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politics

Mayoral Candidates Rally Around the Downtown Relief Line

How the DRL became the most urgent political priority in Toronto, and why it shouldn't be.

Photo by Melina, from the Torontoist Flickr pool

Photo by Melina., from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

Downtown relief! Downtown relief! The people demand downtown relief!

Luckily, we live in a mature, high­-functioning democracy, and as a result, many respectable candidates have stepped forward to promise just that. Indeed, they are tripping over one another in the race to provide a clamouring citizenry with downtown relief.

Building the fabled downtown relief line will be his top priority, John Tory said when announcing his candidacy this week. Ditto! said Karen Stintz. If we only cancelled the Scarborough subway, David Soknacki added, we would have enough money to build the “much-needed” (his capitals) Downtown Relief Line.

Yesterday, this most venerable proposal was the stuff of fable, a chimera. Today, it is the most urgent political priority in Toronto. How did that happen?

One possibility is that the three leading candidates for mayor are so admirably farsighted that they have a much better idea of what the public wants than the public itself. Another possibility is that they are so afraid of tackling the real issues in Toronto today, they are seeking safe haven in feel-good make-­believe land.

I’m all for the Downtown Relief Line (my caps), but I’m inclined to believe the latter. Is it really possible that after four years of Rob Ford, the “top priority” of the so­-far leading candidate to replace him is a Pleistocene-­era proposal for a subway line that won’t open for another 20 years at the earliest?

His fellow candidates’ rush to agree banishes doubt. What might seem mere escapism for one becomes a junket for three. They are seeking Relief for acute political indigestion.

The cause of it all—Real Issue No. 1, the bolus in the conservative craw, is Rob Ford. The job of his respectable conservative rivals is to win over Ford’s voters while assuring everybody else they will be Ford’s opposite. It’s a difficult two­-step to master. So they shuffle in easy agreement with one another, waiting until Olivia Chow emerges to give them something easier to oppose.

It’s a revealing interregnum. All three candidates accept the Ford logic that saving money is the purpose of city government, but they still need to make promises. And none has the chutzpah of their master, who is not in the least ashamed to boast about saving billions while he raises taxes to spend billions on popular stuff like subways—real ones, in his case. But they still need to make promises, different and yet the same. The Downtown Relief Line chorus is the improbable result.

Things will change, but it’s a dispiriting start. What we see at their conception are narrow, technical, timid campaign platforms. This is no doubt due to solid political advice, sadly—except in the case of Soknacki, who really does think he can win hearts and minds with calculus-­level manipulations of the land transfer tax.

With his campaign rendered officially hopeless by Tory’s candidacy, Soknacki could conceivably step a little out of line. One quietly mooted, since-­disappeared Soknacki slogan, ­­“Stop the Crazy Train,” says what they all should be saying, what they all wish they could say, and what they all are afraid to say. Soknacki included, it would seem.

A progressive voter can only hope that Olivia Chow has the wit to seize the enormous opportunity her opponents have given her—a blank canvas for the creation of positive alternatives to the unpopular policies of Ford and his frenemies. She is perfectly set to repeat in Toronto what unapologetic leftist Bill de Blasio just did in New York.

If I were Chow, I would emulate de Blasio openly by making it my first promise to reform the racially charged police practice of “carding” young people who seem suspicious to them—our version of the “stop and frisk” policy that de Blasio has just promised to reform. That would send a powerful signal that there are more than choo-­choos on the agenda. Listening to the frenemies, you wouldn’t think there were any such things as social, environmental, public safety, or land-­use issues in Toronto.

In other words, the door is wide open for the “big thinking and bold solutions” that brought de Blasio to power in a New York landslide. Toronto’s Chow couldn’t be luckier.

Comments

  • andrew97

    Has John Barber been hiding under a rock for the past ten years? How is transit not an important issue in 2014?

    • OgtheDim

      The more interesting bit in all that is the assumption that 20 years from now is not as important as what can be done for the city now. When it comes to transit, thinking in terms of 20 years from now is the only way to plan. And, like it or not, this city runs on transit.

