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December 2, 2010 2:38 PM   Subscribe

New Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (previously and previously) announced today that he is canceling the Transit City LRT construction plan so the city can concentrate on building subways. The fact that millions of dollars have already been spent and that new subway lines might not be finished until 2020 is apparently beside the point. What matters, according to Ford, is that “The war on the car is over.”
posted by spoobnooble (88 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
according to Ford, is that “The war on the car is over.”

A guy named Ford killing off public transit? History only repeats itself.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:45 PM on December 2, 2010 [30 favorites]


The platitudinous Stintz immediately switched on the “customer service” tape and began mouthing the now-familiar Fordian refrains about getting our house in order, respect the taxpayer, etc.

Sounds familiar!
posted by blucevalo at 2:45 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mel Lastman v 2.0: Electric boogaloo.
posted by docgonzo at 2:47 PM on December 2, 2010


Did we have a war on cars?

When can we have a war on cars?
posted by LogicalDash at 2:48 PM on December 2, 2010 [24 favorites]


We had a war on cars, LogicalDash, and we lost. Occasional guerilla skirmishes are continuing.
posted by athenian at 2:49 PM on December 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


ITEM: Rob Ford, Toronto's new mayor, will kick off his ceremonial first council meeting next week with a speech from Don Cherry.

My suspicions that "Rob Ford" is actually a high-level performance art piece meant to cause the Annex to implode under the weight of its own loathing: Growing by the day!
posted by docgonzo at 2:50 PM on December 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


The war on the car is over...let the war on the city begin!
posted by Go Banana at 2:59 PM on December 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


A Rob Ford post? AAAAAAuuuuggggh. That is all.

MeFi was suppose to be a sanctuary where I don't have to be reminded that this NIMBY zealot got elected.
posted by phyrewerx at 3:01 PM on December 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


You're harshing my fantasies about expatriating to Canada.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:07 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, you poor Canadians. I'm glad I live in a country that supports public transportation.

wait.

fuck.
posted by desjardins at 3:07 PM on December 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yes, we need to expand our government by idiocy throughout North America, and then to the rest of the world.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:08 PM on December 2, 2010


You're harshing my fantasies about expatriating to Canada.

Move to Calgary which is where all the oil comes from, where they dropped the price of transit passes and they have a new Muslim mayor.

Also, cowboys.

god, it physically PAINS me to write ncie things about Calgary
posted by GuyZero at 3:13 PM on December 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


Car Wars is over? Man, Steve Jackson is going to be angry. And you do not want Steve Jackson to be angry.
posted by The Bellman at 3:16 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Today's Globe and Mail had a cartoon of Rob Ford as a wrecking ball destroying Toronto. I thought - "that's kinda harsh for the brand new mayor of Canada's most important city". I guess I was wrong.

The rest of Canada loves to proclaim their hatred of Toronto. But nobody (okay, except maybe Montreal) wants to see this kind of crap happen.
posted by helmutdog at 3:18 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, we need to expand our government by idiocy throughout North America, and then to the rest of the world.

Don't look now, but I'm pretty sure government by idiocy is the global norm rather than a North American aberration.
posted by The World Famous at 3:20 PM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


True, Toronto would lose light transit lines crisscrossing the city, going to areas which never had service before, but think of the upside -- in a few years, you can take the subway to the mall in Scarborough!

All you need to do is relocate Pearson to Scarborough Town Centre.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:20 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


So when is the 401 getting expanded to 58 lanes?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:26 PM on December 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Rob Ford is terrible, but not for the reason this post thinks. Fact is, Transit City had already been cut by McGuinty in March (and anything that wasn't cut was going to take until 2020 anyway).

Besides which, transit city is no alternative to urgently needed subway extensions.

Anyway, transit and traffic wise this city is screwed for the foreseeable future regardless. Cycling still works fine though. And will continue to, with or without bike lanes.
posted by Chuckles at 3:28 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only positive thing I remember from the 'dear lord, how did this guy get elected in Canada?!' thread was the mildly circulated belief that it would be okay, because he really wouldn't be able to do anything overly drastic. It seems that belief was possibly overly optimistic.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:31 PM on December 2, 2010


Also bear in mind that the "new subway lines" he supports are an extension of a semi-suburban, terminally unpopular line and the conversion of an already-existing train into subway.

I moved from Toronto to Boston a year and a half ago, and I think there's a real parallel between the Rob Ford and Scott Brown stories. Bostonites and downtown Torontonians both shake their heads and say "Wow, I don't understand. We're such a progressive, liberal place. Who voted for this clown?" More than likely, they didn't vote themselves.

