The Mayor of Transit City

Yesterday, David Miller announced that he would not seek a third term as Mayor of Toronto so that he can devote his attention to his family rather than to political battles.  In his announcement speech, the Mayor spoke of his many accomplishments including those which improve public transit.  Indeed, in today’s Globe, when asked to name one of his greatest accomplishments, Miller replied:

One of the things I passionately believe, and one of the reasons I ran for elected office to begin with, was about public transit.

Indeed, improving public transit to make Toronto a “World Class City” was part of Miller’s first, unsuccessful, bid for a Council seat in 1991.  The next election, in 1994, brought Miller to the old Metro Council.

(There are many articles in all media about Miller’s decision, and I leave it to readers to track them down.  A news compendium is available the website as of September 28.)

I came to know then-Councillor David Miller in his role as a Commissioner on the TTC board after the city’s amalgamation in 1998.  He had a good sense of issues and advanced his positions clearly and strongly, but without grandstanding.

After the mid 1990’s funding and service cutbacks, the TTC needed strong advocacy to turn it around.  Ridership dropped from a 1988 high of over 463-million to a low of 372-million in 1996, creeping back over 400-million by 2000.  The TTC’s only plans for service expansion were a few new subway lines, but when these would be funded and built was anyone’s guess.

Operating subsidies fell over the years, and farebox cost recovery grew from about 70% in 1988 to almost 85% by 2000.  Partly this was achieved through fare increases, and partly through service cuts.  This placed a greater load on riders to fund the system while quality and quantity of service declined, particularly on the surface network.

The minutes for the April 10, 2002 Commission meeting contain a small item that would fundamentally change transit planning and advocacy:

CC-2 Commissioner Miller submitted his communication dated April 5, 2002 to Chair Ashton with respect to the development of a ridership growth strategy.



March 2003 brought the Ridership Growth Strategy.  In its original form, it focussed on changes that could be achieved at minimal cost, quickly, to build the quality of transit and, through that, ridership across the system.  (The plan was later amended to include an extension of the Spadina or Sheppard subways, but that was not its original intent.)

These changes included:

  • Service improvements to increase capacity and to make off-peak service more attractive
  • Surface transit rights-of-way
  • Additional commuter parking
  • Increased transit priority signalling
  • Increased capacity on the Scarborough RT
  • Metropass Volume Incentive Program for major business and institutions
  • Reducing the cost of the Metropass relative to token fares
  • Introduction of a Weekly Pass
  • Reduction of fares in real terms in 2006/2007

Although many of these goals took longer to implement than originally expected, almost all of them are now in place or well underway.  (Replacement and upgrading of the SRT is a separate issue about which I will write in another post.)

At the heart of the RGS is the premise that good transit must embrace the entire system, the entire city.  A transit system, whose growth during boom times depended on almost effortlessly gathering new riders from subway extensions into developing suburbs, needed to attract and recapture riding with an existing route network and minimal capital investment.

Many argue that Toronto should have built miles of subways over the past decades, but the simple fact is that funding was not available at the level needed, and there was no real belief in transit as a city-wide alternative to motoring.  Indeed, debates ran far longer on where the next mile of subway would go than on the need for overall improvement to the network.

Subways were considered as tools to spur development and to address peak road congestion.  Meanwhile, surface transit starved, and the motto “Take The Car” had real meaning.  Even serious transit advocates had to admit that transit just was not “The Better Way” for far too many potential riders.

By 2003, David Miller was a declared candidate for the Mayoral election, and to the surprise of many and the delight of his supporters, he won a come-from-behind campaign.

Transit funding, especially if it doesn’t involve spending billions of dollars from other levels of government, is unpopular at Council.  Any moves to increase operating subsidies in support of better service or more attractive fares inevitably bring increases in transit subsidies well over the rate of inflation.

