Today, December 29, 2014, is the tenth birthday of the name “Transit City”.
No, this was not an early version of David Miller’s LRT network (still two years away), but rather an attempt by the TTC to show what might be done with surface transit improvements. I had an advance copy of the proposal for comment, and a request for a name that could give it some presence. Something better than “Expansion of Bus and Streetcar Rapid Transit” by which it would appear on the January 2005 agenda.
In a somewhat fanciful, stream of conscience email, I wrote back:
Hmmm … “Better Late Than Never” would be a good description for some TTC services, not to mention for a plan that we could actually achieve rather than endlessly debating.
[…] it is important that we somehow emphasize that this is something we really can do, and can do in a reasonable timeframe at a cost we might be able to afford. Also, we have to tie this in with the idea that Toronto is growing through transit to support the OP [Official Plan].
As a sidebar, somewhere the plan has to acknowledge that the TTC is NOT the only game in town, and that some of the growth will be handled by other systems, notably GO Transit. What is vital is that we do not repeat the errors of “Network 2001” which planned for lots of growth but ignored the potential contribution of commuter rail. That’s where the so-called justifications came from for the Sheppard Subway and for the scheme to massively expand Bloor-Yonge station.
Somewhere, we have to say that we should not try to handle all of the regional demand on the subway, and that this approach will leave resources (and subway capacity) free to handle comparatively-speaking local demand.
The LRT (or whatever) study needs to acknowledge this context — that it is NOT trying to be a mega solution to all transportation problems of the 416 and 905, but that it is trying to address the growth of population on The Avenues, and more generally in a built form that is not suitable for a network of subway lines.
Alas “Wheels to the Future” has already been used by the TTC over 60 years ago, and some bright spark might point out that hovercraft and maglev trains do not use wheels for propulsion — we want to give no indication that this study may be biased to one particular mode, after all.
“Transit for the Avenues” or “Transit Avenues” only makes sense if you know about the OP and the special meaning it assigns to that word.
“Network 2011” has been used before, and we really need to get a shovel into the ground sooner than that anyhow.
Hmmm … I have just had a brainwave along another, er, avenue …
“Toronto, A Transit City” is generic and it shows the focus we want for overall growth using transit (be it on the Avenues or elsewhere). It’s also broad enough to embrace a larger scheme of studies … “Toronto: Building a Transit City” … which would probably come to be shortened in general parlance as the “Transit City” plan …
The presentation duly appeared on January 12, 2005, and it makes interesting reading, if only for a very different view of where transit was headed 10 years ago. The report is no longer available on the TTC’s website, but thanks to Transit Toronto, it is still online.
Happy birthday Transit City! Thank for your years of dedication Steve. There have been innumerable obstacles and setbacks but I still believe we are on track to building a transit city – albeit maybe a little behind schedule. This success owes a lot to the consistency, integrity, and advocacy of activists like you and the community of readers and commenters on this site.
I wish the term Transit City could come back into use. It is a powerful concept and a good description of the type of city I want to live in.
Noticed that the St. Clair streetcar extension to at least Runnymede was mentioned. No action has been done on it since 2005.
The report shows that the planning was and is being done, but the actually implementation is very slow in coming. In some cases, delayed, ignored, cancelled, or hopefully just altered.
Steve: The Runnymede extension evolved into a Jane extension as part of Transit City. Now that the suburban LRT network, whatever is built of it, will be standard gauge, the impetus for linking to the existing net via St. Clair has evaporated, even if these projects were back on the table.
This 2005 document is VERY disheartening as it shows how very little that was planned then has happened or even been started. Brendan, above, is being too kind when he says “I still believe we are on track to building a transit city – albeit maybe a little behind schedule.” 2005 is given as year for Waterfront “Transit First” and 2006 for an “operational study” on King Street. The later MAY be underway but no sign of the former nor many of the other ideas never really ‘died’ they just faded away. Sad!
See that, conservative dissenters? It wasn’t all Miller’s fault. 😉
What’s the status of The Finch West LRT (Line 6) & Sheppard East LRT (Line 7)?
