The notion that a subway is best way to solve congestion, emanates from the USA where it is considered the biggest is the best. The more expensive a transit project is, the better it is.
This is simply childish.
Subways are built on transit routes which have the ridership that demands long trains, traveling at close headway’s which in turn demand grade separation and subways are aesthetically more pleasing than elevated construction, even though they may cost three or four times more to build.
Subways are also extremely expensive to operate as each station must have elevators and escalators, lighting, ventilation, fire suppression equipment, etc.
What is missing is the key ingredient of providing good transit and that is user-friendliness, which subways just do not provide, thus they are poor in attracting new ridership.
Then there are ongoing maintenance issues which subways tend to become money-pits always sucking money from the rest of the transit operation.
The Broadway subway neither has the ridership nor the capacity to sustain itself and will be a financial black hole further driving up TransLinks costs.
The Broadway subway is only being built for one reason and one reason only: To ensure profits for Liberal/Vision Vancouver’s political friends, the Condo Kings and land speculators who will make windfall profits on assembled lands where subways stations are planned, all at the expense of taxpayers.
Cut and cover subway construction, a la Cambie St., coming to Broadway very soon.
A subway is not the way to prosperity for Scarborough or Toronto: James
There are much better projects council could spend taxpayers’ money on. But our city politicians have put us on a path to transit bankruptcy.
There are so many misconceptions and alternate facts circulating around how pampered, or not, Toronto taxpayers have become that the subject begs another column or two.
But there is also this.
Nobody is helped – and all taxpayers are angered and harmed – when valuable and tight tax dollars are spent on projects that have no chance of fulfilling the stated goal.
Such is the case of the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway up to the Scarborough Town Centre.
The project would add one new station. An aggrieved constituency of Scarborough residents who feel they get no respect will be temporarily satiated. The corridor now served by an aging RT will get the highest order of transit, even if that is an overbuild. Politicians who have peddled trumped-up claims of benefits that will never be realized in our lifetime will get re-elected.
But will the subway deliver transit benefits to Scarborough residents in keeping with its bulging price tag? No. Will it deliver what transit projects in this city are supposed to deliver? No.
Will it enhance the growth and viability of downtown Toronto? No. Does it improve access to work and school for the largest number of Scarborough residents? No.
And does it deliver growth and development in the corridor as promised? History says no – though developers will make lots of money while the residents who purchase the condos have only slightly improved access to the jobs because the jobs are spread out across the region and not where the subway runs.
Are there better transit modes and better routes and better ways to spend the $2 billion, that has risen to $3.35 billion, with alerts from the same estimators that it could jump to $5.2 billion, and a near certainty it will hit $6 billion?
Yes, yes, yes.
None of that will matter next week and next month and whenever city council debates this project. This is a runaway train that cannot be stopped. And it is a sorry tale of how dangerous and useless transit planning is in our city and the GTA.
I think I am right in there with the subway lovers. And I’ve written in this space that if the city wanted $500, $1,000 from me and all its citizens to set in motion a plan to blanket the region with subways, I’d sign up.
I’d start with linking the Yonge and University lines along Sheppard. I know that area and see how stupid it is not to be able to link both ends of the city. I’d take Sheppard Subway out east to link with the above Bloor-Danforth extension at Markham Rd. or McCowan. Then I’d extend the Yonge line to Newmarket, for crying out loud. And take the Bloor-Danforth line west out to the airport. And then I’d do the downtown relief line.
That’s the view of a regular guy who travels every now and then and gets subway envy from looking at transit maps in Paris and London and Barcelona and Washington.
But that view is so wrong. And so whack. And so uninformed. And so, so, so Toronto. It will bankrupt us, without achieving the goal of transit expansion: give commuters a better option to the car; make transit more competitive with driving; deliver new riders to transit and, by so doing, free up congested road space.
Everything else is hubris and political palaver and a colossal waste of money – which is where we are as a city region.
The transportation experts who have been studying our travel patterns for decades – and are not encumbered by the re-election agenda of their political masters – say this: Toronto’s subway system – and GO rail network – exists to deliver commuters to the downtown core where the majority of our jobs reside. In fulfilling this role, the system is a huge success. But the projects being promoted now do not address congestions and deliver new riders and support economic growth.
Much of the improvements in the suburbs should come from express buses, bus rapid transit and light rail on their own corridors.
To say this is to be branded a suburban hater, or worse. It is to go against the tide which says if the wilds of Jane and Highway 7 deserves a subway, then Scarborough Town Centre certainly deserves one. Maybe neither does. Maybe neither delivers the benefits we imagine.
Consider that 60 per cent of Scarborough residents who get around by transit are not heading downtown where the subway goes. Where is the transit for them?
Three of every four Scarborough residents heading downtown are already on transit, leaving limited growth potential for those going where the subway goes, downtown. In fact, the transit percentage use, or modal split, is higher than for East York or Etobicoke commuters heading downtown.
Yet the narrative propagated by our city politicians and believed ardently by citizens is the way to prosperity and self-worth is via the highest order transit, even if it costs $1.45 million and counting for every potential new rider – a performance that’s sure to bankrupt the system.