Personally I forgot to register. And it kills me.
posted by saturday_morning at 3:31 PM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I'm seeing is that the response of the electorate toward politicians who offer short-sighted solutions is that we, first, wholeheartedly elect them. Then, given the difficulty of the problems, and the inadequacy of their proposed solutions, they fail. Then we "throw the bums out."

Then repeat.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:33 PM on December 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


All you need to do is relocate Pearson to Scarborough Town Centre.

And there is the real tragedy of all this. The one transit priority that actually seems to be happening is that stupid rail link to the airport for premium fair.
posted by Chuckles at 3:37 PM on December 2, 2010


Chuckles, believe you me we'd all like to see subways, but Rob Ford has no earthly clue as to what it takes to build one, or where they're actually needed. He's budgeted $1B for one of his proposed suburban nowhere to nowheresville subways (estimates show it would cost $3.6B), and the other magically cheap, easily constructed subway from suburbia to a slightly different part of suburbia hasn't even had a feasibility study completed.

I hate Rob Ford!!!!!!!! Gar!!!! Bleargh!!!!! Sorry, had to get that out.
posted by Go Banana at 3:38 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Besides which, transit city is no alternative to urgently needed subway extensions"

To where? Scarborough Town Centre? There's not enough money for it to go anywhere else interesting. Maybe you could get it to Richmond Hill, though the Yonge Line has capacity issues already.
posted by maledictory at 3:39 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the USA, Toronto.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:40 PM on December 2, 2010


Sounds like the now-cancelled ARC Tunnel from NJ to NYC... I'm glad that I live in one of the only sensible parts of the country that prioritizes transit, smart growth, and ped/bike infrastructure over the construction of additional highways.
posted by schmod at 3:41 PM on December 2, 2010


The thing is, the war on the car is fought most forcefully by the people who are fully committed to the car. I live on a quiet street in the inner suburbs (southern Scarborough). It bravely stretches between two arterial roads without any detours. So the people who live on the street, people with a driveway and a car for every occupant, had the city put in speed bumps and a 40 kph limit to discourage anyone who doesn't live in the neighbourhood from using the street. There's your war on the car. All those dipsy-doodle crescents and cul-de-sacs that make up every subdivision built in the last twenty-five years - war on the car. When I'm driving it's not cyclists and pedestrians making me frazzled. Instead I feel pressured knowing that if left turning at a light I wait three steamboats too long to let a pedestrian clear the intersection those behind me will be cursing me out and plotting revenge. Automobile drivers are at war with each other. The pedestrians and the cyclists and the transit users are collateral damage.
posted by TimTypeZed at 3:41 PM on December 2, 2010 [19 favorites]


Sorry, but I can't help myself...

"Move to Calgary which is where all the oil comes business executives come from, where they dropped the price of transit passes and they have a new Muslim mayor."

The cowboys come from places like Westlock and Innisfail. Calgary (and Edmonton) is full of city people who put on cowboy hats once or twice a year.

Anyway, my sympathies to the people of Toronto. Ford sure seems to be a clown, but he'll probably run out of rope soon. Doesn't the council have any say in major decisions like this?
posted by Kevin Street at 3:43 PM on December 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ah, Toronto, why you gotta Rob Ford to... uh, somebody help me finish this joke.
posted by box at 3:44 PM on December 2, 2010


Ford’s real intention, however, is to rid the roads of streetcars, which, along with bikes and pedestrians, are the main combatants in the aforementioned War on Cars.

“Streets,” Ford has declared, “are for cars, trucks and buses.”

That’s why subways are preferred; they’re out of sight and out of mind. Too bad they cost three to five times as much as the LRTs of Transit City. Too bad the four boring machines bought at a cost of $54 million to tunnel beneath Eglinton aren’t big enough for subways. Too bad a deal has been signed with Bombardier to provide 182 LRVs. And what about those expropriated properties?

And so it goes. Waste piled upon waste.
As someone who curses what has been done to St. Clair West almost every day, I have to say that I would generally prefer the addition of subways to the TTC, assuming that existing streetcar lines could stay (and be maintained) and that enough bus service was maintained outside of the downtown core.

But I know this will take money, and this self-pitying, resentful, innumerate asshole doesn't have a freakin' plan to get that money except by cutting "waste". He wants to freeze property taxes and eliminate the $60 vehicle registration tax, so I guess we're all supposed to root around our wallets for any old Canadian Tire money lying around, because I don't see any more funds coming in for this more expensive plan.

Gosh, it couldn't be that Ford is just talking about a subway expansion plan for ten years in the future that he doesn't actually expect to implement, could it?
posted by maudlin at 3:44 PM on December 2, 2010


Okay, I was being a little hyperbolic, it does look like the Spadina extension is still going ahead.
posted by Chuckles at 3:45 PM on December 2, 2010


Repeat after me: 1 vote out of 45. Make that your mantra for the rest of Ford's term.

he is canceling the Transit City LRT construction plan

Did he abolish the Transit Commission and City Council first? I missed that.

