Metrolinx Speaks With A New Voice

For the past few months, Metrolinx has been rather quiet as Queen’s Park worked through the legislation abolishing the old board and merging GO Transit into Metrolinx.  How is “Metrolinx 2” going to work?  What are its priorities?  The transitional board has been meeting informally, and signs of change have been obvious in recent announcements such as the GO Electrification Study.

On June 9 and 10, the new President and CEO of Metrolinx, J. Robert S. Prichard, more commonly known simply as “Rob”, gave similar speeches to the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and the Building Industry and Land Development Association.  These are available from the Presentations page on the Metrolinx site in both text and Powerpoint versions.  (Both are saved as PDFs.)

Much of the content is in the “rah rah, we’re a new agency with a new mandate” cheerleading vein, but some points are worth noting.

Metrolinx has a mandate to actually do things, and do them quickly.  In times past, this took on an aggressive, negative tone attacking NIMBYism and suggesting that anyone perceived to get in the way would be pushed aside.  Today, the need for action remains, but it is presented as a widely supported, long overdue program to reverse the damage of lost decades of underinvestment in transit infrastructure.

Prichard cites priorities he has received from Premier McGuinty, and the focus is on results, not on process. 

  • Get it done.  Residents … are tired of announcements.
  • Improve the quality, reliability and availability of GO Transit.
  • Develop an investment strategy to fund programs beyond the initial $10-billion already allocated.

That list implies things were not happening under the old Metrolinx, and we’ve heard rumblings about unco-operative, foot-dragging politicians.  More about them later.

Yes, we are all tired of announcements, and it’s refreshing to know that not only will money be pledged, it will actually be spent.  (Earth to Ottawa: Are you listening?)  I have shelves full of plans, but I can’t actually visit the sites or ride the lines because they remain only on paper.  In a few cases, this is a blessing in disguise.

McGuinty flags improving GO service quality as one of his three priorities, and this shows that riders’ complaints about reliability are hitting where it counts.  We can spend billions on construction, but if we cannot run service properly, voters see this as a waste rather than a valued improvement.  Local transit operators, notably the TTC, who are at least as important in the regional context as GO itself, must also take this seriously rather than concocting endless excuses for poor performance.

The investment strategy is the heart of Metrolinx because without money, they’re just a nice bunch of folks drawing lines on maps.  Prichard’s words are worth quoting:

Great public transit depends on regular sustained capital and operating funding. It is a pre-eminent public good and we need to pay for it together. Our legislative mandate calls for us to table an investment plan by 2013, but we can’t wait until then to engage the citizens of the GTHA. Get the best ideas on the table, get the debate going and get the citizens engaged with it, says the Premier.

While the old Metrolinx board still existed, funding was a major concern not just for capital programs, but for ongoing operations.  The scope extended beyond Metrolinx projects to local transit systems.  Such discussions tended to be sidelined, and it was clear that Chair Rob MacIsaac didn’t want this sort of thing to get a lot of public attention.  Now we are told that the Premier himself wants the debate about financing transit up and running.

Today’s story is that local politicians unanimously supported “The Big Move” and by doing so “addressed not just their individual needs but the needs of the Region as a whole.  They did an excellent job.”  For their hard work, they were ejected from the board by legislative fiat amid comments that they were an unco-operative, small-minded bunch.  Now they’re gone and the story has changed.

… [T]ransit requires sustained, not periodic, investments, a steady and predictable source of support that permits long-range planning, continuous improvement, growth and adequate operating and maintenance funding.  How, not whether, to deliver this sustained funding is the question we must address.

Prichard trumpets “The Big Move” as a strategic, long-term vision.  Yes, certainly it’s a vision, but one that must be adapted as conditions change and as the implications of various proposals become clear.  Already we have seen an extension of the Finch LRT line east to Don Mills Station appear simply as part of a funding announcement, and GO electrification has moved off of the back burner thanks to the Weston corridor controversy.  The plan itself acknowledges that it is a descriptive document, not an unchangeable prescription for our transit future.