      • andrew97

        Exactly. Twenty years ago, Mike Harris was filling in the hole that was supposed to be the Eglinton subway.

        • Stephen

          If they’d done that and built another north / south line instead, it wouldn’t have been too bad.

          Of course, they built the nigh-useless Sheppard line (effectively) instead.

        • johnrossharvey

          Yes, that was a criminal mistake, as was the installation of reduced Sheppard line.

    • Canadianskeezix

      Reading John Barber always makes me think of reading a newspaper column from 20 years ago, when Harris actually was filling in the Eglinton subway.

    • nevilleross

      Barber realizes that there are other priorities in mind besides an overrated and obsolete form of public transit being built as a relief line. People need housing, hunger and homelessness needs to be dealt with, and the racial inequities with regards to policing also need to be dealt with.

      As well, I get the feeling that if Transit City had been build as Miller planned it to be, we wouldn’t really be needing a DRL, since most of the pressure would be taken off of the main legacy subway lines of people having to take the bus to the subway in order to go somewhere.

      • OgtheDim

        Are you saying transit support for those along the Yonge line matters squat when people are in need otherwise, but it does matter when its LRT?

        Umm…ummm……..

        *******

        As for your second paragraph:

        LRT as envisioned in Transit City (apart from the Jane line which was never feasible due to the width of Jane north of Bloor) would have met local need for transportation along those corridors. It still does. Its a crying shame the vision was not built and we are stuck with just the more palatable Crosstown and the threatened Finch West stub and the threatened Sheppard East LRT. But, Transit City was never intended to address the capacity issues along the Yonge line. It was meant to create a network of choice and meet local need.

        There was no attempt in Transit City to deal with the capacity issues along Yonge. If anything, Miller and Giambrone made the Yonge line worse by specifically getting the DRL stricken off of future work plans – in cahoots with a TTC administration that saw the DRL as detrimental to their plans to maximise potential on the YUS.

        There is a role to play for higher order transit. The RL is it. Those who say only LRT is necessary are akin to those who say only subways are needed.

        • nevilleross

          What I mean is that there are other things to focus on besides a subway line, like housing, racial inequalities, and homelessness; having a train to go to work means nothing when you’re a young black person being stopped by the police or you’re a person who can’t find a place to sleep because you’re homeless, or anything else more important than having a brand new choo-choo to get downtown in. Please read the article again and stop being such a butt-hurt transit fan feeling deprived of the new train set they wanted for Christmas.

          • andrew97

            David Miller realized that having a train to go to work means pulling people out of poverty.

            I find it interesting that, just as Olivia Chow is about to enter the mayoral race, suddenly columnists like Barber are saying that transit is not a big deal. Probably signals that we’re going to see nothing from her on transit during the campaign.

          • dsmithhfx

            “having a train to go to work means pulling people out of poverty.”

            Doesn’t mean squat, unless you have a job that pays more than minimum wage to go to.

          • andrew97

            Fine, but the mayor doesn’t have a lot of job-creation levers. That’s why it’s ridiculous for Ford to take credit for lower unemployment.

          • dsmithhfx

            I give him full credit for establishing Toronto as ground zero for mayoral buffoonery.

          • nevilleross

            Said public transit is useless to a poor minimum wage earner anyway, since most of what’s earned goes to public transit (my sister used to work at Canada’s Wonderland when she was a teenager, and that’s just what happened to her.) Better to build light rail and let it revitalize the parts of the city that need revitalizing, so that said poor people can take a shorter way to work (and work nearest where they live.)

  • OgtheDim

    Wow..talk about having to fit things into a political punditry paradigm.

    Lets just pick one bit from all that:.

    “With his campaign rendered officially hopeless by Tory’s candidacy, Soknacki…”

    Yep, John, you just pound that narrative you are spinning that NOW is so important to the run for mayor. Do you seriously think these things are decided in late February?!?! Its WAY early to be calling any campaign done or off or finished for any of the 5 main candidates

    Its not like any people beyond #topoli and people in here are actually listening about mayoral politics yet. Its too flipping cold outside. Spring hasn’t happened yet. October is a ways away. May, that’s when things will start to seep through to people. And even then, September is when people make decisions.

