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Is John Tory's transit plan actually a winner?

Posted by Derek Flack / May 28, 2014

John Tory Transit PlanIt might be perceived as yet another one of John Tory's flip-flops, but the mayoral candidate's new transit plan actually makes a lot of sense for Toronto. While Tory has been talking about a Yonge Relief Line for much of the early campaign only to reveal a plan that's nothing like previously discussed iterations of the DRL, I'm not sure that it matters a whole lot given that the proposal he put forward yesterday seems so much more likely to built in the next decade.

Tory wants to do something that transit enthusiasts often discuss, but which has yet to get a whole lot of serious consideration. Rapid surface rail. Using (mostly existing) rail corridors, his SmartTrack line would run from the airport to to Union Station before heading northeast to Unionville. It's not as sexy as a subway, but with multiple connections with existing and to-be-built TTC infrastructure, one can imagine this plan having a major impact on congestion in the GTA when it's projected to open in 2021 (obviously that date is very ambitious).

John Tory Transit PlanThat said, there are a number if uncertainties that could render the SmartTrack proposal a dud. For one, it relies too heavily on the electrification of existing GO lines, something which isn't necessarily going to happen, particularly if the Tories win the upcoming provincial election. And two, the funding plan is problematic. Tax increment financing sounds good on paper, but in the absence of major number crunching, it's hard to endorse its actual viability for a specific project.

Yes, Tory's plan doesn't do much to improve transit in the GTA right away, but at $8.3 billion for 22 stops, it's a whole lot more realistic and quick to build than some of the other transit plans that have been floated. What do you think? Is John Tory's surface subway likely to get traction with voters?

Discussion

80 Comments

No / May 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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In no scenario is this above ground plan better than a below ground one.

The DRL will end up costing a fraction of this boondoggle.

Half of the stations aren't even in Toronto.
Hamish Grant / May 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm
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I'm a bit concerned about how this will affect the existing traffic on these lines. Whenever GO talks about increasing service, there is significant push-back from CN about the delicate process of threading passenger and freight trains on the same tracks. Adding even more trains to these already well-used lines could cause scheduling problems in addition to people who live near these ROWs freaking out about the volume of trains passing by.
Mw / May 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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Wish this weren't being talked about as an either or proposition. SmartTrack as well as a DRL would be ideal; and I think people would pay if there was some kind of guarantee that money was going to these projects.
poh replying to a comment from No / May 28, 2014 at 01:00 pm
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Based on the termini of the lines that is not true.

I think it's a good plan, particularly because it still allows the planned LRTs to still work rather than negating them. But I don't see the province electrifying those lines and Tory should have released this much earlier.
jameson / May 28, 2014 at 01:00 pm
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Interesting attempt to appeal to the suburbs by Tory.

But it's not really his plan it's sort of up to the province...

Little bit like Horwath saying, why should we do a pension plan the fed's might do it for us.
CJ / May 28, 2014 at 01:02 pm
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To the article author: So I believe the congestion on the Yonge line is largely from the volume of commuters coming from the east. We need the relief line to split some of that volume. Adding more stops in the east just adds more ppl to the problem (Yonge line congestion). How in any way is this good?
Moss replying to a comment from No / May 28, 2014 at 01:14 pm
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How, in any universe, will digging an entirely new subway line directly through the downtown core be less expensive than retrofitting already-existing rail lines for multi-purpose use? This will act as a DRL, as it would drastically reduce ridership on both North-South subway lines during rush hour from East/West commuters who would opt for the much faster SmartTrack to Union.

The problem with a DRL is that we need the relief yesterday, and building a full DRL would take god knows how long. Plus, this doesn't eliminate the possibility of a DRL running East-West along King or Queen St. As density continues to increase, it will certainly be needed eventually. But this can be done quickly and provide relief to tide us over until a DRL is fully funded and constructed.
Lee Side / May 28, 2014 at 01:22 pm
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This is a half-baked "solution" from a Tory. Why not get a line up and running along the midtown CPR tracks? That would help ease the volume mess that is Bloor/Yonge.
Nothing he is proposing will help the condo captives downtown get around. How this city could allow the explosion of new condos downtown without any appropriate transit allowances is beyond me, but I guess it isn't surprising.
The TVO lovefest last night between David Murvish and the city planner showed this thinking in spades: Lets build more condo/offices on King St because it makes for a nice legacy and they will preserve some old warehouses. Not a word on how the fuck the residents will move around in the ever crowded King St corridor.

