Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Details of St. Clair W. ROW Decision

The City Clerk has been kind enough to send me a letter indicating where to find the details of Council's decision on the infamous St. Clair W. right-of-way. Here is the link:

Policy and Finance Committee Report 7, Clause 1

A few comments:

A recommended read - I would highly recommend reading the document. It is the product of our local democracy - for better of for worse - and will give you a more accurate view of the whole project than reading snippets in the newspapers.

Amendments explained (sort of) - The Star's report after the council vote referred to amendment with respect to:

a. The maintenance of parking spaces during the project AND
b. The establishment of bicycle lanes

It is not clear what binding force these have. The amendment on parking appears firmer - as the text covers specific measures and financing. The status of bicylce lanes is not as clear. In this case, there is only a request to study using narrower lanes (as on Queen St. W).

The benefits of participating - A number of elements in the amendment/decision do reflect some of the concerns and ideas that I raised in emails with committee members and in my deputation:

a. The TTC is being asked to report on the cost of replacing the aging streetcar fleet with respect to the 25 life span of the report.

This is an issue I raised in my deputation to the committees. Within the 25 -year horizon, the CLRVs will first need to be rebuilt ($1.1 million per CLRV between 2008-2012), and then replaced 10 or so years after that (estimate of $3 million). For 22 CLRVs, this works out to $90.2 million - enough to purchase 150 or so buses. The math just doesn't work - so the TTC suppressed it.

The purpose of this amendment is not clear. The estimated costs for rebuilding and replacing these units are well-known. The process should have mandated a full life-cycle costing of each alternative. In a private business, heads would be rolling on the basis of such an omission.

b. The TTC is being asked to consider giving up their short-turn loops to help defray the loss of parking.

This is something I suggested to Councillor Mihevc - and was raised in at least one other deputation. To me, this is a proof-of-the-pudding question. If the TTC thinks that the ROW will improve service reliability so much - then they should have voluntarily divested themselves of these loops, as they should no longer need them.

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