In the noise and excitement around the reconfiguration of the TTC board today at City Council, one lesser reported item was Councillor Nunziata’s motion that sparked, what she called, "the comedy hour":
11 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Frances Nunziata (Final)
That the Executive Committee recommendations be deleted and that City Council adopt the following instead:1. City Council request the Province of Ontario to transfer responsibility for the Toronto Transit Commission to Metrolinx.
Councillor Mammoliti ran with the motion, making some grand gestures about how horribly the TTC is run and how great of an idea this is. Councillor Ainslie may also support the idea, with a tweet earlier in the day about having “too many transit agencies” in the GTA.
Be careful what you wish for.
If the suburbs of Toronto think they’re being ignored now on the transit file, imagine Scarborough and Etobicoke being up against Mississauga or York Region for a share of transit funding. With a limited pot of money, would subways on Finch or Sheppard even get a penny against more reasonable requests for density-appropriate rapid transit throughout the region?
It also raises a concern if something isn’t built on Finch or Sheppard Avenues now. Mammoliti seems to be content with waiting fifty years, but consider this: York Region is building bus rapid transit on Highway 7 now. The BRT, and eventual LRT (through low-cost conversion of the right-of-way) will transform that corridor into a mixed-use, transit-oriented, higher density avenue. It would very likely pull development from nearby transit-starved areas - like a Finch Avenue or Sheppard East. So in fifty years, which corridor would be more suitable for a subway? The one that embraced an appropriate form of rapid transit and has progressively intensified? Or the one that said no based upon false promises and bravado? Even with Toronto in charge of its own transit, I’d say the odds would be slim for Finch/Sheppard. What are the odds if it wasn’t?
Ever since @habitualpixel posted this article from Gizmodo on these gigantic structures being built in the deserts of China, I’ve been intrigued on what the heck they could be. I did a bit more digging into Google Earth’s historic aerials and found some earlier shots of the whatevertheheckitis.
Here’s the site in 2003: pristine and desert-y:
Then boom, they’re building this thing in April 2005, which proves it’s actually a thing, and not some weird trick Google is playing on us:
And in less than a month, in May 2005, they’re finished. It should be noted that there wasn’t any other period where aerial images were a month apart. Someone clearly wanted this documented:
So what the heck is it? My theory, it was part of a test to see if they could dress up the desert like the Bird’s Nest Stadium in advance of the 2008 Olympics. Got a better theory?
Google Maps: See for yourself
Metrolinx tweeted this afternoon to invite the public to participate in a survey on the Union-Pearson Air Rail Link, which is due for completion in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Few details have been released, but the survey gives a glimpse of what they’re planning for service and amenities.
There’s also some renderings, which is the first time I’ve seen these, so thought I would share with those unwilling to slog through a fairly lengthy survey.
Pearson Airport (Terminal 1) Waiting Lounge
Platform/Boarding Area (I assume at Pearson)
Union Station Waiting Lounge
Today, reports came out quoting Doug Ford, speaking on behalf of the Mayor’s Office, saying that they received a proposal from a group to initiate a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, which was "quickly rejected".
Disappointing is understating my reaction to the story.
There are plenty of arguments against hosting the Olympics. The main argument, and the one being made by the Fords, is that it costs too much money. Well it is true that massive amounts of money are spent to what may be a three-week party, most of that money is spent on infrastructure, like new sporting facilities and expanded public transit. These provide lasting benefits for the City, especially when planned right.
Toronto has bid twice for the Olympics - the first time for the 1996 games (which went to Atlanta) and then the ill-timed bid for the 2008 games (which went to Beijing). Toronto’s bid was considered technically superior and financially responsible for the 2008 games - quite simply, politics led to a Chinese win.
So why would Toronto be third time lucky? The 2020 Games offer an opportunity that is unprecedented that give Toronto a major edge if it bid. This includes:
If these reasons don’t persuade the Fords that the Olympic bid is in the City’s best interest, then how about this?
It annoys me to no end that this proposal was “quickly rejected” by the Fords, especially when I had previously thought an Olympic bid would be something they would jump on. It’s a ticket to get things built, a chance to actually create a legacy, and it’s something Chicago wanted to do but hasn’t been able to so we’d be able to be better than Chicago for once. The worst part was the excuse - we don’t have money for a bid.
We do. It’s just in the wrong place - studying the impossible financial feasibility of the Sheppard Subway extension.
Which do you think has better odds at succeeding?