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 spacing.ca 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.

COMMISSIONER MILLER MOVED THAT STAFF BE REQUESTED TO BEGIN DEVELOPMENT, IN CONSULTATION WITH COMMISSIONERS, OF A REPORT ON A RIDERSHIP GROWTH STRATEGY.

THE COMMISSION APPROVED COMMISSIONER MILLER’S MOTION.

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. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Thank you Steve for this post and for all the work you did to help the Mayor build Transit City.

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  2. I was very upset when I heard of David Miller’s resignation. I’m afraid that whoever replaces him won’t be half the mayor he was.

    Steve: Just to be clear, Miller has not resigned, but will not seek re-election next fall. He remains Mayor until December 1, 2010 although his influence will necessarily wane as Councillors regroup around potential successors.

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  3. No one will ever be able to fault Mayor David Miller on his belief in and dedication to transit as both a city-building and city-sustaining tool. With him out of the mayor’s office, I fear we are going to have to be even more vigilant in protecting what we’ve already got and what looked certain for delivery under his enlightened leadership.

    When Sir Henry Thornton was drummed out of Canadian National Railways and Canada in the early 1930s by R.B. Bennett’s government, his massive rebuilding and expansion program looked to have been in vain. His opponents held many of his visionary projects up as examples of recklessness. But Sir Henry changed CN for the better and forever. The changes he wrought could not be undone — thankfully — even though it appeared his record had been one of waste.

    The passage of time does have a way of changing viewpoints. One of Sir Henry’s railway associates later wrote that the man and his works were akin to a great range of mountains, which only increased in majesty as you got further back from them.

    Mayor David Miller and his accomplishments will stand very much in this light in the future, despite what his political opponents and detractors may say today. He marked a turning point in the transportation life of Toronto. He deserves our appreciation and our best wishes. We can only hope he will continue to be a part of this drive for better transit and a better Toronto in a future role.

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  4. Excellent post! And it’s interesting to see the history of RGS!

    Steve, I seem to recall reading around the time of the last election, that Miller wouldn’t be seeking re-election in 2010; that 2006 was his last kick at the can; but since 2007 or so there’s always been talk of seeking a 3rd term. Is my memory tricking me, or do you recall anything?

    Steve: There was a lot of will he, won’t he, in the press, but the word I kept hearing, including from his own staff, was that he would run. It was a very closely held secret.

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  5. Its a pity he is not running fr the third time. Toronto needs a mayor who would continue to champion the transit city network and even build on it.

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  6. Thank you Steve for this recap of Mayor Miller’s championing of transit. I was disappointed to hear that he won’t be running again, and I can only hope that all the work he has done for this city will not be unravelled by a now-unkown future committee.

    I do think it was the right decision, though, as a new progressive candidate can run in his place without the tarnished image (deserved or not), and not split the progressive vote in the city. Giambrone in ’10!

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  7. David Miller may have been a good mayor for Transit, but he did a terrible job managing the rest of the city. Union wages are high with higher taxes and fees compared to the GTA, while the quality of city services (with the possible exception of the TTC) have suffered dramatically. One of the reasons why I moved to Woodbridge. You simply cannot rely on the City of Toronto these days. In the end, Miller’s legacy will be the Outside Worker’s strike of 2009.

    It is likely that bureaucratic foot-dragging will likely sideline Miller’s pet transit projects for a long time to come. If that is his case, Miller’s reputation for being the Transit mayor will soon be forgotton.

    Oh yes, I seem to remember that David Miller drives a Toyota Prius to work instead of taking the TTC. Hyprocritical much, Dave?

    Steve: First off, Miller regularly takes the subway (I have run into him there), but has a Prius for those days with many events all over the place where taking transit would be impractical. Everybody including the Mayor knows that you can’t bop around the city to many places in one short interval, especially in the suburbs and by transit. Would you prefer he waste his time waiting for the bus? There is no hypocracy — Miller wants to improve transit. It will never compete with a private car for some situations, but if it’s good enough for a large number of people, it will serve a good purpose.

    Business taxes are now lower in Toronto than in surrounding GTA municipalities, and falling. Toronto has been rebalancing its commercial/residential tax rates, but can’t do it all in one go because this would cause huge one-time increases for home owners. As I have said before, a good chunk of the property tax in Toronto is levied by Queen’s Park for education purposes, and they take more out of Toronto than the local boards actually get. This cross-subsidizes other Ontario school boards with money from Toronto property taxpayers.

    Toronto municipal workers are paid at comparable levels to those in other 905 municipalities where they are unionized. We can have a debate about whether that’s a good idea, but the 905 Councils pay their employees fairly well too. The settlement with CUPE was for a lower increase than other municipal works achieved, and the process of sick bank elimination is similar to that used in other cities including Mississauga, so often claimed as that paragon of civic responsibility. It will be a benchmark for other contracts in the future.

