The Ontario government has announced that it will fund 100% of the proposed Hurontario-Main LRT line, although they would happily receive contributions from other partners such as the Federal government should it be so inclined.
If the Hurontario-Main project proceeds as expected, detailed design will get underway soon, construction will begin in 2018, and revenue service would start in 2022. Whether there might be staging options for the route would likely come out of the detailed design work. The line has its challenges and intriguing design choices including side-of-the-road running and mixed streetcar-like operation where road space is scarce. Will the province champion this project over local objections, or does this line face years of carping about the “St. Clair disaster” and other fictional effects of LRT?
The Transit Project Assessment for this route was approved in August 2014, but the debate remained on who would pay the estimated $1.6-billion cost. Ontario is already funding 100% of the Eglinton-Crosstown project in Toronto, and a chorus of “me too” understandably arose in Mississauga and Brampton.
A provincial commitment at this level raises obvious questions about and comparisons to the stillborn Toronto projects on Sheppard, Finch and the Scarborough RT replacement. These lines are all but dead thanks to a lack of provincial leadership on LRT not to mention the vote-buying embrace of the Scarborough subway option. If that subway proves too rich for Toronto (or for an increased provincial contribution), the LRT scheme might reappear, but that’s a very long shot. As for Finch West, as an isolated route it could have trouble finding a political market unless it is extended beyond the originally proposed Humber College terminal.
Another obvious question is the future of LRT proposals elsewhere that have only partial provincial funding, or no money at all. Has 100% provincial funding become the new standard and goal for transit expansion in the GTHA? How will this affect planning for other routes, not to mention the substantial demands for better local transit operations to feed expanding regional networks? Queen’s Park still appears to be making up policy as it goes along, and refusing to engage in the larger question of how all of the transit we need will be paid for.
I did not say this, Steve did, If you are going to attack someone for what they said then attack the right person. Perhaps you do not understand the system where Steve’s replies are in dark italics and quotes are in light italics. Having said that I agree with Steve on his reply.
An air conditioner is a heat pump. Whether to expel the waste heat into the air, the ground or use running water to remove the excess heat it is an expense that must be met. Perhaps in the winter we could use the heat to warm up the transit shelters. Whichever system is used it has both a capital, operating and maintenance costs.
Nice, France has two segments that run with no overhead and I believe that they use onboard batteries for those segments. Since I was riding in November neither heating or air conditioning was needed.
Steve, I would agree, also at some point even those beyond the city of Toronto, will question the logic of why their provincial and federal tax dollars are going to pay for a system expansion that is grossly out of keeping with the capacity required. Yes, I think that there should be a full and complete plan, and yes I think it should be built as an example, but the current subway or the highway approach, is going to drive an awful lot of people to believe that regardless of what we suggest they will not be happy, and then we will have to deal with the issue of subway on Sheppard West and then ….
Basically lots of people opted for a backyard over subway, that is a very real choice. It means they are using more roads, sewers, bus, snow clearing…..
The ignorance of this is simply staggering. Do you really think there are five plus Scarborough General clones on the same block in downtown Toronto?
Many of these hospitals are primarily research or ongoing treatment facilities. They are not (with some exceptions, of course) emergency treatment facilities. If you are stabbed or hit by a car in Scarborough, they will not rush you to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment. But, if you have a terrible affliction (like cancer) and need ongoing specialized treatment from one of these leading hospitals and you live in Mississauga or Hamilton or Vaughan, it’s much easier to take transit into the downtown core than fringes of Scarborough. If you want to serve the whole region, that’s where you need to be.
Even more importantly, if you’re going to have leading research and ongoing treatment facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, it makes vastly more sense to put them in downtown Toronto for a variety of reasons. Notably, the hospitals in the University and College area (I assume that’s what you meant) are a part of the University Health Network – meaning they work directly with the University of Toronto on medical research and are responsible for many medical breakthroughs. You couldn’t have that if they weren’t there. That’s also important for attracting leading experts to work in these hospitals – they often don’t want to work in remote suburban locales which will hinder their research.
Steve: It is worth noting that the downtown hospitals have been “downtown” for a very long time. TGH has been on College Street since 1913, but its history goes back to 1819. Sick Children’s dates from 1875, and by 1891 was just east of the present-day TGH at Elizabeth originally in a building now occupied by the Canadian Blood Service. It moved to University Avenue in the 50s. Women’s College goes back to 1883. St. Mike’s dates from 1892 down at Queen and Bond. The Western has always been near Bathurst and Dundas (since 1905). Mount Sinai was originally in Yorkville (1923) and moved to University Avenue in the 50s. Princess Margaret was founded in 1952 on Sherbourne Street and later moved to University Avenue.