New services and lower fares are not break-even propositions.  Councilllors may sound pro-transit, but when it affects the City budget, their love for new spending fades.  Always they hope to wring pennies from existing budgets to pay for dollars worth of improvements.  The math doesn’t work.

Changes flowing from the RGS required sustained political commitment.  The turnaround of spending priorities and the support from Council would not have been possible without a strong, pro-transit Mayor even if this came slower than advocates wished.

In the 2006 campaign, Mayor Miller recognized the need for rapid transit to embrace the suburbs.  Some may have thought this was a rehashed “subway in every borough” plan from the 1980s, but another major change was in the works.

Toronto’s new Official Plan took a fundamentally different view of suburban arterials from their actual built form, and looked forward to redevelopment into “Avenues” of medium-rise  housing with active sidewalk-level commercial development.  An integral part of this plan was the need to see transit as serving linear development along the Avenues, not very high density nodes at widely spaced subway stations.  Transit, as typified by the North Yonge or Sheppard Subways, simply did not fit with this new view of Toronto.

In March 2007, TTC Chair Adam Giambrone announced the Transit City Plan which completely changed thinking on how rapid transit would be provided across a wide part of the City of Toronto.  The Spadina Subway extension, already a fait accompli and not worth the political capital to revisit or revise, remained, but all other thoughts of subways vanished.  They were replaced by a network of Light Rapid Transit (LRT), a fancy name for streetcars running in substantially or completely reserved rights-of-way.

Again, selling this plan, both to the public, to Council and to other levels of government took strong support from the Mayor’s Office, and Transit City could not have happened without David Miller behind it.  Indeed, Miller’s support was instrumental in convincing Queen’s Park that LRT was a viable option first for the Premier’s Move Ontario 2020 plan, and later for the Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan.  LRT plans are now underway in other Ontario cities, and there’s hope we will all discover what the rest of the world has known for decades — LRT can work if it is implemented properly in suitable locations.

Mayor Miller continues to support a return to “historic” levels of cost sharing between the farebox and subsidies.  The revenue/cost ratio now sits close to 70%.  Current economic limits may slow its further decline, and indeed riders may benefit more from spending on improved service rather than reduced fares.  This debate will play out in coming months as the TTC and then the City wrestle with their 2010 budgets.

Recently, the TTC published the Transit City Bus Plan (TCBP).  This continues the focus on surface operations and transit’s attractiveness by proposing a core network of routes where service would always be at least every 10 minutes.  This complements the subway policy headway of 5 minutes at all hours.  Like its predecessor RGS, the TCBP makes incremental changes to the system to keep the cost of each change modest and to allow selective implementation of each stage.  Most importantly, the TCBP looks at transit service from a network viewpoint, not as a single project of little benefit to most riders.

Again, such a plan could not have emerged without support from the Mayor that will be vital in gaining acceptance through the City’s budget process.

The most contentious recent debate was the funding of the new streetcar purchase.  Two major problems beset this process.  First off, the TTC has delayed discussion of new streetcars for years seeking, with Council’s blessing, to continue operating its existing CLRV and ALRV fleets indefinitely, at least from a budgetary perspective.  This, coupled with ongoing concerns about accessibility, placed the streetcar network in a precarious position of simply collapsing under declining reliability of its cars and pressure to make the system accessible “now”.

Indeed, many cars are already out of service and the spare factor for the fleet is unacceptably high.  Cars go through overhauls, but this barely keeps pace with fleet condition and gives little ability to add service.  Substantial improvement awaits new cars that won’t be on the streets in significant numbers until 2013.

The bidding process for new cars was not a smooth one, and it was not until 2009 when a final proposal was selected.  Funding was the next battle, and here I must say that I believe Mayor Miller’s attempt to get Ottawa money through the stimulus plan for the new cars was a poor choice.  However, it was a choice that was endorsed by City Council unanimously.  When this scheme came unravelled, the streetcar deal was kept alive by juggling TTC and City funding plans so that Toronto could pick up the “federal” third of the project.

