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Morning Brew: Does Rob Ford intend to make the TTC an essential service?, Rogers in talks to buy MLSE, SIU reopens the Nobody case, province to announce 1700 green energy jobs, Grinder Coffee adds TTC info screen

Posted by Brianne Hogan / December 1, 2010

Toronto skyline duskToday is Rob Ford's first official day as mayor, and according to one city councillor, his upcoming inaugural council meeting has added another controversial item: urging the province to ban strikes on the TTC. "Their information to me was that they intend to put making the TTC an essential service on the agenda at the Dec. 16 meeting," said outgoing TTC vice-chair Joe Mihevc, who met Tuesday with Mark Towhey, one of Mr. Ford's senior policy advisers. Just when you thought Rob Ford's first day as Toronto's mayor couldn't become anymore combative, he surprises again. He really likes doing that, doesn't he?

Rogers is in talks to buy the Toronto Maple Leafs in a deal worth more than $1 billion, which would be the biggest transaction in Canadian sports history. The sale would include the Raptors, Toronto FC soccer club and the Marlies, transforming Rogers, which already owns the Toronto Blue Jays, into one of the most powerful sports enterprises in North America. Guess that unique "who has the biggest maple leaf" PR work paid off.

The SIU is to reopen Adam Nobody's case amid mounting controversy over Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair's response to the accusations of excessive force used at the G20 summit. As reported yesterday, Blair said the YouTube video that shows Nobody being tackled by police had clearly "been tampered with." A day later, after receiving a sworn three-page affidavit from John Bridge, who filmed and posted the video to YouTube, which denied Blair's claims, the SIU responded by reopening its probe into Mr. Nobody's case.

The Ontario government is going green. Kind of. According to Queen's Park sources, as many as 1700 new green energy jobs are to be announced this week. The new jobs located in Southwestern Ontario are coming as a result of three projects, including manufacturing factories for both wind turbine blades and towers. I guess the Liberals are feeling a little guilty with those sky-high electricity bills. First the "rebate," now the jobs...I wonder if they'll spring for my mom's cost-efficient toaster.

You know when you're standing in line for coffee and you're wondering if you have time before the next streetcar comes to spring for the non-fat-triple-cappuccino-with-extra-foam or just a simple cup of joe? Well, wonder no more at Grinder Coffee, on Gerrard St. E. near Jones Ave. The cafe features a wall-mounted screen displaying real-time info on the arrival of the next four to six 506 Carleton streetcars, which stop just outside the door. "That is absolutely the kind of thing we would like to see happen, third parties developing applications to help TTC customers navigate the system," said TTC spokesman Brad Ross. As long as they're not footing the bill.

In Brief:

Photo by ronnie.yip in the blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

82 Comments

tuba / December 1, 2010 at 08:45 am
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An anagram for Mayor Rob Ford: Boardroom Fry
Travis / December 1, 2010 at 08:50 am
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Nice work, Brianne, good article today.
Shannon / December 1, 2010 at 08:56 am
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So are Toronto tax payers ready to open their wallets and pay for Ford's screw ups like the cancellation fees that will cost the city millions for cancelling transit city. Something the city can not afford to pay, so someone has too. Get ready for more taxes in a few years. Just ask Ottawa they went through the same thing a few years back.
Torontonian / December 1, 2010 at 09:01 am
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At this rate, Mel Lastman will look
like a GOOD mayor after all.
KL / December 1, 2010 at 09:24 am
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Making the TTC an essential service is the right call. I couldn't care less if those pampered life-long cashiers complain about not being able to strike. They lost that right when they did it illegally in the middle of the night.
serious / December 1, 2010 at 09:32 am
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anytime transit has been made an essential service in other cities labour costs have risen. if a union cannot strike, the collective bargaining agreement hinges on mediation. mediation generally awards above inflation wage increases. making the ttc an essential will not save us money on labour period.

it is going to be a long four years for people who support rob and actually thought he would save us money. in one years time everyone will be denying they voted for him.

also cancelling transit city is beyond irresponsible.
shannon / December 1, 2010 at 09:37 am
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"yes its going to cost money but its not his fault Miller made bad decisions in office that need to be corrected."

So how is it respect for the tax payer when we have to pay for the 150+ million in cancellation fees? More like a slap in the face if you ask me.
KL / December 1, 2010 at 09:46 am
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Ford supporters. Sigh.

