Transit City Revisited (Part I)

Transit City and transit in general are much in the political news thanks to one mayoral candidate’s declaration that there would be a moratorium on additional routes among other changes at the TTC.  Christopher Hume’s column in the Star gives an overview of the landscape.

In the midst of TTC problems from lousy customer relations to service reliability, from Enbridge cutting into the subway tunnel to a maladroit handling of the recent fare increase, everyone needs to step back a moment and divorce the TTC from the politicians.

Transit City has many good points, and they need to be reinforced, not simply tossed aside as part of the anti-Miller rhetoric brewing in some campaign offices and newspapers.  Transit City isn’t perfect, but the map may as well be cut into stone tablets rather than being a living document to hear some of its supporters. Such inflexibility undermines the plan itself.

There’s an odd parallel to Metrolinx’ Big Move plan.  Metrolinx claims that their plan is a work in progress, but just try to criticize it, try to suggest changes, and their professed love of public input evaporates.  Transit City isn’t quite as bad, and we are at least having some public feedback through the Transit Project Assessments.  However, some fundamental changes are needed.

Before I talk about the plan, it’s useful to see where it came from. Continue reading

Four Years

Four years ago today, came to life as what I thought might be a handy, small blog where I could make available comments and analysis on a variety of (mainly) transit issues.  It didn’t quite work out that way, and I’ve been quite pleased at the way this site has grown as a forum.

Daily page views are now sitting in the 2-3,000 range, although the all-time high (4,723) arrived on the day I published the old GM “New Look” product literature.  I think the gods of blog activity are having a laugh at my expense with the most popular post being one about buses.

Some people don’t like the fact that this is a pro-LRT site.  That’s their privilege.  I am not against subways or buses, but each mode has its place, and for far too long Toronto (and Queen’s Park) ignored what hundreds of other cities are doing.  The subway and LRT camps need to view transit improvement as the goal, rather than arguing a zero-sum game in which any “gain” for one mode is a “loss” for the other.

The heart of this site is the readers and the comments they leave.  Back in April 2009 came the landmark of 10,000 active comments.  We will hit 15,000 early in February.

All those comments make for a lively conversation whether we agree with each other or not.  I think this improves the general quality of transit advocacy in Toronto because people get to read about and discuss issues in depth.

This blog is well read in professional and political circles, and I have often been complimented on the quality and range of the discussions here.  It’s not just the pearls of wisdom, such as they may be, from my electronic pen that attracts such an audience.

Thank you to all the readers.  Without your contributions, this would be a rather quiet place.