Author Archive

Upcoming public meetings

Posted on: September 26th, 2017

For those interested in SmartTrack and/or Regional Express Rail (RER) development in Toronto and the GTA, early October has several public meetings that may be of interest to you.

Proposed new stations for GO and SmartTrack: (source report PDF)

LOCAL MPP PUBLIC MEETING:
Metrolinx Lakeshore East Expansion in Toronto-Danforth

(Hosted by Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns)
Wednesday October 4th, 7pm to 8.30pm
Ralph Thornton Centre, 765 Queen St. East
CLICK HERE TO RSVP

SMARTTRACK PUBLIC MEETING
(Hosted by the City of Toronto and Metrolinx)
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10

Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Presentation begins at 7:00 pm

SMARTTRACK PUBLIC MEETING
(Hosted by the City of Toronto and Metrolinx)
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11
Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard Street East
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Presentation begins at 7:00 pm

SMARTTRACK PUBLIC MEETING
(Hosted by the City of Toronto and Metrolinx)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12
Bloor Street Collegiate Institute, 1141 Bloor Street West
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Presentation begins at 7:00 pm

New Pembina Institute report on success factors for rapid transit projects

Posted on: March 15th, 2017

CodeRedTO partner Pembina Institute has released an important new report detailing some of the major success factors on current Ontario rapid transit projects, and how they can be applied in future.

Most opponents to new light rail projects in Ontario aren’t opposed to rapid transit in general, but actually take issue with the process and how decisions are made.  Best practices like engaging early, being transparent, and working closely with developers and landowners can go a long way to making a project more likely to succeed.

What’s key is that communities can learn from one another as we quickly implement new rapid transit.

Says Pembina:

The current roll-out of rapid transit infrastructure in Ontario is one of the biggest infrastructure builds in the province’s history, with over $30 billion in investment from the Province of Ontario and major inputs from the federal and municipal governments. With such significant investments at stake, it’s important to get the process right.

In this report, we examine engagement and planning processes around ongoing rapid transit projects in four Ontario communities to better understand the challenges and success factors associated with these efforts.

The full report, Getting on Board, can be viewed here: http://www.pembina.org/pub/getting-on-board

Who’s Advocating for Improved Transit Across Ontario?

Posted on: February 15th, 2017

CodeRedTO was formed to advocate for better transit, for more residents, sooner. While our focus has always been the City of Toronto, we have partnered for several years with Move The GTHA, a collective of over two dozen major groups working toward better funding, better decision making, and better accountability on transit and transportation across the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area.

Better transit options and service are needed in all communities of course. CodeRedTO also partners with some organizations in cities outside the GTHA, and supports any organization putting better transit ahead of partisan or technology ideology.

Here is a partial list of groups we know of. If we missed you, email info@CodeRedTO.com to be added!

Brampton: Fight Gridlock

Hamilton: Hamilton LRT

Waterloo Region: Tri-TAG

London: Shift Happens

Ottawa: Healthy Transportation Coalition

Sudbury: Friends of Sudbury Transit

Toronto: TTC Riders

 

Statement on Promised Funding for SmartTrack by Federal Government

Posted on: June 19th, 2015

On June 18th, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Finance Minister Joe Oliver, and Toronto Mayor John Tory announced that the federal government would provide up to 1/3 of the construction cost of SmartTrack, up to $2.6 billion in 2015 dollars, should the city choose to build it and should the current party retain control of government in the federal election this fall. Other political parties have not yet confirmed their competing funding proposals.

CodeRedTO is an advocate for all forms of improved transit, and welcomes investment in public transit from the federal government, since all levels of government need to recognize the benefit of public transit to the entire GTHA and beyond. However, it’s important for governments to provide more than election promises and deliver on consistent, predictable funds for transit expansion and operation. Yesterday’s announcement is really just a campaign promise: elect us and we will give you these funds.

We also respect the expertise of our city planners and City Council’s authority to debate and decide what to build. SmartTrack and RER will be a useful part of the overall mix of public transit in Toronto, though the TTC’s first priority is a Relief Subway Line and it is a more developed plan than SmartTrack at the moment. We would hope that federal funding would be forthcoming to support whatever the City decides is best.

