DREAM WEAVER PREMIER DOUG FORD, ANNOUNCES A $28.5-BILLION TRANSIT ‘PHANTASMAGORIA’

<$28.5-billion total cost; $11.2-billion covered by Queen’s Park; $17-billion by the city & the federal government; 15-kilometres, length of new Ontario line to be completed in 2027; $5.5-billion cost of 3-stop Scarborough extension to be built by 2030> – Toronto Star, April 11/2019>

DEAD ON ARRIVAL?  Is it possible? Will it ever be built . . . and paid for? Many Torontonians are skeptical, but Premier Ford says he’s going full speed ahead on transit in the Greater TORONTO Area (GTA).

“It’s going to be the largest infrastructure transit project in North America. It’s going to be $28.5 billion that we’re looking to invest to get people moving from Point A to Point B.

“That’s just the transit side. We have some fabulous ideas for the Queen Elizabeth Way and the Gardiner Expressway, as well as the 401 because not every single person hops on the subways. But we’re going to have an incredible transit system and a transportation system to get people moving and get people from Point A to Point B, but get goods from Point A to Point B,” the premier said in BURLINGTON earlier this week.

Getting from Point A to Point B will mean a massive withdrawal from the provincial treasury, which is already weighed down by a $13-billion overdraft. Is there a flying pig somewhere in the neighborhood?

Federal Finance Minister BILL MORNEAU says he wasn’t consulted, and TORONTO’s mayor JOHN TORY was kept in the dark until the last moment. It was DOUG FORD’s show.  <IMAGE ABOVE – Spacing Magazine>

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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

THE MAYORS OF CANADA’S THREE LARGEST CITIES CHECK OUT TORONTO’S KING STREET TRANSIT PILOT

MAYOR JOHN TORY – “I rode the King streetcar this morning with MONTREAL Mayor Valérie Plante & VANCOUVER Mayor Gregor Robertson to highlight the shared priorities of transit, the alleviation of traffic congestion and improved mobility in Canada’s three largest cities.”

TORONTO’S SPRING AND SUMMER ROAD RACE: GETTING IN, OUT OF, & AROUND THE CITY

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At the best of times TORONTO traffic is a force to be reckoned with. But this year things are bordering on chaotic. Long-term construction on two major expressways – the Gardiner and the eastbound 401 – are the main culprits. As well, many downtown streets are a maze of road, sewer and watermain building projects – along with heavy vehicular traffic from construction sites, and the ever-present potholes.  It can be a zoo out there.

<PHOTO ABOVE – inbound Gardiner Expressway, Jack Boland/Toronto Sun>

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FYI“People who are exposed to frequent (traffic) congestion three or more times a week have the highest self-reported levels of stress.”Murtaza Haider/Ryerson University

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BELOW – a few timesaving tips for visitors to TORONTO’s city centre.

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1.  Take public transit to and from Pearson International Airport. The TTC and GO Transit operate buses to Terminals 1 and 3. The #192 Rocket is an express service from KIPLING subway station to & from Pearson. The fare is about $3.50 (exact change or TTC ticket required). It’s a bargain compared to a $60 limo or cab ride.

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2.  Other TTC and GO buses to Pearson: #52A Lawrence West; #300A Bloor-Danforth overnight service; #307 Eglinton West overnight service; GO Transit from York Mills and Yorkdale subway stations to Terminal 1. For complete details: https://www.ttc.ca/Riding_the_TTC/Airport_service.jsp

3.  BILLY BISHOP TORONTO CITY AIRPORT and Porter Airways provide free bus transport from this downtown airport to Union Station. Plenty of taxis at the airport itself. Public transit within walking distance.

4.  STRATFORD DIRECT BUS to the Stratford Festival, a real bargain, leaves from the Intercontinental Hotel at Front and John Streets. For details: http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/visitor/gettinghere.aspx?id=70

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5.  TORONTO’s downtown long-distance bus terminal is in a safe neighbourhood with day and night public transit and taxi service available. Connections to all parts of Canada and the US. 610 Bay Street, just north of Dundas West.  Subway stop – DUNDAS.

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6.  Although UNION STATION is undergoing a radical renovation, it’s business as usual. Departures and arrivals from Montreal, Windsor, Ottawa, New York City, etc. Front Street at Bay. Taxis, subway and buses close by.

Bixi Bikes

7.  BIKE SHARE PROGRAM – http://www.bikesharetoronto.com/

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8.  The Toronto Transit Commission operates a vast network of streetcars, buses and subways at all hours of the day and night.  The service is normally good to very good.  Avoid rush hours, but otherwise the TTC is your best bet for inner city travel.