    BTW, the crazy train line is not muted. There’s just no use going over and over the same lines all the time. Soknacki got what traction there is possible this early with the whole “Neither does 52 division” meme thing last week..

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

    In Mr. Barber’s 6th paragraph, we learn that:
    —Old ideas == bad ideas.
    —Planning for the future = bad idea.

    Anyway, in case Ms Chow’s first position is something other than, “We, and Queen’s Park and Ottawa, need to invest seriously in transportation infrastructure. That means asking planners to help us identify the most cost-effective, high-benefit projects,” I’ve got a letter cued up.

    • nevilleross

      And I intend to have a letter to support her, unlike you.

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

        It’s a friendly letter!

        I’ve always said that we can do much better than having politicians (Stinz & Ford chief among them) plan & fund transit using crayons and napkins.

        Suggesting we do serious planning involving careful analysis is the *right* position, and it also would be a *politically strong* one for her.

        She could say, “Unlike Candidate X, I’m not going to try to buy your vote by promising a line we don’t need and can’t afford,” or “Unlike Candidate Y, I don’t pretend to have a crystal ball with all the answers about how these lines would affect our city, and which ones we need,” and generally position herself as too sensible to engage in these amateur-hour transit arguments.

        • nevilleross

          She could say, “Unlike Candidate X, I’m not going to try to buy your vote by promising a line we don’t need and can’t afford,” or “Unlike Candidate Y, I don’t pretend to have a crystal ball with all the answers about how these lines would affect our city, and which ones we need/’

          I think that the first statement is the best one, and she should stick by it.

  • dsmithhfx

    Transit is something many/most people take for granted, except during that moment when they are inconvenienced, and that is quickly forgotten.

    These same people hate taxes 24/7, as they are constantly reminded they should. Low taxes good, good transit huh?

  • wallywhack

    Regardless of what level of importance you place on a relief line, when it comes to selling it beyond the core semantics may win the day. Yonge Relief Line beats DRL.

    • MER1978

      Naming it after its function is LAME… having it end at Sheppard and Don Mills and naming it the Don Mills line is the best.

      • wallywhack

        Who said anything about naming it? We’re not even there yet. What it is and what it should be called are two different things.

  • wklis

    Yes on the Yonge Relief Line (née Downtown Relief Line).

    Yes on Transit City .

    Yes on Transit City Bus Plan.

    Yes on streetcar expansion.

    Yes on ongoing provincial operating and capital subsidies.

    Yes on ongoing federal operating and capital subsidies. (Something we only get as election perks.)

  • dsmithhfx

    its gonna take 20 years to build AND it’s gonna cost a fortune?

    • MER1978

      … so we shouldn’t talk about it now and instead think about starting the planning in 5 years… 10 years… another 20?

    • http://gniw.ca/ Ambrose Li

      I dunno. Maybe “it’s gonna take 20 years to build AND it’s gonna cost a fortune BECAUSE the next government is gonna cancel it”?

    • OgtheDim

      Nah…don’t need no fortune. The NDP think it can be done with corporate emissions and Hudak with unicorn emissions.

  • dsmithhfx

    Maybe the wrong question is being asked. There’s an assumption that we will continue to need to move massive numbers of people into and out of the downtown core during rush hour for the next 20 years and beyond.

    Wait. Why?

    • OpportKnocks

      Absolutely correct. More and more of my IT colleagues are working from home (Brampton, Markham) 2 and 3 days a week. Almost all of my client meetings are done via web conference software. My daughter lives within easy biking distance of her job at Yonge and Richmond.

      Of course the City Hall will be last to recognize the paradigm shift…

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        There are entire sectors that can’t work remotely, and aren’t going to relocate from downtown any time in the next 30 years. Hospitals and hotels, shopping malls and restaurants, building security and janitor services…

        • OgtheDim

          But I thought Doctors could do surgery on an ipad?!

          Is Robin Williams telling us lies in that commercial?

