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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.

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

Government fails Toronto Transit again! Transit City is now dead, who can be trusted?


No more funds for Transit CityRocco Rossi will not have to keep his promise to kill Transit City. Dalton and the Liberals may have done it for him? Is this one of the “dumbest decisions ever made?” The government seems to be following in the footsteps of its predescesors and the Mike Harris Progressive Conservatives, when similar projects were ended without understanding the long-term investment in Transit for a viable city. What do you think? Who is fighting for Toronto and the G.T.A?
The G.T.A Patriot
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Fri, 2010-03-26 05:40.
Cheryl Camack

As a part of the Thursday’s provincial budget the McGuinty government announced a belt-tightening of $4 billion over five years that will derail the expansion of public transit projects, essentially cutting Mayor David Miller’s Transit City funding by half.

In a press conference in his city hall office, a seething Miller says he’s “beyond disappointed” by the cuts.

Miller says this is unacceptable to him and it should be to the people of Toronto.

“You don’t balance budget’s by stopping building the future–that’s the job of the government”

Read More

Liberal budget swipes away Transit City funding

Should we now reallocate funding for Transit City?

Click to read poll

Toronto Mayoral candidate Rossi plans on stopping all TTC Light-Rail (Transit City) Expansion


TTC LRT

New Light-Rail for Toronto

Have we learned nothing from history and the reasons why there is a lack of good public transit options in the city of Toronto? What about jobs for the people of Thunder Bay? Again, with another knee-jerk reaction we may loose all we wanted in the city of Toronto and public transit by electing Rossi. Remember, if this is the attitude we took in the past, we would never have had the full Bloor-Danforth line, Spadina extension or top-end of the Yonge line (even our network of Streetcars that make the city). In other words, if you think transportation is bad now, what do you think it would be like in the future?

Read more below

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Rocco RossiToronto mayoral candidate pledges to make waves at city hall by banning bike lanes on major arteries and possibly quashing light-rail plan.

When Rocco Rossi vowed to banish bike lanes from major streets, the suit-and-tie crowd at the Empire Club event erupted into its most enthusiastic applause yet for the first real speech of the 2010 mayor’s race.

The line demonstrated that Mr. Rossi knows whom he’s after: right-leaning suburban voters fed up with David Miller’s city hall.

Mr. Rossi is promising to halt all but one of the city’s planned light-rail lines until he can review the project’s finances; to replace the Toronto Transit Commission’s board of councillors with private-sector experts; to create a region-wide economic development corporation; to sell assets, including Toronto Hydro; and to outsource city work in a bid to decrease the power of unions.

“Make no mistake, last summer’s city workers strike showed just how weak the city has become in the face of its major unions and how utterly without a plan we are to correct this imbalance,” the former Liberal fundraiser and businessman told a packed room at the Royal York hotel. “As mayor I will bring us back into balance by pursuing outsourcing and managed competition for certain city services.”

Mr. Rossi’s speech was unusual for making concrete commitments early in the marathon campaign, leaving his competitors 10 months to savage his proposals. They didn’t waste time.

“I’m glad to see he’s throwing out 1,000 ideas and seeing what sticks,” scoffed Joe Pantalone, the deputy mayor who is running to replace his boss. “But this is not a carnival we’re talking about here. This is a city that’s complicated.”

Mr. Rossi drew the most fire for suggesting he might halt the Transit City plan, even temporarily.

In his speech, Mr. Rossi lamented the delays and cost overruns that plagued the construction of a streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair West, but it wasn’t until afterward that he expressed his concerns about Toronto’s plan to lay 120 kilometres of light rail on dedicated lanes.

“I think there’s some real problems that have been shown by what’s happened at St. Clair and I think we’d be foolish not to have a deep and long look at that,” he told reporters.

Asked whether that constituted a moratorium, he replied: “On anything that we can stop right now, yes.” Only one Transit City line, Sheppard East, has broken ground so far.

“Mr. Rossi’s suggestion that he would freeze all new transit projects until he has reviewed the city budget would not only put countless constructions jobs at risk, it reflects a troubling lack of understanding of the city’s finances,” a senior member of George Smitherman’s campaign said. “These projects are funded almost entirely by the province, sometimes with federal help.” Mr. Smitherman, the former deputy premier, is the race’s early front-runner.

The centre-right voters Mr. Rossi is hoping to attract likely would have voted for former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory.

But Mr. Rossi will have to run a campaign vastly different from Mr. Smitherman’s if he hopes to make the leap from virtual unknown to mayor. For now, he’s casting his lack of elected experience as an advantage.

“It’s been over a hundred years since we elected a mayor who wasn’t already in elected politics,” he told the crowd. “Maybe, just maybe, that’s part of the problem.”

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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/

Quitely released press information – Government of Canada invests in Toronto Transit


No. H 218/08
For release – September 5, 2008

FLAHERTY ANNOUNCES FUNDS WILL BEGIN FLOWING TO SPADINA SUBWAY EXTENSION

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

TORONTO — People living and working in Toronto will begin to benefit soon from reduced traffic congestion, shorter commuting times, and cleaner air through the Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension. The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that a contribution agreement has been signed by the federal, provincial and municipal governments, meaning that funds for the completion of the project will now begin flowing.

