Furious George Has A Plan (Update 2)

Updated June 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm:

The Smitherman campaign has posted a backgrounder to his transportation plan which has been updated to reflect the funding of inflation by Queen’s Park.

In a previous update, I noted that there was a bit over $1-billion still unaccounted for.  This is explained in the backgrounder as follows:

Once the provincial government formally approves their contribution escalation the Smitherman construction cost increment is reduced to $3.87­billion, or $5-billion once financed to 2021. [Page 3]

Although this issue has been addressed, the method of paying for transit investments has not been changed.  Smitherman still depends on revenue from gas tax and dividends from City agencies, money that is already spoken for by existing budgets at the TTC and the City.  He also depends on new tax revenue from developments along the routes to be built.  However, those taxes traditionally have been at least partly spent to serve new residents and businesses these developments would bring.

While I applaud Smitherman for at least producing a detailed plan, I still do not agree with elements of it such as the Bloor-Danforth subway extensions or with his financing scheme.  (For the record, at Council today TTC staff responded to a question from Councillor Thompson about a subway extension and explained that any subway extension could not be built along the existing SRT corridor.)

The original content of this post follows the break.

Updated June 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm:

According to today’s Star, George Smitherman has reduced the estimated cost of his transit plan from $7-billion to $5-billion.

Responding himself to questions about the $17 billion transit plan he announced last week, Smitherman said his plan would require only $5 billion more than the money already promised by senior governments and the city. That’s $2 billion less than he had originally suggested.

The difference, he said, is the cost escalation attached to phasing in the Metrolinx Transit City light rail plans more slowly. The province has agreed to cover that $2 billion cost.

I cannot help wondering, what with Smitherman having assistance from a Metrolinx director on his policy team, he did not know about this funding arrangement before releasing his platform.  Roughly $1-billion is still unaccounted for in Smitherman’s plan comparing the costs for each line (see details in the main article below), and the $5-billion total.

Then there’s the small matter of paying for it all, but with a $2-billion saving before he’s even managed to get elected, what could be easier?

Original Post from May 28, 2010

Toronto Mayoral candidate George Smitherman unveiled his transportation platform at the Toronto Convention Centre today.  It was a big affair, filling a large room with supporters.

Former Premier David Peterson introduced Smitherman, and the irony was probably lost on most in the room.  Back in 1990, I was at Peterson’s announcement in the Macdonald Block at Queen’s Park when he launched an updated Network 2011 plan.  Peterson was defeated months later by Bob Rae, and much of his transit proposal was stillborn.  Only part of the Sheppard subway was actually built, and a short excavation on Eglinton was filled in.  This was an ominous beginning to the announcement of yet another plan.

Smitherman began with the usual thanks to friends, family and supporters, and then turned to transportation issues in Toronto.  Although he decried the lack of leadership and confused nature of some transit planning, he was careful not to single out anyone specifically.  The audience was left to read into his speech a criticism of whoever they wished all the way from David Miller to Mike Harris, possibly by way of Dalton McGuinty and Mel Lastman.  This was a wise tactic both because there is lots of blame to go around, and because the real issue is moving forward from decades of inaction.

“Things need to work” was a theme running through many comments.  At this point, my sense of disappointment started to grow because of Smitherman’s scattershot remarks and his lack of knowledge about why things work, albeit imperfectly, as they do.

One notable example is the question of road repairs.  Smitherman would love to see crews working 7×24 to get in and get out of a neighbourhood with any project.  Sadly, residents tend to complain about noise, and few projects lend themselves to round-the-clock construction.  Without question, there are serious problems of unco-ordination among various agencies and companies, only some of which are under the city’s control.  Indeed, attempts to do “big bang” projects where every utility visits a neighbourhood for one co-ordinated push have tended to fail because there is always something unforseen in one utility’s work that fouls up everyone else.

Certainly, politicians need to take a much more aggressive approach to poor work by civic staff, but this extends all the way through management ranks, not just at the lowly level of a garbage crew.  Bad advice is given to Council.  Site conditions turn out to be different from plans.  Promises made to neighbourhoods are broken because plans and schedules change.

Smitherman recognizes that citizens are frustrated with their city, and he wants “to get things done”.  This requires real leadership backed by good information and policies.  Here, the platform starts to come unglued.

