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.