#CodeRedTO prepares to fight for a rational transit plan
One of the chief reasons that the Doug Ford-led plan to take control of the Port Lands redevelopment was ultimately voted down in council was the work of the quickly formed community activist group #CodeBlueTO. Composed of concerned citizens and urban experts, it rallied to inform both councillors and the city at large that Waterfront Toronto's plans for the area were both rational and viable, ultimately proving that Ferris wheels and monorails were less seductive than the mayor's brother might have thought.
Given the success of that campaign, which resulted in what many have argued was Rob Ford's most significant loss on council as mayor, a similar campaign, aptly titled #CodeRedTO, is being put together in an effort to secure "a rational, affordable, and achievable rapid transit strategy for Toronto." Currently at a preliminary stage of development, the group, which is headed by #CodeBlueTO organizer and transit planner Laurence Lui, is looking to shore up its precise mission statement via online feedback.
As to where it's headed, NOW's Ben Spurr put together a good article on #CodeRedTO's mandate and goals earlier this week:
"Code Red is still in its infancy, but will likely mimic Blue's tactics: social media conversations (under the hashtag #CodeRedTO) will bring together experts and interested parties, first online, then in public meetings. Meanwhile, a marketing-savvy education campaign and petition blitz will spread the word to the public and council.
Lui hopes Code Red, like his earlier effort, will be an umbrella organization, bringing together pro-Transit City groups like the Toronto Environmental Alliance, the Rocket Riders and the newly launched Save Transit City website."
The ability to bring together various interest groups proved a boon for #CodeBlueTO, and it may very well be effective in some capacity again. There's no doubt that the Fords will fight tooth and nail to preserve their vision of transit in this city, but depending on how Gordon Chong's February report to the executive committee on funding prospects for the Sheppard subway extension goes, there could be a huge opportunity to put pressure on city councillors to rethink the direction that transit planning has taken over the last year or so in Toronto.