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Will OneCity Unify Council on Transit?

What the transit plan might mean for Toronto, and for Toronto politics.

Click on the map to view a larger version.

TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) and Vice-Chair Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre) launched their OneCity transit plan yesterday with a City Hall press conference. In it, most of the schemes and pet projects of past decades are loaded onto one map which magically becomes a 30-year plan covering Toronto with new rapid transit lines.

OneCity: An Overview

Planning Priorities
Top priority goes to a Scarborough subway extending the Bloor-Danforth line northeast to Sheppard and McCowan, with a Waterfront East streetcar line second on the list. These routes already have money on the table from Queen’s Park and Waterfront Toronto, respectively, leaving Toronto to top up the funding rather than footing the entire bill. The remainder of the plan hopes for contributions from the provincial and federal governments in a sharing arrangement rarely seen in Toronto.

Subway advocates will thrill not only to the Scarborough line, but to a Don Mills Express (formerly the “Downtown Relief Line”), a Yonge extension north to Steeles, and a Sheppard West link from Downsview to Yonge. The Don Mills Express proposal settles the question of whether a “downtown relief line” should simply be a link from the Danforth Subway to downtown by pushing the line north to Eglinton where it could serve Thorncliffe and Flemingdon parks, and connect with both the Eglinton and Don Mills LRTs.

Transit City’s full LRT plan—calling not just for the lines reinstated by council earlier this year but the full suite of lines originally proposed under David Miller [PDF map]—reappears almost completely intact, and is joined by bus rapid transit (BRT) lines on Wilson, Ellesmere, and Kingston Road. There is even a streetcar extension on St. Clair, going west to Jane.

OneCity dispenses with the technology wars of previous plans. It recognizes that each mode has an appropriate place with subways going (mostly) where there is greatest demand, then LRT, then BRT. This avoids conflicts where “my” subway plan precludes “your” LRT plan, allowing both to co-exist.

The most vaguely defined element of the proposal is a blend of schemes to convert GO Transit corridors to the airport and to Markham into express in-town routes. The technology might be mainline rail equipment or subway or LRT, and the comparative difficulties of any of these were not explored in the announcement.

Details for this and other matters will be left to a technical review by staff, a tactic that neatly avoids telling some council members that their pet projects may not quite work out as they had hoped. This leaves oddities on several routes including the Scarborough subway, whose path from Kennedy Station to Sheppard cannot possibly be as simple as shown on the map; a Waterfront East line described as going to Parliament, but mapped as continuing up Cherry to King; and Transit City lines whose shortcomings are known but not acknowledged in the new plan.

Funding
To pay for all this, Stintz and De Baeremaeker propose that the tax regime planned for coming years be changed. 2012 will see new assessed property values in Toronto. Normally these changes would be revenue neutral in the sense that higher average values would be offset by a lower tax rate. Properties whose values went up more than the average would pay more; those that fell relative to the average would pay less.

The OneCity funding plan—something called Current Value Assessment Uplift Funding—seeks to tax part of higher assessed values on the premise that better transit improves a property’s worth. Homeowners and businesses whose property is now more valuable (at least on paper) would pay a tax on that increase. The average house would pay $45 more in the first year, and this would ramp up to $180 more in year four. Legislative changes will be required at Queen’s Park to allow this (the province regulates property taxes via the Assessment Act), and a thorough analysis of the effects of this tax scheme will be needed to see just who will wind up paying for all of the transit improvements.

Oddly enough, Stintz and De Baeremaeker seem to be avoiding a head-on debate about simply raising taxes to generate the revenue needed for transit funding, and the CVA Uplift scheme may fall most on those whose property values have gone up more than the average whether they actually benefit from new transit infrastructure or not.

Missing from the plan is any discussion of how to pay for the extra operating costs of better service—more subways, LRTs, and rapid bus routes—and maintenance of new infrastructure. De Baeremaeker was emphatic that new tax revenue would be dedicated to construction, not diverted to operations where its benefits were less visible.


The Benefits, the Risks, and What Should Come Next

Whether OneCity winds up with funding through some form of property tax or another source, the plan launches a discussion about what Toronto should strive for in its transit network. That discussion is at a municipal level where it should be, not a sideline to a regional plan where local needs scant attention.

