OneCity proposal for the TTC, Toronto, Canada. Will this reduce congestion? I think not.
Admiration is what I feel about Karen Stinz, Glen De Baeremaeker, two City of Toronto councilors, and their OneCity TTC proposal. While I might not agree with their complete plan, they have collectively invested time and effort into making commuting in Toronto better, and have a financial plan to pay for it. This is a damn sight better than Rob Ford, who shouted for subways but had no hope in hell of getting there.
Scarborough LRT vs Subway station map, Toronto, Canada
Confusing is the watchword for the Scarborough LRT. Metrolinx, the provincial organization with the mandate for regional transit has put in a plan called “Transit City”, and has allocated funding for a Light Rapid Transit, or LRT on Sheppard Avenue East. Environmental assessments, financial funding, purchase of rolling stock has been completed and construction work on the line has already started. In comes Rob Ford, the new Toronto mayor, who wants to put a subway on Sheppard instead. All the Transit City plans, decades in the making, are put on hold. Major Ford’s vision is to have the Sheppard line funded by the private sector, based on increased densities, namely condominium development, along the Sheppard line. Today I have no clarity on what will or should happen. There is a vacuum of information on the current plans for the Scarborough LRT.
After the $4B cut, here's what Metrolinx proposes for the TTC: Sheppard East is Ok, a 5 year delay for the rest
Promises are made by the Ontario Provincial government and are quickly broken. This seems to be the way of the Ontario government. Much of this is beyond the control of the average tax payer, until an election looms. Such is life with the TTC’s Transit City Plan. Recently the previously promised funding for Transit City had been cut by $4B by the Ontario provincial government (cut or deferred, the money is unavailable) , from an original $8.2B. That’s a 49% drop. Yesterday Metrolinx released what they propose to do with the scaled down $4.2B budget. The skinny: The Sheppard East LRT is largely intact, all other lines (Scarborough RT, Finch, Eglington) will be delayed 5 years. It’s best to assume that the other 3 lines will not get built, as within 5 years a project can easily lose funding for whatever reason.
Major transit upgrades at the Toronto Transit Commission have been rare in the last 20 years, but this is changing. First in the pipe is the Sheppard East Light Rapid Transit line, in Scarborough. At approximately $1.43B CAD it will run 15km east from Don Mills Station to Morningside Ave. The line is scheduled for completion in Fall 2013, ready for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. The project manager in me is trying to keep track of which parts of Sheppard Avenue will be chewed up when and for how long. The short term pain for residents and business owners will be severe. I hope they add bicycle lanes while they are planning.