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My letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways

Below is my response to TTC CEO Andy Byford's reply to my letter requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways.

 

October 7, 2013

 

Dear Mr. Byford,

 

Thank you for your letter dated October 4, 2013 in response to my letter dated September 30, 2013 requesting additional information for the upcoming City Council meeting where future options for rapid transit in Scarborough will be debated. I appreciate the time you and your staff have taken to respond to my concerns with the McCowan Corridor subway extension of the Bloor-Danforth line and your overall dedication to improving public transit for Torontonians.

 

I welcome the information provided in your response on cost issues including the SRT decommission, responsibility for cost escalations and the process for allocating funding for engineering/design work associated with the new Environmental Assessment that would be necessary for the proposed McCowan Corridor subway extension. Your letter was also useful in highlighting a number of determined costs including $30-40 million per year in capital maintenance and unknown costs such as the cancelled Bombardier contract that are not including in the $3.56 Billion estimate contained in the Report from the City Manager on Scarborough Rapid Transit Options.

 

As noted in your letter, detailed planning work has not been undertaken for the McCowan Corridor extension. I was provided a description of the process used in past transit forecasting analysis and specific data from the 2006 Scarborough RT Strategic Plan, but little in the way of specific data, models and methodology used for ridership projections for the McCowan Corridor extension as requested in my letter. The density and trip origin numbers provided contemplated the route alignment of the approved LRT contained in the signed Master agreement between the TTC, City and Metrolinx. If the TTC has generated similar studies for the McCowan Corridor extension used to generate its ridership forecasts for the proposed subway I would request that it is provided to Council as an appendix to CC. 39.5: Scarborough Rapid Transit Options: Reporting on Council Terms and Conditions in the Council meeting agenda.

 

Of particular concern is your revelation that the TTC has not determined overall trip time from point of origin, including time of travel for walking and bus, for the LRT and the proposed McCowan extension given its importance to transit riders and their representatives on Council. As the subway option provides decreased geographic coverage and fewer stops it is likely that many Scarborough residents would confront a longer overall commute with this option than with the LRT. Having this information quantified would be helpful for Councillors and residents.

 

I understand that it is standard practice to perform detailed planning work only after approval for a project is given. However, this is not a standard transit planning exercise. If Council gives Staff permission to move forward studying the subway extension, the only alternative - the fully-funded, shovel-ready Scarborough LRT - is dead. And in four years, if the EA confirms that the Relief Subway is, in fact, a prerequisite for the McCowan Corridor extension or it is determined that it is indeed more of a regional route that Toronto taxpayers should not be funding alone, or the technical studies find it is exorbitantly expensive due to geological features, what do we do? We'll have spent several years studying it and hundreds of millions of dollars keeping the current RT standing with nothing to show for it. Given the risks associated with the decision before Council, the TTC's rationale underpinning the McCowan Corridor extension is inadequate.

 

I appreciate the quick response you provided to my letter and your candour in answering my questions. I look forward to discussing this issue with you further at City Council on October 8, 2013.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh Matlow

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul’s

www.joshmatlow.ca

 

cc:

Joseph Pennachetti, City Manager, City of Toronto

Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner & Executive Director, City Planning, City of Toronto

Bruce McCuaig, President & CEO, Metrolinx

 

Click here to download my response to TTC CEO Andy Byford's reply to my letter requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways as a print-ready PDF.

 


Below is TTC CEO Andy Byford's reply to my letter requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways.

Click here to download the full reply from TTC CEO Andy Byford as a print-ready PDF file.

 


Below is my original letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford requesting more information about the proposed Scarborough subways.

 