You have no idea what you're talking about.
KL replying to a comment from serious / December 1, 2010 at 09:49 am
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It's the TTC. Until it's reorganized from the top on down, costs will rise. Just like inevitable death and taxes, TTC employees have jobs and benefits for life and will receive wage increases, one way or another.

One way to *fix* the TTC from Ford's chair is to strip away power from them. They have too much and can cripple the city. If it costs a few bucks more to prevent this from happening, so be it.
Dave / December 1, 2010 at 09:56 am
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Our new mayor is apparently one of those fools who fail to understand that designating a public service essential makes it more, not less, expensive.

The respect for taxpayers begins.
Long Gone / December 1, 2010 at 09:57 am
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Once you leave Toronto you feel an incredible relief when it comes to taxation. Also many other surprises like driving a car, parking, insurance... The list goes on.... Garbage pick up, transit... Makes you feel like you got a raise.... No traffic on the highway except for the weekends.... Hey your safe, really!... Let the computer do the city. It's cheaper!

Yes there was a time I read peacefully on the streetcar. Good luck with the new mayor thing. Sounds, like your half full there...
daniel / December 1, 2010 at 09:58 am
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It's too late to build subways all over the city. This city is way too developed and cost are way too high to do so. Maybe if the mayors back in the 50's and 60's actually believed Toronto could be as populated as it is today then we'll have subways everywhere.
jeff / December 1, 2010 at 09:58 am
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People relax!

First, contract changes are nothing new, it's done all the time in business. And it does NOT mean there is a huge cost involved.

For example the boring machines, they are not even built. The manufacturer has already stated they can be made a bit larger to bore the tunnel for subways. They will simply cost out that increase. No loss of contract.

Same approach for the cars.

So the largest elements get repurposed with very little waste.

The costs to control are labor... those building the line. For that I would get it out of the hands of the city and TTC staff immediately and forever.

Get the group that can and has done it on budget and on time in China, HK, Spain.

But look at the positive. If Ford can upgrade to subways without serious cost implications would you prefer that? Or would you prefer to continue asking yourselves what if? Or worse, why do we always settle for less?
Steve / December 1, 2010 at 10:09 am
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Miller did make bad decisions and unfortunately it will cost us to put the city back on track. It will be worth it.

I'd like the supporters of Transit City to explain how this city will be able to accommodate another million people if we remove precious surface capacity to build LRTs. Toronto is already congested. We are not going to switch all those people and then some to bicycles and cars.

Subways are the way to go.
yep / December 1, 2010 at 10:13 am
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TTC = essential service

YES PLEASE

DO IT NOW

THANK YOU

Steve replying to a comment from serious / December 1, 2010 at 10:16 am
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If mediation inevitably leads to above-inflation-rate settlements, then the province needs to change the law. All mediated settlements should be linked to average private sector wages and government budget balances.

If we did this, we would quickly see public sector unions take a different stance on government spending and productivity. Their fortunes should be linked to the fortunes of the general public. It doesn't seem to work that way now.
Antony / December 1, 2010 at 10:16 am
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Look, it was Rob Ford's family friend Mike Harris that cancelled the Sheppard Subway... if it wasn't for this kind of penny-pinching, short-sighted politics, there would be subway to Scarborough right now.

You realize that Ford is proposing to waste $200 million in cancelling work in progress, and in seven years possibly have one subway built. To one side of the city. That's it.

And the one project, with eight stops will cost more than building LRT tracks to all corners of the city.

Go ask Calgary how they love their C-train - LRT does the job wherever it's installed.

Go ask Ottawa how they love their O-train stop/start/stop/cancellation that cost them $150m for nothing... and how they feel about their ex-mayor that cut it.

Why must every conservative politician screw up engineers' work each time they get elected?
KL replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 10:18 am
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Toronto's not congested. It only feels congested because everyone from the suburbs drives into the city. Transit City eliminates the concern about suburban drivers not having accessible transit to get them to work and back. If the means are there, they'll use it.

