Think-tank says Toronto should look beyond just subways

Report says major Canadian cities have progressed ahead of Toronto with new mixed-rapid transit

As the municipal election campaign rolls on in Toronto, aside from wanting a new mayor, it's clear voters are most concerned about traffic and transit.

Rob Ford, John Tory and Olivia Chow have all made their pitches. Ford is all subways. Tory wants to use existing rail lines converted to electric to take pressure off the existing subway runs. Chow pitches cancellation of the planned Scarborough subway in favour of LRT, and expanded bus service.

The think-tank, Pembina Institute has examined transit in 5 major Canadian cities and the institute's Ontario director Cherise Burda says our local politicans have to step back and examine what is going on in the other cities.

In a nutshell, Burda says the other cities have progressed more than Toronto because they have a mixed transit system instead of focusing so much on subways. Subways, of course, is all that Mayor Ford is trying to sell.

Quoting Cherise Burda directly now "it's not to say we shouldn't build subways. Of cours we need to keep doing that, but the subways we're going to be building are for the NEXT generation, and THIS generation is stuck in traffic."
Pembina Institue says Bus Rapid Transit can be up and running in two to three years. LRT's can be up in 4 or 5.

As for the cost, the Star quotes University of Waterloo transportation professor Jeff Casello says "for one kilometre of subway you can build 5 to 10 kilometres of LRT."

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  1. AbbyW posted on 09/05/2014 08:52 AM
    Other cities have progressed further because they had a long-term vision and planned for the future, not just their next election. Those cities also didn't have city councils with a hate-on for cars, thereby managing to create traffic chaos in their attempt to get people to take public transit and bikes.
  2. Fact Provider posted on 09/05/2014 09:21 AM
    Rob Ford bellowing "Subways ! Subways ! Subways !" on the wrong side of the tracks / issues again ??

    Please tell me it isn't so.
  3. frankling posted on 09/05/2014 10:23 AM
    4 simple moves could greatly improve downtown gridlock by this Friday:

    1. ban downtown left turns
    2. ban parking on streetcar avenues
    3. end daytime deliveries
    4. create 2-hr TTC transfers

    Businesses will not miss the parking when 50,000 commuters hop off transit to shop; Companies will happily deliver four times faster on the overnights sans gridlock.

    To reduce gridlock on the DVP, 401, Finch, Sheppard & Steeles today, put on more express buses.

    Ending gridlock is not hard once we end the gridlock in city councilors' mind.
  4. WalterK_3932 posted on 09/05/2014 10:44 AM
    Eglinton LRT from Mount Dennis to Kennedy costs about $6B. Fully underground as a subway would cost $7.4B (using current Metrolinx costing). If planned as subway from day 1, the cost would have been in the low $6B range.

    If LRT is used in the wrong location, i.e. this location, it costs 80% of a subway - but this would be closer to 100% if the subway was originally planned.
    1. AbbyW posted on 09/05/2014 11:30 AM
      @WalterK_3932 If subways were planned from the 70's when they should have been the costs would be less than half (in today's dollars), we'd have less gridlock, etc.

      This is a perfect example of electing governments that are only concerned with their next election vs a vision and long-term planning.
    2. MarkFromEtobicoke posted on 09/05/2014 01:18 PM
      @WalterK_3932 I don't know where you got the cost figures but from the June 2012 Update on Cost / Benefits Metrolinx report, the cost of the current Eglinton Crosstown is $6,921 M while a standard TTC subway train is $8,340 M.

      Report is at (Table 4.2, pg. 24):
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