Gil Penalosa Embraces Bus Rapid Transit

Updated Sept 29/22 at 7pm: A link to and short commentary on the TTCRiders mayoral candidate poll has been added at the end of the article.

Gil Penalosa, the primary challenger to Mayor John Tory’s re-election bid, released a transit platform this week. In place of Light Rapid Transit such as the Finch West line now under construction, Penalosa advocates a network of Bus Rapid Transit under the moniker FastLane.

My reaction, quite simply, was “is that all there is?”

This map ignores large parts of Toronto, and the platform is silent on Penalosa’s view on what might happen with the transit system as a whole. There is an unhappy echo of John Tory’s SmartTrack scheme eight years ago in the amount of empty space on that map.

Notable by their absence are several projects in various states of planning and engineering including many RapidTO corridors, both bus and streetcar, and the Waterfront LRT extensions. These may not figure in Penalosa’s transit view, but any candidate should at least explain where they stand on current planning proposals. Are they deferred? Replaced by an alternative? Dropped? Also missing are planned BRT corridors on Ellesmere and on Dundas West.

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