The Day The Big Move Died (Update 2)

Updated December 2, 2010 at 11:55 pm:

The Globe and Mail has a story by John Lorinc echoing the sentiments here with quotes from sundry people weightier than I am.

The Star reports on provincial reaction to Mayor Ford’s move.

Updated December 2, 2010 at 1:50 am: The Globe and Mail reports on a poll of Councillors regarding support for Transit City or subways.

  • Pro Transit City:  14
  • Transit City + Tweaks:  4
  • Subways:  11
  • Unknown:  15

Original article from December 1, 2010:

Toronto’s new Mayor Ford, acting with a haste uncharacteristic in Toronto affairs, and without even bothering to consult his new Council, has directed the TTC to stop work on Transit City.  The “war on the car” is over, and all new rapid transit will be underground.

The deafening silence from Queen’s Park shows us how much Metrolinx and its regional plan, The Big Move, depend on political agreement among GTA municipalities.  Removing the pols from the Metrolinx Board may have centralized important announcements at Queen’s Park, but it did nothing to blunt the effect any local Mayor or Council can have if they don’t play ball.

The Big Move has both a 15-year and a 25-year component, although the likelihood either of these would see substantial construction was compromised the moment Queen’s Park’s budget priorities trumped a scheme to build major transit improvements first as a prelude to new revenue tools.  Nobody wants to talk about taxes or tolls, but money for transit, whatever the technology, won’t come from the tooth fairy.  It won’t come from the private sector either, at least not without a guaranteed return on their investment.

Ford, whose aggressive tactics on Council are well known but whose character was carefully controlled during the election, has shown that he has a plan, and feels that his mandate gives him carte blanche to implement whatever he wants.  The voters have spoken.  Those who voted for 44 Councillors might beg to disagree, but that’s for Council to decide in weeks and months ahead.

The real problem is the lack of leadership on the transit file from Queen’s Park.  The Big Move was cobbled together from many local plans, including Transit City, and flawed though it might have been, there was general agreement about the shape of the plan.  Changing Toronto’s focus to subways unbalances the plan’s scale and benefits, not to mention the huge change in net cost.  Mayor Ford’s concern for taxpayers’ dollars appears to end when someone else is expected to pay the bill, and this could deprive Toronto of transit improvements while growth proceeds on smaller-scale projects in the 905.

If we can rip Transit City out of The Big Move with only the barest of response from Queen’s Park, how safe is the rest of the plan?  Will expansions in Mississauga, Hamilton, York Region and Durham be subject to the whims of whoever is in power, or will a semblance of regional planning remain?  Will provincial efforts dwindle to supporting GO Transit, an organization whose forced marriage with Metrolinx is still quite shaky.  The bride and groom are still arguing over decorations, and they almost certainly have separate bedrooms.

Readers who know me well will appreciate that today is not the brightest day in my history of transit advocacy.  It would be easy just to write a bitter rant against the incoming regime.  That would be a waste of time — they won’t read it anyhow, any more than they will listen to editorial boards at the Globe and Star.

That regime is not stupid, although many would paint Ford and his crew as a bunch of bumbling hicks.  They know what they want to achieve and they appear ready to push as hard as possible until, no, even if someone pushes back.  That’s the role of Council and of Queen’s Park if they really believe in Transit City.

There is a place for LRT and for subways in Toronto, and if we are to remake the transit plans, this process deserves more than the midnight YouTube announcement of Ford’s election campaign.  It also deserves a concerted effort by transit supporters everywhere to fight against slurs of downtown elitism, and to argue strongly for better, cost-effective transit.  We need to ensure that the “war on the car” is not replaced, stealthily, by a war on transit.

As for Metrolinx, I can’t help wondering what, exactly, its purpose is.  The Board rarely meets in public, and doesn’t discuss much of substance when it does.  Major announcements come from the Premier or the Minister, and many of these deal with GO plans that were in the pipeline before the Metrolinx amalgamation.  Now we see a Mayor can just tear up part of the plan, an ironic situation considering the grief David Miller endured for trying to get Toronto’s interests recognized at Queen’s Park.  If the Tories win the fall 2011 provincial election, Metrolinx and its hoard of consultants may find themselves out of work, and transit may be relegated to a desk at the back of the Ministry of Transportation offices in Downsview.

Meanwhile, my box of “Big Move” documents can join the many other plans in my archives.

136 thoughts on “The Day The Big Move Died (Update 2)

  1. Ed says: “Given that the TTC staff didn’t always much listen to the Commission, why are they (possibly, apparently) rolling over and displaying their furry tummy to the new mayor?”

    Off-topic, but that made me wonder exactly what sort of furry animal TTC is… and the first thing that came to mind was “a sloth”. Then I thought “Capybara“. I’m not sure what this says about my perception of the TTC.


  2. Michael Greason: I respect your opinions on our new Mayor, as long as you can respect mine, but that’s another story. My point is that you are missing my point that politics of this kind is not a right-wing thing. In all levels of government, even the left has been guilty of making things difficult for the Right. I would like you to prove that former Mayor Miller DID NOT do this kind of politics when he was mayor. This kind of stuff is normal.

    As for Ford’s personality, I may not have met him myself, but his supporters with whom I am acquainted with say that he is a very personable type of guy who goes the extra mile to get things done right. This is not a fantasy world, this is fact.

    And before anyone else goes and distorts my words, my support for him does not mean I agree with his decision to scrap Transit City. Which is why I hope that Gary Webster can give him the numbers and show that his proposed subway plan is not how one would expand transit.

    It’s the bottom of the ninth, and now the TTC is up at bat. A good discussion and argument is key if the TTC wants to save Transit city.


  3. I’ve listened to Rob Ford on CFRB this morning (Dec. 3rd), and he continues to call the vehicles for Transit City: streetcars. This man seems to call any vehicle using an overhead catenary a streetcar. I wonder if he would call any of the bullet trains, or the electrification of GO, streetcars. I also wonder if they had used a third rail for the light rail vehicles on the SRT, would he still object? Probably.

    Rob Ford is no transit expert, not even a regular transit user. In fact, he seems to avoid public transit as much as possible. I do not want him to make any decisions on public transit. Where did he get this phobia for streetcars and light rail?


  4. W.K.Lis: if indeed Ford is still calling Transit City “streetcars”, then it is the fault of the TTC for not correcting him about what LRT is truly about.


  5. Notice that it seems that everyone who wants subways over LRT has no problem with the fact that getting ‘their’ subway means that the rest of the city gets deprived of higher order transit?

    Screw everyone on Finch and (possibly) Eglinton right? At least we’ll have two subways to STC!


  6. Miroslav Glavic said: “Does anyone know why G&M didn’t ask those 15 councillors or those 15 councillors didn’t answer?”

    I suspect that the G&M simply looked at the campaign platforms of the counsellors and what it said with regards to transit. That said, I’d appreciate it if someone is able to find a map which shows the ward breakdown and illustrates current support on counsel for TC/subways/TC+/undecided. I’m curious to see the opinion of the counsellors along all the proposed TC routes, both under construction and “eventually”, and where the supporters for TC are located.