Yayy Ford!! / December 1, 2010 at 10:22 am
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WELCOME FEARLESS LEADER - LATER MR. PORNOMOUTH!

http://thirtykzone.com/2010/12/01/welcome-fearless-leader/
A / December 1, 2010 at 10:29 am
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Those who want more subways are missing the point: the cost is just WAY too high! I don't have the figures at hand but the costs are astronomical. Even Miller wanted subways but, as he said many times, the city just cannot afford it.

It's funny seeing Ford supporters agree with their guy even when he's advocating spending more money and putting the city deeper in debt. I would personally love more subways and if Ford can figure out a way to do it without ruining the city's finances, then more power to him. But I just don't see how he can do it if those before him couldn't either.
Ryan L. / December 1, 2010 at 10:32 am
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Please look up how the new LRTs will operate. They are not streetcars and will not operate like streetcars. They will have dedicated lanes and be buried underground wherever there isn't enough room on the surface. Wherever the LRTs -will- interact with traffic (ie, at intersections) most of the disturbance will be eliminated by prohibiting left hand turns at these intersections (and providing drivers with u-turn crossovers so they can still get to where they're going without having to drive a block out of their way in order to turn down a road.
serious / December 1, 2010 at 10:32 am
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obviously subways are preferred, but please as ford supporters can you acknowledge that building subways throughout the city is not economically feasible. also please stop thinking that the genius rob ford is the first person to want to build subways. wanting them and getting it done is much different. it took the various levels of gov't years to agree on transit city.

also to steve - there is no law regarding mediation or at least there is no way to magically influence mediation so it results in less than inflation matching pay increases. honestly you sound like rob ford making things up as you go along. please realize that essential services (police union) always recieve above inflation pay increases. there is no magical way around it.

going to be such a long 4 years, my only hope is that at the end of it we as an electorate have learned not to vote for people based on catch phrases and empty rhetoric. saying what people want to hear shouldnt get you elected unless you can back it up. so often when ford or his supporters quote "facts and figures" they are incorrect. it is so disheartening when the people who are yelling also dont know what they are talking about.
Antony / December 1, 2010 at 10:44 am
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Oh, and Papa Ford's boss Mike Harris cancelled the Eglinton subway too.

Etobicoke and Scarborough would have their very own subways, today, if it wasn't for Rob Ford's family and friends.

Mesonto / December 1, 2010 at 10:45 am
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I hope Ford cleans up the Miller mess quickly.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from serious / December 1, 2010 at 10:49 am
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To summarize:
This isn't a choice between LRTs and subways. It's a choice between LRTs and nothing.

We don't have the money to build subways. Period. Attempts to derail transit city (no pun intended) to promote subways is a lost cause and will result in us either getting A) nothing or B) transit city at a much later date at a higher cost.

Subways also take several years to plan and years more to build. Even if the city somehow pulls the billions of dollars of funding it needs out of thin air by the time the planning is finished and construction well under way you'll have many different changes in governance at municipal, provincial and federal levels. All of those new administrations have the ability to pull funding that would be necessary for the subways to get built. Sound unreasonable? Just take a look at the city's history. It happens pretty much every single time there is a shift in power, without fail. Hell, it's <b>happening right now</b> with Ford's plan to scrap transit city.

He's doing the exact same thing he has to pray several other people won't do to him in the 10 years it will take to get this off the ground. The potential for wasted money is <b>huge</b>. We can/will lose potentially billions of dollars on a failed subway plan.

The insane amount of hypocrisy is mind boggling.
Steve replying to a comment from KL / December 1, 2010 at 10:54 am
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Right, Toronto is not congested. That is why a simple trip to drive my daughter to the Varsity Cinema - a 3 km trip - took 35 minutes on a Friday evening. I thought I could get her there more quickly than the bus and subway combination. I was wrong. We went home because she was 20 minutes late.

So KL, you think I should blame suburban car drivers?
KL replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 11:03 am
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Ingenious! Take a car for a 3KM trip downtown on a Friday night and complain about congestion!

Good grief, man. Fine, in this particular case, we won't blame suburban drivers. We'll blame people like you.
asdhlkjas replying to a comment from KL / December 1, 2010 at 11:11 am
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wtf am I supposed to have my small child walk 3 fing kilometers? Idiot.
Steve replying to a comment from KL / December 1, 2010 at 11:13 am
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You simply don't get it KL.