Metrolinx 2 would do well to remember this and engage the public and local politicians on fine tuning.  One notable example here is the Downtown Relief Line, a vital part of the transit network into central Toronto.  This post is not the place to rehash the arguments about alignment — there are extensive comment threads elsewhere on this site.  The core issue is that extension of the rapid transit network into the 905, particularly to Richmond Hill, will overload the existing system.  The TTC acknowledges this, and Toronto City Council wants the DRL built as a co-requisite of the Yonge Subway extension.

We need to know the options for the DRL and for the Don Mills corridor generally, and the benefits they may have in avoiding additional cost and constraints in trying to fit additional passengers through a congested Yonge subway.

That Richmond Hill extension is notably absent from the list of current projects in Prichard’s speech (York Viva, Finch, Sheppard East, Scarborough, Eglinton, Spadina Subway extension, Airport link and GO expansion).  I do hope that it won’t elbow its way to the foreground in another funding-by-press-conference.  There is no question the line deserves discussion, but we need to put it in a larger, regional context.

Metrolinx built “The Big Move” as a network recognizing that planning one line at a time was counterproductive. Unfortunately, that network view disappeared almost as quickly as the RTP was published.  Toronto’s objection to the Richmond Hill line was painted as obstruction when, in fact, it was intended to broaden the discussion to include alternative ways of distributing the commuting load on the transit system.  Pre-empting that discussion subverts the very process Metrolinx was set up to drive.

After years of fighting neighbourhoods over the impact of the Weston corridor, GO/Metrolinx gives the impression of a conciliatory stance.  The details belong in another post, but the significant points include:

  • An apparent resolution of the Strachan Avenue grade separation design issues in a manner that combines the City’s concerns about the intrusiveness of a new structure with GO’s concerns about the effect of grades on the rail lines.
  • A design charette in Weston that yielded ideas for handling the contentious John Street crossing as well as many other neighbourhood issues.
  • Commitment to a study of electrification of the GO system to report by late 2010, much earlier than anticipated by the timelines in “The Big Move”.

Projects built with Metrolinx funding will be owned by Metrolinx, but they will in many cases by operated by the local transit system.  This is mainly an accounting issue so that Queen’s Park can expense capital contributions over decades rather than all in the years of construction.  What remains unclear is the degree to which Metrolinx will intrude in operations in issues such as maintenance standards and service quality.

Prichard talks of partnerships with the private sector, but this is now part of a longer list including “municipalities and their transit systems”.  The point is that each type of agency or company brings something to the table, and none of them should be rejected or preferred on an arbitrary basis.

The new Metrolinx board is a mixture of former GO and Metrolinx directors as well as several newcomers with varied backgrounds.  Some of them are well known, while others are a mystery, at least as would-be leaders in the transit field.  For example, Paul Bedford, a carry-over from the original Metrolinx board and former Chief Planner of the City of Toronto, is on record favouring early construction of the Downtown Relief Line, a comprehensive study of GO electrification, and inclusion of the Air Rail link as part of an electrified network.  Former GO directors will likely be more conservative reflecting GO’s preference to run more trains rather than spending on electrification. 

By legislative constraint, none of them can be sitting politicians.  All the same, those politicians represent the very municipal sector that Metrolinx sees as an important partner in its work.  Although the board is required to hold public meetings only for limited types of business, outreach will be vital at the political, staff and community levels.  Many issues were left undecided by “The Big Move”, and  public discussions, public engagement are essential to Metrolinx’ success.

“Metrolinx 1” started with many fine words, but ultimately turned inwards becoming hypersensitive to criticism.  “Metrolinx 2” may be a fresh start, and with luck and dedication, we will see real progress in building transit for the GTA.  My gut feeling is one of suspicion (decades of watching transit agencies does this to anyone), but this is too important a mandate to be wasted.  Metrolinx will be measured not by the speeches it gives, but by truly including the public and its municipal “partners”, and building support for major, ongoing investments in our transit network.