    Having said that, I believe that CUPE did huge damage to its credibility, to the labour movement in general and to left-of-centre politics in Toronto. Having labour support will almost be a kiss of death for any “reasonable” politician in the 416.

    As for “Miller’s pet projects”, they are projects with strong support across many parts of Council. The foot dragging comes from some parts of TTC staff who would prefer to build subways everywhere, and from Metrolinx who has not given up on an ICTS network rather than LRT. Both approaches guarantee high cost, long construction periods and lesser return on the investment than the Transit City plans.

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  8. Miller is a nice person and all, but as a mayor he has made an impressive list of wasting taxpayers money. Lets think: garbage strike, new taxes which are now shown to help the city much, planned demolishment of part of the gardiner and the list goes on. Now we’re hearing of a shortfall at the TTC (not blaming him for this) but i wouldnt be surprised if there is more to this problem. I’m very hapy he’s not running for a 3rd term because most of his plans seem to be a vision. Hopefully there will be good candidates in 2010 such as Karen Stinz and Micheal Thompson who would wonders to improve the city and not just say umm “the Gardiner is an eyesore and seperates neighbourhoods and because of that it has to be demolished”.

    Steve: I will take these one by one:

    The garbage strike was not a waste of taxpayers’ money. An inconvenience, yes, but on a net basis, the city actually saved money. Going forward, labour costs will increase at a slower rate than if we had the same settlement as works in many 905 municipalities received.

    The two new taxes are the vehicle license fee and the land transfer tax. These were the only two revenue sources granted to Toronto by Queen’s Park that can generate any income worth mentioning. 905 municipalities are looking hungrily at getting some of these for their own use, so don’t paint this as a Toronto issue. Meanwhile, property sales are booming away after last year’s recession which had nothing to do with Toronto’s LTT.

    Demolishing the Gardiner is an idea that has been around longer than Miller, and the studies will continue well after he is gone. The basic fact is that the eastern part of the highway does not carry anywhere near the number of cars it was designed for because the Scarborough Expressway was never built. (If you want that or any of the other unbuilt roads, I suggest you take battle armour to the community meetings at which you suggest the demolition of hundreds of houses so that you can drive into downtown more easily.) Similarly, the proposed restructuring of the ramps at York and Bay Streets reflect actual demand at those locations as well as better use of the land around the expressway which no longer runs through an exclusively industrial district.

    The so-called shortfall at the TTC is nothing more than the regular annual variation in revenues and expenses, and the system is only off-budget by 1.3%. This is typical, and in a $1-billion-plus operation, almost inevitable. Miller is not responsible for the staff’s underestimation of pass sales, for a flood at TTC head office requiring extensive repairs, for the heavy snow last winter or for the staff shortage at TTC that drives up overtime costs.

    If Miller lived in Scarborough, you would probably blame him for the sun rising every morning.

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  9. I just hope he can at least get the contracts signed for Transit City, or his legacy will likely be tarnished.

    Miller did try to do a lot, and received a different view for the city – but it will ultimately be up to the new mayor to make sure that Miller’s decisions are carried out and implemented.

    Steve: Some early Transit City contracts are already underway, notably utility work on Sheppard, and the grade separation at Agincourt will start next year. This underpass was needed whether Transit City went ahead or not to allow for planned GO improvements on the Uxbridge Sub. Toronto (and Miller) take the flak for it because Transit City was first out the gate.

    The biggest TC problem right now is that Metrolinx is meddling in the vehicle acquisition, possibly because vendors other than Bombardier think they have a shot at winning a revised bid.

    Funding for Transit City’s Sheppard, Finch and Eglinton lines, as well as reconstruction and extension of the SRT, is already in hand.

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  10. Steve, a great article. With the wealth of mayoral candidates we are supposed to have in the next election, people who care about transit (as I do) should make it an issue and force candidates to take positions. Much has been achieved, but much of Transit City could still be delayed or ruined. We only have to look back to our previous mayor to see what damage can be done to transit by the wrong kind of mayor. This coming election will surely be as important for transit as the one in 2003.

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  11. So many announcements of different transit projects here in the city that I read the news every day hoping for more projects landing funding. Hopefully our next mayor is as committed to transit as Miller was (is). I am really greatful for the funding of fixing up Victoria Park Station- it is needed and this type of investment should increase ridership as people find it more comfortable to take transit. I live near Warden Station now and I hope our next mayor makes an investment to fund getting rid of the separate bus bays- like what is happening at VP Station.

    Steve: A plan for Warden already exists. The funding is tied up with redevelopment of lands at Warden and St. Clair. An early step, relocating the capacity of hte north parking lot, is already in the pipeline.

    I know there are more issues then just transit but, that is the main platform I will be looking at at any mayoral candidate at the next election. I am from Montreal and lived most of my life in Vancouver (where I got hooked on public transit) and had a brief stop in Edmonton for some schooling as well. All these cities are expanding their own transit systems greatly and I hope Toronto has a similar philosophy. Public Transit will keep Canada competitive well into this century.