I am glad I live outside the core. What a mess.
tommy / May 28, 2014 at 01:24 pm
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A few points that don't make sense about this plan:

1. The leftover Richview Expressway Eglinton corridor has already been sold off, so I don't know where Tory plans on building rail lines through Etobicoke. You can thank Ford and council for that mistake.

2. Mount Denis just finished fighting Metrolinx to keep the Eglinton LRT underground at the terminus, now Tory's plan will pretty much rip right through the same area at grade.

3. The Scarborough section duplicates the service that the Scarborough subway (or possibly LRT) handles, lowering ridership and making these projects even less fiscally plausible.
No replying to a comment from CJ / May 28, 2014 at 01:25 pm
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"Adding more stops in the east just adds more ppl to the problem (Yonge line congestion)."

Yes, adding more stops will increase TTC ridership. This is the same with the DRL.

The problem with the DRL is that for people that do not live close to a station will only take it if they are willing to add an extra transfer to their commute.

So maybe a hybrid would be best. Fewer stations on the DRL, helping those just east of Yonge and some iteration of this plan for people east of Pape.

The problem with this is that it would take a station away from a bunch of people. But if these new stations are like Chester, Donlands, Greenwood, etc. I don't think it would be terrible.
Jacob / May 28, 2014 at 01:28 pm
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Hmm... I don't know. Let's wait until 2018 and see what the next bunch of mayoral candidates have to say about it. Or even better, let's wait until 2022 and see what those candidates have to say!
Valentino Assenza / May 28, 2014 at 01:41 pm
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Man, by the time Toronto actually commits to any semblance of a transit plan, chances are we by that time we will be so fed up we will ride each other to work.

I have my issues with Tory, but I gotta give credit where credit is due. This so far is the most definitive transit plan we have from any of the candidates. I think Olivia Chow is great, but before she starts slinging mud she should be able to answer "and what is your transit plan?" Besides this vague "I'll add more buses" thing she has. Ford of course will pound his chest and raise his fist saying "I brought a subway to Scarborough," which on the whole for our city is useless. Stintz says she supports a Downtown Relief Line, but she herself, who was the former TTC Chair who helped cancel Transit City in the blink of an eye, has not come up with an actual transit plan. Socknacki is well spoken, but I have yet to see a transit plan from him, and Sarah Thompson is riding the coat tails of The Big Move, which is chock full of initiatives that have no funding in place.

Tory's plan is cost effective, and the projection is seven years. As a Torontonian who was born here, it would be nice to know that I'd see some evolution to our transit system before I die, rather than the possibliity of dying at a Streetcar stop while waiting for one to arrive.

I'm sure with transit being a major issue within our city, that all candidates are gonna make as sexy a sell as they can with their plan, but this one here is pretty definitive, and it still gives Scarborough their precious three stop subway. I would support a plan like this, so far it's the best that I've seen.
Gabe / May 28, 2014 at 01:54 pm
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This is the best most comprehensive plan we've seen from any of the candidates so far!

I think it is a pretty solid plan, the idea of being able to move people from Mississauga all the way to Markham on one line is a great idea. I think there are a couple of stops that may not be in the actual GTA proper. This opens up the commute options for many people in the downtown core as well as in the suburbs without everyone relying on the limited TTC lines or a car to get around.

Again if we need to look at examples, Boston, London, New York,etc, etc all have lines that run above ground.

Using existing tracks will mean we don't 20-30 years of digging tunnels through the city to retrofit a subway line under all the existing buildings, electrical, sewage lines etc.
iSkyscraper / May 28, 2014 at 01:57 pm
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People like to mix up modes a lot, so let's break this down a bit as to where things would stand under this plan:

Bus - continues to be the backbone of the system. Already great relative to other cities in terms of service frequency, integration into subways, grid system. Would be nice to see some small improvements, but only Chow seems to be talking about them.

Streetcar - will see big changes thanks to the Miller-era order of a new fleet. Only question is if the TTC will botch the rollout and the chance to upgrade operations. Attempts to remove some redundant stops and get payment off-vehicle are a good start but they are on thin ice here. Need a mayor who can get tough on banning left-turns, press TTC for 90-min free transfers, etc. to make the system more usable.

Subway - The Vaughan boondoggle cannot be stopped, turning the subway even more into a commuter tool rather than urban mass transit. The ballyhooed extension of the B-D line out to Scarborough Town Center will further this way of thinking, at great waste. Adding more trunk lines is sorely needed, but too expensive for anyone to deal with -- neither Chow nor Tory talk about it much, because it would never happen during their time in office. Will take Metrolinx taking over the system and lots of cash to get a new trunk line going. i.e. it's not happening. Sad.

