Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Toronto City Builders Oppose Subway Upload in Open Letter to Mayor Tory and Council

Posted on: February 21st, 2019

February 21, 2019

For Immediate Release

Toronto, ON—This morning, a group of prominent civic leaders and city builders released a public letter to Mayor John Tory and Toronto City Council members to urge them to defend Toronto’s local subway system against an upload by the provincial government, which they say will weaken the city. The signatories include former mayors of Toronto, including David Crombie, Barbara Hall, Art Eggleton and John Sewell, plus former TTC Chair Maria Augimeri and former Vice Chair Joe Mihevc.

The letter outlines concerns regarding the City’s loss of transit efficiency, planning power and future financial investment potential with the deal, and warns against following the disastrous precedents set in New York City and Melbourne. It says the Mayor and Council must demand greater transparency and justification from the Province, in addition to more time to conduct due diligence and public consultation.

As a signatory to the letter, CodeRedTO is posting the release and letter as a service in the interests of the best possible circulation of the letter. It is available online at www.coderedTO.com (HTML | PDF).

QUOTES

David Miller, Former Mayor of the City of Toronto: “Transportation and transit planning is at the heart of what a city does, and the proposed takeover by the province is simply wrong. The subway was predominantly paid for by the residents of Toronto and TTC riders. It is a crucial local service and it must remain a unified system.”

Richard Florida, Professor, University of Toronto: “The proposed subway upload is an attack on Toronto and threatens to prioritize suburban expansion over expanded ridership in one of North America’s most gridlocked cities. A great city like Toronto needs to be able to govern itself, not have one of its key assets taken over by a Province that is hostile to its needs.”

Patricia Wood, Professor, York University: “The province’s proposal is another blow to local democracy in Toronto. City Council made its position against the upload clear; the province is forging ahead regardless. And the purpose of the upload appears to be to prevent Toronto from having a say in determining its transit priorities. A city of 3 million people should not have so little say in its own development.”

Joe Mihevc, Former Toronto City Councillor, TTC Commissioner and Vice-Chair of TTC Board of Commissioners: “It is noteworthy that the TTC will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1921. The TTC was originally formed precisely to integrate the various privately-owned, disparate systems into a single system that could deliver public transit in an equitable manner. It was a deep step in the building of our city and precisely the reason why the Ontario government’s plan to balkanize its structure and governance needs to be vigorously opposed.”

 

CONTACT

There is no central contact for media requests; please direct all media inquiries and interview requests to signatories directly.

OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR JOHN TORY AND TORONTO CITY COUNCIL

Posted on: February 21st, 2019

Re: Call for due diligence and public hearing on proposed subway upload

February 21, 2019

We urge you to defend our local subway system and the Toronto Transit Commission.

The Premier’s plan to “upload” a multi-billion-dollar asset, heavily paid for by Toronto taxpayers and commuters for decades, will weaken the City in several critical ways:

  • Loss of efficiency: Detaching the most profitable part of an integrated system will result in operational disconnects and service chaos, working against system integration. Local feeder lines will face funding predicaments.
  • Loss of planning power: Toronto will no longer be able to set priorities for new capital projects, and will lose the ability to leverage TTC-owned land, station and real estate assets.
  • Loss of future investment: In relinquishing these transit and land assets, the City will lose the potential to generate revenue (for example through long-term land leases and/or joint development projects) that could be used to invest in city priorities such as more affordable housing, transit, mobility services, parks, etc.

The consequences of this decision will be felt by Torontonians for decades to come, and will have an impact on the political legacies of the present Mayor and City Council members.

The Province has not shared its plans; certainly, no evidence has been offered to explain how the upload will improve transit. So consider the precedents. In New York City, the state-controlled Metropolitan Transit Authority, created in 1965, has done nothing to improve investment, operations, or the quality of governance for the MTA. In Australia and the UK, subway privatization (potentially in the provincial government’s plan) has had dire results for riders.

The TTC—the second-largest system in North America—has been recognized as a leading transit agency. It is fundamental to our city and its economy. Toronto is the primary engine of growth for the region, and what happens in Toronto has enormous impact.

