Rob Ford’s Designs on Metrolinx (Update 2)

Updated 9:45am: Environmentalists scoffed at plans to convert rail corridors to roadways.  “Electrification of GO was our big chance to show the world just how green a transit system could be”, said Jamie Kirkpatrick of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.  Trains would not just run with clean electricity from overhead wires, they could be covered with solar panels to provide supplementary power, and wind turbines could be mounted on every car.

“We always suspected Metrolinx didn’t believe in electrification, and Queen’s Park’s quick embrace of Ford’s scheme shows we were right”, said Kirkpatrick.

Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne refused comment on rumours that a new “Ministry of Highways” would be unveiled in the coming provincial election campaign.

Updated 9:00am: Sources inside the Harper Campaign leaked word that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, eager to show Federal support for Mayor Ford, will ditch their hopes for GO rail service to Peterborough.  In its place will be the “Shining Waters Expressway” linking directly into Toronto’s highway system in the Don Valley.  The Harper Government, if re-elected, will support the project through PPP Canada.

Mayor Ford welcomed the early endorsement of his rail corridor plan saying that with the private sector involved, the taxpayers of Ontario and Canada will benefit from his own innovative financing for the Sheppard subway.

Original post from 8:00 am:

As illustrated on our banner, the Ford clan has secret plans for conversion of the commuter rail network to a new highway scheme.

After banishing LRT from city streets, Mayor Ford continues the hunt for public spaces that are wasted on transit.  Ford argues that the rail lines are empty most of the time, and they’re a vital resource in re-establishing the balance between transit and cars.

Premier McGuinty was not available for comment, but sources tell us that he’s open to any reasonable suggestion from his friend at City Hall.  The Air Rail Link may be the first candidate for this scheme, although community opposition may demand that the line be reserved for hybrid cars.

More info as this story develops.

(Thanks to Len Dieter and Mike Sullivan for catching a test run of Ford’s proposal.)

30 thoughts on “Rob Ford’s Designs on Metrolinx (Update 2)

  1. I realize this is satire but please guys, don’t give Ford any ideas. He might think this is a great plan and actually want to push for it. LOL!


  2. This is disgusting. Rob Ford is out of control. While he is correct the rail lines are empty most of the time, they would be better used as Swan Boat corridors then highways.


  3. I like this idea. The railbeds can be encased in concrete, so cars, and trains can share the ROW. Go Rob, Go!


  4. Look, I like transit, I use it everyday, twice a day most days in fact, but I also use my car a lot too so I would think that I’m a middle of the road (pardon the pun) kind of guy. What Ford is suggesting is just plain looney.

    First off, for all the complaints people have about trains, they actually move more people/per hour than a freeway. Talk about being efficient with your greenspace.

    Second, Metrolinx, which covers off GO transit is a regional body coordinating regional transit. Sorry that his Worship has to come to the realization that his control ends at City of Toronto boundaries (which, does not include Pearson International Airport in Peel Region). His Worship has two options a) lobby the Province to ammend the City of Toronto Act and expand Toronto’s boundaries to include all of South Central Ontario; or b) play nice with your colleague municipalities and your Provincial overlords and work with the existing infrastructure.

    Third, does his Worship actually know how a rail system works? You know why if you look at a rail line there might not be a train whizzing by at that exact second? Because 10km down or up from where you happen to be standing there is a train hurtling towards you at say 80km/h. How much time and space you think you need to stop say a 22,000 kg to 113,000 kg locomotive (that isn’t counting the boxcars or passenger cars that one engine is pushing or pulling). How many switches, side rails and marshalling yards do you think you need to manage one of North America’s most strategic transportation hubs?

    Rail lines are empty most of the time – please! Hey, the sky is clear most of the time so I guess we aren’t using enough aircraft.


  5. Who’s doing the EA, and when will it be ready?

    Also, to Jonathan, I have raise the probable pollution problem with the use of Swan Boats.

    Sorry to have to point out real-world exigencies that will have to be addressed before these plans can move forward.


  6. I still say that the corridor needs a subway. Sure the ridership isn’t there now, but I think there’s a real potential for intensification at the Concession Road 8 / Sideline 28 intersection.


