Council Approves Sheppard East LRT

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.

4 Responses to “Council Approves Sheppard East LRT”

  1. W. K. Lis Says:

    I still want a subway, a pony, and a Rolls Royce. I’ll hold my breath if I don’t get them.

    Cal’s comment: Not just a subway, but one that stops at a station that opens into your basement, and another stop that opens into the lobby of your workplace!

  2. Dwight Says:

    Sheppard is lucky to get that! The volume along that corridor only warrents increase bus service or a BRT at best. As for gowth and developers pitching in to pay for a subway. Why would they? Especially when they could move to the 905 area where a subway is already going in that they do not have to pay for. Developers know that where ever they buid in the GTA people will buy regardless.

    Scarborough lost its influence after Amalgamation and the explosive growth of the 905.

    The developers did not want to pay anything when Mel lastman tried and its the same today. Not one newspaper could even publish the names of the developers who met with Rob ford in that meeting he had a few weeks ago. My bet is that they were just paid actors.

    Cal’s comment: To say that the Sheppard corridor only warrants BRT is not exactly correct. BRT could provide the level of service needed to meet today’s ridership requirements, albeit at a higher operating cost (think one operator’s salary per 100 BRT riders versus an operator’s salary per 340 LRT riders), but would have difficulty with future requirements. The number of projected riders from now out to 2031 are at the high end of what BRT can accommodate and BRT would need bypass lanes at various points along the line in order to do this. Providing space for bypass lanes would be rather difficult without adverse effects on other traffic on Sheppard. BRT requires more space than LRT to begin with because an LRT operator is able to operate the LRV down the right of way with minimal clearance on each side because the rails have a way of keeping the LRV consistently in line. Buses require some “wiggle room” since they must be steered by the operator.

    There is also the matter that transit modes on rails have a way of attracting more riders than steered-rubber-tired vehicles. There is something in the back of many peoples’ minds that identifies a transit vehicle as being “just a bus” or “something other than a bus”.

  3. W. K. Lis Says:

    The “looking to the future for transit needs” could also mean that the Downtown Relief Line Study could get out of its s…l…o…w… crawling status it is now in, to one that is more of a casual walk. Not yet a racewalk nor a jogging pace, but better than it is now.

    Cal’s comment: I truly hope so.

  4. Anisa Says:

    This comment was lost in cyberspace for awhile. It was made three years after this article was posted, so it is only partially commented on at this time.

    they should just extend the subway west to Downsview. As for the lrt I have no idea why it ends at Morningside. I recall when the plan first came out it said it would terminate at Meadowvale with possible extension to Durham.

    Cal’s comment: When the plan first came out, it was only going to Morningside, but there was talk shortly thereafter to extend it to Meadowvale. Just before the Ford cuts, the plan was to have revenue track only go to Morningside as they looked into a “hook” down Morningside to UofT Scarborough. Track would continue on Sheppard east of Morningside, but only as far as the proposed carhouse at Conlins Road.

    Lastly I have no idea why the Scarborough Malvern line is terminating at Malvern Town Centre. Wasn’t it suppose to be Morningside. I mean Malvern Town Centre is already getting a RT extension why do they need two lines.

    With the revised plan for the RT replacement, the line did no longer need to go to MTC. Current plans to have this line part of the Crosstown East, would only have it go to the UofT.

    Plus it would make more sense to leave the line on morninside so that it could serve the new community of Morninside Heights, with potenital extensions along morniside once they finish widenning the road there.Steve: Extensions eastward of the Sheppard LRT and northward of the Scarborough-Malvern or RT (converted to LRT) are possible. Nobody has gotten that far in the planning yet. We still do not know definitively which technology will be used for the exentded RT and this will affect both its route and its outer terminus. Until that is known, the exact role of the Scarborough Malvern line won’t be clear.As for travelling across Sheppard, that’s a worst case scenario. It is worth noting that an early version of the Metrolinx RTP proposed converting the subway tunnel to LRT and running a continuous LRT line across Sheppard. However, decommissioning a subway line would be monstrously embarrassing to all concerned and that scheme vanished. This was not the mad ravings of an LRT-obsessed transit junkie, it was a professional proposal by a respected transit planner that Metrolinx incorporated into their plan, for a time.We are stuck with the Sheppard subway, but that doesn’t mean we should just keep building more of it. I really have to ask whether a Port Union to Jane trip across Sheppard represents a common enough travel pattern to get a two or even a one-seat ride.It would be equally valid to argue that people who want to travel diagonally across the grid often face a surface ride, a subway ride and another surface ride. This is common all over the city, and we can’t gerrymander the network to provide direct service between every point. Yes, Sheppard is a sad mistake, but it should not be painted as if it is the only situation where multi-vehicle trips are needed.