22 thoughts on “Metrolinx Speaks With A New Voice

  1. Dear SM:

    Re: DRT

    Could the DRT be built in a semi-circle north of Bloor-Danforth where the people are now OR should you cram more people into the South core? This arch would connect the Bloor & Eglinton lines & be cheaper to build. It would intercept people before they get to the core reduce load at the Yonge-Bloor station-meaning a 3rd platform is not needed. The southerly arch repeats past mistake of “core overload”. It might be faster to build as fewer high profile sites would be needed.

    Steve: Extending the DRL subway to Eglinton & Don Mills (where it would meet the Eglinton and Don Mills LRT lines) is precisely what I and others have been advocating. Meanwhile, the TTC fights tooth and nail against any change to their plans. Time that should be spent looking in detail at alternatives is wasted on cock-and-bull schemes such as the expansion of Bloor-Yonge and trying to shoehorn a surface LRT to Pape or Broadview Stations.
    Should the corecontinue to be a centre of daytime jobs or something else?


  2. What are the effects if they built the DRL using LRT technology connecting it to the Don Mills LRT? This allows direct access to downtown, have the LRT vision, relieve the Queen streetcar and revive the Queen streetcar subway proposed half a century ago.

    A downtown short turn could turn [be made] at Pape station.

    Is the demand for a full 6-car subway badly needed in the next 30 years?

    Steve: Actually, the projected demand south of Danforth is over 15K/hour (see Metrolinx background paper on demand projections). Even if this is high, it is still well above the level that could be handled by short LRT trains through routed with the surface section of a Don Mills line. The DRL will shift a substantial demand off of the Yonge-Bloor interchange even if only the eastern half of the route is built. This may not be 6-car train, 120 second headway territory, but it’s a respectable subway line.


  3. At this point, why does Metrolinx even EXIST?

    I thought Metrolinx was supposed to control the purse for all transit funding. Why then, are they not involved with the streetcar purchase? Why didn’t the TTC apply to Metrolinx for the money?

    It seems to me that both the City and the province are ignoring Metrolinx.

    Steve: The mandate for Metrolinx has always been regional, not local service, and both Queen’s Park and Metrolinx itself have been quite firm about the distinction. They do have a potential role for joint purchasing of vehicles, but the streetcars are (at this point) unique to Toronto just as are subway cars. Moreover, Metrolinx has indicated (and now clarified via Rob Prichard’s speeches) that local systems may very well both build and operate “regional” lines that are paid for with Metrolinx funding.


  4. I note Hizzoner retweeting an ad for the other day. Did he have anything to say about metrolinx before the pols were booted from Metrolinx?

    Steve: Mayor Miller went out of his way to be complimentary to and work with Metrolinx despite the tiffs created by Rob MacIsaac’s prejudging some issues in the RTP. The politicians seemed to get on fine, but there was a lot of foot-dragging on issues where “Metrolinx 2” seems to be taking a different approach.

    Personally, I think the wrong people were removed. The pols took the fall for what was really a problem of bad leadership in the old regime.


  5. There’s still the mystery of where some of the information being published is coming from. This had nothing to do with the board, and still doesn’t, as the board doesn’t prepare that information, but receives it.

    Something else that has an elusive meaning at this point is the issue of the Minister’s Transportation Policy Statement, which Metrolinx seems unusually detached from. I find this somewhat confusing.


  6. oops – just realised my previous post lost its intended meaning in my pre-submission editing. Hopefully it makes more sense if it reads “did he have anything to say about electrification”

    Railway Gazette notes Montreal’s move to electrification – aided by Hydro-Quebec. I wonder what role Ontario’s electricity industry could play, and what assistance they can/should give to the electrification of GTA trains, trams… and maybe buses 🙂


  7. I wonder if Metrolinx ‘2’ will be forming significantly more public-private type partnerships. I don’t mean the P3 model of construction, but I do mean a transit-as-development model that for instance Hong Kong’s MTR has adopted. It would be interesting to see now that it is no longer a wholly political body, if Metrolinx can start operating partially as a ‘business’. If they are able to earn extra money (and riders) by development near major stations and so on, this would be a significant boost to what they are trying to accomplish and for the bottom line.