The Smitherman Transit Plan

Smitherman avoids a catchphrase like “Transit City” for his plan, preferring to concentrate on what he will actually deliver.  Well, that’s fine, but names are handy if only so that people know what bundle of proposals a comment, a newspaper article, a political debate might be addressing.  Let’s look at “Transit Delivered”.

Phase 1 runs to 2015 and addresses the Pan Am Games.  Smitherman commits to:

  • Expediting the Spadina subway to have it open to York U (a Games venue) by 2015.
  • Completing the Sheppard LRT and extending it south to U of T Scarborough Campus and Centennial College by 2015.
  • Completing the Queen’s Quay LRT from Union Station to the Portlands including the Athletes’ Village.
  • Get the Eglinton LRT underway, but with its tunnel extended west from Black Creek portal to Weston Station where it would include a direct link to the rail corridor and the Air Rail Link.
  • “Champion” the Air Rail Link, with “priority” for electrification, whatever that means, but as this is a provincial PPP with SNC-Lavalin, he has no influence in its design, implementation or operation.

If I were Mayor, this would be an astonishingly easy platform to achieve.  I would sit back, put my feet up, and snooze until 2015 when the call came for photo-ops at the ribbon-cuttings.

The Spadina Subway is already planned to be open to York U by late 2015.  Whether this can be accelerated to get trains to the University in time for the Pan Am Games is hard to say, and is substantially dependent on a construction plan that is already set.  Tunnel boring machines cannot be made to move more quickly by Mayoral fiat.  Smitherman decries the length of time needed to get the project going, but confuses delay in reaching the point where this project is approved and funded, and the actual time needed to get it built. 

“1. When will the subway go to York University?

“Service on the new extension is planned to start in late 2015. So you can expect to catch a train to the York University’s Keele campus at that time.”  [Project FAQ]

The Sheppard LRT is already under construction, and Metrolinx plans to have it opened by mid 2014.  The extension to UTSC is part of the Scarborough-Malvern LRT for which there is already a completed and approved EA.  Metrolinx will consider a report on this option at its June 2010 meeting, and it is hardly a new proposal.

Through operation of Sheppard trains to UTSC was foreseen in the original Transit City announcement, and I have advocated building this connection before the SMLRT ever since it became obvious that the entire Transit City network would not be built in one go.  The idea was well received in private discussions with both TTC and Metrolinx folks as an obvious project add-on.  Meanwhile, then Minister of Infrastructure Smitherman stated that Toronto should not be too hasty looking for additional transit money for this type of improvement.

The Waterfront East line has been designed, in part, including the sections from Bay east to Parliament, and from King south via Cherry to the rail corridor.  The connection between these two segments is bound up in the Don Mouth redesign.  Service into the Port Lands is considered a distant plan to coincide with residential development of those lands.  Waterfront Toronto has funding in place for part of the currently-designed segments, but not for the fleet needed to provide service.  There is no announced construction date, but like many other projects, there is a push to get this on the rails in time for 2015.

The tunnel boring machines for Eglinton will be ordered by the TTC next week, and both TTC and Metrolinx are pushing ahead with this project.  The only significant change in Smitherman’s design is the placement of an underground station at Weston to make a good connection with the rail corridor, rather than at the intersection.  Problems with an underground alignment, however, do exist related to houses on Eglinton west of Weston Road that could be affected by the width of the tunnel structure.

In effect, Smitherman promises to build more or less what is already in progress or very close to approval.  He makes no suggestions about how any other projects could be accelerated (or restored to their original timing) if financial situations change at the City or at Queen’s Park.

For Phase 2, Smitherman proposes:

  • Finch West LRT from Keele to Highway 27, then south to Humber College, Etobicoke General Hospital and Woodbine Racetrack.
  • Extend the Sheppard Subway west from Yonge to Downsview.  This replaces the “Finch Middle” LRT between Keele and Yonge, and by implication the “Finch East” LRT to Don Mills Station.
  • Extend the Danforth Subway from Kennedy to Scarborough Town Centre (McCowan Station).
  • Extend the Bloor Subway from Kipling to Sherway Gardens.

These plans are substantially different from the Metrolinx schemes, but Smitherman dismisses “The Big Move” as a plan cobbled together by a bunch of politicians, costing far too much and not generally warranting his serious comment.  He may want to talk to Rob Prichard at Metrolinx about this.

Finch West is roughly as proposed by the TTC and Metrolinx in its current form with the only change being confirmation that it would go to major destinations in the Woodbine area as one project, rather than as a phased expansion.