LRT - best when used to feed suburban areas into ends of the subway line, but somewhat half-assed in its Miller/provincial implementation (no airport, stub lines, not wide enough stop spacing, etc.). Still, better than nothing, and funded. But political interference may yet torpedo Sheppard, Finch and other needed lines. At least Eglinton LRT will get built and kick some ass in showing what a surface/underground LRT line can really do. In any case no mayor is talking about LRT other than Chow suggesting to put LRT back on the RT route, which is the correct choice but possibly not worth the political firestorm of educating dumb people made dumber by Ford. (Making it a through no-transfer extension of Eglinton would probably resolve the issue, but no one seems to be onto this.)

Interurban Metro - This is what Tory is proposing. A modern update on the old interurban streetcar lines that ran out to the hinterland. They are essentially small commuter trains in the distant parts of the urban region but have some subway-like stops in the core to not just serve one terminal. Recently rediscovered by cities. Best examples are the fucking fantastic London Overground and the no-way-can-we-afford-that Paris RER. Would also count Philly SEPTA, Sydney CityRail and SF BART in this class. The key is how it integrates with the rest of the TTC.

Long-Distance Commuter Rail - aka GO Trains. Long distance, giant trains, trundling from exurban parking lots to Union Station. Hopefully GO will continue to improve but the city has practically no say in what they do so not really a mayoral issue.

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On the whole it's a pretty good idea to introduce an Overground type service to Toronto (along with zoned fares, which Tory is not mentioning but would be required to make this work). It's a different mode and should not supplant the need for more subway, streetcar and bus lines but it certainly can fit between cumbersome and expensive GO and the overburdened, not-really-supposed-to-be-a-commuter-train subway.

The real problem, as always, will be funding, plus combating 4 years of ignorance on transit spread by Ford Nation.


PS - not exactly an entirely new idea. See GO ALT:
http://transit.toronto.on.ca/gotransit/2107.shtml
JP / May 28, 2014 at 01:58 pm
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At this point, after all the transit messes in this city ... as long as a mayoral candidate has a rational plan to bring people in and out of downtown (where most people need to go) I'm OK with it. Whether that's the DRL or this, that's fine.

The only thing I don't want to see is either A) No transit being built or B) expensive transit, with huge opportunity cost, being built in places that won't have ridership. Fortunately, the only candidate who really seems to fit into B (and likely A as well) is Ford.
Ian replying to a comment from Valentino Assenza / May 28, 2014 at 02:02 pm
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I agree. While I like Olivia, her plan of increasing bus service by 10% isn't really going to do much and if that's all she's got for a transit plan its not going to win me over OR if its 10% across the whole plan but not on all routes.

How do you increase bus service by 10% on lines that don't even have 10 buses running on them at a time like alot of the bus routes that run from Bloor/Danforth down to Queen/King and back up again? Add an extra bus? Increase or remove stops? Increase the speed limit?
Jules replying to a comment from Valentino Assenza / May 28, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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My issue with all the plans is that they really shouldn't be decided by the Mayor or a Mayoral Candidate but a third party with a long term vision.

All the mayors have a 4 year term none of the work can be achieved in that time so the next mayor comes along and scraps the efforts by the previous mayor and its back and forth and back and forth and none of the plans get executed while the mayor is in office. Just like how like it or not Rob pushed for a Scarborough subway, Chow says if elected she'll scrap the plan. These plans will constantly change and none of the candidates are actual transit or traffic experts.

I'd be impressed if I saw a candidate come out with a plan and said they worked on it with a third party of experts. Otherwise its just personal preference or well I say a mother and baby waiting for a bus so I'm going to increase bus service. Is that's what's needed?

All the candidates are just after the votes none of them will be around to implement any of this.
Wes replying to a comment from Lee Side / May 28, 2014 at 02:14 pm
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Its not about the condo captives downtown. Will get no where if were worried about moving people a few stations over quicker.

This does help the downtown condos and home owners who while are the jobs are moving north of the city and west city actually get useful access to the jobs without a 2-3 hour commute and 6 transfers as it does today.
Valentino Assenza / May 28, 2014 at 02:21 pm
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That's actually a really good point, which is why Stintz will most certainly not get my vote. If she was a TTC chair that actually cared about transit she would not have so carelessly cancelled Transit City. Anything she comes up with at this point in my opinion is a giant farce. She's completely clueless.

And you're right, Tory's plan great as it looks, could fall to another municpal government that disagrees. In addition to having an incompetent "Mayor" we also have an amazingly dysfunctional council (I acknowledge councillors on the left and right in that statement).