New municipal tax revenue will only pay one third of the cost of OneCity, but the worst possible tactic would be for Toronto to sit back waiting for both Queen’s Park and Ottawa to sign on with bags of cash. Just as it did with Transit City, Toronto should launch detailed planning for its high-priority lines so that when money is available, work can start immediately rather than waiting two years for preliminary design and public participation. Having specific “shovel ready” projects can focus the minds of those who might fund transit more than simply asking for a standing entitlement. Voters and riders want to see results when projects are announced, not endless delay for study.

The most important change with this proposal is the political context. Councillors—and you can bet OneCity’s sponsors already have a majority of votes lined up—have launched a major transit program independently of the mayor and his dwindling band of supporters. Karen Stintz, a moderate conservative formerly part of Ford’s inner circle, joins forces with Glenn De Baeremaeker, a lefty from the Miller era, to push their own comprehensive view of what transit might be in Toronto.

Only hours after their press conference, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig issued a statement saying that his agency “welcomes the TTC chair’s proposal,” and is “encouraged that Toronto is addressing its local needs.” This is not a full-bodied endorsement, but nothing in the OneCity plan is rejected. Metrolinx, and by implication Queen’s Park, sees this as a positive evolution in Toronto’s goals.

The “OneCity” brand was first used by Stintz in a speech she gave at the Economic Club two months ago [PDF], and a plan like this (not to mention the political coalition supporting it) does not materialize overnight. The TTC’s recent moves to defuse rivalry between its own management and Metrolinx takes on a new colour knowing that OneCity, by then already in preparation, would require co-operation between the municipal and provincial agencies.

Both Stintz and De Baeremaeker stress the apolitical nature of their proposal. It is not a suburban or downtown proposal, a plan for the left or the right, but one for the whole city of Toronto. If they can pull this off—moving debates at Council away from parochial and party biases to a city-wide understanding of and support for better transit—this will be a huge contribution to the city’s future.

Much remains to be done, including undoing Ford era budget and service cuts, moving day-to-day bus and streetcar service back to more comfortable levels, and actively seeking new riders by improved reliability on the system as a whole. This is not glamourous stuff and there are few ribbon-cutting opportunities, but the credibility of transit depends on more than beautiful maps of what might be decades in the future.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Rob Ford’s answer to OneCity: NO!

    No argument, no alternatives, nothing else, just no.

    • http://twitter.com/Welshgrrl Vashty Hawkins

      He’s still on hold waiting for the magic money fairy

      • Anonymous

        You said it, sister.

    • http://twitter.com/edmundoconnor edmundoconnor

      The Sun is already on the march against ‘Stintz’s Transit Tax’. Noticeably, while it trumpets that people could be paying up to $180 extra, it is silent on the fact that this depends on the homeowner’s property value going up significantly, with it costing less (or nothing) for those whose property value increased less, or didn’t increase at all. An increase in property price would go a long way to ameliorating anger of increasing taxes.

  • http://twitter.com/mconagalled Tat Shaw

    Here we go again. How many who will support more money for a “study” previously voted to kill the VRT? Grow up TO Council.

    • Anonymous

      People despise new taxes that flow into general revenue, but they can live with new taxes that are earmarked for a specific purpose, cf. McGuinty’s health “premium”. Proposing a transit tax is smart politics, and council knows that very well.

      • Anonymous

        The only problem with the Transit-Tax approach is that it assumes the solution to getting around is “more transit capital programs” even if a cheaper or more effective solution to a particular getting-around problem might be more bike lanes, or more pedestrian paths, or better transit service, or better HOV lane enforcement, or more taxis, or fixing jogs, or more bike parking, or better mixed-use zoning bylaws, …

        • Vampchick21

          We actually do need more transit in Toronto, in addition to improvments on current lines, be they bus, streetcar, subway or SRT. And that needs to be paid for.

          • Anonymous

            Absolutely we need more transit. But consider that for the cost of any one of the proposed routes we could build a bike lane network comparable to Copenhagen and perhaps shift the modal share from 30%. Even if only half of those came from drivers, don’t you think getting 12% of cars off the road would benefit drivers and on-street transit like buses? Where’s the cost-benefit analysis comparing that to a Sheppard West Subway? We know the SWS is going to lose even more money than Sheppard East, so why aren’t we talking about the $10M/year subsidy that it would require?

          • Vampchick21

            Actually, I never dismissed the idea of a bike lane network. THere’s also the fact that sometimes, it’s one thing at a time, especially when you have a man like Ford in the Mayor’s office. look at his views on bike lanes already. Of course, a group of councillors could go ahead and put together a plan for discussion, like the One City transit plan, for bike lanes and maybe we can watch his head implode…..