The Sheppard Subway proposal rarely achieves political lift-off because projected demand is low compared to its projected cost.  It looks nice on a map, but when other projects have stronger support, it goes to the back of the queue.

The Danforth Subway extension to STC has two significant issues.  First, the plan calls for the subway to follow the existing RT alignment although this is physically impossible at Kennedy Station where the station points due east and a curve to the north would (a) be very tight and (b) be blocked by an existing high-rise.  Alternative alignments have been proposed with fewer stations, but these would also be completely new construction, not a recycled infrastructure.  The elevated stations at Midland, STC and McCowan would need major reconstruction to accommodate wider and longer 6-car trains from the BD line.  None of this appears to have been considered.

Moreover, the extension of service north to Sheppard and beyond to Malvern, part of the SRT/LRT Transit City proposal, has completely fallen off the map.  Smitherman cavalierly dismisses this problem by saying that people in affected areas will have good service nearby.

The Bloor Subway extension to Sherway was part of Peterson’s 1990 announcement, and it has languished ever since.  It is not part of The Big Move because Metrolinx concentrates on GO improvements in the west, not a subway extension.

Financing Transit Expansion

The marginal cost of Smitherman’s plan versus current commitments (given to the media as part of a background briefing by a senior member of the campaign team) is:

  • Sheppard extension to UTSC: $240-million
  • Waterfront east:  $225m
  • Finch west to Woodbine:  $250m
  • Scarborough subway:  $535m (over and above the proposed LRT to Sheppard)
  • Eglinton LRT tunnel extension to Mt. Dennis:  $300m
  • Bloor subway to Sherway:  $1-billion
  • Sheppard subway to Downsview:  $1.3b
  • Total:  $3.85b

However, Smitherman’s speech talks about $7-billion, and it is unclear why the difference in the component costs  is so great.  Unit costs were cited as:

  • Subway: $300-million/km
  • Subway on surface (e.g. SRT replacement): $250m/km
  • LRT: $100m/km (surface)

All figures in 2010 dollars.

The subway expansion proposals do not appear to allow for a new yard to store the trains needed to operate the extended lines.  McCowan Yard is far too small for this purpose, and the TTC gave away its interest in land at Kipling years ago.

How would we pay for all this?  Smitherman proposes that the private sector, with which he is intimately familiar from his experience building hospitals for the Ontario government, would finance the lines on a design-build-finance basis.  Toronto would lease them using a Transit Trust whose funding would come from:

  • provincial and federal gas tax
  • dividends from Toronto Hydro and Toronto Parking Authority
  • fees generated through “transit-enabled development”

There is a small problem here.  Most of the funding earmarked by Smitherman is already used for other transit and municipal programs.  Indeed, as Queen’s Park in particular has backed away from capital funding, the gas tax revenues have backfilled for discontinued programs.  This is not “found money” just waiting to be spent on transit expansion.  Indeed, if we actually had this sort of money sitting in City coffers, Toronto would not be crying to Queen’s Park to fund its transit system.

Smitherman is strong on transit staying in public ownership and control, and the financing arrangements would simply obtain the benefit of private sector expertise and risk transfer away from the public partner.

Sadly, Smitherman’s experience with PPP is on a much smaller, well-defined scale.  He cites hospitals like Bridgepoint (formerly Riverdale) and Sunnybrook as examples, apparently ignorant of the fact that much of Sunnybrook was built before he was born (it started out as a Veterans’ hospital) and that Bridgepoint is nothing more than a hole in the ground on Gerrard Street.

A billion dollar subway project is quite a different matter, and involves expertise and risks the private sector may not have or be willing to undertake, at least without a premium on their pricing.

The most striking part of Smitherman’s financing plan is the degree to which it matches Mayor Miller’s scheme to bridge Transit City funding while the Province sorts out its debt woes.  Smitherman observes that interest costs in the early years are low as projects build out, and in any event the debt is held by the private partners and paid off like a mortgage.

This scheme was rejected by the Province right up to the Premier because, under post-Enron public sector accounting rules, a debt is a debt no matter who holds it.  A long-term lease (or “mortgage” to use Smitherman’s term) is a liability for the City which cannot be avoided any more than debt raised by borrowing money.  Smitherman’s days at Infrastructure Ontario may have involved accounting schemes that Queen’s Park now explicitly rejects.

