44 Mandates Count For More Than 1

Updated March 10, 2012 at 11:30pm:  The motions and votes by Council on this matter are now available on the City’s website.  The linked report first shows the consolidated effect of the motions.  This is followed by all of the detail of what various Councillors proposed and the votes on each item.

The original article from March 6, 2012 follows the break.

In a stunning defeat for Mayor Rob Ford, Council restructured the Toronto Transit Commission by replacing most of Ford’s loyal followers with a new slate much more representative of the overall views of Council on transit matters.

The question was on Council’s agenda by way of a proposed Commission reorganization to shift the balance of power from an all-Councillor body to one with a mix of “citizen” members holding the majority of seats.  Recent events (Ford’s reaction to the pro-LRT transit vote on February 8 as “irrelevant, and the sacking of former Chief General Manager Gary Webster by Ford’s TTC cronies) drove a wedge between the Mayor and Council.  What Ford had expected to be a chance to banish his enemies from the TTC turned into a rout of Ford’s supporters.

The process used was straightforward — move amendments to the Ford-friendly proposal with the intent of completely changing the effect.  Three different schemes were proposed, but only one really mattered.  TTC Chair Karen Stintz proposed that the existing Commission be dissolved immediately (thereby ending terms that would have otherwise run to late 2012), and that a new board be constituted initially with 7 Councillors as members.  When this passed by a vote of 29-15, the alternate proposals became moot, and all hope of a Ford victory, even bragging rights from a tight loss, evaporated.

The Councillors appointed to the Commission are:

  • Karen Stintz (reappointed, and subsequently reconfirmed as Chair)
  • Peter Milczyn (Vice-Chair of the immediately preceding Commission)
  • Maria Augimeri and John Parker (members of the immediately preceding Commission)
  • Glenn de Baeremaeker (member of the Miller-era Commission)
  • Raymond Cho and Josh Colle

A further four “citizen” members will be named in October 2012, and of these, one will become Vice-Chair.  (An interim Vice-Chair will be chosen from among the seven Councillors by the interim version of the Commission.)

The new Commission and Toronto Council have much work to get TTC and City policies back on track after the upheaval of the Ford era.  I will turn to this and the future of transit in Toronto in another article.

Postscript:  The election of TTC members and Chair were carried out through a little-used balloting procedure of Council.  The detailed results are available online for the Commission and Chair votes.  The full set of motions and votes appears on the City’s website.

About Steve

Steve thanks you for reading this article, even if you don't agree with it.
This entry was posted in Transit, Urban Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.
RSS for Comments

77 Responses to 44 Mandates Count For More Than 1

  1. Antony says:

    Steve…. so if there is a process which citizens can nominate other citizens to serve on the commission… would you be willing to be nominated? (of course If there is no formal process an email campaign could be started)…

    I can’t think of a better person whose interests are (through this blog) demonstrable informed, pragmatic, with long term best interests of potential and future transit users (and citizens in general).

    What do other people think? Steve for commissioner?

    P.S. Of course, if one of the citizens was able to be chair of the commission…

    Steve: The Vice-Chair will be one of the citizen members, but the Chair will be a Councillor. The process for selection of the new members has not yet been published.

  2. John A. says:

    … And in the morning we will be hearing of the Mayor taking the subway to Don Mills at 12am to talk to the 3 people that use it about the subway extension … he’s a lost cause.

    In all seriousness I am very happy the way things turned out today. I am sick and tired of hearing every day of some foolish antic the Mayor and his dogs try to invent to no avail. Hopefully the vote later this March for the Sheppard subway report will be the final nail to the coffin to this silly game. Mrs Stintz has done a fine job dealing with this fiasco and I applaud her. And to think it has only been a year and a half since this “mayor” has been elected. I can’t wait for the next 2 and a half. Maybe we will get a proposal in a month for a subway to island airport financed through a bicycle registration fee.

  3. David O'Rourke says:

    “In a stunning defeat for Mayor Rob Ford…”

    Ah, what glorious heights the English language rises to in that phrase! Truly music to the ears!

  4. Roman says:

    Just in case. I don’t want to embarrass Steve Munro if he doesn’t want this to be discussed before any official procedure of election is published. But I fully agree with Antony – Steve being in the TTC Board is the best I could ever wish for the transit system of Toronto. This is an excellent chance to bring a new level of expertise to the Commission. It might not be the same as Gary Webster with his experience but for sure it would be an excellent addition to 7 councilors.

    I know that Steve is “just an amateur” and I am sorry for the words that may seem a bit over the top. But it is a unique moment to tell something that Toronto really needs.

  5. Geoff says:

    @Antony

    I’d be willing to give my support to nominate Steve for the commission.

    Maybe then we’ll be able to get station managers, priority lights on Spadina, better surface route management and a dedicated fleet of swan boats.

  6. Richard says:

    Raymond Cho is an odd choice to be on the TTC Commission. I’m glad Augimeri remains on the board. She’s been advocating for better service for her constituents for some time now.

  7. OgtheDim says:

    Once you are on the commission, your views are co-opted. As is this blog and comments board.

    I for one appreciate having one board with the open opportunity to discuss transit issues without having to explain that LRT does not = streetcars and that people who disagree with Ford are not all commies and that no, Rob Ford’s weight is not really relevant, and that not all conservatives are neanderthals.

