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Issues & Policies


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UPDATE: Supporting Improved Parking for Mopeds and Scooters

I am pleased to say that City Council has directed the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to consider my motion, seconded by Councillor Berardinetti, to return some common sense to the rules regulating moped and scooter parking in Toronto. This is an important step forward because, as I mentioned to you in my previous update, the committee chair decided he was not interested in considering this item at the most previous committee meeting.

 

The next Public Works meeting will be held on September 20, 2013. No matter where you live in Toronto, I encourage you to contact your local Councillor and the mayor in support of this initiative. When the committee agenda is posted in early September, I will follow up with you so that you can submit comments to the committee on the public record.

 

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Easing Congestion Caused by Rush Hour Deliveries on Busy Streets

Traffic congestion is a significant problem for Toronto's motorists, public transit users and cyclists. Of course, the long-term solution to this problem includes building a more accessible, extensive and efficient public transportation system in addition to encouraging car-pooling and cycling. But, in the meantime, whether one is a motorist or a surface transit user, it is infuriating to see a large delivery vehicle blocking an entire lane of traffic during rush hour. My motion requests staff to study the possibility of banning delivery trucks from stopping on main streets during rush hours.

   

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Bringing Common Sense to Parking Enforcement

Some parking infractions do not warrant the same level of police enforcement as others. An illegally parked car on a quiet street with surplus spots is less of a problem than an illegally parked car or stopped delivery vehicle on an arterial road. Vehicles illegally parked or stopped on arterial curb lanes can delay thousands of drivers and transit riders. My motion to bring a common sense approach to parking enforcement was approved by City Council in July 2013 and a request for action was forwarded to the Toronto Police Services Board.

   

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Council Rejects Fully-Funded Scarborough LRT Plan, Supports Tax hike and Higher Debt

This week council chose to reopen the City of Toronto's agreement with Metrolinx to construct a fully-funded seven-stop, grade-separated Light Rapid Transit (LRT) line and replace it with with an unnecessary three-stop extension of the Bloor-Danforth line that will cost an additional $1 billion. Further, the Mayor and the majority of councillors chose a subway contingent on provincial and federal funding that has not been committed to and now appears in doubt. I do not believe Council should be making costly and important transit infrastructure decisions without a clear plan for how to pay for them and without sound planning policy to support those choices. Due to this irresponsible decision, the Mayor will be asking Council to add more than $560 million dollars to our City's debt load and raise Toronto residents' property taxes to service that debt. I did not, and will not, support this request.

 

The new Scarborough LRT, just like a subway, would have been a completely traffic-separated line. No lanes removed. No traffic lights. No cross streets. This was factually never a streetcar vs subway debate and should not have been characterised as such.

 

The new Bombardier-made LRT trains average 36 km/h — that’s faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines, which average 32 km/h. The Scarborough LRT line was to have been more than two kilometres longer than a subway extension and have four more stops serving major trip generators, including Centennial College. The LRT’s alignment placed it within walking distance to over 20,000 more people than a three-stop subway extension would.

 

The decision to move forward with a subway on this route was based on politics, not sound transit policy. I believe, based on the facts known to us, that our real subway expansion priority is the Downtown Relief Line Subway that would essentially go north/south along Pape and run east/west along King or Queen. Our current transit subway system has urgent capacity challenges already during rush hours and  also has over $2 billion of state-of-good-repair needs. Ultimately, I hear from residents that they want Council to stop reopening plans that make sense and finally move forward with building a transit system that serves Toronto and region's growing population. I will continue fighting for an evidence-based, fiscally-responsible transit plan that includes a thoughtful combination of new subways and LRTs based on honest planning.

 

Please click here to view my op-ed on his subject that appeared in last Friday's Toronto Star.

   

Scarborough rapid transit: The real costs of changing tracks now

Last week Metrolinx asked the City of Toronto to reaffirm its commitment to the Master Agreement signed on November 29, 2012 between Metrolinx, the City of Toronto and the TTC with regard to the Scarborough RT line, the Eglinton Crosstown, the Sheppard East line and the Finch West line. This Master Agreement has been supported by Toronto City Council. We are unfortunately revisiting this issue yet again because Council signalled that it would support converting the Scarborough SRT to a subway even though the current plan is to serve that area with rapid transit in a completely grade-separated right-of-way similar to the Allen Rd. open cut which serves a portion of the Yonge-University-Spadina line.

 

As outlined below, it is projected that it will cost at least $1 billion for this needless conversion with no revenue source identified. I was proud to work with my colleagues to challenge the mayor's unfunded subway plan that was based on politics, rather than sound transit planning. I am very disappointed that some of those very same councillors seem to be moving in the same direction. The debate is not between whether Scarborough will get a subway or not. It's about whether Metrolinx will have Toronto's support to finally build new, grade-separated, rapid transit or leave Scarborough residents waiting for the bus.

 

An SRT conversion to a subway, rather than LRT, is clearly fiscally irresponsible. The City of Toronto would end up paying the bill. In fact, it would be many times more costly than the recent $150 million cut the Mayor is suggesting will cause major budget cuts. Where is the money going to come from? Are we willing to deny transit to Finch West? Delay the Downtown Relief Subway Line and current state of good repair priorities? Cut more funds from parks, childcare, the Gardiner or affordable housing? Council already rejected supporting new transit revenue tools. In reality, there is no funding plan for this latest proposal to change tracks.

 

Let's stick to the plan we have and finally get it done.

 

Please see this preliminary fact sheet regarding the potential conversion of the Scarborough SRT to a subway:

 

SRT Stats

  • The new LRT will be in a completely grade-separated right-of-way. No traffic lights. No cross streets. Widely spaced stations.
  • At an average of 36km per hour It will run faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines which average 32km per hour
  • The line will have a capacity to carry 16,000 passengers per hour.
  • It is anticipated that by 2031 the LRT would carry 8,000 passengers per hour leaving it enough capacity to serve the area for many decades to come- the extra capacity offered by a subway won't come close to being needed
  • The LRT would be over two kilometres longer than the subway, have four more stations and is within walking distance to over 20,000 more people- with the possibility to extend the line into Malvern (Centennial College students would not have a stop if the SRT is converted to a subway rather than an LRT)

 

 

Cost Concerns

  • The $500 million cost proponents have cited to convert the SRT to a subway is false
  • As TTC CEO Andy Byford confirmed at Council in May, the cost of the SRT is $1.8 billion
  • The cost of the subway was estimated in a January TTC report (pg 16) at $2.8 billion
  • There is already a $1 billion difference before factoring:
  • Construction of new terminus for Eglinton Crosstown at Kennedy that was to be part of the Scarborough RT will be $320 million
  • $85 million in sunk engineering and design costs
  • Property acquisition
  • Cancellation of Bombadier contract
  • Maintaining the Scarborough RT
  • New design work
  • Cost efficiencies from using the same technology as on Sheppard and Eglinton
  • Significant changes to maintenance and storage facility on Conlins Rd. which has almost finished RFP process
  • Possible new Environmental Assessment
  • Metrolinx is estimating that the costs of these unknowns would total at least $425 million and likely much more

 

Timelines

  • The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Maintenance and Servicing Yard closed on May 7th and Metrolinx, with Infrastructure Ontario, is currently in the process of evaluating the bid proposals.
  • The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Eglinton Crosstown-Scarborough LRT project closed on May 14

 

Councillor Josh Matlow

Ward 22, St. Paul's

City of Toronto

Tel: (416) 338-5252

Fax: (416) 392-0124

100 Queen St. W Suite A17

Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2

www.joshmatlow.ca

   

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