Before proceeding with any further with discussions with the Province, as per the Terms of Reference, the City must demand complete transparency on the Province’s ideas and plans, and insist that the TTC host public meetings to communicate to Torontonians the full range of implications of the upload. Toronto City Council must also make negotiations with the Province contingent on sufficient time being allowed for a due diligence process, and a viable business case that includes a fair and accurate assessment of the value of the TTC’s current and potential assets.

 

Signed,

Maria Augimeri, Former Toronto City Councillor, TTC Chair, TTC Commissioner

Paul Bedford, Former Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Matthew Blackett, Publisher, Spacing

Larry S. Bourne, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Alan Broadbent

Cherise Burda

Robin Cardozo

David Crombie, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

David Crowley

Janet Davis, Former Toronto City Councillor

Sarah Doucette, Former Toronto City Councillor

Robin Edger, Regional Director, Ontario, Pembina Institute

Art Eggleton, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

Richard Florida

Ken Greenberg

Barbara Hall, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

Peter Halsall

Harbord Village Residents’ Association

Dr. Kofi Hope

David Hulchanski, Professor, University of Toronto

Richard Joy

Jennifer Keesmaat, Former Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Matthew Kellway, Former MP, East York-Beaches

Geoff Kettel, Co-Chair, Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations

Ed Levy

Cameron MacLeod, Executive Director, CodeRedTO

Andy Manahan

Joe Mihevc, Former Toronto City Councillor, Vice-Chair of TTC Board of Commissioners, TTC Commissioner

Steve Munro, Transit Advocate

Richard Peddie, Former President and CEO, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

Gil Penalosa, Founder & Chair, 8 80 Cities

Bob Ramsay, RamsayInc.

John Sewell, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

Dr. Richard Soberman

The David Suzuki Foundation

Adam Vaughan, MP, Spadina-Fort York

Patricia Wood, Professor, York University

 

CONTACT

There is no central contact for media requests; please direct all media inquiries and interview requests to signatories directly. As a signatory to the letter, CodeRedTO is posting the release and letter as a service in the interests of the best possible circulation of the letter.

 

View as PDF

CodeRedTO Statement on Upload Terms of Reference

Posted on: February 12th, 2019

CodeRedTO welcomes the transparency of today’s release of the Terms of Reference for the Province’s discussions with the city regarding the TTC. The complexity of the document is a good indication of the complexity of this proposal. Disassembling the integrated TTC network would be a multi-year project without a guaranteed benefit, and serious concerns remain unaddressed in this document.

The city and province agreed in their problem statement that there is a need for a “long-term, sustainable, predictable funding model.” However, the allowable options do not include simply improving funding for transit, as has been universally supported over the last decade by BIAs, Boards of Trade, transit riders, transportation planners and researchers.

Transfer of ownership is not necessary to fund operations or capital expansion. We encourage the province to consider creating new dedicated revenue streams, as we see in almost all other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States. We know this is a factor in transit success and sustainability. We fear these discussions will needlessly complicate the situation and distract from the real problem.

The TTC is the largest, most integrated transit system in the region. It carries more riders than GO transit and all other municipalities’ systems put together. Toronto has the best mode share for public transit in the region. There are options under consideration that would reduce the TTC’s integration. While it has to role to play for commuters from outside the city, the vast majority of the TTC’s riders are Toronto residents. It is an essential component of the city’s economy. Any alterations to its structure should be approached with caution and should be accompanied by a compelling and public rationale.

Accountability and transparency are also listed as a principle, but this is not supported elsewhere in the document. The assumption of planning, data storage, committee structure, and decisions are all oriented toward the provincial ministry and Metrolinx, neither of which has any electoral accountability to the City of Toronto, nor any legal requirements for transparency and open decision-making. We would like to see city agencies directly involved, as it is difficult to assess this principle from the other side of a closed door.

The overriding situation remains that a forced disassembly of the TTC’s integrated system would be a multi-year, complex project with no guaranteed solution on what the province agrees is a key problem: long-term, sustainable, predictable funding. It is imperative that any discussions address this gap.

