A Subway Conversation Unheard in Vancouver

Subways sound great – at first, but when the realities of subway operation, including extremely high costs and user unfriendliness, the love affair with subways tend to wane with customers.

The huge cost of subway construction, means economies must be had and in Scarborough, those economies mean a lack of stations. Subway stations are both extremely expensive to build and extremely expensive to operate. This means the line will only have one station. It will give a fast journey time, but the time to get to the station will, in most cases, negate any time gained by a one stop subway.

What attracts people to transit?

Just about every study done on public transit point to user friendliness and ease of use as the prime reason for taking public transport.

A one stop subway is not user friendly, deterring ridership and in the end those politicians who championed a subway so they can cut ribbons at election time, maybe instead cutting their chances for reelection.

In Vancouver though, the mainstream media, a corporate controlled press, do not ask questions about transit and those politicians and their land developer friends have ensured no debate on subways will take place.

Here lies the problem with TransLink and transit in Metro Vancouver, politicians will not allow honest debate on transit, which causes the taxpayer to vote no in plebiscites.

Even the voters in Liberal friendly areas dumped the Minister responsible for transit in the last election!

What does it take for politicians to understand that the public has absolutely no confidence in transit, TransLink nor the people who run it!

And that is what the corporate controlled media and politicians are deeply afraid of.

Cut and cover subway construction, coming to Broadway very soon.

 

Scarborough residents question why subway plan gives them just one new stop

Critics shout down staff and local Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker as they challenge wisdom of replacing five existing Scarborough RT stops with one subway stop.

At a public consultation on the Scarborough subway extension, disgruntled residents were told the budget leaves no money left to rough in future stations. Building stations later would cause the line to shut down for several years, TTC project manager Rick Thompson explained.

At a public consultation on the Scarborough subway extension, disgruntled residents were told the budget leaves no money left to rough in future stations. Building stations later would cause the line to shut down for several years, TTC project manager Rick Thompson explained.  (Andrew Lahodynskyj / Toronto Star file photo) 

By Jennifer PagliaroCity Hall reporter

Wed., May 10, 2017

The people want more than a one-stop subway.

That was the prevailing message from a packed meeting at the Scarborough Civic Centre during a public consultation on the next phase of planning for an extension of the Bloor-Danforth line to the Scarborough Town Centre.

Residents and subway critics at times shouted down staff and local Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker as they questioned the wisdom and fairness of replacing five existing Scarborough RT stops with just one new one.

The current plan, approved by a majority of city councillors, is to build a single stop at the end of a 6.2-kilometre tunnelled extension. An early estimate puts the cost of that extension at $3.35 billion, but that figure is considered preliminary and expected to rise.

That, disgruntled residents heard, has left no money to rough in future stations. Building stations later would cause the line to shut down for several years, TTC project manager Rick Thompson explained.

“It is so distressing that you forget everyone out here on this end,” one resident said to loud applause. “It’s totally inappropriate to be served by one subway extension.”

Responding to concerns about a single new stop, Mike Logan, from the city’s planning department, explained the subway extension was conceived of as part of a larger network, including a proposed 17-stop extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, what’s being called the Eglinton East LRT.

“Those are all funded?” someone from the audience shouted about the additional lines.

Logan explained that only the subway is fully funded with $3.56 billion committed from all three levels of government.

“The stations are so far apart in Scarborough,” another resident shouted from the back. “All the rest of the city gets them close together . . . Do we not count like the rest of the city?”

De Baeremaeker said he continues to believe a four-stop subway should be built. He blamed “downtown councillors,” who represent the most densely populated wards in the city, for not wanting to fund more frequent transit stops like their residents enjoy.

“I’ve been moving heaven and earth to try to get more stations and more money,” said De Baeremaeker, appointed to champion the subway plan by Mayor John Tory, who was elected on a pledge to advocate for “One Toronto.”

De Baeremaeker blamed a “suburban/urban divide” for Scarborough’s woes.

“You talk to my downtown colleagues, there’s no way they’re giving us money,” for more stops, De Baeremaeker said. “In fact they’re still trying to stop this one.”

A man in the audience stood several questioners later to address De Baeremaker’s points:

“I think Councillor De Baeremaeker is misleading us when he says the downtown councillors won’t afford more money for more stops. What the downtown councillors and many others . . . wanted to do was build a network of rapid transit all over Scarborough, but Councillor De Baeremaeker and his allies prefer to spend all the money available on just the one stop subway.”

Several members of the TTCRiders advocacy group commented on how a comparison to the previously-planned seven-stop LRT to replace the SRT — what was fully funded by the province — was never done and questioned why the options presented at the meeting failed to show all the alternatives.

Council voted in March to reject a request for that cost-benefit comparison and to move forward with the one-stop plan in its absence.

Logan explained to the room that staff had never been directed to do that study.

Staff are now conducting a mandatory environmental assessment of the subway extension. Critics say the province should insist on a comparison of the extension to the light-rail alternative.

The province, which under Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne has campaigned for a subway while fighting recent by-elections, has signalled they are not interested in that comparison.

 

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