Unless there's a nuance to Toronto city government I'm completely blanking on at the moment, Rob Ford has simply announced that he will try to convice the Transit Commission to cancel the plan. I'm reasonably sure that's actually all that's happened so far. And if he succeeds, and it results in new costs (which it probably will), it will go to Council, where he almost certainly doesn't have the votes for that.

This feels like alarmist reporting. Feel free to dial the panic level down to a "nervously watchful."

The question is whether the Province would secretly like to be let off the hook for the whole thing. McGuinty's looking at an election before long. And I'd like to say there's no way he'd pander to Ford's supporters since they're the same folks, by and large, that will vote Hudak. But after Smitherman's uh, yeah, me too campaign "against" Ford, I've found it harder to be surprised by tone-deaf Liberal cowardice. Which I previously didn't think was possible. And they're still getting mileage out of blaming Metrolinx for everything.

Council will be interesting this month.

1 vote out of 45.
posted by Mike Smith at 3:46 PM on December 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Move to Calgary which is where all the oil comes from, where they dropped the price of transit passes and they have a new Muslim mayor.

It is only the low income bus passes which are decreasing from $41.50 to $40. Adult bus passes are going to rise from $85.25 to $90. The $3 daily park and ride fee will be gone in April, so that is a drop for those who use them.
posted by Calzephyr at 3:47 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, triple irony: Rob Ford's late father, Doug Ford Sr, was an MPP in the 1995 Mike Harris Ontario government. One of the first things done by Doug Ford Sr.'s government was to cancel subways under construction on Eglinton and Sheppard.

Fastforward to 2010 and Rob Ford & Doug Ford Jr. get elected with a transit platform of "build subways on Sheppard (and maybe Eglinton, wink wink), and today are trying to cancel the Transit City LRTs under construction.

So basically, this is a party like it's 1995, by the people who brought you 1995.

The good news is that this isn't strictly a suburban-urban thing - most councillors whose wards the new LRT lines will go through support the project (including Jane and Finch, the most notorious neighborhood in the city).

Suburban councillors who won't see direct benefits are against it. Scarborough councillors that dream of that fantasy 2020 subway are against it in hopes they'll get more. Downtown councillors should be against it, but have an electorate that understands modes of travel other than the car.

The exception is Rob Ford's old ward, which would be served by the new rapid transit lines, but somehow seem to feel that they are being slighted by not getting a Subway to their 1500-persons-per-square-kilometer suburb.
posted by anthill at 3:55 PM on December 2, 2010


Unless there's a nuance to Toronto city government I'm completely blanking on at the moment, Rob Ford has simply announced that he will try to convice the Transit Commission to cancel the plan. I'm reasonably sure that's actually all that's happened so far. And if he succeeds, and it results in new costs (which it probably will), it will go to Council, where he almost certainly doesn't have the votes for that.

Original poster here. Mike Smith, thanks for pointing that out. It's easy to forget that the Toronto mayoral seat doesn't hold as much sway as mayors in cities of similar size elsewhere. Still, the fact that Ford could stand up and declare Transit City dead is pretty baffling. And it once again makes Torontonians look like fools, which I for one could do without. Plus, there are a lot of folks around here who seem to think that subways can be built in a years' time with no money down -- at least in the suburban areas of the GTA where I work. Ford does have support for his wacky ideas, make no mistake.

Anyway, back to lurking and grinding my teeth...

posted by spoobnooble at 4:03 PM on December 2, 2010


Apparently, in the war on cars, a few cyclists had to be dragged underneath.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:04 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is no wonder subway is so ridiculously expensive, look what they have planned for York University Station. Let alone what they have planned for Sheppard West..

Hell, the entire line looks like a plan for spending way more money than needed to to get the job done.. Sheppard East Station looks redundant to Downsview. Go seems to have a big interest in it, but you'd think they could move their needs to Finch West Station. York University Station is complete overkill with Steeles West Station only 1km away. Finally, a station at both the 407 and Hwy 7? Again within 1km of each other? What are they thinking?!?!
posted by Chuckles at 4:04 PM on December 2, 2010


What's wrong with the York station? It's a small building at the east end of what is effectively now a regional bus terminal. In the middle of the only point of interest for miles. The real question is why they're going past York (to Sorbara land).
posted by maledictory at 4:14 PM on December 2, 2010


Unless there's a nuance to Toronto city government I'm completely blanking on at the moment, Rob Ford has simply announced that he will try to convice the Transit Commission to cancel the plan.

