Toronto and the surrounding regions are not immune to ecological change


The environment is important to all of us in the Greater Toronto Area. This is not merely a governmental and environmental group issue. With the awareness of the effects of greenhouse gasses we are ever increasingly looking to both government and industry to provide answers to the multifaceted problems we face. Regardless of the fact that we are becoming more aware of the impacts of looming ecological problems, the majority of people still act in a fashion that lacks an understanding on how much we impact the earths environment. Toronto and the surrounding regions are not immune to ecological disaster and change. We can no longer disregard the issues of population growth, ecological change and regressive beliefs, which hold our planet in the balance. We must take the time to tackle these problems and evolve in our thinking about planet Earth and the urban areas in the Toronto region.

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

Time to get more use out of the Sheppard Subway line and go west?


To be honest, I love subways and I have a bit of a bias towards the Sheppard Subway line. I have always believed that if the subway was completed, or at least ½ done, than it would have never been considered as an option to close or shut down, in the Toronto tax crunch. I still blame the Harris “conservatives” for their shortsighted plan to fill in the Eglinton West Subway dig, which was already well under way. Along with the plan to offer a no frills Sheppard subway line, stopping it at Don Mills, rather than the obvious Victoria Park, or even better yet Warden Avenue in Scarborough. Regardless, what was done is done and we have a subway that needs finishing. However, there maybe a better plan, that has not been considered. The fact is that the Sheppard line exists and it needs to be completed. One of the transportation issues, I have found, in the city is the lack of an east-west line across the top of the city. Now that the Liberal Government has decided that the subway will go to Vaughan; even though I feel that it should only go to York University for now, consideration should be given to the idea of completing the Sheppard Subway westwards and then curving the Sheppard line north-west to York University and beyond. It was pointed out to me by ‘Cal’, from the Toronto LRT information blog,

“that extending the Sheppard line west to Downsview then up to York U/Steeles may be a better use of the money in terms of providing a more useful connection and making the Sheppard line more useful.”

In addition, the Sheppard Subway lines signaling system and design are based on newer technology, which would allow greater flexibility in the operation of trains (I.e. driver-less subway cars, the possibility of multiple lines, operations in different directions, etc…). It has already been stated that millions (maybe more) would have to be spent to upgrade the Yonge-University and Spadina lines. If this is the case, why not simply complete the Sheppard line westwards, along Sheppard Avenue and then northwards? Along Sheppard we would only need a stop at Bathurst, for now and since the trains are only 4 cars long, for now the platforms could be a bit smaller (in terms of the amount of people using the line). In addition, albeit maybe a bit of pie in the sky thinking, but we could also consider imploring some New York Subway style options in the northern part of Toronto. I remember at one point, before the EA (Environment Assessment) was completed for the Spadina line to York University one of the Toronto councilors wanted the line to go along Finch westwards towards Jane & Finch and beyond, due to the high-density in the area.We all know that the TTC will not send all trains north into Vaughan. I believe that it will be every third train; however I could be wrong (anyone can update me on that one to correct me on the intervals). This means that there will need to be a larger trail-track or interchange at either the Steeles or YorkUniversity stations. If this is the case, why not send one portion northwards into Vaughan and the other westwards along Finch or better yet , using a cheaper option, the Finch Hydro corridor into Etobicoke and beyond, using a Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line instead? This is just an idea; however I would hope that Toronto officials and the provincial government would think outside the box a bit and complete the Sheppard line. It’s just an idea, but I hope that the Sheppard line put to better use.You will notice that I am not advocating going eastwards to Scarborough Town Centre. I just believe that if we can “kill two birds with one stone”, than lets use the Sheppard Line to complete Greg Sorbara’s dream of a subway to Vaughan and get a little more use out of the subway. I am a big believer in portions of the “Transit City” plan, offered by the City of Toronto. I just feel that we need to somehow finish or put Sheppard to better use. Of course I would have preferred an LRT, for Sheppard in the past, but that was said and done (no sense crying over split milk). If we have no choice, in getting a line to YorkUniversity than why not maximize what we can do for the city, now? Once the Sheppard-Vaughan-Finch line is completed, then we can end this argument and stain on Toronto’s past. We can then move onto using LRT, light-rail and other forms of technology to move people around the Greater Toronto Area. The unfortunate thing is politics, may again get in the way or progress. I can only hope that officials in charge will do the right thing.

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

For Ontarians, especially 905ers and 289ers, be sure to vote today!


Do not make the excuse of not voting today! We like to say that we do not care, but complain later when we do not get what we want. For more information on candidates, please check out http://www.democraticspace.com

Make sure you know about the referendum, for both the “Yes” and the “No” camps!

Vote MMP

No MMP

 

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

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