In order for a transit plan to fly in this city, there has to be some collective unity, and you may be onto something that if that cannot be found at Council perhaps another governing body needs to take it over.
No replying to a comment from Valentino Assenza / May 28, 2014 at 03:03 pm
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You mentioned the Scarborough Subway is useless, on the whole. I think the same can be said about any small transit development. Unless you have something major like this or the Crosstown, too many people feel left out. It seems like piecemeal construction is incredibly difficult. Unfortunately any plan that satisfies enough silos is extremely complex, expensive, and time consuming.

Kind of a catch 22.
GRBY / May 28, 2014 at 03:20 pm
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Great plan. It's pragmatic and could actually work. I'm voting Tory. Chow just wants to give us more buses, which is gross for air pollution and is annoying to drivers.
hammer1069 replying to a comment from No / May 28, 2014 at 03:33 pm
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Surprise, Toronto Taxpayers aren't paying for the thing themselves. The taxpayers of ONTARIO are. There is provincial money in there. Otherwise raise the mill rate in Toronto to the same levels as everyone else.

NoToZonedFares / May 28, 2014 at 03:35 pm
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This is the best transit plan so far, and it will address even some of Scarboroughs issues too.

"...it relies heavily on electrification...isn't going to happen...if the Torys win..."

Not true. I find that Torys (Conservatives) play nicely with each other (whether it's Rob Ford or John Tory). The challenge will be getting this idea past the old dinosaurs at City Hall. If Stinz and Chow are ticked off about this plan, and they are, that means the clique at City Hall won't approve of this plan either. John Tory will run smack dab into the same wall Ford did while trying to get this idea passed.

"...doesn't do much to improve transit right away..."

Seven years, $8.3B, for 22 rapid stops (if John Tory can pull it off) beats out waiting 17+ years anyday.

jameson > the feds already have plans for a pension plan in addition to the one we already have, making Wynnes pension plan idea redundent.
No replying to a comment from hammer1069 / May 28, 2014 at 03:42 pm
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You do know that Toronto generates a pretty good amount of provincial money. Toronto loses billions of dollars in taxes compared with services received.
Kelly replying to a comment from No / May 28, 2014 at 03:43 pm
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"Half of the stations aren't even in Toronto."

I'm sorry, what? The vast majority of these stations are in Toronto. There are some that aren't, but aren't there commuters coming into the city from those areas? I know several people who commute via Go Transit from Unionville and then transfer to the TTC; this could be much more convenient for them. I fail to see how the few stops that extend beyond Toronto is a problem?

That said, I think an above-ground system is just a temporary fix. As Toronto and the GTA continues to grow, I think a more extensive below-ground system will be necessary. Rather than building an above-ground one and then facing the same problems we have now in the future, why not build an underground subway right now, one that will be able to take on more and more traffic as it becomes more heavily used.
J replying to a comment from No / May 28, 2014 at 03:48 pm
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As far as i can tell, only 14th ave and Unionville are not in Toronto. Scarborough suffers from lack of efficient transportations.Etobicoke might has the same situation (although i'm not entirely sure)
ecoke4lyfe / May 28, 2014 at 03:49 pm
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Does anyone else remember the community group-induced nightmare when the Eglinton Subway was proposed to run along the Richview right-of-way in Etobicoke? The community in the area, which at Islington is mainly high-income, detached homes, was ready to lynch anyone who suggested this above-ground construction. It'll be interesting to see if it happens again.

Also, large parts of the ROW have been sold off, though much of it hasn't been constructed. At Royal York and Eg there was recently a condo and townhomes built, but for the most part, that can be easily circumvented.

The plan looks good, I just hoped that there would be a stop between Liberty Village and Bloor
Jed / May 28, 2014 at 03:49 pm
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I really like this, its more like Paris than London. Where the RER regional trains operate as express routes around the core. Geologically Subways are incredibly expensive projects to do in Toronto, if we were a city on rock like New York or Montreal we could drill and blast tunnels all over, but we are on compacted muds like Chicago, elevated trains are the way to go. You could get this plan in part by just incorporating the existing GO lines into TTC with free transferring and incorporating GO stations into the subway stations at points where they already intersect.
Candice / May 28, 2014 at 03:49 pm
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You know what we have to start somewhere! Also we have to have something in place, that a new mayor can't stop something that is started! ie the subway.. by the old one! That is why we aren't going anywhere!
SJ / May 28, 2014 at 03:51 pm
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Using existing and under-utilized infrastructure is the smartest, cheapest, and all around best way to go about improving Toronto's transit times. I would like every candidate for mayor to take a quick trip to Karlsruhe, Germany, and take a look at how they use the SAME TRAMS on both heavy-gauge rail (between suburbs and downtown) and light rail on urban streets. These trains are dual-voltage, and adapt to different gauges of rail. Toronto's one of the only major North American cities to consider light rail viable, and yet we refuse to look overseas and see how it's done. Using existing right-of-way isn't rocket science, but getting Metrolinx and the TTC to communicate is.
No / May 28, 2014 at 03:56 pm
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Full Disclosure: My first post was in jest. Just a comment on how I think Scarborough is seen my many along the lines of Markham, Mississauga, or Vaughn and less like an Etobicoke or North York (how I see it).

