Tory promises no demolitions in Mount Dennis

John Tory, under fire for his back-of-the-napkin plan to build transit through Mount Dennis, has promised that no homes will be demolished to make way for the trains.

The Globe and Mail reports

It is equally fair for [Olivia Chow] to ask in debates whether he can assure residents that building the western spur of SmartTrack would not require the demolition of local homes. When asked at the editorial board whether he can give such an assurance, he said: “Well, the bottom-line answer is that, where you have to go below or around obstacles, that’s what you’ll do. So the answer to the question is yes.”

 

Many questions remain, however: how much will it cost? How will it be paid for? No—really—how will it be paid for? Why not repurpose the UP Express? Is there even space on the rails?

According to Steve Munro, a transit genius, “None of this is simple—certainly not as simple as Tory would have us believe. And almost none of it makes sense.”

Still, Tory has made one promise: no homes will be demolished. Let’s hold him to that.

 

Mount Dennis a major issue in campaigns

Weston–Mount Dennis is becoming a turning point in the mayoral campaign.

Olivia Chow has been  hammering John Tory’s SmartTrack plan for the bungled Mount Dennis section. She’s been saying his plan was drawn on the back of a napkin and has egregious errors—which, indeed, it seems to.

Yesterday, Chow poked fun at Tory’s plan for Mount Dennis in a mayoral debate on the arts.

Roy’s been over the plan already once before, here’s the gist of the problems:

  • The land along Eglinton that Tory needs has already been sold and has houses on it
  • Tory says he has a plan to pay for the train, but it’s not much of a plan at all.
  • The train ends near the airport but not at the airport
  • And there’s already a train going that way. It’s going to cost $25 each way, though.

Mike Mattos from the MDCA told the Sun:

“We finally got the LRT to a stage where the community is pretty happy as far as station placement goes. It has been a lot of work over 10 years and his plan comes along and throws a monkey wrench into the transit hub and the LRT station,” he said. “This is a poorly-thought out plan.”

 

 

Sullivan meeting on childcare

Mike Sullivan will be hosting a meeting on childcare this Tuesday—a topical issue, given that Weston Village Childcare is in mortal danger. Olivia Chow will attend.

A pro tip: guests might consider asking about the NDP’s commitment to universal childcare. Jack Layton’s NDP brought down the minority Martin governmennt when we we on the cusp of actually getting childcare for all.

Layton, simply by letting things happen, could have helped deliver the policy that offered the single best reason to vote for a socialist government. But instead of taking a solid gain for working families, Layton concentrated on developing the NDP around his own personality.

National Transit Strategy Bill – final vote on September 19th

Wednesday September 19th is the day on which Olivia Chow‘s bill calling for a national transit strategy has its third and final vote in the House of Commons. In this endeavour she is supported by local MP Mike Sullivan who yesterday along with other NDP MPs delivered a petition to Parliament supporting the bill.

For too long, transportation in this country has fallen prey to the whims and squabbles of politicians at all three levels of government. The result is clearly not good. We end up with projects that are one-off (Airport Rail Link for example) and pet projects of politicians rather than an overall strategy. Instead of thoughtful plans, we have chaos, endlessly long commutes, subways to nowhere and airport links that no-one will use (other than for two weeks in 2015).

Cities in this country lack the funds to build transportation and therefore the majority of funding must come from the feds and the province. We have no unified system in place in Weston and instead, we have severely under-funded and un-integrated transportation. For example, in Rome an all-day pass can be purchased which will allow access to local trains, buses and subways. A single trip on the bus / subway system costs under $2.00 and can be purchased from a machine. Tickets have magnetic striping and (as in most cities) open barriers to entry on the subway but are validated on all other transit modes. Rome is currently constructing a third subway line and planning a fourth in addition to the two already existing along with a streetcar, light rail and bus network.

A national transit strategy will provide a long-term strategy of funding and force integration with all forms of transportation and between municipalities. A reasonably priced, fast and comfortable transit network would coax people from their cars, cut down on gridlock (currently estimated to be $6 billion annually) and improve property values in the outer suburbs of the city.

Unfortunately, the bill will likely be voted down by the Conservative majority and the economic engines that are Canada’s major cities will continue to be starved of oxygen. And guess what folks; it’s our fault for getting conned every time politicians at all levels of government come begging for our votes. As we have seen in the recent provincial election, nothing gets a politician’s attention better than the prospect of sudden unemployment. Instead of politicians telling us what we need, we need to tell them what we want. And we’ll vote to back our demands.

When only 60% of the population bothers to vote, this is the result.