Archive for March, 2012

Council Approves Sheppard East LRT

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

It required over another half day of debate, but at about 2:40 pm, the main motion on going with the LRT plan for Sheppard East came to a vote and was passed 24-19. Here is a photo of the results of the vote (click on it to see a larger version):

 Vote results

The day started with some comments about the attempts to filibuster on Wednesday before continuing with the questions on Councillor Thompson’s motion to defer everything. There was a motion to amend his motion by adding a deadline to the deferral that required a report back to council for the May 8 and 9 meeting. At 11 am, the deferral and its amendment went to a vote. The amendment passed, but the main motion itself failed and discussion returned to the main motion.

There were a few “no strings” motions put forward to essentially create a committee or mechanism that would be on-going to study ways to create on-going funding for transit development and even look into studying the priority of future projects. These are “no strings” because they were not tied to whether Sheppard East would be LRT or subway. Personally, I believe this is a good idea as it could create a way of doing things that keeps looking to the future for transit needs instead of just coming up with a new line on a map when it either makes a good election promise or another level of government is waiving some cash at the city.

I suspect that the lack of any 3P way to fund Ford’s plan whatsoever may because the city has lacked this sort of initiative until now. After all, if you had a load of cash to invest and the city came to you looking for it and you asked what sort of planning structure they had in place, what should your reaction be when they respond with, “Uh, our plan was to just ask you”?

These motions were intentionally left open-ended to allow what ever body exists to explore all possible sources of funding. Anything goes - be that going to the province or feds to beg, make use of existing or asking for new revenue tools, going to the private sector, or even holding a bake sale. Still, Councillor Ford had to ask if it would include looking at 3P sources. When told ‘yes’, he continued to ask, until he became frustrated and made a comment about “working with a bunch of monkeys.” He had to apologize for this comment, but his lack of understanding what the word ‘yes’ means shows that Councillor Cho was correct on Wednesday when he asked Doug Ford if he understood the language.

Council Meeting on Sheppard East

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Today was the special meeting of Council on the transit choice for Sheppard East.

The morning, and part of the afternoon, was spent on questions for staff. The chair of the special panel on Sheppard, Professor Eric Miller, was not present as he is at a conference that was arranged long before this meeting was set for today (it was originally set for March 15). In order for him to be asked questions, a teleconference connection was to be used, but as this has never been used by Council and there are no official rules regarding it, Council needed to approve it. Councillor Minnan-Wong rose on a point of order questioning what the long term effects of this vote would mean. The City Clerk indicated that the vote would only apply to this one situation and would not be precedent setting. The vote to allow the teleconference questioning passed.

Councillor Kelly had a motion to allow another speaker to answer questions. Since this was an agenda change, it required a 2/3 majority vote and did not pass.

Councillor Glen De Baeramaeker presenting motion

A little after 3 pm, the main motion was finally presented by Councillor De Baeremaeker, followed by questions on the motion. After this, other councillors either spoke on the motion or presented other motions.

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LRT and Subway Myths

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I have added a new page to the site outlining some LRT and Subway Myths. This blog posting is here to provide a forum for comments, suggestions, and arguments coming from that page.

The Case for LRT

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Toronto badly needs a new subway.

That is an odd opening statement for a position in favour of LRT. To clarify it, let me state that I did not say that Toronto badly needs any subway. What Toronto badly needs is transit expansion that looks at the network as a whole, and the one and only subway that fits that need at this time is the eastern leg of a Downtown Relief Line. This would be a line into downtown, possibly somewhere between Queen and King, running from the University line, connecting with the Yonge line, heading east and curving north to the Bloor-Danforth line somewhere between Pape and Coxwell, then continuing up to the intersection of Don Mills and Eglinton. Eventually, a western segment will be necessary, but the priority at this time is the eastern segment.

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Major Changes Coming to this Site

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

March 19 update: further changes have been made to the layout of city pages thanks to feedback from a few sources, most notable from Matthew Lam. The Denver page is the first to undergo this new layout with such features as larger print and specific sections that are linked by a contents list at the top of the page. Over the next few weeks, other cities will undergo this change starting with the Minneapolis and Baltimore pages.

March 15 update: the full launch of the new look is now online, though a number of individual pages still have to undergo a conversion.

March 3 update: a sneak preview is now available on the Minneapolis page. This was the first page created on this site to show LRT in other cities, so it was chosen as the first to get the updated look. That, and the need to update a few of the details!

Major changes to the look and feel of this site are underway and should begin to appear online in a week or so.My thanks to all those who sent me messages regarding suggestions, all were very constructive and have been taken into account in one form or another. Watch for the new look coming soon!