The city simply does not work if there is not a reasonable chance of getting to places in good time, Friday night or not, I thought is was worth a shot. Evidently not.
negative nelly / December 1, 2010 at 11:22 am
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I think you have it a bit backwards re green energy jobs. The increases are a result of increasing the amount of gem energy which is lessees efficient and thus more expensive per kilowatt than traditional sources.
Ryan L. / December 1, 2010 at 11:23 am
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All this talk about surface congestion still ignores the fact that the new LRTs wouldn't be taking away any space for cars. Go to Google maps and take a look at Eglinton for example. Start over at the 427 and move east. What do you see on the north side of the street? A lot of friggin room for RTs is what. As you move east you'll eventually find the space narrowing and I'm sure you're thinking "See? This is where it will remove surface capacity!" Except this is where the LRT will be built underground and only emerge on the other side once there is again enough space to build the RT without eliminating any surface routes.

There are people who have been paid money to look into all of the concerns you seem to have. They've done traffic studies, looked at real estate, made sure infrastructure is capable and overall spent countless hours on it. The result is the current strategy that has long ago addressed all of your concerns even if you continue to pretend they haven't.

It's a complete non-issue.
Mesonto / December 1, 2010 at 11:26 am
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Would love to see subway lines built in the center of this city. On Queen and College in the center of the city to relieve the congestion. Even if they are only in the core area from Parliment to Bathurst.
KL replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 11:32 am
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Look, you have a right to drive wherever you want and get there quickly and safely. What you don't have a right to do is complain about congestion when you take needless 3KM trips in-city. If you fail to get somewhere on time, the onus is on you because as a downtown resident, you do have options. You chose not to take it and instead complained about the consequences.
KL replying to a comment from Ryan L. / December 1, 2010 at 11:36 am
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Exactly.

This "congestion" talk is just Ford supporter double-speak for "something other than my personal vehicle going in the same direction I'm going". The roads will not be congested if you stopped driving your cars to go buy milk. The roads will not be congested if you looked at cyclists and transit users as your peers and encouraged them, instead of considering them mortal enemies who get in your way. Transit City will not get everyone out of their cars, but it will provide an option for those that DO have to drive to the corner store to buy milk. THAT will clear up "congestion".
shannon / December 1, 2010 at 11:38 am
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Since ford supporters have their head in the ground and most have no clue what their talking about. Most of the lrt will be buried where your heads are. How does that make traffic worse? Actually it gets more buses off the streets so you can have more room for your cars and SUV's.
Kieran / December 1, 2010 at 11:43 am
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Toronto is doomed.

Everyone is fraking me, me, me. No one likes sitting beside anyone or talking to anyone.

There is no community in that godforsaken city. Just a bunch of middle class people with entitlement issues.
Gus / December 1, 2010 at 11:45 am
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@Jacob,

"Thanks, Rob Ford, you fat, enormous, car-obsessed fuckhead. Now we won't have ANY transit expansion for AT LEAST the next five years!"

Wow, I guess it's true: morons like you DO have crystal balls, and can predict the future!

Tell us another nose-streacher there, Jacob!

God, anti-Ford types are mentally challenged.

Ford plans to build ONE subway station per year, genius. That, we can afford.. You know, subways? Those big metal thingies underground that ACTUALLY MOVE PASSENGERS, unlike crappy LRTs?
Suzi Q replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am
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Steve, Sorry your daughter missed her movie. perhaps you have learned a lesson about leaving early to insure you get to your destination on time? You disappointed your daughter, don't blame traffic blame your leaving later than you should have
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Kieran / December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am
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And those people with entitlement issues are the ones complaining that city hall employees exhibited too much entitlement. Practice what you preach.
JLankford / December 1, 2010 at 11:47 am
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No city in North America is building subways anymore, the cost is just way too much. In fact, the only city I recall recently talking about subway expansion is MUNI in San Francisco, thinking about a Chinatown line.

We should have been building subways thirty years ago, when it would have been more feasible. As much as Toronto wants to site at the grown-up-subway-table, we'll never have a network like New York, Tokyo, Seoul, or London. It's too late for that, and LRTs meet our ridership demands in areas they're proposed.

