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Extra, Extra: Flourishing French Schools, Transit Tension

Every weekday’s end, Extra, Extra collects just about everything you ought to care about or ought not miss.

A slide from last nigh's transit town hall presentation.

  • Earlier today, we reported on last night’s transit town hall, co-hosted by Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul’s) and TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence). If you want to learn more about the Eglinton LRT line, or transit plans in general, the full slidedeck of yesterday’s presentation is now online [PDF].
  • And while we’re on the subject of transit, a note to Rob Ford: when even the Toronto Sun thinks you’ve lost the plot, it may be time to change tack.
  • Time for something happy. French schools in Toronto, it seems, are going like gangbusters, thanks to a change in provincial policy in 2006. Très bien.

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    So if BRT can handle 5400 riders per hour, and projected ridership on Finch is 3000 in 2031, why not put BRT on Finch? If you want “value for money”, BRT is like 1/3 to 1/5 the cost of LRT. It’s a deal even taking the operating costs into account.

    • Anonymous

      Technical note: that’s the projected ridership on Finch with BRT. Ridership projections go up with an LRT, to 4,500.

    • Anonymous

      As you reach the upper limits of the capacity of whatever kind of transit you’re talking about, the system begins to “creak”, and the experience for everyone starts to go downhill rapidly. The Yonge subway, especially at rush hour, started creaking a long, long time ago. More trains per hour help, as do more capacious trains, but there are only so many people you can stuff into a single subway before people start hating it. It’s a big number of people, but the number does exist.

      Likewise BRT. As usage picks up, buses become more crowded, forcing either the transit authority to leave people at stops, or buy more buses and employ more drivers (with all the cost implications therein). And there are only so many buses you can put on Finch before it becomes cost prohibitive, forcing you to either let people suffer under the status quo, or put LRT in. LRT can handle vastly more people than BRT can, and really will last much longer than the 20 years it will take for BRT to look clapped-out. If BRT on Finch is built, it will be seen as Scarborough RT is today: a white elephant.

      • Anonymous

        That’s a strange argument to make. Whether the ridership will be 3000 or 4500 in twenty years, either way it is significantly less than the 5400 capacity of BRT. Moreover, isn’t it the subway people who argue for over-building like this?

        • Anonymous

          The estimate goes up to 2031. It says nothing about demand after that date. If the buses are full up by 2041, and there’s no way to add more capacity, then you have to upgrade the transit or stick people with the status quo. And it’s only going to be more expensive to change it later on.

          Simply put: while there is conceivable demand for Finch LRT in the medium- to long-term future, there simply isn’t for a Finch subway. It’s all about the best use of tax dollars in the long run and the most appropriate form for the corridor in question. It would be cheaper to build BRT, but then we’d be looking back on it in 30 years and wondering what on earth possessed us to build such a dumb thing, when there was proven technology out there that could have served the needs of passengers better, and which we wouldn’t be planning to actively dump less than 30 years on. Like the Scarborough RT.

          Calgary LRT 31 years strong, by the way.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll have to re-read my post to see where I said a Finch subway was a good idea, or that the Calgary LRT was a bad one.

            All I’m saying is, why is it okay for you to justify LRT by speculating about demand in the far future? Subway advocates make the same claims about e.g. Sheppard and Eglinton.

            To be clear I’m not advocating any particular subway (or other) project. But I think there is a surprising lack of critical thinking about LRT. 30-40 years from now, it would be relatively easy to retrofit a BRT ROW to fit LRT, if the demand warrants. As it is, the need for LRT on Finch is purely speculative.

          • Anonymous

            There’s BRT and there’s BRT. The BRT envisioned by Mammoliti isn’t a ROW down the middle of the street: it’s simply articulated Viva-style buses with a few other minor trimmings. The former sounds too much like LRT for Mammoliti to even consider it (shades of the omigodStClairDisaster).

            I agree a BRT with dedicated ROWs would be relatively cheap to upgrade to LRT. However, upgrading from the Mammo option would effectively be starting from stratch, 30 years later. And much more expensive, to boot.

            Incidentally, we can forget the hydro corridor for any ROW, as (a) it’s not that near to Finch; (b) it goes nowhere near Humber College, the ultimate destination of rapid transit on Finch; (c) I’m sure Toronto Hydro would be happy to charge a very pretty penny to rent that space out to Metrolinx/TTC.