  7. How about we build the Blue Mountain expressway up to Collingwood for all the skiers to use in the winter time? Oh, and in the summer, those wishing to go to Wasaga Beach could use it too. I’m sure there are some abandoned rail corridors that we could use!



  8. It may not be too late to revisit the Union Station plans and reconfigure it into a parking structure with direct ramps to/from the Gardiner and the new highways east and west. What a dream come true!


  9. Will the SRT right of way also be converted? This would help traffic flow in the area a great deal.

    Steve: This would be logical given that much of it is shared with the Stouffville GO corridor, and the elevated would make a good flyover to bypass Scarborough Town Centre.


  10. Adding solar panels to the GO train wouldn’t provide enough electricity to reliably run the lighting let alone contribute to propulsion.

    Steve: Shhh! You’re putting a whole industry of solar panel manufacturers, salesmen and installers out of work!


  11. Roy Murray says:

    “Adding solar panels to the GO train wouldn’t provide enough electricity to reliably run the lighting let alone contribute to propulsion.”

    You are neglecting the wind turbines that are also mounted on the cars. Trains traveling at 80 km/h would be creating enough wind to drive the turbines. With one on every car, they could produce enough electricity to power the train, thereby removing the need for all the overhead wires bringing in electricity from the rest of the grid.


  12. and none of you got Steve’s April Fools Jokes…bravo Steve!

    Steve: Oh, several people caught on right away. I just held onto those comments.


  13. hahahah nice one Steve. But honestly, how would you know?

    Yesterday’s announcement from Metrolinx & Ford & McGuinty, I was checking my calender to see if they were in a day early. Who knows, maybe they were?

    Sometimes I don’t know what to believe or who to believe in 🙂

    Happy April 1

    Moaz Yusuf Ahmad

    ps. you can see TRANSIT’s April 1 post as well. We do wish it was a bit more original but it worked well.


  14. Hi Steve

    I also understand that this will be the first project to use gravy as a construction material. It can be used to increase concrete strength, patch road cracks, and, as an ice melter. I have heard a rumour doing the rounds that Rob & Doug have got someone to privately rehab the “Air Farce”’s Chicken Cannon and convert it to fire streams of gravy. In that way, pinkos and cyclists can be removed safely and inhumanely. I wonder if “Now” Magazine will be available at the service centres? Thanks to Rob “Bisto” Ford, all of transit problems will be solved and there will be a use for all that gravy!


  15. I, for one, don’t find this entirely funny. I live a block and a half from the Wallace Avenue Footbridge and remember serious political musings early on about building a bus-only highway to the airport in that railway corridor. Guess I’m just too proud a member of “NIMBY Nation”, though I’d prefer to be called an F’n NIMBY – Ford Nation Not In My Backyard, and I don’t think I’ll have any difficulty convincing the right wing to call me an “F’n NIMBY”, among other things. (I reserve the t-shirt rights now, plus I’ve been told I look good in pink.)


  16. The fact that people took this seriously (and I admit I had a moment of real fear) is a sad comment on the state of transit planning in the Ford administration. We have gone through the looking glass.


  17. From what I understand Finch Ave is wide enough to support an LRT without removing a single traffic lane west of Bathurst. If this is really true feel bad for not only Finch residents, but Rob Ford as well. The Sheppard Subway extension will be the most tragic project in Toronto’s history, something that the tens of thousands of Torontonians who voted for Ford will never understand.

    Steve: At least its initial phase, the Finch line was only going to be built west from Keele (Finch West Station on the extended Spadina line), and there’s plenty of room for an LRT right-of-way on that section. The section east to Yonge is tighter east of Bathurst as you say, but that’s only a problem if we build that phase of the Finch line.


  18. What is really tragic is that Rob Ford’s statement that he’ll build a subway on Finch within 10 years wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.

    I’m used to politicians being on a different planet, but this guy seems to be in a different universe. One where the Magic Subway Fairy mysteriously sprinkles down multi-billion dollar wads of cash.


  19. You almost had me until the suggestion of putting wind turbines on the GO trains, and then I realized what date it was 😛 Good one, April Fools!


  20. @Ian Folkard: Unless you mean thick gravy, I can’t see it being used as a material for construction. I can, however, see it being used as fuel.

    Steve: There would almost certainly be a problem with emission controls to prevent a sticky, brown haze from settling over Toronto.


Comments are closed.