    Steve: I believe that the whole issue of development around stations is over-hyped as a source of revenue for several reasons. First, much of the new construction will be in areas that are not suitable for very high density development that would generate high revenue. Hong Kong is a completely different place, very dense, constrained for space and built at a density many neighbourhoods would loudly reject.

    Second, the model for development is already laid out in the official plan for “Avenues”, those streets where Transit City lines will run, as being medium density that will develop over time, not as a “big bang” in conjunction with the construction.

    Third, many assumptions about the magic of property development generating revenues are mired back in an era of rampant condo speculation, widely available credit and the buildup to the financial crash. As things are, developers (those who have not simply walked away from their developments) are already lobbying for reductions in any taxes or other revenue generating schemes that they feel would make their projects even harder to market. They are not keen on loading the cost of new transit infrastructure onto their would-be customers.


  8. Steve wrote, “I believe that the whole issue of development around stations is over-hyped as a source of revenue for several reasons.”

    I agree this is over-hyped, but I learned earlier this week just how ingrained this belief is. There was a public consultation open house Wednesday evening being held by Viva Next (the body that is planning the future of transit in York Region) on a northern extension of the Don Mills LRT up to Highway 7. This was the first round meeting for this project that was part of the Metrolinx RTP and won’t be built until the Don Mills line gets underway, so they are getting the preliminary work out of the way now.

    At this point, there is a great deal of opposition to this, as I wrote about on my blog (see for the gory details). There was one comment that someone attending the meeting made during the Q&A session that I was reminded about by Steve’s quote above. One of the ‘wonderful’ suggestions was to move the line to Woodbine and one individual used the reasoning that they should use transit to do “what it is intended to do and that is to encourage development.”

    Sheesh! What about getting people out of cars?

    By the way, I suspect that Steve would prefer that comments on my point stick to the transit/development issue at hand. If you want to comment on the merit, or lack thereof, of moving this line, it would be more appropriate over with my article.

    Steve grins at the editorial advice.


  9. Steve wrote, “I believe that the whole issue of development around stations is over-hyped as a source of revenue for several reasons.”

    In areas which are already developed, I agree completely. There are areas around exsisting transit nodes that are under-developed, but even if they were redeveloepd, I do not think the extra tax revenue for the city would make any siginificant difference.

    However, let us not forget that the Greater Toronto area is expanding outwards. In 20 years time, Milton, Bolton and Georgetown will be part of the contiguous metropolitan area (i.e., no non-urban area between them and downtown Toronto). The new urban areas have far more potential to yield revenue through transit-orientated devlopement.

    Steve: That’s what the Metrolinx “Mobility Hubs” are all about. Having said that, the revenue potential is nowhere near what will be needed to pay for the expanding network, and if GO persists in surrounding its stations with acres of parking, those “hubs” will have a very big holes in their middles.


  10. Steve comments:
    “The mandate for Metrolinx has always been regional, not local service, and both Queen’s Park and Metrolinx itself have been quite firm about the distinction. They do have a potential role for joint purchasing of vehicles, but the streetcars are (at this point) unique to Toronto just as are subway cars.”

    This leaves me puzzled, as the Finch/Sheppard/whatever line is a Metrolinx notion/priority, isn’t it? Have these people hired the same staff that Metro Council used when considering to build the Sheppard subway but not run any trains along it?

    ICTS is even more “unique to Toronto”, yet it keeps appearing as a technology choice for Eglinton. (Surely it won’t be used anywhere in 905?)

    Okay, some of these may be Ontario government notions. But is anyone really clear on the distinction between Metrolinx and Queen’s Park?