Even during the 50s when “hospital row” really came into its own, Scarborough was still largely farmland, as was much of the land outside of the then City of Toronto. Any claim that the concentration of hospitals downtown is somehow a plot to deprive the suburbs is complete crap.
If we are talking about hospitals downtown maybe it is time for Scarborough to return Grace Hospital back to downtown Toronto. (just kidding) Not all moves are into the downtown but as Colin said there is a very strong reason for having those hospitals around the University of Toronto.
First, Ontario uses 0% coal-powered electricity generation. Second, for the last 50 years, non-carbon electricity generation has been a majority of Ontario electricity, so even at 26% coal or 45% Natural Gas it is still cleaner than diesel.
What project are you talking about defunding? Eglinton Crosstown LRT? Yonge Signal Upgrades? Metrolinx RER? For many years the TTC has been focused on the Stage of Good Repair and a few pet mega-projects, but few if any are solely
within pre-amalgamation Toronto.
As for hospitals, there are a few legacy hopitals and a few speciality hospitals, but otherwise they were built where there was demand. Scarborough and Durham were looking at the Rouge Valley merger because both were under utilized by a sparser population.
You do remember that the subway money came by defunding the LRT plan, right?
Yes, Joe, John, and James would all prefer nothing over a good plan. Mississauga wants a network instead of just a north-south backbone as well, but they are willing to take one step at a time to walk a mile.
So only people who live in Scarborough are capacity of understanding the area, but you completely understand the Mississauga/Brampton dynamic and they don’t deserve better than “sub par LRT”?
When I said I lived in Scarborough and didn’t support the SSE, I was accused of lying to support the downtown cabal.
This thread is a great example of why I think your optimism about an informed electorate is unrealistic. People become fixated with an idea and will ignore facts in favour of emotions.
I know but my comment was meant to show that electricity is not necessarily green unless its source is also green. A lot of people never consider that part. Ontario also buys power from dirty US plants periodically that do contribute green house gases. And finally there is that never ending question about where we will store our nuclear wastes. I just wanted people to think about the entire supply change for all energy sources. Even so electricity is usually cleaner.
I would agree, however, on the other side, look at all the informed opinion that is being expressed, and at how many people would vote the other way. The real issue in my mind now is single issue voters. There are far too many that will throw their support emotionally on a single issue. By the way I am not so much optimistic, as believing that ultimately, an electorate that more broadly chooses an adult approach is the only real hope. The politicians cannot be expected to fix things, as whenever there is one that appears to actually be reasonable and balanced they either fail to win — or change their positions in order to get in. I would remind all that Tory supported the DRL (and looked well on his way to having to drop out) before he switched to Smart Track, and Chow lost ground when she tried to bring the discussions away from grand emotional visions to what was needed could in fact be done. I have hope because the portion of an electorate that has the deciding (swing vote) with a modicum of maturity is required for the system to really work, both in the case of transit, and elsewhere. I maintain in the end it was the voter that is really responsible for the current mess (where Tory stood at the start made more sense transit wise, but less electorally).
Also Robert one must consider that North America, and certainly eastern North America are essentially one power grid. So we must not only consider where our power comes from, when we consume it, but if we must also consider the impact of reducing sales (when we are in a surplus) and what the alternate source of power is for that buyer. The question needs always be: For the grid as a whole, who is the marginal producer? If that marginal producer is an coal fired power plant that has no scrubbers, then the increase in consumption is quite dirty. The old Lambton Generating Station (coal) that was closed down has 2 Edison Electric stations almost directly across the St Clair river, if shutting down one, causes the other 2 to be fired up, or increasing power consumption in Ontario, means they are running, you have not only not gained the advantage of not being coal, you have shifted production to unscrubbed coal plants. I would still argue that on the whole electrical generation is still cleaner, but as electricity flows across the border, and the grid as an entire entity is being balanced, we need to consider the power on a grid wide basis. If massively increasing electrical consumption in Toronto for transit causes the Edison plants to be active, the air in Lambton County at the least will be less clean, and in reality, Essex, Middlesex, heck even in Mississauga and Toronto will suffer because they are active.