Whether Toronto should seek federal help on a large scale for transit, or focus on local and provincial funding, will be a major question any new Mayor must face.  Vague talk about “efficiencies” and “creative funding arrangements” are blather designed to deflect rather than answer the question.  I will turn to the issue of a future Mayor’s transit platform in a separate article.

To David Miller’s great credit, he never tries to bamboozle electors about transit funding.  Transit costs money.  More transit costs more money.  The real task is to find an overall philosophy about how transit serves the City and its neighbourhoods, and how various alternative schemes would fit into that philosophy.

Transit isn’t just an envelope in the budget to Mayor Miller, it is part of building the city, part of enabling everyone in every part of the City to get around without three and four car garages.  Sadly, Queen’s Park, through Metrolinx, hasn’t got that message yet, and many battles will be needed to bring transit funding to local transit operations, not just to big-ticket pet projects.  That debate at least was started by David Miller, and his successor would do well to continue the fight.

What is David Miller’s legacy?

Transit is a vital, central part of City planning and building.  No longer is the TTC trying to fit one more rider on the roof of every bus and streetcar, and despite many problems with fleet availability, plans are still in place to continue improving service.  Transit is no longer something only downtown Councillors with their “pampered” constituents fight for, it’s a concern in wards right across the City.  Showing people what can be done and encouraging them to ask for more is a vital part of advocacy and leadership.

I am deeply saddened that we won’t see a third term, that the changes now underway must be completed by others, indeed could even be threatened by the short-sighted who would trash “Miller projects” without regard for their intrinsic value.

I remember a meeting in the Mayor’s office early in his first term.  A confident, happy Mayor, proud of his city, sat with his legs up on the couch while a group of us discussed what was needed for transit.  We’ve come a long way since then. 

When the first LRV rolls along Sheppard Avenue or into a redeveloped eastern waterfront, when Councillors demand even more routes as part of the 10-minute network, when cutting transit service becomes utterly unthinkable at budget time, David Miller should be there if only in spirit.

52 thoughts on “The Mayor of Transit City

  1. Steve: Those who board at stops that will be much closer together than on any subway line might disagree. Also, the subway would never go all the way to Meadowvale, more likely to STC. Passengers from eastern Scarborough could complain about transferring there rather than at Don Mills.

    Ain’t that the whole flaw about Transit City though? It’s a trade-off along Sheppard between subway service for the bulk of the riders who live west of Agincourt and the significantly smaller percentage living in Malvern (of which I am one).

    I am not so sure that people will be so grateful for a closer stop as opposed to just being able to walk or have a short bus ride to the next subway stop. I see this turning Don Mills into the next Kennedy station. And outside of transit enthusiasts, there are going to be very few people who will appreciate being forced to transfer while traveling along the same corridor, even if the transfers are on the same platform and all that jazz.

    I see Transit City as a squandered opportunity. Originally, TC was predicated on the fact that we couldn’t afford subways, so instead we’d build LRTs to every ward instead. Now that costs are skyrocketing, it’s fair to consider what we could have gotten instead. Even at the TTCs ridiculously overbuilt subway extensions (see proposed Yonge-Steeles underground bus terminal), we could have built nearly 60-70 km of subway at least for the final price tag of Transit City. That would have allowed us to fully finish every subway ambition this city has ever had and given us a solid base on which to build LRTs, BRTs, bus lanes, etc. To me Transit City will always be a squandered opportunity. At a time when we had a supportive provincial government, we chose to build trams instead of subways. And I am fairly sure in a decade or so, most average Torontonians will see things in a similar light.

    All that is not to say there aren’t elements of TC I don’t support (Waterfront West, Finch West, Don Mills, etc.). I just don’t agree that LRT was right for all the routes. To me it’s a ‘one size fits few’ situation.

