For the benefit of readers and those working on various election campaigns:
Since the municipal campaign began earlier this year, I have been approached by a few candidates and/or by their organizations for my thoughts on transit issues. All of this has been on a pro bono basis. I am not working for any of the campaigns, nor do I intend to take up that role. My aim is to improve the quality and “literacy” of discussions about transit issues. Whether the candidates or their teams agree or incorporate my thoughts is their own matter.
It is far to early in the campaign to even think about endorsements, and if I make any, this will be much closer to voting day when the candidates and their platforms have been tested by several months of campaigns and scrutiny. The readership here is not huge, and the idea that I could sway a significant voting block is laughable. My personal voting preferences will be based on more than just the transit file, but this site is not a place for discussion of issues from municipal portfolios beyond transportation.
As transit issues develop in the campaign, I will write about them here, although I do not intend to rehash the entire Scarborough subway/LRT debate beyond clarifications or challenges to misleading information. Frankly there are more important matters to talk about, and a pro-transit candidate should not make this the sole plank of their platform however they stand on the question.
My door, so to speak, is open to those who want to talk about transit, although I suspect certain candidates won’t be calling.
I’m looking forward to that write – up.
In a write-up about Olivia Chow in this week’s NOW, it was reported that, when enthusing over Light Rail ahead of subway for Scarborough, she gave as her example of LRT, the Vancouver Sky train. I certainly hope someone points out the difference to her and that soon!
Steve: See the next article.
All I have to say to this is that any candidate wanting your advice should review the presentation Jarrett Walker gave in Toronto before consulting you. It encompasses many issues that were talked about during the Rob Ford administration regarding transit. That video should be the starting point for any transit platform. And for future commentators, please steer the discussion away from technology choice. The technology chosen is just the “wrapper”.
P.S. Sorry if I link too much to Jarrett’s blog, but this presentation is just too good to pass up, and is Toronto related.
Steve: I have no problem with links to Jarrett’s material. Although we may disagree on some fine details, the two of us have similar outlooks on what transit should be doing, and it’s nice to see a “professional” bringing that perspective to his many audiences.
Thanks for the disclosure Steve. If the candidates read blogs like yours they would have a better grasp of the issues.
Steve: I have deleted a chunk of this comment related to candidate preference as I do not want to start that sort of debate in this thread.
As a regular reader of your blog, I wish politicians would pay more attention to your views, so I am glad to hear that some are consulting you.
As a voter, it would be enormously helpful if you would consider reviewing the candidates on transit at some point during the campaign, and especially with respect each one’s credibility and record on transit issues. It is all very well for a candidate to say that that he or she wants LRTs and wants to implement a downtown relief line, but are the person’s past actions and positions on transit consistent with what he or she is now saying. Some of the candidates have been out of civic politics for some time, and some of us have not have been paying attention to transit issues for that long.
Transit is important, and I would like to make an informed choice.
Really enjoy your blog Steve – thanks for all your insight and detailed commentary on Toronto transit.
As others have echoed – I’d appreciate your take on each candidate’s platform and record with regard to transit in the upcoming municipal election – as though I do follow the campaign, I’m not an expert on transit and would like to have an expert opinion to fall back on when discussing the various candidates’ platforms.
Steve: I am not going to get into a candidate-by-candidate commentary until much later in the campaign when we actually know what each candidate stands for. I commented on surface operations not because Olivia Chow fixed on that as a target, but because I have always felt that we spent far too much time (and money) on the rapid transit debates while people riding streetcars and buses are left behind. I have been writing about this since long before Chow became a mayoral candidate, and I had a hand in both the Ridership Growth Strategy and Transit City as an advocate and commentator.