Click to learn more about the planning process for SmartTrack, RER, and the Relief Subway Line.

Mayor Tory’s Support For Existing Transit Projects A Welcome Change

Posted on: March 19th, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE

Mayor Tory’s Support For Existing Transit Projects A Welcome Change

After years of uncertainty and contradictory statements and plans from City Hall, CodeRedTO welcomes today’s statements from Mayor Tory’s office that the planned, approved, and 100%-provincially-funded modern light rail lines coming to Finch West and Sheppard East “will proceed as planned,” precisely as council voted exactly three years ago. [Finch, Sheppard]

“After a long municipal election that avoided definite statements on over $2.2 billion of spending inside Etobicoke and Scarborough, this is a welcome bit of clarity,” said Executive Director Cameron MacLeod.

Mayor Tory’s office signaled that, as planned, the Finch West LRT project will begin construction in 2017, opening in 2021. This line will replace one of Toronto’s busiest bus routes which currently serves over 44,000 riders per day – almost the same number as the Scarborough RT.

Similarly, the Sheppard East LRT project will be constructed in the same timeframe, and will include an underground across-the-platform connection to the Sheppard subway and easy connection to the future Bloor-Danforth subway extension. This line will carry over 36,000 riders per day, similar to the 85 Sheppard East and 190 Scarborough Centre Rocket buses.

The Sheppard East and Finch West LRT lines were first announced in 2007, fully funded by the province [for Finch, and partially by the federal government, for Sheppard] in 2009, including any cost overruns, and confirmed by City Council in 2012.

Unlike extensions to existing subway lines which require large capital investments by the city to construct, and cover only a small portion of the city, these two light rail lines will provide over 40 stops and over 22km of modern transit in reserved rights-of-way at no additional cost to the city’s capital budget. The vehicles will travel an average of 50-60% faster overall than the current overcrowded and unpredictable bus service.

CodeRedTO looks forward to the dramatic improvement in freedom of movement and reliability of public transit for such a large portion of our city, and future transit improvements discussed by Mayor Tory, City Council, and the TTC.

About CodeRedTO:
CodeRedTO is a non-partisan, volunteer-run, regional transit advocate which promotes more and better transit options for more residents, using all available technologies as appropriate; better information for better decision-making; an end to reversals of existing plans; and increased, predictable funding for public transit expansion and operation. Links to sources can be found at www.CodeRedTO.com.

Sources for statements attributed to Mayor Tory’s office:
http://m.torontosun.com/2015/03/18/city-ombud-term-lengths-eyed
https://twitter.com/agalbraith/status/578609806468067328

CodeRedTO Meets with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister Steven Del Duca

Posted on: October 14th, 2014

Today CodeRedTO’s Executive Director, along with several members of our partner organization Move The GTHA, met for over an hour with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca.

10634059_10154737712380593_4749825972784265796_o

The meeting was a frank, wide-ranging, and engaging discussion of transit goals, priorities, and advice, including our hopes to see both short- and medium-term “wins” to bring better transit to more GTHA residents sooner. Topics discussed included governance, current projects, future project decision-making, public education, and potential future revenue streams. We were pleased to have significant give-and-take, and to make clear our interest in continuing to push for better transit and less political interference.

Members of the Move The GTHA collective and CodeRedTO look forward to continuing our discussions with the provincial government.

Future Transit Question: Are subways the better investment?

Posted on: October 6th, 2014

CodeRedTO takes your questions and finds answers! Today’s question, from Richard on Facebook: The population of Toronto will double in the coming decades. Therefore, those currently less dense areas of Toronto will become more dense over time. Therefore,wouldn’t subways be preferable for the smarter long-term investment??

 

Hi Richard –

You’re right that population is growing fast, but city planners are seeing it grow at different rates in different areas, and they account for that in population and density projections. For example, the Sheppard subway was built based on very high projections that turned out to be way too high, so they’ve learned from that experience to make better projections. Also, the downtown core is growing far faster now than other areas, which is different from in the 1980’s when they first decided on the Sheppard subway.