    • OgtheDim

      Face to face business still happens. There is a reason why the banks and the major law firms have not left downtown.

      • dsmithhfx

        Sure it does, but there’s no denying that a huge percentage of commuting during rush hour is needless. It’s only still done because ‘that’s how we’ve always done it.’ But traffic congestion (including transit), combined with the massive expense and environmental damage make it no longer feasible, let alone desirable.

        • KG

          So why are all the new office buildings going up and the office vacancy rate is low? Maybe more people are working from home, but other employers are moving into the downtown.

        • OgtheDim

          Oh, its done for a lot more then inertia. And the PATH actually is making it easier for people.

          Planning transit based on tele-conferencing would be like planning transit based on the workplace node model of the 70′s.

          Ultimately, employers go where its convenient and cost effective.

          • dsmithhfx

            This is not solely about ‘tele-conferencing’ (did you mean tele-commuting?), you may not have noticed. There’s also the whole peak/off-peak fare/toll thing.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Countless businesses rely on other businesses being in operation during the same hours, and their staff rely on countless other businesses in the service sector being open and ready to serve during those hours (and beyond) as well.

          • dsmithhfx

            There’s a knock-on effect. The good news: it cuts both ways.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            There’s also incredible inertia. Companies in Toronto deal with companies across the province and in Quebec and throughout the rest of the Eastern Time Zone. Unless there is a coordinated push for staggered business hours in major cities from Miami to Montreal, we aren’t going to see changes here.

          • dsmithhfx

            Again, it is not always necessary for the whole workforce of a given company to be physically present downtown every business day from 9-5 EST. Some could arrive and leave earlier than rush hour, others later. Still more could work from home for x days a week.

            Ever hear of time zones? News flash: we aren’t all in the same one, even here in North America. Our main client where I work is in Europe. Somehow we manage to cope with that 5-hour time difference.

            You know, this isn’t like trying to bore a big-assed tunnel through miles of bedrock beneath tall buildings or anything.

            And please, don’t cite the the dry cleaners and hot dog stands. :-)

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Of course I’ve heard of time zones, I did just mention the one we’re in didn’t I? You might deal with Europe all day but most jobs in downtown Toronto deal with other Torontonians directly (dry cleaners and hot dog stands included) or other companies elsewhere with the same operating hours.

            I just don’t see a third of the work force electing to start their day (and commute) 2 hours earlier, or another third starting later and staying at the office until 7 or 8 at night.

          • dsmithhfx

            Who said two thirds? Just 5% on either side (for a combined, 10% reduction in peak time commuters) would make a pretty big dent.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I don’t think 5% is enough to make a meaningful difference. I would guess at least 5% of people travelling at rush hour do so for reasons unrelated to their job or school schedule, so a slight reduction in regular commuters would be offset by incidental travellers.

            As it stands, rush “hour” is already over two hours long, so any stagger would have to start before or after that window.

            (By the way: 5% of x + 5% of y is 5% of x+y, not 10% of x+y.)

          • dsmithhfx

            No, if 5% of total (current) rush hour commuters travel before rush hours or telecommute, and 5% of the total rush hour commuters travel after rush hours or telecommute, that is 10% of the total current rush hour demand shifted out of rush hour.

            If you do this through a combination of advertising, transit fare, road toll and payroll tax incentives, you get immediate congestion relief, plus a new revenue stream for augmenting transit. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a 20-30% total reduction in rush hour demand, over a couple of years.

            If you ask people whether they want to start paying through the nose now for transit relief they won’t live to see, as noble and self-sacrificing as that concept may seem, I don’t think you’re going to find many takers. If on the other hand you show people that a relatively minor shift in their work schedule will pay immediate dividends for all but the most hide-bound, that is something I think they will more readily buy into.

            Those that can afford the luxury of the 9-5 lifestyle — the bankers stockbrokers, and gummint mandarins, if you will — can pay to support the capacity needed, through higher transit fares, congestion and payroll taxes. Transit as a cost of doing business — imagine that.

