Tag Archives: Metrolinx

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

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.

Link

Keep it simple stupid Air Rail link options dead on arrival


Toronto Skyline

Toronto Skyline (Photo credit: Bobolink)

Keep it simple stupid Air Rail Link options dead on arrival

It was actually a novel idea and it was nice to see a unity at City Hall. They may have been a bit far reaching, however it would have been nice to see connections at Eglinton and maybe St. Clair. However this was “dead on arrival”. As indicated on NewsTalk1010 this morning, the Government said “what part of express rapid air link to you not understand”.  Well I guess council got it’s answer? In some sense it was nice to see a decision actually made by Metrolinx. It would have been nice for them to offer an opinion and some decisions in regards to Transit City.

On Wednesday council will consider a motion put forward by Councillor Frances Nunziata – a close ally of Rob Ford – that calls for a major revamp of the Air Rail Link planned to run between Pearson Airport and Union Station by 2015.  

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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/

York Region Viva bus service ends Wednesday September 25 2008 at 4am – No service in York Region


 

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

680News staff | Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 7:42 pm

 

Thirty-five-thousand commuters in York Region will have to find another way to work or school come Thursday morning.

That’s because Viva bus drivers will go on strike starting at 4 a.m.

Union members turned down a tentative settlement by 61 per cent, Wednesday, and that group represents 165 bus operators.

In a press release, Bob Kinnear, President of ATU Local 113, which represents the bus drivers said “we are a democratic union and our members have spoken.”

He added “Veolia management [the company that runs Viva Transit] knew that the strike would being tomorrow (Thursday) if their offer was turned down and I have informed them of the results of the vote.”

The major issues in negotiations are wages and sick time.

At this point no further talks have been scheduled.

All York Region Transit (YRT) buses will continue to run as usual because they are not part of Viva Transit.

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Eglinton subway not in cards – David Miller


But only paperwork in the way of Spadina extension, Mayor says
By: Natalie Alcoba
National Post Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008

Government officials signalled yesterday that construction will soon start on the anticipated Spadina subway extension, even as the Mayor dismissed a new push to build a subway along Eglinton Avenue. “You should build subways in extremely dense neighbourhoods where you have two-way traffic because there are offices and people living … you don’t build subways where there’s not that ridership and it’s not projected to be” along Eglinton, Mayor David Miller said yesterday. “And there isn’t the money, it’s that simple.”

Toronto’s ambitious Transit City project, which is planning for new light rail lines across the city, includes a light rail route along Eglinton that would extend from the airport to Kennedy, and run underground in a a 10-kilometre tunnel between Laird Drive and Keele Street.

But area city councillors and Metrolinx, the province’s GTA transportation agency, believe Eglinton may in fact warrant a subway. Metrolinx chairman Rob MacIsaac said the agency has not settled on the subway as the best route, but preliminary ridership results suggest it could use something more than a Light Rail Transit. The LRT is projected to cost $2.24-billion, which Mr. Miller says is about $4-billion less than the cost of a subway.

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TTC streetcar deal to Alstom?


Alstom Trams and Streetcars for Toronto

Alstom Trams and Streetcars for Toronto

By Christina Blizzard

It’s a contract worth $3 billion in tax dollars and thousands of jobs for the provincial economy. The TTC’s bid to buy 204 low-floor streetcars is the largest public transit contract in the world right now. Yet it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the way it’s been negotiated is more like a soap opera than a massive public transit deal.

In what would be a major upset, it seems likely the deal will go to a French company, Alstom, and not to the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay.

Last year, the TTC issued a request for proposal (RFP) from bidders. It’s a two-phase deal worth $1.4 billion in the first part and up to $3 billion by the time it is finished.

There were only three serious bids at the time — Siemens, the big German corporation, Bombardier, and Tram Power, a small British company whose bid, according to TTC Chair Adam Giambrone, was deemed “not commercially viable.”

In July, it was thought Bombardier was a shoo-in when Siemens abruptly withdrew from the bidding. Industry insiders were shocked when the TTC announced the Bombardier bid didn’t meet their technical requirements. Not just that, they made dire warnings that the Bombardier streetcars would derail, a claim Bombardier says is ridiculous.

In a July 26 press release Bombardier called for TTC commissioners to conduct a review of the decision after a team of Bombardier engineers and experts reviewed the TTC’s reasons for the disqualification and “found no acceptable rationale.”

The TTC threw the deal open for all to come and negotiate. Giambrone told me yesterday there are three finalists for the deal: Bombardier, Siemens and a last minute entry, Alstom, which built the Washington subway. Between the three companies they have 90% of the world public transit market.

All this comes at an embarrassing time for the provincial government. They recently instituted a 25% Canadian content regulation for public transit projects.

The TTC will make a mockery of that requirement if it awards the deal to an off-shore company at a time when the manufacturing sector in this province is in such dire straits. Thunder Bay has been particularly hard hit with the loss of jobs in the forestry sector.

