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]
28 thoughts on “Rob Ford unveils transit plan: remove streetcars, get cyclists off roads, expand subway only in burbs”
I hope they don’t get rid of the streetcars. I take it to work everyday.
this man is a complete idiot.
Streetcars, while they look nice…are impractical. They can only ever run on one lane, which means that if you’re in a streetcar and right behind an accident or a broken down streetcar…you’re stuck there waiting. A bus would not have such a problem. Streetcars also stop traffic from behind for 2 or more lanes when they let passengers on or off…now is either situation desirable during rush hour traffic?? I think that’s what Rob Ford is getting at. You replace streetcars with buses on the most commonly congested arteries downtown and divert $$ from making dedicated streetcar only lanes to possibly adding subway tunnels, stops and vehicles…you help to allievate the gridlock.
And while I think his proposals are great and all…it’s not economically feasible…especially since it likely costs a lot more to build a subway line than a light rail transit line or dedicated street car lanes…but yes…less emphasis on transit that is subject to rush hour gridlock and more on transit that runs independently of how jammed traffic is on the roads.
Street cars causes more CO2 emissions even though they use electricity. Cars are sitting and idling for longer periods with street cars congesting traffic.
So the war on Streetcars has begun again. Mr. Ford is speaking like a true user of automobiles…. morons. If people do not like Streetcars then you are living in the wrong city.
Just FYI: each streetcar would have to be replaced by 2-3 buses for similar capacity, which would increase both congestion and labour costs.
@ Chris: You do realize that Toronto is more than the area south of Bloor, right? And you do realize that buses rule in every other area of the city of Toronto…except the downtown core and St. Clair Ave. I think you need to leave your cave and travel north of Bloor every now and again…you’ll find that streetcars are not the most efficient way to move people around.
Streetcars have a higher capacity than buses but in order for them to run efficient, they need dedicated lanes. Last I checked, they are not turning Queen St. into an 8 lane roadway. I’m not running for mayor, but my platform on public transit would be to emphasize more subway lines or streetcars that run completely free from traffic lights and above-ground traffic in general (see Harbourfront LRT). I would also reach out to the other municipalities or at least push harder for extension of subway lines into Mississauga, York region and Durham region to better connect the GTA at large. This works for everyone involved. Commuter traffic from the suburbs to the downtown core will be lessened significantly if people can hop on the subway from Richmond Hill and get off at Osgoode station, for example. Yes, there is the Go train but it’s inconvenient, less accessible and requires 2 different passes, all of which keeps it from being used more than it is.
I will vote for any candidate who makes this happen.
Mr. Ford’s Transit Plan is full of inaccuracies and exaggerations.
Transit City does not plan to add additional street cars. A contract is in place to replace the existing, aging street cars with newer, low floor vehicles. Rather, Transit City is a plan to provide 7 new lines of light rail vehicles operating on their own dedicated right-of-way. There would be minimal interaction with cars.
Further, Mr. Ford proposes to redirect the $3.7 billion allocated to Transit City to an extension of the Sheppard Line. What he fails to mention is that $3.7 billion has been earmarked for 3 LRT lines, Sheppard East, Finch West and Eglintion Crosstown. How can Mr. Ford claim that 1 new subway line will reduce congestion more that 3 new LRT lines. What Mr. Ford doesn’t say is underground construction is exponentially more expensive than on ground. This does not seem like a reasonable platform for someone preaching budgetary restraint.
Further, his proposed completion date of 2015 for a 12 km Sheppard extension is a pipe dream. The Spadina extension is proposed to be completed by 2018. How does Mr. Ford propose a completion date 3 years sooner on a project that has yet to start?
Mr. Ford has quite an antiquated notion of Toronto’s transit requirements and his proposed scrapping of Transit City will only set the GTA back in meeting its future needs.
Trust me, with that size of a frame, his heart isn’t going to be into much of anything soon.
Besides, he can’t do anything without help, and if he comes in screaming…as Kyle Rae said, he’ll be powerless.
There really isn’t that much power in the mayors office alone. Miller learned that with the port authority, it basically flipped him off and walked away.
If I have to share the roads with bikes I want them to
pay their share of the up keep. Make having a licence
to drive a bike mandatory. It will create a much needed
revenue and hold cyclist accountable.
Steve – fine, make licences for cyclists mandatory to hold them, as you say, “accountable”. Does that mean drivers will then actually be held accountable for when they hit a cyclist?
get rid of these big peices of shit street cars they cost me so much lost income because of traffic tie up and make cyclists pay 100.00 per year for a plate and a riders lic and the must have insurance so when these fucking asholes hit a car and take off and leave the owner to pay for the cost of the repairs or ded on the insurance and remember all the cyclist that crash or kill people while there fucking riding so fast in and out of traffic
@ Manny Cars cause congestion not streetcars, look at the trafic on the 401! Also people that ride bikes pay property taxes too!
Mr Ford leave Toronto streetcars alone they are way better then buses they last longer they hold more people you need to get cars out off the city there’s way to much cars here and you know it. scraping streetcars is not going to fix the problem buddy.
Manny you want to get to work on time leave your house early buddy
To manny cars in Toronto. scrap the cars.
I hate to break it to the cyclist haters… but most cyclists have driver’s licenses… And the amount of damage we cause to the road is on par with the amount of damage pedestrians cause to sidewalks and pedestrians don’t pay extra to walk on the sidewalk. Cars weigh a lot more and cause much more damage, that’s why they cost more to licence.
As for cycling insurance, I paid the equivalent of about $7 per year in Switzerland for my cyclist’s liability insurance. Is that all it will take to get the drivers to stop trying to kill us? Because I think there’s deep seated hatred there that is looking for excuses. These people aren’t looking for solutions, they’re looking for an outlet for their hate… possibly because they’re so out of shape they probably can’t cycle for 10 minutes without falling over.
Great idea about the streetcars. Until you realize where oil and thus diesel prices will be in 6 years. Ya, let’s switch the downtown core from electric street cars to busses that guzzle diesel. Great idea. I already own a chunk of Suncore shares so I suppose I should be happy about his plans.
I find people such as Chris don’t see the big picture… We need to scrap the streetcars, and put those idiots who were responsible for the streetcar idea in a public hearing since anyone would know it was a horrible idea to begin with…
Hopefully we won’t waste any more money on nothing, and build the subways that are needed… Why keep bandaging our city instead of supporting it…
The downtown core did not vote for this man. Why doesn`t he improve transit in the areas populated by those who did.
I think the elitism of cyclists shows true in some comments here…
The politicians in this city are so short-sighted. Instead of planning for today, they really need to start planning for tomorrow. Although they are very expensive, subways or ‘Els’ are the more practical choice. They need to think of the city’s transit problems/solutions for the future. The infrastructure can barely sustain the amount of traffic as it is now. How will the city look in 10, 20 or 30 years with the population rising every year? Build subways out the the airport and out to Mississauga will essentially take many, many cars off our already congested roads. Please councillors, plan for the future, not for right now
What everybody seems to be missing is that Streetcars help make Toronto unique. Without them, Toronto would be much the same as any other city in North America. Forget about which option helps traffic flow or helps reduce CO2. I say save the streetcars and save Toronto’s character!
we don’t need another subway line and cannot afford it, we need the new streetcars as it will alleviate the need for wheel transit as they are useless for most of their consumers. Accessible subways are the way to go and the accessible buses are rubbish we need something ttc drivers will be made to use for disabled passengers and the elderly. I personally would like to see Mr. Ford be forced to use a wheelchair or blindfolded and use a cane for a day and then use transit like the rest of us and see for himself how useless and terrifying the system is.
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