    Steve may disagree on where he should be but transit does better by him being an outsider and providing this forum.

    Steve: I have always been philosophically opposed to the idea of “citizen” Commissioners. If the TTC needs expertise, hire it. My ability to comment freely would be constrained were I on the Commission. The basic question is whether the good of the city and the TTC would be better served having me there, or on the outside as a trusted commentator. At this point, I am not convinced. An important part of any decision will be how transit policy will evolve under the new Commission and a Council which isn’t dominated by the Fords’ nonsense.

  8. Saurabh says:

    I think there should be some criteria for citizen members
    a) Use TTC daily.
    b) They represent different parts of the city (based on the old Metro)
    c) Someone who has experience dealing with Wheel Trans
    d) Someone with expertise in planning & modeling (traffic patterns, usage etc.)
    e) Not on a board of company/think tank that provides services to the city. etc etc.

    I do think the staff have gotten away with a lot because the elected councillors sometimes don’t know any better. I would be surprised if any councillor has the skills to analyse the data and present it the way Steve does. Having that expertise, and being able to ask smart questions will improve accountability.

  9. Can the new Commission re-hire Gary Webster?

    Steve: They could, but I understand he does not want to resume his former position.

  10. Long Branch Mike says:

    What was the breakdown of councillors voting for and against this motion? Who are the 15 that voted against?

    Steve: The minutes of yesterday’s meeting are not yet online. Fellow blogger John Michael McGrath posted a photo of the vote results here.

  11. Phil Piltch says:

    It is a good sign that council has reasserted itself, though it will be interesting to see how things go at the March 21st meeting. At least the new TTC Commission seems to strike a more moderate balance and interestingly is compose of councillors mostly from the ‘burbs’, with Stintz and Colle mid-town (not downtown). What I really hope is that there is actually focus on getting better TTC service, in whatever form it might be (subways, LRTs, BRTs, etc) rather than endless bickering we’ve seen for the past year and a half.

    As for whether there should be citizen members on the TTC commission, I have mixed views. I served as a citizen rep on an advisory committee (cycling) which did bring individuals with varying expertise, which worked well though as an advisory committee all recommendations had to go through on of the standing committees and then to council for adoption, whereas the TTC commission acts more independently. In any case I would hope that those appointed actually use the TTC regularly and understand it from TTC customer perspective.

    Phil

  12. Mark Dowling says:

    I think what the TTC needs is something like an Advisory Board, which can take input from the public and also bring information to the public (i.e. have access to TTC Staff and Metrolinx Staff with minimal restriction on scope of inquiry). Steve would be a great choice for that I think as it would not be a decision making body and thus not bind him with collective responsibility.

    The various motions yesterday added so many caveats “must know the TTC but not do business with it but must have transit relevant experience and be hired with sensitivity to minority interests…” I don’t know who they are going to get for the Commission positions!

    As for Sheppard, I hope we can get a fairly straightforward decision with good grace on the 21st – extend Sheppard as subway across the 404 and LRT from there west in a well designed interchange that does not compromise terminal operations for either mode.

    Steve: I presume that you meant to say that the LRT would be east from the DVP, not west.

  13. Christopher Dodd says:

    I have never been in Rob Ford’s cheering section, but finally many others in this city have realized that his administration of the city is turning Toronto into a laughing stock.

    Still, I find myself, for the first time, hoping that Ford can win at least one vote, the upcoming vote on Sheppard transit. LRT makes much sense on Eglinton and is the only rational choice for Finch. But Sheppard already has a subway, and it makes more sense to extend it rather than introducing another form of transit, and another transfer point. For LRT to start from Fairview means that it will remain forever a pointless stub that only feeds the already high capacity of the Yonge line.

    I know these aren’t the only considerations in the debate over Sheppard. I know that density on Sheppard goes down the further East you go, but Victoria Park makes a better Terminus, even if it goes no further than there for now. Yes Scarborough gets left out again, but I lived in Scarborough for 22 years with lousy transit. We are patient, but only if there is hope.

    I’m so tired of these ‘my way, or the highway’ politics from both sides of the Transit City/Subway divide. Why does it have to be this way or the other way? Toronto already has more modes of transit than most North American cities thanks to the restoration and renewal of our streetcar network.

    But Ford is right about one thing, and yes, I hate to admit it. If we turn exclusively to light rail for the long overdue expansion of our rapid transit, then we may never have the subway system that was planned for Toronto, and that Toronto deserves. Remember Network 2011? It’s now 2012.

  14. Don Tai says:

    This is the first time in over a year I have seen some positive and hopeful steps to much needed clarity on the TTC’s LRT/Subway/Metrolinx issue. I would like to thank Councilor Stinz for having the brains and the guts to politically engineer a proper environment for progress on the issue. Without her we would be still in the infinite loop of Ford uncertainty.

    I think that the TTC should hire Steve for his expertise. I too also wondered if the new board could re-hire Gary Webster. There is no one more qualified to do his job than himself.

    Steve: If I were an employee, my public activities would have to cease.

  15. Antony,

    Steve can correct if I am wrong but these citizen appointments would be through civic appointments committee … just like the Toronto Public Library board, and other boards.

