Archive for the ‘media’ Category

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

How much would replacing streetcars with buses cost?

Posted on: January 13th, 2014

On January 12, CodeRedTO’s Executive Director Cameron MacLeod was a guest on Edward Keenan’s radio show on NewsTalk1010, discussing the hypothetical idea of replacing streetcars on King and Queen streets with new articulated buses.

The theory behind this oft-floated but never-costed idea is to help traffic move, but the positioning is invariably that of a driver ‘stuck behind a streetcar’. Little attention is paid to the many residents on that streetcar who also wish to travel somewhere and have just as much right to do so. It’s key that improvements help people travel more efficiently, not that cars necessarily travel more efficiently, as the average car in Toronto carries just 1.1 people, according to a previous Chair of the TTC. This means that old rusty streetcar could be carrying nearly 120 cars worth of traffic!

Capacity is the big issue with this idea: King and Queen combined carry over 100,000 riders per day – more than double the Sheppard subway, and more than the entire GO Transit bus network combined. Any change needs to take into account how those thousands of riders will get where they’re going.

We calculated that to replace the King and Queen streetcars would require a purchase of up to 185 articulated buses just to maintain the capacity the TTC has scheduled, not provide any increase. That would mean a capital cost of $174M to purchase the articulated buses, and additional driver salaries of up to $8.2M per year – a significant outlay for a transit system that for several years has ‘robbed Peter to pay Paul’ in its operating budget, and and is facing a multi-billion-dollar shortage of capital funding in just the next 10 years.

Other costs would be required as well: fuel for these vehicles versus electricity costs for the streetcars, a new garage to store these vehicles, new maintenance and cleaning staff to keep the buses running, and more. Never mind the cost to cancel or redirect the current $1.2B contract for 204 new accessible low-floor streetcars, which the TTC is hoping to expand by 60 more to help upgrade capacity across the network.

Even should the costs concerns be waved away, buses would encounter many of the same challenges as streetcars in the crowded and busy King and Queen corridors: blocked lanes due to left turns, parking, taxis, and delivery trucks; bunching due to route management issues or disruptions; blocking other traffic by leaving their “tail” sticking into the left lane as they weave around parked cars, etc. These issues can and should be addressed regardless of the type of vehicle being used on a specific street.

There’s a legitimate conversation to have about transit modes, technologies, and where each one fits best. But simply swapping out one type for another lower-capacity option is very expensive, and does not address the underlying issues.

 

Data and Sources:

CodeRedTO recently gathered data to compare the capacity of each type of vehicle in the TTC fleet, including the new low-floow streetcars entering service this summer. Click below, or click here for the Excel spreadsheet if you’d like a copy.

vehicle_capacity_comparison

On January 12th’s radio show, one caller disagreed with our capacity and cost numbers, so source links are included in the above spreadsheet for all capacity numbers. For costs:

  • 204 streetcars at $1.2B = $5,882,352.94 each, so we estimated $6,000,000 each. (source)
  • 153 articulated buses at $143.7M = $939,215.69 each. (source)

 

Open Letter to Elected Officials across the GTHA

Posted on: June 11th, 2013

This morning, the Move the GTHA coalition released an open letter to elected officials across the GTHA, signed by three dozen organizations across all sectors and across the region. This letter calls for political leaders to work together and establish new sources of revenue for transportation improvements that are dedicated, accountable, fair, regionally balanced and sustainable. The letter is reproduced below, and you can learn more at www.movetheGTHA.com.

 

Media Advisory: CodeRedTO to host transit expansion & funding info sessions in April & May

Posted on: March 27th, 2013

Press release issued this morning:

Toronto transit advocacy group CodeRedTO will be hosting a series of public meetings about transit expansion and funding across Toronto during April and May. Our invited guests include all area councillors, MPPs, MPs, and representatives of Metrolinx.