    On that note, if anyone here is considering to write to their counsellor about TC but they are reluctant to do so because their counsellor has already voiced support for it, I strongly encourage people to do it anyways. Ford might start playing hardball to get the votes he needs to kill TC and public opinion might be the only way to counter that.


  7. The individual who informed me of this decision (I’m on 14 hr shifts, so I don’t get out much at the moment) had a look on his face that made me believe that he sincerely wished he hadn’t been the first.

    On line design:
    I support Willowdale Station; and the Sheppard design is not awful or technically flawed in any obvious regard.

    However, as nFitz said, 85 km (TC) vs x 12 km (SSE) and seventy stations (TC) versus seven stations (SSE). The ‘more bang for your buck’ aspect of this argument is simply inescapable. Toronto needs at least one more subway (DRL), but “Torontonians” do not benefit from this Sheppard Stubway extension.

    Out of 2.x million people, I suspect that “levels less than subway standards” work at Scarborough Town Centre. Not to mention the obvious problem of dumping even more people onto the northern end of the Yonge line (who are ‘typically’ southbound)


  8. Steven Cheung said

    “If indeed Ford is still calling Transit City “streetcars”, then it is the fault of the TTC for not correcting him about what LRT is truly about.”

    Blaming the TTC for not explaining something that has been explained by a number of people in a number of venues that Rob Ford has been at strikes me as somewhat naive, if not disingenuous .

    Ford has a reputation for not reading his briefing papers, not staying through meetings, not reading the budget of the city and for not listening to anybody supporting something he does not take an intuitive shine to. It is that lack of basic administrative capacity that isolated him for the last 8 years on council.

    All this has been mentionned by right wing members of the last council; there is a reason why it took so long for the right wing councillors to support him and for the Ford team to mention David Shiner as a member of the executive. He is, by all accounts, very good at applying basic customer service techniques to those who contact him. But there are far more skills needed by a mayor then the ability to listen to a constituent well.

    There comes a time in an objective discussion of a political figures actions and statements when a supporter must admit that who they support said or did something that is wrong. I would suggest to you this is that time. He has been told LRT vehicles are not streetcars. He believes they are. He is wrong. Not the TTC. Not his handlers and team. Rob Ford is wrong.

    Being wrong is OK, as belief systems inform most political decisions and discussions. But, we should be clear from the onset of this regime that Ford’s viewpoints are his own and can not be explained away by bad briefings. He knows. He chooses to think otherwise.


  9. Thanks for the video laughs, iSkyscraper. Now more than ever. “We like the big underground choo-choo trains” indeed.


  10. That’s right Stephen, it’s not Rob Ford’s fault that he couldn’t be bothered to look at ANY of the literature, plans, proposals, etc. for Transit City and instead just make ignorant pronouncements about the vehicles used, the traffic lanes lost, etc. It is the TTC’s fault for not physically forcing him to sit down and actually either read the plan, or more appropriate for him, watch a cartoon explaining it.

    Regarding your assertion above that “As for Ford’s personality, I may not have met him myself, but his supporters with whom I am acquainted with say that he is a very personable type of guy who goes the extra mile to get things done right. This is not a fantasy world, this is fact.” WOW, second-hand commentary from his supporters who are pre-disposed to liking him and his policies! That has ME convinced that he will listen to opposing viewpoints!


  11. Hi Steve

    While the TTC owns some of the blame for what has happened to Transit City that still does not invalidate the fact that Rob Ford wants to scrap it for a longer stubway. Both Og the Dim and Andrew Marshall have made extremely good points concerning Ford and his grasp, and interest, in public transit. I feel that Ford has let some of the advisors of the previous regime, and a former metro politician, run with this file and come up with the current plan. (These are the guys who brought CNG buses into our midst and help perpetuate the “subways only” myth.) Gary Webster can quote numbers until CNG buses and the SRT will work properly, but they will fall on deaf ears and closed minds. It will probably cost him his job for not being a team player and make him the fall guy if a subway cannot be built in four years.

    There is a lot of blame to go around and Ford owns the lion’s share of it. It is up to all of us who care about public transit to keep up the pressure to preserve what we have and to move forward with expansion when more reasonable minds are back in charge. Ford and his supporters should be attacked, exposed, and challenged at every opportunity to make sure that this nightmare only lasts four years.


  12. Steve — One of the first actions at the new council in December is apparently going to be a discussion around starting the path towards the TTC being deemed an essential service. This would infer that the number of vehicles and current capacity at least would also be “essential” and therefore somewhat protected, as in, say, the capacity and scheduling of the downtown streetcar routes. Based on his advisor Towhey’s comments pre-election and portions of the “Transportation City” concoction, I’m incredulous that this administration even values public transit, let alone ever really sees it as “essential”. Question: If one were to put on their political conspiracy theorist thinking caps, is there a way that a “yes” on the TTC being an essential service could later be turned into a way to contract or withdraw routes or services? IOW, if the TTC were declared essential, would King Street pretty much be assured of remaining a streetcar-or-better in perpetuity despite having “tracks down the middle of the road”?

    Steve: You are using “essential” in the wrong sense. All Ford wants to do is to prevent a strike on his watch. Mind you, the argument that cutting back on an “essential” service is self-contradictory has a certain allure, but one could always argue that the current quality of service exceeds what is “essential”. Put it another way, nothing demands that the Fire Department station a truck outside every elector’s home, but it’s still essential that they show up promptly. The debate is on the meaning of “prompt”.

    On a different note, I’m still floored that some of Mr. Ford’s supporters, including those posting on here, appear to be surprised or taken aback by his announcement and/or his lack of overall understanding of the issues around higher-order transit. Really, people? It was obvious from the get-go, whether one had met him personally or not, and was solidified when his closest advisors publicly made it clear that they’re big-time pro-car troglodytes. If anything should surprise his handful of pro-transit supporters, it’s that a spend-thrift is being so quick to accept that money already spent should be wasted or forgone… but the fact that he’s unilaterally moving to quash something that he doesn’t like is perfectly fitting with his past actions and his modus operandi to his core supporters. They want him to speak off the cuff, to review things in the simplest right-left, right-wrong, white-black mentalities, and to act quickly and decidedly with no room for wishy-washy compromise. That’s the right-wing populist way — and supporting Ford means you condone that style, lock-stock. There’s no middle ground, because that side of politics doesn’t accept that there ever could be. If you’re pro-transit and supported him pre-election, more fool you for thinking that any message would ever get through to him afterwards. The only people the mayor’s office will be listening to for the next four years will unfortunately all be representing the CAA.

    Steve: What I am still waiting to see will be how Ford balances a claim that there will be no fare increase and no service cuts. A neat trick.


