Friday, May 20, 2005

Spadina Subway extension - a good idea?

It's been a quiet week or so on the Toronto scene. Perhaps the fuss going on in the nation's capital has drowned out local goings on.

Regardless, there are some Toronto issues that are always simmering on in the background - an example being the proposal/plan/wish to extend the Spadina subway line north and west to York University and beyond.

Now, no one who's been stuck up in that corner of the city could argue that it hasn't significant traffic problems. However, the real traffic problem appears to be caused by freight traffic. The area is home to many warehouses. It's close to the airport, the 401, 427, 407 and 409 highways. Conversely, there are few significant residential or commercial office concentrations. Other than the presence of York University itself, the area appears to be a poor fit for a subway.

Rather that buidling a tube to carry people to and from the corner of the city, a batter idea may be to build tubes to carry freight. The type of industries and warehouse facilities in the area would seem ideal for the implementation of a system of automated freight guideways that would run underground.

The benefit of moving freight underground (as opposed to people) is that freight tunnels do not require the same environmental controls as do people-moving subways.

Palleted freight could be moved by automated electric vehicles - programmed to moved from origin to destination. This system would greatly reduce the number of LTL (less than trialerload) movements. This would save siginificant energy and labour expenses. The potential savings for businesses might even mean that the contruction could be privately financed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am sure there are many solutions to the problem, which should have been completed before our great city turned into a parking lot.

Here are some off the top of my head...
-- more subways (bite the bullet on the billions it will cost and build them), I am sure we will save money from all the smog related health problems we are getting
-- the public are not going to move into expensive downtown, specially with the cost of housing, so why not more bus only lanes? how about a train right across the 401? with linking bus lanes North South?
-- if you don't work in the core of the city, your out of luck taking the TTC. If you do it will take you over 2 hours to get from the burbs to your location

There are only a few simple ideas that would seem to make sense.