I received a comment from Roger Bal in the thread about Trams to the Airport, and this really deserves a post all of its own.
Steve, I believe you are too one sided and political and you failed to see the proposal of LRT I mentioned via the rail corridor. It seems to me it’s either your way or the highway with every proposal and idea that is put forward by anyone.
gettorontomoving is just an idea like other ideas brought forward time and time again through out the years. Why does someone’s political affiliation have to do with an idea. Anytime a new road is mentioned or brought forward your underwear becomes fouled. Remember that we all share the roads and that’s the way it should be. Cars and our population is going up and nothing you say will change that. The ideas of roads being added to vacant land beside railway tracks shouldn’t be political. Those ideas are valid and they benefit everyone and it eliminates a lot of unused lands in our city. I don’t view the world as everything being political.
I dissed the gettorontomoving scheme not for its LRT to the airport, but for its expressway extensions as shown on their map, specifically:
- The Weston Corridor expressway as a southerly extension of Highway 400 to the Gardiner
- The Spadina expressway extension to St. Clair
- The DVP branch through East York and Scarborough via the hydro corridor
These roads are overwhelmingly designed to funnel traffic into the core, but it’s unclear where it will go when it gets there. They will do little or nothing to relieve congestion on the outer 416 and 905 road networks. I might have greater faith that someone was genuinely interested in road problems if they concentrated their efforts in those regions.
Anyone who has been reading this site will know that my preferred method of serving the Weston rail corridor is with an LRT line. It was impossible to argue for this to be included in Transit City because until Blue 22 is formally laid to rest, nothing else is ever considered.
gettorontomoving also drags out that old chestnut, a “balanced transportation system”. Nobody has ever explained what is supposed to constitute “balance” beyond expunging the word “no” from our vocabulary and building whatever anyone wants. You can build your subway as long as I can build my expressway.
The hard decisions always come when we say that more roads are not the answer. Back in the 60s, we could pretend that expressways were a valid response to transportation problems. Today, that’s a joke.
As for my being too one sided and political, I have a basic response: this is my blog. If you want to run a blog ranting on about the wonders of expressway construction and the huge wastes of money on transit, be my guest. You won’t find that here, except in some of the comments.
Transit issues, both at the political level and the detailed technical level, have not received good airing for decades, and if we depended on the professionals, we would just be learning that someone had invented the wheel, but it only works in Europe.
LRT has been around for a long time, and could have made inroads in Toronto but for the combined efforts of the subway lobby and a provincial agency more interested in dubious high technology experiments than worthwhile transit.
Back in 1972, when Streetcars for Toronto fought to save the streetcar system, and then turned to advocacy for LRT, our pictures of various systems were considered quaint and certainly not in the same league as a new world-beating technology. Never mind that in 1966 the TTC produced a plan for suburban streetcars running through what was then largely farmland including a line to the airport!
Other cities built LRT networks, we built a toy train and a handful of small subway lines. Now, finally, Toronto has a renaissance, a sudden discovery that there has been a transit alternative all this time right under our noses. I can excuse politicians for blatant stupidity, up to a point, but the “professionals” who chose to downplay this option have a lot to answer for.
LRT is not “the answer” to everything, but despite a so-called alternative analysis process, it has never had the profile it now enjoys thanks to Transit City. Even that won’t really be established until we build something successful.
Meanwhile, Bus Rapid Transit, something that was not even on the table decades ago when every right-thinking city built only subways, has emerged as a way to deflect attention from LRT and to focus on road-oriented transit schemes.
I take a hard line with my positions because I have seen decades of positions lost by erosion, inch by inch, like water dripping on a rock face. Just let us build one more subway. Streetcars are nice but not here, not yet. More service would be good, but next year.
I have watched as dubious schemes and their politically connected sponsors took precedence over good transit because, as we all know, the transit system exists not for its riders, but for the lucrative projects it can finance.
Many who have commented here contributed to the evolution of my positions. When you’re forced to stand up every day in an electronic equivalent of Question Period, you work through the details and nuances in your arguments and you present your opinions with gusto.
[Some Honourable Members: “Hear! Hear!”]
I detest expressway proposals because they speak to a city model that is long extinct. I dislike subway proposals because they concentrate scarce resources, both capital and operating, on lines of dubious value and lock us into the most expensive of all transit modes.
In a way, I am a small-c conservative, someone who does not want to build and spend recklessly. That may manifest itself in ways much removed from the more traditional small-or-large-c crowd, but it’s a valid position. I want money spent in ways that will improve transit at moderate cost (not the same as “cheap”) because I want transit to have a greater role for Toronto, its growing population and the city it can become.
We all differ in exactly how that might be achieved, and I have every right to get on my soap box (it is my soap box after all), just as gettorontomoving has the right to plump for their scheme. I would never make a good politician, because when I don’t agree with something, I say so.
The foul smell on the air is not my underwear, but transportation “plans” that would set the city back decades.