    I have never lived there but visited LA once and that is where LRT is making huge inroads. That massive city, in California, the birthplace of freeways, had no rapid transit before 1984. Now they have a subway and many LRT lines. I was so grateful when they annouced Transit City so that this type of rapid transit will reach more areas of Toronto then we could have got trying to fund subways to such a large area.

    When I first moved here to Toronto a few years ago, councillor Michael Thompson, used to be on the TTC committee. I hope he throws his hat into the ring. I would like to see his philosophy about public transit.

    Steve: Michael Thompson has already expressed support for the Downtown Relief Line and for conversion of the SRT to LRT as part of a consolidated Scarborough network.

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  12. I read your response to Toronto Streetcars post and you mentioned a grade seperation at the Agincourt GO station. What is planned; the cars going below track level or the road having an overpass, like on Ellesmere and Lawrence where the cars go over the RT and train tracks?

    Steve: The road and the LRT will go under the CNR.

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  13. Reading most of these comments, I can see what separates me from most of the so-called “transit advocates” around here. Miller was a terrible mayor, and I thank God that he’s leaving. What we need is a mayor that will be pro-transit for the sake of being pro-transit, and not pro-transit because he is anti-everything else. The “transit agenda” is a transit agenda, and not just a small plank in some over-arching enviro-socialist agenda. To use it as such is to pervert the issue into something far less important than it is.

    Steve: I don’t agree with your viewpoint, and feel that Mayor Miller’s integration of transit into city planning is an important principle. It’s not enough to want transit — we need to articulate its benefits. If you don’t like an “over-arching enviro-socialist agenda”, that’s too bad. I don’t happen to like overarching neocon agendas myself.

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  14. Sorry to be politically naive, but how in the hell does John Tory stand a chance in this election? If I’m not mistaken, Toronto has not voted a conservative politician into provincial or federal parliament in a long, long time, and Tory has a few disgraces of his own, namely his miserable failure of an election recently. Why would we take him back as mayor? And what would it mean (shudder) about all the progress we’ve made? Personally, I just don’t plain like most conservatives, but this is different.

    Steve: The real question in looking at any candidates will be what collection of ne’er-do-wells hangs on their coattails. If Tory is surrounded by the same calibre of folk as he “lead” in the Ontario Tory party, then it doesn’t matter how moderate he might look personally, watch out after he is elected. Just as Miller is accused of being held captive by the lefties and the labour movement, Tory could be hostage to the most boneheaded of the right wing.

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  15. I know Miller was the right mayor for a transit friendly city. I am sadden that he won’t run a third term. He had the momentum to drive multiple transit projects at once. Past mayor complete projects one at a time and celebrates instead of thinking what is next. Miller thinks of the city as a whole.

    Many Torontonians believes that Toronto could be managed better without Miller. Although it seems that way, due to the size, time and complexity of the city, Miller had done his job. Many problems blame on Miller had nothing to do with him. Simply blaming Miller for everything is just not right.

    That said, I really want to see transit city operate within ten years without being taken back to the drawing board.

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  16. Steve said “I don’t happen to like overarching neocon agendas”

    Steve, I agree with you fully. Hopefully our new mayor will be a moderate, but more importantly, a pragmatist, who likes transit for the fact that transit is a good idea, and not that it’s part of his (or her) ideology.

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  17. Great posting Steve! One of my fears is that we might get a mayor who, while friendly to transit, lacks the encompassing vision that David Miller has. This vision is essential if the foot dragging at the TTC and the somewhat frightening interference from Metrolinx is not to prevail.

    It is apparent that the outside workers strike was, for whatever reason, more traumatic for the citizens of this city than were similar strikes in the past. We must all hope that the mayor in his remaining fourteen months is able to alleviate some of that trauma. One only needs to look back to the election which first brought us Mike Harris to appreciate the danger of a traumatized electorate.

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  18. “It’s easier to throw rocks at a house than build one”
    — Congressman Matthew Santos, in The West Wing

    Likewise,

    It is easier from the bleachers to throw rocks at Transit City than to lobby, champion, fight for, fund and build a City of Transit and then cajole, encourage, and create the constituency of Transit Citizens who exit their cars and enthusiastically embrace and ride it once built.

    HiMY SYeD

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  19. Reading from comments here and elsewhere, Michael Thompson sounds like an interesting compromise candidate. A Scarborough councillor championing the Downtown Relief Line? About his only problem is that his profile isn’t that high throughout the city, but after North York and Toronto had their turns at the mayoralty, maybe it’s Scarborough’s turn to have a go.

    Steve: The question is this — who else on Council would embrace Thompson or be embraced by him? That’s the true measure of his position, not just the fact that he has been trying to build his transit profile.

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  20. He may have stumbled onto some good transit policies, but I don’t think Michael Thompson is ready to make the leap into the mayor’s office. I’ve heard him speak on a couple of occasions, and there’s more resemblence to someone looking to lead student council than someone looking to lead city council.

