Transit City petition

Online petition seeks to revive Transit City

Ever since the Fords' push to take control of the Port Lands redevelopment was brought down by an active public and suddenly emboldened city council, there's been rumblings about the possibility of resuscitating Transit City. Most of the murmurs were merely musings on Twitter, but in the weeks that have followed, the idea has gotten a bit more attention.

In late September David Miller broke the silence on his successor and noted that Transit City could be turned back on "like a switch." A couple of weeks later, Councillor Josh Matlow used his radio show to ask whether the LRT-based transit plan could return from the dead. And then, shortly after the Liberals secured a minority government in the Ontario election, Councillor Adam Vaughan got in on the action, saying "the entire game just changed at Queen's Park... And McGuinty is much more committed to mass transit than [the Ford] administration is. Queen's Park is back in the driver's seat, and if Queen's Park wants to save Transit City it could do so."

It's hard to tell if any of this amounts to real momentum, but a recently posted online petition might serve as something of a litmus test for just how much traction the idea has with the public. Titled Toronto voters demand return of Transit City, it requests that the former transit plan be brought back before city council and that councillors vote to begin/resume construction without further delay. I've questioned the effectiveness of these things before, but in this case I'm curious to see if it will reach its goal of 10,000 signatures and how that might contribute to the overall discourse surrounding the matter.

Less than 500 have signed up so far, which might have something to do with the long weekend or that few people believe Transit City can be resuscitated no matter what the political situation is at City Hall and Queen's Park. I guess we'll find out in the next couple days. Will it matter either way? The chances are slim, but as we saw with the Port Lands protests, public outcry can be a significant motivator for city councillors accustomed to voting according to Rob Ford's cheat sheet.


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