OneCity Plan Reviewed

The OneCity plan has much to recommend it even though in the details it is far from perfect.

The funding scheme requires Queen’s Park to modify the handling of assessment value changes, and they are already cool to this scheme.  Why OneCity proponents could not simply and honestly say “we need a 1.9% tax hike every year for the next four years” (not unlike the ongoing 9% increases to pay for Toronto Water infrastructure upgrades) is baffling.  A discussion about transit is needlessly diverted into debates about arcane ways of implementing a tax increase without quite calling it what it is.

On the bright side, Toronto may leave behind the technology wars and the posturing of one neighbourhood against another to get their own projects built.  Talking about transit as a city-wide good is essential to break the logjam of decades where parochialism ruled.  Couple this with a revenue stream that could actually be depended on, and the plan has a fighting chance.  Ah, there’s the rub — actually finding funding at some level of government to pay for all of this.

Rob Ford’s subway plan depended on the supposed generosity of Metrolinx to redirect committed funding to the Ford Plan (complete with some faulty arithmetic).  Similarly, the OneCity plan depends for its first big project on money already earmarked by Metrolinx to the Scarborough RT to LRT conversion.  If this goes ahead, we would have a new subway funded roughly 80% by Queen’s Park and 20% by Toronto.  Not a bad deal, but not an arrangement we are likely to see for any other line.

On the eastern waterfront, there is already $90m on the table from Waterfront Toronto (itself funded by three levels of government), and OneCity proposes to spend another @200m or so to top up this project.  Whether all $200m would be City money, or would have to wait for other partners to buy in is unclear.

Toronto must make some hard decisions about a “Plan B” if the Ottawa refuses to play while the Tories remain in power.  Even if we saw an NDP (or an NDP/Liberal) government, I wouldn’t hold my breath for money flowing to Toronto (and other Canadian cities) overnight.  A federal presence is a long term strategy, and spending plans in Toronto must be framed with that in mind.

Sitting on our hands waiting for Premier McGuinty or would-be PM Mulcair to engineer two rainbows complete with pots of gold landing in Nathan Phillips Square would be a dead wrong strategy.  Bang the drum all we might for a “one cent solution” or a “National Transit Strategy”, Toronto needs to get on with debating our transit needs whether funding is already in place or not.  Knowing what we need and want makes for a much stronger argument to pull in funding partners.

In some cases, Toronto may be best to go it alone on some of the smaller projects, or be prepared to fund at a higher level than 1/3.  If transit is important, it should not be held hostage by waiting for a funding partner who will never show up.

The briefing package for OneCity is available online.

My comments on the political aspects of OneCity are over at the Torontoist site.

To start the ball rolling on the technical review of the OneCity network, here are my thoughts on each of the proposals in the network. Throughout the discussions that will inevitably follow, it is vital that politicians, advocates, gurus of all flavours not become wedded to the fine details. Many of these lines won’t be built for decades, if ever, and we can discuss the pros and cons without becoming mired in conversations about the colour of station tiles.


Scarborough Subway (Kennedy Station to Sheppard and McCowan)

This line is top priority in the scheme, understandable because Scarborough and TTC Vice-Chair De Baeremaeker are essential to the success or failure of OneCity’s adoption.

It’s no secret that I have always been lukewarm on a Bloor-Danforth extension, but this version is somewhat more attractive for a few reasons.  First, it does not end at Scarborough Town Centre, but continues north to Sheppard thereby eliminating the need for northern Scarborough residents to get across the 401 on a bus service just to reach a rapid transit line.  Second, with the subway-vs-LRT battle out of the way, the subway does not preclude the Transit City LRT lines on Sheppard and on Eglinton/Morningside.

This is a network view of transit in Scarborough, not just an “I want a subway because North York has two already” pout from Scarborough Council.  Riders from northeastern Scarborough will have the option of transferring to the subway at McCowan or of continuing west on the Sheppard LRT to Don Mills depending on their destinations.

Ridership projections for this line are strong, at the higher end of LRT, but better than what is expected for the Vaughan extension of the Spadina line now under construction.

One advantage cited for the subway option is the avoidance of a four-year SRT shutdown.  This is a sour note in the proposal because the length of shutdown seems to vary inversely with the speaker’s love for a subway alternative.  Not long ago, the shutdown was barely two and a half years.  This is a valid tradeoff, but it shouldn’t be oversold.

The funding scheme proposed for this project assumes that the $1.8b Metrolinx has earmarked for the RT’s conversion is all available for the subway and only $484m additional is needed from the City to build a subway instead.

In fact, part of the SRT project budget includes a chunk of the Conlins Road carhouse and other shared costs for the east end of the Eglinton-Crosstown project.  These would have to be carried entirely on the Sheppard project budget and don’t just disappear with the subway alternative.

The map is vague on the route and what is shown (like so much else on that map) is only a diagramatic view, not an explicit one.  Whether the subway runs north via Brimley or McCowan from Eglinton, Scarborough Town Centre Station is not on a straight line.  From a construction point of view, it may be preferable to offset the line from the buildings, but whether to the east or west is an open question.  Obvious casualties will be De Baeremaeker’s long hoped-for SRT station at Brimley, as will the planned SLRT station serving Centennial College.  The debate on a route through Scarborough Town Centre will be vigourous, but at least it will pit Scarborough against its own rather than downtowners who are so often accused of meddling in Scarborough’s transit plans.

Yonge Subway (Finch to Steeles)

The TTC already has a project on its books to extend the line north to a roughed-in station at Cummer with a three-track underground yard north from Finch.  The purpose is to expand overnight storage capacity and allow more trains to feed into the Yonge line at the start of service.  (As the number of trains increases both for the extension to Vaughan and for more frequent service, they cannot all get into service from Wilson Yard before the rush hour has ended.)

If we are going to build north from Finch (this would be a first step, the “Toronto” section of an eventual line to Richmond Hill), then let us go to Steeles and relieve the congestion of buses feeding into Finch terminal.

This project may get approval both because it is comparatively small, and because York Region will see it as the beginnings of their long-desired north Yonge subway.

The estimated cost is $1.346b for 1.9km of route.  At over $700m/km, there’s a lot more to this extension than just a few stations and a bus terminal.  Compare to the Sheppard West extension at about $400m/km.

