Building Rome/LRT

- June 4th, 2012

Mayor Jim Watson’s office put together a folder of information for the Sun when we sat down with him and other city officials recently to discuss LRT.

Included in the package, curiously, was a history of the Toronto subway. The Toronto Transit Commission has a web page on milestones with all the significant dates.

The Yonge subway line in Toronto, between Union and Eglington stations, opened in 1954. About a decade later the University Ave. extension opened, and a decade after that the subway was extended to York Mills. The first increment of the Bloor-Danforth line opened in 1966 and east-west extensions went on for the next 14 years.

Watson’s message by providing the Toronto information is, as he’s said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With all this talk recently of extending LRT west past Tunney’s Pasture and east into Orléans, Watson has been trying to keep focus on the task at hand, building 12.5 km of rail across the core.

It’s a sobering thought that young workers who live outside the greenbelt might never ride LRT to work downtown in their careers. Depending on municipal affordability and funding from other governments, the Tunney’s Pasture-Blair line could be the LRT line for years and years.

Categories: Transit

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4 comments

  1. CF Howard says:

    The Toronto subway was built where people worked and lived. It was not built near the Don or Humber Rivers like the Mayor wants the LRT to be built on NCC parkland. The “C” train in Calgary has ugly overhead wires and located in industrial areas, also near where people live and work, not on a park.

    City planners and engineers originally wanted the tunnel to be built 12 stories down, unlike Toronto built one or two stories down. This idea is enough to have resulted in firing of some city staffers.

    Toronto did not already have great dedicated bus roadways and an “O” train. GO trains were added later and are not on parkland.
    We do not need 3 costly public transit systems.

    This City has not proven it can manage any capital projects. Look at Rink of Dreams, double the estimated cost. Carp bridge $ one million more than budget. Strandherd bridge on hold. Bridge over Airport aprkway being torn down.

    Estimates for LRT have incraesed by a factor of 5 to 7 in just 4 years.

    The $2.1 billion cost will end up being double based on history.
    And this does not even extend to kanata or Orleans.

  2. Phil says:

    Yep! And we all had a great chance to foster change in the last election. But what did the the enlightened citizens of Ottawa do? Re-elected same old, same old. Ottawans couldn’t find change if it bites them on the nose. And this is exactly why when my mortgage is complete in a few years, I’m heading for the hills.

    Compound this with the fiasco of re-electing McLiar for the 3rd consecutive time, I’m beginning to think the people of Ontario, in general, have no clue.

    It’s going to be a hard fought battle but I will continue to search for a place to live where common sense, fiscal accountability, where people can be people without fear of the nanny state regulating every aspect of one’s life are the dominant forces that prevail.

    Call me naive, but there has to be a better place in Canada where I can plant my roots and grow without being stifled by heavy handed government.

  3. ben novak says:

    To compare the Toronto “subway” to our need to create a flexible LRT system, one that can function under various service conditions, in a city that has virtually no similarity in structure or size to Toronto is at best disingenuous. Ottawa resembles much more many of the medium-size US cities that built practical low cost on surface LRT systems. We should admit that we are in a special situation of or own making requiring imaginative planning and thinking, and open discussion. To build anything resembling heavy rail subway systems will be a costly mistake and essentially delay all future expansion.

  4. Phil says:

    Well Ben,

    You just gave reasons why in Ottawa this will fail under the current council. You said: “…we are in a special situation of or own making requiring imaginative planning and thinking, and open discussion.”

    Imaginative planning and thinking? Open discussion?

    Good luck with that!

    Phil

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