Second New Streetcar Enroute to Toronto (Updated)

Updated March 25, 2013 at 1:50pm:  The TTC has advised me that 4402 has been unloaded at Hillcrest and is now in the shops for inspection and testing.

Thanks to reader NickL who included a link in a recent comment to a photo of car 4402 on a flatcar coming to Toronto.  The photo is by Eric May on the website.

Car 4401 remains in Thunder Bay as Bombardier’s test car.

What Should Be In The Metrolinx Investment Strategy?

With much talk about “new revenue tools” and debates over the least objectionable way to extract $2-billion or more from taxpayers in southern Ontario, the actual purpose of the Metrolinx “Investment Strategy” has faded into the background.  Somehow the act of collecting all that money has become more important than figuring out what, exactly, we are going to do with it.

But, you say, don’t we have the Quick Wins?  The Big Seven?  The Second Wave?  Shovels are in the ground and all we need is the will to spend!

Things are not quite that simple.

What we do not have is a clear sense of what we will achieve and when we will achieve it.  In 2008 Metrolinx produced The Big Move, our regional transportation plan with two very broad objectives — a 15 and a 25 year plan.  Demand projections, including a vision of what traffic and transit might look like, only considered the fully-built 25-year plan, something we already know will not be finished (if ever) within the projected time span.

Some projects received a “Benefits Case Analysis”, but these studies considered each line in isolation rather than looking at what subsets of the whole plan would contribute to the network.  Indeed, the biggest “benefit” of many lines would be the money spent to build them, not their contribution to transit overall.  This would follow the tradition of transit projects in the GTHA as economic and job stimulus packages first, with transportation improvements as an afterthought.

An “Investment Strategy” is not simply a matter of figuring out where new revenues might be found, but of recommending the best way to use them, to “invest” in the future of the region. Continue reading

Kingston Road Construction News

The City of Toronto has issued a preliminary notice of the reconstruction of Kingston Road from Queen Street to Victoria Park Avenue.  This work will take place starting in June 2013 through to December and will include replacement of all the streetcar track.

This is the last major piece of track in regular service to be rebuilt to new standards introduced almost 20 years ago.  (Downtown tracks on Victoria, York, Richmond and Wellington will be replaced over the 2013 and 2014 construction seasons.)