Fares and Operations

Smitherman proposes to allow senior citizens to travel free between 1000 and 1400 on weekdays.  This, he argues, will have no marginal cost in service requirements, and only minimal cost in foregone revenue.  Indeed, Smitherman’s team argues that some seniors would shift their riding out of peak periods to take advantage of free travel, and this would liberate space for other riders.  Trips otherwise taken at evenings and weekends would shift to weekdays.

As someone who will soon qualify as a “senior”, this is a “thanks but no thanks” offer.  Either you value my age and contributions enough to give me free travel at least at all off-peak times, or you’re just throwing me a bone that does not constitute much of a fare cut overall.

Speaking of fares, Smitherman wants to revisit the cost recovery level, now at about 70%, with a view to increasing farebox revenue as a portion of the total budget.  To put this in context, revenue for 2010 is projected to be $958m of which almost all is from the farebox.  To get to an 80% recovery, revenue would have to go up by about 14% to $1.094b.  Alternately, service cuts would be required to achieve the same effect, and this would come at the cost of some ridership.

We have been here before, in 1996 when Harris-era cuts forced the recovery rate over 80% and service was ruthlessly slashed.  We are in an era of growth today and at a minimum need more service on the system as a whole.  Although some complain of half-empty buses roaming the streets, they have a definite purpose — that of “showing the flag” so that riders know there will be service at all hours whenever they wish to travel.  Indeed, the TTC will soon begin the rollout of its Transit City Bus Plan including a core network of 10-minute headways or better on major routes at all times except overnight.  This is an example of leading riding growth with better service, rather than hacking away to hit an arbitrary budget target.

Smitherman did acknowledge, near the end of his media briefing, that Queen’s Park needs to come back into the operating funding arena.  It took some effort to pull this information out of him.

Smitherman wants to see a fare card system in place by 2014, including the ability to use cash, debit or credit cards and the provincial “Presto” card.  How much this would cost and how it would be funded is not yet known.

What’s Missing

There was no mention of any of the following issues:

  • Actual target fare and service levels
  • Funding of ongoing maintenance and capital programs
  • GO Transit and the role of the regional rail network
  • Regional service and fare integration with operators such as Mississauga Transit, YRT, etc.
  • Remaining Transit City lines (Jane, Don Mills, Scarborough-Malvern) (Smitherman explicitly said he would kill the Waterfront West LRT, another holdover from Peterson’s 1990 announcement)
  • The Downtown Relief Line

Most critically, the big missing piece is the financing.  Smitherman plans to make a number of policy announcements over the campaign, and then wrap it all up with a consolidated financial plan.  This would be available in late September.  How the electorate or other candidates are supposed to deal with this is a mystery.

Anyone can promise the earth in their platform, but they need to bring some sense of how they will pay for their schemes and whether they are actually feasible in the larger scheme of municipal operations.  If a Mayor were to introduce a major policy proposal without at least a basic financial overview, he or she would be pilloried by those who demand responsible government. 

Personally, I was very disappointed in this platform.  There are too many vague statements, too much glossing over of major issues, too many examples of bad advice from a policy team that should know better.  Smitherman is a leading candidate for Mayor, and I had hoped to see “Mayoral” quality platform material.  Candidate Smitherman has taken on the most important issue in current political debate, and produced a platform worthy of a junior Councillor with keen, but ill-advised staff.

[For those who might object to this article’s title, “Furious George” is a name the candidate himself embraces as a badge of his commitment to the city.]

Postscript:  Mayor Metrolinx?

Although the Smitherman transit plan distributed to the media has no credit on it, a larger (and different) version was on display at the media briefing.  It bears the name of “Malone Given Parsons Ltd.”.

The “Parsons” in question is Lee Parsons, a director of Metrolinx.  How is it that a company associated with a Metrolinx director can be involved in producing a plan for a Mayoral candidate?  Is there a conflict of interest?  How does he square the Smitherman plan with “The Big Move”?  Will his discussions at Metrolinx reflect his role as a director, or his connection to the would-be Mayor’s transportation plan?

54 thoughts on “Furious George Has A Plan (Update 2)

  1. Two questions:

    1. As a commentator said, a Don Mills corridor transit demand could potentially grow into a subway demand. When/If that ever happens, is it really necessary to scrap the LRT and build a subway? or is it possible to continue LRT operations, simply with modified designs to handle the increased demands?