People love to complain about the St Clair Streetcar, but most of that is about the untimely manner of the project, and lack of communication with the local community when it was being built.
Steve replying to a comment from KL / December 1, 2010 at 11:49 am
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KL, your comments demonstrate such fundamental intolerance of people's choices that I am not sure that it is worth responding. You just sit there and judge others. Who do you think you are?
Kieran replying to a comment from Ryan L. / December 1, 2010 at 11:50 am
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I never complained about city hall, but thanks Ryan! Love and peace! Live in light!
Kieran replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 11:51 am
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The solution is to live in your car. That way you never have to leave the house!
KL replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm
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Someone who is telling you what you know but don't want to hear. That's who I am, but if that's too much for you, I understand.
ennui replying to a comment from JLankford / December 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm
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"No city in North America is building subways anymore, the cost is just way too much"

Google this: second avenue subway

LA is also considering expanding its Red Line, and DC is building an extension out to Dulles airport. So yes, some cities are doing it. Hell, *we're* doing it by extending the Spadina line up to Highway 7.
KL replying to a comment from Gus / December 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm
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Yeah, and in four years there will be a line to Scarborough Town Centre, probably constructed at a loss, which does absolutely nothing to serve 75% of the city.

Or you can have the option that has already had funding approved and has been planned for years that would, surprise, serve 100% of the city.
Kyle replying to a comment from Gus / December 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm
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So in the four years that Rob Ford is mayor he planning on building a grand total of four new subway stops? Assuming he can get the planning, bidding and construction done for the first stop within a year (he can't). Great that gives us four new stops on a new line.

Compare it with transit city which is scheduled to have 26 LRT stops built and running by 2014. Not to mention another 56 stops built by 2020. This is already funded and budgeted for so we don't have to worry about the finances.

So in 10 years we can get a grand total of 10 subway stops or 82 LRT stops. Honestly, I would rather we fork out the damn money and beef up our subway infrastructure (I'm thinking build the DRL, Younge/Spadina further north , Sheppard line out to Scarborough and expand past Kipling into Mississauga) but it's going to mean more taxes. Worth it in the end but I doubt most will agree.
Kyle replying to a comment from Gus / December 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm
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Sorry that was directed @Gus
Steve replying to a comment from KL / December 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm
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KL, You just can't stop judging.

Look, my teenage daughter asked me for a ride. I was sceptical, but I thought I could get her there in time. In hindsight, I was wrong.

We must all take congestion into account every day in this city. But there is no denying congestion costs us all.

Your sneering comments imply that I am some sort of car loving dinosaur. Nothing could be further from the truth. I drive about 7000 km a year, half of which is travel outside the city, and I ride my bicycle to work 7-8 months a year. It reliably gets me to work in under 25 minutes.

However, switching to public transit in the past week, my 5.8 km commute has averaged about 50 minutes the last 4 days (30, 52, 62 and 50 minutes). Believe me, I would like nothing more than reliable public transit.
Mike W / December 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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I wonder if Rob Ford will like my new dress?
JB / December 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm
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More spending increases from Ford?

The mere designation of being an "essential service" is an official acknowledgment of it's importance, thus those staff members aren't just doing any old job, but an "essential" one, and as is the case with police, fire, or paramedics - that translates into more money.

So let's keep track here on Ford's moves so far:

1 - Cut Vehicle Tax = cut $40 million in revenue

2 - Cut Transit City, loose $140 million already spent, pay contract cancellation fees (min: $100 million), end up with $2.8 billion left over to build a subway line he stated as costing $4 billion . . . And the extra billion comes from where? . . .

3 - Declare the TTC an essential service, pay workers even more money.

Doesn't sound like a fiscal conservative to me . . .
KL replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm
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You're just proving my point. Now that you've admitted to wanting nothing more than reliable public transit, accept the role that city driving plays in congestion (and this includes surprise 3KM trips) and how it is detrimental to getting our city moving again. Your initial discussion point about LRT vs. subways is moot, as has been pointed out whenever someone like yourself complains about surface congestion. Well, there won't be surface congestion if people got out of their cars and a thorough transit plan (Transit City) is a way that you can see this dream of taking transit to work realized. How is a subway in Scarborough going to help you, a downtown resident fed up at how difficult is it to get around? Not to mention the construction digs, etc, that will absolutely eat into roads. You seem like a pretty smart guy and it feels wrong to have to spell it out like this.