Don Mills Express aka “Downtown Relief Line” (Eglinton & Don Mills to Yonge at Queen or King)

This line is vital to unlocking capacity problems on the rapid transit system downtown, and it would have been built decades ago but for a deal made by then Councillor Jack Layton and North York Mayor Mel Lastman to focus rapid transit construction in the suburbs.  The TTC hasn’t helped matters by conceiving ever more ambitious schemes to pour more riding onto the Yonge line with more trains, better signalling, platform doors and station modifications.  Finally, possibly because we have a transit Chair and a CEO who both actually live on the Yonge line and see it first hand, the TTC recognizes the need for a new subway line into downtown that will attract significant ridership.  Metrolinx too has an interest because they see its downtown leg as a possible service to a proposed new station south of Front between Spadina and Bathurst.

[All readers — please do not rehash the alignment debate we have already has on the downtown section of this route here.]

My own preference for the downtown route is well known.  Enter downtown from the east via Front and Wellington, connect to the King and St. Andrew Stations (which structurally are not far north of Wellington Street) not to Union, and swing southwest to Front Street via the still available corridor running diagonally from Wellington and Peter to Spadina and Front (this was the old freight lead to the large yard that occupied the space where Metro Hall now stands).

What is needed is a thorough study of routing alternatives, not a knee-jerk plan to come through downtown on Queen just because a few hundred feet of station exist at Yonge (with a rather low-capacity connection to Queen Station).  Any study must include possible alignments to serve the planned GO “Bathurst North” station including a possible extension to Exhibition Place, a site that will probably see major redevelopment in coming decades.

Taking the Don Mills line north to Eglinton provides rapid transit service to Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park and makes the terminal intersection a potential apple of Metrolinx’ eye, a mobility hub that has much developable land in the immediate vicinity.

The name “Don Mills Express” should be rethought as the “Express” moniker is also used for a different type of service on two other proposals (described later in this article).  It’s a subway line, and should simply be called that, but finally we are rid of “Downtown Relief”.

The cost estimate is $5.4b for 10.2km of line.  There is no discussion of storage facilities for the new fleet that such a line would require.

Sheppard Subway (Yonge to Downsview)

This line is a pet project of Councillor James Pasternak, yes the same Councillor who thought a litmus test for would-be citizen Commissioners should include support for subways in general and for his subway in particular.  Demand projections for this line are abysmally low and, while it looks nice on a map, I cannot see this getting priority or funding in the near future.

The estimated cost for the 3.8km extension is $1.541b.

Bloor-Yonge Station

There is a $1b provision for expansion of capacity at Bloor-Yonge although the whole idea of a “relief” line is to eliminate the need for this work.  Why is it even in the list, and what is entailed in this project?

Bloor West Subway (Kipling to Sherway)

Notable by its absence is the Bloor extension to Sherway Gardens.  This shows that routes got onto the map because they had a sponsoring Councillor, and the ward’s representative, Peter Milczyn, is a Ford loyalist and the only TTC Commissioner who opposes OneCity.  No biscuit for naughty Peter.

LRT Lines

Before I talk about the lines added in OneCity, let’s not forget those that will be built by Metrolinx:

  • Eglinton Phase 1 (Kennedy to Jane)
  • Sheppard East Phase 1 (Don Mills to Morningside)
  • Finch West Phase 1 (Keele to Humber College)
  • Scarborough RT (extended east and north to Sheppard, possibly replaced by Scarborough Subway)

For all of the OneCity LRT proposals, it is unclear what drives the variation in per km costs and whether vehicles and yards are included in the cost estimates.  Some but not all of these routes can piggyback on planned maintenance facilities, but the cars for all routes will be a net addition to the fleet.

Eglinton Phase 2 (Jane to Airport)

This is a no-brainer.  The right-of-way for the line exists, and a regular fare connection to the airport that would take riders clear across Toronto to both north-south subway lines and beyond is just the sort of route “ordinary” airport users would love to see.  Most of them don’t originate at Union Station as would-be Air Rail Link (ARL) clients notwithstanding the misplaced love for that service at Queen’s Park.  If it were not for the Pan Am Games, we would not even be having a debate about which service should reach the airport first.

This 11km extension would cost $1.874b or $170m/km.

Finch West Extension (Humber College to Airport)

This link to the airport is not as critical to the network as Eglinton, but it would give yet another way to distribute would-be flyers across the top of the city.  Add in planned bus connections from the west and the airport could be a major transit hub even if the ARL was only a minor player in the grand scheme.

This 6.6km extension would cost $851m or $129m/km.

Finch West Phase 2 (Keele to Yonge)

A connection across to Yonge may be useful eventually, but we really need to see how demands shuffle around once the Spadina extension plus Finch West Phase 1 are up and running.  How strong an east-west demand will there be between the two subway lines, which route (Sheppard or Finch) will see the lion’s share of the riding, and what is their ultimate destination?

This 6km line would cost $762m or $127m/km.

Jane (Bloor to Steeles)

The Jane LRT plan has always had problems with right-of-way constraints especially at the south end.  Even getting down to Eglinton is tight.  This route needs a careful review to see how much should actually be built, and whether it would operate as a branch of Eglinton or interlined as far east, say, as Eglinton West Station.

This 15.2km line would cost $1.488b or $98m/km.

Don Mills (Eglinton to Steeles)

The Don Mills line is a logical extension north from the Don Mills Subway.  How soon we should actually need to build it depends on demand projections for this corridor.

This 10.7km line would cost $1.42b or $133m/km.

Scarborough-Malvern (Kennedy Station to Sheppard via Morningside)

At the very least, the northern segment of this route to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) should be built as an integral part of the Sheppard East LRT Phase 1.  This proposal already had support at Metrolinx before Rob Ford’s election, but didn’t make it into the plan as an amendment.  It should come back onto the table as soon as possible.

For the remainder of the line south and west to Kennedy Station we need an updated demand estimate and a sense of the evolving redevelopment of Scarborough to see when this should be built.  Kennedy Station (which will have to be redesigned again if the proposed SRT/SLRT conversion morphs into a subway) must have provision included for the Scarborough-Malvern line from the outset.

This 12.5km line would cost $1.845b or $148m/km.

Sheppard East Malvern Centre Branch (1.6km, $123m, $77m/km)
Sheppard East Extension to Meadowvale (2.0km, $160m, $80m/km)
Sheppard East Extension to Zoo (1.8km, $170m, $94m/km)

With the conversion of the SRT/SLRT to a subway line, the proposed SLRT extension north into Malvern Centre falls off of the table.  A branch line from Sheppard East will require a redesign of the planned LRT junction east of Progress and Sheppard, and a branching operation of the Sheppard line would probably result with trains east from Don Mills to both Morningside (or UTSC) and to Malvern.