The Commission board is, as of yesterday, entirely staffed by Ford supporters. They'll do whatever he asks. This has to be stopped in Council, and even if Council kills it, there's a lot that Ford and the TTC Commission can do to fuck with Transit City.
posted by mightygodking at 4:20 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you want historic comparisons, see recently former mayor of Ottawa, Larry O'Brien, a political outsider with a much more impressive resume and a similarly simplistic plan to cut waste and lower taxes. The first thing Larry did on getting into office was cancel a light rail project (incurring substantial penalty fees and lawsuits) in favour of a much shorter downtown rail tunnel which had yet to see a shovel in the ground when he didn't get re-elected by a thoroughly exasperated electorate some 4 years later.
If Ford pans out the same way, and so far the parallels are striking, he will accomplish absolutely nothing of merit while in office.
posted by cardboard at 4:22 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Toronto is an old city.

Well perhaps the actual settlement, in its modern sense, dates only to 1793, but a city is composed of people, and our people come from every place.

Through our city there flows the blood of a thousand ancient cities, through our lives flow their traditions. In our people live the memories of London town, of Novgorod, of great Constantinople and eternal Rome. Through our minds and spirits flow the learning of Baghdad and Alexandria, of Taxila and Taixue, of Jerusalem and Akademia.

Our cosmopolitan urbanity wasn't seeded here. It was transplanted from the palaces of Nanjing, from the temples of Kyoto, from the markets of Amsterdam, and the mighty walls of the Great Zimbabwe.

And now the hordes of Ford sweep over the horizon, riding their SUV's and crying out that every civic virtue that we value and enjoy is elitist and obsolete. It is not just an attack on transit, or the poor, or the young and the elderly. It is an attack on the idea of the city itself.

For we are not a community that ploughs under the diverse ways that make us so peaceable and functional and civilised. These sub-urbanites, these vandals, must not make us despise our own communality. We will survive! For all of use have seen these times before: not here, not now, but in the thousand ancient cities that resonate in our bones.

Once again, the barbarians are at the gates. Once again, we man the walls. Once again, we steel ourselves to the siege. But before long it will be over, and the city will endure, and we will be able to say again with pride, and perhaps only a hint of sophisticated urban irony, that 'civis Torontonianus sum'.
posted by Dreadnought at 4:34 PM on December 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


Every time I get frustrated at things here in the states and think about moving to Canada I remember that this tool is mayor of Toronto.
posted by photoslob at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2010


Did we have a war on cars?

When can we have a war on cars?


Bags being Car Czar
posted by Sparx at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2010


OK, triple irony: Rob Ford's late father, Doug Ford Sr, was an MPP in the 1995 Mike Harris Ontario government. One of the first things done by Doug Ford Sr.'s government was to cancel subways under construction on Eglinton and Sheppard.

Fastforward to 2010 and Rob Ford & Doug Ford Jr. get elected with a transit platform of "build subways on Sheppard (and maybe Eglinton, wink wink), and today are trying to cancel the Transit City LRTs under construction.

So basically, this is a party like it's 1995, by the people who brought you 1995.


Total aside to the main post, but -- the Minister for Transportation at the time was Al Palladini, who was superbly qualified for the job by reason of his owning a car dealership. Palladini killed the subways, citing our love of the car, which he of course had no vested interest in selling more of, since his sons now owned the dealership and not him. However, it turned out that Palladini's father was a worker on one of the subway lines when they all came over from Italy. So here was buddy Al, unable to see the benefits of subway expansion at a most basic, personal level, when it was that very thing which put food on his table and clothes on his back all those years ago. So -- another strange fatherly disowning going on there.

It was a true welcome to Mike Harris' Ontario. And now all those guys are back, like they were never ridden out of town on a rail.

posted by Capt. Renault at 4:56 PM on December 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


It all sounded insane to me at first, but I think the Ford plan is to coast on his crazy promises for year one (no new taxes! no service cuts! subways! bread! circuses!) biding his time until the Provincial Liberals get voted out (which they will).

Then watch as the Federal and newly elected provincial Conservatives reward Lord Ford's allegiance by delivering everything he needs in years two and three get re-elected at the end of year four, delivering a passel of new conservative converts for Harper and his subsequent majority government.

And in year 5? Hell if I know…I won't be living here anymore.
posted by bobloblaw at 5:06 PM on December 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Every time I get frustrated at things here in the states and think about moving to Canada I remember that this tool is mayor of Toronto.

sucks for you and Joe Beese since Toronto is the only city in Canada and Ford its only mayor.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:39 PM on December 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"...Harper and his subsequent majority government. "

Hell, why not go all the way? Doesn't "Rob Ford, Prime Minister of Canada" have kind of a magisterial ring to it?
posted by sneebler at 5:56 PM on December 2, 2010


And by the way, it would be cool if Joe Beese moved to Calgary. We need more Joe Beese here.
posted by sneebler at 5:57 PM on December 2, 2010


Let me assure you that until cars have lost, the war on cars is still 100% on.
posted by mhoye at 6:02 PM on December 2, 2010


> It was a true welcome to Mike Harris' Ontario. And now all those guys are back, like they were never ridden out of town on a rail.