    2. Do you envision the Sheppard subway becoming an LRT, running through the same tunnels? I was envisioning that conversion to allow for the possibility that the Sheppard transit corridors unite in operations.

    Steve: We have spent much of the past 50 years dreaming of subways that might be needed at some distant future time, and not building better surface transit on the off chance that we might someday need a subway. The Don Mills corridor’s local demand will never reach subway levels, and the long-haul demand will be handled by other modes, notably GO. As for Sheppard, I think the subway is there permanently.


  2. Steve comments:
    “I think it is a case that whoever put together Smitherman’s plan knows a lot less about the problems of building transit in Toronto than most readers of this blog.”

    An alternative is that someone *does* know better, but this “plan” was put together because it could be sold politically.

    I don’t know which possibility, gross ignorance or gross cynicism, is more frightening to me.


  3. My question was trying to address a more general case: If a Light Rail Transit corridor has ridership demands that eventually grows into a subway-like demand, is it possible to retain the LRT corridor, but with service and designed modified to accept the larger demands? Or is a subway-conversion necessary?

    Steve: If the LRT isn’t in a tunnel, there is a limit to how long the trains can be on the surface and how often they run. The constraints are the amount of space needed for stations, the pedestrian traffic to and from the stations across road lanes, and the amount of green time needed to keep frequent service moving down the line. There is also a capacity issue because LRT cars are narrower than subway cars and have a different layout of seats and doors.


  4. I don’t buy the “don’t build LRT lest the corridor someday meet HRT demand levels” line. There are plenty of parallel corridors on which to build more LRT lines should demand become a “problem” on the TC routes.


  5. WRT Smitherman’s proposal to route a BD extension via the SRT, I have wondered in the past:

    If a subway extension were routed elsewhere (ex canadian northern ROW, presumably), could there potentially be legal ramifications or liability costs associated with removing higher-order service from the RT corridor (from developers who have built/planned around the existing service?)

    Steve: It would certainly be an interesting debate to see reactions to the relocation of Lawrence East Station and the likely removal of a future Brimley Station.


  6. When I imagine a Sheppard connector, I can only think that a significant amount of demand will be shifted from the Spadina subway over to the Yonge line, by virtue of people being able to ride the train all the way over to Yonge Street without having to board another bus.


  7. Actually, the subway can run on the RT corridor, first off you need to build a new Kennedy Station 200-300 meters west of the old one on the existing line, curving North east. then you continue north east until you emerge from tunnel to reach the RT corridor, leading to Lawrence west. It then continues to Elsemere before you dip underground permanently, on a gentle curve going eastwards, till Brimley station, proceeding to STC facing North east again. This would be underground with tail tracks, and the platform would serve McCowan too. This is feasible Steve. If I am not mistaken this can be done, but moving and building a new Kennedy station is the only way. I believe the BD line follows the old geco spur, underground, correct? One other thing, The TTC should consider the lever ponds site for a new subway yard. The DRL is coming so an BD extension alone to STC would require more space too. The question is, is it big enough ?

    Steve: I never said you could not build in the existing corridor, just that it’s not a question of tacking a new line onto the existing track. As you say, we would need an totally new Kennedy Station, and could not realistically use the existing elevated. A new subway on that alignment would be tricky because it would run right beside Highland Creek.

    The question of yard space is one that Smitherman did not address in his estimates and the DRL too would need trains.

    Physically possible, yes. Simple, no.


  8. Smitherman’s campaign backgrounder stated, “Once the provincial government formally approves their contribution escalation the Smitherman construction cost increment is reduced to $3.87­billion, or $5-billion once financed to 2021.”

    Didn’t anyone tell George that one cannot work concrete once it has set? The media and the talk shows are still seeing his plan as needing $7 billion and I don’t see that changing any time soon.


  9. If that’s what they want to do, then they’d be better off just abandoning the RT completely and building the Danforth extension to STC on a totally different path. But … do you think that will fly? I don’t. It may be easy to abandon a platform (Bay Lower) and 1/2 mile of track around it, but an entire line? So, my bet is Georgie won’t be able to get the BD past Kennedy no matter how hard he tries. I remember reading a report back in the 80s that said the RT was intentionally built so that it could never be upgraded to subway.