The direct link south via the SLRT through STC to Kennedy no longer exists, and this begs the question of whether the access to Malvern should operate as part of the Scarborough-Malvern line (restoring the northern terminus that gave it this route its name).  Operational plans are years in the future but worth thinking about lest there be too many permutations of LRT routes on wide, subdivided headways serving northeastern Scarborough.

The Sheppard East line has grown many tentacles in the OneCity plan and operationally these may not all be practical.

Bus/Streetcar Expansion

Waterfront West (Union to Long Branch)

This line shows up in LRT Purple on the map, but it is really an expansion of the streetcar system and should be shown as such.  The WWLRT has been around for over two decades, and its route has been modified more times than I can count.  There are problems all along the line including:

  • access to Union Station,
  • threading a surface right-of-way past the Rogers Centre and the condo forest around Spadina,
  • getting past Fort York,
  • an appropriate route through Exhibition Place,
  • a route through Sunnyside and the Western Beaches, and finally
  • the right-of-way width on parts of Lake Shore Boulevard.

An important first step in examining this line is to decide whether and when the west leg of a new east-west subway downtown will serve Front Street west of Spadina and continue west into Exhibition Place.  This ties into questions of serving some of the new condo developments as well as whatever might evolve in the Exhibition grounds.  The existing streetcar line looping under the Gardiner is in the worst possible location to serve new developments either around Princes Boulevard (the main east-west street through the grounds) or along Lake Shore.  That location is a sad relic of transit history that viewed the streetcar as something to be pushed out of the way rather than integrated into the grounds as a whole.

If there is to be an “Exhibition Subway”, then a good chunk of the rationale for the WWLRT close to downtown disappears.

Further out, we must consider how much demand there would be from southern Etobicoke especially if GO Transit changes the service level and fare structure on the Lake Shore corridor.  It is ironic that we have an “LRT” proposal on the books for decades, but the TTC always short-changes the 501 Long Branch car for service.  This illustrates a classic split between the allure of new construction and the boredom of simply providing good service on what we already have.

The WWLRT is listed as a 6.1km line (presumably the extent of net new construction) at a cost of $767m (126m/km).  It is unclear whether there is any provision for upgrades to existing facilities such as Union Loop or the Lake Shore Blvd. right-of-way.

Waterfront East (Union to Parliament and beyond)

This is the second priority within the OneCity package, and it is described as a $290m project of which $90m is already available in Waterfront Toronto’s budget.  However, that money only gets us to Parliament and Queen’s Quay and it does not provide the connection through to Cherry Street north of the rail corridor and a potential for service either to Broadview Station or to downtown via King.

Oddly enough, text in the OneCity announcement talks about going to Parliament, but the map shows the line continuing up Cherry to King.

Waterfront Toronto divied up the sub-projects within the overall waterfront scheme.  The planned redesign of the Cherry, Lake Shore, Queen’s Quay and Parliament intersections is part of the much larger scheme to reconfigure the mouth of the Don River, and there is no funding in place for this part of the project.  More recently this became entangled in debates over the future of the Port Lands as a branch from the Waterfront East route would go south via a relocated Cherry Street to serve new development in the port.

The TTC and Waterfront Toronto should figure out what is involved in providing the section of the work from Queen’s Quay north including the link to Cherry so that we have both a complete transit plan and a dollar figure to go with it.

St. Clair (Gunn’s Loop to Jane)

This extension has been in the hopper for years as a logical next step after the creation of the St. Clair right-of-way.  How much chance it has sitting in the middle of a Ford loyalist’s ward is another question.  At a minimum, we need to see both a functional design — will a streetcar extension with reserved lanes actually fit here — and an analysis of demand from this area both eastward via St. Clair and southward to the Bloor subway via existing bus routes.

For reasons that defy understanding, the cost estimate for this 1.7km extension is $102m, and I suspect a lot of non-transit improvements have been bundled into the project.

Wilson and Ellesmere BRTs

These are two elements of the BRT section within the Transit City Bus Plan (see pdf page 33, report page 26).  Two others are for Yonge north from Finch Station (replaced by an extended subway) and Dundas west from Kipling Station (mysteriously absent again possibly thanks to the opposition of the local Councillor to OneCity).

There is far more in the TCBP which should be part of OneCity, but isn’t.  A transit plan is not just about long term capital projects but about overall improvement in service quality and attractiveness.  Plucking two relatively minor elements from a much larger plan is the worst kind of cherry-picking.

Kingston Road BRT

This line would run from Main Station east via Danforth and Kingston Road to Eglinton where it would meet the Scarborough-Malvern line.  This proposal has been around for several years and evolved from a Kingston Road LRT scheme which proved not to be very practical because the primary destination of riders in the corridor is the Danforth subway.

One important issue about “BRT”.  The term is used rather freely to represent two very different implementations.  One includes reserved lanes and stations in the manner of the VIVA system in York Region.  This is what people usually mean by “Bus Rapid Transit” and it includes moving stops further apart than on a regular bus route for increased speed.

Another form, sometimes called “BRT Lite” is little more than a supposedly reserved curb lane.

It is unclear which flavour of BRT is intended by OneCity, but at a cost/km of over $30m, I would hope for a bit more than paint stripes on the pavement.

“Express” Lines in Etobicoke and Scarborough

This is the wooliest part of the whole announcement.  A technology, as yet unknown (maybe subway, LRT or mainline rail) would operate on the GO rail corridors from Steeles east of Kennedy (the Uxbridge Subdivision that now serves the Stouffville GO service) south to Scarborough Junction, west and south via the Lake Shore rail corridor through Union, then northwest via the Weston Subdivision to the airport replacing the Air Rail Link.

There are immense logistical and regulatory problems with a shared right-of-way for transit and mainline rail vehicles.  In the I-METRO-E proposal (from which this is adapted), the author talks of simply “kicking GO off” of the Uxbridge Sub.  That might, in a parallel universe, be possible, but not so on either the Lake Shore or Weston corridors.

As for the ARL, Queen’s Park clings to the idea that it should be a premium class service and continues to design and provision infrastructure on that basis so as to show a good face to the world for the Pan Am Games.  The infrastructure could be better used for a local service, but it would have to include good connections to TTC routes to make it part of a
true network, not a line that wandered by just far enough for transfers to be not worth the effort.