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  21. Miller is the Mayor of a Transit City system that many people like myself will not use. Sorry but it is so much faster to drive around Toronto and I cannot ride a system full of arrogant passengers who believe they are the only ones riding it. It is sickening to see people run for seats and have a pregnant woman stand up or getting high from some young male who stinks of marijuana.

    Steve: Frankly, I don’t run into that behaviour on the TTC very much, and feel your attitude is an unfortunate exercise in self-justification.

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  22. My experience of transit in the Miller years suggest that Mayor Miller has not been all that successful in improving transit. I have to declare I’m not a regular transit user. I walk, bike or drive to work in equal proportions, but when I do take the TTC or think about taking it, these experiences come to mind.

    a) Every third or fourth time I travel home from downtown on a streetcar in the evening it takes me an hour to get from Yonge to Lansdowne. I could walk that distance in about the same time. Even during rush hour I’ve often been able to walk from Bathurst to Dufferin before a streetcar comes along. If basic services like getting downtown are not quick and predictable, then what is it like in the farther reaches of the city?

    Steve: I’m not sure which route you refer to, but if it’s the 501 I am not surprised. As you may know, I and many others have been fighting with the TTC for years to improve the quality of service on that route. I’m not going to rehash the arguments here. This is one area where I think the Mayor and TTC Chair have not been strong enough with the staff, at least in public, and too easily accept the canned excuses about “streetcars in mixed traffic” as the root of all evil. Having said that, there have been many improvements in service elsewhere in the network, some of which are only just coming on stream.

    b) Which leads me to a second point. Why is it cheaper for me to take my car downtown with my wife and pay for parking than it is to take a streetcar? This is true if I don’t need to park for more than a couple of hours. There needs to be a direct incentive to take TTC rather than drive and our Mayor and his staff have not been able to figure this formula out. More flexibility with TTC day passes/tickets would help.

    Steve: It’s cheaper because you don’t count the marginal cost of operating your car as part of the cost, and parking is fairly well available still downtown. However, those lots are gradually disappearing under condos. A round trip for two to downtown should cost no more than $9 (four tokens). If you are paying cash, then I would have to ask why you don’t keep a supply of tokens handy. On weekends, you could use a Day Pass for unlimited riding (assuming you could find some service to ride).

    c) What’s the deal with St. Clair? This must be one of the worst public transit debacles ever to have visited our city, if not the worst. The purpose of the construction was never made very convincing and the street has been distressed for years now.

    Steve: The Mayor and TTC Chair are well aware that this is a botched construction project. After amalgamation, the co-ordinating body that used to ensure that every utility doing work consulted with each other was disbanded (by Lastman). Only recently, thanks to St. Clair among other projects, has a co-ordinator been created in the Mayor’s office to make sure this sort of screwup doesn’t happen again. There have been problems with arbitrary changes in schedules by various utilities, especially Hydro, that rippled through other parts of the project.

    d) My experience of biking in the City is marginally better than before Miller was elected, but I still cannot bike safely from the west end to downtown. Like all bikers, unless I go down to the lake, I have to take my life in my hands riding between moving cars and trucks and parked cars and trucks.

    Steve: The Mayor has supported additional bike infrastructure, but in some locations it is very difficult to implement. In others, local Councillors have fought hard against it. Personally, as a pedestrian and transit rider, I am not convinced that Toronto’s street system is adaptable for cyclists in all locations.

    e) As an occasional driver, I’m dismayed by how bad many streets are in the City. For the car driving public, Miller’s fall began in earnest this spring when it became clear that fixing potholes was not a priority.

    Steve: The road repair budget has been pillaged by all of Council for years, and there is a large backlog of work to be done. The city is nibbling away at it, but it will take quite some time. Some of this is being funded by recent Federal stimulus money.

    I realize these examples are much more specific than most of the discussion here, but to me they suggest that there hasn’t been a lot of improvement in the TTC or on the roads in general in the past six years. It is perhaps not Miller but Adam Giambrone who has dropped the ball, but it’s Miller who decided that Giambrone is a competent leader and manager. Perhaps with all the money that the Mayor has lined up for the future, I will experience the benefits of his advocacy in the years to come.

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  23. I was no fan of Miller, but when it came to transit, he got the ball rolling thru thick and thin. I can blame all Federal governments in office now and in the past for turning their backs on helping public transit develop at a faster rate.

    The only reason the Feds have started to do something now is they see billions of dollars lost in time and moving goods.

    Ross

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  24. I’m not going to comment on Miller’s reasons for not running again.

    I will comment that your characterization of Miller and his record with respect to transit is dubious – and appears long on partisanship and short on facts and figures.

    For example, you state:

    “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.”

    Service increases:

    Going by the TTC’s 10 year rolling summaries, the rate of service increase during the period up to 2003 (using 1997 as base) shows – from 1997 to 2003 – an overall increase of 11.35% in km operated – or 1.89% per year on a flat line basis.