One of the problems with democracy is that people have very short memories.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:23 PM on December 2, 2010


Automobile drivers are at war with each other. The pedestrians and the cyclists and the transit users are collateral damage.

Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaar owners...screwing car owners!
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:25 PM on December 2, 2010


Doesn't "Rob Ford, Prime Minister of Canada" have kind of a magisterial ring to it?

Seeing as how Harper seems obsessed with becoming the first President of Canada, it would leave the PM position up for grabs, wouldn't it?

/ I know, I know, don't mod your own thread... I couldn't help myself, sorry...

posted by spoobnooble at 6:31 PM on December 2, 2010


“The war on the car is over.”

Does that mean they're finally done paving the 401? 'Cause, man, it would sure be swell to not have to worry about suddenly blowing out a tire or or chipping the windshield or borking the wheel alignment.

No? It's still like driving on a gigantic cheese grater?

Huh. Guess I'll stick to the train, then.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:32 PM on December 2, 2010


[slams head against keyboard]
posted by orange swan at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2010


Chuckles, 1 km is not overly close in terms of subway stops if you want to foster growth nearby. For reference, the stops on the underground part of the proposed Eglinton line are supposed to be about 850 m apart, and the surface stops about 500 m apart.

There are things worth complaining about more, such as how they're building a subway to Vaughan without a real need to do so, and the fact that every station between Wilson and Eglinton West is going to hurt for immediately adjacent developments (which the TTC could use to makem oney) because they built that section of the subway in the middle of a goddamn highway instead of where people actually live, work, and play.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:45 PM on December 2, 2010


Politician gets elected, acts in the interest of special interests. My surprised face looks like this -- :|
posted by davejay at 6:57 PM on December 2, 2010


Move to Calgary ... they have a new Muslim mayor.

While you're there, be sure to check out Jarome al-Ginla at the SaddleDome-of-the-Rock. Jeez Canada, enough with the "Calgary has a Muslim mayor" thing. It's getting a little bit some-of-my-best-friends-are-black.
posted by Hoopo at 7:00 PM on December 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Okay, here's my new plan for transit happiness: cut and cover subways down major thoroughfares. They're cheaper to build, and when you cover 'em back up, you can put in bikeways and pedestrian walkways. That they're hugely disruptive to traffic is a bonus, right? The cars route around it for a while, and then you just block off the covered streets to traffic forever.

Am I serious? I dunno.
posted by davejay at 7:01 PM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Follow the money. Someone is going to make a killing on what goes down. I'm sure contracts are being written and crooked politicians handed the Swiss bank account numbers even as we speak.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:12 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does that mean they're finally done paving the 401?

The 401 never ends. It's a permanent make-work program.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 PM on December 2, 2010


The 401 never ends. It's a permanent make-work program.

Don't I know it. It makes work for the tow-truck drivers, the mechanics, the EMTs...
posted by Sys Rq at 7:22 PM on December 2, 2010


Ok, I already have to watch Rob Ford slowly destroy my city over the next four years. I really don't need to also see him on the blue.
posted by dry white toast at 7:50 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


1 km is not overly close in terms of subway stops if you want to foster growth nearby. For reference, the stops on the underground part of the proposed Eglinton line are supposed to be about 850 m apart, and the surface stops about 500 m apart.

I know that is the modern thinking, but I can't agree with it. By cutting the number of stations in half, and building the stations you have to build at minimum possible cost, you could extend Sheppard to Kennedy for free. How does that not make sense?

Well, I guess the answer to that is, Yonge extended to Steeles is the most important of all, and that is hardly even on the books.
posted by Chuckles at 8:25 PM on December 2, 2010


By cutting the number of stations in half, and building the stations you have to build at minimum possible cost, you could extend Sheppard to Kennedy for free.

I'm not really sure where those numbers came from, but the Globe and Mail as well as common sense disagree. And by common sense, I mean simply this: how is it cheaper to cut the number of stations in half, but then burying them underground and constructing a tunnel to connect them, versus building an at-grade right-of-way and plopping bus shelters every 800m? The numbers don't add up.
posted by chrominance at 8:33 PM on December 2, 2010


Not only is 1km the perfectly normal distance btw subway stations (Kipling, Islington and Royal York are all 1km apart - downtown, they are even closer together), but the York University station is the MAIN REASON the extension is being built. 10 years ago, they already had some 10's of thousands of bus riders a day coming and going from York Commons - right where they plan the new station.

