From time to time, the question arises of where the TTC got the name Transit City and I have quietly claimed authorship for this in various conversations. Now the truth will be revealed!
Back in December 2004, the TTC was working on a response to the new Official Plan showing the potential role of surface rapid transit. The report didn’t have a name yet, and although many ideas had been floated within the TTC, none had hit the mark.
Mitch Stambler, Manager of Service Planning, who was working on the report, left me a voicemail wondering if I had any ideas. After mulling on the problem for a while, I wrote the following email:
Well here it is December 29th, and I’m finally getting around to naming your wonderful new plan.
Hmmm … “Better Late Than Never” would be a good description for some TTC services, not to mention for a plan that we could actually achieve rather than endlessly debating.
… It is important that we somehow emphasize that this is something we really can do, and can do in a reasonable timeframe at a cost we might be able to afford. Also, we have to tie this in with the idea that Toronto is growing through transit to support the OP …
Somewhere, we have to say that we should not try to handle all of the regional demand on the subway, and that this approach will leave resources (and subway capacity) free to handle comparatively-speaking local demand.
The LRT (or whatever) study needs to acknowledge this context — that it is NOT trying to be a mega solution to all transportation problems of the 416 and 905, but that it is trying to address the growth of population on The Avenues, and more generally in a built form that is not suitable for a network of subway lines.
Alas “Wheels to the Future” has already been used by the TTC over 60 years ago, and some bright spark might point out that hovercraft and maglev trains do not use wheels for propulsion — we want to give no indication that this study may be biased to one particular mode, after all.
“Transit for the Avenues” or “Transit Avenues” only makes sense if you know about the OP and the special meaning it assigns to that word.
“Network 2011” has been used before, and we really need to get a shovel into the ground sooner than that anyhow.
Hmmm … I have just had a brainwave along another, er, avenue …
“Toronto, A Transit City” is generic and it shows the focus we want for overall growth using transit (be it on the Avenues or elsewhere). It’s also broad enough to embrace a larger scheme of studies … “Toronto: Building a Transit City” … which would probably come to be shortened in general parlance as the “Transit City” plan or something like that.
I am talking myself into the phrase “Transit City”.
Building a Transit City was presented to the Commission in January 2005. The shortened name was used for the LRT network announcement in 2007.
As you can imagine, the idea of an entire network, buttons and all, with that name on it made me rather proud, in a reserved, quiet, demur, unassuming, unpretentious way. Just part of the pro bono stuff that comes from being a transit advocate.