My gut feeling is that the western leg of this has a better chance of conversion because it can be operated on a free-standing basis (like the ARL) while the eastern leg runs into serious problems on the Lake Shore corridor.

The cost estimate is $6.9b for a 26km line from northern Scarborough to Union, and $1.5b for the 22km western branch to the airport.  It is unclear why these two numbers are so different, but somebody obviously knows that the east side route is no picnic to design and implement.  For my money, just running better GO service would be a huge improvement (a view that applies to the entire GO network).

65 thoughts on “OneCity Plan Reviewed

  1. I like the general concept:

    1 It proposes what is a network, not a line here and a line there.
    2 It does go to most areas of the city.
    3 It tries to use appropriate technology and not just subways, subways, subways or just LRT.
    4 It tries to make use of GO rail corridors for more frequent transit.,

    All that being said I don’t agree 100% with the plan but it is more realistic than anything else I have seen. My major problems with it are:

    1 The Sheppard West subway is dumber than dirt. It is there to buy off Pasternak. The extension of Finch West LRT to Yonge and perhaps Don Mills Station would provide better service at less money.

    2 The Don Mills Express Line (DRL) ends at the wrong place downtown. As Steve says the line should join with King and St. Andrew stations.

    3 The Etobicoke Express and Scarborough Express lines should be rapid transit not main line rail and should go into the DRL, at least from the west. Union Station will not be able to handle everything that is being thrown at it regardless of how much money they spend. Once the Pan AM games are over and the Province sees how useless the ARL line is we can hopefully reconsider the requirements and operating conditions of it.

    My other problems are nit picking and do not need to be mentioned at the initial stage.

    I am glad to see that they are considering some use of GO Weston and Uxbridge Sub. Remember that Metrolinx owns both outright.

    With respect to the Weston Sub:

    1 It has plenty of width from the USRC up to and past the Humber River.
    2 Many jurisdictions run main line rail and either HRT or LRT in the same corridor.
    3 There are no freights on the Weston Sub east (south) of the industrial area just west of the Humber.

    With respect to the Scarborough Express line:

    1 The Stouffville line is not a wide corridor in the north but it should have enough room for 2 tracks.
    2 It runs very little freight (if any I don’t know). If there are freights it should be possible to run them when the passenger service is not there.
    3 I do not know if the Kingston Sub has enough width east of its Scarborough junction with Stouffville to allow for segregated tracks for the “Express” service. If there is then it would provide service on the former SRT route from Ellesmere to Kennedy.

    Steve jumps in: Do you mean west of Scarborough Junction for segregated tracks west to Union?

    4 The line should go to Stouffville and completely replace the existing service.

    Steve: Do you mean Lincolnville which is the current north end of the GO service?

    5 It cannot go into Union with a much increased passenger volume so I would like to see it connect with the Subway at King and ST. Andrew and through route with Etobicoke Express.
    6 If there is not enough capacity to go along the Kingston Sub seriously look at trying to get room alongside the CP line from Don Mills to Agincourt and running the Don Mills Express line out there and up to Stouffville or Uxbridge.

    Steve: The more general question of using the CPR to serve northeastern Toronto needs more detailed work by GO/Metrolinx. This corridor is part of The Big Move, but there seems to be little “movement” to actually implement service on it.

    Some general comments on the whole plan:

    1 I can see the rationale for extending the Danforth Subway north as it could be built while the SRT is still running instead of leaving a 4 year hiatus with no service. The line cannot make the turn to go up Midland or the SRT ROW. It is 1.2 km to Brimley so it would have problems making the curve without wiping out or going under a lot of houses. It would be easier to go up Danforth to McCowan to the east side of Scarborough town centre but this is nit picking.

    2 The Yonge line should go to Steeles. I counted buses during the rush hour a couple of years ago and there were 40 to 50 every 15 minutes. This is too many. I think the TTC should build their bus loop on the SW corner and run a passage way to either the NE or NW corner and let York pay for and build their own bus loop in York.

    Steve: The TTC had a scheme for a BRT corridor on Yonge north from Finch, but dropped this when it appeared that a subway extension would be built soon.

    3 There are some major gaps in the system. especially in Etobicoke and between Yonge and Don Mills and Don Mills and the Stouffville Sub between Eglinton and Sheppard.

    Every plan is a political compromise and given that this is much better than most, not perfect but a good starting point. Now if the Province would only lend its backing. I can see that they might be miffed that the group wants to stop the Scarborough LRT and replace it with a subway but lets examine the alternatives before yelling NO WAY.


  2. Is there any part of OneCity that Rob Ford might support? The choice of extending the subway eastward instead of rebuilding the SRT with all of its long disruptions and costly bus substitution during construction ought to be right up his alley.

    You’re assuming he cares about public transit. Surely you would know better after witnessing the TTC service cuts of the past two years and watching the fireworks over the Sheppard subway and the private sector unicorns that are waiting to magically build it.

    He’s not taking his ideological blinkers off with Doug Ford and Mark Towhey whispering in his ear. Do the words “all taxes are evil” mean anything to you?


  3. Raymond – I’m certain that if KS came up with allowing the Sheppard East subway extension from Don Mills to STC as the #1 priority and removed the BD extension and allowed it to remain as part of the original SRT replacement as LRT, he would have supported it in some form.

    Just one look at the Ontario government pushing back the Sheppard East LRT to BEGIN construction in 2017 (!) tells me that Ford has a friend somewhere at Queen’s Park that is doing him favours until the next election.


  4. Steve: I think the “resource shortages” are a fiction invented to justify further delay. What would Ontario do if it ever needed to actually build something “now”?

    Sounds right, actually. If Metrolinx had been anticipating labour shortage difficulties this past April, then that’s what caused the first delay to 2014-2017. Now, the same reason is being used to delay it a second time. To Queen’s Park: what changed?

    Steve, do you know if the latest delay has been advocated by Metrolinx, or Queen’s Park at it alone?

    Steve: Metrolinx doesn’t make any decisions on its own. I am quite sure this is yet another scheme to stretch out actually having to spend money. A related question is whether Queen’s Park is going to pay for all of its $8.4b “commitment” with general revenues, or is waiting to lard this onto the new revenue tools.

    RE: Scarborough Subway

    Despite my many concerns around the proposed Scarborough Subway, I’m not sure if we can say definitively that a change in plan would severely affect the implementation schedule of any rapid transit in Scarborough, since the SRT conversion is scheduled to begin 3 years from now. I wonder if a whole new EA and designs can be done in 3 years, or can the EA just be amended. New engineering designs, definitely.

