After the Vote: What Does the Future Hold for Council and the TTC?

This week’s historic vote to resurrect parts of the Transit City network is unprecedented in the history of the relationship between the Toronto Transit Commission and city council. Never before has a sitting TTC chair challenged and defeated a mayor on a major transit-policy issue.

Light-rail transit (LRT) supporters may have partied into the night, but the question for the days ahead is: What now?

Read the rest of this article on the Torontoist website.

Stintz Leads Call for Special Council Meeting (Update 3)

Updated February 10, 2012 at 1:00 am:

The description of the reporting mechanism and due date for Sheppard “expert panel” has been corrected to match what Council actually passed.  The information previously quoted here came from the original version of the motion.

Updated February 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm:

The minutes from the Special Meeting of Council are now available online.

Updated February 9, 2012 at noon:

On February 8, Toronto Council voted to seize control of the transit agenda from Mayor Ford and to support much of the original Transit City / Metrolinx 5-in-10 Plan that was approved in 2009.  I will publish a separate article on the debate and the motions later today.

Additional coverage is available from Torontoist, and a compendium of links to other media is available at Spacing Toronto.

The two most important motions were from TTC Chair Karen Stintz.

The first confirms Council’s support for the originally planned subway-surface alignment of the Eglinton LRT line, for the conversion of the Scarborough RT to LRT technology with an extension north to Sheppard (and eventually to Malvern), and for the Finch LRT west from Keele (the future Finch West station on the Spadina subway) to Humber College. Council also authorizes the TTC to discuss with Metrolinx the feasibility of several future projects:  a Sheppard West extension to Downsview, a Sheppard LRT to the Zoo, a Danforth subway extension to the Scarborough Town Centre, an Eglinton extension from Jane to Pearson Airport, and the Downtown Relief Line.

The second creates a special panel with broad enough representation to command political and technical respect.  This panel will advise Council on “the most effective means of delivering the greatest number of riders with the funds currently allocated for a public transportation project on Sheppard”.  The panel is to report back to a special meeting of Council no later than March 21, 2012.

Reaction from Mayor Ford and his faction was predictably hostile, but now extends to openly defying the will of Council.  Meanwhile, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli, issued a press release affirming the importance of support from “council, as a whole”.  Chiarelli has asked Metrolinx to report as quickly as possible on the effects of Council’s position.

Original post from February 6, 2012 follows the break.

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