Is it still going ahead after some possible mention of it in the SmartTrack Council meeting?
Steve: There will almost certainly be attempts by some Councillors at the January meeting to kill off these projects in favour of subway replacements. At that point, we will see which way Mayor Tory is leaning and whether he is prepared to completely write off the LRT options. His statements have not been consistent and clear on the subject.
Be nice to them. Some of them are still tied up in knots after spending the last year trying to explain how they were tough on crime while saying that smoking crack cocaine is normal behaviour. 😛
@Nick L, yes but in the coming years they will face the even tougher challenge of reconciling how the transit and traffic problems are not being made worse by the Ford cuts, as they watch Tory struggling to chose between containing costs and actually preventing the city from being in complete gridlock.
Something a small number of dollars and transit first approach to street reconstruction and signal timing might have avoided. Oh and actually allowing bikes safe passage where bike lanes reasonably fit.
I think what irks Steve more than anything else about this document is that none of the white blocks (policy) on the third slide was implemented and we spent a good decade talking about the red (the capital intensive stuff) and let the budget decide the yellow stuff (the modest investment). The white blocks dominate the transportation plan and no one from city council wants to really discuss and finalize how to implement and enforce those policies (except for land planning, but that is another issue in of itself).
Steve: A lot of things irk me about that document, but the main one is that we have yet to see a hard hitting presentation of budget options. If you want this kind of service, here’s what it will cost. TTC management, including Byford, have been far too quiet about this sort of thing and played the game of “making efficiencies” in order to balance the books. In fact, for a few years, this trick was achieved by the way the city budget works — on a budget to budget basis, not actual to actual. When the TTC ran a “surplus” because of stronger than expected ridership without accompanying service increases, they had to give back the current year money as per city policy. But the starting point for the following year was the previous budget number, not the lower actual value. For a few years running, they started out ahead of the game, and “efficiencies” had nothing to do with their ability to make some improvements.
I am not sure that even Andy Byford understands this. Certainly it slipped completely by the budget hawks at City Council.
When watching the upcoming dysfunctional technology debate, here are the three key facts to keep in mind.
1. LRT typically costs $35-40 million per km.
2. Subway typically costs $250-300 million per km.
3. There is only one proposed subway line, the Relief Line, that has reasonably projected passenger volumes that are above LRT capacity.
Cost source at page 7 (subway) and 10 (LRT).
Those three facts enable one to puncture most of the bloviating that is about to begin.
Disclaimer: Unusual geology, putting LRT underground or other non-typical situations may result in deviations from typical costs.
Steve: You are trying to confuse politicians with facts. This marks you as a dangerous intellectual, latte sipper!
There needs to be an effort to get out in front of this — specifically with regards to what the effects of having another orphan technology line (Eglinton) if this were to happen. There would need to be a discussion around whether Eglinton needs to be re-designed with regards to gauge and vehicle choice (specifically if we should switch to Toronto gauge and just extend the Flexity order) – not sure if this is possible now that the tunnels are done. This would also have effects on Waterloo etc.
Steve: The Metrolinx cars are an extension of the Flexity order. TTC assigned part of their option for additional cars to Metrolinx. The gauge has little to do with it, but a big issue with the “city” cars is that they are single-ended and would not work on a line whose stations are designed with centre platforms in the tunnel, side platforms on street.
@Steve, the major thing with killing the LRT projects for subway, is that it in effect kills any real hope for substantial wide spread rapid transit improvement. I would be far less nervous if it was a danger of LRT being replaced by BRT, as at least there you could broader coverage and would have a fighting chance of converting to LRT if required.
Steve: The problem with a BRT plan is that it will require the same taking of roadway space on Sheppard East as an LRT (probably more), and this will not be accepted by the subway advocates. Moreover, BRT cannot go underground easily, and this makes for limitations such as a BRT route into Don Mills Station. Very quickly, the plan would evolve to a subway extension to, say, Victoria Park, and that opens a big can of worms.