  13. I suspect you may have already seen this, but the future TTC Chair is replying to inquiries about Transit City with what might charitably be called factually questionable and intentionally misleading information.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to send me a note about your concerns. As you may know, Transit City was not fully funded by the Province of Ontario or the Federal Government. The transit plan that has been funded is the Metrolinx Plan and that plan includes transit investment on Sheppard, Eglinton, the Scarborough RT and Finch. Stopping Transit City does not jeopardize the Metrolinx Plan.
    During the last municipal campaign, the voters of Toronto, through their support for Mayor Ford, indicated a preference for below-surface transit. Over the next few months, the TTC, Metrolinx and the Province will revisit the current Metrolinx Plan with a goal to increase the amount of below-surface transit.
    We all have a shared goal of a regional transportation plan that meets the needs of the riders of today and in the future. I am confident that the TTC, Metrolinx and the Province will work together to adjust the plan in a fiscally responsible manner that will receive the endorsement of the residents of Toronto.Karen Stintz

    Apart from the creation of a “Metrolinx Plan” that is divorced from its component parts, I also found the manner in which I received the response a little amusing. Any email sent to Councillor Stintz with “Transit City” in the subject line is sent the same form letter within seconds, with the actual email apparently unread.
    In my opinion at least, replying to questions from constituents involves listening to them and responding to their actual concerns, not simply throwing something out the door with an automated system. Is customer service in Rob Ford’s Toronto going to change from waiting a few days for a perhaps meaningful response, into getting a non-response immediately?


  14. Nick said, “Better transit for all of this city in the form of 85+ kms of LRTs (not just 6 kms of subway to Scarborough Town Centre) = peace with the car, as buses are removed from these busy streets and people might actually take transit that works, thus removing cars from the streets. ”

    The idea of removing all the buses from major suburban streets has been way understated. In a number of times I have heard someone espousing the benefits of TC, the idea that it will have people take transit instead of their own car being a major benefit is always mentioned. While that will happen to some extent, I do not believe that it will have as major effect, at least initially, to warrant such effort in stating it so often. It will be far more significant a benefit to simply move all the current commuters on buses onto LRVs. Removing all those buses from mixed traffic will improve congestion even without attracting a single new rider to transit.

    That said, the LRVs (if operated well – a whole other topic of discussion) should still be a way to go and will in turn attract some new riders. This is a secondary benefit that is touted as the major benefit, while the real primary benefit of fewer buses is hardly mentioned. Not only do fewer buses immediately relieve congestion, but the operating costs of fewer LRVs than buses is an immediate savings as well.


  15. The TTC is killing support for transit period. After 7 months they still have not finished the new roof on tiny Summerhill station. In that time entire buildings have gone up nearby. No wonder there is a lack of confidence in their ability to make Transit City happen without screwing it up. We not only need to think about Ford, we also need to think about how to help the TTC enter this century.


  16. Ford’s dislike of streetcars (and by extension LRT) is very simple.

    We know he drives to work, although his route is not obvious we know from his infamous “it’s their own fault they get killed” diatribe against cyclists he regularly drives down Queen street.

    Queen, as we all know, happens to be a very slow road to travel down no matter what the mode. It also has both mixed traffic streetcars, and many more cyclists than any other route he’d regularly travel down. He is simply blaming the slow traffic on the most obvious scapegoats. Of course, on-street parking is just as bad a culprit (and actually known to be one) but in his mind removing parking = war on car.

    Of course, any urbanist knows that the slow traffic, heavy transit usage, and hoards of cyclists are a byproduct of the intense urbanity of Queen, College, Dundas, Gerrard and King, and even Bathurst – all three are parallel products rather than cause-and-effect of each other, his mindset is simply too black-and-white to grasp that. Meanwhile, University, Bay, Jarvis, Front, and the Richmond-Adeleide pair also lack in the requisite urbanity that leads to the traffic; but also lack streetcars while it’s a brave cyclist that ventures onto these urban highways.

    Correlation is not causation, but in Ford’s mind the two are one and the same.

    Steve: I was riding in a taxi along the recently rebuilt “Mink Mile” on Bloor last night, and we spent an inordinate amount of time stopped in traffic thanks to the fact that the curb lane was occupied by, wait for it, more taxis dropping off and picking up fares. As long as downtown streets are effectively one lane each way, it doesn’t matter whether there is transit or what kind of vehicle it uses. Of course, in the suburbs, taxis are hard to find because there are many fewer pedestrians just standing around waiting to hail one. Classic market economics.


  17. I can’t get over how well you’re taking this news. Don’t tell me you’re thinking of becoming a subway convert.

    Steve: Nothing of the kind. However, penning diatribe after diatribe is counterproductive. My audience lies with those who need more details about options, especially those whose positions can be swayed. I doubt there is anyone in the Mayor’s office who fits that bill, but he’s not the only vote, just a very noisy one. As far as the Province is concerned, their fine words about respecting local democracy ring hollow given their years of counterproductive interference. They are really proving how useless regional planning really is if one of the affected governments does not want to play ball. The whole process depends on co-operation.


  18. Steve said …

    “Steve: Nothing of the kind. However, penning diatribe after diatribe is counterproductive. My audience lies with those who need more details about options, especially those whose positions can be swayed …”

    I agree, but in this case it doesn’t look like anybody can sway anybody or change the outcome. Ford seems to be a little power mad right now. He’s rigging the Commission in his favor, and anyone who is pro-Transit City is being given the boot. And, it now looks like he’ll have the votes at council to pass this through as well.

    Ford has been quoted numerous times saying that St. Clair is the reason he’s cancelling TC. Who can blame him for that? However, as I said in a previous post, I think we owe the TTC one more chance to get it right. If they get it wrong, well, then, I’m sure even you would agree that advocating for light rail in Toronto is a lost cause and simply not worth the effort. What is your prediction as to what will happen?

    Steve: First off, I think that there are enough members of Council whose wards are affected by Eglinton that reports of its demise are premature. What technology we will get remains to be seen. The problem will be if it is full high platform subway, there will never be the option of extending it as a surface line (with a better design than the one in TC) once the political winds change again. We may owe the TTC one more chance to get it right, but they may not get it. What has always astounded me is that people within the TTC just don’t get it that St. Clair is the single project, both in its design and construction, and later in its operation, that proves how incompetent they are in the general view. An organization that so profoundly does not understand how poorly it serves the public is in deep trouble. The many smaller problems of keeping info accurate, cleaning the stations and trains, running reliable service, flow from the same premise that they are already perfect.

    This is not to say TTC staff as an entire body is incompetent, but there are enough self-satisfied people in a whole range of positions that they can gum up the works and make everyone else look bad. The Miller-era Commission spent too much time, publicly anyhow, cheerleading rather than kicking ass, and justly wound up with a reputation of supporting poor performance by public servants.

    Advocate for LRT in the future? I have lived through a cycle where subway plans have been stillborn for lack of funding and political support at least twice (I remember a former TTC CGM saying they would never build another subway), and there’s no reason to believe this cycle won’t repeat. The real question this time around is how long the Ford era lasts. The level of discussion about LRT vs subway is much more informed these days, and if we don’t all die of old age before the worm turns for Mayor Ford, that base of knowledge will be there as a foundation. We will be starting in a better position. Whether financially we will be able to spend any money on transit, never mind the technology, is quite another matter. We missed the chance to build when times were good, and now we must make do with much less. Not exactly prime time for big subway projects.


