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Issues & Policies

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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Thank You for Supporting Taking Action on the Roots of Youth Violence at City Hall!

Dear friends,

 

I am pleased to share with you the news that the Toronto Youth Equity Framework was approved unanimously by Toronto's Community Development and Recreation Committee this afternoon. It will now go to City Council's July 16 meeting for final approval.

 

Thank you so much to each of you who invested time and effort to support this important initiative. Your contribution was invaluable whether you visited City Hall and spoke to the committee members today, wrote a letter to your local councillor, or spoke with your friends and colleagues about the importance of taking action to address the roots of youth violence. I also deeply appreciate all the thoughtful insights and advice I received from engaged community members like you.

 

But this is only the first step and it will take continued, collaborative work to make real progress on this important priority for our City. Please write to the Mayor and your local councillor and urge them to support the Toronto Youth Equity Framework at City Council.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

UPDATE: Supporting Improved Parking for Mopeds and Scooters

Dear friends,

 

As I mentioned to you in my previous update, my motion to return some common sense to the rules regulating moped and scooter parking was sent to the chair and members of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee and Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, a member of that committee, was prepared to move it on my behalf at their meeting today. However, the committee chair, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, decided that he was not interested in considering the item today and adjourned the meeting before Councillor Berardinetti had an opportunity to present it.

 

I will not allow petty politics to prevent us from doing the right thing. Therefore, I intend to bring my motion to the July meeting of City Council to direct the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to consider this item. Unfortunately, because the summer is upon us and due to Councillor Minnan-Wong's actions, our motion will not be able to be debated by the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee until their next meeting in September.

 

No matter where you live in Toronto, I encourage you to contact your local Councillor and the mayor in support of this initiative. As we get closer to the July meeting of City Council, I will follow up with you to ensure that you continue to be informed.

 

Onwards,

 

 

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul's
Tel: 416-392-7906
www.joshmatlow.ca

   

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Traffic Light Synchronization in Toronto?

June 12, 2013

 

Jim Kenzie

Toronto Star

 

Toronto City Council voted recently to spend upwards of eleven million dollars on traffic light synchronization in the city.

 

Wait a minute...

 

When I went to university - yes, there were cars then - we ('we' because we carpooled, dontcha know...) knew instantly when the traffic light computer was down because it took way longer to get to U of T from the Bathurst-Lawrence area where I and my fellow carpoolers lived.

 

I also once met the computer salesperson who had just had his territory changed so he missed out on the huge commission from the sale of new traffic computer equipment to the city.

 

So, we had traffic light synchronization computers way back then.

 

What happened??

 

OK, so Toronto grew a little.

 

 

Read more: Traffic Light Synchronization in Toronto?

   

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Traffic Signal Synchronization Approved at Council

Earlier this week, my colleagues passed a motion to improve traffic signal synchronization at City Council. I am pleased that the Mayor and the Chair of Public Works made this a priority in response to my letter of September 2011.

 

Traffic congestion is a significant problem for Toronto's motorists, public transit users and cyclists. This congestion costs the region's economy an estimated $3.3 billion per year while negatively impacting on the quality of life of our residents. The long-term solution to this problem is building a more accessible, extensive and efficient public transportation system.

 

In the meantime, we can take significant steps such as this to improve traffic flow in the short-term.

   

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