@Steve, in the case of Sheppard, I suspect we are at the very high end of BRT anyway, and yes you could not have a cross platform transfer (which in my mind is highly desirable). The problem I have with subway is, well frankly it cost too much to build and operate and further drains away hope for meaningful service being spread far enough..sigh. I am all for LRT, all the way out through Morningside, especially given ridership on that bus being nearly as high as Sheppard. I just wish we would develop a decent rapid transit grid with appropriate capacity.
I think the only “original” transit city LRT routes that could have potentially been downgraded to BRT and remained successful would be Finch West and Jane. Don Mills is too concentrated and demand would stay at LRT territory thanks to the growing density at the main intersections and redevelopment at Eglinton. Finch West and Jane have many branches (friendlier for an Open BRT system) and do not really have multiple trip generators along the line or great potential for new density.
This reminds me of my ongoing lament about the separation of Transit City into bus and LRT.
(Continued from previous, hastily posted comment)
I often wonder if some of these Transit City corridors that were pushed off into the future by McGuinty’s funding cuts might be in place today if they had been part of one broad yet flexible ridership growth strategy that would have allowed plans to be regraded (eg from LRT to BRT or Quality Bus) according to funding, while still improving service for current and potential riders.
The TTC is showing that they want to build up the system incrementally by adding Artic buses, more express routes etc but they need capital to offer some form of rapid transit.
I think part of the solution is for TTC to build upon their proposed express bus network here and here by creating a complete parallel “Rocket” network of buses running on main corridors and then regrade to BRT or LRT as appropriate.
This is of course similar to what other cities are doing (Metro Rapid in LA, the fast buses in New York, and even the MiExpress/Zum/iXpress/Viva/PULSE/A-B-Line services in the GTHA) but it would of course be applied in a way that is unique to Toronto’s needs.
Steve: The real problem was the loss of David Miller as mayor and the momentum he would have brought to keeping as much of Transit City alive as possible even with the cuts. Rob Ford was a godsend to McGuinty because he could walk away from Transit City and be sure there would be no actual spending on anything beyond studies for years.
As for BRT, I repeat my point that the real battle is to get road space. What runs on it really doesn’t matter to those who oppose the shift in auto:transit balance in capacity. On that basis, I think that BRT proposals would have been a red herring, or worse could lead to us never getting beyond BRT.
Even though those numbers come from a Metrolinx paper, they both appear to be too low. LRT may cost $35-40 million per km, for track construction only. But the total projected cost of Finch LRT came to $120 million per km, when the vehicles and the car yard are included. For Sheppard LRT, the estimate was $75 million per km assuming the 2013 completion date (again, including vehicles and the car yard). If the completion shifts to 2020, the cost will likely be higher.
Spadina subway extension comes at $310 million, but it started long ago and the costs went up since that time. The estimate for the possible Sheppard extension to Vic Park came as high as $500 million per km. For the Scarborough extension, current projection stands at about $465 million per km ($3.5 billion in total, divided by 7.5 km).
@Steve, in terms of BRT vs LRT, I agree in the routes already proposed for LRT, LRT is a better choice, as the numbers in projections come back at a level that is very far short of subway, but high enough to require stations with passing lanes etc (massive width at certain points) for BRT. However, BRT would not need be a permanent error, unlike what expect subway to be, a mortgage that cannot be afforded on a home we can’t sell. In BRT we would have extended platforms and run buses in trios and the groups of four and grumbled while we converted.
Yes BRT would be a mistake, but a nick, not an arterial bleed. I would not council BRT on Sheppard, but subway makes even less sense.
Well if we are spending $325M/km on an LRT line, maybe we should have had second thoughts.
Walter, I’m not sure how 13km of light rail, at a total cost of $1 billion for the line breaks down to $325 million per km but maybe it’s just me.
Steve: Part of that $1b buys a new carhouse, and there’s a rather expensive tunnel to get from Don Mills Station to Consumers Road, not to mention vehicles. It is always dangerous to cite “per km” costs of projects without taking into account special circumstances for each one.