    Also, I’m not sure if it’s been posted before, but the cost of the MSF and new LRV’s aside, it appears that the so-called $500 million marginal cost between SLRT and Scarborough Subway is still not comparable because that marginal cost only gets you to STC, not to Sheppard. That is, if I’m interpreting your chart correctly.

    Steve: There are huge problems with the numbers in OneCity that make the shortcomings of Transit City (for which David Miller was pilloried by various members of Council’s right wing) look tame by comparison. Thanks for pointing out that discrepancy on the subway estimate because the Scarborough Subway project depends heavily on a presumed small delta between costs with the SLRT project. I will dig more into this.


  5. “The Sheppard East LRT from Don Mills station to east of Morningside Avenue: work will begin in 2017 and be completed by 2021.”

    This sounds like the province is trying to kill this project, by pushing the construction start 10 years after the line was originally proposed, way past the next municipal and provincial elections. I wonder what this means for Finch West?

    The money should be spent on the DRL and GO train expansion which are much more important projects.

    Steve: More to the point, we need to know whether they are changing the schedule for building Conlins Road carhouse and for delivery of the new LRVs. We seem to be heading for a situation where we will have lots of cars and no place to run them.


  6. I find it eyebrow raising how cabinet suddenly approves the 4 LRT projects just 2 days after OneCity hits the media when their sign off was still expected to be months away and the Legislature has already risen for the summer with MPPs supposed to be in their local ridings.


  7. They should call Stintz’s plan OneDay, because that’s how long it lasted.

    Also, CVA “uplift” depends on increasing property values. What if they fall, or remain flat? Sooner or later the market in Toronto will correct itself — then what … CVA “downlift” and tax refunds? CVA uplift is not a guaranteed source of revenue.


  8. I said earlier:

    “Sounds right, actually. If Metrolinx had been anticipating labour shortage difficulties this past April, then that’s what caused the first delay to 2014-2017. Now, the same reason is being used to delay it a second time. To Queen’s Park: what changed?”

    Correction to my earlier comment: The initial delay to 2014-2018 wasn’t due to market capacity and resources at all, but to allow for time to rewrite contracts fit for AFP. This delay here is what the TTC pointed out as too ambitious and disruptive, since it would involve construction of Eglinton, Finch, and Sheppard.

    As a response to these concerns, Queen’s Park, wanting to apply AFP very badly to the SELRT project, decides to defer its construction. Someone needs to ask all the progressive Liberals why they’re defending cabinet’s decision and not following TTC’s original recommendation and forgo the desire to apply AFP across.


  9. The Provincial government is a minority government, which almost never lasts a full 4-year term. Construction on the Scarborough LRT is expected in 2014, three years after the last Provincial election. Construction on Finch West is poised to being in 2015, around the time of the next election if the Legislature had a majority government and Sheppard East in 2017.

    Based on these construction schedules it looks like the Eglinton Crosstown line is the only line that has a chance of getting built. The Scarborough RT replacement has a good chance of happening since its replacing an existing line that is past its best before date but even this isn’t a guarantee. I won’t hold my breath for anything on Finch West or Sheppard East. Governments tend to last 2 to 3 terms. The Conservatives will cancel the latter two lines (and maybe even the Scarborough RT replacement) if they come to power in the next election.

    Steve: It will be amusing to see if KW goes ahead on its planned schedule and manages to open three years before anything in Toronto, or if Queen’s Park will dream up some reason to delay their project too.


  10. If Stintz wants to do something productive rather than this pie in the sky planning she should make some proposals to council that force the Ontario government to stick to their timelines…specifically:

    1. Presto implementation will be delayed until all lines are being built…why are we spending money on something that does not provide extra service, especially if it means years of delays for actual new lines.

    2. City of Toronto will charge government of Ontario for changes in it’s implementation plan based on how much it affects service and revenue….once the plan is agreed on, it should go both ways….and having to run buses for extra time, or re-communicate plans costs money.

    3. Resource issues (construction, financial, planning) must be brought to the City of Toronto, and the TTC to determine if they have the capacity to help…either with bridge financing, or planning resources from the TTC, or the TTC finding construction resources for them.

    Toronto needs to fight back a bit more, lines that have been delayed for 5 years are not in the cities interest…if they aren’t going to be built by the government of Ontario, we need to know and we need to plan accordingly.

    Steve: Toronto lost its ability to fight on these projects when it so happily accepted 100% provincial funding.


  11. It’s too bad to see the Transportation Minister ‘poo poo’ the idea of a Scarborough Subway so quickly, but then again, isn’t he right on principle?

    Here’s the gov’t’s probable thinking: Are we going to have a different transit plan for every electoral cycle, every Mayor, TTC Chairperson, Premier etc. for the next 30 years? Will the Council keep reconsidering plans or alter the ones they’ve already approved? And when would the Scarborough Subway ever be built? When would it even be shovel ready? No E.A done right? But there have been previous studies on what to do with the Scarborough route and the LRT option was the preferred one over others including a BD Subway extension.

    Having said all of that, OneCity is a much better and comprehensive plan than any I’ve ever seen for Toronto. To get off the ground it needed to be kicked off with a project that was sensible (politically) popular and had a reasonable chance of being financed. So, has OneCity come to the end of the line, before it even left the station?

    Steve: As has already been pointed out by another commentator here, the estimate for the Scarborough Subway all the way to Sheppard may be low (it’s doubtful that any detailed costings were done by the TTC for this plan as it originated in Councillors’ offices, not as an official TTC document). If that is true, then the “quick approval” of the Scarborough Subway is not as easy as it looks. They actually have more chance with the Waterfront, but even there they have left out part of the cost (the connection through the “Keating Precinct” from Parliament to Cherry) and would have to deal with the optics of a “downtown” project going first.

    While there are good ideas in OneCity, I think, like Transit City, it could be nibbled to death as people attack its flaws rather than trying to remake it as a good plan. This could get in the way of the general discussion about funding and about the degree to which the City retakes control of its own transit destiny.


  12. It’s great to put subways where they are needed, but someone should have done their homework first. Kennedy Station runs east-west not north-south. To put the subway along the RT right-of-way means that Kennedy subway station would have to be completely shut down and rebuild, wasting money.

    Steve: You have not been paying attention. The BD extension would head east along Eglinton, then turn north. The whole idea is to use a completely separate route so that the RT can stay in service during construction.