    Steve: The distinction between Metrolinx and Queen’s Park is difficult to fathom, and the line has been thinning ever since mid 2008 (I think) when the words “An Agency of the Government of Ontario” appeared as part of their logo. They regard the TC lines as part of the regional network (they’re in “The Big Move”) but not the many truly local services that connect to them (bus and streetcar routes). This is inherently illogical, but it is the product of a framework where a takeover of the existing local operators was simply not going to happen. Strategically, such a move would have diverted much attention and effort away from the more important goal of framing a regional network.


  11. I would like to Metrolinx empowered even more. Give them the money and let them dole it out to the region’s transit authorities. That’s the only way to force everyone to play nice and over-rule some boneheaded decisions like the coming ICTS/ART Mk II Scarborough RT.

    Steve: Actually it is Metrolinx that is one of the last holdouts, internally, for ICTS. They have yet to show themselves capable of making decisions with any less political influence than the cities everyone loves to hate. After all, the important decisions are made in the Premier’s office, and the last time I looked, he was a politician.


  12. I’m confused here.

    Didn’t Metrolinx’s own BCA lean towards LRT for the RT? And, are there not political forces inside the TTC that want ICTS retained and the ROW to remain fully exclusive? — the design work on this was done by the TTC, not Metrolinx.

    I remember the TTC distinctly saying (in response to a deputation you made) that under no circumstances would they compromise the service reliability and headway regularity of the RT by extending it in one or more non-exclusive ROW segments beyond McCowan. Once you go on that premise as Rule #1, it makes sense to stick with ICTS — it’s the path of least resistance and requires the least amount of work.

    Also, the TTC has no intention of interlining any LRT lines that meet at right angles … period, so the only negatives with ICTS that remain are the extra carhouse and the snow-problem. Those two cons don’t really outweigh the pros of keeping ICTS.

    Steve: The problem is that there are two completely separate studies and sets of alignments. The BCA puts the northern part of the “SLRT” on Progress, and that version is the cheapest of the lot. However, the TTC is adamant that they don’t want street running because it will interfere with reliable service on the busy south end of the line. This case is often put by the same person who told the folks in Lake Shore that it was impossible to operate reliable transit service there without a right of way.

    The statement about right-of-way all the way could be defended, if I stood on my head and closed one eye, when the line was only going Sheppard, and Malvern was to be served by the LRT line coming up Morningside. Now, however, the “RT” is going into Malvern and potentially even further north. This completely changes the ICTS/LRT equation because the line is well beyond the point where anyone can justify ICTS. Conversion to LRT is the only sensible option, and the sooner the TTC gets off its duff and makes that decision formally, the better.


  13. Steve I wish I could share your opinion about about Metrolinx’s new tone but an electrification study doesn’t cut it. Not when they have already done one with my tax money but won’t let me see it. With Metrolinx the ends justify the means no matter the cost, even greater pollution.

    Steve: As I understand it, the study that has already been done was done for GO (which was separate from Metrolinx at the time), and is an update of a previous study of Lakeshore electrification. Yes, that study should be public if only because it would give us a running start on a system-wide study.

    I am prepared to give the new crew at Metrolinx, briefly, the benefit of the doubt, but Rob Prichard had better not make the same mistake as Rob MacIsaac did of using the same stump speech for months on end. If Prichard doesn’t get his head around the GO/Metrolinx attitude that public participation is something to be managed rather than embraced, and do something about it, then the new Metrolinx will be as bad or worse than the old one.


  14. The design charette for the Johns Street bridge in Weston was in fact a charade not a charette.

    Metrolinx position (Paul Bedford was present and gave the speech) before the 5 hour “consultation” was close John street to vehicular traffic and force that traffic on to nearby ancillary streets.

    One of those streets by the way is already over capacity at 3000 vehicles per day (capacity defined by the City of Toronto for that street is 2500 vehicles per day). The street in question is King Street in Weston. Two schools with over 1100 students are on George Street and are within 50 feet of the T intersection of George and King streets. So the brilliance of Metrolinx is to force 1500 vehicles to use King street as an alternative to get to Weston Road and drive by 1100 kids on the way to and from school.

