Archive for the ‘Municipal Politics’ Category

Is the TTC Dirty?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Don’t try to answer that question, because you couldn’t possibly know how to determine the answer.

That is why, according to Anthony Furey in today’s 24Hrs, Adam Giambrone has pledged $100,000 to, wait for it… pay a firm to develop a plan to look at ways to implement a strategy to determine whether or not the TTC is dirty or not.

This is not money to clean up the TTC. This is not money to determine if the TTC is clean or not. This is not money to create a strategy to determine if the TTC is clean or not. It is money to pay for a plan to look at ways to implement those strategies.

As Furey suggests, the TTC has cleaners on staff and the cleaners have supervisors. Figuring out if trains are clean or dirty is in the job description of those supervisors. If the supervisors are not doing their job, they need to be fired, and if figuring out if the trains are clean or dirty is not in their job descriptions, then senior management who wrote those job descriptions need to be fired.

I guess the TTC simply has so much money lying around that there is no room to build new lines or increase service levels where it is needed, so they need some new way to spend money.

Rob Ford’s Transit Fantasy

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Update (September 22, 8:45 am):Yesterday, Rob Ford was on Newstalk 1010 to clarify how he will be able to make up the $250 million revenue that would be lost if he cut the Land Transfer Tax and Vehicle Registration Tax. In the interview, he was asked about the Transit City funding and how it is the province’s decision to allow it to be redirected to other things, such as his plan to extend the Sheppard and Bloor-Danforth subways (see the rest of the original post after the break). He basically felt that if the province deny the use of the money for what “70 percent” of the public in Toronto want, they will have to face what that does for them in the provincial election next year.

This man really has no idea about just how different this funding is, compared with previous projects. In the past, and this includes the Spadina-Vaughan subway extension currently under construction, the funding provided allowed the TTC and the city to build new infrastructure that became their property. The funding in place for three Transit City lines is to build infrastructure that will be owned by the province (under Metrolinx). The TTC  will be heading up the construction project and will be the operator of the lines. Of course, Rob doesn’t seem to realize that if the city wants nothing to do with these lines,  Metrolinx does not have to use the TTC to build them, nor to operate them. We could very well have LRVs sporting a green GO Transit livery that are part of the GO network.

As for the “70 percent” who want the subways, I wonder what happens to that figure when the question is framed around having 16 km of new subway instead of 55 km of LRT lines, including the 13 km under Eglinton. I suspect there are a lot of people not so in favour of two subways to Scarborough Town Centre if it means losing out on something else close to their home. Then, there are the people in Malvern. They would benefit from these two subway extensions, compared to what they have now, but not compared to what they will be getting. The subways would virtually seal the fate of no extensions out their way.

The original posting follows the break…


How To Spot a Liar: Look For The Promise of Subways

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Sure, the headline is a rather broad statement, but it pretty much sums up most candidates in the municipal election, both mayoral and council. Now, I also understand the inflammatory nature of the word ‘Liar’, as I am taking some liberties in its use. I know of people who believe a lie to be any untruth, regardless of whether or not the person stating it is aware of its truthfulness or not. However, given that many of the candidates have either been involved in the operation of the city in one way or another for sometime, they should have a good idea of just how things work and don’t work, or at least they should. (more…)

Toronto Doomed to a Leaderless Mayor

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The Toronto mayoral race is filled with candidates that all lack leadership. Each and everyone of the candidates of note have kowtowed to the “we need more subways” chant. Not one candidate has the leadership qualities to be able to sell a transit vision that incorporates the appropriate modes where necessary.

Even Rob Ford, known for his fiscal responsible nature is out to lunch when he downplays all LRT plans in favour of subways. Fiscal responsibility should dictate that numerous corridors in this city are far better served with LRT technology over subways. Ford would also focus on buses, which again run counter to the idea of fiscal responsibility as they are far more expensive to operate than LRT trains on a per passenger basis.

Rocco Rossi comes out today with a vision-less idea he calls “Transit City Plus”. It is a plan to sell off certain city assets to pay off the city’s debt, which would free up $450 million per year that the city is currently paying in interest on that debt. Thus, that money could go into transit funding to the tune of $4.5 billion over the next ten years. I call this vision-less because he has no specific vision for what this will build, but he sees 2 km of tunnels and one subway station per year. We all know how well that idea has served us over the past four decades: councillors will fight over who’s constituency will get the next 2 kilometres, and we will end up with NOTHING getting built.

Then there is that wonderful plan of Sarah Thomson who would add a $5 toll on the Toronto-controlled expressways to pay for, wait for it, subway construction. Of course, she fails to realize that a chunk of the traffic on expressways will move to nearby arteries. This in turn slows traffic on those streets and since our subway system works on feeder bus routes, those streets will need more buses in order to provide the current capacity. Not as much of that $5 toll will be available to fund subway lines because more buses will have to be purchased, and their cost of operation will have to come from somewhere.

Numerous candidates have been using the term “Streetcar City” when referring to “Transit City”. For the most part, I find this offensive because Transit City is an LRT plan and not a streetcar plan, but at the same time I do not have complete faith that the TTC has the ability to properly implement a true LRT system. Some of the plans that they appear hard pressed to budge on indicate a very streetcar-oriented frame of mind, particularly with the Eglinton-Crosstown line.

Quite frankly, the Eglinton-Crosstown line must be designed to protect for high capacity all the way from Jane to Don Mills. The tunnelled section is a little short of this length and the design uses only median running for the remainder, when separate right of way options are very viable for these locations.

Though the Don Mills LRT is not part of the first phase of Transit City, what open houses the TTC has held on this line suggests that they insist on shoehorning it onto streets that simply do not have room for an LRT line. With that mindset, is it any wonder why the term “Streetcar City” is being bandied about?

A true leader would take a good look at where new subways are really beneficial to the network as a whole, and where LRT is the best mode, and come up with a plan that would benefit all, and then sell it to the public. If that means cherry-picking parts of the Transit City plan and altering others than so be it. Instead, since Transit City is tainted by David Miller, it must be all bad and must be shunned at every opportunity. Let us all spend billions where it is unnecessary because to do otherwise would be to somehow acknowledge that any of the excess spending under David Miller was somehow acceptable.

Councillor Spatafora Uses Photo From This Site

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I was going to post about this when it first came out in early December, but I thought I would wait until an electronic version was available.
Regional and local councillor Vito Spatafora made use of an image originally from this site in his Fall-Winter 2009-2010 newsletter. While credit for the image would have been nice, it is not necessary as this site’s copyright notice allows the non-commercial use of photos and diagrams created by myself (hold you mouse over a photo or image on a non-blog page and a tool-text will appear telling you if it was me, the page author, or someone else).

VIVA LRT Rendering on Yonge

I can’t speak for his position on LRT development, aside from the Don Mills/Leslie extension of the Transit City Don Mills line. I have sent him a message through his website (my email bounces when sent to the Town of Richmond Hill) but have yet to hear a reply.