I agree with you. Hence the idea of building a complete express bus network first, then building higher order rapid transit as the data show is needed.
A complete express bus network might have provided a firm level of demand, from which would be clear to all that traffic would flow more smoothly by having transit in the median rather than curb lanes.
As an aside, “No more buses in your way with a right-of-way” should be the slogan on the back of every bus on a corridor that needs higher order rapid transit.
Ideally both BRT and LRT would have been included based on existing & projected demand. More ideally this would have pushed the discussion of mode preference to the margins of the debate. Instead mode preference stayed right in the middle of the discussion and interfered with everything.
I think that Walter was talking about Eglinton LRT, which has a 9-km tunnel. Naturally, Sheppard LRT is going to be much cheaper.
Yes, tunneling pushes up LRT costs. But one critical thing about the Sheppard LRT is that it would have been completed in September 2013 and been running for over a year now. Thank you (NOT!) Rob Ford.
This is another key point of comparison between the LRT and subway technologies. LRT is much faster to build. Compare this to the Scarborough subway extension, currently projected to open in 2023.
Disclaimer again: Unusual geology, bridging or tunneling for LRT may result in longer project times. None of these circumstances apply on Sheppard.
I was under the impression that even the Eglinton, was 19km and budgeted for $5.3b (although 2010$). I believe that would be just under $280m /km, and clearly the lion’s share of that is for the underground portion. Has the cost risen, or is the $325m just an inflation adjustment.
I would be very interested to know the relative cost of building the underground portion to subway, and the costs of operation. I would assume (hope) that operating the LRT would be notably cheaper. Also, how close is the actual cost of construction to that of subway? Clearly it will be hugely out of line with the general cost of LRT, but will it be 2/3 of subway or closer to 7/8?
If the cost of tunneling is only around $100m/km and the cost of track and power only $50m/km more are there more areas where placing a much smaller portion of an LRT underground would make sense to allow an entire line to be built?
Steve: A few other points to consider here. First, the Eglinton project also includes the carhouse and shops at Black Creek which will be the major maintenance facility (equivalent to Hillcrest) for the LRT network. That’s probably somewhere in the $400-500m range and is a fixed cost as the “first carhouse” in the system. Thanks to the cancellation/deferral of other lines, it is unclear how much will have to be duplicated at other carhouses because they won’t have a direct track connection (e.g. Sheppard Conlins Road won’t have a link via the SLRT). Next, the stations are extremely expensive because the line is quite deep in places. That’s a side effect both of deep bore tunneling, and of the fact that Eglinton is a major utility corridor across the city. Building near the surface (even if cut-and-cover construction were politically acceptable) would be very disruptive. Also, the rolling terrain of Eglinton would require some quite deep sections anyhow to avoid the hills (e.g. between Bathurst and Chaplin). There is no part of the current underground section (Black Creek to Brentcliffe) that could be shifted to the surface without a major disruption of the surrounding areas because of the limited street width.
Remember that once upon a time, Eglinton was going to stretch all the way from the airport east to Kingston Road, and the whole purpose of using LRT was to keep the cost of expansion beyond that central tunnel at an affordable level.
I really hope, that the we can get back to a political position where we can honestly say that the “purpose is” not “purpose was”.
Also in terms of the discussion surrounding the cost of the car house etc, I would strongly agree that the way this is being approached, and the attempts at pushing out the process, and arguing about whether it should be LRT, is also needlessly pushing up the cost, and reducing the service levels that might be delivered. Other than Jane (due to the difficulty of construction) and the southern portion of the Don Mills LRT (same issue) I am not convinced that any of the LRT projects should have been substantially changed from Transit City.
If underground LRT were to prove to be significantly cheaper than subway, I could even see supporting LRT in the DRL to Eglinton. However, it would need to be significantly cheaper, so as to allow an additional alignment when the ridership arose (which is expected to be very shortly after completion). If the cost is 90+%, virtually of it needs to be underground, and the costs of operating underground LRT in the 18k++ capacity range are the same as subway, then given the ridership forecasts, I would think subway is the way to go.
