The Year in Transit

Posted on: December 20th, 2022

January

Ontario government will investigate controversial contracts Metrolinx gave to a consulting firm whose director was a VP at the transit agency
The provincial government will investigate Metrolinx’s decision to award contracts worth millions of dollars to a consulting firm while one of the firm’s directors was also serving as an executive at the transit agency.

(Two days later he resigned)

February

A report on the mayor’s transit plan mistakenly included inflated numbers. City staff knew but failed to fix them before council voted
Senior city of Toronto staff knowingly presented council with figures that exaggerated the benefits of Mayor John Tory’s signature transit plan ahead of an important vote in 2021. Deputy City Manager Tracey Cook signed off on not correcting the record.

(Cook was nearly-unanimously appointed Interim City Manager by City Council the following July)

March

TTC CEO got a 21% raise, and Metrolinx CEO got a 13% raise
TTC CEO Rick Leary made $438,495.91 in 2021, and Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster made $838,960.91.

(more than four times what the Mayor of Toronto and Premier of Ontario receive)

April

Scarborough RT may find new life as a multimillion-dollar dedicated bus lane
TTC staff recommend converting a portion of the Scarborough RT’s right-of-way into a dedicated busway when the RT shuts down at the end of 2023. Thirty-seven years after it opened, the notoriously unreliable RT has already outlived its intended design life by a decade, and is scheduled to be replaced by the province’s controversial three-stop, $5.5-billion Scarborough subway extension. But that project won’t be done until 2030 at the earliest, and in the meantime Scarborough transit riders will be stuck taking buses.

(Beginning in 2023 after the SRT is decommissioned, TTC will run express bus services for at least 7 years)

May

‘Hands off Osgoode Hall,’ Mayor John Tory warns Metrolinx over proposal to tear up historic site for new Ontario Line station
The mayor issued the stern message Tuesday in response to a plan from Metrolinx to tear up a corner of the historic building’s grounds for construction of an entrance for a new Ontario Line subway station.

(update: in November 2022, the plan to carve open the 170-year-old green space was put “on hold”)

June

Plans for another smaller, stand-alone Scarborough rail line draw fire
Staff are proposing a “distinct service” concept that would convert the Eglinton East LRT into a stand-alone line that would be operated with smaller trains than those on the Crosstown, and require riders to transfer at Kennedy for all other lines.

(Crosstown East was originally proposed in 2007 as a separate line called the Scarborough-Malvern LRT)

July

A new LRT line is bringing redevelopment — and gentrification fears — to Jane and Finch
A new soon-to-be-completed LRT line along Finch that is expected to push up land values, sparking fears among community members of displacement and gentrification. The Jane and Finch neighbourhood is set to be massively transformed by the new $2.5-billion Finch West light rail transit (LRT) line scheduled to be finished next year.

August

TTC Celebrates 100 Years of Service (video)

TTC chair and councillor Jaye Robinson said in 1921, adult fares at the time of operation were seven cents and tickets were four for 25 cents. Since the service launched 100 years ago, she said it’s estimated more than 32 billion passengers have been transported.

($0.07 in 1921 would be $1.11 in 2022 dollars)

September

Metrolinx admits Eglinton Crosstown will not open in 2022
The long-delayed Eglinton Crosstown LRT has hit yet another snag, with Metrolinx President & CEO Phil Verster confirming on Friday that the project has once again fallen behind schedule, meaning riders will have to wait even longer for the delay-plagued light rail line.

(update: see December)

October

Metrolinx signs 10-year deal with Durham College for naming rights to Oshawa GO station
Oshawa GO station has been renamed ‘Durham College Oshawa GO’ after Metrolinx and Durham College announced they’ve signed a 10-year naming rights deal.

(Durham College is a 20-30 minute GO Bus ride from the station)

November

Ottawa LRT Public Inquiry Final Report released
“The inescapable conclusion is that [City Manager] Kanellakos deliberately misled Council.” (he resigned two days before the report was released, and therefore does not have to comment or answer questions on the inquiry’s findings)

“The Mayor’s failure to inform Council prevented Council from exercising effective oversight.”
(he did not run for re-election, and therefore does not have to comment or answer questions on the inquiry’s findings)

Private consortium Rideau Transit Group “knowingly provide[d] inaccurate information to the City about when the OLRT1 system would be ready for operation, which resulted in the City communicating unachievable dates to the public.”