    Steve: Malvern riders will have the extended RT line (likely converted to LRT) running from Malvern Centre down to Kennedy Station.

    The essential point about networks is that we can’t give everyone a one-seat ride. Even people going downtown face a transfer from the BD to the YUS subway. Everyone can create a list of ideal trips, often but not necessarily modelled on their own travel patterns, and a network that suits that list. However, other people have different requirements.

    The Spadina Subway extension to Vaughan is budgeted at $2.634-billion for 8.6km, or $306m/km.

    The current estimated cost of the Richmond Hill extension is $3.8-billion for 6.9km, or $551-million/km.

    The current estimates for the TC lines, in billions, are:

    Sheppard East (.95), Finch West (1.2), Eglinton (4.6), Don Mills (1.8), Jane (1.5), Scarborough-Malvern (1.4), Waterfront (1.2) … Total 12.65-billion for 126km of LRT, or about $100m/km. That includes a substantial amount of tunnel on Eglinton.

    There is no way that we could build substantial amounts of subway for the total Transit City budget.

    These figures are taken from the 2010 Capital Budget presented last week at the TTC.


  2. Jonathon Markowski says:
    September 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Wait a second, isn’t that Lastman’s legacy? Without him, aside from many other embarassments, we wouldn’t have the Sheppard stub-way in the first place, and transit in that quadrant would likely be quite different, maybe relieving some of the congestion on Finch, but that’s another debate.

    I’d suggest that it’s Mike Harris’ legacy … just like the creator that was there on Eglinton West.


  3. Although I’m a supporter of bike lanes for many areas, I would note that the conversion on Dupont Street was an instantaneous traffic disaster. I have never witnessed anything that dramatic.


  4. Reading all the backing and forthing about David Miller on this and other sites, an inescapable question has been working its way closer and closer to the front of my mind. I will ask it here, now:

    Steve, will you now declare your candidacy for mayor of Toronto?

    Steve: Never.


  5. Steve said: “The current estimated cost of the Richmond Hill extension is $3.8-billion for 6.9km, or $551-million/km.”

    I scrolled through that capital budget document, but unfortunately could not find that number – perhaps it was presented verbally but not in writing… Anyway, that cost per km is almost twice as high as for TYSSE. It is hard to believe that those $3.8-billion are just for tunnels and stations.

    Do they count in the capacity improvements for the whole Yonge line, or an expensive carhouse in Richmond Hill?

    Steve: It’s on page 68 of the presentation given at the meeting. This document is not online.

    Today I will be reviewing the detailed budget reports (think of reading the Toronto phone book, twice), and over the rest of the week will write up major projects based on that information.


  6. I don’t know how many of the transit projects should be attributed directly to Miller, there are some councillors that are pro transit as well. Not all the problems that have occurred should be blamed on Miller either. The mayor has one vote on council, a mayor can be pro something, if council in general isn’t for it, it doesn’t happen.

    A good example of this is the Bikeway Network, although the Bikeway network began in 2001 and was supposed to be completed by 2011, it’s so far behind that 2110 looks like a more likely completion date.


  7. I’m not a fan of David Miller. But I am a fan of the Transit City project as a means to make Toronto a more livable (and I hate this term) “World Class”. I don’t know who is the architect of the plan but it makes far more sense than a city with a spiderweb of expressways or subways to nowhere (Spadina extension anyone).

    Sadly though he will be remembered as the 5 cent a bag Mayor and other “negative” initiatives (license plate fees and land transfer taxes).

    Regardless of the fact that it took the entire city council to pass these measures, the Mayor is man in the front. He wanted to be a “strong mayor” well the old adage is “don’t wish for what you want, you might get it” applies.