All residents are welcome to join us at any of these events:

Thorncliffe Library, 48 Thorncliffe Park Dr – Saturday, April 13, 2:30-4:30pm
Danforth/Coxwell Library, 1675 Danforth Ave – Tuesday, April 16, 6:00-8:00pm
Richview Library, 1806 Islington Ave – Friday, April 19, 6:00-8:00pm
York Woods Library, 1785 Finch Ave W – Wednesday, May 1, 6:00-8:00pm
Malvern Library, 30 Sewells Rd – Sunday, May 5, 2:30-4:30pm

Map of locations: http://goo.gl/maps/3csnK

These Open House-style meetings will provide constituents with facts (both good and bad) on transit expansion projects, light rail and its impact, and about future funding for better transit in the GTHA. Half the time will be devoted to conversation and questions from residents, and some local councillors and Metrolinx have also offered to make presentations.

“The conversation about transit expansion has changed,” said CodeRedTO Executive Director Joe Drew. “Dedicated funding from new revenue tools and smart ideas from many sources are showing how seriously residents and businesses are taking our infrastructure needs.”

“We keep hearing that residents and businesses want to get moving,” said Cameron MacLeod, CodeRedTO Executive Director. “The time for vague discussion is over. If you’re not willing to participate in the serious conversation, then you’re going to be left behind.”

These public meetings are part of the ongoing Move the GTHA campaign, which promotes better information and funding, and more conversation on the future of transit, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Who has been invited? All MPs and MPPs representing the areas close to future LRT lines, any Toronto City Councillors close to future LRT lines, along with BIAs and local community organizations. Public notices are also being shared online and with nearby libraries, schools, and community centres.

For more information, please contact:
Cameron MacLeod, Executive Director, CodeRedTO
www.coderedTO.com | info@coderedTO.com | 416-779-5638

About CodeRedTO: CodeRedTO is a volunteer-led transit advocacy group in the GTHA based on the principle of better decisions through better information. We provide facts about transit modes, options, and proposals, to assist GTHA residents in understanding and evaluating transit information and ideas. We are not controlled by any transit agency, elected representative, or business. We receive funding only from Metrolinx earmarked for community conversations in partnership with www.MoveTheGTHA.com, and all other activities are funded through personal donations.

Toronto Region Board of Trade Joins the Rational Funding Conversation

Posted on: March 18th, 2013

TORONTO, 18 March 2013 – CodeRedTO applauds the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s funding recommendations for Metrolinx’s The Big Move. Their contribution is an important part of our shared goal to help “Move the GTHA”.

“Cities around the world including Paris, San Francisco, and Vancouver have all financed transit expansion with new revenue tools. It’s time the Toronto Region catches up,” said CodeRedTO Executive Director Cameron MacLeod.

“CodeRedTO is glad to see this conversation about how to fund transit in the GTHA shift toward specific tools, and the Board’s suggestion of four viable tools is one that we support. Saying no to revenue tools for transit is the same as saying no to transit entirely, which is not an option.”

Added Executive Director Joe Drew, “Saying no to transit was never an option, really, and we’re paying for the lack of proper funding now.”

TRBOT’s proposal features four significant revenue tools to be dedicated toward improvement to transit infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area: a regional sales tax, a parking space levy, a regional fuel tax, and high occupancy toll lanes. The business community is clearly ready to speak seriously and specifically about fighting GTHA congestion. In addition, Metrolinx has released a new detailed review of transportation funding tools used around the world to great effect.

CodeRedTO is happy to see the transit funding conversation move forward into specifics, and looks forward to the release of Metrolinx’s Investment Strategy by June 1, 2013.

 

About CodeRedTO: 

CodeRedTO is a volunteer-led transit advocacy group in the GTHA based on the principle of better decisions through better information. We provide facts about transit modes, options, and proposals, to assist GTHA residents in understanding and evaluating transit information and ideas. We are not controlled by any transit agency, elected representative, or business. We receive funding only from Metrolinx earmarked for community conversations, and all other activities are funded through personal donations.

How to Help

JOIN our email list to stay informed!

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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