Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for September 24th, 2008

Transit plan promises plenty but pays for precious little

with 16 comments

Globe and Mail

It’s déja vu, all over again

Yet another massive transit plan is promised for Toronto. And once again there is no real idea how to pay for it. Or rather the option of making the people who live and work there pay for it themselves is not eactly going to make any politician very popular. In fact the same probelm besets Vancouver (metro that is). We have a “plan” – only $14bn not $50bn but the same order of magnitude given the relative popluation. And also no real idea how to pay for it.

10c a km toll seems to me to be a bit unlikely.

Metrolinx also says it will study new ways to “capture” some of the boost to land values created by public transit, as well as looking at increased development charges and partnerships with the private sector.

Also just like here. Except that the Sheppard subway was going to be paid for like that and the developers just refused – and siad there were plenty of other places they could put up buildings where they could take nearly  all of the profits for themselves, so they didn’t need to develop on Sheppard West. And then the development business was going full blast. This will be an even harder stunt to pull off in a recession.

Metrolinx’s draft plan also shows the continuing state of the disagreement between Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission over Toronto’s proposal for a partially tunnelled light-rail line for Eglinton. Metrolinx and the TTC had clashed over the provincial agency’s insistence on a more expensive but faster and fully tunnelled rapid-transit line using vehicles similar to those on the Scarborough RT or Vancouver’s SkyTrain.

Oh no, no that one again. The argument should be about why transit has to be the way to wean us off car dependency – not what kind of train, for goodness sake. The future of humanity on this planet is at stake. And we are arguing about details?

and the plan still includes

Extensions to Highways 407, 404, 427 and 410, as already identified in provincial growth plan

and that is the problem. That sounds even worse than Gateway, and for exactly the same reason. For years Metro TO has been spreading out all over the last warm flat bit of Ontario. Just like our sprawl has taken over the Fraser Valley. If Metrolinx and the Province of Ontario stick with this, that just means more low density subdivisions on land that will be needed to grow food. And all those people will still be driving and have to pay whatever the the oil companies and governments feel ike gouging from them. This is not sustainable development.

Tear up that plan and start again – and this time take as your starting point peak oil and the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Because those horsemen of the apocalypse cannot be ignored.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 24, 2008 at 10:02 am

The power of the internet and cycling

with one comment

This story is being brought to you courtesy of Al Pasternak – who reached me by facebook. He said “…great story, good ending” but it is not ended yet.

A cyclist in New York found himself being squeezed by a Merc – so he tapped on the window to warn the driver of his presence. And got threatened. But the driver had special license plates which identify him as a New York State Senator. (As an aside, I think it remarkable that people with vanity plates drive like twits, when their plates are so easy to memorize.)   The cyclist is a blogger – and when he wrote up the story lots of people contacted the senator – because the story has the complete text of a letter the blogger wrote to the Senator.

Now I am going to resist the temptation to cut and paster the letter here – partly becuase it is only one click away – but mostly because of the foul language the Senator used. And while Al says the story has a good ending, I think there is going to be more – and I suggest you subscribe to his feed to keep up with developments.

And of course I hope that the cyclists here will also copy this and keep it going. Because it reminds me very much of Woody Allen’s movie “Manhattan”. Where he gets to argue with the know it all in the line up for the movie and just happens to have Marshall McLuhan available to back him up.  How often have you had to deal with road rage and were left feeling impotent and against selfishness and idiocy? Well if you are a blogger maybe you don’t have to any more.

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

Written by Stephen Rees

September 24, 2008 at 8:54 am

Posted in cycling

Tagged with , ,