  8. Steve said “Comparing Transit City with the lane changes on Lansdowne and Jarvis is simply not valid.”

    No, I agree with you fully. What I’m trying to make the point of here is that there are people out there who will make the comparison. Home owning, 9-to-5ers who work in downtown offices (and generally drive) will look at this, and this is how they will think. They will also be the type to vote for Minnan-Wong, or Stintz, people I consider to be dangerously to the right. In short what I’m saying is that no matter how “good” Miller was, he ticked off enough right-wingers to risk a Rae-to-Harris backlash that will damage public transit in this city more than Miller helped it in the first place.

    (For the record, I’m for Smitherman)


  9. Again Steve, look past the propaganda from city hall. In the ETBC program the city states that the program, by its end, would bring parity to its commercial tax rate and that of the surrounding regions. This was calculated by taking the far below average Toronto residential rate and multiplying it by 2.5. Then the percentage (mill rate) was compared to the current average of the surrounding municipalities.

    This ignores the fact that within the years of the program, Toronto’s residential rate will rise, Furthermore it ignores the most important factor. That is the ratio of taxes between classes. Currently, for example, In Vaughan the ratio (inc. both tiers) is 1.21:1. Toronto’s tax rate is set to rise faster than the surrounding regions. In fifteen years it will be very close to the rates elsewhere, maybe even much higher. It is the multiplying of the future rate, times 2.5, compared to the future residential rates in competing areas (multiplied by 1 to 1.5) that Toronto needs to address. There is no way possible for Toronto to reach parity until its ratios are addressed. Using the mill rate is a red herring. In fifteen years the rate will still be 2.5 times the residential compared with a near 1:1 rate elsewhere.

    As such Toronto will continue its march towards being a bedroom community for the 905 region.


  10. When they build an underground bus terminal that could host a Cirque du soleil show, it’s obviously going to be expensive. $551 m/km is simply scandalous. I can’t wait to read how they justify subways costing that much. Are they planning on crossing the English Channel along the way?

    Steve: Only one branch of the Don River.


  11. Steve said: You have to take into account timing in looking at your history. When you talk about Miller worrying that the DRL would crowd out Transit City, it was by no means certain that TC would survive a crunch in available funding.

    Really? I’m surprised by that, because there were very strong signals from Queen’s Park that it would be funded, as Queen’s Park support had been thrown behind Transit City in MO2020, which was announced before Metrolinx really got off the ground even though it already formally existed. Furthermore, by the time you and I were sounding off alarm bells about the need for the DRL sooner rather than later in January, the RTP was already approved 2 months or so prior, and TC was already in, especially since several EAs were already well underway and ahead of the pack of other RTP projects (and that plays particularly well for TC since the Premier wants results ASAP (indeed, that’s arguably part of the problem depending on how you look at it)).

    Steve replies: Let me get this straight. Before the RTP was published, the staff (by John Howe’s version of it) wanted the DRL to be in the first 15 years, but got pushback from Miller. However this was also before we both raised big red flags about Richmond Hill. Therefore, assuming the claim about Miller’s position is correct, the position was taken in a different context than the one that obtained after you and I set off alarms about the need for the DRL. It’s worth noting that throughout the RTP consultation process, there was never any indication that Metrolinx was worried about needing the DRL. Show me a draft version that says otherwise and I’ll believe you, but it never came up at public presentations. Indeed, Metrolinx didn’t want to hear of anything that would threaten the short list of key projects.

    Steve said: I’m not sure what you’re using for your claim about a subway to Pearson, but that subway has not been part of any plans on Miller’s agenda for a very long time.

    It’s a vote from his councillor days, but while he was Mayor he had been pointing to it as one of his transit credentials before Transit City was announced.

    Steve replies: What did I say about “a very long time”. When Miller was a Councillor, LRT was something only a few wild-eyed railfans talked about, and it was subways all the way. A “subway to the airport” would have been consistent with planning at the time, but times change.

    Steve said: Miller has not opposed the northern extensions of the YUS because to do so would paint Toronto as an insular city not wishing its neighbours to get the fruits of expanding transit. Are you implying that Toronto should have opposed these routes, and that others might still attempt to stop the unfunded Richmond Hill extension? I’m not seeing a big queue for that as an election platform.