            In the end I was only pointing out that, bike lanes or no, we need more transit in the city of Toronto, being buses, streetcars, LRT, subways and commuter trains. These move more people in and out and around and in and of themselves will pull people out of their cars.

          • Anonymous

            I get it, I’m just suggesting that a “can only be spent on transit capital projects” fund is myopic and might steer us towards projects that aren’t fiscally responsible (Sheppard West Subway) or away from more cost effective approaches (e.g. bike infrastructure). I’d rather a “getting around” tax and a “getting around committee”, breaking up the silos in order to make sure we’re doing the smartest things, instead of just doing the easiest things.

          • Anonymous

            Don’t get me wrong, OneCity is much better than Ford’s “do nothing, loudly” approach, but it ought to be a launching point for talking about getting around, instead of simply an extension of the status quo approach.

          • Vampchick21

            And there’s no reason why it can’t be. Bike lanes are needed as well. The question is, where does the current funding for bike lanes come from? Does that get pulled from the funding earmarked for road maintenance? Because cycling is not ‘public transit’ it falls into it’s own catagory.

          • Luckysod

            Bike lanes are definitely needed, but they do nothing to relieve the need for better transit, especially in the winter. Even bike enthusiasts have to admit that there are only a fraction of the number of bikes on the road in the winter months. Biking, for the most part, is a fair weather means of getting around. Come the winter, most cyclists are using transit.

          • Anonymous

            People walk all year round, with good infrastructure there’s no reason they couldn’t cycle as well. Look no further than Copenhagen, who were surprised by how much people are willing to bike in the winter.

            Of course I’m not suggesting that we stop building (er, continue not building) transit and focus exclusively on bike lanes. I’m just suggesting that spending 1/30 of this proposal’s budget on bike infrastructure would have a disproportionately huge benefit on congestion, commuting, and livability.

          • Anonymous

            Spoken as someone who’s never lived anywhere outside the downtown core?

            Copenhagen is a fraction of the size of Toronto, what a ridiculous comparison

          • Anonymous

            So basically, for the same cost of one short subway line from Yonge to Downsview along Sheppard (which would only serve some 15k people a day), we could instead build a bike network THE SIZE OF COPENHAGEN serving hundreds of thousands. You’re right, that is ridiculous.

          • Anonymous

            A) most people aren’t going to bike from downsview
            B) hundreds of thousands of users as you claim is speculative at best.
            C) Copenhagen is 88 square km.
            D) where did you come up with the extension only serving 15k of ppl?

            It sounds like your ignoring transit users throughout the rest of the city in favour of more bike lanes in the core.

          • Anonymous

            A) That’s true. The goal is for most people to bike to nearbyish places. Where did I say anyone at all would bike from Downsview?

            B) Sure, it’s an estimate. We have a <2% cycling mode share, Copenhagen has between 30-50%. You seriously think if we shifted half our drivers to bikes it would be less than hundreds of thousands?

            C) Great, let's build 88 square km of bike infrastructure instead of Sheppard West! Or instead of Finch to Airport. The estimate I saw was that Copenhagen has spent about $1.5B on cycling.

            D) I can't find the citation for projected Sheppard West Ridership. The benefits case makes it seem like it'd be closer to 30k passengers per direction per day, roughly speaking.

            How am I ignoring transit users by suggesting that there's lots of good in a $30B transit plan, but that diverting 5% of that funding to cycling could have a disproportionally strong effect on getting around the city? Are you being serious?

          • Anonymous

            “How am I ignoring transit users by suggesting that there’s lots of good in a $30B transit plan, but that diverting 5% of that funding to cycling could have a disproportionally strong effect on getting around the city? Are you being serious?”

            I totally misread your post lol. I feel silly now. My apologies.

          • Anonymous

            No worries!

  • Anonymous

    Every person who lives (rent or own) or earns a paycheque in Toronto should have to pony up.

    Burdening homeowners with higher property taxes while everyone else contributes nothing is huge bullshit.

    • Anonymous

      Are you claiming that renters don’t contribute to the property taxes that the city receives? Do you really think that the landlords of this city are so charitable that they don’t factor taxes into their rents? Are you aware that rental properties have a higher tax rate than residential properties?