I understand seven of nine of the eastern stations are in Toronto.
Scott replying to a comment from Moss / May 28, 2014 at 04:01 pm
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Nice to see a thoughtful and intelligent comment on here, Moss. You hit the nail on the head.
DL replying to a comment from J / May 28, 2014 at 04:08 pm
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Not condoning or condemning the plan, but a large part of why the Spadina extension was built was because the route extended outside Toronto city limits. That was a big selling point for the provincial government. Could be what Tory's hinting at here, too.
andy / May 28, 2014 at 04:30 pm
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Transit should be eliminated from council's hands and banned as an election platform item. This is such a long process that no elected official will be around to see anything through, so they don't and can't actually commit to an idea completed. We need an appointed board of various backgrounds to oversee our infrastructure. I would vote for a mayor that would implement that (with the provincial government?). We all have ideas, but if we got a body of people who were dedicated to finding the BEST concept and solutions for long term good, as a trusted council, subject to conflict of interest laws, things would actually get done. The current state leaves us in an endless stalemate of no progress.
Moaz Ahmad / May 28, 2014 at 04:35 pm
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I fully agree with what Tommy said above in his comment. The fiscal and political and geographic and physical realities on this corridor make this line impossible to be built as is. Fortunately for Tory there is a very simple solution...instead of one line from Mississauga (Airport Corporate Centre) to Unionville, just extend the Eglinton Crosstown west along Eglinton Avenue to the Airport Corporate Centre. With the money saved by not build the unnecessary, neighbourhood-destroying connection at Mount Dennis, extend the railway corridor portion up to Pearson Airport. Problem solved, money and time (and political backside) saved. The question is whether Tory will admit that his plan has a glaring error at Mount Dennis, or let Chow and Stintz (probably Chow) bring the fight to him?
Alan Haynes / May 28, 2014 at 04:35 pm
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We need to relieve the Yonge line right away and 7 years - can't get much faster than that.
I was already leaning towards Tory but I'm definitely voting for him now.
Moaz Ahmad / May 28, 2014 at 04:37 pm
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Of course if Tory made those changes there would be nothing original about his "SmartTrack" plan because the province and TTC were planning to build those lines anyways.
Moaz Ahmad / May 28, 2014 at 04:40 pm
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The GO Rail Corridor can have 2-way all-day GO service by 2017-18 if Metrolinx steps up. If the funds come the Western extension of the Eglinton Crosstown line could be built and ready to open at the same time as the existing crosstown in 2021. Building a tunnel under Mount Dennis to connect the railway corridor to Eglinton Avenue West is a costly proposal and a political mistake.
Josh replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / May 28, 2014 at 05:19 pm
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So that's a smart move then. He's aligning his or whoever owns his strategy right with the approved support of the province.

Why re-invent what's already approved or receiving funding?

Happy 60th Mr. Tory!
tommy replying to a comment from Josh / May 28, 2014 at 05:33 pm
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He *is* reinventing what's already planned. The Eglinton branch came out of left field. He just drew a line on a map like every other politician for the past decade. Unfortunately he hasn't given us a reason or ridership numbers. We can only vaguely guess, and assume the Etobicoke and Scarborough stops are politically driven.

Since when has ANYONE been talking about running high density transit into the barren wastelands around the airport?!
Tare / May 28, 2014 at 05:42 pm
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Why is the line terminating at a bunch of conference buildings instead of the airport?
SeeingIsBelieving / May 28, 2014 at 06:04 pm
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tommy > "He *is* reinventing..."

If that's true someone should have informed Stinz and Chow, because during yesterdays news conference it appeared to come as a complete shock to the two women.

Josh > Oh thats wild! It's Fords birthday today too. Happy Birthday Mr. Tory and Mr. Ford.
Lisa replying to a comment from Valentino Assenza / May 28, 2014 at 06:41 pm
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For some reason this killed me. I'd laugh if our transit situation wasn't so bad that I really should cry instead.

