Tag Archives: York University

URGENT NEWS! Viva Strike is back on for York Region…


 

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

I am listening to the news and it seems that the VIVA strike is back on for tomorrow morning @ 4AM. There has definately been a break down somewhere down the line. The news is on CFRB and 680News at the moment. The information below is from 680news. Make alternative plans now!

Note: This does not affect YRT buses, however there is no way that they can handle the load, so the contracted TTC buses and GO Transit may become good alternatives. I will try to post information about alternatives a bit later. 

Update: You can arrange a lift through Carpool Zone or to call the YRT/Viva Customer Service Centre, at 1-866-668-3978. Extra customer service agents would-be available on the phone and at the main service centres.

http://www.680news.com/more.jsp?content=20080924_194001_11804

Opinion: I am starting to wonder, is it is time for Metrolinx to take over ALL transit services in the G.T.A (the Greater Toronto Area) and make it an “essential service”? Or is this a rejection of ATU Local 113 and Bob Kinnear?

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2008/04/26/5395786-cp.html

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080418/transit_strike_080418/20080418?hub=TopStories

http://www.cfib.ca/legis/ontario/pdf/on0375.pdf

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.

read more | digg story

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.

Girl Refused Employment Because Of Dreadlocks


Jessica Devnani was excited about the prospect of starting her first summer job at Canada’s Wonderland, but in the end, she found no amusement in the park’s request that she cut her dreadlocks, or find work elsewhere.

“I went in for my interview and they hired me on the spot so a week later I went for my first day of training,” she explained.

When she showed up she was given the bad news — the hair had to go.

“I was angry they didn’t tell me at the interview when they saw my hair,” she adds.

As a private company Canada’s Wonderland is entitled to a hiring policy and they have a rule of no extreme hairstyles.

A spokesperson for the company declined an interview.

“They got my hopes up with the job and then telling me I had to resign,” Devnani complains.

Canada’s Wonderland says it will look into better communicating its hiring policies and Jessica doesn’t plan to take any action against them, but she just hopes it doesn’t happen to somebody else.

read more | digg story

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

 

Toronto unveils ambitious works agenda


“The TTC takes up 46 per cent of the 2008 capital budget. It has to replace aging streetcars, buses and subway cars. Some $79.4 million will be spent on 234 subway cars to replace aging ones and boost capacity. A further $175.5 million will pay for 193 conventional and 50 Wheel-Trans buses and $55 million to start buying 204 low-floor, accessible Light Rail Vehicles to replace existing streetcars. Also, $54.8 million will be spent to improve train control and signals on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line.”

One of the problems I have with the subway going to York University, and beyond, is understanding the need. Do we really need a subway going to York University or would it be better served with a Light-rail network? We should note that if the money, currently tied up to expand the subway to Vaughan, were used instead to fund LRTs, then we would have enough funds to expand the light-rail network throughout the entire city. This expansion would benefit more users of the TTC, rather then the select few. I guess, I am also at odds with the money being spent because they are building a “bus rapid transitway” to York University, despite the expansion of the subway. If they can build a BRT, than why not just keep it simple and make an LRT. The problem is the province seems to be in control of transit expansion and the TTC, not David Miller.

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

read more | digg story

Finance Minister Greg Sorbara announces he won’t stay in McGuinty cabinet


Regardless on how you feel about Greg Sorbara, he will be greatly missed from the Liberal cabinet. They have lost an extremely intelligent and expereinced person. Unfortunately, now Dalton McGuinty will have to quickly replace the Finance Minister with a new MPP. It will interesting to see who he decides to replace him with on Tuesday.

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

Read more from the Canadian Press below:

————–

http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5hqzB500l7TuNJjTFRfJxc7IRPqZg

Greg Sorbara, Ontario’s long-term finance minister and chairman of the Liberal Party’s successful election campaign, surprised political observers Friday by announcing that he does not want to be in the new cabinet Premier Dalton McGuinty will announce on Tuesday.

Just two weeks after the Liberal government was elected in the Ontario party’s first back-to-back majority in 70 years, the 61-year-old former lawyer and businessman said he has heard the clock ticking and that he wants to spend more time with his large family.

“There just comes a time when one hears the clock ticking a little bit, and I have realized over the course of these past seven years how much of my energy, how much of my spirit, has been devoted to this enterprise,” an emotional Sorbara said, as his wife Kate stood by his side.

“I was less willing to acknowledge how the other part of my life, and in a sense the the most important part of my life, was not receiving that kind of attention.”

Sorbara, who said he will continue to represent his constituents in his Vaughan-area riding north of Toronto from the backbenches, joked that his grandchildren need to learn how to throw a baseball.

“I have six kids and each of them have partners, and their lives are so interesting and so attractive to me, and, yet, I can get little snippets of them,” Sorbara said.

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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

The Sheppard subway sandwich that Mel ordered!


One of the lasting legacies for Mel Lastman is the Sheppard Subway. I actually wanted the subway to be built, however not in its present form. If it actually had been completed or better yet extended westwards, along with the completion to Scarborough Town Centre and beyond, things would have been better. Alas, a Mike Harris conservative government, without any foresight and vision killed what could have been a great cross-town subway line. My feelings are that the Sheppard Subway could have been an excellent LRT line. This was an option, back when they were deciding on cutting costs to the Sheppard Subway. I believe that Howard Moscoe was one of the councilors proposing this, but was summarily shot down. It could have been a great option. Underground stations, maybe at Leslie, Don Mills and Yonge; along with a centre right-of-way LRT would have been perfect. A cheaper option would have been to use the Finch Hydro corridor, since a majority of people were traveling from points in Scarborough. However, the real problem is interference from politicians. Until we remove them from play we will end of with projects like this. Don’t get me started on the Greg Sorbara subway to Vaughan. York University would have been good enough for now. That money could fund more then ½ of all the LRT projects on the books. Let people who know what to do, do it. Let’s get politicians out of the way of progress. We do not need another Sheppard Subway. Albeit, what is done is done, it MUST be finished. Otherwise, what was the point? Same is the dumb idea to fill up the Eglinton Line dig, when a large portion of it was already dug. But then again, that wasn’t the subway Mel built? We ordered two 12 inch subs, with everything on it. However, Mike Harris only gave us enough for the Tuesday special.

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