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Duly Quoted: James Pasternak

Available for barter: one council vote in exchange for a subway line.

“Downtown Relief Line unlikely to have Council support for funding source if North York Relief Line derailed.”

—City councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10, York Centre), on Twitter today. The rookie councillor has been agitating for a subway connection at the north end of Toronto, linking the Yonge and University-Spadina lines across Sheppard, since his election. Today’s remarks are in response to the TTC’s recently released report which makes the case for a Downtown Relief Line—a new subway loop that would alleviate pressure on the maxed-out Yonge line—and follow on the heels of other recent remarks by councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre), who wants to reopen the Scarborough light rail line and reconsider building a subway there. Because Toronto politicians are in the habit of relying on evidence to make decisions that benefit the city as a whole, and would never hold such decisions hostage to satisfy their parochial interests.


  • Steve Munro

    Pasternak’s vote was already for sale during the deliberations on new “citizen” TTC Commissioners — he was quite open in the media saying that support for his pet Sheppard West subway was a condition for selection. Funny, I thought that the idea of new Commissioners was to get fresh idea, independent thought, and an attention to good business sense in transit decisions, not in picking one line on the map because it’s your patron’s favourite.

    As for De Baeremaeker, at least the line he wants would carry a decent number of riders, likely far more than Sheppard West. The real problem is that it would end at STC, and riders in Scarborough who long for good transit north of the 401 would be left out. But Scarborough councillors are falling over each other to show how their constituents won’t be short-changed.

    Meanwhile Metrolinx continues to talk about a five-year project to replace the RT even though in interviews they say they would like to do it in about 2.5 years. That makes a big difference in the way a subway alternative is viewed, and one might almost think they are trying to push for a subway by making the RT/LRT conversion look so unattractive.

    There’s a lot of political meddling going on in transit, as there has been for decades. Anyone who thinks it’s all based on good sound professional judgement is living in a fantasy world.

    • Anonymous

      Amalgamation, the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Anonymous

    North York Relief Line…

    …relief from what? It’s almost as if there are a handful of people at City Hall who don’t understand, or simply choose to ignore, the basic math of ridership levels.

    Different transit solutions for differing transit needs. That’s why a DRL makes sense, Sheppard/Finch/Eglinton LRTs make sense, and “North York Relief Line” is a fully unhelpful misnomer.

  • Anonymous

    A rail line on Sheppard is fine by me if it’s accomplished by converting the existing Sheppard subway to LRT, and extending the LRT west to (what is now called) Downsview. This is probably not what Pasternak has in mind, though.

    • Transit Cyclist

      Pasternak decried the idea of LRT for Sheppard West.

  • Paul

    Good o’l James “19%” Pasternak. Basically a fringe candidate who got lucky.

    • James

      Yup…and now he’s trying to use any wedge issue that he can find to try and solidify himself before 2014. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, North York Relief Line, etc.

      When you’re incapable of proving yourselves to your constituents, these are the type of issue you fall back on to rally support.

  • phil

    I have an idea – let’s build the DRL in exchange for the existing Sheppard subway and the York University extension. The last time any subway was built downtown all must have be in the 1970s.

    • Rob Ford Says Shit

      The York University Extension is under construction and will open in 2015, 2016, or whenever the Keystone Kops finally get bored of swanning about and start working.

  • Anonymous

    What this city needs is someone with a broom to sweep away all these thoughtless, brainless councillors who’s only concern is re-election. Any real transit growth, in this city, has been twarted for 30 years by bozos like Pasternak and the Fords. Conservatism is a bacterial virus on the healthy growth of our city.

    • Anonymous

      “bacterial virus” Sorry, my brain just exploded.

    • Anonymous

      Been there. Done that. The raving loonies didn’t like it and so they got their ‘media’ to deep six Miller and replace him with Buddy Ford, who can only generate heat without light. They don’t want a broom: they want a ship of fools like Pasternak and the Ford sisters. (That wasn’t homophobic, it was an allusion to The Sisters Brothers, a novel by Patric DeWitt.)

      • Rob Ford Says Shit

        No, that was still pretty gross.

  • Val Dodge

    Pity North York, they’re only serviced by three subway lines; the DRL would be the fourth. Such a neglected corner of the city.

  • Aaron

    The funny thing is, the DRL would actually be a big relief to all those North York commuters who crowd on to the overcrowded Yonge line every day, since it would take a lot of riders off of that line.

    • Rob Ford Says Shit

      Let’s see your numbers.

      If you’re just spitballing, I’ll take Steve Munro over you any day.

  • Anonymous

    James Pasternak: Bad for North York, Bad for Toronto.

  • Yummy Cardbored

    Even being in Etobicoke, the downtown relief line is important for me as I sit on the floor of Dundas station late in the afternoon watching full train after full train pass me by.

  • Anonymous

    I just love people like Pasternak who say “if I can’t have my thing right frakking now, nobody can have their things (that make more sense)”
    Does extending the Sheppard line to Downsview make sense? Sure it does, to an extent. If Bombardier ever leave the airfield west of Downsview that will open a massive parcel for new uses and it creates an opportunity to transfer trains between the two lines. Accessing York U for those east of Yonge will be quicker as the entire Don Mills-Downsview-York trip will be underground with one transfer.

    But it doesn’t make MORE sense, on a passengers-moved-per-$m-capital-spend basis, than the DRL. If the DRL extends to Eglinton-Don Mills (as it should) then it opens the way for downtowners to access employment in the commercial/industrial areas north of the Science Centre on counterpeak trains while similarly improving the economics of the Eglinton Light Rail as some in the Laird/Brentcliffe area might choose to get downtown via DRL as they will be boarding empty trains at Don Mills not mostly full ones at Yonge. It even advantages the Science Centre who may be able to dispense with their huge parking lot on that corner either for a station or a new building given the massively improved transit landscape.