    The rate of service increase during the period up to 2008 (using 2003 as base) shows – an overall increase of 5.85% in km operated – or 1.17% per year on a flat line basis.

    ==> In other words, Mayor Lastman (the one you love to despise) was more effective in increasing transit service tham Mayor Miller (who you’d like to canonize.)

    Steve: Actually, you have to look at where those increases took place.

    1997 surface mileage was 104.3 million km, and by 2003 this was 111.6. It stayed fairly flat until the RGS improvements kicked in and was 126.3 million in 2008.

    1997 subway mileage was 69.2 million km, and by 2003 this was 81.6 (we opened a new subway line which operates far more mileage than the bus routes it replaced). It has been fairly static since then, with a dip in recent years due to the ongoing late night closing of parts of some lines (YUS and SRT).

    The serious growth in surface operations did not occur until David Miller’s era.

    Fares:

    Average fares grew 2.95% p.a. from 1997 to 2003 (flat line).
    Average fares grew 2.08% p.a. from 2003 to 2008

    So the rate of increase slowed during the Miller years. However, inflation was lower during the Miller years. CPI grew at 1.96% a year from 2003 to 2008 vs 2.36% in the Lastman years.

    Average fare increase in the Miller years is still above infation – albeit less so than under Lastman. However, the extra increase under Lastman (compared to CPI and Miller) is 3.4 cents per ride – or about $1.36 per month for 40 rides. This is not much. (And let’s face it – much of this was due to a higher than expected rate of switching from individual ride fares to use of the Metropass.)

    Steve: I didn’t say anything about fares, but about the percentage recovery through the farebox. Because of system cutbacks, fares became a more important source of revenue as subsidies dried up.

    Ridership

    When adjusting for the anomolous factors that occured in 2003 (Blackout and SARS) – which cost the TTC 8 million riders that year.

    Average yearly ridership increase under Lastman: 2.95%
    Average yearly ridership increase under Miller: 3.79%

    So – I’m going to partial credit to Miller. However, there are four easily identfiable factors that contibute to ridership during that have contributed:

    1. Transferrable passes (and no need to slog downtown to get your photo taken) – This I credit to Miller (although it’s not listed in your summary.)
    2. Federal Tax Credit (most transit advocates don’t like this – but they aren’t the average person – there is high awareness of this program.)
    3. Skyrocketing gasoline prices
    4. Delayed reaction to service improvements before Miller

    So the Mayor Miller gets 25% of the credit.

    Costs:

    You should have a look yourself.

    Steve: I didn’t mention transferrable passes because they are not explicitly listed in the RGS, but they are part of an overall scheme of making fares more attractive for frequent users. The Federal Tax Credit creates problems only in that it is an incentive to buy passes, but doesn’t add any funding to transit while encouraging more use of the system. This assumes the extra use can be absorbed at no capital or operating cost. Gas prices have gone up and down, and transit usage has seen some transient effects, but prices these days are not bad compared to the height of the market.

    Service improvements before Miller? There were not many, and the Sheppard subway was the biggest one under Lastman. Great if you live in that corridor, useless otherwise. There has been far more overall improvement, for all its problems, on the surface network in the past three years, and the effects are still working through the system. The recession hasn’t helped in that regard.

    Your choice of years for Lastman vs Miller gives Mel an unfair edge. The cuts began before amalgamation, but at that point Queen’s Park and Metro Council were dominated by people of Lastman’s political stripe. The big cuts in TTC service happened before amalgamation, and with that as a starting point, it’s easy to show Mel getting an increase. Between the high point of 1988 and amalgamation, surface mileage dropped about 10% while rapid transit mileage dropped by less than 5%. This was a big hole to dig out of, and we only returned to the 1988 level for surface ops in 2007.

    The issue is not whether David Miller personally got each and every one of the new riders on the TTC, but that his policies enable to system to attract and hold riders it would not have otherwise. Each leader must deal with the circumstances of the time. I am sure that we would all like to blame Stephen Harper for the global fiscal meltdown, but that’s unfair just as it would be to measure Miller’s accomplishments as you have done.

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  25. And that was, still is, something that sets Miller apart from many of his peers — he is an amazing orator. I can recall the last election’s mayoral debate, and there was simply no comparison to David Miller and the way and authority and eloquence with which he spoke. I’ll miss it.

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  26. David Miller has made some great achievements in Transit, particularly Transit City, for which he deserves a lot of credit, however a mess St. Clair was (and still is for a few more months).

    David Miller has one critical flaw in my opinion though, and that is his misplaced decision of putting politics before transit when it came to the Downtown Relief Line. He voted against it in council, and he refused to put his name down in support of the line being studied and moved up in priority despite agreeing with the arguments in support of it, purely because of political optics.

    If one is going to be pro-transit, it must be based on logic. Transit City is a mostly logic-grounded proposal (let’s ignore WW, shall we?), except for Finch East’s absence (thanks Mel), but the DRL, as I’ve stated here before, is the one project that is probably more important than Transit City. There’s no point in improving the capacity of feeders to the subway when the subway doesn’t have the (practical!) capacity to absorb more from said feeders.

