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Update from CodeRedTO team

Posted on: January 30th, 2012

Hello CodeRedTO!

This has been a busy week for transit! It started out with trying to get LRT back to the surface so savings could be used for better transit elsewhere, and now many councillors are expressing concerns over wasteful spending on tunnels we don’t need – this is great progress, but we’re not done yet – this is just the beginning! Councillors from Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York are considering their positions and the needs of residents – we need to ensure they’re hearing from us.

So this means we keep up the pressure!

Call your councillor! Ask a friend or loved one to email their councillor! Councillor Stintz, Chair of the TTC, especially needs to hear support from every ward to ensure she stands up for smart transit and not just what the mayor wants — remember they’re responsible to the whole city, not only their wards.

I’m confused – what does it all mean?

It looks like the Mayor may not have enough votes to maintain his “underground-only” plan, and his consultant searching for private money for a Sheppard expansion has said that there’s no way to get the private sector to pay for more than 10-30% of a subway. Metrolinx and the Province are annoyed because Toronto keeps changing plans, and they need a clear decision by City Council to remove this uncertainty. Remember that Council has consistently supported Transit City LRT plans in the past – in 2007 and twice in 2009. Their next vote can clinch it if they can agree on one clear proposal, and the Mayor can’t stop it if he doesn’t have the votes. The brutal truth though is that we can’t have everything. CodeRedTO strongly recommends focusing on Eglinton LRT + Scarborough RT replacement, and Finch West LRT or Upgradable BRT first.

Key Messages for Councillors:

(1) with limited funds, we need to make smart rapid transit decisions for Toronto, and not waste a ton of money where it’s not needed;

(2) Finch has the busiest bus routes in the city and needs rapid transit;

(3) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can improve Finch very quickly at low cost, but must be built so that future LRT upgrades are possible when needed. Just painting a new line on the road isn’t enough.

 

Call your Councillor now! 
Find their number here: http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp

 

New Email List Members!

This week we’ve seen many new additions to our email list! Welcome everyone! Our first big “ask” was last week: please visit http://files.coderedto.com and use the flyers to contact your councillors and friends! Tell them about the rational transit you want to see!

CodeRedTO Public Outreach

In just a few weeks we are seeing amazing public outreach and activity withinCodeRedTO and other groups — canvassing on Finch West talking to residents and commuters, a group planning to hold events to highlight funding problems that transit systems face, multiuple City Councillors publishing explanations of their reasons for supporting a system similar to Transit City, and plenty of news coverage too. This is the time to keep that pressure up, so jump in with your ideas! Want to canvass too? It’s much easier than you think: just print out some flyers and you can hand them out and people can look at them later – not very scary! All these actions collectively build better understanding of transit needs throughout Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York!

Why do we care so much about this?

A story to tell your friends and family to explain why this is important: Friday, January 27th, was the very last run of the “H4” subway train. That was the one with the orange cushion vinyl seats and no air conditioning. This train was ordered in 1973, and provided over 35 years of service on the Yonge, Spadina, and Bloor-Danforth lines. That means a decision made by City Council and the TTC almost 40 years ago had an impact in 2012! That’s why we have to make smart decisions today so that transit in 2020, 2030, 2040 works for more Torontonians in different parts of the city.

Thanks for reading. The future is not yet written, and you can help council make smart decisions – but only if you speak up. Email, call, or visit your councillor! Tell them what’s important to you. Remember to contact info@coderedto.com any time if you need more information – we want to help you and Toronto needs your help!

 

Call your Councillor now! 

Find their number here: http://app.toronto.ca/wards/jsp/wards.jsp

 

Have a great weekend!

Cameron

for CodeRedTO

Welcome to CodeRedTO

Posted on: January 20th, 2012

Hello friends of CodeRedTO!

Short version:

– CHECK IT: new website coming soon!
– PRINT IT: take the flyer linked below and spread it around!
– DO IT: contact your councillor plus one friend who doesn’t live downtown!

Long version:

“This spirit of compromise is why Toronto is such a great city,” said Councillor James Pasternak after the final budget vote on Jan. 17.

For City Hall-watchers, Tuesday was quite the day. Mayor Ford’s budget was amended significantly by council. He got his wish to limit the inflation-adjustment of property tax rates to only 2.5% (less than inflation), but he lost almost every other vote on cuts. Services were saved by councillors using existing funds, by moving them around smartly to reflect the priorities of their constituents.

This is significant not just because of the votes, but because of who led the charge: council’s formerly-“mushy” middle. These councillors, many new on council this term, have voted both for and against the Mayor. Tuesday they were *mighty*, and solidly on the side of city *building*.

Now that the budget is out of the way, let’s give them a new opportunity to spend existing funds in a smarter fashion – through an improved rapid transit plan!

The Transit City plan would have brought new rapid transit options to about 460,000 Toronto residents in 28 wards, while Mayor Ford’s idea – still not approved by council – covers less than half the distance, less than half the population, and less than half the wards! But at the same price. This is not a smart use of Ontario and Toronto taxpayer funds.

We’ve created some resources – now we need your help.

– Our new website launches soon, bringing the SaveTransityCity.com and CodeRedTO.com banners together as CodeRedTO, with the goal of bring a large *smart* portion of Transit City back to life. Watch for it coming soon!

– We’ve created an updated two-page flyer which makes the case for a smarter use of funding and a smarter use of space. You can see it here: http://files.coderedto.com

YOUR THREE STEPS TO BETTER RAPID TRANSIT:

1. PRINT THIS FLYER, and put it up somewhere for people to learn more about rapid transit options. If you can, print out many and get them somewhere visible outside of downtown. Don’t litter! http://files.coderedto.com

2. TALK TO ONE FRIEND OR RELATIVE in Etobicoke, Scarborough, or North York. Find out how much they know about rapid transit, and tell them what plan you want to see. If they stump you let us know – maybe there’s some useful information we can provide!

3. CALL YOUR CITY COUNCILLOR. This one is tough: if you live downtown you might think your councillor doesn’t need your call, and if you live outside downtown you might think your councillor is a lost cause. Both things are untrue. City councillors need to hear from you, especially if you live near a proposed rapid transit line. They are hearing from local businesses, retirees, talk-radio listeners and complainers ALL DAY LONG! Give them some positives to talk about! Make it personal and tell them why you think LRT would be better for your commute, and for drivers, and for kids, and for local businesses. Note: Twitter doesn’t count; make it a real phone call!

4. BONUS FOURTH STEP: write back and tell us how your conversations went!

We Can Do This. But not without some effort. Unlike cuts, which were ruled out during the election, the Mayor was always clear about his transit goals (even though they weren’t realistic). We need to show councillors that his goals are not realistic, not wanted and not smart for Toronto. And we have to do it FAST – votes are coming soon!

If you need info, email info@coderedto.com at any time. We’ll do our best to help!

Let’s go!

Cameron
for CodeRedTO

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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