Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bruha over Queen West developments

Mayor Miller is now aiming his jousting gear at the OMB and it's decision to allow developments in the Queen St. West near Gladstone. A local residents's group opposed the development - preferring their own plan.

It's funny, when merchants and resident on another Toronto St. - St. Clair West - put forth their own plan for changes to the transit service on that street, Miller and minions didn't listen. In that case, it was the TTC and City who were proposing the neighbourhood disrupting development - the infamous streetcar right-of-way.

On Queen West, the City is going to court to STOP a development that includes 190 affordable housing units. Cervantes would today be thinking of Mayor Miller as the basis for his character Don Quixote.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fixing the TTC

The Sun has published a summary of remarks by local transit "luminaries" on How can the TTC be Fixed?

I thought I'd rate the remarks:

1. Bob Kinnear

In no way surprising, union president Bob Kinnear wants 'funding, funding, funding...'. Well, seeing that the ATU has swallowed whole just about all of the funding increases over the last few years, this is hardly surprising. The trough of pay and perks for union members can never be full enough. Kinnear sheds some crocodile tears about riders - yeah right!

During the most recent contract negotations, Kinnear actually objected to the TTC using a small amount of money on a service study on linking some routes in the north center of the city down to Castle Frank Station! The message is clear from Mr. Kinnear - the money belongs to the unions. (And why not, they've paid lock, stock and barrel for the Mayor.)

Surprisingly, Kinnear comes up with an idea that the TTC brass are loathe to consider - express bus service to key stations on the subway. The TTC hate express buses: the reason, they can work. Montreal has about 20 specialized bus routes - compared to a measly 7 or 8 in the larger Toronto.

Funny how TTC studies always seem to say these are too expensive to run.

2. Richard Soberman

U of T professor Soberman always shows up somewhere. Soberman has discussed the Spadina 'LRT' - and his comments are bang on - the service is 'not effective transit'. It's no surprise that Soberman wasn't part of the St. Clair study. This was purposeful - to make it easier for the scheme to be slammed up the derrieres of residents and businesses.

I believe Soberman is right, the TTC/City should use enforcement and other measures to keep transit lanes clear - without resorting to neighbourhood death sentences like the St. Clair W debacle. They do it in Montreal!

3. Adam Giambrone

Giambrone is an inprovement of his predescessor as TTC Chair. Well, anyone would be. hmm - he wants the TTC to expand its network of LRTs.

ADAM - the TTC has no LRT - it only has streetcars. If you want to see LRT, go to Calgary or St. Louis. Look's like he's bought into TTC self-delusion/rabid LRT lobbying already. (The snakeoil salesman at Bombardier are good aren't they.)

4. Rob McIsaac:

The GTTA chief sees the St. Clair debacle as the better way.

HEY Rob, would your Oakville/Burlington friends be so excited about something that saved 1-minute on their average trip to work? Why do you think it's such a good deal for us?

5. David Gunn

I have a lot of respect for David Gunn. I believe things would be remarkly different has he stayed and Moscoe had been pushed out instead. After Gunn departed, TTC operating costs per rider exploded AND service relaiability has suffered. TTC professional management turned into Moscoe's lapdogs. Eventually, Gunn's successor Rick Ducharme got tired of the BS too.

6. Donna Cansfieild

Cansfield's candour is to be commended if the article is reflecting her thoughts"

The provincial transport head honcho knows the TTC isn't perfect, but she feels the commission took a big step in the right direction late last year when Giambrone took the chairman's post.

Well - remarkable lucidity from a transporation rookie.

7. Steve Munro

Munro a long time TTC advocate and critic. I agree with many of his criticisms of the TTC - however, in his blog he often misses the mark.

At least in his comments here, he's not suggesting streetcars as a solution to all the world's ills.