      • Anonymous

        Are you aware that rental properties have a higher tax rate than residential properties?
        —-
        No.No I was not.

        In my deluded/incoherent early fog, I failed to consider the obvious fact that landlords make renters pay their property tax.

        A one time deduction off every paycheque earned in Toronto is the fairest system.

        • Anonymous

          Is the city even allowed to tax pay?

          • Anonymous

            Nope. It’s not allowed to do what Stintz is proposing either though.

        • Anonymous

          I work in Toronto, but don’t use their roads or the TTC (GO Train and walk). Why should I pay for Toronto’s transit expansion when the benefits are almost all to residents?

          • Testu

            Just out of curiosity, what exactly do you walk on to get to work?

          • Testu

            Not that I’m suggesting you should have to pay for it off of your pay cheque.

            I’m just sick of this “I am an island” crap that ignores all the infrastructure benefits you receive.

          • Anonymous

            I assume that if you have to poop at work, you carry around a ziplock bag for that purpose? Infrastructure, how does it work.

          • Anonymous

            Infrastructure benefits its users. I wouldn’t object to payroll deduction for the City’s water and sewage (not least because the tapwater at work tastes better than at home).

          • Anonymous

            What’s good for Toronto is good for the GTA, which includes whatever bedroom community you are commuting in from. The century old borders on a map don’t really exist in today’s sprawling megalopolis. You are a “Toronto” resident whether you consider yourself one or not. These transit plans are to strengthen the economic engine that is the core of the region and powering your job. Ergo, you pay.

            By the way, this is not a new concept. New York used to have a “commuter tax” on payrolls to get nonresidents to help pay for the expensive city services they consume.

          • Lee Zamparo

            Well said. I hope that this proposal creates the space at Queen’s Park to debate the City of Toronto act so that different types of issue specific taxes can be levied if given sufficient support by city council. The more tools available, the better they can be employed to the particular task.

    • Michael DiFrancesco

      Renters will pay for the higher property taxes through their rent, as it’s always been.

      Businesses will also contribute directly to the new scheme through property taxes, which is good.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed, and I’d be much happier with a municipal sales tax, but property taxes are the system we got, and I wouldn’t kill OneCity over tax policy. Worth noting that business properties in the 416 will pay the tax as well.

    • http://twitter.com/edmundoconnor edmundoconnor

      An increase in the value of my condo would go a long way to making me sanguine about the whole affair. Speaking personally.

  • http://twitter.com/JonHorvatin Jon Horvatin

    Introduce a congestion tax like London’s to deter single occupant cars from flooding into the city during the work week. These transit connections will reach to their city limits too, no doubt benefitting again from Toronto. Surely they should have to contribute as well…

    • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

      I remember some news coverage saying Eric Miller (the UofT prof. who was on the “blue ribbon” panel set up back in March) didn’t think a congestion charge would function well in Toronto. They didn’t report his reasoning, but I’m curious to hear it.

      How about tolls on the DVP and Gardiner?

      • http://twitter.com/JasonParis Jason Paris

        Toronto is so polynucleated, a congestion charge is pretty difficult to do. It’s much easier in cities where everyone works downtown and lives (mostly) outside downtown. For instance, it could work perfectly in a Calgary.

        • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

          his reasoning

          …but that’s my best guess, too.

  • Anonymous

    Why does the plan have the SRT being converted to subway, when the forecast passenger volumes are well within LRT capacity? That would be a waste of money.

    • Vampchick21

      Olive branch to the brothers Ford, who wanted to do just that?

    • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

      Details for this and other matters will be left to a technical review by staff, a tactic that neatly avoids telling some council members that their pet projects may not quite work out as they had hoped.

    • Anonymous

      Sheppard West Subway has the same problem: we know from the Benefits Case analysis that it makes more sense to extend the Finch LRT east to Don Mills and connect it to the Sheppard East LRT.

      • OgtheDim

        Except Finch East of Yonge is such that the area may not be able to take adding two more lanes – its not like Eglinton and Sheppard.

        Drawing lines on a map doesn’t meet reality.

        • Anonymous

          The Benefits Case Analysis I mention is a little more than “Drawing lines on a map”.

          • OgtheDim

            Yes and no.

            It still ignored the form of that stretch of Yonge…because the pressure from the province to draw nice lines on the map.

            Hey, I’d love an LRT through there but its not that simple.

