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Rob Ford’s Road to Nowhere

Brace yourselves, kids: Rob Ford has released his transportation plan [PDF]. Though we fully expect and look forward to multiple eviscerations of its details in the forthcoming days, in the interim let us just say that this is an astonishing bit of fiction which demonstrates little grasp of transit policy, government relations, or basic arithmetic. Released in conjunction with a bizarrely halting video, Ford’s key message seems to be: “I am going to take the nice $3.7 billion the province promised us for Transit City and instead use that money to build ten kilometres of subway.” Because, you know, the government of Ontario is totally happy to let Rob Ford reallocate its cash that way.


  • accozzaglia

    Sweet jesus.

  • http://undefined Green Sulfur

    Putting aside its content, that video is amateur hour! If his campaign knows how bad Ford is at reading, why wouldn’t they give him a teleprompter? This is like that Stefane Dion video.

  • http://undefined Solex

    Except that the fools who are going to vote for him will believe it anyway, and not give a shit. That’s what everybody who’s opposed to him faces trying to defeat him.

  • http://undefined mattalexto

    If Ford wins I’ll just use my own personal money (and buckets of paint) to install bike lanes where I want them. I’m sure he’d approve.

  • http://undefined Vincent Clement

    Just like the fools who will vote for Smitherman and his promise to not raise property taxes AND reduce expenditures. Ya right. The same Smitherman who created the disaster known as Local Health Integration Network aka LHIN. Good luck Toronto.

  • http://undefined James

    Your point, while fair, doesn’t detract from the point being made in the article above. Just because Smitherman’s fiscal plan makes no sense doesn’t mean that Ford’s plan magically makes sense as a result. Both men would be poor mayors for Toronto.

  • http://undefined BBowen

    Utterly astounding.
    How can a guy with 10 years of council experience, and all his alleged business smarts, mangle numbers this badly. $1-billion in air rights along subway corridors?!?! This would sound more plausible coming from Dr. Evil.
    The city is lucky to get $2-million in density bonuses from a single condo development in downtown Toronto, so Ford is counting on the construction of 500+ towers in Scarborough over the next 5 years?? Even if this was remotely plausible, Ford’s suburban supporters would have a hard time swallowing even a fraction of this imaginary density.
    But my favourite part of this plan – and the image that sums up Ford’s entire mayoral campaign for me – is the proposed bike trail cutting across the runway of the island airport.

  • http://undefined adHominem

    Magical thinking, top to bottom.
    “Toronto [is] fuelling an emerging and wholly unnecessary battle between cyclists and motorists.” Actually, the only people fuelling a battle between cyclists and motorists are the people engaging in unnecessarily inflammatory “war on car” style rhetoric. People like Ford. It’s irresponsible, short-sighted and counterproductive, exactly what we don’t need in a mayor (though, sadly, exactly what we’ve come to expect from Rob).
    “For seven years, City Hall has… ignored roadway repairs” – actually, unless I’m misremembering, it’s just over the past seven years that Toronto has finally started to put a dent in that $250 million backlog of overdue infrastructure repair – a backlog that arose, I might point out, thanks to budget shortfalls from amalgamation and underfunding courtesy Ford’s pals, the Conservative government.
    “Subways will be free, because there’s money in this Transit City pile!” Do you seriously think this is how government disbursement works, Rob? Haven’t you learned anything with your Lisa Simpson-esque attendance record? Do you listen in council, or do you just wait for people to stop talking so you can vote against stuff?
    “Buses will be free, because I’ll get rid of streetcars!” 1. That Bombardier contract, for the new low-floor LRTs? Don’t you think there’s an expensive cancellation clause? 2. Those new buses have to go somewhere when they’re not being driven. You could use LRT storage, but it’ll have to be refitted, and that costs money. 3. Someone has to drive and maintain those buses. Retraining or hiring costs money. 4. Are you pulling up existing streetcar tracks? That costs money.
    This guy is an incompetent fuckwit. If he wins, I don’t dread the city’s prospects – the Mayor only gets one vote on Council – but the thought of listening to his self-satisfied, pig-ignorant braying for the next four years is enough to give me an ulcer.

  • http://undefined concurrent

    Was Ottawa, “you know– super happy” to pay undisclosed millions to settle the island airport bridge fiasco?

