Kodak Building 9 interior photographed.

The Kodak recreation building, (officially known as Kodak Building 9) was moved from its foundations last summer. The idea was to create new foundations that the building will return to and become part of the new Mount Dennis Station.

Kodak Building 9 interior. From Crosstown LRT  Twitter. Click for larger image.

It was recently photographed and the worker inside illustrates the awesome size of the building while graffiti still festoons the interior walls.

Read more about last summer’s move here.

Catch the fast train

Bruce McCuaig, the CEO of Metrolinx for the past seven years, has taken a new job at the federal government. Among other things, McCuaig oversaw the disastrous rollout of the UP Express.

The UPX had tanking ridership, spiking fares, and millions upon millions of dollars wasted in pursuit of the elusive executive traveller desiring public transit. To stop the bleeding, it was converted, at the province’s insistence, into an affordable ride for the proles. McCuaig made $361,114 a year for his services.

Kathy Haley, the president of only the UPX was ‘reorganized‘ out of work in 2016.

 

Weston station faces threats

If you build it, they will go away.

That’s the news Metrolinx delivered this week, when they released “long-delayed” reports that said riders would be so frustrated by Tory’s SmartTrack stops that they would get back in their cars. It’s a conclusion that threatens the Weston GO station, too.

 

Weston has been quite lucky to have both a GO and a UPX stop, but when the Mount Dennis station is finished in 2022, our luck may run out. Like the Weston station, the Mount Dennis station will connect with the GO and the UPX—but in addition, it will have a link with the Eglinton LRT and busses. Will Metrolinx have three GO and UPX stops within 10 km: Weston, Mount Dennis and St. Clair?

This week’s report suggests they might not. Every stop slows down riders and drives them away from the service.

Obviously, there are four options:

  • Closing both the GO and UPX stations
  • Closing the UPX
  • Closing the GO
  • Closing neither

Your correspondent bets that Metrolinx will close the GO station—and would close both if they could. The reasons are clear:

  • GO Trains accelerate and decelerate slowly, so an additional stop causes more inconvenience.
  • Ridership must be down a great deal now that the UPX is cheap
  • Very few people get on the GO in Weston going to Kitchener, and fewer still who would not take the UPX one stop in the wrong direction to Mount Dennis to get on the GO heading out of town.

Two solutions would be an integrated fare or fare by distance, so Westonians could get on the UPX and not be penalized for jumping on another mode of transit at Mount Dennis. Your correspondent doubts very much that Metrolinx will miss a chance to burn Westonians, however.

 

One year anniversary of low UPX fares

The province is celebrating the one-year anniversary of reasonable fares on the UPX.

Transportation Minister Stephen Del Duca was asked how much money the UPX is losing. He said—unbelievably—that he didn’t know.

I know.

9000 riders take the train daily, and growth is slowing. At an average fare of $9 (less for short trips, more for those without a Presto card), that raises $81,000 a day. The train, however, costs about $160,000 a day to run, leaving a shortfall of about $80,000 daily.

Annually, that’s about $29 million.

While I’m very grateful for the UPX, it’s worth remembering that Metrolinx was told by their private partner—which withdrew—and the Auditor General that this would happen. They insisted on building a boutique train in the face of all evidence.

 

Metrolinx seeking your input

Metrolinx is seeking your blessing, permission, input, cover as they start a round of consultation on their “community charter” . They say they are

working hard to put residents and communities at the very centre of everything we do.

The charter is “to give meaningful and measureable [sic] form to our commitment to communities”.

Weston has long been railroaded by the provincial transportation organization. Off the top of my head, they:

  • Spent $500 million+ on the jet-setting elites even though they knew it was a dud
  • Expropriated homes while denying that they were doing so
  • Wasted gob-smacking amounts of money
  • Delayed opening the long-overdue pedestrian bridge
  • Screwed up building noise walls in our community
  • And continue to publish, of all things, an in-ride magazine for a money-losing train
UP Express magazine
Sweet christ. These are your tax dollars at work.

all while having plenty of community consultations on exactly what colours the deck chairs should be.

If, unlike me, you think that Metrolinx still has moral net assets, you can give your opinion.

New transit hub proposed for Pearson Airport.

The UP Express in Weston Station (file).

Pearson Airport is not only Canada’s biggest airport, it’s also an employer of 40,000 49,000 people who travel from all over the GTA along with many more who work in the surrounding region. In 2015 it was North America’s 14th busiest airport with over 41 million passenger trips.

Yesterday, new plans were unveiled proposing to make Pearson a transit hub for modes as well as flight. The idea is to eventually connect with the Eglinton Crosstown Line as well as bus routes from Toronto / Mississauga / Brampton and a possible high speed rail line along the Kitchener Line. Planners hope to be able to cut down on the 65,000 vehicles entering the airport daily.

This is good news because as traffic volumes continue to grow, new links to the hub will provide other ways (in addition to our fast UP Express link) for workers to quickly access the airport using Weston / Mount Dennis as their home. The airport will relocate parking garages to create the hub which will have an entrance on Airport Road. In addition, having a transit hub closer than Union Station will be a good thing for our area.

At the moment, the idea is in an exploratory mode and if approved, would not be in service until 2027 at the earliest.

UrbanToronto has an article on the proposal here.