Rob Ford says, “Transit City is Dead”

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!”

3 Responses to “Rob Ford says, “Transit City is Dead””

  1. W. K. Lis Says:

    Ford wants to develop a “transportation” plan. With his remarks on “the war on the car is over”, I see it as a war on bicycles and transit. I hope the other councilors will be aware of that.

  2. Matt Fisher Says:

    This is a bleak future ahead now that Transit City is dead. I’m a liberal and all, but some things have to be cut for the sake of reducing the deficit.

    Cal’s comment: Fiscally, I am a conservative and believe that public funds should be spent wisely. While that is in sync with Ford’s “get rid of the gravy train” mantra, it also dictates that the most economical solution should be applied where appropriate. Ford’s transit plans are completely against fiscal restraint, hence my “cartoon” of him making a big thing about finding a quarter while thousands of dollars pour out of his back pocket. But this is “respect” for the taxpayer!

  3. Matt Fisher Says:

    Sorry about what I said. But if Ford does say Transit City is dead, will the Sheppard East LRT be cancelled if it’s already being built? And is there ever a chance of any of the lines happening again if it’s cancelled?

    This is similar to in Ottawa when they cancelled earlier LRT plans after a mayor who isn’t our mayor anymore, Larry O’Brien (who is conservative like Rob Ford), cancelled the North-South LRT (NSLRT) following his 2006 election. While I supported it then, I fell into despair after its cancellation, but there were flaws with the NSLRT anyway.

    Cal’s comment: The major issue about whether each of the projects will go forward or not is likely to rely on what the cancellation fees are. While construction has started on the Sheppard East LRT, that construction is the grade separation of the CN Uxbridge subdivision with Sheppard at the Agincourt GO station. This grade separation will be necessary for GO’s long term plans to increase service on this line, with or without the LRT.

    Basically, Ford has pressed the “pause” button on things and has requested that the TTC produce a new plan by the end of January. While the time line on this is very tight, it should show what our options are and the cost of each option and the ability to fund or not each option. While there will be cancellation fees for contracts already signed, there may be alternatives to such fees if the contracts can be transferrable to another project. Details such as this will have to be taken into account when comparing alternative plans.

    If I had to take an educated guess at what will go forward, I suspect that the underground portion of Eglinton will. I suspect the conversion of the SRT might prevail when it is discovered (to those that don’t already realize this) that extending the subway to Scarborough Centre will involve a whole new alignment that will likely only have one stop (at Lawrence and Brimley) and cost many times what Ford’s transit plan envisioned because it can’t use any of the existing infrastructure. SRT conversion had the benefit of being able to share maintenance facilities with the Sheppard East line, which becomes an issue if that isn’t built, though the portion east of the SRT could be seen as beneficial, especially if a branch to the U of T is considered important for the Pan Am games. The rest of Sheppard will be a question that costs may be the deciding factor. That said, I could see Ford going with an extension of the subway to Victoria Park only over LRT the whole distance because that may be all that the money will buy. Better to have 2 km of subway than 10 km of LRT, right? I could see the Finch West line being canned, but that would leave a significant chunk of the city without improvements.