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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.

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

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”?

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
——————————————————————-
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

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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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.

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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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Lack of transit link between airport and downtown Toronto embarrassing


Pearson AirportIt’s an embarrassment that Canada’s busiest airport still isn’t linked to Toronto’s downtown core by public transit and getting it done should be a priority, federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon said Friday.

In a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade, Cannon called it unbelievable that a world-class city like Toronto doesn’t have the transit infrastructure that’s so common in big cities around the world.

“It’s an embarrassment, I do believe that, and I hope the government of Ontario will see fit to change their mind on that,” Cannon later said in an interview.

The provincial government has allowed an environmental assessment to get bogged down for two years now and has dragged its heels on a project that could reduce gridlock, he said.

He said the province should do whatever it takes to get the important project launched, and could pursue a public-private partnership like the $2-billion Canada Line rail-based rapid transit service linking downtown Vancouver to its airport and beyond to Richmond, B.C.

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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/

Digging up a Queen Street ghost story in Toronto


Queen StreetcarStreetcar platform dug in 1950s and never used sits behind a door, a buried relic of an old transit vision. To the thousands of patrons passing through the Queen subway station, it’s just another anonymous TTC maintenance door. But there are no mops and pails behind the grey door labelled “9Y94.” Instead there’s a link to the past and how a transit vision was mothballed as the city pushed north.

TTC insiders call it “Lower Queen” or the “Queen Street cave” – an underground streetcar platform installed in the early 1950s during excavation of the original Yonge subway line. It’s actually a tunnel about three streetcars long, closed off at both ends. For half a century it has sat empty except for some pipes and vents routed along its walls. Lower Queen is a lesser known TTC “ghost” station. Riders actually got to use another one, the Lower Bay station, last winter when it was briefly pressed into service while tunnel maintenance work was done nearby. The 1950s excavation of a streetcar platform at Queen was rated an act of foresight, anticipating a future streetcar system that would run partly underground.

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What to do about the Queen Streetcar and King Streetcar? Time for a “Transit Mall”!


With the amount of vehicle interference in the downtown area once again the issues of streetcars has surfaced. With the need to improve transit, the debate over mixed traffic and streetcars, now and again pops up with the discussion turning to the old idea of a Queen Streetcar Subway. Unfortunately there is just too much development, which would make the cost of a full subway astronomically. However to be honest it is not really needed. With all of the talk about “Transit City” and the plans for major LRT improvements across the Toronto region little discussion has been some discussion about upgrading Queen and King Street. There has been discussion on resurrecting the idea of a subway or partial LRT / subway. But, there is something about the Queen and King Street that makes it not suitable anymore for subway use. There is a bit a “nostalgia” about the streetcar, especially in the downtown region of Toronto. However, improvements are definitely needed to improve the speed of streetcar service on Queen and King.

What some may not know is the fact that Queen and King carry enough people to justify a full subway. Granted, Queen and King does not need a subway, since it would just destroy the beauty of Queen and King. The amount of people using Queen and King justify it more than an extension to Vaughan or even the much ill-fated, uncompleted and neutered Sheppard Subway. Although there has been a lot of opposition the possibility of making Queen and King a “Transit Mall” this maybe the best option to fix the service needs of Queen and King. It may also be a better option to place Queen and King underground between Jarvis and just after University. On Queen, the original Queen Subway proposal already has a partially built subway tunnel. However, with a full “Transit Mall” between these locations it would not be necessary. Albeit, it could start at Church, instead of Jarvis. It’s extremely unfortunate that funds being tied up in the subway extension to Vaughan could have been used to built an elaborate LRT network around the entire city. Downsview Station is good enough and the extension to York University and beyond should be via a LRT network. In fact, let VIVA expand their own service using LRT technology to York University and let the TTC concentrate on service within the Toronto borders. But I digress!

“Transit Malls” exist in numerous places around North America, such as Calgary, Ottawa and places in the United States. It can work here! David Miller and city council need to move forward with a “Transit Mall”, with proper consultation. There will be opposition from businesses along Queen Street initially. However we are only talking about a small area of the downtown region. Adelaide and Richmond Streets parallel the downtown area and with improved transit service we may have the opportunity to make a substantial improvement to downtown life. Improving the atmosphere and experience of Toronto is a must. Those in opposition often quickly point to subways as the “answer” to everything. However, when you ask them who’s going to pay for it? Well, enough said! The same problems are happening now on Yonge Street now, north of Steeles. We do not need a subway into York Region; however we now have groups trying to stop the development of LRT’s for the region. Although I love subway trains financially they are just no longer viable. Queen and King can use a “Transit Mall”. It can do done, as long as it is done right!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

Updated: Nov/20/2007
For additional details on
Toronto “Transit Mall” proposals and interesting debates check out the links below:

http://transit.toronto.on.ca/spare/0216.shtml

http://stevemunro.ca/?p=324

In an effort to provide more information about the Queen Streetcar and its history, ups and downs please take some times to view the links below.

http://www.blogto.com/city/2007/10/the_disaster_that_is_the_queen_streetcar/

http://spacing.ca/wire/?p=588

http://radar.planetizen.com/node/61807

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/toronto/story.html?id=4a6af842-875b-4923-b496-89cbcfcfb65f