  19. I think the best case scenario here really is to build the Eglinton Crosstown line as an entirely grade separated (underground/elevated) line from Jane to Kennedy Station. Build it with 3-car platforms and that’s it.

    I was always a big proponent of gigantic platform sizes and thinking 50 years ahead but my recent trip to Vancouver has shown me…if the brand new Canada Line, which has a far greater potential for ridership than any of these lines today, has small platforms with no area for expansion, then I think we in Toronto should just accept a 3-LRT platform or a 4-car subway platform. The expo/millennium lines likewise, also have platforms smaller than ours in Toronto.

    Steve: I have to jump in here and note that Vancouver’s planners are already concerned that the Canada line was undersized. This happened because the PPP that built it skimped on facilities to keep costs down.

    Elevated lines are really ugly in urban settings but once you put them in suburban areas, they are quite alright and do not pose a major blight on the area. See Vancouver for countless examples…light rail…single column…very aesthetically pleasing.

    Steve: That depends on whether they run cross-country along old rail corridors for example, or down the middle of a street. Elevated stations don’t look bad when they cross a street (see examples on the SRT), or if they are integrated in development (again see SRT), but not if they black out an intersection.

    Other than the future downtown relief line, i don’t think we will ever reach the point of justifying 6-car platforms on any of these future subway lines. Even the current Spadina subway, which i currently ride every single day, does not justify a 6-car platform but since it is a line with a direct destination downtown, it has potential…

    3-car platform Eglinton light rail grade separated from Jane to Kennedy. Best compromise for all sides in this debate. Best growth potential corridor. Greatest benefit for the entire city! Win-Win


  20. St. Clair isn’t the reason Ford is cancelling Transit City. It’s not the reason that people are against streetcars. It’s just a convenient excuse. Even if St. Clair were executed perfectly in every way, the fact remains, it takes away road capacity from cars, and that is the big no-no. The fact that ridership on St. Clair is growing, that ridership on Spadina is well beyond what the previous bus route ever carried is irrelevant. And, oh my, St. Clair is an absolute ghost town, as is Spadina, as will be Roncesvalles, and it’s all because of the incompetent TTC and those ‘elite socialist’ streetcars taking road space away from hard-working families just trying to make ends meet in their $70,000 Lexus SUV’s. Even when the doomsayers of Spadina and St. Clair are ultimately proven wrong, the critics of Transit City nevertheless claim credibility in their dire predictions of the impending death of those corridors if the LRT’s aren’t stopped.

    If the TTC were so successful in making everyone hate transit, why is ridership hitting historic record levels every year? Of course, the TTC has to get better and solve its many problems (proper, predictable funding would go a long way to help with that), and of course, it’s never going to be able to please everyone. But Ford and his cohorts have never used transit, never will, and don’t care about it. Their ideology against publicly-funded mass transit or any other government service for that matter, is what is driving them, and no rational talk about moving people not cars, sustainability, economics, ridership demand, service delivery, equality, social justice, the environment or other “communist” concepts will sway them. They are simply not interested. They will just make up whatever they need to move ahead with their agenda (e.g. We should build indoor subways because it gets cold in Toronto — reason enough to spend multi-billions it seems!). It’s convenient and very tempting to blame everything on the TTC, or on Miller, or on the last Council, or on McGuinty, or on Metrolinx, or on…I don’t know…Homer Simpson, but none of it matters. We are back in the era of the 1960’s where the car is king and everything else should just get out of the way. Roads are for cars and trucks. Taxis are ok because they are private and rich people use them. Buses for the poor people can use the roads too, but only as long as they pull out of the way when cars have to pass.

    Whether you agree with the decisions that were made or not, there are indeed, many staff within the TTC who are truly passionate about and believe in Transit City, but it’s immaterial. The new Commission is loaded with Councillors who know nothing of transit and have shown that they could care less about it. Presenting them or the Mayor with facts presupposes that the audience is rational and open-minded — a huge leap. It’s going to be a long four years.


  21. Steve: “First off, I think that there are enough members of Council whose wards are affected by Eglinton that reports of its demise are premature. What technology we will get remains to be seen. The problem will be if it is full high platform subway, there will never be the option of extending it as a surface line (with a better design than the one in TC) once the political winds change again.”

    If the Eglinton subway tunnel were to be extended out from Keele to Scarlett Road in the west end and from Brentcliffe the line emerges along an elevated guideway to Wynford Heights in the east end, the possibility to utilize a trench through the Richview Expressway corridor and to continue an elevated guideway through Scarborough in the future are both highly likely. These alignment options will prove cheaper in the long run and thus more likely to come to pass. I’m roughly assuming here that this 14-km initial subway proposal is cost neutral to the 20-km long ECLRT from Jane to Kennedy Stn. High-floor subway stations built to eventually accomodate 6-car trainsets on a fully grade-separated ROW take into account that population growth, density and commuter travel patterns within a line’s catchment are not always fixed, predictable variables.

    5,400 passpengers per hour per peak direction by 2031 for a corridor that connects so many important nodes, densely populated neighbourhoods and routes together seems deceptively low. According to the Eglinton Avenue and Queen Street Transportation Corridors: Concept, Costs, and Benefits Report , 110,000 people daily already use TTC bus routes to get across the Eglinton corridor today. Almost half a million people per day travel on buses that cross Eglinton Avenue, most of whom are probably going to or from the Bloor-Danforth line. If 20% transfer to the Eglinton line, another 100,000 passengers per day are added. First-time transit users plus new residents (from the redevelopment of Richview and the Golden Mile) could add another 175,000 according to the report. Finally, given the proximity of Eglinton Avenue to Square One and Mississauga City Centre, the number of passengers supplied daily by Mississauga transit or by GO trains, or going to or from the airport/Malton area would add another 35,000 daily.

    Thus 300,000 daily is the bare minimum that an Eglinton subway from Martin Grove to Kennedy would theoretically net. Even the RTES study conducted by the TTC in 2002 states a peak hourly high of 4,100 pphpd for just the 4-stop, 4-kilometre stubway alone from Allen/Eglinton West to Black Creek. So how are the Transit City figures to be believed when the LRT line would’ve reached a larger target audience; and ridership levels have actually increased since those 2 findings were published? I think the discrepancy stems from the technology choice and customer’s unwillingness to transfer onto a surface light rail vehicle same as they would a subway train or even ICTS in a segregated ROW.

    Steve: I may sound like I’m raining on your parade, but there are two important points here. First, total ridership in a corridor is not the same as peak point demand. If the nature of the riding flow through the network is that Eglinton brings people to various intersecting north-south routes, or to nodes along the way, this is not going to produce the same peak accumulation as a line where everyone wants to go to Yonge Street to transfer to the subway.