Transit News Bites

Posted on: November 30th, 2018

CodeRedTO’s recent report Mixed Signals release appeared in several places, and other transit conversations have appeared across many television and radio stations and podcasts that may be of interest:

Audio:

Print:

Video:

 

MIXED SIGNALS: Toronto Transit in a North American Context

Posted on: November 20th, 2018

Low Funding and Lack of Dedicated Revenue Sources Put Toronto Transit at Risk

Toronto has an overly-simple rail network and the lowest overall subsidy (30.4%) in North America, and has no dedicated revenue sources, unlike most peer transit systems both older and younger, which leave our network uniquely vulnerable to political obstruction.

TORONTO, ON, November 20, 2018 Today at City Hall, non-partisan transit advocacy group CodeRedTO released
Mixed Signals: Toronto Transit in a North American Context (PDF), a report which contrasts Toronto’s fares, network design, operating budget, and governance structure with seven other peer cities across North America. In this report, we find Toronto’s strong transit ridership and reputation were achieved despite the lowest subsidy rate of any North American city, no dedicated revenue sources, overly politicized administrative structures, and a bias toward suburban tunneled extensions over core network complexity.

CodeRedTO releases this report after the campaign period to allow both the public and legislators to review meaningful comparator city data at this critical moment, when proposals are circulating from governments and civil society about how to address structural issues affecting transit in the GTHA.

“Toronto and Queen’s Park are proposing change which will not resolve key vulnerabilities in Toronto’s transit: its low level of subsidy and lack of dedicated revenue,” said Cameron MacLeod, Executive Director of CodeRedTO. “Nothing is more crucial than resolving decades of underfunding and poor network design. Tangible increases to service levels, improvements to passes and fares, and funding to build a more complete network all demand our immediate attention.” Patricia Wood, a co-author on the report, added, “Local transit is starved for operations funding in the GTHA. Better governance could help, but a complex ‘upload’ isn’t the answer. Metrolinx needs to be more accountable to the region, and Toronto should be represented on its board.”

Eighteen months in the making, this report brings together research, design, and subject matter expertise from outside transit agency and political party structures, allowing data to be used to inform policy discussions for all.

This report is released under a Creative Commons license, allowing free access to use and adapt its contents in any way, as long as any derivative work is similarly released. This will increase the ability of all transit advocacy groups and interested parties without favour. The report can be downloaded at www.CodeRedTO.com.

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About CodeRedTO

CodeRedTO was founded in 2011 as a consciously non-partisan, non-profit, volunteer-run advocate for local and regional public transit. We promote more and better transit options for more residents; using all available technologies where appropriate; creating better information for better decision-making; completion of efficient and approved plans; and increased, predictable funding for public transit expansion and operation. CodeRedTO is funded through personal donations and grants from non-profits, and directed by an advisory board with no financial interest in any transportation projects or agencies. Learn more at www.CodeRedTO.com and follow us @CodeRedTO.

For further information:
Cameron MacLeod
Executive Director, CodeRedTO
info@CodeRedTO.com

King Street Pilot Initial Results

Posted on: December 4th, 2017

Strong return on investment for the #KingStreetPilot according to data analyzed by the University of Toronto. Thousands are saving time daily.

“The King St. pilot project has caused dramatic improvements in travel times and reliability on the TTC’s busiest streetcar route, according to data analyzed by University of Toronto researchers.

The statistics show that during the evening rush hour period of 4 to 7 p.m., the mean travel time for westbound streetcars in the pilot area has been cut by 24 per cent, to 17.3 minutes, from 22.8 minutes before the pilot began. The mean travel time for eastbound streetcars has been reduced by 20 per cent, to 16.4 minutes from 20.6 minutes.

The figures suggest a remarkable return on investment in terms of transit service for a project that cost just $1.5 million to implement.”

King St. pilot project has slashed streetcar travel times, statistics show (Toronto Star)

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.

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, not just small extensions that use up all the budget.

Contact us at info@CodeRedTO.com

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