    A suggestion that I have sent to Brad Ross at the TTC is to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway along Danforth Road/McCowan to Steeles. Along this route it would service Scarborough Hospitals and the Scarborough Town Centre in phase 1, making STC a MAJOR Transportation hub (GO Buses, TTC Buses, TTC Subway, TTC LRT = numerous public transporation CHOICES) Phase 2 could then be completed to Steeles. The Crosstown could then be extended to the Malvern Town Centre via Centennial College when funding permits.

    Another simple solution, especially for the DRL is an LRT line from Humber College at Finch and Hwy 27 south along 27, Hydro right of way, Kipling Ave, Queensway, Queen St (underground from near Trinity Bellwoods Park to just west of the Queen/King intersection, along Queen, Kingston Road with one branch to the Rouge Hill Go Stn and another to the Toronto Zoo. This line could be build in stages with the Etobicoke and Scarborough sections done first since it would be above ground.

    Just some thoughts


  13. Replacement of Scarborough RT by a Subway instead of LRT

    – If the construction order of the four projects was changed so that the Sheppard LRT was built ahead of the RT conversion to LRT then there would be time to do a proper study of the merits of a subway instead of an LRT. This would mean that in the event that the subway option was ruled out that at least there would be the Sheppard LRT in place to alleviate some of the problems with the closure of the RT for conversion to LRT.

    – If you improve GO service on the Stouffville line (by whatever means) wouldn’t this take up some of the demand in this area reducing the need for a subway extension?

    Steve: The demand information included in the “expert panel” review of the Sheppard Subway vs LRT question showed that the travel outward from Scarborough is generally speaking not going downtown and much of it would not be served by intensified service on the Stouffville corridor. The SRT only has a heavy demand on it because it is force-fed at STC by many bus routes, and this situation would not exist for a line that was only in the rail corridor.

    To answer these questions, what we really need is a demand model run with various configurations of an east-of-downtown transit network to see how the flows would re-arrange themselves. Existing patterns do not change overnight because they have evolved over many years based on the existing network.


  14. Would the tunnel via Front and Wellington for the DLR also work for a joined-up express rail? Just thinking that instead of forcing a transfer at a new Bathurst terminal, there could be single-deck EMUs* providing a one-ride trip from the airport to the east of the city. This would fulfil some of the functions of the DLR, and also provide the connector from the Bathurst terminal to the Financial District for trains that do terminate at Bathurst.

    *The trains on the London Overground, as someone already mentioned, might make the most sense here. Depends on what forecasts for average ride length would be. Other analogues include Crossrail (under construction in London), Paris’s RER and the S-Bahn in various German cities.

    That means it would be feasible to have the Don Mills subway terminate at Queen (or at a midpoint between Queen and Osgoode), as indicated here, though extending it (to Queen West?) might also have merit.

    Steve: While this might work, I think that from a realistic point of view of the politics of the Air Rail Link, you are not going to see anything on that line for quite some time. Also, through routing whatever comes down that corridor with a “DRL” could preclude a spur to the CNE (from a service design point of view) and you would have to decide whether to through route the “ARL” service onto the Don Mills route or out to the “Scarborough Express”.

    This is going to be one of those situations where everyone has a pet combination of routes, and many of them will ignore the political reality that GO is unlikely to entertain a mode change for some time. While we may see EMUs running on GO tracks and providing local service in the Weston corridor eventually, actually putting that on a map is a non-starter today. It would be rather like leaving off the pet project of a Sheppard West subway — logical from a planning point of view, impossible for political reasons.


  15. Just to add to my comments about the express rail: It seems that there’s a natural route (presumably a former right of way?) along the south border of the Distillery District and along the Esplanade. Not to slow things up too much, but a stop at say Parliament and perhaps also St Lawrence Market would provide useful access. The move from the Esplanade to Wellington would only mean traversing one block beneath buildings (The Esplanade, Church, Front and Market), which presumably would be feasible.

    This approach would obviously help relieve (or at least not worsen) congestion at Union Station, though whether the cost woul be justifiable, I don’t know.

    Steve: The transition you describe is not as easy as it looks because of new buildings with foundations to bedrock that are going right in the path of your route. Because the DRL as been totally ignored for years by the TTC, no route analyses have ever been done nor has a right-of-way been protected for getting the line from the Don into and across downtown.


  16. While I agree that this “plan” is likely more of a front for getting a proper city capital fund set up for Toronto transit, there is one rather remarkable coincidence in the numbers:

    To less than 1%, the budget for the two politically realistic subway extensions (Sheppard west and Yonge) plus the DRL add up to the amount of funds raised by the proposed CVA uplift revenue over the plan’s 30 years.

    That would mean that the proposed funding would provide enough capital for the subway component of the plan, independent of any other level of government. (Assuming proper indexing for inflation, etc.) That they put the subways at the top of their priority chart makes this even more likely to make some Fordites think twice about opposing either their CVA uplift proposal or a straight-out property tax increase, which is– as you rightly note– the likely purpose of this document.


  17. I do hope that a repeat of Howard Moscoe’s infamous overplaying of one’s hand that allowed TYSSE to advance as it has doesn’t end up manifesting within OneCity. I do hope that due diligence is properly exercised to make sure no white elephants slip through.

    Steve: For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with the history: When the Ridership Growth Strategy was adopted by the Commission, management freaked out because there were no subway lines in it. The fact that it was supposed to be for low-cost, short term improvements didn’t matter — there were no subway lines. It only took a month or so for a report to come to the Commission amending RGS and including two subway lines as TTC priorities. At the time, I asked Howard Moscoe what he was doing, and he replied that there would never be enough money to fund the Spadina extension. Such are the dangers of drawing lines on a map, and the reason why I am so reluctant to do so myself.


  18. I agree with much of Steve’s commentary. Especially the comment:

    “A discussion about transit is needlessly diverted into debates about arcane ways of implementing a tax increase without quite calling it what it is.”

    I understand the impact of the CVA amendment, which is to raise taxes from those whose property values are rising. Sort of a “tax the rich” approach. However Steve is right on when he comments that this type of funding strategy will be a distraction. Transit is a benefit to the city, and it will cost money. We will have to pay for it. Call it for what it is, and get on with it.

