Archive for October, 2013

Do I Get To Say, “I Told You So”?

Friday, October 4th, 2013

A new report on a subway extension to Scarborough from Toronto’s city manager, Joe Pennachetti, has him saying:

The construction of a Relief Line subway or equivalent may become a prerequisite to address the higher ridership on the Bloor-Danforth line that will be accelerated by construction of the subway extension.

I have said this before. Despite the fact that the name of this site is the Toronto LRT Information Site, it is my opinion that a (Downtown) Relief Line is a major priority. I believe that the correct mode of transit is a very important part of good transit planning, and sometimes that means subways. Unfortunately, many politicians and much of the public have drank the Koolaid that has them believing that good transit planning can only mean subways, subways, subways.

This site was started about six months before the Transit City LRT Plan was made public. The original focus was to provide information on just what LRT is and what it can do for Toronto. LRT is a broad expression that covers much more than just streetcars, but because Toronto kept its streetcar network, residents know very little beyond this narrow scope. Of those who have visited cities with LRT, most have never used another city’s LRT system to get around and therefore have no idea of what LRT can and can’t do for us. Fear of the unknown, combined with misleading information or out and out lies, makes for great opposition to something. This site was originally meant to show what is done in other cities, and how some of this can apply to Toronto (as well as how some things may not apply in Toronto).

With the announcement of the Transit City plan, the need to convince the politicians diminished (but did not disappear), and the purpose of this site took on a slightly wider scope about what mode is better for a given corridor.

From this, it was clear that there are situations where a full subway line is necessary, and that is at the core of the subway network where capacity is non-existant. Expansion of the core will do little to improve transit for those living in the core, but it will do wonders for those needing to get to the core. Thus, the word “Downtown” in the name Downtown Relief Line is misleading in a way. It would relieve the downtown part of the subway network, but in doing so it increases capacity on the parts of the subway network bringing in people from further out.

Getting back to the point of this post, it was on March 15, 2012 that I said that Toronto badly needs a subway. Going even futher back, it was on June 2, 2009 that I spoke of removing the plans for the Don Mills LRT line south of Eglinton and replacing it with the DRL subway line.

So finally there is an official report that says what I have been saying for several years now. Now if we can only get people to pull their fingers out of their ears and stop saying, “I can’t hear you - subways, subways, subways!”