          • Anonymous

            Fair enough, though you can say that about most of the lines on this map. Jane’s too narrow at points, we have to figure out how to get the Don Mills subway over/under the valley, any Sheppard expansion westward has to cross the Don as well, the Metrolinx ROW to Stoufville doesn’t seem wide enough through long stretches for a double-track, where exactly is this SRT conversion going? etc.

    • http://twitter.com/JasonParis Jason Paris

      It is indeed an olive branch to Scarborough, but let’s face it, Scarborough Centre is a growth node, maybe not at subway capacity, but conceivably could be one day. Also, it allows for the SRT to remain in operation for the many years of subway construction (which is actually a pretty HUGE deal if you live in Scarborough).

    • http://twitter.com/edmundoconnor edmundoconnor

      OneCity has to walk a tightrope between what is needed, and what is politically expedient. The B-D extension has the invaluable asset of bringing subways deeper into Scarborough, thus spiking Ford’s guns. Regarding the Sheppard West extension, I suspect that was brought on board solely to appease one Councillor Pasternak, in return for him supporting everything else in the OneCity plan. As long as these pet projects don’t cost too much or get too much out of hand, it’s a price well worth paying to get LRT to the Airport (via Finch *and* Eglinton, no less). The perfect can and is the enemy of the good.

    • Anonymous

      It WILL be a waste of money, you can bet that. All of what Miller wanted to do with Transit City should be carried out, with only the DRL being built.

  • http://www.miroslavglavic.ca Miroslav Glavic

    Finch LRT Extension is partially in Mississauga
    Eglinton Crosstown Extension is partially in Mississauga
    This plan is NOT funded. Like Transit City (it wasn’t a fully funded plan).

    What about the gap between Ellesmere BRT and Wilson BRT

    Scarborough Subway will add two stations on for Glen De Baeremaker’s ward. Wow, he was all along saying there is no money for a subway in Scarborough. He no magically pulled money out of his ass to put a Scarborough line IN his ward. making this priority numero uno. This is to save his political skin.

    Scarborough-Malvern LRT NEVER had any kind of funding while under Transit City (Both Dalton McGuinty and George Smitherman – when he was deputy premier, said so).

    Original SMLRT was making a curve to UofTSC , now it is going straight up Morningside.

    NO connection to Durham. People in east end of Toronto in an emergency and no room in Scarborough hospital are told to go to Durham. They cant due to no real connection to Durham.

    Waterfront West LRT – how can LRT gauge and TTC gauge be on the same road? from Roncesvalles to Long Branch loop there is the 501. LRT/TTC gauge are not the same.

    Wait…WWLRT is supposed to be a streetcar, why label it as LRT then?

    Tax everyone? what about low income families?

    • OgtheDim

      What’s ur point?

      Lets do nothing because this is imperfect and uses wrong terms while we wait for the magic pixie dust of private industry to arrive from above?

      Time to fish or cut bait.

    • Anonymous

      Your memory is failing you Miroslav: There was no money for Ford’s plan, and no feasible way to generate money for it, plain and simple.

      Stintz and deBaeremaker are proposing a for-transit tax to cover this plan – neither can or is meant to exist without the other.

      • Luckysod

        I’m sorry that Stiniz and deBaeremaker are dodging the other good means of raising money for transit — tolls on the DVP, Gardiner and 401. A mix of it and a dedicated tax would raise the $$ sooner.

        • Anonymous

          This may open the door to those discussions if the tax (TAX ATTACK!!!) is hard to sell.

    • http://twitter.com/edmundoconnor edmundoconnor

      Miroslav:

      You have plenty of complaints about this plan and Transit City not being fully funded. You’re rather more quiet on Ford’s ‘plan’ having next to no money allocated to it. Why is that?

      Ford’s ‘plan’ would have affected 60,000 or so. Try adding a zero to that number for what OneCity would do.

      People in an emergency are hardly going to be thinking about taking public transit. If it’s an emergency, why don’t they dial 911? They have ambulances for this sort of thing.

      While you have a valid point to make about the Waterfront West LRT, you’re criticizing a good plan for not being a perfect plan. Yes, it’s fallen victim to having some projects in there solely to get certain councillors and MPPs on board. But it’s a hell of a lot better than what Ford was proposing, which was … what, exactly?