          • nomoremicrophones

            i live in parkdale and commute via the king 504 up to dundas west station, then east on the subway to yonge, and then north on the subway to sheppard. takes me an hour each way. due to some work stuff i have to be here by 7:30am now and i notice that by the time i get up to dundas west the streetcar is full, and the subway is almost devoid of empty seats. i sometimes work late and noticed that as late as 9pm the subway westbound on bloor from yonge is standing room only. 9pm!
            our office starts seeing people show up and sit down at their desk as early as 6:30am, and some of our lawyers are regularly at their desks until 6 or 7.

          • dsmithhfx

            So a DRL wouldn’t do a damn thing for you?

          • nomoremicrophones

            Dunno. Maybe? Maybe not. Whatever, I want it built. I’m sure the relief will eventually help.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Sorry, when you said 5% on either side for some reason I thought you meant either “side” of the work day (morning and evening rush hours).

            I still don’t think the effect or benefits are as clear you think. How busy are the commuter routes already, in the quarter, half, and full hour before and after rush hour? By extending rush hour into that margin, the net effect could be even worse congestion over a longer period. Is it cost effective for service-oriented businesses to stay open and staffed an extra 2 or 3 hours a day while serving essentially the same number of customers, or to lose 5-10% of their customers? (How many would switch to lower-paid part-time employees on shift schedules from full-time employees on a shorter day?) What about costs to the TTC and GO, and changes to their maintenance/cleaning schedules, related to starting high volume/frequent service earlier in the morning?

            I have no problem with transit being a cost of doing business – more than once I’ve suggested, here, a payroll tax for non-residents to fund transit in the city.

          • nevilleross

            The concept that dsmithhfx is talking about is called Variable Work Hours, and it’s high time North Americans considered it.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Do you know of any models or projections showing a significant exodus from downtown?

  • Facepalming_Brooklynite

    Build the line, but also do stuff to improve transit sooner. Like use GO tracks for local service. Check out this proposal — this could be up and running in a few years:
    http://www.anabailao.com/transit_relief_for_downtown_west

    • Stephen

      The catch there, of course, is that there’s nothing showing that the idea would be even remotely feasible.

      I highly suspect that when Byford looks into the idea, he’ll find that there isn’t the capacity to add the additional service. GO has a hard enough time fitting in extra trains now as it is.

      • Facepalming_Brooklynite

        A large reason for GO’s capacity problems is that they use diesel trains.
        When the Georgetown line is electrified, it can accommodate more trains and more frequent stops.

        • Testu

          A large reason for GO’s capacity problem is that they use CN freight owned lines for the majority of their routes. CN freight traffic gets priority, so GO has to work around them.

          Building a separate, electrified line for every single GO route isn’t on the table for reasons beyond just cost. In many places there’s simply no space to run another set of tracks.

          • nevilleross

            We also need a staggering amount of nuclear power to provide the juice for these electric lines as well-power that Premier Wynne and her predecessor squelched.

            I’d like to have built maglev GO Transit lines instead, as in Shanghai, but North Americans can only handle a single technological advancement at a time.

    • johnrossharvey

      Yes there are multiple freight tracks throughout city that could be utilized for a local train network, or added to a GO network, I saw a GT-Trains concept for this once. Above ground rail in existing corridors is well worth doing, and obviously less time/less expensive than underground. All GO lines are utilizing other train tracks anyway, from CP, CN and others.

  • Welshgrrl

    Indeed. As someone who takes the subway every day, I can’t begin to imagine how bad the overcrowding is going to get in the next 12-18 months, let alone 10-20 years.

  • MaryL

    Actually, this reads more like “Oh God, centre-left people! Don’t abandon Chow for Soknacki!” Well, we can judge the candidates for themselves once they say something substantive about the issues. With any luck — or wit — Chow will enter the race before the end of the month, then we can assess what she has to offer as a candidate.

    (Just a few months ago I was solidly on the Chow train. I haven’t stepped off yet, but for the first time, I’m seriously considering it as a possibility.)