    Steve,

    I can’t remember which Councillor said, I think it was Mike Layton: he said that there should be at least one TTC rider among those citizen appointments. All these “experts”, I wonder how many actually ride TTC. How many of the Stintz v1.0 Commission actually took the TTC? How many of Stintz v2.0 Commission actually takes TTC? What about Giambrone/Moscoe/etc…?

    To everyone who is nominating Steve,

    I wouldn’t call Steve an amateur. He has been interested/fighting/whatever word he wants to use/etc… for transit longer than I have been alive. I am turning 32 this year.

    I would call Steve “experienced” (I don’t like using word expert on anyone).

    Steve would not be a good TTC Commissioner because as one he would have to, let’s call it, filter himself. Steve is better as an activist/outsider.

    I even wonder if he could even keep this site if he was a Commissioner.

    Steve: Probably not.

  16. Oops forgot to add two things:

    Richard,

    Augimeri keeps on advocating for better service on Finch (which I agree with since I went to Seneca College – York Campus Keele/Finch area coming from Scarborough on Finch Each then Finch West). Technically speaking Finch doesn’t belong to her, the northern boundary is Grandavine Drive/Sheppard Avenue West. The rest is Jane/Allen/401. Finch belongs to Councillor Anthony Perruzza (the ward on top of Augimeri’s ward).

    Michael,

    Mayor can still “mess” with the TTC without any Commissioners doing his bidding.

    So re-hiring Gary Webster wouldn’t be a good thing.

  17. PSC says:

    So the extra 4 votes to get to 29 for the Stintz composition motion (as compared to the LRT plan restoration vote, 25 for) were from Lindsay-Luby, Milczyn, Crawford and Palacio?

  18. Michael A says:

    In response to commenter Richard above, there was definitely a (wise) strategy to include suburban cllrs backing Stintz on the commission. Hence the Cho nomination

  19. Michael says:

    Rookie governance question: What power does the TTC board have, exactly? As I understand it, while an autonomous agency, it is obligated to carry out City Council’s wishes, regardless of whether or not the GM personally agrees. Why, then, does it matter who’s on the board? Isn’t the board’s just just to ensure the TTC implements Council’s decision?

    For that matter, given that the TTC must follow Council’s wishes, why does there need to be a Board? Why not just have the GM?

    Steve: The TTC is autonomous in the sense that it manages its affairs independently of Council. Also, the Commission is responsible for development of policy regarding the transit system, and making requests/recommendations to Council related to funding. The TTC cannot operate without Council’s blessing of any subsidized projects. This means all capital programs are vetted, in theory, by Council although in practice they don’t have time to wade through the details (that’s what the Commission is for). Major new transit lines have effects not just on the budget, but also on land use planning and relationships with other levels of government. If the City does not want to play, the TTC’s hands are tied.

    On the operating budget, the amount of subsidy needed from the City is affected by policy decisions such as fare levels and service quality. The TTC should be providing discussion of alternatives in public so that Councillors and citizens can understand the tradeoffs between options and choose on an informed basis.

  20. StefanM says:

    Contrary to how it seemed to me at the time, it would seem that there was a rather organized “slate”. Did Shelley Carroll withdraw her nomination? Perks did, but his name still appears on the results. McMahon declined, since she will be fighting against the Ashbridge carhouse. Interestingly, both Milczyn and Colle got “bi-partisan” support, and to some extent Cho. Only two progressives were elected (Augimeri and De Baeremaeker), while the rest are pretty right-wing, so I expect that privatization, cutbacks and outsourcing will be prominent features of TTC policy. Perhaps there was a quid-pro-quo, Transit City in return for less pro-labour operating policies of a kind which the Left would not want to appear as favouring. I was disappointed to not see Mihevc nominated and elected, but then he may have bigger things in mind, such as unseating the Fords and returning a progressive majority in the next elections. I would be very curious to know what alliances were operating yesterday (Frances Nunziata’s calls to stop lobbying notwithstanding).

    Steve: Shelley Carroll withdrew her nomination as did Gord Perks. I am not sure why Gord’s name is on the ballot results and Shelley’s isn’t. I would not call Colle a right-winger, and neither Stintz nor Parker is hard right.

  21. W. K. Lis says:

    For the citizens on the TTC board, I would nominate:

    Steve Munro
    James Bow
    Gary Webster
    John Tory

  22. Dwight says:

    As Hamutal Dotan pointed out in The Torontoist,

    “One telling aspect of the newly installed TTC board: there are no downtown councillors on it”, yet “every single downtown councillor backed in majority or in entirety the roster of candidates who won yesterday’s vote.”

    This is very smart consensus politics by this pro-smart-transit coalition of Councillors at countering the false concept that the inner suburbs are being short-changed and alienated in this process, eating away at another Fordism. I’m rather impressed.

  23. James Elliot says:

    I doubt we’ll hear the end of this from Mayor Ford, we’ve seen him make illogical decisions when the outcome isn’t in his favor (eg. firing Gary Webster). So could he get the Province agree to abandoned funding Transit City just to spite pro-LRT supporters? He does have that my way or no way mentally about him.

    Steve: To get the Province onside, Ford would have to engineer a Hudak victory. Not very likely. As for Gary Webster, Ford was only able to do that because he controlled a majority of the votes on the TTC. As of yesterday afternoon, he does not, and the vindictive firing of Webster would not have been possible.