    Second, if we look at another corridor, Queen/King, over 100k used the routes on those streets according to the info in the 2008 Service Plan, and many of those counts are (a) badly out of date and (b) do not reflect the demand that the TTC cannot handle because it does not have enough cars on the line. This is a corridor where there is a growing demand from residential construction that, if anything, will be much more dense that what we will see on Eglinton. I’m not holding my breath for the Ford camp to build a Queen Street subway, and they are more likely to downgrade the service by replacing the streetcars with buses.


  22. The argument for Eglinton as LRT was that it could split into different routes outside of the tunnel area and that the carhouse would also serve Jane. If the line is now to be fully grade separated, mostly tunnelled and likely a single routing (not to mention rails along Jane likely to happen in about 25+ years) one starts to wonder if it’s worth using LRV trains and instead use short T1 sets (2 or 4 car length, stations 4 car length). The Eglinton car order would then become TRs for the BD line which will have had cars removed for said service. If the line was ATO signalled that would be an issue of course given T1s lack of support for this at present.

    As for an extended Sheppard subway, it would surely require another carhouse irrespective of the decision to join Bloor-Danforth. Depending on where it was located this might facilitate some Yonge line storage but given that it wouldn’t be a popular addition to many neighbourhoods the Mayor should be honest about which neighbourhood would have to accept it. I don’t believe any extension proposal comes far enough east for the LRV Carhouse site?

    Steve: Yes, you are correct. The carhouse site is out at the east end of the LRT line past Morningside.


  23. I heard that last year Metrolinx wanted the Eglinton route to be totally grade separated, underground or in a trench. What would the trench portion have been like? And wouldn’t a trench still take space away from cars, and with the added effect of severing the neighbourhood?

    Steve: The trench would be something like the Yonge line from Rosedale north, and would occupy land on the north side of Eglinton west from Jane that was originally reserved for an expressway.


  24. Stephen Cheung wrote: “As for Ford’s personality, I may not have met him myself, but his supporters with whom I am acquainted with say that he is a very personable type of guy who goes the extra mile to get things done right. This is not a fantasy world, this is fact.”

    A point of order, here: people’s opinions are not facts, they are opinions. You may have friends who have approached Ford and found him, well, approachable. But here’s a litmus test: how likely is it that your friends disagree with Rob Ford on just about anything major? Do any of your friends support streetcars or the Transit City LRT lines? In short, are any of your friends likely to take on Rob Ford and criticize his policies, constructively or otherwise?

    Because until you can say that, you have very little evidence to counteract the guy’s pretty significant ideological and borderline dictatorial approach to government here. People here have already bashed over his decision to act unilaterally against Transit City, without consultation with council or the province — a policy that you yourself disagree with. Very few people have noted how Ford has essentially reduced his choice for TTC chair, Karen Stintz, to complete irrelevance.

    Compare how Miller and Giambrone teamed up on the transit file, where Giambrone was given a fair amount of leeway to speak on transit issues. Compare the somewhat more confrontational approach between Mel Lastman and Brian Ashton, where Ashton was still given a fair amount of time to act as his own man before disagreements grew to such an extent that Lastman had to increase the size of the TTC commission to oust Ashton as chair.

    Ford named Stintz as his choice for TTC chair. Then on his first day on the job — in his first meeting on the job — he calls in TTC CGM Webster for a meeting. Was Stintz invited to this meeting? No. Was Stintz even informed that this meeting was taking place? Well, that remains to be seen, but she has admitted that she was never consulted for it.

    The Mayor’s own choice for TTC Chair shut out of a meeting between the Mayor and the chief general manager of the TTC? How much relevance does that leave Ms. Stintz in her position? How can she say that she is anything more than just a Ford puppet? Ford’s actions basically humiliated her. How would you feel if your boss gave you a file, and then went over your head to address a supplier directly, undercutting any sort of authority you have to execute that file? Would this be a boss that you’d want to work for? Were I in Stintz’s position, I’d resign.

    This says much about Ford’s approach to government, and it runs pretty much counter to your vague recollections of some of your friends’ dealings with the man. Sure, he might be pleasant to talk to. But in terms of being a politician to work with, the parallels between him and Ottawa’s bombastic one-termer, Larry O’Brien, are becoming clearer day after day.


  25. I heard an interesting clip this morning on Metro Morning (ironically as I was on the GO train rolling in to Union station) with interviews of a couple of individuals out at McCowan and Sheppard: (further irony – I decided on the more expensive GO over TTC because I heard of deleys on the BD line).

    What was interesting was the interviewer’s confession that she found it hard to explain Transit City while it as opposed to subways. Perhaps that is the real rub – most GTA residents have no idea what LRTs are, thus it’s easy for opponents to state they are nothing more than streetcars. It matters little that an extended Sheppard subway and BD line to STC would do little if any to improve the transit options for those in that area of Scarborough.

    Steve: This afternoon, I recorded a reply to that piece and it will air at roughly the same time Tuesday morning.


  26. Steve: That depends on whether they run cross-country along old rail corridors for example, or down the middle of a street. Elevated stations don’t look bad when they cross a street (see examples on the SRT), or if they are integrated in development (again see SRT), but not if they black out an intersection.

    While i agree with the fact that private ROW works best, there are many examples in Vancouver where it is adjacent to a street or in the median and yet looks alright. Millennium Line to Lougheed Town Centre is one example. It travels in the centre then switches to the side to serve the mall. Using that exact same idea, it would be nice for the Eglinton LRT to travel on the south side of the street and have an elevated station over don mills. since it is off to one side of the street rather than the middle, it will have the same look as the Keele or Victoria Park elevated station on the Bloor-Danforth line.

    The only portion of Eglinton where the line should return to Underground would be the area east of Birchmount where it becomes mostly residential again. From Don Mills till Birchmount, its mostly commercial and the traffic in these areas are unbearable…so no surface running LRT is going to work well in this stetch.

    Elevated doesn’t have to look like New York or Chicago’s old steel girder shadows over streets…it can be single column concrete white “Vancouver style” running adjacent to a 6 lane suburban arterial. (Again…look at Lougheed Highway in Vancouver)

    Steve: I am looking at the Lougheed Highway, and what I see is a street that is treed on both sides or with large parking areas. This is very different from Eglinton Avenue East, especially as the City’s Official Plan hoped for it to evolve into a street lined with mid-rise buildings, shops and pedestrian activities. This kind of structure could work on the west end of the line, but I’m not sure it would be a compliment (or complement) to what Scarborough could become.

    Toronto needs to think outside the box more!


  27. I appreciate the video comments but still wondering about my suggestion — does no one think that, if Ford wants to build subways come hell or high water, at least Sheppard should be built to the west AS A SPUR rather than to the east?


