ai???One of the consequences of making the wrong decision is that we build a subway where we donai??i??t need it and put an albatross around our neck.ai???

The self destructing Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto and his all subway dream may soon fade from history, except the fiscal fallout from subway construction will last decades.

Ford’s real quest, of course, was to clear Toronto’s roads of streetcars and/or proposed light rail and even bike lanes to create more road space for cars. In the Ford nation, cars are king.

Like SkyTrain being elevated, subways are built underground with no interface with street traffic. Two immediate problems arise:

  1. Subways are very costly, both to build and maintain and a subway means that the operating authority can only afford short sections of subways, compared to surface operating light rail.
  2. Subways are very poor in attracting new ridership, as station spacing is generally much further apart, a subway becomes less convenient to use and what has proven to attract people to public transit is convenience.

If a subway must be built, the general rule of thumb in Europe for the traffic flows necessary to justify the cost of construction, is around 15,000 persons per hour per direction. In North America, where the light rail Renaissance has yet to find its way, subway construction has become one of political prestige, with many cities investing in very expensive subway lines, where much simpler, cheaper and just as efficient LRT would suffice.

This ‘subway mania’Ai?? proposed by Toronto’s Rob Ford, may garner votes in the next election, sadly financial reality of building subways instead of cheaper LRT will not be evident until 30 or 40 years hence.

Rob Fordai??i??s billion-dollar boast not worth a dime

The mayorai??i??s empty boasts reveal a man deeply out of touch with the city he leads

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