Josh replying to a comment from tommy / May 28, 2014 at 07:17 pm
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Perfect he supports whats already in the plans, sounds like a winning plan to me!
JimP replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 28, 2014 at 07:33 pm
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Your comment about the Scarborough RT, to make it an extension of the Crosstown, is brilliant. Wonder why no-one has considered it?
Tim / May 28, 2014 at 07:48 pm
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Looks liek we have a winner!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Dave / May 28, 2014 at 07:49 pm
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IF OLIVIA CHOW PROPOSED THIS, ALL YOU TREE HUGGERS WOULD LOVEEEEE IT!

VOTE FOR THE ISSUES. NOT THE PERSON.

VOTE TORY - THE SMARTEST AND MOST SENSIBLE CANDIDATE IN THE CITY!
Dave / May 28, 2014 at 07:51 pm
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Why is Tory even running for mayor? He could have just said, "vote Liberal," since that party is promising GO electrification and 15-minute RER service. Tory's plan is to ask Metrolinx to add a couple of stations and build some extra rail along Eglinton on land the city has already sold off?

And can we talk about the fact that this line provides exactly the same type of service to the same part of Scarborough as the Scarborough subway extension that Tory also supports?

Thanks for playing, John.
Tania replying to a comment from Dave / May 28, 2014 at 08:05 pm
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The thing is city politics shouldn't be aligned to any party. It wasn't always that way in Toronto you know.

City councillors and the mayor don't report higher up to a political party. It should be about the issues not the party, which is why Tory is saying he's not on the left or the right but moving forward. The ideals may align with a particular parties ideals but that's as far as it should go. This is why we vote for members of Parliament of a particular party in our own ridings. The members of Parliament represent us on behalf of their party NOT the councillors or the mayor.
Randal replying to a comment from Dave / May 28, 2014 at 08:10 pm
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So you don't like progress? OK Vote Olivia then she has no transit plan other than increasing buses 10% because she saw a mother an baby waiting for a bus for 20 minutes. Applause!!! Way to go!
Ian replying to a comment from Tania / May 28, 2014 at 08:16 pm
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This is exactly what made Ford great, until the addictions started he as been registered as
Political party, Independent from 2000–present.

Ian replying to a comment from Tania / May 28, 2014 at 08:18 pm
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Political parties a bad choice for Toronto elections?
Allowing political parties to field candidates could hurt, not improve, municipal elections in Ontario.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/03/19/political_parties_a_bad_choice_for_toronto_elections_hepburn.html
nathan ford replying to a comment from JimP / May 28, 2014 at 08:44 pm
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That's what was just cancelled, the extension of the eglinton line onto the existing elevated Scarborough RT line. The tracks are identical...
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from nathan ford / May 28, 2014 at 10:05 pm
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I was confused about this for a long time until I learned otherwise, but apparently it went something like this:

- there was consideration at some point to make the Eglinton LRT run straight onto the Scarborough RT tracks, making it a seamless "Eglinton-Scarborough" line. Since many people want to commute to midtown and not just downtown, it made a lot of sense and killed two birds with one stone.

- at some point Metrolinx decided it was too costly to figure out how to deal with the grade changes at Kennedy and decided to make it a stub line instead, with a one-level transfer at Kennedy down to the Eglinton LRT. This change was not well publicized, but it killed the project politically, as now it became essentially a status-quo replacement and allowed Rob Ford the grain of truth to spin his ignorance about LRT unfettered. After years of the RT, people wanted something better, and now they weren't getting it. A very bad move by Metrolinx in hindsight - penny wise and Ford foolish.

- then the whole "we deserve a subway" crap, with competing routes and council votes and so on. Which brings us to today.


I still think bringing back the seamless routing would allow people to save face and say that Scarborough got the seamless transfer they wanted while saving if not a billion then an awful lot of money, all while serving more people and using a cheaper technology that could one day reach the zoo, UT-Scarborough or other destinations. It's a potential way out. Meanwhile, the SmartTrack line would give people the faster downtown ride they were looking for.
Trish / May 28, 2014 at 11:33 pm
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Yes his transit plan is a winner by default BECAUSE John Tory is the only one with an actual transit plan. The rest have an idea and not much else.
Wes / May 29, 2014 at 12:09 am
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I think John's plan is great, especially if he's aligning with the province, all the more reason it is possible to get achieved and done.
marty / May 29, 2014 at 12:19 am
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not a bad plan overall ... more practical than stintz's. a station added at queen & dufferin might be in order though. it would be a shame if hudak wins and the LRTs for finch and sheppard east get cancelled (the scarborough subway extension would be rather useless if it didn't connect to the sheppard LRT line).
Thomas / May 29, 2014 at 09:11 am
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7 years is better than 17. I too like the idea of making use of existing tracks.
Scot / May 29, 2014 at 09:23 am
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This is a good plan but it's epic FAIL...rethink your transit plan again John Tory....this will be completed in 7 years...don't think so Mr. Tory...Bloor Danforth line needs to be extended east of Kennedy Station to Morningside and Kingston road....The Sheppard line needs to be extended from Downsview to Morningside and Sheppard.