    If you just built that fairly small section of tunnel from Yonge to the Allen, and made it a spur, you would overnight:

    1) Turn the stubway into a useful downtown route. What happens when you do get to Scarborough Town Center with a Sheppard train? Now people take Sheppard instead of SRT/Bloor and even more people jam the platform at the terrible Yonge/Sheppard transfer. Making the Sheppard stubway a one-seat ride to the west side of midtown and downtown will pay wide-reaching dividends. Sure, most people are likely still headed for Yonge line destinations but there will be plenty who remain on board to get to U of T or the expanding downtown western office district, etc. This will be a huge change from telling everyone to get off at Yonge, saving that line from overload.

    2) Provide a crosstown link that besides being useful in its own right makes service disruptions on Yonge more survivable. It finally closes the loop on Y-U-S.

    3) Save capacity for Toronto residents. Let’s assume every other train on Spadina alternates between Vaughan and Don Mills. Long term, the trains coming in from Don Mills will be less crowded than Vaughan, which means every other train at, say, Spadina Station will have a lot more capacity remaining on it for transfers and other boarders. It works this way in Manhattan with the 2/3 subway — look at a map and you’ll see. The number 3 acts as a relief valve for crowds that can’t get on the 2 because it is full with Bronx riders by the time it enters Manhattan. Vaughan will pack the trains – just watch. It is a stupid, stupid extension because traffic that should have been on an electric GO train will end up on subway, reducing capacity farther down the line and further distorting the role of subways in Toronto as long distance commuter vehicles rather than hop-on, hop-off urban rapid transit. Tying in the undercapacity stubway will now become an asset rather than liability.

    4) Save Sheppard East LRT for now or the future. If it is not canceled, build it. If Ford cancels it, then wait until the city elects a non-idiot as mayor. There is nothing wrong with LRT in this application — look at a map of the EIGHT Paris tramways that feed into the fringe metro stations (four lines exist, four are planned – Run the stubway west, where it can do the most good, and leave the eastern direction for ever-expandable LRT that can one day hit Whitby for all I care.

    5) Be affordable. Well, no subway is affordable relative to LRT but surely building across Sheppard to Downsview is more affordable than going east? You have little existing density, the Don Valley crossing has few buildings, there is wide open space to make the junction south of Downsview… surely this costs less than trying to reach STC?

    If Ford cannot be stopped, then let’s push for a subway extension that is cheap enough to actually happen, does not conflict with future TC, and actually provides leverages some additional functionality out of the existing subway lines.

    Steve: Through routing trains onto the Spadina line requires that the Sheppard headway is forever a multiple of the YUS headway. That ratio may not work out too well. It also requires the expansion to six-car trains on Sheppard, and placing into service a subway that will have very low demand. All this to preserve future Transit City options? I am not that desperate. If we are going to spend money somewhere, at least let it be on something useful like the DRL, something nobody is talking about even though it is a critical component of a future network.


  28. @James Bow … I don’t think Karen Stintz would appreciate your comment that she is nothing more than a puppet, and that she should resign. You’re saying Ford humiliated her, but aren’t you doing the same thing?

    @Mud Puppy … one of Ford’s arguments for cancelling TC is the surface disruption during construction that does not occur with subway tunnelling. Building a light-rail line in the middle of a street is just as disruptive as the cut-and-cover construction of the original Yonge subway. This is why hundreds of homes were expropriated for Bloor-Danforth.

    Steve: That is quite a misrepresentation. Building a line down the middle of the street does not require complete street excavation. Moreover, a big effect of underground construction, no matter what runs in the tunnel, is the station construction. You want disruption? St. Clair would be a picnic by comparison. You are comparing cut-and-cover BD construction with surface LRT, and that’s simply not a valid comparison. I will not speculate on your motives.


  29. Steve: I am looking at the Lougheed Highway, and what I see is a street that is treed on both sides or with large parking areas. This is very different from Eglinton Avenue East, especially as the City’s Official Plan hoped for it to evolve into a street lined with mid-rise buildings, shops and pedestrian activities. This kind of structure could work on the west end of the line, but I’m not sure it would be a compliment (or complement) to what Scarborough could become.

    Sorry to keep bringing up the Vancouver example but If you look at the Lougheed Highway from Gilmore Ave to Lougheed Town Centre, you will notice that the line has a similar trend for the entire distance. It runs in the centre between stations and then veers to the side when there is a station. What this does is allow development on both sides of the street to flourish (as a quick look on Google Streetview shows…theres new condos and office buildings rising). Then when the stations veer to a side, it can be developed upon in the future as justified. Sorry for using Detroit as an example, but i believe their elevated rail has a station inside a building. This kind of building can slowly occur as demand builds.

    The western end of eglinton is entirely low-rise residential and we are blessed with a large swath of land to use. Build a trench and make it like the Yonge subway from Bloor to Eglinton. As you can see, demand eventually closed up large portions of it for other uses. In the same principal, Let the TTC build a cheap trench along the lands then sell the air rights to condo developers along the entire corridor and have the private sector foot the bill of covering the line.

    The character of the Lougheed Highway and Eglinton are almost identical. Both have large big-box shopping malls and plaza’s along the route and are entirely suburban in nature. One just has a bit more tree cover (but thats just natural in British Columbia)


  30. “You are comparing cut-and-cover BD construction with surface LRT, and that’s simply not a valid comparison.”

    It isn’t? How long was St. Clair in shambles? … years. Cut-and-cover is actually disruptive for a shorter period of time because temporary decking is quickly put in place while work continues underneath.

    Go drive along Finch and tell me that LRT construction there won’t bring years of chaos. They have to dig up the road and widen it at the same time, chop down trees that are in the way, move sidewalks, redo the bridge over the Humber at Islington … so, are you kidding me? Come on Steve, I give you more credit than that. Even if the plan goes through, there will be a massive backlash, just because of the construction itself.

    Steve: St. Clair was a shambles because many other unrelated city projects were attempted at the same time, and were poorly co-ordinated at that. No excavation on the scale of cut-and-cover construction was required to build the streetcar right-of-way.


  31. [This may be more at home in “Rethinking Transit City”, but this thread seems to be getting all the discussion.]

    I don’t know if anyone caught Richard Gilbert this morning on Metro Morning. Even pre-6AM his claims that a full subway along Eglinton would be cheaper than a tunneled LRT made me roll my eyes. (His website has a spreadsheet that claims to show that the Eglinton LRT will be vastly more expensive per km than the Spadina subway extension. I can’t be bothered to figure out what the hell he’s claiming; someone with more time and patience than me can look into them.)

    Steve: I have looked at Gilbert’s spreadsheet, and here are a few observations:

    He splits out the cost of the “underground” and “surface” parts of the Eglinton line, and calculates a per/km value for each. Also, he restates these values in 2010 dollars to allow comparison with the Spadina subway and Sheppard LRT projects. He shows the total dollar value for surface portions, but neglects to convert this to a per/km value as this is not part of his thesis.

    The values he obtains are:

    Underground Eglinton: $376.4m/km
    Surface Eglinton: $81.1m/km
    Sheppard LRT: $81.1m/km
    Spadina Extension: $279.2m/km

    It’s intriguing that the two “surface” values come out the same (these are Gilbert’s figures, not mine) considering that both of these contain some underground construction, notably at Don Mills on both lines.