  24. M. Briganti says:

    I agree — if given the chance, Steve should go on the Commission as Vice-Chair, even if it means he has to kill this blog. If any citizen should be on the board, it should be him.

    Steve: Thank you for your support and kind words, despite our occasional differences.

  25. Roman says:

    Many people are confused about what LRT is what makes it possible for Ford allies to deceive Torontonians and call state-of-the-art systems “trolleys”. Given that LRV deliveries to Toronto are now relatively safe I think it would be a great idea to use them, first of all, on St Clair Route so that all residents could see how stunning LRT might be. Combined with the new payment system and new fleet this line, in my opinion, would meet all European standards. Once the people of Toronto see how it really operates and how comfortable LRT system can be it would much harder to claim that LRT is “a disaster we need to avoid at any price”.

    Steve: I also think that much of the “disaster” image comes from the extended construction phase and some aspects of the street design, not the streetcars themselves. The real disaster would be for the TTC, once it finally has more cars than demand, to skimp on service and give the impression that “LRT” meant longer waits for less predictable cars.

  26. George bell says:

    So why is it that if you were on the board you wouldn’t be able to have a blog? As long as it maintained a disclaimer that these are personal opinions and not official ttc policy? Current board members have twitter/Facebook and comment on transit. They write editorials for newspapers and other websites. In some way this is something the city should already be doing. You don’t run ads so there is no financial motive. Maybe you could hand the message approvals off to a third party and continue to comment, that way there is no censorship. I don’t think there would be conflicts as long as you aren’t writing about contracts or insider knowledge (although a lot of that can be resolved by getting knowledge released).

    Steve: Some of what I write critiques TTC operations and management. As a Commissioner, I could not conduct this sort of discussion in a public forum because it would undermine management’s role. The Commission’s job is to set policy and to hold management’s feet to the fire when the fiction of staff reports does not align with the reality of rider experiences. That should not be done on the Op Ed page of the Star. It’s a delicate balancing act.

  27. Fred S says:

    Steve, on the topic of you (or any other citizen) being on the board, why exactly would you have to cease this blog or somehow have to censor your opinions? Could you not be a transit activist and a commissioner? If it’s the honorarium, could you not turn it down (or donate it)? Seems to me that many councillors and board members talk their heads off all the time with weird and crazy ideas. Most of your ideas are actually based off evidence and rational thinking.

    I wish other councilors and those in such important city positions expressed themselves freely and made their full ideas public with all the supporting evidence, even if only at half the level you do on this blog.

    Steve: Please see my reply to the previous comment in this thread.

    Politicians sound off about what management should be doing often with little hard information to back up their statements, but just because I might be seen as an “informed” critic would not give me the right to highjack the position of Commissioner to advance my own agenda. Toronto would have a fleet of Swan Boats overnight if I were running things, and by analogy just imagine what others might do if each Commissioner became a loose cannon arguing policy and management competence in personal blogs.

  28. Ray Bateman says:

    Steve,

    Your Blog is a first class operation. It’s very informative and you do remarkable, detailed work. If the question is where could you do the most good, it is difficult to know until you try.

    Consider taking a hiatus from your transit blog and join the Commission as a citizen representative. The experience you gain could be invaluable and when your term is over you could resume the blog with a renewed perspective.

    Not only would the Commission benefit from your viewpoint so could the passengers that you would represent.

    Vote for Steve!

  29. W. K. Lis says:

    Tim Hudak wants the province to ignore city council and just build Subways.

    Why don’t we build subways for everyone who wants them?

    We all want Subways, don’t we? So lets build them for everyone who wants them? Who doesn’t want Subways? Let’s start with Tim Hudak’s riding, Niagara West – Glanbrook? Wouldn’t they want a Subway? In fact, let’s build a Subway in the whole Niagara peninsula! We could even put a Subway from St. Catharines to Fort Erie. Just make sure it does not go to the surface, or it might upset Tim Hudak (or Rob Ford when he visits Niagara Falls). It could even go under the vineyards and flowerbeds, don’t want to disturb the scenery. Who cares that a Subway is not needed where the riders will make the operation cost inefficient. Just build it because everyone wants it in their neighbourhood, ignoring the operation costs.

    Sorry, Tim. Just because we all want Subways, does not make it a logical choice. World-class cities are still building subways, but in their downtowns, going to the surface outside the downtown. Where they are building rapid transit outside the downtown, they turn to light rail as the logical choice.

    Steve: I want that subway to run right to Kipling Station so that I can have a one-seat ride from my local (Broadview) to wine country. Millions of people want to make this trip, and they are denied the right to a direct, transfer-free journey by the narrow, penny-pinching dictates of subway opponents.

  30. David Y says:

    Steve: you may not want to post this; I’ll understand.

    Do the members of the TTC board know who you are?

    Steve: Yes.

    Do they talk to you when they see you or run in the other direction?

    Steve: Most of them talk to me. This is even more true for the “new” Commission elected on Monday.

  31. nfitz says:

    Four of them serve on North York council, One on Etobicoke-York, and two from Scarborough.

    Not a single representative of Toronto-East York council.

    While this seems to eliminate the wing-nut element in council … it does nothing to deal with the continuing bias against Toronto-East York.

    Steve: But this “suburban” Commission is one that has members willing to listen to downtown Councillors and members of the public, not openly abuse them as layabout commies.

