Rob Ford unveils transit plan: remove streetcars, get cyclists off roads, expand subway only in burbs

Rob Ford unveils transit plan: remove streetcars, get cyclists off roads, expand subway only in burbs

Well the last horse has finally crossed the finish line: the Rob Ford campaign has put out a transit policy, allowing us to compare it to the plans of his rivals for the mayor’s chair. The Ford campaign released a PDF of the plan and a YouTube video that could charitably be called “low budget.” It actually makes us yearn for the cinematography of the Stephane Dion Liberals. The highlights of the plan, after the jump.

  • Extending the Sheppard and Danforth subway lines out to the Scarborough Town Centre
  • 100 kilometres of off-road bike paths based in ravines and along rail lines and hydro corridors
  • Removing streetcars from downtown “arterial roads,” like Queen and King streets, presumably

Streetcars suffer some heavy abuse in the Ford plan, which calls them slow and congestion-causing. Instead, Ford proposes replacing streetcars with buses, which are apparently nimble and svelte (never mind that buses might actually be slower [PDF]). The motivating philosophy behind the plan is pretty clear when you read it: words like “congestion” and “gridlock” make a heavy appearance, while “sustainable” is nowhere to be found. If a reader thought the Ford campaign’s idea of transit policy was “get everything out of the way of cars,” well done.

The other campaigns have reacted swiftly. Sarah Thomson, who regrettably started the cheerleading for new subways in this city, calls Ford on his Robbie-come-lately-ism, saying, “I have been saying since March that Toronto needs to build subways, not streetcars…but his subway plan is not well thought out. Toronto cannot expand the Sheppard line without first building a Downtown Relief Line.” Rocco Rossi is quoted by the National Post as saying, “It’s clearly a guy whose heart isn’t in it. The single biggest amount of money extracted from development [fees] doesn’t even go to public transit; it goes to roads.”

George Smitherman goes to town on what is unquestionably the biggest hole in Ford’s plan: the projection that the city can simply reallocate billions in provincial money from Transit City to subway expansion. Of course, it’s not like arguments between the mayor and Queen’s Park over transit spending could go wrong in any way, right?


• Rob Ford releases his transportation plan for Toronto …on YouTube [National Post]
Rob Ford Releases Transit Plan [CityNews]
• Ford unveils transit plan on YouTube [CBC News]
• Rob Ford transit plan focuses on subways, roads [Globe and Mail]
Scrap streetcars for subways: Ford unveils his transit plan [Toronto Star]