So they are putting in the York station to serve an already existing huge demand for transit.

They are putting in the Steeles station to a) connect with a major bus line and b) in the hopes that the existence of a station with a large amount of free/cheap parking will get Vaughan committed out of their cars and on the subway, reducing general congestion in the city.

(You really shouldn't dis station placements unless you know the local transit demand and/or attended meetings about that expansion way back when it was still a gleam/desperate hope in the eyes of every non-driver at York -- and half the drivers, too.)
posted by jb at 8:44 PM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry - that should be Vaughan commutters. god dang auto correct.

Steeles is a very busy place- though it may look "empty". there are a lots of offices and factories tucked just off Steeles -- and the Steeles bus is pretty full. Getting one more connection to Steeles is a good thing -- and at Jane & Steeles or Weston & Steeles there are a lot more poor people who can't afford cars than Yonge & Steeles. Everyone on Yonge is already spoiled with transit, even though it's the richest bit of the city.
posted by jb at 8:50 PM on December 2, 2010


Subway stops are supposed to be closeish. It's not a commuter rail system. Well, I theory anyway. They should make Go cheap and have it hook in to the TTC. People coming from Scarborough heading downtown should be on some sort of express train, not the TTC.
posted by chunking express at 9:09 PM on December 2, 2010


This photo basically sums it all up nicely for me.
posted by SassHat at 9:12 PM on December 2, 2010


I know that is the modern thinking, but I can't agree with it. By cutting the number of stations in half, and building the stations you have to build at minimum possible cost, you could extend Sheppard to Kennedy for free. How does that not make sense?

Because enough people live between Victoria Park and Kennedy that one station (Warden) wouldn't be enough? I think it's already an obvious problem that there's a station at Bessarion but none at Willowdale.

You could argue for a station at Yonge and Blythwood; the density in the Yonge and Eglinton area has crept northward. If you extended the Yonge line to Steeles, you'd need to make plans for an intermediate station at Cummer/Drewry. And so on. You can't just run trains all over the place without useful stations and claim victory. They have to be useful.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:16 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This story made me want to throw stuff at my screen for much of the day.

Yes, subways are better. Of course subways are better. Just like high-speed rail from Windsor to Quebec City is better than the Via crap we're stuck with. Guess what - we can't afford it right now. The province is like $20 billion in the hole. Since health care sucks up every available public dollar, the situation for transit funding is not going to get appreciably better in the future. It's amazing, in fact, that the province is willing to fund the lion's share of Transit City. And what do we now choose to do with that money? Piss it away in contract cancellation fees.

It's amazing that someone who professes to care about respect for the taxpayer would see fit to cancel a project on which hundreds of millions have already been spent. I bet it'll be close to a billion dollars to get out of these contracts. It's like fucking Chretien with the helicopters or fucking Harris with the Eglinton subway - it doesn't matter that you hate the military, or that you hate Toronto. The contract has been fucking signed - live with it. (Should I say fuck some more?)

Plus, the part of Transit City most likely to interfere with traffic, on Eglinton towards the centre of the city, was going to be tunneled! Yeah, there would be above-ground rights-of-way in the outer boroughs (or whatever we're supposed to call buttfuck Scarberia these days), but the roads there can handle it. Plus, it's Ford's bloody constituents - the outer Toronto voters - who would be most-served by this new transit. They are currently totally screwed by our pathetic bus system; light rail would vastly improve the lives of poor people living away from subways. Oh, maybe those aren't Ford's constituents after all.

If I were premier, I'd be putting a lot more effort to stop the fiscal bleeding into the health care system, and a lot more money into building the public infrastructure that we need to ensure tomorrow's Ontario can be an economically productive place, where people can actually get to work. But I'm not, so we have the money we have. We can take it and use it to extend the most useless subway line in Toronto a little bit, or we can build a city-wide network of light rail. The choice seems obvious, given the resources available.

Oh, by the way, Your Worship, the streetcars that really interfere with traffic are on College, Dundas, Queen and King. If you want to use some of your political capital to bury those like the Eglinton LRT would be, instead of just obsessing about subways, I would vote for your Oxycotin-scoring, Leafs-game-disrupting, wife-beating, know-nothing fat ass next time around.
posted by Dasein at 10:18 PM on December 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


People are stupid. People where I live, people where you live.

People making decisions.
posted by ovvl at 10:30 PM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not really sure where those numbers came from, but the Globe and Mail as well as common sense disagree.

Yes, indeed. They do disagree. They disagree with an argument I didn't make.