  • David Toronto

    The video is awkward–for want of a better word.
    Gotta hand it to him and considering his limited
    talent pool, he comes across as sleep-inducing.
    If he’s out of his league in the video, what’s
    he going to be like when he goes and speaks to
    the Federation of Canadian Mayors or other august
    Shades of Mel Lastman and the SARS and CNN interview.

  • mark.

    I honestly cannot understand why Ford and Smitherman are leading the polls. What would be so terrible having Pantalone as mayor?

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco

    It’s like listening to an classmate present their grade seven book report at the front of the room.

  • http://undefined J Bailey

    I don’t see how he can get those subways built by 2015.

  • http://undefined lunarworks

    What? Digging subway tunnels isn’t as easy as digging holes for fence posts?

  • http://undefined Andrew

    He’s going to get drunk and yell at the dirt until it moves out of the way.

  • accozzaglia

    It’s that he’s talking down to us as if we’re grade school children. It’s either:
    A) Greatly offensive;
    B) Demonstrative of his core ineptitude;
    C) Both.
    The simplicity and obliviousness of how little either he or his support staff understand transportation or its planning and execution would be heartbreaking if not unnerving that he is tantalizingly close to bringing Playskool and Play-Doh into our city’s delicate, intricate physical infrastructure.
    Put another way, he is a drunken boxer holding the scalpel and forceps to do routine surgery like removing your appendix. And wiping his nose on the back of his hand during the procedure.
    Routine or not, it’s still a risky gamble.

  • accozzaglia

    Nothing, really. He’s just not a rock star and charismatic and outspoken and populist and lacks all the soft qualities that pander solely to our basest Stone Age instincts.

  • accozzaglia

    It’ll start the “war on cars” he’s so itching to prove actually exists.
    And if you’re painting those lines and look up to see a big, brown van with a vanity plate reading “ROB FORD” barrelling your way — well, I hope your assurance plan rocks, because your family is going to need it. Worse, any charges filed on Ford would probably be dropped by Mark Bryant’s colleagues inside the justice system.

  • http://undefined Junction416

    Yikes this plan is big waste of money for two reasons.
    First, the light rail is already being built along Sheppard East ( so stopping that project would be a huge waste of money. The environmental assessment, expropriations, labour and engineering costs for the LRT (Toronto’s only transit plan with guaranteed $7 billion in funding) all down the drain. Changing the project from LRT to subway would require a whole new round of approval and engineering, contracting, public meetings ect… and never mind the added costs of canceling the existing contracts and undoing the work already done.
    Second, development rights over subways should not be used to pay for new roads but for better transit. Rapid transit investment adds value to the land therefore that value should be reinvested into transit not roads so you can take advantage of a virtuous cycle of new transit -> higher land values -> development rights -> new transit (Something we have been really really bad at). Building roads and adding lanes does nothing to improve congestion or add value to neighbourhoods or land so that money would just be wasted (

  • http://undefined Edmund

    I would be very interested to know exactly how (a) Ford will convince the province to transfer the money from Transit City to … Intransigence City?, and (b) how $4 Billion is going to possibly cover going subway-crazy on Sheppard and Scarborough. Because we all know how all transit projects have all come under budget, don’t we? $4 Billion might – might – get you the conversion of the SRT, but after that, you’re rubbing pennies together.

  • http://undefined Edmund

    He’s going to get Miller and Giambrone to work shifts digging the subway. With spoons.

  • accozzaglia

    No. Spoons won’t be useful. They broke up a long time ago. /pun

  • http://undefined Vincent Clement

    I see a slight problem with his tax and spend point of view.

  • http://undefined mark.

    I’m not sure if you’re be a bit ‘subtle’ or do you mean it’s too much taxing and spending? I mean, the city provides services and requires money to do that. I think we’re all aware that Ford’s ‘creative’ math isn’t going to work out. Besides, doesn’t Toronto already have a pretty low property tax compared to the surrounding suburbs? Wasn’t it under Miller (with Pantalone as deputy mayor) that business and small business taxes were reduced? Isn’t it Transit City’s LRT plan that’s way cheaper than everyone else’s promise of subways? Aren’t all the bikelanes Pantalone wants but none of the others do a very good ‘bang for buck’?