    City traffic seems to think that most of those vehicles will take Lawrence as an alternative to John, which forces traffic North only at Weston because of a prohibition on left turns. Why would anyone in their right mind drive south to Lawrence (right by another TDSB school CR Marchant with another 450 kids attending school), and then back up Weston northbound? The obvious alternative is King street and everyone in Weston knows this but the city traffic dopes seem to think that we are all wrong and they are right.

    Within an hour of the charette, it became obvious that Metrolinx still wanted to close John to vehicles and that was that.

    The next four hours saw some brilliant ideas for keeping John street open to vehicular traffic. It’s obvious that if non-professionals can come up with doable fixes to the problem and the professionals can’t there is something wrong with the process.

    At the end of the charette, participants were thanked for their 5 hours of contribution and Metrolinx basically said they would consider the proposals – Don’t call us, We’ll call you – but the bottom line is that John street was still to be closed to vehicular traffic.

    Hence the charade.

    If they can’t get a simple bridge right, what makes you think that they can get a Regional Transportation System right?

    They seem to start with a single premisse and then they won’t divert from that premisse even if they are proven to be wrong and other alternatives are clearly the best way to proceed.

    Steve: While my own experiences with Metrolinx have not endeared them to me as being open to suggestions, I must point out that the alternative proposals to preserve John Street, albeit with a jog, are included in the design options shown in the current display panels. The real issue now is what Metrolinx will do with them.


  15. Steve: I have a train related question regarding Metrolinx.

    They claim to have been using Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel for both bus and rail since 2006.

    A friend at GO told me that the old F59PH units were running on an “additive” to lower NOX or sulphur I can’t remember which but I think it was NOX, but that the current MP40PH-3C don’t use this additive because of the risk of voiding the engine warranty.

    Does anyone know if this is true? And has GO been using ULSF since 2006?


  16. Part of the problem is also that we need a group to co-ordinate transit services throughout the GTA. Toronto is running out of room, and many organizations now have their offices outside of Toronto (think of locations like central Mississauga, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, and Woodbridge to name a few.) Our transit system needs to be able to move people not just in and out of Toronto, but also through Toronto, and between other locations. It is no longer as simple as “get people to downtown Toronto.”

    Steve: The real challenge for “regional” planners is to realize that building a few subway or GO lines won’t do the trick because unless people have at least one end of their commute right at a station, the local services needed to collect and distribute passengers are totally lacking. If downtown Toronto were built at the density and provided with local transit service of the 905, say York Region, nobody would take the TTC downtown either.


  17. “Toronto is running out of room…”

    I think the many, many companies with offices outside Toronto proper has more to do with business taxes than space, imho…

    Steve: Actually Toronto is no where near running out of room. The big problem with business taxes is that Queen’s Park soaks Toronto taxpayers to fund education outside of the 416. At least half of the property tax in Toronto paid by business is for education, and a goodly chunk of that does not stay in the 416. Move your office or factory to the 905 and let Toronto pay to run your schools.


  18. Yes, a large part of the problem is property tax – but let’s face it there are no LARGE undeveloped spaces in Toronto that a developer could purchase. Many areas are being re-built, but unlike the 905 there are no farms waiting to be purchased by a developer. That’s what I mean – most of the land is being used in one way or a another. Parks will not be turned into commercial sites anytime soon (nor should they.) If you look downtown, it’s now one tall building after another (you can’t even see the ACC now if you travel to Union on the Lakeshore West line with all those new condos that have gone up on the west side of the ACC.)

    You also need feeder routes to and from the local GO or subway stop, I agree with that. But the point is that you need a regional body that can oversee the operation to make sure that everything is integrated. Joint fares or a combination fare (such as the HUGE discount offered by Mississauga Transit for those travelling to or from the GO train) will also help the user.

    Steve: That HUGE discount is paid for by GO who will not extend the same arrangement to people living within the 416 and the TTC.