    David Miller had the opportunity to secure it through Metrolinx during the development of the RTP when he was on the Board, a project that supposedly was popular among Metrolinx staff (I can quote John Howe from a meeting of TRAC he attended in which he said Metrolinx staff were worried about pushing the DRL off into the 25-year plan from the 15-year plan), but Mayor Miller and co. blew it by misguidedly believing that the DRL threatens Transit City. How is it that the DRL would threaten Transit City when the Richmond Hill Subway and TYSSE – both of which Mayor Miller supported despite their lack of a logical supporting argument – don’t? The YUS extensions was putting politics before transit as well. Have we learned nothing from Sheppard?

    David Miller even supported the Eglinton West Subway to Pearson, yet won’t support the DRL! It’s hard to believe he’s from the Old City of Toronto.

    While we need a Mayor that will defend Transit City, and even take Transit City to an expanded level, we need someone that will put logic before politics, and push for a sustainable approach to transit. The next Mayor must twist politics to suit transit, as Mayor Miller has sadly twisted transit to suit politics when it came to subways. The TYSSE and the Richmond Hill Subway subscribe to the same misguided ideology that plagued Toronto in the 80s and caused the DRL to fizzle in favour of suburban subways. If Miller can’t learn from history, past mistakes will be repeated.

    Fortunately, Michael Thompson has managed to avoid the DRL study being pushed off to 2018 as Adam Giambrone (I would suspect with Mayor Miller) originally intended the other year (according to media quotes), thanks to a motion Councillor Thompson put forward in January.

    Steve: Just so that everyone knows the players, I think a little disclosure is needed here.

    I regularly talk to advisors in offices of both the Mayor and Councillor Giambrone, but not exclusively, and happily will chat with and advise anyone who wants my time. Karl has been working as a volunteer in Councillor Thompson’s office and has assisted in writing some of the materials issued over the Councillor’s name.

    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. Moreover, the tradeoff issues about the DRL as compared to capacity expansion on the YUS had not yet been explored by any advocates as a major public issue. TTC staff are very much to blame here because they have always underestimated the cost and implications of stuffing all new riding onto the YUS, a debate both Karl and I have been part of.

    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. The airport will be served by the Eglinton LRT, and eventually the Finch West LRT, both part of Transit City.

    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.

    Meanwhile, Metrolinx has done everything it could to undermine Transit City including attempts to have the Eglinton line built as ICTS rather than LRT and possibly as a PPP with Bombardier. These efforts have not entirely ceased.

    Regardless of what John Howe may have said at a TRAC meeting, Metrolinx has fought tooth-and-nail about any idea of changing the RTP even though the plan itself claims to be descriptive, not prescriptive. Metrolinx itself pushes the notion that expansion of services in the Richmond Hill corridor is something far off, and the Yonge subway will handle things in the meantime. Of course we know that there are huge expenses involved in handling the projected loads, and the TTC’s capital budget includes almost half a billion for platform doors, an expense that would be unnecessary if demands on the YUS were kept in check by building parallel lines.

    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.

    In closing, I don’t want to turn this blog into a battleground for advisers to would-be mayoral candidates, and 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.

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  27. Reading all this anti-Miller tripe on a site where I would expect it the least is proof that the mayor has made the correct decision in not running. This city is as uptight, selfish and narrow minded as it ever was. Toronto doesn’t deserve a leader with a pro-transit vision, a desire for the fair and equal treatment of its civic employees and its citizens, and the guts to stay that course even when it may not please “all the folks” in the short term. Let’s see how much you’re going to enjoy life in Toronto when we have George Smitherman or John Tory at the helm.

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  28. I am sitting on the beach having a drink (I am on vacation) and I get an e-mail from someone at work telling me that Mayor Miller was not seeking a third term. That was a sad day for me. I don’t care what others have to say but Miller has done a lot for Transit. I remember in the early 90s going to high school and now in 2009. So much better now.

    It is easy to take shots at Miller, not realizing that Miller had to listen to the people who demanded quick transit service but when it came to paying for it, those people were gone.

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  29. Hi Steve

    I really saddened by the mayor’s decision not to run again. It is rare to find someone who has the kind of vision and intelligence that Miller possesses. A lot has been made about taxes and spending, but I have an interesting question for the right – why was it necessary to spend and raise revenues? Everyone who reads your page knows how the right has let transit down. Transit City is years overdue. Downloading still haunts us, though that has been slowly clawed back. The current council has started to invest in our aging water system, but how much of that spending is to catch up with things that should have been done under Lastman? Lastman had a chance to do something better with garbage, but Miller secured a long term solution for our garbage. The right claims that Miller caved before CUPE but its to bad they forget how quickly Lastman folded.

    I really hope that the necessary contracts for Transit City can be put in place and paid for before Miller leaves. I, like Greg Gormick, am very concerned about life after Miller. There are still far to many of the old conservative hacks waiting in the wings.

