July 7, 2012
It’s about getting around in the city so quickly that you’d be an idiot to not leave your car at home. It’s that simple.
So before we go about considering ripping-up already crowded roadways, how about we first finish our fledgling subway system.
I travel a lot in, out, and through Toronto, by street, by rail, by subway, and yes, by bus. I know where our population is dense and I know where people are typically going.
I propose this subway plan be implemented with urgency. Once all the TBMs are in the ground — a dozen could be needed to get this done quickly — then we can ponder additional streetcar lines or more LRT experiments. If you don’t half-ass on simple home renovation projects, and I hope that’s most of us, why should we allow our city to be destroyed by half-assing our mass transit ?
Here’s the very obvious, very simple plan:
Eglinton Crosstown returns to Mayor Ford and the Province’s original revision, but adds stops at Eglinton & Commerce Blvd near Renforth in the west where it will connect with the Mississauga Busway being built, and then travels to Pearson Airport.
Bloor-Danforth is extended east to Danforth/Brimley, connects to Eglinton GO at McCowan/Bellamy, and finds a new end at Kingston Road at the east end of Eglinton.
Sheppard is finally made useful by connecting to Downsview in the west, and Scarborough Centre in the east.
To be honest, this still makes for a pretty lame subway system when compared to other world-class cities, but we should start with a basic, functional system and this fits the bill, with plenty of opportunities to expand the system as population densities increase throughout the GTA.
Funding for these massive improvements is also a common sense problem. We all know the coffers are bare, so we simply need small taxes spread across the consumption items that are affected. For a start, gasoline should be at least as much per litre as goat’s milk, a much more renewable product, instead of half the price. Europe is already there, and we’ll have to face the music eventually. A bit of a fare increase (we have very low fares comparable to other transit systems) allocated directly to the expansion. A mix of taxes involves multi-layered government involvement, but new transit development is no different.
So, why the big rush ? Because this needs to do be done within a span of 4 years. The more you study the politics of transit the more you come to realize that our present version of democracy is simply not accommodating to long-term transit investment. Transit is embroiled in politics, but it’s not one party versus another, they’ve all messed up at one time or another.
Take it from a Toronto citizen and extensive traveler, the common sense way needs to be done massively and rapidly, and before expensive “temporary” stop-gap measures further ruin instead of improve Toronto.