Ford getting desperate on Sheppard subway extension
With every indication that the expert panel assembled to evaluate transit options on Sheppard East will endorse LRT, Rob Ford might be looking to make a compromise â one that could look a lot like what Karen Stintz proposed just over a month ago before being shot down by the TTC board she chairs. Although it's not yet known exactly what Ford would be after in a scaled back Sheppard subway plan, based on comments made by Councillor John Parker to the Globe and Mail, it sounds like he's hoping to build as many stations as council will let him.
"The sense I get is the mayor is prepared to take a compromise," Parker told the paper. "What the mayor is talking about is taking the subway as far as he can take it with a view that when the money is available he'll take it further."
But is that really a compromise? Gordon Chong, the individual tasked with studying the economic feasibility of a Sheppard subway extension, was already talking about building one station at a time back in November. In other words, despite news that Ford has opened the lines of communication with fellow councillors in advance of a special council meeting to consider rapid transit options on Sheppard Avenue, what's yet to become clear is precisely what he might be willing to give up to get a few stations built.
We know from his opinion piece in the Globe last week that a parking tax is something he's warmed to, and now it sounds like road tolls might even be on the table. But those are alternate funding strategies for a line that the mayor seems only now to have realized won't be paid for exclusively by the private sector. What hasn't been mentioned in relation to what the Sun has termed Ford's "charm offensive" is a willingness to back down on burying the eastern end of the Eglinton Crosstown in an effort to raise subway funds.
Now that would actually be a compromise, but don't hold your breath on it happening. Appealing to other councillors is a good thing, but at this point in the game it seems like too little, too late.
Photo by Adrian Badaraco in the blogTO Flickr pool
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