    Steve: The right is big on telling us we shouldn’t raise taxes, but they are slow to point out where the large-scale savings will come from. That will be a challenge in the coming campaign: if you want to cut the land transfer tax, what programs will you cut from the budget? Not vague promises to wring efficiencies, as we’ve been down that path before. The right conveniently forgets that at least 2/3 of the budget is untouchable in the sense that it funds programs that are mandated by law, or that could not reasonably be cut because of the effect. Should we start labelling potholes with coloured flags to show which party chose not to fund repairs? Any savings/cuts must come out of what remains as “discretionary”, and the effects would be substantial on those budget lines.

    If they want to spend less on social services, on transit, on community development, on support for the arts (which collectively is a bigger “industry” than professional sports), on city staff (through program cutbacks and outsourcing), then the right must state their position clearly. If they want to cut business taxes more, are they prepared to accelerate the shift of tax load to residential properties? Any cuts benefit some and hurt others. It’s the choices that define the political climate. At least when Mike Harris ran for Premier, he was honest about what he would do.

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  30. When people look back at miller, the discussion is going to go a lot like this:

    “Miller built Transit City”
    “Didn’t he also take lanes away from Lansdowne?”
    “Perhaps, but he finally got the spadina extension stated”
    “Didn’t he also manage to take away an inbound during rush, and outbound during rush traffic lane on jarvis? Two lanes of traffic removed in return for one lane of space?”
    “Er, well, he also saw some of the largest ridership increases in TTC history”
    “Thats because I cant drive my car downtown anymore!”

    Steve: The number of people who come into downtown by car is a small and dwindling portion of the total commuting load. Indeed, the big changes have been in GO Transit handling regional demand that has no more expressway space, and in pedestrians/cyclists from the growing residential areas close to the core.

    Comparing Transit City with the lane changes on Lansdowne and Jarvis is simply not valid. In both cases, minor changes were made to road capacity in the interest of improving the street overall, not just for motorists. Transit City addresses city-wide travel on a scale roads will never be able to handle.

    Get used to having trouble driving downtown. It’s full. As downtown redevelops (just the sort of thing the right wing loves — shiny new buildings), what little surface parking remains will disappear. Many lots people use today already have development applications approved or in the pipeline.

    Our challenge now is to provide even more transit capacity, and if that means taking space from cars, that’s how it will happen. Some would love new subways, and even see the DRL as a possible mechanism to free up road space. That won’t happen because the DRL can only serve areas along its corridor, not all of downtown.

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  31. Karl Junkin:

    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.”

    Then, when it came to Council, Michael Thompson moved: “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.” Suzan Hall added the part about Transit City but Thompson took it as a friendly amendment.

    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.

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  32. Look, while we here are concerned about transit, most of the reasons people didn’t want Miller to run weren’t about transit.

    They were about keeping Shirley Hoy too long and then kicking Joe Pennechetti upstairs without a competitive search. They were about the car “poll tax” rammed through despite huge opposition at public meetings the mayor didn’t attend (want to know who p-ed off people are? Go to a window at a provincial vehicle registration office where staff are being yelled at about that tax). They were about the city announcing that while service after service were being suspended during the strike, the parking ticket payment windows were being kept open. They were about remaking Bloor to accommodate drop-off parking at high end retailers but lacking a bike lane. They were about opposition to an air service which turned out to be well run and thus well patronised (not to mention 300 metres from a streetcar line and with a free shuttle to Union mass transit). They were about a pledge to limit tax increases to inflation that rather than admit he was breaking he fudged an excuse about which index was used to calculate what was “in line with”.

    If it was just about transit, Miller would be (deservedly, for the most part) returned. It’s not.

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  33. I think the right in the blogosphere of this city seem to have some fantasy of Harper winning a majority, the Tories winning Queens Park and somebody like Stintz winning mayor. Then they would all happily go about cutting government programs, changing laws to make things that are now mandated unmandated, and in general cutting back in what government does.

    Mind you, then who are they going to complain to about potholes and crime? Oh yeah……they know at least one level out of 3 of government isn’t going to be right wing so that gives them a safety valve. If the rights are in charge in Ottawa, blame Queens Park or vice versa. If both went Tory, blame the city. If all went Tory, I guess they could blame the Star.

    Its amazing what you can imagine when you have no responsibility.

    Back in reality, the issue moving forward is our current local councillor system is dysfunctional. As Miller said on radio this morning, unlike Queen’s Park where there are 3 parties, this city has 44 parties and 1 mayor. There are limits as to what any mayor can and will do. Miller, as an insider, did as good as possible. But, a strong mayor system would help, in the long run (assuming the above mentioned right wing apocalypse doesn’t occur).

    Steve: And imagine what a hard right wing strong mayor would look like. Be careful what you wish for.

    All those who have complained that Miller doesn’t involve them enough, that he is too “imperial”, will be quick to use the powers he won for the Mayor’s Office to railroad through their own agendas given the chance.

