Archive for December, 2010

Who Says Light Rail Doesn’t Attract Development?

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Sometimes attraction for development is used as an argument for subways over LRT. The silly thing about this argument is that there are many other factors that come into play, and LRT can be just as effective as full subway construction at attracting new development.

While in Denver last week, I came across this sign at the side of a road near the Dayton LRT station…

Mississauga says, “We’ll take the money for LRT!”

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

In a previous posting, I quipped, “Perhaps if anything is not going to go ahead, Metrolinx could shift the funding to build VIVA Phase 3 (LRT lines) at this time in York Region!”

Well, it seems York Region is snoozing because the Toronto Star is reporting that Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion is saying that if Toronto Mayor Rob Ford doesn’t want the funding for Transit City, Mississauga will be only too happy to take the province’s money to build light rail transit.

One thing in the article that should be noted is this: “Above ground LRT costs about a third as much as subways — the TTC estimates about $100 million per kilometre compared to about $300 million for tunneling.” That is a bit of an overstatement of the costs of LRT construction that includes a fair bit of over-engineering in the Transit City plan, necessary or otherwise, including the underground part of the Eglinton line and the underground connection with the Sheppard subway on the Sheppard East line. Transit City’s own costs for median construction is only just over half that at about $50 million per kilometre, but Mississauga has the benefit of being able to use more side-of-the-road alignments that can use ballasted tie construction to bring that cost down to only $30-35 million per kilometre.

Saving the Streetcar, Transit City and Toronto

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Here is the second installment in this video series which pokes fun at streetcar fans and highlights some of the problems with TTC operations (click here for part one)…

And here is the third installment dealing with more recent events…

Rob Ford says, “Transit City is Dead”

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

At Rob Ford’s first press conference as mayor he declared that Transit City is Dead, that there will be no more construction of streetcar tracks down the middle of roads.

Of course, that declaration may be a little premature as council will have to vote on that. It should be rather interesting, given that he made this announcement without first letting council know about it. Then there is also the little issue that the funded Transit City projects are owned by Metrolinx, not the TTC. The TTC is simply the project manager and would have been the operator. It is possible that Metrolinx could cut all ties with the TTC and build it themselves. Possible, but not likely probable as there would still have to be some co-operation with the city on these projects. Perhaps if anything is not going to go ahead, Metrolinx could shift the funding to build VIVA Phase 3 (LRT lines) at this time in York Region!

Now the declaration that Transit City is dead does not mean that the central section of the Eglinton-Crosstown line will be cancelled. Given that it cuts right through the ward of the new TTC Chair, it will likely survive. That, and the fact that it does not involve building tracks down the middle of a road. Watch for a new brand name on this line: “Oh, that is not the Eglinton-Crosstown Transit City Line, that is the Eglinton-Crosstown XXXX Line!”