    I’m not suggesting anybody is planning anything, but I am confused by your position here. You and I tend to have some common ground when it comes to subways, and both you and I know that the RH extension is unlikely to be economical before 2025 at best, and that’s assuming the projections are reliable (as we know Sheppard’s weren’t). This project is ahead of itself, you know this as you’ve blogged about it, and it should not have support from anybody that’s thinking about transit’s economical sustainability instead of votes. One of TC’s strongest points is that it is an economically sustainable approach. Although it’s a done deal now (“don’t worry, the money will never show up”), TYSSE is an even bigger embarrassment, and Mayor Miller had the opportunity to send the EA back for assessment of other alternatives (“we already studied alternatives in 1992”). TYSSE was granted funding under Mayor Miller’s watch.

    I don’t support making political tradeoffs that hurt the economic sustainability of the transit system. I find it rather hard to believe you’d think otherwise, which is why I’m confused by your comment, so I’d like you to clarify.

    Steve replies: Any politician has only so much political capital to expend. What would Miller have gained by opposing the Richmond Hill subway? Big fights from the 905, especially York Region, and loss of support for Toronto’s agenda. The RH subway is way in the future, and there is still an opportunity to address problems related to parallel/relief services. By the way, York Region carried out an EA of the TYSSE all on its own with the TTC’s help. This work would have happened whether Miller opposed it or not.

    Also, I understand that the Metrolinx benefits analysis of the Richmond Hill line isn’t very complimentary, and they have to count its huge expense as a job-creation “plus” to make the numbers come out right. This is ridiculous as a methodology. I can spend $3-billion on lots of things to generate employment, but the real question is the value of what I build relative to alternatives.

    Steve said: As for the DRL study, yes Michael Thompson made the motion, but a lot of the legwork that went into that by both you and me also flowed to Adam Giambrone who well understands the problem.

    There is money for this study in the 2010 capital budget, and my only concern is that TTC staff see it as being limited to alignment choice on the “old” DRL south of the BD subway, not an expanded route looking north, and that comparative costing against the many projects mooted for the YUS upgrade won’t be done. This study must truly compare the alternatives as that is the underlying intend of the motion at Council.

    I agree, and Councillor Giambrone deserves credit for breaking with the Mayor on that Council vote. He understands this issue better than the Mayor.

    Steve said: I think you do Councillor Thompson a disservice by setting him up, especially in this thread, as someone who might be a superior transit leader. He understands many of the issues, but make that point as a plus, a skill in its own right, not as a contrast to your flawed portrayal of David Miller.

    I don’t see anything flawed since my portrayal is based on how he voted, and that’s how elected representatives are judged. The same applies for Councillor Thompson. DRL funding does not preclude Transit City funding and vice-versa, especially given the economics argument that clearly exists in relation to Yonge North, but from what I’ve heard from Mayor Miller in a face-to-face chat, he thinks otherwise because of political optics.

    I don’t see how anybody is being done a disservice by pointing to voting records. Just because somebody’s right-leaning doesn’t make them a threat to transit, and you know this since you’ve brought out your own small-c conservative hat here before.

    Steve replies: My point that those who run against the old Mayor, whatever his record, will run against a ghost. Thompson deserves more than being “not David Miller”. An election campaign with every candidate trying to distance themself from the old mayor rather than setting out how they differ from each other and how they are best for the city’s future will not serve the voters.


    Brendan said: You are seriously risking your credibility as an advocate by making political arguments without having the facts. The DRL was added as a condition of support for the Yonge extension EA by David Miller’s Executive Committee on January 5, 2009, when it requested the City Manager, in consultation with the TTC General Manager, to report directly to Council on “The range of possible ancillary costs to the Yonge Street extension, including . . . possible need for an eastern downtown relief line from Pape Station to downtown.”