    As to transit design, I would prefer these decisions to be made by experts, rather than by politicians or by the man in the street. Call them bureaucrats if you want, but the system needs to be built on solid facts by people with a 20-year time frame and a GTA-wide outlook. Politicians have a 2 to 4 year time frame and an outlook based on their local constituents. A committee made up of Steve and 3 or 4 similar advocates would be my preferred choice for choosing what to build and when to build it. Listening to the political grandstanding is tiresome and misleading.

    The City of Toronto could “go it on its own” for transit projects that are purely local in nature, but for the big ticket items such as subway, heavy rail and light rail backbones, they serve the entire GTA, and the cost needs to be spread over the GTA. This goes beyond the mandate of the TTC and the City of Toronto.

    We need politicians to devise the funding strategy and to sell it to the taxpayers. This will be the hard part. My opinion is that it needs provincial leadership of the politicians throughout the GTA. Federal involvement will not be helpful in any way.


  19. As a planner I can’t help but notice that the proposed Scarborough subway is going cut across a huge section of low density, post war bungalow housing. Do you think property value will increase to a point where it will be feasible to develop this part of Scarborough into more complete neighbourhoods? For those that are not familiar with Scarborough I am talking about the area along Midland and/or Brimley.

    Steve: “Cutting across” does not mean “stopping”. The development will be on the east west streets the line crosses with, presumably, a station. I would not hold my breath for major redevelopment in between.


  20. We should forget about trying to get funding from senior levels of government. After all, there is only one taxpayer and if there was say a provincial plan to raise the HST to pay for transportation we would be very lucky to get all the money back that would be paid in. The only real source of money is the people of Toronto or perhaps the GTA so we should try to control it as locally as possible.


  21. For those that are not familiar with Scarborough I am talking about the area along Midland and/or Brimley.

    I live in this low density post war bungalow (in a backsplit actually) area and I think this is a bit of an unfair characterization. My census tract, wrapped around Glen Ravine Park just north of Eglinton, has a population density of 7000 per square km. This is marginally less than the area around Withrow Park. Not super-packed for sure, but not exactly “low density”.

    Scarborough actually has some fair population density. A peek at the 2011 census population density by electoral district shows Scarborough’s ridings to be around 4K per square km. Just about the same as Toronto as a whole.

    The patch north of Lawrence is deceptively low density because a lot of the area is taken up with Birkdale ravine. Other bits appear low density because it is currently underused light industrial/commercial land. And while I have to acknowledge that there’s a lot of land that is underused light industrial/commercial in this part of Scarborough – at least these spots provide opportunity for infill. Not saying it will happen, just that it could.

    And as Steve pointed out, the stops would likely be at the intersections with major E-W roads. Most of these have high-rise apartment buildings within a block or two. Don’t get me wrong, I’m highly skeptical of the viability of a subway line along here. I just wanted to point out that this area of Scarborough isn’t entirely low-density sprawl.


  22. Here’s an idea and this may be too detailed to talk about at this stage of the plan, but if the Scarborough subway alignment does go along Eglinton and then up Brimley or McCowan Rd, would it be a good idea to dig one huge tunnel along Eglinton for both the subway and Scarborough-Marlvern lrt. The subway could act like express line along Eglinton until it turns north and the LRT can act as local line until it emerges to the surface again somewhere east of the subway turnoff. A step up like this would be similar to what you see in New York City, the only difference is that there would be different types of transit vehicles involved in the operation. It may cost more money but I think the option is worth exploring. Keep in mind this is assuming the Eglinton and the Scarborough-Malvern LRT lines are continuous through Kennedy station.

    Steve: The plans for Kennedy Station do (or at least did in the EA drawings) include provision for the Scarborough-Malvern line. There would definitely need to be some shared underground construction at least for the LRT portal if it were east of the railway overpass at Kennedy and west of Midland. I am not sure how far the subway structure would go if the line turned up Brimley (or where, for that matter, Brimley station would be) given the need to begin the turn somewhat west of Brimley. At Danforth Road, the turn would not be a full 90 degrees and therefore could start closer to the intersection, but the problem remains.

    I don’t think we will see the Crosstown interlined with Scarborough-Malvern because of different demand levels, and because a route (eventually) all the way from the airport to Malvern would be immensely long. Through-routing would simplify the station layout (one set of Eglinton platforms rather than two), but I doubt that’s what we will actually see. Indeed, I would not be surprised to see Metrolinx put in only the most rudimentary provisions for the SMLRT at Kennedy to save on construction costs in the Crosstown project budget.


  23. Hi Steve: I have gone over the review of One City , And here’s what I came up with:

    The Scarborough Subway to replace the already approved LRT: This has been a strange about face since the Sheppard subway extension which could have looped into this subway is now an LRT I think the best thing is to just drop this , the existing LRT plan is fine, savings of $500m approx.. Also no cancellation fees for the approved LRT replacing the SRT.

    Steve: The supposed $500m extra cost of this subway over the LRT alternative is probably wildly optimistic based on the estimates done by the TTC for subway vs LRT options less than two years ago.

    The Yonge subway extension to Steeles: I have no problem with this but it should not be part of One City as this would take place only if York region and Ontario are involved as obviously it would not end there but be further extended north like the Spadina Allen line is being extended into Vaughan. Saving from One City $1.346B.

    Steve: This is an example of a “maintenance” project buried in an extension. The high cost per km is caused by the inclusion of a large underground storage yard between Finch and Cummer Stations. This is needed to reserve pressure at Wilson where it is impossible to get all of the trains on the extended YUS (to Vaughan) into service in time for the peak of the morning rush hour.

    The Don Mills DRL: I fully support this line but as for the downtown route you know more than me. OneCity says go into Queen but you have:

    “Enter downtown from the east via Front and Wellington, connect to the King and St. Andrew Stations (which structurally are not far north of Wellington Street) not to Union, and swing southwest to Front Street via the still available corridor running diagonally from Wellington and Peter to Spadina and Front (this was the old freight lead to the large yard that occupied the space where Metro Hall now stands).
    What is needed is a thorough study of routing alternatives, not a knee-jerk plan to come through downtown on Queen just because a few hundred feet of station exist at Yonge (with a rather low-capacity connection to Queen Station). Any study must include possible alignments to serve the planned GO “Bathurst North” station including a possible extension to Exhibition Place, a site that will probably see major redevelopment in coming decades.”

    I thought running it elevated over the train tracks to Union from the Don valley would be cheaper but any of these proposals you made are ok.

    Steve: There would be severe problems with station structures and vertical access to the line running above the rail corridor. The DRL needs to stay north of the rail corridor to maintain connections with the YUS while avoiding the bottleneck of Union Station.

