Posts Tagged ‘transit’

Sorry People, John Tory Won’t Save You

The major media have been touting the “top 5” candidates for months (the cast in alphabetical order: Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman, and Sarah Thomson). Giorgio Mammoliti dropped out of the race weeks ago, not a huge loss, though his though his proposals regarding affordable housing are worth adopting by whomever eventually wins the election.

Some have called for partisan politics and party affiliations to help voters along. Sorry, I tend to feel that partisan “branding” is the last thing we need at this level of government. Voters are, or should be sophisticated enough, to evaluate the people, policies and platforms presented.

Toronto voters will have to do some heavy lifting in before Monday October 25th. Last I checked there were far more than 5 candidates vying for the job of mayor. Oh yeah, John Tory made it painfully clear that he is not running for mayor this year. So who will win?

I know who should win. The candidate that can articulate a clear vision for Toronto. Someone who’s policies are not based liquidating assets but building on what we have or investing in the future. So far we have seen a lot of petty bickering and little leadership or vision. John Tory is not on the shortlist and the “top 5” financially backed candidates may or may not have what it takes. It will be up to the citizens of Toronto to choose the right candidate for mayor and hold them accountable beyond October 25, 2010. One thing for sure, apathy will get you nothing but grief.

In The Name Of Effeciency…

The TTC has now made measures to reduce wait times at Bloor & Yonge Station permanent. As of today barriers will be in place and extra TTC staff will be on hand to insure that people move farther down the platform during morning and afternoon rush hours. The pilot project started November 23rd has been successful. It is said that they have shaved 10 to 15 seconds worth of wait time, which amounts to one to two more trains per hour. Every extra train is approximately 1,200 more people riding the rocket to their destination per hour!

A simple example of commuter/consumer courtesy that can save time and effort for everyone. Good to see that the ridership seems to be working to make this work. The TTC are tasking fewer staff to maintain this improved service than when this experiment started a few weeks ago. Costs down and service increased. At least we have one TTC story to smile about.

Feds And Ontario Give GO A Boost

Earlier today Premier McGuinty and PM Stephen Harper announced that GO Transit will receive an additional $500 million in funding. This funding is to be split between the province and the federal government and targeted on station parking lots and upgrading rail lines to increase service reliabiliity.

It would be nice if local municipal transit could be better integrated into GO Transit (so many of these city systems work outside the realm of the big transit picture). Sadly few offer service that can meet up with evening trains let alone most rush hour trips. For now more spacious parking lots will have to be the incentive for car happy commuters connecting to Toronto via transit (rather than local buses). I’ve seen the huge surge in GO ridership over the last year first hand due to high gas prices. These are baby steps sure, but steps in the right direction.

The Nature Of Cities

Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume is featured on the Nature of Things tonight. Tonight’s episode, The Living City, will focus on what is wrong and going right in Canada’s urban centres.

Taxpayers and politicians should take note. This show is timely and tack on. City planning seems too often to be in the hands get rich quick developers. This kind of thinking/debate could improve our city, economy and standard of living. The talk of Infrastructure is everywhere. With 80% of the population living urban areas planning how and where we spend millions is the key to maximizing effectiveness and benefit to residents.

Whoa, Council Will Back A Subway Extension!

Great news! A viable plan to extend Toronto’s subway lines has been approved. The TTC plan is to extend the North into York Region (six new stations in all) and was approved by Mayor David Miller and his executive committee yesterday.

The Globe and Mail had some interesting coverage. Glad to hear that Mayor Miller will allow the TTC to do it’s job and not have some private construction firm oversee such a valuable public infrastructure project. The 2,900 additional parking spaces (Finch West Station, Steeles West Station and Highway 407 Station) are wise additions that are sure to make this an efficient commuter corridor. I’m sure that the project will take years to complete and hopefully it won’t come at the cost of upgrading/fine tuning the existing system. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Feds, Ontario and the city play nice and get this done. One can dream… hope is alive.

An Election Promise to Build On?

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and Mayor Miller both support Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion’s $70 Billion Infrastructure Plan (over 10 years). It’s refreshing to see politicians finally realize that taxes paid to the government are best used to invest in its citizens. Merely cutting taxes or increasing tax refunds does little to repair roads, build hospitals or improve our infrastructure.

I’m sure Mayor Miller’s and McCallion’s sentiments ring true from St. John’s to Victoria. This national strategy sounds like a viable promise and one worthy of implementing no matter who finally forms our government in Ottawa. Too much time has been wasted and too little has been re-invested back into Canada (and Toronto’s Infrastructure). Transit, Energy, Water Treatment and the neglected list goes on. A Liberal “Green Shift” promise for now but this should be a non partisan mandate for whomever takes office.

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