  19. Steve wrote:

    “That HUGE discount is paid for by GO who will not extend the same arrangement to people living within the 416 and the TTC.”

    Thanks – I wondered how it worked. GO’s whole attitude to the 416 can be bad. I have seen them run a train to all the stops outside the 416 and then express to Union (usually to make up time) or if a bus is being used instead of a train, it’s an express bus until outside the 416.


  20. I think the reason why that is done is because the 416 is serviced with a pretty good TTC service. I never got why a person living in Guildwood would need to take the lakeshore east line downtown when the have a perfectly fine bus and subway route that will do that for you, and at a cheaper price.

    To be quite honest with you those living in Durham and other 905 region have it bad when it comes to service. We have to pay for our local service to get to the go train station. Then we have to pay for the GO Train, and then we have to pay for TTC if were travelling within the 416. I have NO sympathy for Torontonians saying GO-Ignores them, the TTC is fine enough. When I used to live out in Scarborough the 116 ran frequent service … I would never think of taking GO-Transit considering it would be more expensive … The reason why go Go-runs discounts for people out in Durham is because our local service is so %^%@%%$ up … excuse my language.

    In fact I find it funny the Region is proposing a BRT line … when they can’t even get their local service in check. This should be interesting in the coming years.


  21. Because not all parts of the 416 are actually that good – for example it can easily take over an hour for someone in South Etobicoke to get downtown, but only 18-19 from Long Branch GO station (less time from Mimico.)

    Part of the cost factor for those living outside the 416 is also that GO has to go where the rail line(s) is/are. That means Union, not anywhere else downtown. Even a Summerhill stop on the CP line is north of Bloor – not somewhere that everyone will want to go either. No solution is perfect.


  22. why we need Streetcar/LRT? Toronto already hit 2.6 million population and Toronto will hit 3.1 million by 2031. Streetcar/LRT don’t deserves for Toronto, and in winter time, I will not take TTC if I have to wait by surface for Streetcar/LRT during winter time? -20c? forget it! I’m perfer underground, I do understand LRT can go to underground on Eglinton Crosstown LRT and Sheppard East LRT, if they look like Subway Style?

    1. If Eglinton Crosstown LRT and Sheppard East LRT have underground with station or stations then all stations will have platforms like subway style?

    2. Eglinton Crosstown LRT will have “Transfer” to University-Spadina Subway from Eglinton West Station (Lower Eglinton West) or Yonge Subway from Eglinton Station (Lower Eglinton) and Sheppard East LRT will have “Transfer” to Sheppard Subway from Don Mills Station (Lower Don Mills Station)?

    3. Torontian know TTC did cancelled Eglinton West Subway, Sheppard East Subway (from Don Mills Station to Scarborough Centre Station) and Sheppard West Subway (from Sheppard-Yonge Station to Downsview Station) then now you act like you try to tell Torontian people that DRL (Downtown Relief Line) should on LRT? are you Anti-Subway? are you avoid on Subway all the time?

    4. I do support University-Spadina Line Extension (Sheppard West Station, Finch West Station, York University Station and Steeles West Station) and I do not support University-Spadina Line Extension (Highway 407 Transitway Station and Vaughan Corporate Centre Station) or I do support Yonge Line Extension (Drewry/Cummer Station and Steeles Avenue Station) and I do not support Yonge Line Extension (Clark Avenue Station, Royal Orchard Boulevard Station, Langstaff Road Station and Highway 7/Richmond Hill Centre Station). You see what I said? now I asking why TTC want to build Subway on York Region’s soil? York Region is not City of Toronto, can you explain to me why TTC want to build subway line to north? not East-West? not Downtown?

    5. Montreal Metro have 4 lines with 68 stations since 1966 and Vancouver SkyTrain have 2 lines with 33 stations right now, 3 lines with 49 stations by this sept 2009 and 3 lines with 54 stations by 2014. TTC have only 4 lines with 69 stations? or add 1 station for streetcar “Queen’s Quay Station”, total 70 stations? can you explain to me why Toronto did very slow transit improvement and Toronto is large city in Canada?