    Steve: Never mind subway, it was set up so that even an LRT would be impossible without expanding the tunnel north of Ellesmere. In a way, they were hoist on their own petard on that one because that tunnel wouldn’t even handle the Mark II cars. If the BD line goes to STC, it will not follow the RT alignment, and will probably never get north of the 401.


  10. As you say, we would need an totally new Kennedy Station, and could not realistically use the existing elevated.

    Why can’t subway trains use the existing SRT elevated tracks? Is it a question of insufficient width, or of stations being too short? How difficult would it be to modify the RT tracks for subway operation?

    Steve: Subway trains are much wider than RT cars, and this would require substantial modification to the stations. Through-routing the BD subway would require that all stations be extended to 500 ft length, and they would also require second exits into areas where these may be hard to provide. The curve at Ellesmere is too tight and the tunnel too small for subway trains.


  11. Getting back to the Sheppard issue, you mentioned that you thought that the subway is there permanently, which I have no doubt about. With that in mind I’m curious to know if how much, if at all, you think the LRT on Sheppard will help to strengthen ridership on the subway. I’m no Nostradamus but it does seem to me that it’s bound to help at least some. Who knows? Maybe it’ll give rise to an eventual need for a subway extension. I’m not holding my breath on that one but again, who knows?

    Steve: I wouldn’t be surprised if the LRT diverts some trips to Sheppard, and thence to Yonge, especially while the SRT reconstruction is underway. Extending the subway, on the other hand, requires sufficient demand to justify the construction. If the TTC totally cocks up the Sheppard LRT, thereby proving that LRT won’t work in Toronto, then we can have this discussion again. Meanwhile, I would like to hope that they could actually get it right, certainly a lot better than on St. Clair.


  12. Regarding the possibility of replacing SRT with subway:

    1) Some pointed out that a different path, via Brimley or via Danforth / McCowan, would have stations with greater local potential. In particular, the Danforth / McCowan alignment would directly serve the Scarborough Hospital.

    2) Steve said: “If the BD line goes to STC, it will not follow the RT alignment, and will probably never get north of the 401.”

    Actually, why not? 401 is on surface and the STC subway station would likely be underground, hence it should be possible to tunnel further.

    If SELRT is there, then connection to the subway at Sheppard / McCowan would suit more riders than connection with SLRT extension at Sheppard / Progress.

    Steve: I suspect it will be a question of cost. Just a subway to STC is much more expensive than the LRT to Sheppard, and Scarborough would wait a very long time for “phase 2” to take the line further north. They have been waiting for this link for decades.

    3) To retain good transit service to the cluster at current Lawrence East SRT station, an easy and inexpensive option is to create a new TTC bus route running clockwise, Lawrence – Midland – Eglinton – Kennedy Stn bus terminal – Kennedy – Lawrence (somewhat similar to 99 Arrow Road – Jane). Three buses during the peak and two off-peak should be enough for decent service.


  13. While the tunnel cross-section is too small in any event, the Ellesmere curve is actually gentler than the King curve, but still doesn’t meet current subway standards. I’d be more interested in the grade between Midland and the Uxbridge sub; I don’t think that meets subway design standards even from the late 1950s.


  14. One of the Furious George proposals is ” Extend the Sheppard Subway west from Yonge to Downsview. This replaces the “Finch Middle” LRT between Keele and Yonge, and by implication the “Finch East” LRT to Don Mills Station.”

    Though you say that the anticipated passenger volume on this stretch is low, I wonder if it does make sense (not only to make the map look better!).

    The subway extension north of Downsview is already being built and at least some of these riders , and others from a bit south of Downsview) will want to get over to the Yonge side – having the link would surely be useful and avoid the long trip through Union? If the extension from Finch to Richmond Hill goes ahead then the same thing would apply to riders on the east side wanting to get further west.

    Would building this link reduce the demands on the Yonge line and allow us to postpone, though certainly not replace for ever, the DRL? Would it make it easier to reduce the effects of station closures due to accidents, smoke and ‘incidents at track level’?

    Steve: I don’t think multiple routes will make much difference given the way the TTC often reacts to situations by simply holding service. Only the major delays where they keep part of the line still running would benefit. The Richmond Hill line triggers the need for the DRL. If people are looking for money to build a new subway, you can bet that it will be spent on Richmond Hill before Sheppard. The disappointing thing about Smitherman’s map is how it ignores ridership growth from the 905 and even parts of the 416 like Malvern. It really is a recycled plan from 1990.


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