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news

Googling Toronto: Rob Ford Edition



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Since the summer of 2010, Toronto’s political discourse has remained cranked at eleven. And while our new mayor isn’t completely to blame, he’s lit more than his share of fires.
But just what kind of impact is this new climate having on Toronto’s online presence? To answer this tough question, we consulted the most important research tool at our disposal: Google Suggest—the handy search function best known for showcasing our collective stupidity.

To Govern, or Not to Govern

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Mayor Ford Remains As Divisive As Ever

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Which is to say: extremely.

Mature Politics

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Bonus Points for Consistency?

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But hey, as we know, Torontonians only care about the issues that matter…

They Call It Subway Love

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We’re also in no way fixated on subways.

Transit… What?

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Umm… didn’t you read the search results above? It’s subways or nothing!

Has That Much Really Changed?

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At least we’re still the same old awesome boring shithole where NBA stars can hook up with strippers.

Then Again…

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…In 2009, when we last examined Google Suggest’s Toronto results, we were just cold.

Comments

  • Functionalist

    When you need subway expansion, it becomes a fixation. I mean, if we had a network to serve our needs efficiently and comfortably, it would be inexplicable. But we must be realistic that our network is inadequate for our needs, and the enhanced surface routes we plan on realizing (LRT) are just going to push the existing network to the breaking point. (Yonge at rush hour is almost there.)

  • Fresh_Start

    The people are waking up and seeing the “a line through every ward” fallacy for what it really is. Surface light rail down the middle of streets will never match the high speeds and travel times of subways, ever. And yes, Functionalist, the LRT lines proposed are in function acting as nothing more than mere feeder passenger dumps onto the trunk subway line (YUS). Only Eglinton LRT stretches a significant length across the city, but even its potential has been crippled via poor design layout. Subways are critically needed and although expensive can be built here with the proper financial committments in place. Up until four years ago it was the conventional wisdom that Toronto ought to incrementally continue expanding its subway network at the rate of 2 kms per year. Glad to see that the silent majority are still putting their practical needs ahead of silly politicians' dreams to transform suburban corridors into the next Queen West. Oh and can we please turn on the transit signal priority lighting and allow backdoor boarding along busy routes to speed up commutes before even thinking about multibillion dollar projects of any stripe?

  • http://piorkowski.ca Jarek Piórkowski

    Since 1985, we've built 7.1 km of subway overall (Downsview extension + Sheppard line). Obviously the 2 km/year wisdom was working well up until four years ago.

  • matthewdouglasalexander

    You're both out to lunch. There are no new subway lines being proposed by Rob Ford, only extensions of existing line which will only feed into Yonge University Spadina. We need LRT to take some of the pressure off of the subway. Why can't you see that? People use LRT to get around their neighbourhood, but they use Subways to go downtown. without a downtown relief line that just means MORE people at Yonge-Bloor, MORE people at College, MORE people at Queen trying to transfer to a streetcar.

    Back on topic: I think we can get a better idea of what people are thinking by asking, “is Toronto…”, rather than looking for statements like, “Toronto is…”.

    I got: “Eastern Time”, “Pacific time”, “eastern or central time”, and “safe”

  • Drain_Man

    I don't understand this 2 km per year business – how do you build a new line that way? Do you open a line one station at a time? That means crossovers and bus terminals at every station, otherwise you can't open it until the whole line is complete anyway, which usually takes about 5 years and still involves huge road construction while a subway is built underneath. Our governments won't even cough up the money to fix infrastructure until something breaks, and we already had a financial commitment for most of the LRT plan, which may end up for grabs to buy votes in Mississauga or K-W to build the LRT lines they want.

  • thomas_owain

    The Google search-box thing is actually pretty hilarious. Thanks.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/kevinfarrugia Kevo

    lol, you're right, the only logical and fiscally responsible thing to do is build a subway where there is no demand and where there likely will not be enough demand for decades to come. Yes, we should build projects with foresight, but not when they drain the TTC's operating funds like the Sheppard subway line does.

    Lets compare the numbers, the Yonge line currently carries 34,000 passengers per hour per direction while the B-D currently carries 26,000 passengers/hour/direction and isn't near capacity. The busiest of the proposed LRT lines is the Eglinton which is only expected to reach 7,000 riders/hour/direction in 20 years. There is no way in hell any of the proposed lines will come close to the capacity needed for it to even come close to breaking even and that only means higher fares and a more subsidized transit system that would piss off Ford's legions.

    A subway is much too expensive social and planning tool to be used for density and ridership development where there currently is none.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    “Surface light rail down the middle of streets will never match the high speeds and travel times of subways, ever.”

    Neither will bus routes, so let's replace all bus routes with subway lines!

  • Fresh_Start

    Lol! Try boarding a subway train east of Islington during rush hour. By Ossington it's near impossible to get on the first inbound train that shows up and one has to wait until the next one arrives. Bloor-Danforth is nearing critical mass and the only stop-gap measure is to alleviate it with the initial introduction of a subway stretching from Dufferin St all the way to McCowan Rd – which can always be extended in the future.