Globe & Mail: Toronto’s density plan is working

If we had unlimited funding, then building subways would allow us to handle whatever growth arrived, but unfortunately we don’t – voters keep demanding tax cuts! Subways are a huge cash drain: for example, the Scarborough subway extension (just 3 stops in a low-density part of the city) is going to cost far more than $3 billion to construct, and will lose money each day (as most low-density transit systems do).

Human Transit Blog: Transit and profitability

Transit is an investment in helping our city be more efficient and productive, but typically we want investments that make money, not lose money. Since we know that they lose money in operations cost, and that they cost huge amounts ($350 million per kilometre (often more) just to build), and that we won’t need that capacity in Etobicoke or Scarborough for several decades, building subways exclusively is not what CodeRedTO considers a smart investment. You need high density population and employment to make the system worth it now, and we only see that in certain parts of the GTHA.

Even the Sheppard subway, opened over 12 years ago, still loses money every day. The new Spadina subway extension to York University is also projected to cost over $14 million per year in extra subsidies for operations costs. That doesn’t make them bad, but we have to “invest” with our eyes open.

Human Transit: Density is not Destiny

Luckily we have other options. Over 80 cities worldwide use modern light rail lines like are planned for Toronto, with more being built all the time. And since light rail can be elevated, underground, and at the surface, depending on what you need, it’s more flexible than subways and far more affordable, even though it can handle pretty high capacity of ridership – not the same as an all-tunnel subway of course, but we don’t need that capacity in every single neighbourhood.

Over80citiesmap

Remember that all major world-class cities use light rail in addition to subways – Hong Kong, Paris, London, NYC (in New Jersey, not in Manhattan), Tokyo – they all benefit from having options, and Toronto is one of the only places that hasn’t figured that out. We are being left behind after being ahead on transit in the 20th century.

CodeRedTO wants subways AND light rail AND buses AND streetcars, in the right places, and proper funding to make them run properly too.

Sheppard East residents need the full 12km of Light Rail planned

Posted on: September 16th, 2014

Some members of city council, and some candidates for council, have recently made statements misrepresenting the current plan for modern light rail transit (LRT) along Sheppard Avenue East. To assist residents, CodeRedTO has assembled the facts, resource links on the plan, and we have calculated how alternate options would look and perform.

Learn more about light rail transit by visiting our Resources page!

After reviewing reports from the City of Toronto and Metrolinx, our key findings:

  • Given the current $1 billion budget committed by the province of Ontario and the government of Canada, less than 3km of subway could be built, as opposed to about 12km of modern light rail transit (LRT).
  • If only 3km of subway were to be built, it would add only one new stop east of Victoria Park, and have just two new stations.
  • The Sheppard East LRT project already has a completed Environmental Assessment, and will be under construction from approximately 2017-2020. Any subway would require at least 2-4 more years before construction could begin, with all planning starting from scratch.
  • The City of Toronto and Metrolinx have a signed legal agreement to deliver this LRT line that includes the province paying for all construction costs. Any change to another mode would require renegotiation and penalties due to contract cancellation with suppliers.

Sheppard_East_Light_Rail_Facts

The facts clearly show that a subway along Sheppard East would be shorter, would take longer to build, and would serve fewer residents. But more significantly for Scarborough residents, our calculations show that it would save far less time for a rider traveling between Morningside or Malvern and any new subway station near Warden.

Buses traveling in mixed traffic along Sheppard East can take 40 minutes to travel this distance (though of course this varies by time of day). While a subway would provide fast travel over 3km of this distance, the transfer time between bus and subway (estimated by Google at 4 minutes on average) means that the average rider’s travel time would drop by as little as five minutes.

However, the light rail planned for Sheppard East uses reserved rights-of-way so transit vehicles are never stuck behind single-passenger cars, and are able to travel 25-40% faster than the current buses, consistently in all traffic and weather conditions. Our calculations showed that riders could travel from Morningside to Yonge Street in ten minutes less, with a level transfer on the same platform at Don Mills Station.

Sheppard_East_travel_Times

Download our fact-check flyer now, and share with candidates at your door to ensure they have the facts.

Find out more by visiting our Resources page!

