Well your friendly neighborhood G.T.A Patriot is back online, after a hiatus. Today is Election Day, across the province. However in the G.T.A, specifically Toronto, you have a major choice today to make between 3, maybe even 4 candidates. Being that I love to talk about transit, let us keep this simple. Gridlock has been a major issue in Toronto and the surrounding areas. There are plans, and more plans. But who has the right one? What are your choices?
Olivia Chow wants to keep things simple by adding more buses to Toronto streets. When I first looked at the plan I thought it was not radical enough. Why just buses? Then York Region VIVA/YRT finished their sleek looking BRT on Highway 7. Olivia Chow did not talk about buses to that extent, however I wonder what would have happened if she had? A BRT may not work in all areas in Toronto, however in the interim a simple BRT may have proven successful. She also wants to revisit the Scarborough subway expansion. She is right, we had a plan, it would have worked and saved us an extra 1 billion. Unfortunately it’s too late to open this issue again.
John Tory wants to utilize the infrastructure we already have with SmartTrack. The timeline he has chosen is aggressive, but needed. Forget all of the other ideas around, he wants us to do what others are doing in other parts of the world, with surface subways. It is a novel idea, which could work in certain parts of the city; I would love to see more of these surface options. I have often wondered why we don’t keep things simple in Toronto. I would not necessarily call the ones John Tory proposes as “surface subways“. The first thing that comes to mind is the open air section on the Allen. I have been to New York, Chicago and other parts of the world. Being in New York, I don’t see folk complaining about the overhead subway trains, similar to our Scarborough RT. The MTA, in New York, focuses on getting people from point A to point B, along with integration in transit options. Again his plan can work, however it is heavily dependent on Metrolinx. If John Tory wins, Scarborough can no longer say that they got nothing and if I was a developer I would start buying property around Kennedy station.
Doug Ford has a plan called subways, subways, subways! It could be interpreted as a dream. Looking at his plan, if there was a bottomless pit of cash, it would be the best one; albeit with tweaks and the inclusion of LRT options. Of course everyone wants to see a major investment in subways. We are way behind in transit development. When I looked at the map proposed, by the Ford’s, I envision a well-connected city. Unfortunately the big problem with his plan is money and time. Unless, we the citizens, are prepared to actually invest in transit it will never get done. We constantly complain and bicker over the cost. But what will actually push us over the edge? When it takes 2 hours to get from point A to point B? Wait, that’s happening already!
In the end, in a pipe dream, I wish we could do all of the plans at the same time. Turning Toronto’s transit into a system, like New York or London, would help the city and region for generations to come. Another Toronto candidate, Ari Goldkind proposes that we have an “adult conversation”. We do have to come to realize that we must invest and actually pay for it. In the end, I imagine we will need to get the provincial government more involved. Metrolinx should be responsible for all subways, trains and light-rail, in the city and the entire G.T.A. I can only pray that we are not talking about this again in 4 years. Make sure you vote today!