(the line opened over a year late, and since has experienced significant shutdowns adding up to 54 days of lost service in the first year)

December

No ‘credible plan’ for completion of Eglinton LRT, says Metrolinx
The consortium building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT says it expects the long-delayed transit project to be completed by March 2023, but the provincial transit agency overseeing the project says that date is “overly ambitious.” In an internal Metrolinx performance report from September 2022 obtained by the Star, Metrolinx said Crosslinx Transit Solutions does not have a “credible plan” to complete the LRT. It ascribed the “continuous slippage of the project’s plan” to the “underperformance” of Crosslinx.

(Originally, construction on the Eglinton Crosstown was to complete in 2020)

Advice to new TTC Commissioners

Posted on: December 15th, 2022

On December 8, the TTC Board held its first meeting of the 2022-2026 term. Members of two significant subcommittees were to be appointed, so CodeRedTO provided some advice to TTC Commissioners on their work over the next four years. An edited version of our Executive Director’s remarks is below.

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The 6ix Fix Podcast

Posted on: May 20th, 2022

Earlier this spring, our Executive Director spoke to a new podcast called The 6ix Fix about all things transit, and you can listen to the high-energy and entertaining episode below. Follow them on Instagram or Spotify.

 

StudentMoveTO Symposium 2022

Posted on: May 17th, 2022

Research collaboration group StudentMoveTO is holding a two-day symposium and seminar event June 3 at York University and June 4 at Toronto Metropolitan University, on student travel in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). This event will feature conversations, presentations, debates, and panel discussions from a diverse body of researchers, academic leaders, policy makers and advocates, to discuss insights from the StudentMoveTO study and their implications for creating better transportation services in this region, and improving student well-being. CodeRedTO will be moderating a discussion panel on June 4th, on linking learning to mobility and vice versa.

This event is open to anyone interested in transportation planning in the GTHA. Researchers, students, urban planners, policy makers, transportation advocates, and the broader public are welcome to attend. Registration is free – space is limited.

 

2022 Ontario Election

Posted on: April 2nd, 2022

Early in 2022, CodeRedTO was approached by a provincial political party for our advice on selected transit topics. As a non-partisan advocacy group, our advice is available to all, and our responses can be found below.

The growth and operation of our public transit systems across Ontario depends quite heavily on the provincial government’s choices and priorities. Those priorities frequently change as is shown below, leading to delayed improvements, increased congestion, and increased emissions.

Promises

As a review, here are the new transit promises and changes to existing plans in the winning party’s platform in each of the last four elections. Changes announced outside of election campaigns are excluded.

2007:

  • Yonge North Subway expansion to Highway 7
  • Increasing speed and reducing emissions by electrifying the GO Lakeshore line and expanding capacity on all GO lines
  • Expanded express bus service across Highway 407
  • Two rapid transit lines across Hamilton
  • Toronto’s full seven-line Transit City LRT network

2011:

  • full-day two-way GO service on all corridors
  • GO refund for delays of 15 minutes (in service)

2014:

  • Expansion of GO all-day, two-way service, including regional express service every 15 minutes, and electrification on all lines starting with the UnionPearson Express (some elements under construction)
  • Expansion of GO service to Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph (in service)
  • Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit (in planning)
  • Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit (in planning)
  • Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit (in planning)
  • Hamilton Rapid Transit (funded, in planning)
  • Hurontario-Main LRT (under construction)
  • East Bayfront LRT (unfunded)
  • Relief line (rebranded Ontario Line by later government, funded, begins construction in 2022)
  • Yonge North Subway expansion to York Region (in planning)

2018:

  • Line 4 Sheppard extension
  • All expansions to Crosstown will be underground only

Questions

Below are the questions provided to CodeRedTO, and our responses. We hope this information is helpful for all candidates.

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Line 3 Scarborough bus replacement options

Posted on: October 12th, 2021

The TTC is seeking feedback on future Line 3 bus replacement service when the line closes in 2023, and would like to share and seek feedback on a shortlist of bus routing options for the Line 3 bus replacement service. Your feedback, along with technical work, will help the TTC develop the final recommended plan that will be presented to the TTC Board in January 2022 for approval. Visit line3bus.ca or see details below to learn more and ways to share your feedback.

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EVENT SEPTEMBER 27: Christof Spieler, author of “Trains, Buses, People”

Posted on: August 30th, 2021

CodeRedTO welcomes back Christof Spieler, author of “Trains, Buses, People, Second Edition: An Opinionated Atlas of US and Canadian Transit“, to speak with our community September 27th about lessons Toronto and the GTHA could learn from other cities’ experiences. If we want to learn, that is.