    An important difference between the Eglinton and Spadina tunnels is that there are far more stations/km on Eglinton than on Spadina.

    Eglinton: Keele, Caledonia, Dufferin, Oakwood, Eglinton West, Bathurst, Chaplin, Avenue Road, Yonge, Mt. Pleasant, Bayview, Laird (12 in 10km), or 1.2/km
    Spadina: Sheppard West (Downsview Park), Finch West, York University, Steeles, Highway 7, Vaughan (6 in 8.6km), or 0.7/km.

    When you are building 70% more stations/km it tends to drive the price up. One big issue you allude to in your own comments is that there is a very large amount of utility work to be dealt with on Eglinton at the station sites. The tunnel is quite deep to stay under all of that stuff, but it cannot be avoided at stations. Much of this info is in the detailed part of the Environmental Assessment.

    There is also the small matter of Black Creek Yard which has no equivalent on the Spadina Line. I’m not sure which half of the line Gilbert includes it in.

    Of course, the real advantage of LRT is that the western extension to the airport would be built at surface costs.

    Here’s what I sent to Metro Morning just now:

    I am disappointed with the lack of probing you did to the Richard Gilbert’s claims.

    His biggest claim was that a full subway would cost less than a tunneled LRT. He didn’t prove this, nor did he explain how this is possible. Vaguely referring to the cost of the Spadina subway extension left me wondering about things like:

    1) Is he comparing the 2007 cost of the Spadina extension with the future (2015?) cost of the Eglinton line?

    2) Does his cost for the Spadina extension include the cost for extra subway car sets and maintenance facilities (Wilson Complex is currently being upgraded and trains are on order)?

    3) The Spadina extension has only five stations. The Eglinton line needs many more than five. Stations are expensive.

    4) The Spadina extension is being built in low-density and greenfield areas. The Eglinton line is being put through a densely built-up area. Tunneling in a densely built-up area is going to cost a lot more money than tunneling in a cornfield.

    I think his “financial comparison” was like the one that the car salesman does when you go in to buy a nice used Corolla that fits your budget; the salesman shows you some figures that “prove” that leasing that nice new Lexus is actually more financially sensible.

    In short, how can a full subway line, with bigger vehicles and bigger staffed stations be cheaper than a tunneled LRT? Where exactly do the savings come from? How can leasing that Lexus be “cheaper” than paying cash for the 2007 Corolla? It’s clear that there’s an apples-and-oranges shell game going on. I think that the job of the interviewer is to get to the bottom of that, not let the claim stand.

    (Even if the Spadina line is cheaper than the Eglinton LRT per-km, does not mean that putting a subway along Eglinton will be as inexpensive as putting a subway up through the fields of Downsview and Vaughan!)

    Gilbert made another couple of claims which, even at 5:50, left me wondering.

    1) That Transit City was not “electrical enough”. Well, LRTs are entirely electrical. Electrifying the TTC’s entire operations is not its main goal. This point was not only misleading, it was dumb.

    2) Trolley buses could substitute for LRTs. Ignoring the fact that LRTs are just as electrical as trolley buses, Gilbert should explain how trolley buses in traffic will be any faster than hybrid or diesel buses stuck in traffic as today. LRT will have a right-of-way. Of course, under the Ford regime, transit right of ways are verboten it seems.

    Really, I wonder at Richard Gilbert’s moniker of “Consultant on Urban Issues” as his website claims. Seems more of a gadfly to me.

    Steve: Although I have known Richard Gilbert for a very long time, we disagree on many issues and this is a classic example. I do not agree with his analysis or methodology.


  32. The Mayor has declared: “we never had a council vote to implement Transit City.” Is this accurate? How are these decisions typically made?

    Steve: That is technically correct. Council never voted on implementation, but did vote unanimously on spending money on preliminary studies. Ford and his friends all are on record as voting for this. See the separate post on this issue.

    By the time it came to implementation, Metrolinx had taken over the projects and ran with them itself. Council didn’t jump up and down and say “stop” yet, and they need to be given that option on a well-informed basis.


  33. @iSkyscraper … I would build it as an omni-directional junction, just like the wye downtown, but don’t hold your breath that Sheppard will even get built, with, or without an interchange. It looks like Ford just got shot down by McGunity.

    Steve: Also, I believe that the structural provision at Downsview is set up only for the south-east quadrant (curves west-to-south and east-to-north). It’s likely that these are not grade separated as they were intended only for carhouse moves.


  34. Mud Puppy: “St. Clair isn’t the reason Ford is cancelling Transit City. It’s not the reason that people are against streetcars. It’s just a convenient excuse. Even if St. Clair were executed perfectly in every way, the fact remains, it takes away road capacity from cars, and that is the big no-no. The fact that ridership on St. Clair is growing, that ridership on Spadina is well beyond what the previous bus route ever carried is irrelevant. And, oh my, St. Clair is an absolute ghost town, as is Spadina, as will be Roncesvalles, and it’s all because of the incompetent TTC and those ‘elite socialist’ streetcars taking road space away from hard-working families just trying to make ends meet in their $70,000 Lexus SUV’s. Even when the doomsayers of Spadina and St. Clair are ultimately proven wrong, the critics of Transit City nevertheless claim credibility in their dire predictions of the impending death of those corridors if the LRT’s aren’t stopped.”

    Keep in mind that out in the ‘burbs, which were built around the car, driving is often really the only practical way to get around. Thus for those that have a car they tend to use it for all or most of their trips. They rarely if ever use transit – what is there is generally inconvenient and lacking the conforts of a private auto. If the use transit, it’s either the subway or GO to downtown. And given the increased car use and traffic congestion, anything that even remotely appears to reduce road capacity is seen as only adding to the problem, not solving it, thus the preference for subways or nothing. And yes, merchants more often than not think most of their customers arrive by car, thus anything that might deter them is seen as bad. This is very much the sentiment express by “Save Our Sheppard”. I wonder if any of these merchants consider how many of their customers arrive by transit or how many might have noticed their shop from the window of a passing bus?

    It’s interest that the same sentiment was express roughly 20 years ago when a bike lane was installed along College – a local restaurent complained they and other merchants where losing business because customer could no longer park along the street, and the City eventually rerouted the section east of Unversity Ave down Elizabeth and along Gerrard E. Several months later I read an article (in the Globe, I think) stating Business thoughout Ontario had declined (roughly the percent the restaurant report), thus confirming in my mind the bike lane had little to do with the decline, but it was a visible convenient excuse. As always it seems perception is reality.



  35. I just read an article on the Globe & Mail’s website. It didn’t have any direct statement from Dalton McGuinty and quotes Rob Ford repeating the same stuff he’s been saying about how he doesn’t believe he needs council to vote on killing Transit City, but the article does seem to indicate that Dalton McGuinty was ok with walking away from Transit City and start all over again with Rob Ford’s subway plan. I hope the impression I got from that article is wrong but the way the Transit City issue’s been going, that’s a very faint hope at this point.