Finch West residents need the full 10km of Rapid Transit as planned

Posted on: July 29th, 2014

Some members of city council, and some candidates for council, have recently made statements misrepresenting the current plan for modern light rail transit (LRT) along Finch Avenue West. To assist residents, CodeRedTO has assembled the facts, resource links on the plan, and we have calculated how alternate options would look and perform.

Learn more about light rail transit by visiting our Resources page!

After reviewing reports from the City of Toronto and Metrolinx, our key findings:

  • Given the current $1.2 billion budget committed by the province of Ontario, only about 3km of subway could be built, as opposed to about 10km of modern light rail transit (LRT).
  • If only 3km of subway were to be built, it would not cross highway 400 into Etobicoke at all, and have just two new stations.
  • The Finch West LRT project already has a completed Environmental Assessment, and will be under construction from approximately 2017-2020. Any subway would require at least 2-4 more years before construction could begin, with all planning starting from scratch.
  • The City of Toronto and Metrolinx have a signed legal agreement to deliver this LRT line that includes the province paying for all construction costs. Any change to another mode would require renegotiation and penalties due to contract cancellation with suppliers.

Light_Rail_Facts_FinchW

 

The facts clearly show that a subway along Finch West would be shorter, would take longer to build, and would serve fewer residents. But more significantly for Etobicoke residents, our calculations show that it would save almost no time for a rider traveling between Humber College in western Etobicoke and the new subway station at Finch and Keele.

Buses traveling in mixed traffic along Finch West take over 42 minutes to travel this distance (though of course this varies by time of day). While a subway would provide fast travel over 3km of this distance, the transfer time between bus and subway (estimated by Google at 4 minutes on average) means that the average rider’s travel time would drop by only one minute.

However, the light rail planned for Finch West uses reserved rights-of-way so transit vehicles are never stuck behind single-passenger cars, and are able to travel 50-70% faster than the current buses, consistently in all conditions. Our calculations showed that riders could travel from Humber College to Keele in just 28 minutes with no transfer, a time saving of over 1/3.

Light_Rail_Travel_Times_FinchW

 

Download our fact-check flyer now, and share with candidates at your door to ensure they have the facts.

Find out more by visiting our Resources page!

Options for Scarborough RT Replacement

Posted on: July 8th, 2014

Recent news reports have raised questions regarding the 2013 decision by Toronto City Council selecting a subway extension to replace the previously approved by council light rail plan. To encourage accurate discussions, here are the facts:

Capture

(click to view full-size image)

LRT plan:

  • 9.9 km, with 7 stations
  • scheduled to open in 2019
  • serves nearly double the number of Scarborough residents
  • redesigns the transfer at Kennedy to be a one-storey difference
  • costs $1.5+ billion less
  • requires a shutdown of the SRT line for 2-3 years
  • is under current legal contract to be fully funded by the province, including all overruns

Subway plan:

  • 7.6 km, with 3 stations
  • would open in 2023 or later
  • eliminates transfer at Kennedy
  • has not yet been studied so costs and timeframes are estimates
  • requires city to renegotiate existing Master Agreement with the province
  • requires city to pay for all sunk costs and cancellation fees, operations costs, at least $750 million of construction, and all construction overruns

Note that neither option would disrupt mixed-vehicle traffic on city roads once construction is complete.

Sources:

How to Help

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LEARN about Transit and why there's room for subways, light rail, and streetcars in our region, and how light rail is actually a great city-building choice for the lower-density neighbourhoods in Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, and Kitchener-Waterloo.

CALL your City Councillor, and tell them that you want rational, affordable, and rapid transit in Toronto to benefit everyone, not just one small section of the city. Rapid transit to Malvern, Morningside, Jane & Finch are achievable if we learn from successful transit networks around the world.

TELL your friends and family that subways are amazing - they really are! - but with limited funding we have to make rational decisions about whether to support more residents or leave people waiting for crowded buses for decades longer.

Did you know: The bus routes on Finch have over 85% of the ridership of the (much shorter) Sheppard Subway, and the bus routes on Eglinton already have over 140%! The lengths differ but the need is common in many areas of the city. We are decades behind and need better transit options for our residents now.

Contact us at info@CodeRedTO.com

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