    As for the part to Eglinton I thought following alongside the existing rail line through the valley above ground would be cheapest and enable it to go all the past Eglinton to Don Mills Sheppard subway and loop into this subway allowing a continuous line from Yonge to Downtown either at Queen, King or Union. The cost you listed was $5.4B but if the Don Mills LRT is cancelled and replaced with this and it is mostly above ground hopefully it won’t cost much more than the $1.42B for this LRT so let’s just say approximate cost for this whole subway to be $6.82B.

    Steve: I have already commented on a Don Valley line and for various reasons consider it a complete non-starter. The line needs to make a good, convenient connection to the Bloor-Danforth line, and it should also be able to serve Thorncliffe/Flemingdon Park. Looping into the existing subway at Don Mills Station is a non-starter as the station structure lies east of Don Mills Road. I really wish people would get over trying to build lines continuous operations as this imposes unneeded constraints on routes and geometry at the connections.

    The Sheppard West Subway extension: This would make sense if as I said Sheppard is turned south at Don Mills as it would be a combo DRL Sheppard and Don Mills line. And it would make sense if the Finch LRT extension from Keele to Yonge is shelved as really you don’t need both, savings from Finch LRT $762M.

    Steve: I don’t expect to see the Finch LRT east of Keele for a very long time, if ever. This is not a real saving.

    The Bloor West extension to Sherway: This makes sense but is not on the plan.

    The LRT lines:

    Eglinton LRT from Black Creek to Pearson Airport; makes 100% sense as you say it’s a no brainer.

    Finch West LRT extension Humber to Airport: Not so necessary putting this off or cancelling saves $851M.

    Steve: I disagree. This would give another route to the Airport, and important consideration not just for travellers but for people who work there.

    Finch West LRT extension Keele to Yonge: This really is redundant if you have Sheppard from Downsview to Yonge, Expanded bus service would suffice. Saving of $762M.

    Steve: See my comment above.

    Jane LRT: As you said there really is no room for an above ground LRT, expanding the bus service back to pre2012 levels and even increasing saves $1.488B and should do the job with existing and expanded bus routes.

    Don Mills LRT: No reason for this at all if you just extended the DRL subway to Don Mills money for this would be applied to subway.

    Steve: Well, we won’t likely be extending the subway.

    Scarborough Malvern LRT: Sounds Ok but the tentacle lines should be eliminated saving on Sheppard East Malvern Centre Branch $123m, Sheppard East Extension to Meadowvale $160m, Sheppard East Extension to Zoo $170m.

    Waterfront West LRT: I have to agree with your statement

    “It is ironic that we have an “LRT” proposal on the books for decades, but the TTC always short-changes the 501 Long Branch car for service. This illustrates a classic split between the allure of new construction and the boredom of simply providing good service on what we already have.”

    I think that upgrading service on the existing 501 Long Branch and existing Queensway streetcar would eliminate any need for this LRT saving $767M.

    Waterfront East: I don’t know much about this so will leave your review on it as is.

    St. Clair Streetcar extension to Jane: Can’t see how this could possibly be physically done as St. Clair is too narrow only if it is moved north and runs along the hydro right of way north of St. Clair then it could go all the way to Scarlett rd. and loop there. Otherwise forget it. Saving if it is not done $102M.

    All the BRT’s: I have to agree with you that these have been cherry picked so just increasing existing bus services as per the Transit City Bus plan should be fine here and on other routes.

    All the Express lines: Yeah I agree it is the wooliest part of the whole announcement, improving Go service here eliminates these, saves $6.9B for Scarborough and $1.5B for the western branch.

    So let’s add up the savings here and we get: approx. 13.323B leaving $16.677B for the plan plus any upgrades to existing bus services. (My math sucks so please excuse any calculation errors.) So the plan now costs only about $17B instead of $30B maybe Ontario and the City could come up for funding for this without the Feds by raising HST, car registration transit tax, transit fare increases, Entertainment tax and the cities property tax and land transfer tax, what do you think? (Of course the approx. $9B applied to the 4 already approved LRT lines won’t be affected.)

    Steve: While I disagree with some of your analysis, we do share a common outlook that OneCity is overpriced based on the inclusion of some dubious projects (your list and mine would differ). More to the point, this is not a zero-sum game where the idea is to drop projects you or I don’t like so that we can spend the “savings” on other projects. It is entirely possible that some of that $30b list is simply not justified, and that the money could be better spent on other transit improvements, or even other public works entirely.


  24. I can’t help come back to this article. The tension between LRT and Subway along the Sheppard corridor fascinates me. Aside from the technical elements of the proposed project there is one subtle underlying political element to this drama that I would like to make explicit. In a democracy the power to govern is given to the group that gets the most votes, and in Toronto municipal wards are structured so that they represent a reasonably equivalent number of people. That is to say that as a jurisdiction grows in population the number of wards grows to adequately represent the growing number of citizens.

    Since subways theoretically attract greater population grow in their immediate vicinity a subway equates itself with growing political power. So the debate regarding subways vs LRTs given the existing political system is not only a debate over where and how to grow a city, but also who’s voice will gain dominance and who will have the political power to define the future of the municipality.

    Steve: Actually, as I never tire of pointing out, a subway station does not necessarily translate to population growth in its immediate vicinity. It is the route that provides service, not the stations, and the route feeds on ridings that in some cases are not even in Toronto. My own home ward 29 has six subway stations in it, although to be fair they are all along the ward boundary. This is also a ward with a low and almost stagnant population. The people who ride this subway line generally originate from well outside of the ward thanks to bus feeder routes and stations to the east. If new subway lines are built infrequently and with widely-spaced stops, this won’t do much for the political influence of the handful of wards they serve.


  25. Steve:

    Actually, as I never tire of pointing out, a subway station does not necessarily translate to population growth in its immediate vicinity.

    Yes, but the key word is NECESSARILY, there is high enough probability that there can be population growth as a result of subway development. Just the possibility of population growth is enough to encourage a power struggle. If you are serious about deploying the correct transit technology to the correct location you have to eliminate this struggle for power form the equation.

    The municipal election process must not only properly represent the majority but it must also protect the minority interests as well. I think it is at least worth the thought to consider a strong mayor system that has a fixed number of municipal wards. The strong mayor can properly represent the majority, and the fixed number of wards can protect the minority. Plus the strong mayor system has proven itself to be very good at pushing projects to completion, something that is sorely needed in Toronto.


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