This line, needs to be driven based on the cost of delivery of appropriate capacity and service levels, just like on every other line. If there is not a significant saving building LRT, and the ridership is already projected to be in the subway range within the decade, then why would we not build subway.
The hard part is that we keep committing to build subway in areas where the ridership is not now, nor will it be anytime within decades in the subway range, and yet these projects are built to the heaviest standard, and where we are already out of capacity, we cannot bring ourselves to deal with it. If there was a viable surface alignment that intercepted the Crosstown, the Bloor Danforth and ran to the core, I would support the construction of this as LRT.
There is however, no such boulevard, abandoned rail line (that can actually reach Danforth), or reasonable linear park. The vertical height from the floor of the Don Valley, is too great a challenge to reasonably link there the Danforth Line with the core. What is especially galling however, is that the DRL is required to secure access to the core for those who appear to oppose it.
The people who have first crack in practice at the Yonge line are those already on the train. The further north on Yonge you board the easier it is to get on, and ride through. At St Clair or Summerhill it will be easier to board, than at Rosedale, and at Rosedale it will be much easier to board than Bloor, especially as you can pick your spot from a relatively empty platform. South of Bloor, to a great extent, well you likely do not live on Yonge, and even if you did hell you could and probably would (do) walk to work or are riding the streetcar anyway. So the DRL should really be called the Crosstown and Danforth to core (or work) line. It has precious little to do with downtown residents really.
They want and need a couple of LRT lines, that would be well received.
I personally like the “Getting to Downtown Relief Line” as a name. One way or another, the prospect of the fabled “Queen Subway” (or equivalent) heading west from downtown is remote. It would be far, far cheaper – and faster – to focus on real, tangible improvements to the King and Queen cars.
Josh, perfect, like that name, and it is much more realistic, and if we could actually get that name to stick, it might maybe just reframe the debate.
I think he has it backwards. Underground LRT is more expensive than subway because the tunnel diameter needs to be larger due to the overhead power. With bigger tunnel, they require more concrete for the tunnel liners, more dirt to haul away and deeper excavations for stations to keep the soil cover above the station. True that LRT may have shorter stations, but the same is also true of subway. LRT can handle tighter turns, so there could be potential savings due to that, but that does not apply for Eglinton.
Besides curve radius, LRT can be cheaper than subway because it can handle steeper grades. On hilly Eglinton, this may counteract some of the extra costs by allowing the line to more closely follow the terrain, leading to a bit less excavation at a few stations.
The ability to handle grades depends on the number of powered axles to unpowered. The new street cars have all axles powered so they can handle the 8% grades while pushing another car. The Eglinton LRTs will probably have the centre truck unpowered as they will limit the maximum grade in the system to under 5%. The rocket cars have the two end trucks unpowered while the rest are powered. Since they have ac motors which have better traction ability than DC motors they do not need to power all axles but they still are powering more than most other new systems because of the hills on Yonge. New systems with limited grades and AC motors only power 1/2 to 2/3 of the axles. This saves money on parts and maintenance.
@Malcolm: Walter has it right when he says LRT tunnels need to be a larger diameter to accommodate the overhead. Since a DRL will need to be grade separated south of Eglinton there is no reason to build it to LRT dimensions when the tunnelling would probably be cheaper for the larger cars of subway; granted stations might be more expensive. The projected load would soon be at the capacity of LRT so there would be no justification to build it as LRT rather than HRT.
Before the fanatics of the Scarborough Subway crucify me please realize that this line would not be much aid to residents of the downtown but would aid people from the suburbs trying to get downtown. The Scarborough extension, like the one to Vaughan, would be nowhere near the capacity of a subway. Aside from appeasing people’s egos and sense of entitlement there is no justification for either. If we continue to build only subways in bored tunnels then Toronto will never have a decent transit network.