    I hope you can answer all 5 question and I tell you in my opinion, Toronto really need 4 project is Sheppard East Subway, Sheppard West Subway, Eglinton Subway and Downtown Relief Line Subway. I do support 5 LRT Lines (Jane LRT, Finch LRT, Waterfront West LRT and Scarborough Malvern LRT) and Don Mills LRT (from Steeles Avenue to Eglinton Avenue only because I do support DRL from Eglinton Avenue to Pape Station)

    Steve: Taking your points in order:

    1. The stations may be centre platform, with both directions sharing a platform as on the Sheppard line, or the directions may be stacked within a single tunnel, each direction having its own side platform. Please refer to the Eglinton LRT’s website for a diagram of what this would look like (it’s near the end of the presentation).

    2. Of course there will be transfers between LRT lines and subway lines just as there are today between subways at St. George and Bloor-Yonge. The design details have not been worked out, but there are many locations where LRTs cross subways with the LRT either at grade or underground. The Sheppard and Don Mills Station has been the subject of a few design proposals that have been discussed here and on the project’s website. Kennedy Station is still being worked on, and its design is partly affected by the eventual choice of technology for the SRT/SLRT. The drawings for the SRT extension clearly show an interchange with the Sheppard East LRT running on the surface. The Eglinton line will be underground where it meets both the Yonge and Spadina subways, and design is underway for these connections; the connection to the Jane LRT will be on the surface. The Finch line connects with the Yonge Subway (almost certainly underground), as well as the Spadina line (probably with the LRT on the surface).

    3. The Eglinton West subway (along with other projects) was cancelled by the Provincial government, not by the TTC. This is a decision I happen to agree with, but with the caveat that we should have been building LRT there and in many other corridors decades ago. Toronto however was too proud to look at LRT because the tin-pot suburban politicians were jealous of downtown and wanted “their own” subways. We didn’t have the money to build subways, and now that other cities are building LRT (including that bastion of Conservatism, Calgary), we’re years behind.

    I do NOT propose that the DRL be an LRT line and have said that quite clearly here on many occasions. The projected demand on the line greatly exceeds LRT capabilities. Also, there is no surface right-of-way where the line could run for any distance. If we have to build it underground, we may as well built it as a subway line. That also fits into the general topology of the network. I have in fact proposed that the DRL east go north to Eglinton so that the Don Mills and Eglinton station would be a major hub for the Eglinton LRT, the Don Mills LRT (to the north) and the DRL East subway (to the south). This arrangement is far superior to the TTC’s plan for massive expansion of the capacity of the Yonge subway and the Yonge-Bloor interchange, but they have had their hearts set on that scheme for decades and don’t want to give it up.

    4. The subways to York Region are not the TTC’s idea. The Spadina line is the product of Provincial interference by the former Minister of Finance whose riding it will serve, and the Yonge line comes straight out of York Region Council. The TTC is involved because, after all, it’s their lines that are to be extended.

    5. Both Vancouver and Montreal have bigger systems because the provincial and federal governments gave them piles of money to build them while Toronto went begging.

    Your comments are very misinformed and show little knowledge of how our transit system and various plans for it have evolved. I am particularly annoyed at your mis-characterizing my position on the DRL. I believe that we need the DRL East Subway all the way north to Eglinton, but that DRL West is something for the more distant future, if ever, and I am not convinced that they should wind up in the same place (i.e. as a single U-shaped line) downtown as compromises between available alignments to the east and to the west may give us the worst of both worlds.

    In many other corridors, we need more transit capacity, and that’s what the LRT lines are about. The capacity is not intended to carry people from outer Scarborough to the borders of Mississauga, but to many, many locations in between. The suburban bus network doesn’t just take people to subway terminals, but to many locations, including transfer points to other routes.

    I think I have expended about all I care to on this comment.


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