Here is a conceptual view of the TTC rail yard slated to occupy the Kodak Lands site.
Next to the site is a proposed bus terminal to serve as a transportation hub.
Conspiracy theorists have said that the junction of the GO train line / Airport Link with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT in combination with the bus terminal plans will mean that Weston Station will be temporary. They think that the ultimate plan is to build a GO station in this location and render Weston Station unnecessary.
The Globe and Mail has another interesting take on the GO network in an article published last Friday. In the article, Markham Councillor Jim Jones adds another voice calling on Metrolinx to add more tracks, triple the number of stations and electrify lines entering Toronto such as the Georgetown (now Kitchener) line. Openfile has a similar take on the same topic.
While Metrolinx deep thinkers don’t want to offer local service, the arguments for such an integrated service are compelling. Councillor Jones points out that Metrolinx and the TTC don’t talk to each other. Perhaps it’s time for our elected representatives to ask the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to bang some heads together.
All but one of the bus routes that serve Weston will be cut, if the proposed service changes to the TTC go ahead. The cuts come even as the TTC faces increased ridership and increased fares, but they have been required by the Ford administration at City Hall, which has asked all city departments to reduce budgets by 10%.
The only bus route to not get trimmed is the 59 Maple Leaf. It faced and escaped a cut earlier this year, so it is a bit odd that it was not cut this time around. All the other routes serving Weston got something on the order of a 7% service reduction during some hours.
One fewer bus will serve the 52 Lawrence West route, which will come every 7 minutes and 30 seconds instead of every 7 minutes during the midday from Monday to Friday. Two buses will be cut from the airport service on the 52 Malton, which will now come every 7 minutes and 30 seconds, instead of every 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
Three buses will be cut from the 35 Jane street morning route. It will come every 3’03” instead of every 2’52” during morning rush hour—a small change, but one that amounts to a 6% cut. In the afternoon rush, 4 buses will be cut, and it will run even less frequently: every 3’34” instead of every 3’10”.
The 89 Weston bus will now come every 7 minutes and 40 seconds, instead of every 7 minutes during the afternoon rush home. One bus will be cut during those hours.
The TTC will decide next month whether it will raise fares by 10¢.
The City Manager has issued his review and has recommended cuts to Toronto services to balance the budget deficit. Among the possible cuts that might affect Westonians:
Elimination of the neighbourhood improvement fund that reduces graffiti, funds murals, and employs young people in Weston
Grants to the Weston BIA
Closure of some branches of the library system
A reduced number of police officers
Additional fares or reduced service on the 352 and 313 late-night busses and service reductions on the 59 Maple Leaf bus
Reduced snow clearing and reduced grass cutting in parks
At this point, details are sparse, and little has been decided. The City Manager report distilled an external audit down to a manageable number of recommendations, which will, if your humble correspondent understands the process correctly, be further debated at City Council among other places.
Councillor Nunziata will be holding a public meeting to hear residents’ input on Thursday, September 15, at the York Civic Centre: 2700 Eglinton Ave. West. The meeting will begin at 7 pm.
Weston is lucky to have access to downtown in 17 minutes via the GO train. Just to put that in perspective, TTC subway from Royal York to Union involves a line change and takes 33 minutes on a good day. Property values around Royal York Station are astronomical in no small part because of the subway. Here in Weston, we can get downtown in half the time and don’t have to change trains. The only thing faster to downtown than the GO from Weston is a helicopter. Unfortunately GO’s service is a commuter run only with 7 Union Station bound trains in the morning and 6 Weston bound trains in the evening (go figure).
According to InsideToronto.com about 450 people get on or off at Weston each day. Assuming that most are on a return trip, that’s fewer than 250 actual people. The lack of parking at the station has long been cited as a problem. Weston’s GO station’s new location just south of Lawrence Avenue later this year may help. The relocation will almost double the number of parking spots to 200 and access will be from Weston Road. A temporary platform will be in place by November and a fully functioning station, platforms and even more parking will be ready for the opening of the Airport Rail Link in 2015. GO transit is anticipating an increase in ridership from Weston with the additional parking spots and a doubling of service levels in 2015 by which time the Airport Rail Link will be making stops here too. With electrification of the line, the service will be quieter and even faster.
Our new mayor was elected by a considerable margin over his rivals, and it’s agreed he has a pretty strong mandate. Rob Ford’s distaste for street cars was no secret during the campaign, and he seems to be following through on his promise to turn the Transit City plan on its head.
Toronto does not compare well to other cosmopolitan areas when it comes to public transportation. Our subway system is limited to selected areas of downtown and the suburbs. Streetcars and buses are slow and prone to traffic delays; if you have a couple of hours to spare, take a bus or streetcar across town.
Yet while Toronto compares badly, Weston is in the basement.
In recent years, some rays of hope were unveiled. In 1994 work began on a subway that would have gone along Eglinton from Dufferin to Renforth with Weston stops at Keele North, York Centre, Jane North and Scarlett. In 1995, the Harris government ‘deferred’ the work and filled in all excavations. So much for the Common Sense Revolution.
Recently, a subway-like train was planned under Transit City. Originally this would have run along Eglinton—underground like a subway from Leaside to Black Creek Drive with limited stops 850m apart, and then above ground to the Airport with stops 500m apart. This would have given Weston rapid access to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway and other parts of the city. Again it was being eroded by lack of funds—but at least a start would have been made.
Rob Ford is saying that he wants the Eglinton LRT cancelled. Instead, the money (and then some more) is to be spent on completing the white elephant Sheppard subway. While Toronto mayors have only one vote in council, it is likely Mr. Ford will get his way. The Eglinton LRT is probably dead.
Does this mean that Rob Ford has abandoned the people who strongly supported him here in Weston and his old Ward 2? (I can’t think Frances Nunziata supports cancellation.) What will he do to ensure that there is planning in the works for viable rapid transit options for Weston? Isn’t Weston due for a break soon? Do we have to put up with this and noisy diesels too? For heaven’s sake, throw us a bone Rob.