FROM TORONTO’S TRANSIT FILE – SOME GOOD NEWS & SOME MAYBE NOT-SO-GOOD NEWS

The TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) has taken delivery of its first new generation hybrid electric bus. Currently undergoing testing and operator training, this model is the first of 55 hybrid buses to be delivered by the end of 2018.

200 more hybrid electric buses & 60 all-electric buses will be delivered by the end of 2019. For more information – http://www.ttc.ca/green

A Magnetic Levitation train could be on its way to TORONTO ZOO. Magnovate hopes to install North America’s first Maglev – a silent, friction-less climate-controlled vehicle that would move along the route of the former Domain Ride, shut down in the 1990’s.

The Maglev’s technology incorporates safety features like automated control, regenerative electrodynamic brakes and a fail safe emergency braking system. If approved, the Zoo would serve as a prime site to exhibit technologies, and would also be a welcome new attraction for visitors.

The bad news might be Premier DOUG FORD’s plan to take over the TORONTO subway system and hand it to his provincial government. Ontario would build and maintain the present system and increase the subway’s reach throughout the city and beyond.  There are advantages and disadvantages.

In a Globe and Mail column titled ‘Ford’s wild plan to spend billions on suburban subways’ MARCUS GEE writes “what’s much more troubling than the uploading of the subway system is the Ford government’s nutty plan to run subways far into the suburbs . . . The suburban districts that Mr. Ford dreams of just happen to run into the 905 area code around TORONTO that his party relies on for much of its support.”

New York State has a plan similar to Ford’s. As a result, the state government has the power to siphon off funds that should go to support New York City’s massive transit system – and put them elsewhere. This of course includes the subway, now in a serious state of disrepair <photo above>. The state governor is pretty well running the MTA, with some rather unfortunate results.

A situation like this could easily happen here if DOUG FORD has his way.

Read the entire New York Times article on how-not-to-run-a-subway at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/nyregion/new-york-subway-system-failure-delays.html

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TO KEEP DRIVERS OUT OF THE QUEEN’S QUAY STREETCAR TUNNEL, THE TTC TRIES A BRITISH IDEA

The United Kingdom has been doing this for years and it works. A gate (or some variation thereof) is triggered by a transponder on the bus. The bus goes through; automobiles cannot follow as the gate immediately descends.

<CAMBRIDGE, UK, a bus approaches the Bus Gate; photo – Keith Jones>

<PRESCOTT, UK – you can’t beat one of these – photo Allistar Macdonald>

<CBC PHOTO ABOVE – The Queen’s Quay Streetcar Tunnel with a warning red light and do-not-enter sign as it once was.>

<CP24 PHOTO ABOVE – this is a car being pulled out of the tunnel>

<Toronto Star PHOTO – these $61,000 gates were recently installed and should do the trick.>

Over the last four years there’ve been 26 incidents of cars entering the Queen’s Quay streetcar tunnel, causing delays to service and an expensive rescue. The TTC has installed yellow bollards and painted the tracks red – to no avail. But, to defend the driver, especially at night it can be quite confusing down there.

IT’S COME TO THIS – CYCLISTS ARE USING POOL NOODLES TO KEEP CARS AT A SAFE DISTANCE

The noodles are soft, simple, harmless tubes that remind motorists to leave one-metre’s distance (about 3 feet) between the cyclist and the car.

“I was doored, closely passed and threatened a number of times,” wrote a cyclist on Twitter in May. “I now use a helmet camera, and soon, will be putting the pool noodle back on my bike. If they can’t give us 1 metre of passing distance (IT’S THE LAW!), they should lose the privilege to drive.”

BUILDING UNDERGROUND STATIONS FOR EGLINTON AVENUE’S CROSSTOWN TAKES SOME PRE-PLANNING

Building under one of TORONTO’s busiest streets isn’t a job for amateurs. METROLINX, the provincial transport agency, is constructing three underground transit stations (out of 22) between Yonge Street and Bayview AvenueWhat does it take to build underground rapid transit? – pile driving, excavating, shoring, installing water valves and pipes, re-directing heavy traffic, pouring concrete, laying foundations, erecting temporary bridges, re-routing Hydro lines, assembling new Hydro infrastructure, jack-hammering, building storm sewers and water shut-off valves, working all night . . . and so much more.

The CROSSTOWN, served by LRT’s, will be part of TORONTO’s subway system when it’s finished in 2021. The first phase of the 12-mile line (19 kilometres) will stop at 22 stations – with the possibility of more in the future.

<RENDERING OF EGLINTON STATION – public art by Rodney LaTourelle & Louise Witthoeft, “Light from Within”>

THE FEDERAL & PROVINCIAL GOV’TS ARE ABOUT TO INVEST HEAVILY IN TORONTO TRANSIT

<Ontario Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli, (left), & Amarjeet Sohi, the federal Minister of Infrastructure & Communities; PHOTO – Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star>

<‘NEXT STOP: SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW’, editorial cartoon by BRIAN GABLE, Globe and Mail/Toronto/2017>

After years of pleading, finally the two senior governments have recognized the necessity of improving transit infrastructure in TORONTO. The city will get $4.89-billion from the federal government, and that will be matched with $4.04-billion from the province.  That’s about $9-billion altogether.

$9-billion won’t be enough to build everything on TORONTO’s wish list, but it’ll be a significant boost (covering about 75%) to priorities such as the Scarborough subway extension, Smart Track, the Line 2 subway relief connector, the Eglinton East LRT, and the Waterfront LRT.

<The light at the end of the tunnel – upcoming federal & provincial elections/2018 may have something to do with governmental largesse.  I wonder.>