Karen Stintz’s new transit proposal: buses for Finch, a single subway stop for the mayor

Karen Stintz’s new transit proposal: buses for Finch, a single subway stop for the mayor

Karen Stintz riding the rocket (Image: Mike Beltzner) 

Having attracted heaps of attention for saying what everyone is already thinking, Karen Stintz has moved onto phase two of her plan to improve public transit: proposing actual ideas. Under the TTC chair’s new proposal, the Eglinton LRT would run partially above ground, and the money saved would go toward bus transit on Finch and an additional Sheppard subway stop. Under Rob Ford’s rapidly eroding plan, Eglinton, along with billions of dollars, would be completely buried, the private sector would finance a lengthy Sheppard extension and Finch would get, well, nothing.

The Toronto Star has the details:

The plan would provide transit to tens of thousands more TTC riders than the existing understanding between Queen’s Park and Mayor Rob Ford.

Instead of allocating $8.2 billion in provincial funds to tunnel the entire length of the Eglinton light rail line, the transit would run above-ground east of Laird Dr., freeing up between $1.5 billion and $2 billion for other projects.

The savings could then be applied to bus rapid transit on Finch, where it would improve service to the city’s underserved northwest until funding could be found to install light rail there.

It could also jump-start Mayor Rob Ford’s plan for a Sheppard subway extension by paying for a new stop at Victoria Park. That would cost about $1 billion, including station construction, according to one TTC source.

In case you haven’t noticed, Finch is already being stiffed when it comes to transit and, what’s more, the proposed bus lanes could eventually be converted to an LRT line. Plus, with Stintz’s plan, the city wouldn’t be squandering billions of dollars on a project that the mayor wants for what appears to be purely ideological reasons (he doesn’t want to even think about traffic interruptions of any kind—even if they aren’t actually going to be any).

While Stintz’s plan is ostensibly a compromise between dead-in-the-water Transit City and Ford’s own transit scheme, Ford only gets a single stop on the Sheppard line that’s financed by the public purse (transit blogger Steve Munro says the city is buying a “fig leaf” for the mayor’s subway plan). Which we think is as close as it gets to a dare to the mayor to finance the rest of the extension with private funding.

A new Toronto transit proposal delivers more bang for the $8.2 billion buck [Toronto Star]
Compromise would bring leg of Eglinton back to street level [Globe and Mail]
Save money on Eglinton LRT to extend Sheppard subway, TTC chair suggests [National Post]