Register to join us September 27th at 8pm via Zoom link.
(Use code CODEREDTO2021 for 20% off preorders at SpacingStore.ca and stick around for some “door” prizes!)

Book cover for the second edition

Trains, Buses, People, Second Edition: An Opinionated Atlas of US and Canadian Transit


Christof Spieler is an engineer and planner, a senior lecturer at Rice University in the architecture and engineering schools, and spent eight years on the board of Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO). He’s also a member of the American Public Transit Association’s Sustainability and Urban Design Working Group, which drafts national standards on transit and urban design, a contributor to NACTO’s Transit Street Design Guide, a member of the Central Houston Transportation Committee, and a board member at TransitCenter in New York.

Christof Spieler presented at a CodeRedTO event in 2019 and we are thrilled to welcome him back (virtually!) to launch “Trains, Buses, People, Second Edition: An Opinionated Atlas of US and Canadian Transit“, which now covers every rail transit and bus rapid transit system in the United States and Canada!

“For all of their hardcore infrastructure, urban transit networks are essentially human creations, and understanding what makes them successful is essential for building successful cities. Supported by urban histories and incisively presented data, Christof Spieler sets the rules of engagement for effective transit and offers a roadmap for achieving it.” — Janette Sadik-Khan, former NYC Transportation Commissioner

Register to join us September 27th at 8pm via Zoom link.

A Post-Vaccine World Needs Strong Public Transit

Posted on: January 4th, 2021

 

Opinion by Cameron MacLeod
Executive Director, CodeRedTO

In response to losing up to 90% of their ridership and revenue due to Covid-19 last spring, transit systems across North America suspended up to 90% of their service. However, they retained easily 90% of their costs. Resulting budget shortfalls led to dire warnings about the end of public transit as we know it. As 2020 ends, many agencies have restored significant service levels, and governments have provided cash infusions to mostly replace missing fare revenue. These are positive signs, but transit remains at risk.

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Ward 17 Don Valley North Transit Town Hall

Posted on: July 9th, 2019

On July 8, CodeRedTO presented on preparing for future transit conversations, at Councillor Shelley Carroll’s Transit Town Hall.
Click here to download the full presentation.

CodeRedTO Executive Director Cameron MacLeod discusses carbon emissions and physical space impacts.

CodeRedTO advisor Professor Patricia Wood walks through how transit decision-making processes can perform better for us.

Reviewing feedback and learnings from attendees helps improve content in future.

CodeRedTO Statement on Sidewalk Toronto Proposal

Posted on: June 25th, 2019

Over the last six months, CodeRedTO has participated in Sidewalk Toronto’s consultations with stakeholders, community groups, and residents. The new proposal centres the vital and much-delayed Waterfront East LRT.

CodeRedTO regularly participates in transit-related consultations on projects, including the Relief Line, the Line 2 East Extension, and SmartTrack. As a non-partisan source of transit research & data, contributing to mobility projects helps improve transit debate in Toronto.

CodeRedTO has no position on proposal topics outside our area of expertise and research. However, the inclusion of waterfront light rail, directly described to us as a “non-negotiable” element, is inarguably positive. No successful waterfront future can depend on private vehicles.

City of Toronto planners have long deemed waterfront light rail a priority. The choice to follow city planners’ lead on higher-order transit service, and the rapid implementation opportunity which follows when funding is identified, is noteworthy.

This proposal’s focus on sustainable, mixed-use transit-oriented development, use of an existing approved but unfunded East Bayfront LRT plan, and explicit minimizing of private car travel, may also provide a useful reference for many choices soon to be made about our public spaces.

Our future is environmentally, economically, and geometrically tied to public transit. We welcome Sidewalk Toronto’s strong commitment to the City’s plan for light rail connecting TO’s core & eastern waterfront. Too long delayed, this LRT line must be part of any waterfront plan.

How to Help

JOIN our email list to stay informed!

LEARN about Transit and why there's room for subways, light rail, and streetcars throughout our region. Combining different modes can often be a great city-building choice for the medium-density and 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, and Waterfront East are achievable if we learn from successful transit networks around the world.

TELL your friends and family that new rapid transit is amazing - it really is! - but unless we stabilize and grow operations funding we risk leaving people waiting for crowded buses for decades longer.

Did you know: The bus routes on Finch carry as many riders per day as the population of North Bay! Routes on Lawrence, Jane, and elsewhere also carry a huge number of riders per day. We are decades behind and need more and better transit options for our residents now, not just small extensions that use up all the budget.

Contact us at info@CodeRedTO.com

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