Transit City Update

At the TTC meeting last week, there was a long presentation about the status of the various Transit City projects. The TTC’s website contains only the two page covering report with absolutely no details, but lucky for you, my readers, here is an electronic copy. As and when the TTC actually posts this report on their own site, I will change the link here to point to the “official” copy.

Warning: 7MB download: Transit City February 2008

While there may be individual issues to prompt kvetching in this report, overall I am impressed by what is happening. For the first time in over 30 years, we have not only a unified plan, but a unified set of studies. I may be naïve to expect all of this will actually be built, but we are in far better shape knowing what might be than if only one or two lines were on the table.

Here is an overview of the report along with my comments.

Overall Priorities

Of the various Transit City proposals, three have been selected as the top priority for design, funding and construction: Sheppard East, Etobicoke Finch-West and Eglinton-Crosstown. All lines were scored against various criteria, and those coming out on top overall got the nod. This doesn’t mean work stops on the others, but at least we know the staging.

Projected total ridership is highest for Eglinton, Finch and Jane, with Sheppard East in 5th place. Partly, this is due to the length of the routes and their catchment areas. Note that Waterfront West brings up the rear, unsurprising given the area it draws from.

The lines rank roughly the same way for the number of car trips diverted to transit and the reduction in greenhouse gases. There’s something of a compound effect here as several measures all vary more or less as a function of ridership.

Transit City, again with the exception of Waterfront West, touches the City’s priority neighbourhoods where better transit is needed to increase mobility and economic opportunities for the residents.

What’s Missing

Notable by their absence are the Waterfront East lines (Queen’s Quay, Cherry Street and Port Lands) as well as the Kingston Road line in Scarborough. EAs are aready in progress for these, but they don’t make it onto the overall status report.

This is a shame because we must stop making distinctions between “Transit City” itself, and other related transit projects that will compete for attention and funding. Continue reading