  32. Andrew Marshall says:

    Is it possible now that the commission might do a better marketing job with LRT than it had during the Miller/Giambrone era? Maybe it could point out successful implementations in other North American and European cities, especially those with mixed subway/LRT operations? It’s one thing to have a majority of council onside, but something has to be done to counter the Bob and Doug McKenzie Ford show on 1010, their surrogates at Sun Media, etc.

  33. Christopher Dodd says:

    Hearing from Tim Hudak on the subway issue is quite a joke. Has anyone reminded him that he was in the Harris government the last time an Eglinton line was proposed? So what happened then?

    It seems to me that if Hudak wanted to speak up for subways, he had his chance. We could have already had an Eglinton subway and a multi-line subway network and now we would be thinking of expanding it.

    Hudak seems lost in the haze that is the messy local debate over mass transit. His opinions are not valuable anymore.

  34. Bradley Wentworth says:

    While watching a few of the final Council votes online on Monday, it occurred to me that the defeat of the pro-Ford TTC board may actually benefit Mayor Ford politically. He was running headlong into a choice between raising taxes and levying fees to finance subway construction, or opposing all new revenue streams – as promised in his campaign – and not getting anything done (I don’t think we’ll ever see the McGuinty government financing a Sheppard subway.) Even the Toronto Sun called him out on his inconsistencies; and a resurrected vehicle registration fee of $100, while actually not too big a deal, would have been a dynamite symbol (headlines: “Ford declares war on the car”; “Don Cherry calls Ford a pinko”).

    Now the ball is in the new TTC board’s court. I am thrilled with Monday’s outcome; I just hope they can pull it off. Meanwhile, may the dust from all this settle quickly because throughout I got the nagging feeling that Metrolinx was watching Toronto’s antics smugly, happy to duck away from hard questions facing them: electrification of the GO lines; all-day, bidirectional GO service; transit to the airport; and the vaunted investment strategy. I can’t wait to see what the reaction is to that last item because, bizarrely enough, Mayor Ford’s subway dreams had us start talking about some of the revenue tools the upcoming report will have to suggest. The road tolls bogeyman isn’t dead, he’s just lurking under the Gardiner Expressway cackling at the construction cranes and ads proclaiming “uniquely styled European downtown luxury living steps from everything.”

  35. JeffreyM says:

    Presuming the Sheppard E LRT is approved, do you think it’d be possible for it to be operating before the SRT is shut down? I expect it’d be rather tight, but assuming a 1 3/4 year delay that’d push it to mid to late 2015 wouldn’t it?

    Steve: Possible, but tight. Because the whole plan has been so much in flux, we have not had a public discussion of the sequence of construction projects.

  36. M. Briganti says:

    Despite our differences, I think Steve could really educate the other commissioners on a technical and historical level, and provide an insight that no other board citizen or councillor could. That kind of knowledge is desperately lacking on the new board right now. Even if they bring in four other citizen “industry experts”, they won’t know the system, and its history, as well as Steve does. Plus, Steve really *cares* about improving the TTC.

    So, I would like to urge readers here (even the anti-LRT ones) to write to all the new commissioners and their local councillors via e-mail, and suggest that Steve be seriously considered for one of the four citizen slots.

  37. James Bow says:

    W. K. Lis,

    I respectfully decline the nomination. I’m not a Toronto taxpayer, so it would not be appropriate for me to take a seat on a decision making body that could be occupied by one. But that won’t stop me from offering advice.

  38. James Bow says:

    “While this seems to eliminate the wing-nut element in council … it does nothing to deal with the continuing bias against Toronto-East York.”

    A couple of Toronto/East York councillors were nominated, if I recall (Gord Perks being one of them), and they declined. And, actually, that might have been a good political decision. If the mayor’s office is to play this as “downtown vs. suburbs”, they’re limited by the fact that there are no downtowners on council. They’ve tried to play this as being a strike against Scarborough, but two councillors on the commission represent Scarborough wards.

    It was really nicely put together.

  39. Dennis Rankin says:

    Hi Steve:-

    Heard a sound bite yesterday from Tim Hudak and again today from the Conservative transportation critic (Now it’s 60% who favour subways. Where’d the Mayor’s 75, umm I mean 80% go?) firmly supporting the ill informed Mayor and his 14 sheep on building subways. The Liberal Transport Minister, in responding, wondered where the money would come from as the Conservatives had not suggested that it would be from anywhere other than the nether reaches of fantasy finance. The sky maybe I’d surmise.

    Anyhow, Missed her Whodack stated that the province should ride rough shod over the City Council since the Province is the contributor of the 8.4 billion largesse slated for our transit system’s improvements. That promissory note should, he feels, give Ontario the right to be able to have exclusive input to the City in determining where and on what that money should be spent with NO regard for fiscal responsibility or any transit expertise or local decisions being allowed to enter into the equation. Paraphrasing what he was implying is that our provincial masters are supreme and City Council should be considered a non entity. Shades of rephrasing another buffoon’s comments about the Council’s decisions being “irrelevant”.