My numbers come from the $60million budget for Sheppard West Station, and the $260million budget for combined Sheppard West station and track between Downsview and Finch, and a little projection based on the oppulance of modern subway stations compared to the austerety of subway stations built in the 50s and 60s.
And the austerity of LRT stations for that matter..
posted by Chuckles at 1:27 AM on December 3, 2010


You really shouldn't dis station placements unless you know the local transit demand and/or attended meetings about that expansion way back when it

Thanks for projecting..

Thing is, those tens of thousand people going to York, they are just as well served by stations at Steeles and Finch with a local bus loop through campus. Not that a bus through campus sounds great to me personally, but the buses are already there. They aren't likely to go away even with the new station.

Anyway, I don't care particularly strongly about that specific station. What bothers me is they are building the most expensive possible subway extension, which is a terrible waste when the situation is so desperate.

It also calls attention to the way cost comparisons are done.. It is always LRT vs. premium subway, not LRT vs. stripped down subway. And then there is blatant manipulation, like the way that Globe & Mail estimate for Sheppard is about 50% higher than the estimates for Spadina. Spadina goes about the same distance, and it has more stops.

I guess it comes down to the points raised up thread about bringing transit access to unserved neighbourhoods. My position is that bringing service isn't particularly important one way or the other. What matters is creating a service that is competitive with other modes of transportation. Unless the service is competitive, you aren't going to get the market penetration needed to make a real difference.
posted by Chuckles at 2:14 AM on December 3, 2010


Aw, fer crying out.... Canada is going down the tubes (please, ignore the pun).
posted by rhombus at 3:01 AM on December 3, 2010


I don't really understand why the Transit City advocates picked Sheppard for the first project. It's destined to become the living museum for failed Toronto transit dreams, five transfers and four modes of transit to get from section of the street to another. But the visible higher order transit of LRT did present the possibility of humanizing terribly ugly streets like Sheppard and Eglinton East. Ford wants transit users to be Mole People, scurrying underneath the surface, unseen by the people who can afford cars and thus pay all the taxes. Just like Metropolis. What an ass this man is. Yesterday he was on talk radio bloating on how people shouldn't have been downtown during the G20. Mayor of the city and unable to recognize that people live and work in the downtown core. I hope council can manage some active opposition dedicated to getting under all that skin. He won't be able to cope with the realization that he wasn't elected all-knowing Grand Wizard of Toronto. He'll pop a vein.
posted by TimTypeZed at 5:20 AM on December 3, 2010


York Campus already has a bus loop to Downsview. Have you been on the Downsview bus? It's packed everyday. Also, because of traffic on Finch, it can take 30-60 minutes to get to the station at 5pm where it only takes 10 at 11am.

I apologise if you are very familiar with the area, but your comments suggest that you have no idea what the transit usage/demand in the York area is like.

As I said -- it was the very heavy demand for transit at York university -- as shown by usage of the already very frequent and still overcrowded buses to and from the campus -- that inspired the extension of the Spadina line. The York university stop -- the one whose existence you questioned -- will probably be the most heavily used subway stop on the whole Spadina line north of Bloor. It will cut back on the use of Downsview, of course. But then, when Downsview was built, everyone thought they were crazy for not just building that stop at York.

Stops at Finch or Steeles don't make sense: your passengers are at York Common. Steeles and Keele is low density; Finch and Keele is low density; York Common is high density. They are planning a stop at Steeles, as I mentioned above. But not putting in the York stop would be like skipping over the Yorkdale stop, and saying "people can walk from Wilson". (Which they could, though there are few sidewalks.)
posted by jb at 6:11 AM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sim City by the Lake, with Ford as a newbie who's never played the game before, starting with an existing template and the difficulty level set high. But with real-world consequences.

Back in October when he got elected I wrote the following (not here on MF):

Toronto's new mayor's hatred of bicyclists and streetcars (they slow down autos) is the same as that person driving behind you (who's probably yakking on their cell) who honks at you, curses you out, swerves around you and floors it when you've stopped at a crosswalk for a crossing guard and some schoolkids.

His attitude in general is like that of the airplane passenger, as reported recently by someone posting on Metafilter, who responded to a flight attendant's announcement - that they wouldn't be serving any peanuts during the flight because there was someone on board with a very severe peanut allergy - by snickering to the guy next to him (the poster), "Can you believe liberals these days?!"

Would it take someone dying of said allergy right in front of him to make him see how profoundly selfish and misanthropic he is?

It's people like that whose conduct confirms John Kenneth Galbraith's observation that "A modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is, the search for a higher justification for selfishness."

posted by Philofacts at 6:50 AM on December 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


York Campus already has a bus loop to Downsview. Have you been on the Downsview bus?