The one thing Tory got right with smart track is that it is cheaper to build on the surface where possible than to use tunnels. Unfortunately Transport Canada rules, and capacity limits at Union Station, will probably limit service on his lines to 10 minute headways.
Steve: What Tory got wrong was the assumption about what he could do on Eglinton West thanks to the fact that the people behind his plan didn’t bother to actually look at where the line would run.
I have kind of thought that the costs would be very similar, as station, and electrical costs seem to be higher in subway than LRT (hence my comment “if they were to prove”)
Robert, I would note, that if we were to agree to build LRT, it might suddenly politically have a chance to get going, and then the Scarborough riders would likely demand it be converted to subway, when they concluded that it was their subway we were really talking about, and all would be good.
What I struggle with (as you appear to) is that people will argue for a Scarborough extension as it will increase ridership, and improve conditions in Scarborough through better access to the high income jobs in the core. However, they will then argue against a line, required in order to sustain that access should the ridership on the Danforth and Yonge lines continue to grow.
Given that I am rarely on that particular part of Eglinton, and was still aware of the issue (hence asking a question the day I saw the proposal) makes me wonder if he was in fact fully aware, and chose to fudge the issue. At this juncture given how thin the information provided by the campaign was, it was noted and ignored.
I suspect if he can get an LRT on Eglinton or RER past the airport at 15 minutes or better, he would say he met the essence of his promise for that part of the line, and we would be hard pressed to say that was not true. If he gets both, well, hard to argue no?
I continue to believe, that Smarttrack is nothing beyond a simple political plan, that now needs a transit plan to go with it (hence paying the consultant to convert it into an actual proposal).
Steve: The problem is that the “consultant” has a vested interest in pushing SmartTrack if only to preserve his own credibility. I’m still waiting to hear who the supposedly independent 3rd party will be to do the “peer review”.
As will I.
I would strongly prefer that this change firms even now, so that there is less internal pressure to press forward. I am hoping that they (Tory and/or the consultant) will be wise enough to not keep digging, as I am fairly certain at some point this particular political hole will be deep enough to be deadly, if flexibility is not shown soon.
Yes that was a major blunder as was their idea of running sub 2 minute headways through Union but at least they are forcing a look at something other than a bored tunnel subway. My only hope is that, somehow, Tory forces the feds and Transport Canada to take another look at their antiquated rules and allow for a more rapid transit style operation on some of the rail lines. CN only really needs the ability to use one track, sometimes, on the Lakeshore, Weston and Bala subs. If the reformatories in Ottawa can be sweet talked by an Ontario Conservative, albeit probably a red Tory, into changing those rules then some good may come of SmartTrack. Please not that I am NOT holding my breath.
I don’t know if you are talking about the DRL or the Scarborough extension but the DRL would soon surpass the capabilities of LRT and since the line would need to be fully grade separated from Don Mills and Eglinton south and west why bother. One thing that maybe, just maybe, should be looked at is building rapid transit lines under the railway lines of the Lakeshore and part of the Uxbridge subs. It would probably be cheaper and easier to do than under roads and, if station locations were chosen properly, would not cause as much disruption to traffic. I am not expecting any sane decisions to come about any time soon as all the fringe groups have their knives out.
Steve: “Not too much disruption”? Station construction should be lots of fun.
Surprisingly, paid consultants are sometimes less informed than interested members of the general public.
However, I would not be overly concerned about that Eglinton West routing issue. The western segment is not an essential part of SmartTrack plan.
Once they commence the detailed design and hit the hard reality (i.e. the corridor width), they can change the route, or simply terminate SmartTrack Phase I at Mt Dennis. In that configuration, SmartTrack can still be very useful provided that all other major bottlenecks are resolved.
I would be much more concerned about the downtown section, as well as the corridor width issues through East Toronto and at the south end of Uxbridge sub. Those 3 sections are essential (SmartTrack simply cannot work without them), and their limitations can curtail the frequency and capacity of the service.
Moaz: From what I was told back in December, the western segment wasn’t even a serious part of the plan and was just thrown in for the sake of the campaign.
