With the Ontario Budget due out on Thursday along with who knows what other announcements, it’s time to think big about transit in the GTA. The documents linked here are intended to do this, to stake my ground for what a transit network should look like. The versions posted now have some minor changes, mainly typographical fixes.
This is not intended to be an immutable, sacred plan. If anything is certain, it is that this plan would never be built as written even if it were the official policy of every level of government. Plans change. Cities change. People think of better ways to do things.
This is one of those “better ways”. For too long, we have wrangled over where the next kilometer or two of subway will be built while the region becomes more and more car oriented by default, and the existing transit system dwindles around us. This is no way to build a city. I hope that my proposal will stimulate people to thinking about what we could have and that some level of government will take it seriously enough to evaluate and, roughly, cost out its components.
We need to know what we can do if only we have the political will to really commit to transit and to break from decades-old models of a future transit system.
Some of the routes proposed here will require detailed study of alignment options. It is not my place to do such detailed planning and I don’t have an army of consultants on call to work up a stack of engineering drawings on a moment’s notice.
I know that my proposals will be greeted with amusement and incredulity in some quarters — Steve’s finally lost it they will say as they pore over a network more ambitious than anything the TTC or Queen’s Park has ever produced. I could even picture myself as a mad Napoleon trying to take over the world with an LRT network, but the beard would have to go and that would never do.
It’s a long read (13 pages for the main paper), but worth it if you want to see a consolidated view of transit issues and possibilities for the Toronto region. Comments are welcome, and I will try to maintain running dialogues as they come in.
Please note that this version of the text has a few nits I would like to fix up, but I will let the dust settle for a few days and post an update later in the week.
First is the main report:
Next is an appendix detailing the characteristics of various transit modes. This is a bit more technical and geeky in spots, but it establishes what I mean when I talk about different modes.