Obviously serving York with subway is hugely important. A stop at Steeles does that just fine though. A bus loop on campus will not be effected by local traffic conditions the way getting in and out of Downsview or over to Yonge/Finch are. Why do we have to go over the basics like this?

But not putting in the York stop would be like skipping over the Yorkdale stop, and saying "people can walk from Wilson". (Which they could, though there are few sidewalks.)

The U of T campus isn't much smaller, physically, and there aren't any subway stations in the middle of it. Queens Park Station was located where it could best serve Ontario's Real Government at the time (aka Ontario Hydro). I don't know why Museum got where it is, or why they bothered with it.

As for Yorkdale.. Certainly not the same. a) it is only a similar distance as the crow flies. Given that the 401 is in the way, it is more like 1.5km from either Lawrence West or Wilson station. b) Yorkdale is a sort-of transit hub, with the small regional bus terminal.
Would anybody even notice if they quit stopping at Glencairn?
posted by Chuckles at 6:52 AM on December 3, 2010


Rob Ford isn't fighting in the war on cars, he's fighting the war on the Liberal provincial government. His goal is to get his Conservative buddy Tim Hudak elected next October by artificially creating a McGuinty vs. Toronto scenario. He will succeed.
posted by rocket88 at 9:09 AM on December 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Through our city there flows the blood of a thousand ancient cities, through our lives flow their traditions. In our people live the memories of London town, of Novgorod, of great Constantinople and eternal Rome. Through our minds and spirits flow the learning of Baghdad and Alexandria, of Taxila and Taixue, of Jerusalem and Akademia.

...the thousand ancient cities that resonate in our bones.


Just reading this post makes me feel ill. If I have to share cities with people who write like this with even a touch of seriousness, I might leave my apartment for a McMansion and buy an SUV.
posted by ripley_ at 1:02 PM on December 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Through our city there flows the blood of a thousand ancient cities, through our lives flow their traditions. In our people live the memories of London town, of Novgorod, of great Constantinople and eternal Rome. Through our minds and spirits flow the learning of Baghdad and Alexandria, of Taxila and Taixue, of Jerusalem and Akademia.

...the thousand ancient cities that resonate in our bones.


Just reading this post makes me feel ill. If I have to share cities with people who write like this with even a touch of seriousness, I might leave my apartment for a McMansion and buy an SUV.


Well, it is way over the top and deserves the purple prose of the year award, but the gist of it, the willful ignorance of the accumulated wisdom of centuries of making cities work, is a valid point.

That said, Toronto ain't no Rome. (Neither is Montreal, where I live - we have other problems - but at least our mass transit and bicycle culture isn't quite so alarmingly reviled by city officialdom.)
posted by Philofacts at 4:07 PM on December 3, 2010


Fellow Torontonians, please take a minute and e-mail your local councillor as well as Mr. Ford to help save Transit City. There's a form letter floating around on Facebook along with a complete e-mail list.
posted by Go Banana at 4:39 PM on December 3, 2010


I know that is the modern thinking, but I can't agree with it. By cutting the number of stations in half, and building the stations you have to build at minimum possible cost, you could extend Sheppard to Kennedy for free. How does that not make sense?

Uh, because a subway people can't get on and off doesn't actually do any good?

The Sheppard Subway to nowhere line is pretty interesting. I used to commute along Sheppard (back in the pre-subway days, when a bus left Sheppard Station headed east every 38 seconds during morning and evening rush hours), and now I drive along it fairly often. The amount of intensive development that sprung up along that subway line is significant and ongoing. It may not be paying for itself in strict fares/operating costs terms, but it fundamentally changed the development cycle for those neighborhoods into something far more urban vs. suburban.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:26 PM on December 4, 2010


Don't forget that city hall changed the zoning when they built the subway. City hall could zone the whole city like that if it wanted and developers would build high-rises until they go bankrupt. It has very little to do with that sort of development being a good idea or not.
posted by GuyZero at 3:19 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just waiting for the lawsuits and contract penalties to start piling up.
posted by Theta States at 11:51 AM on December 6, 2010


Just reading this post makes me feel ill.

Yeah, sorry for inflicting that on you... I was temporarily blinded by rage, and typing without thinking.
posted by Dreadnought at 10:05 PM on December 8, 2010


We should be proud of history -- and look to old cities for inspiration, or else we will grow even more like Mississauga. *shudder*

Also, more comments should reference Novgorod. (not the big one, but the old one founded by Vikings -- though Vikings were bad at the whole city thing).
posted by jb at 11:10 PM on December 8, 2010


I was temporarily blinded by rage, and typing without thinking.

Ha, no problem - sorry for the harsh reaction, I agree with the general sentiment.
posted by ripley_ at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2010


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