New Subway line on Steels Avenue and Yonge to Markham Road.
I agree with Subways running from Mt Dennis to Main Station...not sure where people think a DRL will run on
SafeHands / May 29, 2014 at 09:54 am
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Always comforting to be in the safe hands of the transparent Kathleen Wynne Liberal Government.
tommy replying to a comment from Josh / May 29, 2014 at 10:34 am
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I'm not sure you read my comment...
rob replying to a comment from Trish / May 29, 2014 at 10:38 am
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Its more of a picture than a plan. Anything thats above ground is a waste of time, he needs to go back to the drawing board.
milo / May 29, 2014 at 10:40 am
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I dunno why the TTC should be extending itself to the scummy 905.

If people want to live in shitholes like Unionville they should put up with the 4 hour daily round trip commute that comes from having your home in the middle of the woods.
Trish replying to a comment from rob / May 29, 2014 at 11:19 am
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Above ground seems to work well in NYC, London UK, Chicago, Boston...
Kirk / May 29, 2014 at 11:46 am
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Maybe... if far more people could work within a walking distance to where they live, especially to make every home very affordable... we wouldn't need to make such a HUGE investment?
Milo is right! / May 29, 2014 at 11:48 am
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Build a firewall around Toronto-not including Scarberia, E-toe-by-coke, norte pork!
Bill replying to a comment from milo / May 29, 2014 at 12:55 pm
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Because all of the jobs are moving north of the city and west of the city. Alot of downtown-ers are now commuting out of the city to Mississauga, Burlington, Brampton Markham. Its to costly for alot of corporations to have their head offices downtown anymore.

We're commuting out of the city now, not just into it.
loudmouth_poet / May 29, 2014 at 01:15 pm
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The bottom line is something has to be done, and done soon.

Last night I was at the Marlies game. There was also an open call audition at the Direct Energy Centre, a TFC game, and Jack Johnson at the Amphitheater. All of these events more or less let out at the same time. Exhibition station was an absolute crowded mess.

I live in The Beaches on Queen St.E so normally I would take the Bathurst 511 streetcar to Queen and the 501 car east, this normally takes me just over an hour. But with all of the detouring the 501 Streetcar is doing nowadays that doubles any commuting time.

So my options last night were take the 511 all the way to Bathurst, subway to Main, bus down to Queen and then either walk or Streetcar it the rest of the way home or GO Train it to Danforth station and bus down to Queen.

As I had a Metropass I considered the Streetcar option first. I soon learned that was laughable, there were already at least two streetcar loads of people waiting for the 511. So I figured I'd walk over to the GO Train station. There was a sea of people waiting for trains going East, and West. At Exhibition if you go west you have to go through a tunnel, there were so many people that the tunnel was crowded, and many of those people had to wait for another train. But people like me waiting for an Eastbound train faired no better as the platforms were overcrowded and I too had to wait for another train.

The Marlies game let out at 9.30pm. I didn't get home until 11.30pm. It should not take me two hours to get home in my own city. I'm willing to bet there are people that lived in Burlington that got home before me. A city should be able to handle multiple events in one night, and a city's transit system should able to get people home from these events in a timely fashion. People are avoiding coming into the core because it's becoming a stressful pain just go from point A to B whether your in a car, by transit, cycling, or even walking.

I have lived in Toronto all of my life, and never do I remember it being this trying to move around. When the Pan-Am Games are here in 2015, I will most definitely will not be.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / May 29, 2014 at 03:03 pm
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Pardon my asking, but what's a trunk line?
Greg / May 29, 2014 at 03:37 pm
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A trunk line in this context is a main rail line or routes along a rail line.
Moaz Ahmad / May 29, 2014 at 05:05 pm
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iSkyscraper you should note two details aboit the Eglinton Scarborough Line proposal.

1. It was a proxy proposal to extend the Scarborough RT westwards and maintain the Bombardier ART technology that has worked so poorly for the past 30 years.