      Others have been attacking the plan not because they’re opposed to the plan, but because it’s not Ford’s, and they hope by scuttling this enterprise, they’ll (somehow) wrangle a kilometre or two of subway out of somebody, somewhere. A forlorn hope, but they cling to it nonetheless.

      Low income families are unlikely to be owning property that will increase in value to the extent that they will be charged the full $180 by year 4. Low income folks by and large rent, and rent places that not exactly desirable. Stop creating straw men, and deal with the real plan.

  • Anonymous

    The new proposal is better than anything else on the table for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is political — and on that score, it approaches genius.

    Here’s hoping a majority on Council will also see it that way, and endorse further study and refinement.

    One thing that concerns me is the failure to address immediate improvements to transit that are desperately needed, including restoration of cut service and routes to alleviate overcrowding.

    It would be a huge mistake to imagine current service levels (or worse) are going to win anyone over to the idea of paying up front for future transit projects that will not come on stream for decades. That right there is a complete non-starter.

    • Vmichalczak

      THANK YOU, someone who finally thinks like me…

      has anyone even been on the yonge line once 5 PM hits?? Its ridiculous, fills up at Dundas, and people can’t even get in after College… northbound of course…

      Same with the Bloor/Danforth line… I don’t usually take Eastbound of Yonge but I image it is the same… If you take a train westbound of Yonge it is absolute impossible to get a breath in those things, how could they expect us to all push in to one train like a bunch of “snakes in a can”.. its disgusting having to pay $3 to get on the train system at that time… and with the constant delays (majority of it being because these unionized workers don’t show up on time at track level cause they are chatting it us in the pay booth OR because the bus drivers are messing around when their buses are empty; Caught one smoking with his bus off route pull over to the side).

      It shouldn’t be fair to have to pay for higher fair (cause you know they are going to pull that when they say they need to hire people to drive those new systems) and the quality of transit is still degraded… To be honest, most of the people I know are considering cars BECAUSE transit is so unreliable including myself and I’ve never considered that in the past 20 years I’ve been riding the TTC until now… so DONT even bring up the ECO FRIENDLY BS because these changes wont convince me not to drive, its the money that will….

      I suggest we invest in that GPS system other cities have, since everyone has smartphones now at days or will have to soon once 4G becomes mandatory… So we can keep track of where these buses/ above ground transit are when they show up 5 minutes early or are 10 minutes late (cause some never show up because the stupid worker never showed up for their shift…)
      It would really help lots of people like and count on the TTC again because you can decide to take a taxi or another route at anther station ahead of time + I am pretty sure some phone company like Samsung or BlackBerry or Motorola would partially fund that stuff in exchange for the publicity… AND IN TURN NO NEED FOR UPING THE COST OF FARE because you don’t need anyone to run that stuff since its all computerized!!!

      Let me know what you think as I am fully all about proposing this to the committee

      • Vampchick21

        Someone hates unions. And clearly thinks that unionized workers are to blame for EVERYTHING. Seriously, it’s not always some ‘unionized worker’ showing up late for their shift that causes delays. Sometimes it’s mechanical and has nothing to do with evil, evil unions. (PS, your smartphone system still needs human beings, IT personnel. Ever had your computer fix itself?)

      • DJS

        nextbus.com

        Enjoy.

  • Anonymous

    Opposed to a Lakeshore LRT. It was dropped and it failed an EA. There is already a streetcar system that services the area nicely.

    • Anonymous

      The Lakeshore streetcar hardly serves this area nicely, granted the worst of the problems out this way ultimately start on the Queen St section of the line but even still south Etobicoke is growing, how much longer before conditions on Lakeshore are as bad as on Queen St?, Long Branch and Mimico are both seeing an explosion in condo construction, as it is its usually faster to walk where ever you’re going on Lakeshore, at least between New Toronto and Long Branch. How much worse will it be in 20-30 years?

      Traffic is only going to get worse in south Etobicoke making the streetcar much worse. We could buy some time by only building the eastern end of the Lakeshore West LRT to bypass Queen St so long as it could continue onto the Lakeshore streetcar tracks, but even then in another 10- 20 years traffic will be so bad on Lakeshore that conversion to LRT will be the only effective option anyways.

      Running the LRT along the Queensway instead is a non-starter, the communities with all the people and retail are located on Lakeshore, the demand is on the Lakeshore for more transit. Compare ridership on the Queensway bus with that of the Lakeshore streetcar to see the difference in demand yourself. If need be an additional line can someday be built on the Queensway , but it’d be pointless to do so before upgrading the Lakeshore line first.