I'm not some car-hating young whippersnapper either. My commute is the opposite of yours. It takes longer for me to drive to work than it does to take the subway, it's maybe a 2KM trip in total, door to door. I know the reason for this, but do you?
Sally / December 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm
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I'm sorry, but could someone help me out here?
Billions of dollars will be spent on a subway line that will help MAYBE 20% of the city... versus a million dollar, provincially-funded, almost entirely-paid-for underground system that will help the majority of the city and won't affect driving commuters in the slightest.

Am I off somehow?

I will gladly admit I was not a Ford supporter during the election and still have my doubts... But make no mistake, I want this man to succeed. He has to, for the city's sake.
SUBWAY SUBWAY SUBWAY replying to a comment from JLankford / December 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm
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News flash: New York is.
mesnada replying to a comment from JLankford / December 1, 2010 at 01:01 pm
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New York is building a line down 2nd avenue.
mesnada replying to a comment from Sally / December 1, 2010 at 01:02 pm
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Agreed. We need more subway lines in the downtown core.
Mike W replying to a comment from Mike W / December 1, 2010 at 01:04 pm
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Holding a grudge are we?
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Steve / December 1, 2010 at 01:05 pm
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Lets say your only choice was to drive to the theatre that day. You would not be paying $3 to take advantage of the new system, but a lot of other people would be. The increased accessibility for other people would have kept them off the road, reducing congestion and allowing you to get to your theatre on time.

At the very least, by the time the lines are completed it'll keep congestion from getting worse as density increases.
Greg / December 1, 2010 at 01:08 pm
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I think by expanding subways the inner suburbs, the GTA's fastest growing poverty areas, will finally have respectable transit. For anyone who has taken the RT knows, its garbage. I know it's natural to be upset when money isn't spent where it will benefit you, but hey, it will benefit people that may have a reduced commute of 2 hours down to 1.5 hours (each way). This is a concept that a person downtown simply cannot imagine.
Mike W replying to a comment from JLankford / December 1, 2010 at 01:09 pm
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Actually I live by the LRT there and while I can't deny it's good for riders, it killed car traffic on that street unless it's midnight hours. I know supporting car traffic is taboo but you can't sacrifice one for the other (well, I guess some of us do).
nn / December 1, 2010 at 01:32 pm
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making the TTC an essential service is the necessary first step in taking an axe to the union deadbeats, especially once Presto comes in and eliminates all the useless ticket collectors
Antony replying to a comment from SUBWAY SUBWAY SUBWAY / December 1, 2010 at 01:32 pm
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News Flash: Manhattan has 35,000 people per square km. Scarborough has 3,200.
nn / December 1, 2010 at 01:35 pm
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The only reason is it anticipated to cost billions is that the TTC does all the work themselves. If it was done by an actual construction company it would cost far less.

how come Madrid was able to build subways for a fraction of what the TTC says it will cost?
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Greg / December 1, 2010 at 01:35 pm
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I think it's more than a little unfair to compare the Scarborough RT to the new LRTs. That system was poorly maintained, and designed 30 years ago.

Their big issue revolves around the fact that the tracks and stations were designed with one type of LRT in mind and is unusable by other LRTs without redoing the entire system. And those LRTs haven't been produced in over 20 years.

The route really isn't extensive enough to create custom trains like they are doing with the subway lines and streetcar lines so going beyond the 'mark I' prefab train that no longer exists has never been an option.

So they can either A) retrofit the entire system or B) get Bombardier to restart production of a dated vehicle that no longer meets the needs of the route. Either way, it's incredibly expensive and so the fleet continues to age and cause problems as a result.

This is a problem that won't happen with the new LRTs because the huge network would make custom orders feasible. They won't ever be limited to prefabs whose production line has ended.

So yeah...not at all accurate to compare the two systems.
Treacle / December 1, 2010 at 01:44 pm
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HUFF PUFF I'm an Armchair Politican too guys!!!
The Shakes / December 1, 2010 at 01:54 pm
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This may be a dumb question, but if all these LRT lines were supposed to be buried, how exactly will they be so much cheaper than a subway? And couldn't a multi car train just run on the same tracks?
Antony replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 1, 2010 at 02:14 pm
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The Shakes, that's a good question, hard to answer in a comment on an online forum. The Wikipedia page on Light Rail is a good start. Or, find a civil engineering student and ask them.