    And this comes from spokesmen from the Provincial party that can firmly rely and rest on its previous well executed transit expertise laurels. I give you their proud decisions to cut transit’s operating subsidies, download the upkeep of the Queen’s Highways onto our Municipalities and worst of all, forcefully they gave us our showcase of a deservedly frequently and justifiably well maligned SRT with its woe begotten linear induction technology. The Conservative’s past bumbling practices have earned them the rights to criticize their betters!??!! Didn’t a conference of forward thinking Municipalities tell Timmy’s predecessors to take that linear induction crap away and shove it where the sun don’t shine? And didn’t most of those attendees ultimately install successful LRT systems in their Cities? Hmmmm, yeah, well done! So much for your wise dictating of palatable and worthwhile transit policies!

    And too, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Province work hand in glove for almost a decade with ‘ELECTED’ representatives of our fair Burg and with input from transit professionals as well to develop ‘Transit City’? And the 8.4b sum. It was not just a arrived at by ‘SWAG’. It had a basis in the estimates arrived at to support the studies and compromises worked out in those negotiations. Is that NOT Provincial input Tim my lad!? Methinks our Mister Hudak wants to rewrite history, or maybe he’s just as ill informed as our bozo of a Mayor, for neither appears to know nor care of the long reaching consequences of what they blather!!

    Hopefully we remember this when the next provincial election comes around. May Hudaax’s comments about his lack of respect for OUR elected officials bite him and his miscreants in their backsides. May they be so soundly defeated that him, his party and their retrogressive policies be shown for what they are, just so much blowing chaff!!!!!

    Dennis Rankin

    Steve: The Tories don’t have a hope of winning seats in Toronto, and I cannot see how they hope to influence their base other than to say “look how Toronto is wasting your tax dollars”. The Tories give “conservatives” a bad name, but don’t seem to care.

  40. Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb says:

    I would most certainly miss reading this blog, but to get Steve Munro on the transit commission would be worth it!

  41. Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb says:

    Just as a postscript…Steve do you, or anyone else here, have any idea how the nomination and election process for the citizens spots will take place? If it was released already then I definitely missed it in my daily reads.

    Steve: As I understand it, the process will begin with a search by an external agency. How widely they will cast their net remains to be seen. I suspect that they will be told to interview a well-known local activist. From there, the list goes to the Civic Appointments Committee which is dominated by Ford’s people. There’s the rub — getting people past Civic Appointments who actually have a brain that is not on radio control from the Mayor’s office. Whatever gets past this point goes to Council.

    I have no objection to people with backgrounds of various persuasions even if they are small-c conservatives, provided that they don’t vote on autopilot. If anything, we need some representation that considers fiscal responsibility, but does not interpret this to automatically mean “cut services and privatize what’s left”. The TTC and Council need to be much better informed on the policy options and implications of various future scenarios for Toronto’s transit, not simply the one version that suits the Mayor’s blinkered view of the world. A little advocacy for the benefits of system improvement wouldn’t hurt.

  42. Jim Hoffman says:

    When Hudak talks about the province dictating where the money is spent, maybe he is just continuing the tradition that includes the Sorbara Line. (Not that I am trying to defend that tradition)

  43. City Boy at Heart says:

    Steve: Why does Hudak even enter the debate for Ford??? If I remember correctly, Hudak had a provincial election wrapped up until someone at the Ford (nee Conservative) barbeque mentioned that when Hudak wins, it would be the trifecta (paraphrasing) in Canadian politics. Obviously, some don’t learn.

  44. Matt L. says:

    If you did become a Commissioner, a fitting first motion would be to reintroduce your request for a report on the state of transit priority.

    I’d also hope you’d keep the blog going as much as possible. The free-flowing comments might have to go (which would be a shame), and you wouldn’t want to jeopardize good working relationships with the other Commissioners, but seems like most elected officials have a blog these days… so why not any unelected ones? Done right, giving your perspective on some of the inevitable compromises seems like it’d be a healthy contribution to civic debate.

  45. Andrew says:

    Why is council unwilling to address the very real shortcomings of Transit City:

    - Too little capacity. The capacity of light rail (on surface) is approximately 1/4 that of subway. This is further reduced by the removal of 1 car lane in each direction, I think that the total capacity (car + transit) needs to be maximized whenever possible. Do not forget that the Sheppard and Finch LRTs have a very low capacity relative to the population of the GTA. I estimate that in each of morning and afternoon rush hour, they would be able to carry at most 1% of the GTA’s population, meaning that their effect would be a drop in the bucket. This means that to make a serious difference in transit market share, dozens and dozens of LRT lines are needed, and this would costs tens of billions of dollars so one is better off building faster subways or cheaper bus rapid transit instead.

    Steve: This is a bogus argument. The ratio of the capacity of any one line to the population of the GTA is a meaningless number. It is the ratio of the capacity to the demand that is or will be in a line’s corridor. People living in southern Etobicoke won’t contribute to demand on Sheppard, and people who are in Malvern won’t affect the west end of the Bloor subway.

    We could build, say, two new subways with a hypothetical capacity of 60k/hour between them, but we would then have to find that 60k worth of demand to actually use them. For the cost of those subways, we could build more LRT on, say, Finch or Steeles for east-west travel, not to mention the north-south corridors.

