GTA Transit Planning Revealed.

From bms.co.in

The latest news of how transit gets built in this area comes as no surprise to most people in the GTA.  In the latest outrage, straight from the manual of how to operate a corrupt government, Provincial Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca possibly acting in a craven bid to keep his own seat, seems to have pressured Metrolinx into approving two unnecessary GO stations. One in his riding and another $25 million station which was (literally) forged into existence, in order to satisfy (Rob Ford in sheep’s clothing) Mayor Tory’s ill-conceived SmartTrack needs. With a wink and a nod to voters in next June’s election, Del Duca could point to the $100 million GO station as a reason to re-elect him. One might speculate that the March resignation of Bruce McCuaig was a reaction to this nonsense, knowing that the truth would eventually come out.

This chart illustrates the weekly passenger loads on TTC lines and routes. The downtown relief line would serve four times as many people as a Scarborough Subway. Click to enlarge. From reliefline.ca

The $3.35 billion, one-stop Scarborough Subway is another example of how transit planning is perverted by politicians for their own re-election purposes. Torontonians will be paying for that white elephant for the next 50 years while knowing that a much better LRT was already planned and paid for. Line 1 is overcrowded with 731,000 passengers weekly. Line 3 has only 40,000. In the meantime, politicians like Glenn de Bearemaeker and John Tory stick to the same nonsense that Scarborough deserves a subway. Even our own councillor, Frances Nunziata supports this obscenity presumably because she wants to Tory to keep her on as Council Speaker.

Closer to home, the UP Express was originally designed to be built privately and run non-stop to the airport. It was going to cost taxpayers nothing while barreling at high speed through our neighbourhood. Luckily the community got involved in the form of the people of Weston and the Clean Train Coalition. As a result of community pressure, Weston got its own station and a tunnel was built to put some of the line below grade. In spite of common sense, we’re still stuck with the CP tracks not going in the tunnel with the other lines, broken links between streets like John Street and a sell-off of the old GO parking lot for development without any community input. On the plus side, we now have an inexpensive, quick and frequent train to the airport and downtown but in fairness, no politician planned this; it was forced on them by community pressure.

Sadly, most politicians will do whatever they need to do in order to get elected. Public vigilance and pressure is the only answer. Being well informed and vocal is in every citizen’s best interest.

From Smart Citizen Engagement – Power to Sense: Dr Mazlan Abbas. Keynote Presentation at Asia Pacific Smart City Forum 2016

There is an old saying that war is too important to be left to the generals. Along the same lines, governing is too important to be left to politicians. Demanding and participating in community consultation events has never been more important. Especially since there is about to be a huge surge in redevelopment in Weston. Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat’s resignation on Monday will only serve to stress the importance of informed citizen input.

5 thoughts on “GTA Transit Planning Revealed.”

  1. Thank you for pulling this all together and underlining the hypocrisy of political planning. We can be vigilant, and act, when we are informed!
    Again, thanks.

  2. With Keesmat gone I guess it’s too late to revisit her decision to foist a 30 storey tower in Weston? Still no answer from city transportation on how they will control the extra traffic coming out of the new development onto King St into two schools.

  3. Roy, redirecting CP’s traffic through the tunnel could never have worked owing firstly to the grade separation north of Church, but secondly to the grade (slope) out of the tunnel, which is too steep for heavier freight trains to make.

    Mike, I dare say that it is indeed too late to revisit the decision to put a 30 storey tower in Weston, given the building is already under construction. However, we should recall that aside from the fact that city government had already made up its mind on the proposal, it was also met with enthusiasm by the Residents’ Association who were bamboozled by the inclusion of an absurd arts and culture “hub”. On that note, we might contrast their naivety with the cynicism of Margaret Atwood, Galen Weston and their fellow Annex residents who have managed to put up formidable opposition to an eight story condo on Avenue Road – one of the most transit-dense areas of the city – purportedly over their concern for six private trees. It’s completely ridiculous, entitled NIMBYism of course, but at least they know what’s good for them.

    1. Eric, given the narrow parameters that were used at the time, i.e. begin the downsloping of the line only from Lawrence, yes, the CP line had to stay above ground. There was however an earlier idea to bring the rail lines back down to the current base of the underpass at Lawrence and restore Lawrence to its original grade. That way, sloping would have been substantially reduced and Lawrence could have been restored at the underpass opening up many possibilities. Yes, a very long shot and large investment; plus working with CP is apparently no picnic as they regard themselves as a corporate Father of Confederation and therefore a law unto themselves.

      1. As you say,
        “Yes, a very long shot and large investment.”

        It ain’t easy.

        Never is.

        But really, in relative terms, aren’t they all most often a long shot & expensive – be it time or money, public or private investment, in any neighbourhood?

        Maybe that group from the Avenue Road & DuPont (Davenport) community are more committed than most when it comes to a cause or concern in their neighbourhood.

        Perhaps it’s a classic case of “money talks & bs walks”?

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