Dear Mr. Byford,  At the upcoming October Council meeting my colleagues and I will be asked to overturn a decision that would have delivered the 7 stop Scarborough LRT in a completely traffic-separated right-of-way without traffic lights or cross streets at no cost to the City as per the current Metrolinx Master Agreement in favour of a 3 stop subway extension (as approved at the July Council meeting) for approximately $1 billion to be paid for through property taxes. It is vital that my colleagues and I receive accurate and fulsome technical and financial information from the TTC beforehand. Please make the following information available to City Council and the public:  •	Data, models, assumptions, and methodology used by TTC staff to determine the respective ridership projections for a light-rail conversion and a subway extension including:  o	Trip origin of riders. With each mode of transit, where are the riders expected to start their journey? How many riders are from Scarborough? How many are from other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area?  o	Future density assumptions, identifying where and how growth will occur •	From point of origin including time of travel for walking and bus, what is the average trip time for Scarborough residents from different municipal ward boundaries (or other delineated land parcels) to Yonge/Bloor station using both subway and LRT? •	Cost to the City of project escalation (nominal dollars) associated with the subway extension only, as Metrolinx will pay these costs if Council opts for the LRT plan •	Annual ongoing operating and maintenance costs associated with the subway extension only, as Metrolinx will pay these costs if Council opts for the LRT plan •	The cost of the subway was estimated in a January TTC report (pg 16) at $2.8 billion. Please account for the $500 million cost discrepancy as compared to the figure cited in the July report to Council •	Cost to decommission current SRT •	Cost to cancel Bombardier LRT contract •	Cost and length of time for new Environmental Assessment for the subway extension •	Cost of engineering and design work for the subway extension •	Cost of permanently providing parallel bus service due to wide spacing between subway stations. •	Describe additional pressures on Bloor/Yonge subway and other effects on TTC network resulting from potential Scarborough subway extension o	In particular, how will service quality and travel times be affected for riders travelling on the Yonge line (including those from Scarborough) if the Relief Subway Line does not open at the same time as a Scarborough subway extension? •	Describe need for Automatic Train Control (ATC) that would be triggered by a Scarborough subway extension including the changed timeline for implementation and cost •	Any additional costs associated with the subway? •	How would shifting resources toward a Scarborough subway extension affect the ability of the City to move forward with projects that have been identified as a higher priority including the Relief Line? Would construction costs be driven up? Would locating additional boring machines be an issue? Would current TTC staffing levels be sufficient?  The TTC has requested similar information from Metrolinx to evaluate the provincial subway option in its September 25 report to the TTC Commission.  Please provide the requested information by October 1, 2013 to give Councillors a week to review it prior to the Council meeting. I appreciate your exemplary service for Toronto transit riders and eagerly await your response.  Sincerely,      Josh Matlow Toronto City Councillor Ward 22 – St. Paul’s www.joshmatlow.ca

Click here to download my letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford as a print-ready PDF file.

 

 

 

For ease of reading, I have included a plain text version of my letter below:

 

 

September 25, 2013

 

Dear Mr. Byford,

 

At the upcoming October Council meeting my colleagues and I will be asked to overturn a decision that would have delivered the 7 stop Scarborough LRT in a completely traffic-separated right-of-way without traffic lights or cross streets at no cost to the City as per the current Metrolinx Master Agreement in favour of a 3 stop subway extension (as approved at the July Council meeting) for approximately $1 billion to be paid for through property taxes. It is vital that my colleagues and I receive accurate and fulsome technical and financial information from the TTC beforehand. Please make the following information available to City Council and the public:

 

  • Data, models, assumptions, and methodology used by TTC staff to determine the respective ridership projections for a light-rail conversion and a subway extension including:
    • Trip origin of riders. With each mode of transit, where are the riders expected to start their journey? How many riders are from Scarborough? How many are from other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area?
    • Future density assumptions, identifying where and how growth will occur
  • From point of origin including time of travel for walking and bus, what is the average trip time for Scarborough residents from different municipal ward boundaries (or other delineated land parcels) to Yonge/Bloor station using both subway and LRT?
  • Cost to the City of project escalation (nominal dollars) associated with the subway extension only, as Metrolinx will pay these costs if Council opts for the LRT plan
  • Annual ongoing operating and maintenance costs associated with the subway extension only, as Metrolinx will pay these costs if Council opts for the LRT plan
  • The cost of the subway was estimated in a January TTC report (pg 16) at $2.8 billion. Please account for the $500 million cost discrepancy as compared to the figure cited in the July report to Council
  • Cost to decommission current SRT
  • Cost to cancel Bombardier LRT contract
  • Cost and length of time for new Environmental Assessment for the subway extension
  • Cost of engineering and design work for the subway extension
  • Cost of permanently providing parallel bus service due to wide spacing between subway stations.
  • Describe additional pressures on Bloor/Yonge subway and other effects on TTC network resulting from potential Scarborough subway extension
    • In particular, how will service quality and travel times be affected for riders travelling on the Yonge line (including those from Scarborough) if the Relief Subway Line does not open at the same time as a Scarborough subway extension?
  • Describe need for Automatic Train Control (ATC) that would be triggered by a Scarborough subway extension including the changed timeline for implementation and cost
  • Any additional costs associated with the subway?
  • How would shifting resources toward a Scarborough subway extension affect the ability of the City to move forward with projects that have been identified as a higher priority including the Relief Line? Would construction costs be driven up? Would locating additional boring machines be an issue? Would current TTC staffing levels be sufficient?

 

The TTC has requested similar information from Metrolinx to evaluate the provincial subway option in its September 25 report to the TTC Commission.

 

Please provide the requested information by October 1, 2013 to give Councillors a week to review it prior to the Council meeting. I appreciate your exemplary service for Toronto transit riders and eagerly await your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Josh Matlow

Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul’s

www.joshmatlow.ca

 

cc:

Joseph Pennachetti, City Manager, City of Toronto

Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner & Executive Director, City Planning, City of Toronto

Bruce McCuaig, President & CEO, Metrolinx



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