2. The reason why the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and Scarborough LRT were essentially disconnected was because the two lines have different capacities and frequencies. The surface portions of the Eglinton Crosstown (between Brentcliffe and Don Mills, and between Ferrand and Kennedy) would have run slower than the Scarborough LRT (which would have actually to run faster than the subway).

Hence, no point in connecting the lines unless you were building the Eglinton portion entirely underground (which would be terribly expensive).

Cheers, Moaz

Eglinton Crosstown was going to run with 2 car trains while the Scarborough LRT would have 3 car trains.
JayMac replying to a comment from hammer1069 / May 29, 2014 at 06:20 pm
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Yes, raise the mill rate, but get rid of market value assessment. I would love to pay the same property taxes as someone outside Toronto for the same size house.

e replying to a comment from Trish / May 29, 2014 at 07:12 pm
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Trish is right. This is a great, doable plan. John Tory has vision and it's about time someone in this town did. The only people against it are his opponents.
FordSupporter / May 30, 2014 at 08:34 am
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e > I think you'll find few people (voters) who would disagree with this plan. If John Tory wants people to take his idea seriously, he should start letting us know which councillors support his idea, and which ones don't. With the people on city council now, he'll never get it passed. Even good ole Miller has weighed in and he says no.

It would be pointless for Ford supporters to switch sides now, while John doesn't have the support of council.

Awesome idea, though, John. You pulled people in from the left, right, and center with this one.
FordAthleticSupporter / May 30, 2014 at 09:50 am
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Ford's ideas in 14 years in government = 1 garbage idea. Tory's ideas in last 14 years = 1356 ideas. Hmmm...on the right, who to support?...hmmm...
Jason Paris / May 30, 2014 at 04:06 pm
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Let's assume for a moment that this Tory version of a DRL is what gets built and the 'real' DRL is a long ways off. Not saying I agree with that, but assuming this is the case, what can be done to make Tory's plan better?

I'd suggest the following (and no, I haven't costed any of this out):

*More stations through the core and "shoulder areas," especially in lieu of where density is going and especially since this is to be financed via TIF. Probably four extra stations between Dundas West and Main are required, three in the west and likely one around St. Lawrence.

*Potentially having the line veer off the rail corridor to operate in a tunnel through the core under Wellington (perhaps between Jarvis-area and Spadina-area). This would help to alleviate the crowding situation at Union.

*Remove all parking along the route and create a dedicated ROW for all streetcars on either the 504 King or 505 Dundas lines to somewhat replicate the path of a 'real' DRL. A larger step would be to bury this streetcar line through the core too (perhaps Parliament to Bathurst). This would somewhat relieve Yonge-Bloor Station istelf too, but there would still be issues as Don Mills / Leaside, etc. would no longer be served via DRL.

*Extend the Eglinton Crosstown instead to service the Airport Corporate Centre as it is going that way anyway. SmartTrack should remain on the rail corridor and simply terminate at YYZ (similar to the UPX, but as a local 'cheaper' service).
Milo is right! / June 1, 2014 at 09:17 am
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A better answer than Tory's fehshtinkenah scheme-it's too goyische!- is to dig a large moat around the old city of Toronto and keep the Goths & Visigoths & Germanic tribes of the suburbs out. No commuters=no congestion! Tory needs a yiddische kope in his campaign-what would you expect from Tory with his 'C' average in law school and his noblesse oblige?
Tory's Limo / June 1, 2014 at 01:32 pm
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Just dumb, John. An LRT system-a multiple-line system is the only AFFORDABLE system will make Toronto work. I know that you, working as Bill Davis' chief of staff, were behind the mag-lev Scarborough abomination, but can't you learn from your mistakes for once in your public life? Affordable, unified systems work; pie in the sky vote getters don't! Besides, the province is going to electrify anyway, what's the point of your program? Subways are nice but are NOT AFFORDABLE so cancel the Scarborough subway. ENOUGH ALREADY! John, you're a nice guy, but-no brains + no guts = a loser...even if you are elected.
FordSupporter / June 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm
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FordAthleticSupporter;

We have no reason to shift our position. The public needs to know which city Councillors are not supporting his idea. He's not making this information public, so it's obvious to us he's not invested in his transit plan after all.
FordAthleticSupporter / June 4, 2014 at 07:17 pm
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Many men find a reason to shift their position - so to speak. Since your reasoning is openly specious, if not entirely absent or cartoonish, I suggest that you, sir, are wearing an ill-fitting Ford athletic supporter. Change it now-Chow athletic supporters are lacy, delicate, filmy things much more suited to someone of your fey and, perhaps, undersized stature.

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