    - There were far too many minor stops in the Transit City proposal. The Eglinton line should only stop at major intersections, not minor roads like Lebovic and Ionview. These stops will generate little ridership and slow the line down for long distance riders

    Steve: As has been discussed at length here before, the whole point of staying on the surface is to serve local as well as long-haul traffic. The delay represented by these “minor” stops is small in the overall trip time. While we are on the subject, maybe we should close at least Bessarion Station on the Sheppard line to speed the ride from Don Mills to Yonge

    - The inability to interline the Scarborough RT with the Eglinton line. Metrolinx projection show a big increase in ridership on the east end of the Eglinton line with this interlining, but light rail may not be able to handle the load. The Scarborough RT is very busy and putting a non-grade separated section between the Scarborough RT and the underground Eglinton section will probably force these lines to be separate (causing ridership to drop)

    Steve: I have a big problem with the Metrolinx projections because I believe that they have ignored the potential of GO services in Scarborough to shave the top off of the peak demand for trips to downtown. One of these days, GO is going to stop pretending that the 416 does not exist and be truly integrated as part of our so-called regional transit system. It’s a lot cheaper to run better GO service to handle traffic from the outer 416 to downtown than to overbuild on what should be locally-focussed rapid transit lines.

    As for an inability to interline, you are not making sense. The Eglinton trains will run through onto the SRT. If the SRT needs extra capacity, then there can be trains that only operate from Kennedy Station north. It’s called a short turn.

    - Potential for increased ridership due to the (unfunded) extension to Pearson Airport. The airport area is one of the largest employment areas in the GTA, and the Pearson Airport station, Renforth station which is within walking distance of the Airport Corporate Centre area, and Mississauga Transit bus connections at Renforth are likely to generate high ridership (mostly counter peak). 401 EB in afternoon just east of Highway 409 is horrible (busiest section of highway in North America) so I think that many people will use the Eglinton line if built to avoid it. This extension needs to be grade separated which should be very cheap, and might improve the case for grade separating the Golden Mile section (commuters from Scarborough to the Airport).

    Steve: Projections for the west side of Eglinton, including the airport line, are considerably lower than for the east side and well within LRT. Counterpeak travel, almost by definition, will not overload the line. The biggest problem we have on Eglinton West is that Queen’s Park seems unwilling to set up a cheaper way of getting to the airport in place of their precious Air Rail Link.

    - The excessive numbers of transfers on Sheppard. The transfer at Don Mills will waste up to 5 minutes, reducing ridership. If the subway is not extended west the transfer at Yonge/Sheppard also wastes about 5-10 minutes currently. The amount of time wasted by transfers reduces ridership and encourages driving on congested 401. Putting two types of rail technology on Sheppard makes no sense whatsoever. While if the line is extended to Scarborough Centre a transfer will be created at Kennedy for some, I think that this will affect far fewer people than the transfer at Don Mills. Extending the subway to Sheppard/Markham (more expensive) and moving most TTC/GO buses that currently serve STC to Sheppard/Markham is also a possible alternative.

    Steve: And extending the subway to Pickering will make it even easier to access. At some point there has to be a transfer. The Don Mills terminal will NOT require a five minute transfer because it will be set up for across-the-platform connections between the two lines, not the extended ramble through a station where at least one escalator can be guaranteed to be out of service.

    I do not support the “Transit City” plan on Sheppard and Eglinton as proposed by Stintz. Sheppard in my view must be a subway because of the transfer and because I think that LRT might not have enough capacity in the long term. For Eglinton I would strongly urge the consideration of elevated technology for the outer sections. This is much lower cost than underground subway, freeing up cash for Sheppard, Downtown Relief, GO, etc. and does not have the serious limitations caused by LRT. This will allow a continuous line between Black Creek and Scarborough Centre (possible extensions to the airport and Malvern) and allow people to bypass traffic congestion on the 401 and other roads. Both Sheppard and Eglinton were previously projected to have ridership that exceeds the capacity of LRT (ridership is very hard to predict; depends on factors like economic growth, more sensible tax policy encouraging commercial growth in Toronto, levels of traffic congestion on 401, etc.) and building a low capacity line in a huge city like Toronto is in my view short sighted. Finch might be more suitable for LRT than the other two, but use of the hydro corridor needs to be seriously considered. I think that less expensive bus rapid transit might be more suitable here though. Also creating a bus route from Renforth/Eglinton to Rexdale via Hwy 27, if Eglinton is extended to the airport would improve connections to Rexdale.

  46. Brian says:

    Thoughts on civilian commissioners

    New opportunities are raised by the change in governance structure. Steve Munro would be an obviously competent expert member, but it is true that such an appointment would co-opt him into the governance structure. The community of citizens interested in sharing opinions on public transit would lose a key focal point for their discussions.

    (In a strange parallel the election of Rob Ford robbed the council of its best critic, and gave it a leader who is not followed.)

    If there is any ability to improve governance at TTC, it would be beneficial if the Commission could limit its role to policy setting and delegate operational issues to management. Currently much of the business authorized at Commission meetings is operational in nature. For a large organization to operate effectively it requires a strong management structure that can implement performance excellence, give impartial professional advice to policy setters, and stay out of the political arena.

    In disagreement with some, I would suggest that city councillors have an inherent conflict if they attempt to serve as Commissioners. The TTC needs to be a service organization that serves at least the entire City of Toronto, but realistically the entire GTA. They need a planning horizon measured in decades. City councillors are elected by their wards to represent the interests of their specific wards, and given the election cycle, their planning horizons are based on 4 year re-election cycles. The current media battle is pitting the needs of different neighbourhoods against each other, in this case the needs of Scarborough. Scarborough councillors are pushing an agenda that prioritizes their wards. At other times I have felt the focus of the TTC was limited to the downtown core. The TTC needs to serve a global community, not just certain areas.