    I’ve slowly been preparing to buy a house and obviously one of the factors I was evaluating locations with was proximity to public transportation, in particular the Transit City lines; I was willing to move to a location near one of the funded Transit City lines (Sheppard, Eglinton, maybe Finch West) that was funded and work was progressing on and accept putting up with a crappy bus for several years knowing that it would be temporary until the light rail opens. Luckily, my home buying plans were delayed but I’m sure there are other people who chose locations to buy homes in part based on the Transit City lines that were in progress being completed in the next few years that are now stuck owning the largest investment most people will ever make, where they’re going to have to put up with crappy bus service indefinitely. In some ways, I’m glad my home buying plans got delayed since it’ll let me factor in no Transit City when I evaluate locations. I’m considering locations outside of Toronto now since I don’t really want to live in a city where public transportation either stands no real chance of improving over the foreseeable future or taxes and fees are likely to go through the roof to fund a money pit of poorly thought out subway construction.

    What really concerns me though is that so many people bought into the grossly oversimplified “stop the gravy train” election campaign, apparently without being able to tell the difference between what’s genuinely a waste of money and what’s a wise investment. If Torontonians can’t tell the two apart or are unwilling to spend money to make wise investments in the city, the city’s future’s going to be pretty bleak. I’ll paraphrase the Buick commercial – Toronto’s the new class of third class.


  36. I say by all means, put TC on the back burner – for now.

    I just don’t see the point in building any substantial infrastructure designed to collect more passenger volume destined for the Y-U-S subway south of Bloor. As it stands, we have subway extending out in 4 main directions (Yonge, Spadina/Allen, Bloor, and Danforth) collecting passengers for a line that provides 2 over-crowded paths South.

    Great, let’s build subways. But let’s build them where the passenger volumes warrant them, and where they fit into a long-term solution to our transit needs. Sheppard in isolation does not, and extended will not generate enough passenger volume to warrant a subway. Sheppard without Y-U-S is pointless. Y-U-S has enough passengers without Sheppard feeding it to already be a capacity bottleneck. Extending to the West might help in the current Y-U-S, but once the extension to Vaughn is opened, and the York region traffic is re-balanced a bit, the line will likely be similarly packed on both sides. Extending Sheppard and BD both to the East will not somehow make STC be ‘on the way’ from Fairview to Eaton Center.

    If we built a DRL, we could double the downtown capacity to match the capacity out to the ends of the line. Depending on alignment, up to 30% of the new capacity could be soaked up by existing King and Queen streetcar passengers. With the streetcar routes severed, the TTC would have more of an opportunity to manage the streetcar headways. Also, depending on alignment, it may actually be practical to remove portions of the 501, 504, or both. BD is already close to 80% full when it reaches Pape, if close 50% of those people are going South, perhaps 75% of them would be interested in a DRL. That’s another 30% potential ridership, again depending on alignment. That’s up to 60% full just for re-routing existing loads and being part of the network. It’s also going to attract some walk-in passengers with new condo development in progress, and condo development it would attract. That would put it 70-80% full and easily economic before any extensions, and would free up Y-U-S and road space for latent transportation demand as well as for other projects like TC that could be used to funnel more passengers onto the subway system.

    This would save on (or at least defer) expensive upgrades that yield modest capacity improvements, like retrofitting all the TRs with 7th cars, upgrading B-Y platforms for a second time, or doing an upgrade at St. George.

    Finally, this is purely speculation on my part, but I feel that subways have a catchment area of about 2 km on either side when they’re fed by buses. Further than that, and the busses tend to empty out as would-be passengers find another way. Meaning, if we built a new subway 4km away from an old subway, we probably wouldn’t draw many passengers off the old subway, most of the passengers would be net-new, so long as the new subway ended somewhere useful that could accept the passengers. What would happen is that our busses would be more consistently loaded along their routes. Extending that thought, if we extended the DRL north-east and north-west, cutting across the existing bus routes, we could catch a lot of potential riders who currently drive by providing a fast and direct route into the core. The North-West option looks especially fortunate given that there are existing roads Dundas, Weston, Albion as one potential diagonal alignment.

    As long as we have a subway bottleneck, I would look for ways to route around the bottleneck with additional subway lines. As long as we have sufficient subway capacity, and long travel times, I would want LRTs to feed the subway. If we have LRT capacity bottlenecks, I would look to new LRTs to share the load, or ways to more efficiently peel the load off, and route that load more directly.

    I ride the TTC to get to work on weekdays at rush hour, and I drive most other times because I don’t voluntarily wait for the headways when I could easily drive. As a transit user, there isn’t enough capacity, or enough fault tolerance.

    As a driver, I’m tired of every issue becoming another burden on drivers. Building construction is allowed to take over lanes on downtown arterials Richmond and Adelaide. Neighbourhood through streets are collecting speed humps and 30km/h speed limits, and still they’re faster than the arterials which allow street parking, and have buses. Reduced arterial speed limits are justified on the basis of jay-walkers, and partially based on the premise that drivers will speed by 20-30 over. With speed enforcement being what it is now, we’re lucky to go more than 10 over. Enough is enough, not one more thing encroaching on the bit of mobility I have left!

    As a middle class transit user and driver, I’m in awe of the systems in other parts of the world. I wish we could have a transit system targeted at the middle class, and would gladly pay $5 a ride for a transit system that gets me to work faster than I can drive. In places where it works, so many people take transit that traffic isn’t even all that bad. But I’m still going to take my car to the grocery store.


  37. I just have one thing to mention: if everyone here is so concerned about the future of public transit, then why did Ford get 47% of the vote? Surely, the 47% of the people out there aren’t idiots. And there is the voter turnout and that a large portion of these people did not vote at all. Surely, this 70% of people who didn’t vote for anyone but Ford are not idiots, are they?

    There is a reason why Ford won, and it is not based on ignorance or indifference.

    Steve: Those people voted based on two messages: “Stop the gravy train” and “Respect for taxpayer dollars”. That was the big message, not the future of transit, a policy that was released in the middle of the night via a poor YouTube video. No politician, when elected, can claim that voters actually supported every line of his platform. Indeed, many politicians regard platforms as general indications, not cast-in-stone edicts. The big point, though, is that the message that was hammered in through meeting after meeting, interview after interview, had nothing to do with transit.

    By the way, voter turnout was a bit over 53% in this election. You say that 70% of people did not vote, but the correct number is 47%. This election had a higher turnout than usual. Please don’t suggest to me that the absence of a 100% vote constitutes an endorsement. Indifference or laziness maybe, but support? No.

    I will turn to the question of the Mayor’s inauguration and what that says about Ford’s real view of the city in another post. People certainly did not vote for a Mayor who openly allows over half of the electorate, the ones who didn’t support for him, to be insulted from the floor of Council Chamber.

    “Scum” is one of the more tasteful words that comes to mind.


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