    I challenge your assumption that Sheppard wouldn't have enough demand when commuters as far away as Steeles and the 905 area could be fed into it; when Wilson and Finch are only a 10 minute ride away from the corridor; when stops would be focused around major intersections where quite a bit of development has already occurred and there's room for expansion. If you add all that up the collective market for Sheppard subway is close to 250,000 daily users. Extending westwards to Rexdale increases this number, and defeats the purpose of Finch LRT – which could be bus-based if only the TTC would adopt articulated buses and/or all-door boarding.

    As a proud member of the Ford nation (or legion as you put it), I will gladly except higher taxes and higher fares for the BETTER way, not go-slow LRTs. Getting right across the northern reaches of this city – Rexdale to Malvern – in under one hour is something we'll never accomplish with light-rail. If you think about it, adding up the $1.3, $1.5 and $1.2 billion set aside for the Finch, Sheppard and Scarborough LRTs respectively is around the proposed amount it'd take to complete the Sheppard Line. Meaning that building a subway/underground LRT for Eglinton is still very much a possibility this decade if only a small bit of its dedicated funding is utilized on Sheppard. Meaning close to $4 Billion could be left over after Sheppard's done to use on Eglinton. Now, if only Ford detractors would think before they open their mouths, they might be pleasantly surprised with what the politicos are planning for the City.

  • http://piorkowski.ca Jarek Piórkowski

    “If you think about it, adding up the $1.3, $1.5 and $1.2 billion set aside for the Finch, Sheppard and Scarborough LRTs respectively is around the proposed amount it'd take to complete the Sheppard Line.”

    Well, no. The original Ford Math (TM) Plan was to take the entire Transit City budget, provincial funding and all, and channel it into Downsview to STC. No billions left over for Eglinton in that plan.

    I'm sure you can write them in, though, it's not like it'll become less realistic.

  • Fresh_Start

    Ugh, I wish that people would do even a lick of research before they challenge my arguments. Read this document: http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_T

    McGuinty has deferred payment of $4 billion out of the $8.15 billion the Province has designated for Transit City until the 2015-2020 period. It doesn't take $8.15 billion to build 12 kilometres of subway lines and Ford would only have access to half that amount. Considering the suburban location, greater than $300 million per kilometre seems absurd and surely the TTC will have learned its lesson from the Vaughan extension by the time we start this line and stop insisting on everything being tunnel-bored. The greatest challenge will be crossing the West Don River, but we need only look to Vancouver to show us how fiscally responsible such undertakings can be. Baring all that in mind, everything after 2015 (unless there's massive cost overruns on Sheppard) would be funneled towards a “subway” across Eglinton Avenue. Will it stretch from the airport to Kennedy in one shot? No, but neither was the ECLRT and certainly not within the next five years. A “subway” from Scarlett to Bermondsey as a Phase One would take care of the most critical and congested segment of that corridor.

    In sum, subways are achievable. The only thing that was stopping this from happening years ago was a lack of political will for it. We have that right now, why squander this unique opportunity by having these silly debates? Subways work, everyone would flock to use it upon realization of the time savings travel along it provides (yes, even across Sheppard), and all levels of government are open to financing it to some degree.

  • http://piorkowski.ca qviri

    “If you think about it, adding up the $1.3, $1.5 and $1.2 billion set aside for the Finch, Sheppard and Scarborough LRTs respectively is around the proposed amount it'd take to complete the Sheppard Line.”

    Well, no. The original Ford Math (TM) Plan was to take the entire Transit City budget, provincial funding and all, and channel it into Downsview to STC. No billions left over for Eglinton in that plan.

    I'm sure you can write them in, though, it's not like it'll become less realistic.

  • Fresh_Start

    Ugh, I wish that people would do even a lick of research before they challenge my arguments. Read this document: http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_T

    McGuinty has deferred payment of $4 billion out of the $8.15 billion the Province has designated for Transit City until the 2015-2020 period. It doesn't take $8.15 billion to build 12 kilometres of subway lines and Ford would only have access to half that amount. Considering the suburban location, greater than $300 million per kilometre seems absurd and surely the TTC will have learned its lesson from the Vaughan extension by the time we start this line and stop insisting on everything being tunnel-bored. The greatest challenge will be crossing the West Don River, but we need only look to Vancouver to show us how fiscally responsible such undertakings can be. Baring all that in mind, everything after 2015 (unless there's massive cost overruns on Sheppard) would be funneled towards a “subway” across Eglinton Avenue. Will it stretch from the airport to Kennedy in one shot? No, but neither was the ECLRT and certainly not within the next five years. A “subway” from Scarlett to Bermondsey as a Phase One would take care of the most critical and congested segment of that corridor.

    In sum, subways are achievable. The only thing that was stopping this from happening years ago was a lack of political will for it. We have that right now, why squander this unique opportunity by having these silly debates? Subways work, everyone would flock to use it upon realization of the time savings travel along it provides (yes, even across Sheppard), and all levels of government are open to financing it to some degree.