Sunday, October 15, 2006

More on transit - Montreal Transit Priority Network

The National Post is covering the transportation issue in the GTA. The series started on Saturday with a pretty good spread showing how the expressways become - well non-expressways. On Tuesday, Andrew Coyne will be covering the TTC. Well, let's hope it's better than the piece in The Star by Kenneth Kidd a month or so ago.

Kenneth Kidd's 10-point blueprint on transit was an unfortunate rehash of oft-recycled ideas and material. As usual, the vital ingredient of practicality was left out.

It would be great if Toronto could slowly eliminate parking spacing along canals - as has Amsterdam. Unfortunately, we don't have canals along many of our major thoroughfares. This aside from the fact that Amsterdam - a much smaller city that Toronto - is busy building a new subway and a new expressway. It would be great if Toronto could devote more road space to transit without impacting commercial traffic. Unfortunately, many of our arteries already suffer congestion from truck traffic alone.

For ideas on practical transit improvements, we are better to look to Montreal. For example, Montreal is implementing advanced transit priority on most major bus routes. For an investment of $35 million, it anticipates a 10-20% reduction of transit time on 230 km of bus routes. The TTC, in contrast, is spending almost $100 million to derive a similar benefit on a mere 6.5 km stretch of St. Clair West.

See the following from the STM website:

230 km of preferential measures for busesMontréal gives the green light to one of theworld's largest transit priority networks


Tor Poli said...

The prob is not only moving people, but moving goods.
Buses, bad. Streetcars terrible.
Both block cars and trucks which block trucks.
The only way (unhappily maybe) is to move the peeps underground or elevated. Dedicated, off street, bus lanes would be okay.
Subway costs a fortune, but folks can walk a few blocks to work from fixed links. Trucks carrying goods can't.
Gridlock costs $1.8 Billion. If a formula can be found to recapture even a portion of this, we can do it.
The solution (I hate to say it) might be congestion fees for downtown. Would leave streets open. But we need twenty minute subway commutes city wide to make it happen. London has this, we're twenty years away.

J. Albert said...

I'm not sure about congestion fees for downtown. The worst traffic is not downtown - it's around the 401. The exits, entrances and surface streets anywhere from Dixie Rd in Mississauga to the far east end are not of a scale to handle traffic on/off such a massive road. It would have been better to have two smaller arteries spaced out.

I believe we do need a proper subway network. My dad used to work in central London. His commute from far NW London was 25 minutes on the Metropolitain underground line.

The city should consider an outright purchase of one or more rail lines. These could be converted to rapid transit lines running on the surface. It would be interesting to know how much rail freight would need to be displaced. Commuter trains and subway could run on parallel tracks - as in true on a number of London's lines.