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Rational subway expansion, under which various incarnations of the DRL would fall, is an important issue candidates should be addressing. The problem is that this is Toronto, where drawing lines on maps without the means or commitment to make them real is a popular hobby among politicians looking for a temporary bump in support from one corner or another. Rather than promise a coherent and far-sighted transit plan, a dedicated source of transit funding that will grow as our transit needs grow, or a bigger picture of any sort, these candidates are promising us a sound bite and nothing more.

  • dsmithhfx

    We need measurable relief within the next few years (and by that I mean very few). This cannot be achieved by repeating the mistakes of the past, one of which is piling on more transportation infrastructure, whether you are talking new roads or new transit lines, even assuming the political will could be found to do so.

    The city and province can introduce traffic-shaping revenue measures that penalize peak (rush-hour) travel, and reward off-peak travel and telecommuting.

    We can move data back and forth a heck of a lot cheaper and with far less disruption, than we can millions of people in tin cans. Maybe it’s time to stop.

    • Testu

      You seem to forget that not every job involves pushing data around. There are plenty of jobs that require good ol’ human interaction. They aren’t going away any time soon either.

      If you want to try to penalize white collar workers for going to work, go nuts. But remember some jobs actually do require you to physically be there. And a lot of these jobs don’t pay all that well as it is. You’re basically making it harder for everyone but knowledge workers to live.

      • dsmithhfx

        Fewer and fewer jobs require that. The important thing is to incentivize not needing the every employee, 5-days, 9-5 downtown presence. It’s an employer issue as much as anything else. It can’t be eliminated in every case, but whole lot of it can be cut waaaay back. With the right tax structure, it can be made to happen, and fairly quickly, certainly faster than building a subway. And unlike building a subway, you start getting immediate relief for all concerned — including those who must continue commuting during rush hours, because you are taking a whole lot of people off the trains, and off the roads.

        • Testu

          Do you have any data on the demographic breakdown of downtown workers?

          How many jobs are white collar vs. service industry, trades, and general labour? Incentivizing businesses to use telecommuting more is one thing, penalizing workers is another altogether.

          • dsmithhfx

            1950′s answers to 21st century problems: that dog don’t hunt.

          • Testu

            Then what, pray tell, is the 21st century answer to a barista who lives in Scarborough needing to get to work in First Canadian Place? Or a plummer from Etobicoke who works out of a Queen East pluming supply store?

            Just work somewhere else? Quit your job because we decided you need to pay more to go to work?

            You do realize the not everyone had the kind of job mobility you have right? We don’t run our entire economy on blogging and iPhone apps. As tumblr is so fond of reminding us: Check your privilege.

          • dsmithhfx

            “a barista who lives in Scarborough needing to get to work in First Canadian Place?”

            Excellent example. A chunk of First Canadian Place -vicinity white collar workers start telecommuting from a satellite facility in… Scarborough. A new Starbucks opens nearby in… Scarborough. The barista and the white-collar workers enjoy a much shorter commute, and much lower cost of commuting. The city gets a break on maintaining transit and highway infrastructure. The environment gets a break from the senseless extraction and burning of fossil fuels to push meat sacks back forth.

          • Testu

            I’m not arguing the concept. I’m saying the implementation has to be incentive based for the business, not penalty based, because that will harm the workers who don’t have options. It would be regressive as hell.

            These satellite facilities already exist, in the neighbourhoods you mention even. All the major banks have offices in North York, Scarborough, and Markham. They’re filled with departments that don’t specifically need to be in the city centre.

          • dsmithhfx

            OK, I see where you are coming from. Of course it would require a well-thought out plan. Suffice to say I don’t have such a plan off the top of my head.

            I just think we need to look at this from a completely different angle — not increasing peak transit capacity, but reducing peak transit demand.

            I agree that low income workers should not be penalized by a new work-scheduling paradigm (which is probably coming, whether we like it or not), but that requires putting the right laws in place, and in turn reversing the trend of income inequality that the present, failed arrangements have brought us.

          • OgtheDim

            Aaa…now I see where you are coming from.

            Well, reducing peak transit demand would require incentives to employers and disincentives to be in other areas of the city where workplace density is low. Right now, the economies of scale available in the core are such that this area will remain the biggest demanded area for transit in and out. Apart from the core, workplaces are just too spread out to develop enough transit demand to pull out more people from the core then businesses in the core develop.