“The Government of Canada is helping to provide the students, commuters, and families of the Greater Toronto Area with transportation options, getting people out of their cars and onto public transit,” said Minister Flaherty. “We are committed to working with our provincial and municipal partners to improve transportation infrastructure across the country. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension is an excellent example of how we’re delivering real results.”

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project encompasses an 8.6 kilometre extension to the Toronto Transit Commission’s Spadina subway line, extending subway service to York University and the Vaughan Corporate Centre. With the signing of the contribution agreement, the Government of Canada will commit to paying up to $622 million under the Building Canada infrastructure plan towards the design and construction of this project. This is in addition to the $75 million already received by the project under the Public Transit Capital Trust.

In addition to the funding being made available for the Spadina Subway extension, several other transit projects in the GTA are being funded by the Government of Canada. They include:

  • York VIVA (Phase 1) — $50 million toward a $164 million bus rapid transit project;
  • York VIVA (Phase 2) — up to $85 million toward the second phase of this bus rapid transit project;
  • GO Transit Rail Improvement Program — $385 million toward a $1 billion project; Through this project, six of the seven rail corridors being used by GO are being upgraded, as well as some work around Union Station;
  • Brampton AcceleRide — $95 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $285 million Bus Rapid Transit project;
  • Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit — $83 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $249 million project; and
  • Toronto Transit Commission Strategic Capital Projects — $350 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund towards a $1.2 billion project.

The Government of Canada provided $500 million for public transit infrastructure in Budget 2008. This will provide up to $194.5 million to Ontario under the Public Transit Fund. Under the previous Public Transit Capital Trust, the Province of Ontario has received $351.5 million, which it can use for various transit projects over the next three years. In addition, all Ontario municipalities will continue to receive a GST rebate.

“It’s clear that for the Government of Canada, investing in transportation infrastructure for the people of the GTA has been a key priority,” Minister Flaherty said. “We are delivering on this priority even further today with the Spadina Subway extension.”

– 30 –

Contact:
Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/e-news and keep up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.

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.

read more | digg story

Toronto transit looks to reopen streetcar bidding


TORONTO, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Toronto’s transit authority said on Tuesday it will recommend to its commissioners that it enter into a new bidding process with three major light rail manufacturers to replace the city’s aging streetcar fleet after the initial process was scrapped last month.

The Toronto Transit Commission said that it will propose starting discussions with Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Canadian arm of Siemens (SIEGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

The discussions on technical and commercial requirements will be part of a multi-step bidding process that will include a competitive pricing phase before the C$1.25 billion ($1.19 billion) contract is awarded.

The TTC said it had met with representatives from each of the companies, all of whom said they could build a streetcar that would meet the technical requirements set out in the original bidding process.

One of the terms stipulated by the TTC is that at least 25 percent of the content for the vehicles’ design and construction would have to be Canadian.

The contract for 204 new streetcars had at first looked likely to go to Montreal-based Bombardier, but the process hit a snag in late July when the TTC said the proposal it received from the company did not meet the technical specifications.

The TTC said the design would not be able to handle some of the tight turns on Toronto’s existing track network. But Bombardier disputed the claim and said that it stood behind its bid.

The only other bid submitted at the time was from Britain’s TRAM Power Ltd, which was determined to not be commercially compliant, and the original proposals process was canceled.

Germany’s Siemens and French-based Alstom had expressed interest in the contract, but had not submitted formal proposals.

read more | digg story

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

Toronto Transit Strike – The people are mad as hell!


A midnight strike by the TTC caught many people off guard, some showing up early this morning expecting a train, bus or streetcar only to find the lines abandoned. Last night, clubgoers poured out of bars when news of the strike spread.

“No way, no way,” Jorge Bayona, out with friends at Yonge-Dundas Square, said at 11:40 pm. “You’re kidding me. We live an hour away.” The shock on his face escalated to panic, and he and his friends started trying to conjure up contingency plans.

Danielle Consett, 25, also expressed anger at the TTC’s union for voting against the tentative agreement – in favour of a last-minute strike.

“It’s a danger to society,” she said. “It’s selfish. We have rights, too. We have the right to know about a strike 48 hours in advance.” In subways, an announcement was made at 11:23 p.m. telling ticket collectors over their private intercom that service would be shutting down at midnight.

A public announcement didn’t start until almost 11:30 p.m.

Many people showed up this morning at bus stops and subway stations on their way to work unaware therewas a strike.

TTC Strike

“It’s closed?” asked Dora Loyuk, 27, watching someone try to open doors at College. “I had no clue…” Loyuk was heading to work in the Richmond and Peter Sts. area. She said it will take her about a half an hour to walk.
“I’m going to have to call in and say there is no subway today. If they can give me more time to walk, then that’s fine.” At the Pape station, commuters who had not yet learned of the strike were stunned to find the doors locked.

“They should be shot,” said one man, apparently stranded from reaching his job. “Some people have to work, you know,” he said.

read more | digg story

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

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