  • http://undefined snailspace

    Today I made arrangements with my employer for an office transfer to Amsterdam. Today I started making arrangements to lease out my house for 4 years.
    Come October, both options become reality if this colossal fuckwit becomes Mayor.
    Good Luck, Toronto. you’re pretty much hosed.

  • http://undefined Peter Kucirek

    If Rob Ford becomes mayor, keeping the TTC out of his hands would become another reason for the province to almagamate & take-over all GTA transit operators.
    Not that this is completely a bad thing – after all, transportation is a regional game and the GTA transit network has some serious issues at the boundaries between municipalities.

  • http://undefined rich1299

    Transit City was a plan to improve transit in all of the under serviced inner suburbs, Ford’s plan is only to improve transit in Scarborough. I guess he figures he’s got a lock on the Etobicoke and North York vote so doesn’t need to offer them any transit improvements. Maybe he’s polling particularly low in Scarborough so is going to offer them 2 new subway lines. I had figured he was going to go for the Eglinton subway since that’s the one LRT line that could most easily be converted to subway and it affects most of the inner suburbs to some degree plus it offers the possibility of one day having a subway to the airport. Personally I think Eglinton would be well served with a LRT line which would greatly help build ridership to the point where it could be converted to a subway in a financially responsible manner in maybe in 20-30 years or so. We can’t wait another 20 years for transit improvements we needed 20 years ago, we can do LRTs now, just get them done!

  • http://undefined rich1299

    No thanks to provincial control of the TTC, the last thing we need is provincial politics determining transit in Toronto. Granted we could use better coordination at the borders but we don’t need the province to do that. What happens when we have a provincial gov’t that didn’t win any seats in Toronto if they control the TTC? Sure by all rights it shouldn’t matter but the reality we’ve seen with some gov’t, especially Cons, is that they like to punish those who didn’t vote for them, I can just imagine a premeire rubbing his dirty little hands with glee as he sees the chance to make up budget shortfalls by cutting the TTC and making the rest of the province happy in doing so. We need our transit to remain local and responsive to local needs only.

  • Paul Kishimoto

    See my comment here.

  • Nick

    I just wrote to (you know, the site that riles up public outrage online against stonings in Iran, whale killers etc.) asking if they’d get an online petition going to ask David Miller to PLEASE run again. Our fair city does not deserve Rob Ford: he’s a racist, homophobic, blame-the-cyclist-for-his/her-accidents buffoon. The only reason that Ford is ahead is that there is no good moderate candidate. Failing that, I’m getting me one of those Smitherarms.

  • http://undefined R2D2

    I think Rob Ford thinks he can walk on water, his numbers are completely off, one thing the city hasn’t told anyone is the new rails that are being built is not going to be own by TTC. Metrolinx is going to own those LRT lines essentially which is why Rob Ford will get rid of it.. I guarantee you that Metrolinx is putting some big money in Robs pocket for him to come out and say such a bold statement like that “i will get rid of the streetcars”..

  • http://undefined Solex

    Sadly, those petitions don’t really work; they just get deleted instead by the person or organization they’re intended for. Time to start writing to Miller in the tens of millions, and hope that he changes his mind.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Toronto is in a hole and he’ll make us dig our way out.
    ‘No, no, no. Dig up, stupid.’

  • http://undefined Edmund

    Is that York Mills?

  • accozzaglia

    Opening is fast-motion into Ossington, a bit like this. The blue-tiled station scenes are of Sheppard before it was Sheppard-Yonge. Brief glimpses over the Don Valley are in there. Also, a lot was shot inside Bloor-Yonge.
    I absolutely adore that music video. It provokes a smile in me every time.

  • http://undefined dowlingm

    memo to Rob Ford team – If you must produce a subway map, include all the stations.
    If you absolutely must lose one, don’t lose mine like your “3B1″ version.

  • http://undefined EricSmith

    After your comment, I had to go and look at his map. I didn’t bother to check which station was missing, but I did notice that he’s marked the subway to Warden as “complete by 2015″.

    Needless to say, the rest of his plan, with, for example, the contention on page 2 that heavy rail subway could run on the elevated Scarborough RT guideway, is just about as carefully considered.