          • dsmithhfx

            Governments have been in the business of social engineering since… always (think fossil fuel, automotive and highway construction industries just for starters). The way they’ve ‘always done it’ is an abject failure that is crashing down on our heads. In the case of the Gardiner — literally.

            Now it’s time to make them work for us.

          • andrew97

            OMG mutual understanding, reasonable debate, and respect in a comments section! *universe ends

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            And they’re staffed by people coming from well outside North York, Scarborough, and Markham. Do we need satellite locations for satellite locations?

          • OgtheDim

            ” A chunk of First Canadian Place -vicinity white collar workers start telecommuting from a satellite facility in… Scarborough.”

            That’s the node system planners thought would bring thousands of people to work around STC, for example. Or around North York Centre.

            Didn’t happen.

            Like it or not, telecommuting is not taking off.

            We need to plan for what is happening, not what we would like.

          • dsmithhfx

            We need to make it happen. We really, really need to. Can’t wait 10 -20 years for a DRL. Businesses that don’t get on board get to fund future subways. Hurray!

          • nomoremicrophones

            ok, but if you’re counting on the government to MAKE it happen…you know what they say about us. we build a better stagecoach. (we’ve been looking at telecommuting for some time now and still have not been able to significantly roll it out – partly it’s the nature of government work, partly because we have to use Microsoft product [there's about 75 years left on the contract with MS])

          • dsmithhfx

            “there’s about 75 years left on the contract with MS”

            Really?

          • nomoremicrophones

            99 year contract signed…ok so maybe 80 something years?… signed in the late 90′s.

          • dsmithhfx

            Of course. IT evolves so slowly. Why didn’t they go for the 500-year?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            That contract should be invalidated because obviously whoever signed it was under duress or under the influence at the time.

          • d__t

            Possibly a drunken stupor…

    • nevilleross

      We can move data back and forth a heck of a lot cheaper and with far less disruption, than we can millions of people in tin cans.

      Especially when said tin can is just a train in a cave that blocks out the sun and light, and cuts you off from the city.

  • johnrossharvey

    This kind of rebuttal to needed infrastructure is why Toronto is 30 years behind. The Scarborough extension is what should have happened before RT was chosen, claiming those 7 stops next to a GO line service more than the 3 the extension will have is dreaming in technicolour. As for the infamous DRL, locating it on a straight path is the best most logical decision, and Don Mills is not the road. Victoria Park or Warden is better suited to avoid massive bridge rebuilding and multiple turns required at Don Mills/Overlea/Millwood/Pape routing. Why am I the only person telling them this? Build it yes, but not there.

    • OgtheDim

      Actually, its the redrawing of lines, and the rebuttals of those lines, which you and I are involving ourselves in, that constitute the biggest reason why Toronto is way behind on developing a transit system.

      As for Don Mills, more people live along Don Mills then Vic Park or Warden.

      Density FTW.

      • johnrossharvey

        Straight and level is cheaper than hills and turns and rebuilding bridges. The Vaughan extension was poorly thought as well, far too many turns just to appease the University, which seem to have paid off Metrolinx for all the lines expected there. It could have been done faster and more effectively up Allen/Dufferin than the twisty route to Jane via Sheppard/Keele/Steeles.

        • OgtheDim

          Cheaper in building is not the same as actually serving people.

          Like it or not, Don Mills and Egg and the areas to the south are more dense then Vic Park and Warden…and more likely to see added density.

          As for Vaughan, although I’m no fan of the Greg Sorbara testimonial subway line, the one point on that line that makes sense as far as trips are concerned is York U.

      • Mark Dowling

        Plus – Science Centre!

    • Mark Dowling

      Because you completely miss Thorncliffe Park? If you take it too far west, you’ve simply duplicated the Danforth Line. If this thing was easy to build it would be done already.

      • johnrossharvey

        Explain how a straight line north-south duplicates and east-west line?
        Why is Thorncliffe Park more important than connecting east and west?

