Thornhill MPP Against Rapidway

As outlined in this article in the Thornhill Liberal, Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman is rallying against the construction of a VIVA rapidway on Centre and Bathurst streets.

This opposition comes from the Beverley Glen Ratepayers Association, whose president Gila Martow accompanied Shurman at a press conference this past Monday at The Promenade Mall’s York Region Transit and Viva bus terminal. In a display of the bizarre, they brought out the broken record of the St. Clair streetcar right of way and how it “decimated business and lives”. No mention of the Highway 7 rapidway construction between Bayview and Warden that is currently underway. This project, being run by the same people who would be responsible for the Centre/Bathurst rapidway, has maintained all lanes of traffic during most of the project while maintaining and promoting business access all during construction. Instead, they present a horror story of a project that had little co-ordination between various agencies and was located where there was no space for temporary relocation of traffic.

VIVA’s purple route diverts off of Highway 7 between Centre and Bathurst Streets to allow it to connect with the Promenade Mall and pass through an area where people needing the service are located.  Martow said, “The busway route would be faster if it stayed on Highway 7.” Sure it would, but who lives along that stretch of Highway 7? Is the only purpose of the VIVA purple route to provide fast service for people traveling between points east of Bathurst and west of Centre? I suppose what Martow is saying is, the people along Centre and Bathurst be damned, they can drive up to Highway 7 to catch the bus.

Martow also believes the money should be reallocated to funding the Yonge Street subway extension. Just how does she expect people in her neighbourhood are going to get to that subway extension, should it be built 15 years from now? Just how are they supposed to get to the subway in Vaughan when it opens in a few years? At the risk of generalizing about York Region residents, I would suggests she expects them to drive their car to the subway. Does she realize that the number of parking spaces at the VMC station will be zero?

2 Responses to “Thornhill MPP Against Rapidway”

  1. Manny James Says:

    Expansion of the Yonge line north will not matter unless a DRL is built in Toronto. The Yonge line cannot handle the additional pressure. Looking at the Air Rail Link it would be more practical if service was expanded on the Go Transit Richmond Hill line. At least offering all day service, or more frequent options. I love subways, but they are costly. There must be other options in the interim. Let’s keep it simple!

    Cal’s comment: That is basically what I have been saying for the past six years since this website was created: the proper mode for the proper corridor. The eastern leg of the DRL should be priority number one in Toronto’s network, and it should be built all the way up to Eglinton and Don Mills (i.e.: the southern end of the proposed Don Mills LRT should be subway!).

    Upgrades to the Richmond Hill GO line should be one of several things that should be considered as part of the whole network. Along with this should be consideration of a better way to integrate fares and better local feeder service to and from the stations as we just cannot keep building more parking space, which does nothing to help reverse-direction commuters.

  2. Peter Says:

    My letter to Ford last night:

    Dear Mayor-Elect,
    Congratulations on your vocitry. I was not among your supporters but I wish you and the city good luck and a good term. Now that the heat of the moment is over, and before you take action on your campaign promises, please take a quiet moment to think about global trends concerning streetcars. I know the TTC has neglected this valuable resource (largest network in the English-speaking world after Melbourne, Australia) and the current lines badly need some modern technology, fare payment, traffic light management, stop relocation, etc.to improve performance. But please, do not strike down streetcars, their planning or expansion without due consideration. There is something going on in the world that cannot be ignored inside the bubble of Toronto politics.Atlanta is building a streetcar, despite being a car-loving town. Tempe, Arizona is building a streetcar despite being a small city in the Southwest. Detroit and Cincinnati are building streetcars to spur development in their scarred downtowns. Even subway-rich Washington DC and New York are now studying or adding streetcar lines. Philadelphia has brought back an abandoned streetcar line. San Francisco is building more. Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle and Charlotte are among cities that have added LRT lines that act as streetcars downtown. None of this was true when you first became a councillor things have changed.In the big picture, Toronto is still well ahead of the game due to its legacy system and must not now fall behind its competition. Revise policy, study what you need to study, but clearly if all these places (American cities, at that!) are adding streetcars and Light Rail Transit then there must be something of value to such infrastructure, something that goes beyond just another bus line. To slow down, postpone, or discard any streetcar work in Toronto would be grand waste indeed, the kind you were elected to stop.Please give this careful thought. The world is watching.Steve: The real question here is whether streetcars are simply misunderstood, or are one of those irrational causes that politicians seize on. If the latter, no amount of common sense, not even a fiscal argument about how streetcars are better for the city, will sway Ford and his backers. His own policy head wrote a pile of drivel in his blog earlier this year on transit. It was disavowed by the Ford team at the time, but the attitudes must remain there underneath.