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  34. Steve your comment; “Business taxes are now lower in Toronto than in surrounding GTA municipalities, and falling.”

    is patently false.

    Click to access TAX_COMPARISON.pdf

    Steve: I stand corrected. They are not lower yet.

    However, Toronto does have a plan to rebalance taxes with the rest of the GTA that is already in progress. Business tax rates have been falling (the Board of Trade would like them to fall faster, but is grateful for what’s happening), and should be in line with 905 municipalities in less than a decade. The long implementation time is to avoid a sudden big jump in residential rates (which as you can see in the chart are lower than in the 905). Politicians are elected by residents, and nobody is very popular saying “I will raise taxes on your house so that I can lower them on the bank towers downtown”. That’s not Miller’s doing, it is all of Council that is frightened to death of making the change in one go.

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  35. Nick J Boragina says:
    September 28, 2009 at 7:59 am

    “When people look back at miller, the discussion is going to go a lot like this:

    “Miller built Transit City”
    “Didn’t he also take lanes away from Lansdowne?”
    “Perhaps, but he finally got the spadina extension stated”
    “Didn’t he also manage to take away an inbound during rush, and outbound during rush traffic lane on jarvis? Two lanes of traffic removed in return for one lane of space?”
    “Er, well, he also saw some of the largest ridership increases in TTC history”
    “Thats because I cant drive my car downtown anymore!”

    Unless you live on Lansdowne or in the neighborourhood you probably didn’t even know they were gone. There have also been lanes removed from Greenwood, Harbord, St. George and a lot of other streets and you never hear about them.

    If Jarvis gets a proper left hand turn lane at major intersections, I bet no one will notice the change to traffic on it. Right now if you have someone making a left turn and someone making a right turn with a lot of pedestrian traffic you only have one through lane. If I am unfortunate enough to be driving in the downtown in the rush hour, I look for those streets that have been ruined by having lanes for cars removed because I can usually go faster on them than on the “GOOD” streets.

    When they replace all of the parking lots downtown by condos you will probably find it easier to drive but you won’t be able to afford to park at the remaining lots. You remind me of Robert Moses who said, “If God didn’t want me to build expressways he wouldn’t have made river valleys.”

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  36. The first thing the passengers on the SELRT are going to say is “Why do I have to transfer at Don Mills? This is sooo stupid.”

    That will be Miller’s legacy.

    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.

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  37. Keith L says:
    September 28, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    “That will be Miller’s legacy.”

    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.

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  38. Actually, when I wrote to Miller about the 501 service along the Lake Shore two years ago (along with others), I never received a response from Miller’s office. I wrote a second letter (inquiring about my first letter), I also diid not receive a response. Mind you, I was writing about one specific problem, while I believe that he was (and is) more interested in transit as a whole in Toronto.

    I do believe that Miller’s efforts in other areas may affect his reputation and may take away from attempts to make transit better. Not to sound too negative, but people tend to remember what they consider to be the bad things, not the good things.

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  39. I have to say I must agree with Karl … the DRL plan is over 100 yr old yet it has no funding.

    Steve: There was a DRL proposal some decades back, but there was a political tradeoff at Metro Council, and it was dropped in favour of the Sheppard Subway. The odd alliance engineering that decision was Mel Lastman and Jack Layton. David Miller wasn’t even on Council then.

    Transit City was created back in 07 yet 3 of it lines have already been funded. If David Miller was true about transit he would known that you can only add so much branches to one stem … By this I’m talking about our subway network. Sorry let me correct myself our subway lines, because at this point I don’t consider two routes and a stub-way an actual network.

    If the DRL is not built within the next decade both the Eglinton and Sheppard LRT will overload the subway system.

    Steve: I have to jump in here and point out that Karl’s claim that Miller was opposed to the DRL is false, as has been pointed out earlier in this thread. Your argument begins from an invalid premise.

    Look I’m not anti lrt … but in reality David Miller did a poor job creating Transit City … and thats going to be his legacy.

    Transit city is flawed in the sense David Miller packaged it as cheap alternative to subway routes, however in reality most of these proposed routes have double in price since they were first announced … ie Eglinton lrt.

    Steve: The price of TC lines has gone up for various reasons including: upward revision of demands leading to higher vehicle requirements, more underground construction for areas with constrained surface right-of-way, maintenance facility costs (that was a TTC omission, since corrected) and inflation (original costs were cited in then-current dollars). As you will see in the next comment in this thread, the cost/km of Transit City is still very much below the cost of subway construction.

    I just hope that the next mayor to take over David Miller position has a Planning background … so that we can start building real transit.

    Steve: Actually, the candidates we hear about are lawyers, not planners. Many cities have “real transit” and make LRT an integral part of their networks.

    Many people who do have a planning background helped in creating Transit City. A Mayor’s job is not to do every bit of work himself, but to have trusted, knowledgeable people who can assemble credible plans for him.

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