        • Mark Dowling

          a) If you’re building a DRL along VicPark it has go a long way east to get there
          b) Because Thorncliffe Park is both dense and significantly transit-reliant compared to the low rise along Vic Park or Warden
          Also c) a DRL to Eglinton-Don Mills serves the Celestica employment lands, and could allow some of the massive car parks to be reduced/redeveloped by serving those with jobs downtown or connecting from Lakeshore West via downtown.

          • johnrossharvey

            If you need it yesterday, the terrain and obstacles at Don Mills are immense to overcome. It is the least straight corridor in the city to connect Sheppard to downtown. The Millwood bridge rebuild alone could take most of those years. Stop thinking of one neighbourhood, when you can connect many. The entire city needs connection east-west, and north south, not just one entitled area of condo owners that cause our traffic dilemmas. They will still use their BMW SUVs and block every intersection to downtown while the lower class people that actually ride transit on VP and W could use a faster trip. The FPark people have Crosstown at Eglinton on the way, less than a few minutes away.

          • OgtheDim

            Flemingdon and Thorncliffe are entitled condo owners?!?!?!

            Are you serious!?!?!?!

            AND, as has been pointed out before, the purpose of the RL is to take people OFF the Yonge line, both between Finch and Bloor and south of Bloor. That ain’t going to happen if its way out at Warden. And it certainly ain’t gonna happen if you pile people in Flemingdon on the Crosstown.

            I get the feeling you live south of the Millwood bridge and just don’t want it to be touched.

  • johnrossharvey

    https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zLa1ql738mbE.kdA_zm6XgEJ0&hl=en

    My suggestions are the much straighter lines. The much suggested DRL location is that ridiculously bendy bit which includes rebuilding of Millwood bridge, you know, the monster you drive under on the DVP.

    • David Church

      I believe that MetroLinx and the TTC have already completed a thorough analysis of the geographic, demographic and infrastructure issues which could have an impact on potential DRL routes. The practical choices have been narrowed down considerably. (Info is probably on the Metrolinx or TTC websites.)

  • Lavender

    “It’s a revealing interregnum.”

    What? As if the writing isn’t impenetrable and distracting enough (okay, expansive vocabulary noted), Barber seems to have forgotten what he sat down to write. Where’s the argument? Racial profiling is a serious problem, but why does addressing it mean we can’t also get going on building transit infrastructure that should already be in place? Short-sightedness is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place, and it’s exactly what citizens have been complaining about for years. It’s bizarre that Barber chides the candidates for being out of touch with what the public wants, while he doesn’t seem to have a clue himself. How did this one get past the editor?

    • m_ax

      He makes it sound like transit expansion and ending racial profiling by police are mutually exclusive, like a candidate cannot advocate for both at the same time. Also it’s odd that he adds environmental and land use issues to his list when these things are CONNECTED TO TRANSIT.

  • whodis

    The Relief Line is actually scheduled to open 2024-2025, according to Metrolinx documents.

  • whodis

    10 years away. Metrolinx expects the project to be completed 2024/2025.

    • dsmithhfx

      These projects never go over schedule and budget, nope.

  • jimro

    Let’s just run an LRT across the Gardner and a couple more North-South LRT’s, one in the west end and one in the east end and we’re done.

    • nevilleross

      I agree.

  • Mojo

    Exactly.

  • nevilleross

    It should really be a LRT line instead? And there’s other things to focus on besides that involving homeless people and hunger, among other things?

  • 2615152613

    What’s this 20 year number based on?

    • dsmithhfx

      It’s the sum of digits in your handle minus twelve.

      • 2615152613

        Exactly, utter nonsense…If the political will existed it could be built in 10 if not sooner. Rather, we want to cynically, self-righteously, speciously prattle on about how because these projects are never built on time the past must determine the future.

        • dsmithhfx

          Why 10? What is that based on? Wishful thinking? Unicorns?

  • nevilleross

    The subway system was planned as well as it could be; besides, what’s the point of pointlessly building a subway line? Especially when there’s the risk of it being an unneeded lemon like the Sheppard line?