My understanding of why LRTs are cheaper per-km is
1) LRT trains and tunnel are smaller size
2) LRT weigh less, so the track foundation can be smaller
3) LRT can switch between surface and underground, such as on the empty median down Eglinton East, so the tunnel doesn't have to be dug all the way.
4) LRT collects fares on-board, so there doesn't have to be a huge station with turnstiles, etc.
skeeter / December 1, 2010 at 02:17 pm
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why is TTC chair Stintz not speaking up? she was in favour of Transit City and now she's not?
Ryan L. replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 1, 2010 at 02:18 pm
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I don't know why they're technically different, but if you've ever been to Queens Quay station you can compare the visible differences yourself.
Rob Ford replying to a comment from skeeter / December 1, 2010 at 02:44 pm
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Cause she's my bitch now.
Joel replying to a comment from SUBWAY SUBWAY SUBWAY / December 1, 2010 at 02:48 pm
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New Yorks subway system back in 1906 was about 2 or 3 times larger than Toronto in 2010. We should have started building subways centuries ago.
The Shakes replying to a comment from Antony / December 1, 2010 at 02:59 pm
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Thanks Antony, i think you've nailed it. The debate has always been "Subway" vs "LRT", without enough real info of the difference between the two. And so we have all these inaccurate connotations of what "Subway" and "LRT" means. Subway proponents will argue that LRT is a glorified streetcar line(which isn't true), and LRT proponents will argue it's the same as a subway but cheaper (which also isn't true).

If we forget about the connotations of those words, and focus on what we want from a transit line, we'd probably all come up with the same list of things: dedicated tracks, fast, reliable, comfortable, cost effective and able to service as many riders as possible. Here's what i don't get if we're laying new tracks that don't exist and buying cars that are spec'ed to our design, why does it have to be one or the other? Why couldn't new cars be scalable and compatible with our current subway lines?

Like couldn't we spec cars that can be combined in trains as short as a streetcar or as long as a subway? Couldn't we run long trains of them on them current subway tracks and shorter trains of them on the "lighter" new LRT tracks?

Seems the debate has become too politicized, i wish we could just get back to the facts and that the powers would be more transparent with providing real info so that the public could formulate informed opinions.
shannon / December 1, 2010 at 03:11 pm
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Toronto’s new mayor is vowing to freeze property taxes next year.

-Moving to ban strikes at the TTC. The mayor promised to put a resolution urging the province to make the TTC an essential service on the agenda of the new council’s first business meeting Dec. 16.

-Abolishing the $60 vehicle-registration tax, also at the Dec. 16 meeting. He pledged for the first time Wednesday to eliminate the tax effective Jan. 1, something the province has already agreed to. (The province collects the tax and remits it to the city.) However, Mr. Ford said the move wouldn’t be retroactive.

The mayor did not say where he intends to find the money to replace the vehicle-registration tax, which brings in between $40-million and $50-million per year, or how he would replace the revenue he would forego by freezing property taxes.

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because he has no clue, and he is yelling and screaming at people to find a way so he doesn't like look a jack ass.
Antony replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 1, 2010 at 03:36 pm
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Shakes, you're right about the "nobody really knows what LRT means" factor. Heck, I'm just learning what it means, from Wikipedia.

You're absolutely right that there's nothing that says LRTs can't be combined into subway-length trains. It would mean larger, more expensive, stations, but I trust that the transportation engineers have made those trade-off calculations already.

It seems the biggest difference between LRT and subways is that subways are designed to fit in compact, circular tunnels, so they draw their electricity from a third rail tucked down at trackside.

This is crazy-unsafe at at surface level, so subways need big fenced rights-of-way, which are ugly, need expensive bridges, and divide neighborhoods (ask folks north of Bloor). LRTs safely draw their electricity from an overhead wire (6m in the air), but that means LRTs won't fit in compact, round, subway-sized tunnels underground. LRTs need tall, shallowly-buried tunnels with enough room for the overhead wires.