How true this is I do not know, but the person who shared this info also said he had emails and meeting records.
And FYI, Royson James has started another series of articles about how transit planning in Toronto bothers him. Maybe if he stopped letting himself be so easily convinced?
Here is Part One.
I was thinking the DRL, and when I said would Scarborough riders would conclude that this was really their subway, I meant as the discussion of loads, station locations, and construction was discussed, so that this subway would never be build as LRT, as the discussion that way would be drowned out by a scream from Scarborough about the fact that we were in effect cutting them and their new subway extension off.
The push to subway would be dramatic, and I suspect the fight would be to get to how many more local stations should be included, as the Scarborough subway lobbyist would be suggesting that it needed only very few say -Eglinton, Thorncliffe (or not and Flemingdon) Park, Danforth, Unilever/Queen, Parliament/Sherbourne and core. Others would be arguing that as long as we are building a subway, there are other locations that need to be served. Still others would be arguing that it needed to go cross core and connect with a service in UPX, that would by-pass Union and offer surface rapid transit option to the entire west side.
I am not suggesting it would actually get to be built as LRT, as by the time the studies were even partway done the wait at Bloor would be 2 and 3 trains consistently at peak.
Please note that I said “as much disruption.” There will always be disruption. It will be interesting to see the level of squealing in Scarborough when station construction begins and major traffic chaos results.
In yesterday’s Star there was another article about all the problems being caused by the TTC and their inability to get track work done in a timely fashion. They mentioned St. Clair and Queens Quay as two other examples of poor TTC management of projects with no mention of the problems caused by other agencies holding things up before the TTC even got access to the road.
Very interesting information; that probably explains why Tory did not respond meaningfully when asked about the physical limitations of the Eglinton corridor during the election campaign.
Anyway, we all know that capacity relief is most urgently needed east of Yonge. In the west, Spadina subway line already works as a relief line (to a certain degree).
SmartTrack connected to Bloor subway and Eglinton LRT in the west will help, too; but we probably can live with SmartTrack not continuing north of Eglinton or west of Mt Dennis, at least in Phase I.
Maybe if we called it Transit Region? Or GTA: Transit Edition (you know, to appeal to the youth).
Steve: I think the whole business of a regional agency is a red herring. This is a thinly disguised call to dismantle the only transit agency we have that actually carries a significant portion of its potential market. Honestly, do we need a Ministerial announcement, several times over, and many photo ops every time one more car is added to the King service or another bus pulls out onto Dufferin?
And you can bet that any new agency would still expect Toronto to cough up a subsidy.
The concern is of course regional integration, and from that perspective, there might be some value to a board, where there was a serious effort at service sharing, cross jurisdictional bus routes etc. While I am not worried about dismantling the TTC so much as I think the TTC’s current problems demonstrate the issues with a very large transit organization that increased size might make worse.
Before this issue is seriously broached, basic route management issues, and the political issues of funding maintenance of the current capital intense portions of the existing transit infrastructure need to be addressed. Merging a whole bunch of agencies will likely only make this harder. However, the aspect of regional routes needs to be addressed. Perhaps have GO run buses in long distance BRTs etc that will actually provide significant service across the jurisdictional boundaries.
Steve: The Metrolinx Board used to have political representation, but Queen’s Park got rid of this claiming that the pols couldn’t work together. In practice, the problem was that the municipal politicians would not always do what Queen’s Park wanted. I would expect the same to happen with any new regional agency.
This is Royson James’ take on the results of the Transportation Tomorrow Survey.
Looking forward to discussing the survey results on a future post.
Is the current Metrolinx Review (the one that brought up the free travel for employees and guests perk just recently) going to include a review of the organization and board structure?
When Metrolinx announced their preferred Transit Funding mix the chair also indicated a need for more regional representation and modification to the board … but I haven’t heard anything since then and it’s now 2 years later.
Steve: I don’t think Queen’s Park has figured out how to make a political board that it controls.