Ontario is a net energy exporter, so the whole import/export accounting is a net benefit to the environment. You can think of the offsets as the US holding our clean energy for our own later use.
On the nuclear front, waste is a big issue, and I think we need to be following the Chinese and shifting to Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, safer, cheaper, and less waste.
When dealing with the environment and incentives a lot of things are counter-intuitive. For example, higher fuel-efficency cars have resulted in a net increase in emissions as the cost per kilometer dropped resulted in more additional kilometers driven than the reduction in emissions.
Natural Gas is more emission intensive than gasoline or diesel.
I’d need a very detailed dataset to say for sure, but my instinct is that on average, these groups average out. Only if there are more single issue voters on a particular set of issues for a particular party would there be sufficient to overcome the general trend. Even then, you could cobble together a majority with some policy flexibility by catering to the largest and most politically agreeable of these groups.
You think there is a real hope, so I define that as optimistic. I don’t think we can change the game, only hope for a new player.
I think the swing vote is a mismash of groups and even rational decision makers can have a distorted view between policy and reality. I mostly blame the system and the concept that humans in general are rational and act in their best interests.
Steve: This is further complicated by the mathematics of minority governments and the need for policies that will play well in more than one part of the province. On a national scale, the permutations are a complete mess.
Exactly! Ontario may have gotten rid of relatively modern plants so we have to buy peak power from dirty US plants. In 2010 I took my boat down the Illinois river to the Mississippi. The number of old rusty dirty coal fired generating plants was frightening. This is where much of the marginal power is coming from.
Steve: Since we seem to be talking power grids, could those active on this thread address the effect of planned connections and power to/from Quebec?
I would suspect that given Quebec insists on continuing to expand its Hydro generating capacity beyond local demand, that it would offer the possibility of further taking the nastiest coal plants off line. However, I would be interested to see the impacts of the locations of the expansions in generating capacity Quebec is looking at. When one wants to discuss LRT vs BRT, EMU vs DMU or diesel locomotive vs electric for transit, in terms of the environment. I find it frustrating when people argue to make a project prohibitive, when they insist it needs to be electrified for minimal impact, but when there is a large usage, and the capital costs are justified by the extensive usage, (and it does not bump out other worthy projects) it makes an interesting point. Certainly from a NIMBY perspective, I would rather have an electric 2 car LRT every 3 minutes running down the next road, than a diesel bus every 30 seconds.
Quebec is much greener than Ontario. They run 96% hydro, 2% nuclear, 1% wind, 0.8% biomass, and 0.2% geothermal.
The question is if electricity generation is a positive or negative net value. If it’s positive, then Ontario is missing out on income (especially with a majority sale in HydroOne). If it’s negative, then Quebec is underwriting our costs and it’s all for the good of all (environmentally speaking).
It looks like I got to this discussion late, but I just wanted to let the group know that tonight I will be moderating a panel that will discuss the impact of the Hurontario-Main LRT on Mississauga, and how it will cause “transformation”/be “transformational” (quoted words from the funding announcement).
As for the LRT itself, there are a few interesting details that ought to be mentioned.
First, the Maintenance facility will be located between Hurontario St and Kennedy Road, just south of the 407. The entrance will be at Kennedy Road. With the 407 Transitway, MiWay and BramptonTransit services nearby, people could potentially take transit to the facility … a nice plus in the suburbs.
Second, the line will likely be staged. I see the first stage running (at least) from Brampton Gateway at Steeles & Hurontario (or Shopper’s World), to Mississauga City Centre Transit Terminal on Rathburn Road just west of Hurontario (or Square One). The second stage would extend down to the Queensway, and the 3rd stages would extend the line to Brampton and Port Credit GO stations.
Third, there is a proposed loop around Mississauga City Centre. I have no comment on the loop through Mississauga City Centre, except to say that one proposal was to have 2 services that would run around the loop and head north or south. This might make sense from an engineering and service point of view but would be very inconvenient for many passengers who would be stuck with an extra 10 minutes added to their trip.
Fourth, the QEW-Hurontario Interchange is going to be redesigned, with a new span excavated from the east side of Hurontario. This will include new access ramps to QEW West from NB and SB Hurontario, to reduce vehicle conflicts. The LRT will use the existing NB lanes under the existing span.
Anyways … I’ll post more information as I get it.