      • Anonymous

        There are building height and development restrictions west of Royal York. So, there are condos, but they are concentrated and will be concentrated east of Royal York. The Lakeshore 501 streetcar service would be better if the TTC stopped increasing the time between cars. The service would be improved by simply running a streetcar from the Longbranch turn-around to the Humber Loop and back. The previous Lakeshore LRT would have cut commute time by cutting the number of stops.

        The Arvin Mentor development is townhome and the boutique condo on the corner of Lakeshore and Longbranch is limited to seven stories (like the surrounding buildings).

        Lakeshores and Alderwood’s development is limited by the amount of factory and industrial lands. The Arvin Mentor development has already been shortened due to the fact no body wants to have a view of a industrial stamping plant, a rail yard and wood scrap yard.

  • Anonymous

    Personally, I prefer a dedicated sales tax or dedicated payroll tax in addition to a “commuter tax”, but those are not easy things to get the public to accept either. If property tax is the best way to get funding organized, so be it.

  • Vmichalczak

    Does anyone think about how much this is gona cost us?

    When they do these extensions SURE the construction is funded but clearly we are going to need to hire more employees which means fare is going up. The the fare plan we have going on now wont work, paying 3 bucks in more then enough, especially for those who live in Etobicoke which are not getting any improvement on the bloor/ danforth line from Yonge to Kipling… during rush hour the subways are almost impossible to get on once it hits Yonge going westbound….

    The comparison to this is when there is a 10 minute delay in the subway train tunnel, the first train finally shows but is empty and passes the station and the next one shows and its packed to the rim only 1 or 2 people can truly get in…

    I understand some of these are great, but others are just extra ideas people had on the plate, we need to choose these ideas wisely, I can’t afford to pay 30$ more a month..

    • Anonymous

      A lot of the lines you see on the map at the top of the article are there to divert people away from the existing subway lines. Bloor-Danforth and Yonge are packed solid at rush hour because they’re carrying people who are ultimately bound for places far from either line. Giving them the means to get to/from downtown without relying so heavily (or at all) on existing lines will free up spaces on B-D and Y.

  • http://twitter.com/mconagalled Tat Shaw

    OneCity doesn’t look so big when you strip out what we’ve got already – looks like more smoke and mirror stuff to me.

    • http://twitter.com/edmundoconnor edmundoconnor

      Looks pretty significant even when you strip out the existing system. You’re also ignoring the added value the expansion will bring to the existing system. Bloor-Yonge station will have a lot of the pressure taken off it by the DMEx line, for example.

      • Anonymous

        Totally significant. It’s a really strange comment to begin with though.

  • http://twitter.com/mconagalled Tat Shaw

    Whadda ya think now?

  • Anonymous

    Yet another idiot who only knows about their nether regions and what comes out of them when the need arises, but NOTHING than that. Exactly what education did you get about life, sir/madame, other than neocon bullcrap about labor issues and public transit?

  • Anonymous

    We have to be really careful that this gets run by the TTC, not Metrolinx, which is not accountable to the public, and whose board is a group of businessmen. They want to take public transit private, which is not in the public interest. 3P projects for transit have run way over budget in Vancouver, for example, and citizens end up paying. Profit should not enter into the equation in public services, except for contracts with close oversight by the experts at the TTC.

  • http://bertussi.ca/ Erich Nolan Bertussi

    I may have mentioned this once or twice before here or there.

    1. Ban all outdoor advertising like the town of Oakville
    2. Allow only outdoor advertising on TTC assets, bus shelters, vehicles, stations benches etc.
    3. Directly pipe all the revenue to the TTC for build out and sustainment
    4. Charge as much money as possible to advertisers/corporations
    5. Charge more to global national brands or local businesses advertising global national brands.
    6. charge least to local businesses advertising locally made products or locally serviced services.
    7. Kick Pattison out of all TTC advertisement brokering ‘in-house’ ad sales/creative.
    8. Crowd source/opensource creation of policy and procedure to enable the TTC to take on this massive 12-18 month transition.
    9. Give outdoor ads 24 months to stop showing billboards/etc.
    10. give outdoor ads additional 6 months to dismantle billboards/etc.
    11. Give property owners 5 year property tax break for lost income due to billboard losses to gradually ween off of leases from outdoor advertising.
    12. that is all.

    ENB..//