“It is not the obligation of the TTC to do province-wide economic development,” Giambrone said in a telephone interview yesterday.

He pointed out the TTC pioneered the 25% Canadian content requirement even before the province mandated it.

“It was a realistic and a reasonable compromise that allowed us to have fair competition while at the same time ensuring that economic benefits come back to the Toronto area. The automobile industry is centred around the GTA so that will produce a lot of parts for it. There is also the possibility of assembly in Thunder Bay,” he said.

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More political interference with the Transit City plans will cause delays


Light-rail for the Eglinton crosstown route

Light-rail for the Eglinton crosstown route

Leave the Transit City plan alone and do not attempt to hijack the Eglinton-Crosstown line or any other part of the Transit City plan. Who am I speaking to? Well none other than Metrolinx. The organizational body in charge of coordinating transit plans across the city. The Eglinton-crosstown line will meet the needs of Toronto. I will not go back into my opinions on the ill-fated and wasted expense of a subway extension to Vaughan and the political interference in that situation.

The Eglinton-crosstown line will essentially be underground from the Leslie area, through the mid-point of the city. The question is should it be upgraded to handle a full subway or should it link to the Scarborough RT and its “upgraded vehicles”. Its starting to sound like the same old political interference that happened when the original RT was supposed to be a streetcar/LRT on a dedicated ROW. We ended up with those wonderful mini-trains (UTDC), which of course can barely handle a Canadian winter. I do not have all of the details, however you can read more on The Toronto LRT Information Page. Sure it is not a full subway, but we do not need one on Eglinton. The character and charm of light-rail can work, if it is done right! The Eglinton line will be just fine, as long as there is no political and 3rd party interference. The danger, as always, is that if we leave it to the politicians, we may end up again with something we cannot afford or a half completed job. If you really want to get to the airport, I doubt you will be taking the Eglinton line anyway. Maybe Metrolinx should concentrate their time and effort on other solutions or GO Transit? However, don’t take my word for it. Check out the following link for information on LRT (light-rail transit) and get informed. We do not need more empty promises. We do not need another group attempting to undermine a good plan. Keep it simple and lets just get something done for the city of Toronto and now!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. The G.T.A Patriot

More information on LRT (Light-rail) is available at http://lrt.daxack.ca/


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Before You Move: Where Are The Next Transit Hubs?


Toronto Light Rail NetworkHere’s an easy question: where do you live?

Now here’s a much harder one: where should you live to ensure you’re near a GTA transit hub and how will the TTC’s plans for expansion impact the value of your home?

The answer to both queries can be worth thousands of dollars because the old real estate axiom about location, location, location has a well-known addendum: being near a subway or major transit route can instantly increase what your home is worth without you having to do anything at all.

But can you tell where they’re going to build or if the place you’re looking to buy will one day find itself on a subway or major transit line? The answer is yes, if you believe government plans about where officials hope to put the new routes.

Adding transit takes years of planning and a commitment of millions of dollars and all of it has to be done well in advance. That means the powers-that-be know where they’ll be putting the new tracks and trains as much as a decade or more before a shovel actually hits the ground.

One of those locations could be along waterfront-adjacent Cherry Street, which would make the folks on Condo Row lick their collective chops at the thought of bulging resale values.

“Streetcar access is phenomenal in terms of adding to value and presence … people want to be on a streetcar line,” said David Jackson, a Toronto urban planner.

Plans for the new tracks could start as early as spring 2009, while the underground expansion of the Don Mills subway line all the way to Morningside could have homeowners on the north side of town dreaming of dollars, though there’s no official date for that project to commence.

So just how much of a bottom line difference are we talking about here?

“Easily thirty to fifty thousand dollars,” confirmed Toronto realtor Janice Mackie. “Thirty thousand dollars is a parking spot … you don’t have to purchase that.”

What’s more, given the constant rise in gas prices and the GTA’s traffic volume, the Better Way may soon be looking even better still.

And while the two mentioned above are among the more central and immediate transit expansion schemes in the works, there are dozens of others being hatched around the GTA and Ontario as well.

Toronto Transit City

Here’s where you can check out the best laid plans that are being laid out right now.

Transit City: Can tell you about planned expansions in the city of Toronto.

Transit City map: Have a peek at what a future light rapid transit system might look like.

Move Ontario 2020: See the plans for the rest of the GTA here.

Move Ontario 2020: See a map for the GTA

Waterfront Toronto: The downtown core may soon look a lot different than it currently does.

Metrolinx: Transforming transit in the GTHA

See original CityTV News video and read more | digg story

Metrolinx is the new name for the GTTA


The GTTA (Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) has finally released a new name: Metrolinx. I first read about that in the news today and the reason that the officials want to change that because the GTTA name would confuse the GTAA – the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. As a result, Metrolinx is the new name.

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