The Calgary C-train LRT cost as much to build per kilometer as ONE lane of highway. It's a huge hit, just ask a local. There's no reason a Toronto version couldn't be as good.
Eric S. Smith replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 1, 2010 at 04:00 pm
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<b>Shakes:</b> One of the reasons that LRT, even LRT in a tunnel, is cheaper than heavy rail is that you don't have to keep the line entirely separated from other traffic for its entire route. You can dive into a tunnel where necessary, and run on the surface, either on the street or on your own right of way, crossing intersecting streets at ground level, where that makes sense. With a heavy rail subway train, you have to stay separated at all times.

As for your question, "couldn't a multi car train just run on the same tracks," that's already the plan with LRT.
Myron replying to a comment from SUBWAY SUBWAY SUBWAY / December 1, 2010 at 04:04 pm
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Newsflash: Yes, New York is. However, that line was originally proposed in 1929, and they expect it will be done by 2016 at a cost of roughly $18 billion. Is that really the best comparison you could come up with? Mind you, it is likely to cost double that to build what Ford wants to, and it might be about 100 years until the funding for that "vision" comes through.

People really need to stop comparing the TTC to the MTA. It's comparing apples to elephants.
Gus replying to a comment from Kyle / December 1, 2010 at 06:23 pm
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@Kyle,

"So in the four years that Rob Ford is mayor he planning on building a grand total of four new subway stops?"

Kyle, that will be FOUR MORE ACCOMPLISHMENTS than f-ing Miller ever made!

With Miller, everything was on paper. Worthless.

Besides, do you have any idea of the distance four subway stops can cover? At present. it's not like they're evenly spaced. Look at the distance between Eglinton and Lawrence. Fantastic! I wish Ford luck. One stop per year is reasonable.
fordwillhauntyouinthe shower replying to a comment from Gus / December 1, 2010 at 06:38 pm
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what about the expansion to york university ford had nothing to do with that, it was miller. I believe that will be one stop per year as well.
Kyle replying to a comment from Gus / December 2, 2010 at 01:38 am
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While I don't want to defend David Miller and say he did a ton, we currently have construction ongoing for the Spadina Subway expansion and for multiple LRT projects. That is certainly not nothing. The sad reality is it takes a lot of time from planning to construction to completion for public transit projects. If Rob Ford cancels all of the LRT (I highly doubt he does, he isn't that stupid, even if he vocalizes stupidity to win over certain voters) I doubt a single shovel would touch the ground in his four years.
o.k. replying to a comment from jeff / December 2, 2010 at 03:45 am
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Your an idiot, you understand these companies bread and butter are contracts. If it was really that easy, then even on a smaller scale professional athletes wouldn't be slugging there owners int arbitration for just dues. Your telling my a mega-giant company will be cool to 'switch and tweak a couple of things' just to make Toronto happy! They could care less those hours spent on US would of been spent on other work.. they will demand compensation!

Your comparing apples and organges, the Chineese have been able to spit out subways due to penny labour costs and no environmental or property protections. if they want to build a line under your house.. they.. well build it.. they could care less who gets trampled in the name of progress. North America was like this 70 years ago.. not now.

And the case for Madrid paints a city which did no EA's prior to getting the shovels in and has favorable soil conditions in which construction actually takes a little less time then in most other places. .. oh don't forget importing penny labor from the east either!

Subways will never get built, people should stop talking out hot air. Everybody wants to be shuttled nicely underground but nobody wants to pay for it! IN MY LIFETIME.. (only 23) the DRL and extending the Shepperd line west to Downsview will MAYBE happen. Anything else is wishful thinking.

If anybody truly wants subways go volunteer to get paid 2$ a hour and dig the damn thing yourself.


Toronto we need to stop this twilight zone mentality, we have been spoiled compared to other large North American Cites. People cant differentiate a local streetcar from LRT in it's own right of way which can travel at near subway speeds.

Antony replying to a comment from o.k. / December 2, 2010 at 10:03 am
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Commenters on the Toronto Star think modern LRT are the same as 1) the prototype SkyTrain in Scarborough (which even Vancouver isn't buying any more of) and 2) the 40+ year old rusty streetcars running in mixed traffic.

That's a sign of political haymaking, but also that Transit City was very badly marketed. I guess if money had been spent on TV ads with videos of what Eglinton & Finch would look like (tunnels, boulevard rail, etc.) it would be condemned as waste. Instead, most people have no idea what they are supporting or condemning.
language technology / December 28, 2010 at 09:51 am
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And you so tried to do?

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