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?