            There’s future and there’s future. There’s 30-years-from-now future, when demand would be putting strains on BRT (while LRT carried more passengers for much less cost than a subway); and there’s 100-years-plus-from-now future, when a subway on Finch might make sense.

            If we’re to tell people to wait 50 years fur buses because the transportation option of their dreams isn’t going to happen any time soon, we might as well tell people to not walk since we’re sure we’ll get teleport technology cracked any day now. This whole affair is a classic example of making the perfect the enemy of the good. I don’t think the residents of Houston, LA, Calgary, Manchester, Paris, London (Croydon), etc. feel at all besmirched that they have LRTs instead of subways.

          • Anonymous

            Why are you still talking about a Finch Subway? Did I mention anything about a hydro corridor ROW, or that jackass Mammoliti? You appear to be having a conversation with somebody other than me.

          • Anonymous

            Mammoliti does not have a thought that Ford didn’t think of first.

          • Anonymous

            I would also point out that at 2031 estimates, we’ll be seeing ridership towards the upper end of what BRT can handle, and that if it were to continue to grow, it would need to be replaced, barely thirty years after it was installed. LRT is a reasonable balance between accommodating growth (it can handle much more than buses or BRT can, not as much as subways can) and cost (buses are cheaper, subways much more expensive).

          • Anonymous

            Just thought I’d also point out, Calgary’s LRT philosophy is everything Toronto’s LRT advocates hate: it runs fully grade-separated through low-density inner suburbs, not on the street. So you can’t point to Calgary to justify what you want on Finch.

          • Anonymous

            LRT runs the gamut: London’s Docklands Light Railway is grade-separated and often elevated; Manchester’s Metrolink runs through city streets in the city centre, while running on old heavy-rail trackbeds in the suburbs; Edinburgh Trams will run on-street in a grade-separated trackway, as Croydon Tramlink already does … and that’s just examples from the UK.

            I don’t point to Calgary as what I want on Finch. I simply point to it as an example of a successful LRT network in Canada, to prove that it is possible. What Calgary does is not necessarily right for Toronto. We have to design solutions that are right for Toronto.

          • Anonymous

            Right, but Calgary’s LRT owes its popularity to features, like speed and traffic separation, that will not be part of Transit City.

            Pointing to Calgary to argue about Toronto’s LRT is like saying, “Some people like apples, and lemons are also ‘fruit’, so eat a lemon, you’re sure to like it too.”

    • Transity Cyclist

      The chart assumes passing lanes for BRT, something that Finch or Sheppard does not have the space for.

      Without passing lanes, BRT has a capacity of less than 2000 pphpd, depending on the street’s allowable frequency. Assuming a minimum allowable frequency of 3 minutes, and a bus capacity of 74 passengers (service load), BRT without passing lanes is constrained to 1480 pphpd.

      • Anonymous

        Citation needed.

  • Anonymous

    Ford says he has developers on his side for a subway. How did or will he get the developers to build on the residents’ or their neighbours’ property, bypassing the NIMBY’s and resident’s protests?

    • Anonymous

      “Ford says he has developers on his side for a subway”

      I think he’s got that backwards.

      • Anonymous

        Developers like subways. They increase property values. They’re not so keen on paying for the goodies. Funny, that.

  • http://twitter.com/SubwaysTO SubwaysTO

    That graph conveniently leaves out the fact that ridership would double if it is underground.

    • Anonymous

      Is it a fact? A subway may offer double the capacity (as the chart conveniently shows), but how many people actually use it depends very much on where it runs. If it’s in low-density suburbs, LRT will serve the needs of more people for the same investment.

    • Michael DiFrancesco

      [Citation Needed]

      • Anonymous

        Facts? Subways are 12 km a hour faster then buses. Isn’t that enough facts for you?!

        (sorry read SubwaysTO twitter feed and had to laugh – I don’t think they do citations)

        • Anonymous

          Ignore this one. It’s a troll, spouting talking points. He/she/ze is deaf to reason.

          SubwaysTO puts the twit into Twitter.

    • Transity Cyclist

      BRT does NOT have a capacity of 5,400 pphpd without passing lanes. If you’re going to tout the advantages of subways/BRT, you should at least know how to interpret these graphs.

  • Anonymous

    Now Rob has floated the notion of bringing back the VRT — and raising it to $100! All for subways, of course…

    http://tinyurl.com/7a3ok6s