    Well, let me let you in on some of the facts: The same guys pushing for the Yonge Subway (and don’t want the costs of the DRL to be attached to it) were put in charge of evaluating the possible need for an eastern downtown relief line as requested by the Exec. Given that, I would suggest you’re the one caught without having the facts. It helps if you bothered to read that I referred to Council, not Exec. Ctte.

    The Exec. Ctte.’s request was not actually followed. The time given was unrealistic to begin with. The response they got to the part you refer to was this:

    The City/TTC modelling has not tested the impact of a downtown relief line

    and states that only Metrolinx figures are available. It then goes on to state about Metrolinx figures that:

    The Metrolinx forecasts are considered to be optimistic as the capital investment in the transit network to achieve the projected ridership levels is significant in scale.

    despite not having any figures of their own to confirm it is optimistic, and it amounts to nothing but dodging the Exec. Ctte.’s request.

    Steve replies: The fact that some TTC staff simply refuse to do what they are told is an issue for management and, if necessary, intervention by the Commission. It’s odd that on one hand the TTC claims that Metrolinx projections about ridership are optimistic while, at the same time, pushing forward several proposals to add considerable capacity to the Yonge line for additional riders. Either there will be more riders or there won’t, and staff uses whatever argument suits them at the time. I, like you, am fed up with it, but have been putting up with this sort of behaviour for decades, not years.

    I am not risking my credibility as an advocate by pointing to voting records. I was the only deputant on the Yonge North Subway Extension at that Executive Committee meeting on January 5. Where were you? I was the one there to speak out against the claims of the Mr. Subways that claimed there’s no need to look at the DRL until beyond 2031, that was the conclusion given to the Exec. Ctte. request you point to.

    Steve replies: Brendan could not appear as a deputant given his position as you well know. Also, if the claim is that we don’t need to look at the DRL until after 2031, then why is there a $5-million study in the 2010 budget?

    Brendan said: This is a very sensible position for him to have taken, and I think those of us who believe in transit appreciate his understanding of the issues. Rewriting history to serve narrow political ends, however, is deeply unwise.

    Check the January 27-28 City Council voting record on Councillor Thompson’s motion for moving the DRL ahead of the Yonge Extension. Mayor Miller voted against it, so I’m obviously not rewriting history. It’s on the record. You should be careful questioning others’ credibility.

    Steve replies: You are selectively reporting the outcome. There was a two-part motion by Councillor Thompson.

    1. Metrolinx be requested to prioritize the Downtown Relief Line within its 15-year plan.

    2. Metrolinx be requested to prioritize the Downtown Relief Line in advance of the Yonge North Extension in order to accommodate capacity issues resulting from the extension of the Yonge Subway.

    Part 1 passed with Mayor Miller’s support. It was later amended on a motion by Councillor Hall that passed with broad support including the Mayor’s.

    1. Metrolinx be requested to prioritize the Downtown Relief Line within its 15-year plan, noting that Transit City is the first priority for the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Toronto.

    Part 2 of Councillor Thompson’s motion passed, but only on a vote of 23-21, opposed by the Mayor.

    You are trying to paint Miller as opposed to the good sense of the DRL by using one vote out of context.

    Please note that the conversation ends here. This is not a blog for tit-for-tat exchanges by City Hall insiders.


  12. Wow – a lot of passionate comments here. I didn’t love Miller but he had a clearer passion for the city and wanted to make it a better place. Transit is one example. The Clean and Beautiful City initiative was another (that didn’t cost much). While it wasn’t really his issue, I am bothered by the removing of the Front street extension from the official plan. While I wasn’t in favour if it being built right now (or funded from the waterfront money), it will be necessary if we are ever to get rid of the elevated Gardiner without creating traffic chaos in the waterfront. He should have stood up to Adam Vaughan et al and said this project should be kept as an option for the longer term and an expressway free waterfront.


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