    It would be preferable to have a Commission that viewed its role as setting transit policy for the population of the GTA, knowing that the ultimate power was through the elected council as a whole, and not a specific subset thereof.

    A relevant comparator is the Board of Directors of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. The federal government is satisfied with two representatives on this Board. Their view was that even one voice allows for communication of the interests of the federal government. The idea is that the voices of various communities need to be heard, and that this works if no single interest is given a megaphone that can drown out the other voices. Representatives on that Board include representatives nominated by the municipalities in the region, the airline industry, organized labour, the business community, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Law Society, among others. These organizations nominate candidates, and the Board selects from the nominees. Terms are staggered so that there is continual renewal, but the Board can maintain continuity. It is an effective way of representing a broad variety of communities without being held hostage to the world of politics.

    We will not be in a position to write the charter for a revised TTC, but if we can point to models of good governance, there is a faint hope that the current model of non-governance will be thrown out and replaced with one that works.

    Steve: Although the premise that the Commission (and boards in general) should focus on policy, not operations, is valid, that runs aground when there are major issues of organizational performance. Organizations can become defensive at the management level, and if a board feels that customers could be better served, or that the business could be better conducted, then the board has to intervene. In theory, this might be done by saying “here are the corporate goals, make it so”, but the very public nature of the TTC means that Commissioners will be exposed to many more of the fine-grained front-line issues than would be the case in other types of large organizations. Any Commissioner riding the system and listening to rider complaints would lose their credibility instantly by saying “that’s not my job” if faced with an operational complaint. That’s not to say they should fix the problem on the spot, but they need to be open to listening. Otherwise, the premise of community representation is meaningless.

  47. Ed says:

    Brian writes:

    “The TTC needs to be a service organization that serves at least the entire City of Toronto, but realistically the entire GTA. They need a planning horizon measured in decades.”

    I don’t see how this would possibly work under any form of Commission governance. The Commissioners won’t have any better idea of what changes our transit needs will have undergone in 2032 than you or I. No one knows — so you can’t really plan that far ahead. (That’s leaving aside the trivial case of vehicle replacement and staff hiring to replace retirees, which can be done assuming a steady state of the system, e.g. we will have to buy replacements for the 8300-series Orion VIIs around 2030.)

    The only way to get a decades-long planning horizon is to install a long-term czar with the power to get his/her way, kind of a Robert Moses of transportation and development. Citizen board members certainly won’t have the background for this kind of planning, so the czar would have to be the CGM of the TTC. And then the Commission becomes irrelevant, because the czar will do what the czar will do.

  48. Josh Gould says:

    For Eglinton I would strongly urge the consideration of elevated technology for the outer sections.

    The notion that elevated transit lines are less disruptive to existing traffic is so far off the mark as to be ridiculous. Have you ever seen the Canada Line in Richmond down No. 3 Rd? The existing – and ugly – streetscape of strip malls has now been blighted by a concrete wall that looks something like a mini-Gardiner. It’s not as if you can put lanes of traffic underneath it, and the effect on pedestrians is hardly trivial. I’d take the Spadina ROW over No. 3 Rd any day.

    Steve: I browsed through the comment thread on the linked post at Urban Toronto, and it is amazing how trivial the problems of vertical access are to some writers. Accessibility is a growing and important aspect of transit station design, and this has profound effects on the amount of real estate needed for escalators, elevators and mezzanines. Side of road designs are simpler, but they affect the built form that can be adjacent to the rapid transit line. It’s particularly troubling how the visual and pedestrian realm effects of elevated structures can be dismissed as the ravings of people who don’t count by people who will move heaven and earth to avoid having to give up road space to a “streetcar”.

  49. W. K. Lis says:

    There was this amendment that occurred during the Monday city council meeting on the TTC:

    “8a – Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Janet Davis (Carried)

    City Council direct that potential candidates who are owners, employees or agents of companies that are engaged in business with the Toronto Transit Commission, or could be reasonably expected to engage in procurement opportunities with the Toronto Transit Commission on transit related projects, not be considered for these positions.”

    The result was carried, 42 to 2. The two against the motion were Doug Ford and Frances Nunziata.

    The Ford brothers’ company, Deco Labels & Tags, does business selling labels to the TTC. The carried motion means that Doug and Rob, or any their employees, cannot sit on the board, as citizens in the future. Don’t know if that motion also prevented them going on the TTC board as councillors?

    Steve: Given the mood of Council, the likelihood they will let either of the Fords anywhere near the TTC is rather small. They certainly would not qualify as citizen members once they revert to that status.

  50. Ian Folkard says:

    Hi Steve

    In all of the coverage that I have read concerning Ford’s transit defeat I find it really interesting the one term that has not surfaced – “Ford Nation”. It was completely missing from any statement by Ford, his supporters, or Hudak. I hope that it is not wishful thinking on my part, but that “Ford Nation” has been truly been reduced to something approaching a nationette, a non entity, or a protectorate that could comfortably cram into a Smart Car.

Comments are closed.