Posts Tagged ‘transit city

Quotable Quotes: City Council recap

- July 9th, 2012

cityhallpic2

Toronto city council meets this week for the last meeting before the summer break (story on that here). Here’s some of the more memorable quotes from city council meetings during the first six months of 2012:

“That whole meeting was irrelevant.”
- Mayor Rob Ford after city council voted in February to revive most of the Transit City plan.

“The people of this city have spoken loud and clear. They want subways,  folks. They want subways, subways, subways.”
- Mayor Rob Ford during the Sheppard subway vs. Sheppard LRT debate at council in March.

“I think we’re going to get sued.”
- Mayor Rob Ford immediately after Toronto city council voted to ban plastic bags starting January 1, 2013.

“Just get rid of the damn bags!”
- Councillor David Shiner urging councillors to support a bag ban at the June city council meeting.

“This is a vote. We’ll get past it. We’re one city. We need to move forward together.”
- TTC chair Karen Stintz on whether she could work with Mayor Rob Ford after the Sheppard subway vote in March.

“My advice to the taxpayer would be don’t send us any more activists, don’t send us any more unionists, don’t send us any more cyclists … Send us some people down here with good common sense who just want to manage the city’s affairs, that’s what’s needed.”
- Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday in April following a debate on contracting out cleaning jobs.

“F— off.”
- Councillor Gord Perks to Councillor Josh Colle during a debate on gun control in May. He later apologized.

“You just don’t get anywhere with these monkeys.”
- Councillor Doug Ford during the debate over the Sheppard subway in March.

“I apologize for saying monkeys.”
- Councillor Doug Ford after councillors demanded an apology for him calling them monkeys during the Sheppard subway debate in March.

“There is no way that you can say that (Mayor Rob Ford) saved the day, that he won the day. He, frankly, lost the day quite miserably.”
- Councillor Joe Mihevc after the 2012 budget vote at city council in January.

“I have never seen councillors so confused as they are today.”
- Speaker Frances Nunziata to council during the March special council meeting on the Sheppard subway.

Mayor Rob Ford’s “Key Message” on the Return of Transit City

- April 26th, 2012


Mayor Rob Ford outside Toronto City Hall (Toronto Sun files)

Wednesday was a big day for transit in the City of Toronto.

Metrolinx voted (again) to approve the construction of four light rail lines across the city, essentially reviving the Transit City plan Mayor Rob Ford killed on Day 1 in the Year of Our Ford.

Councillor Doug Ford came out swinging. He called Metrolinx’s decision part of a renewed “war on cars” mentality raging across Hogtown (story here).

The mayor didn’t speak publicly on the transit decision Wednesday but his office did send out a “key message” to executive committee councillors. The missive provides some insight into how Mayor Ford will come out dealing with the transit decision that buries his dream (and 2010 election promise) of a subway to Scarborough.

Here’s the full text of the e-mail the mayor’s office sent out to councillors in Ford’s inner circle:

Key Message:

We fully support the Metrolinx recommendation to use Infrastructure Ontario as the lead procurement agency for transit expansion in Toronto.

Background:

Yesterday Metrolinx staff released it’s briefing package (attached) which will be presented to its Board of Directors for approval today. In short, the Metrolinx staff recommendations are:

Move forward with all four LRT lines as envisaged under Transit City:  Eglinton, Scarborough RT replacement, Sheppard and Finch.  Stage the construction as follows:  Eglinton and SRT replacement first, followed by Sheppard and Finch to be completed before 2020.  Procurement on Sheppard would begin with a Request for Qualification issued at year-end 2012, with an RFP issued mid 2013 for closing mid 2014, construction completion by end 2018.  For Finch: RFQ end 2013; RFP out mid 2014 closing mid 2015; construction complete by mid 2019.

Use Infrastructure Ontario (P3 model) on all projects to reduce costs and increase on-time, on-budget certainty.  This means TTC will not be used as the procurement/construction agency, although Metrolinx will continue to work in close cooperation with TTC to ensure the end system is fully integrated and interoperable.

The recommendation, if approved by the Metrolinx board today will go to Cabinet for a final decision.

Talking Points:
•    We fully support the use of Infrastructure Ontario as the primary procurement agency for the province’s transit projects in Toronto.  This will help control costs and maximize efficiency.
•    Moving forward, the TTC should focus on delivering operational and customer service excellence – and not on capital infrastructure planning and construction.
•    The decision to move forward with LRT technology on Finch and Sheppard is the Premier’s to make.
•    If the Premier decides to adopt the Metrolinx recommendations, we will ask Metrolinx to design and build the lines with maximum grade separation and weather protection – this will help increase the speed and ridership of the transit line and minimize the negative impact on Toronto’s already horrible road congestion.
•    The Mayor will continue to push for subways to form the backbone of Toronto’s future plans for rapid transit expansion.

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

Mayor Ford’s Four Priorities:
1 Customer Service Excellence
2 Transparent & Accountable Government
3 Reduced Cost and Size of Government
4 Transportation City

 

TTC chair Karen Stintz wasn’t always a light rail fan

- March 21st, 2012

TTC chair Karen Stintz

TTC chair Karen Stintz waits for the subway at Union Station (Toronto Sun files)

City council is meeting Wednesday to vote on reviving the Sheppard LRT rather than Mayor Rob Ford’s dream of a Sheppard subway.

While TTC chair Karen Stintz has led the charge at City Hall to revive the Transit City light rail lines cancelled by Ford, she wasn’t always a fan of LRTs.

Back in 2009, Stintz told the Sun the LRT plan was “short-sighted” and argued Sheppard Ave. E., Eglinton and Scarborough-Malvern lines should be subways.

At that time, she advocated the idea subway lines be used to encourage development in areas where increased density is desirable.

“Had we taken that approach on Yonge St., we wouldn’t be the city we are today,” she said. “From a long-term city-building perspective, (Sheppard) really should be a subway, as should the Eglinton and Scarborough lines.”

“I think that we are taking a short-sighted approach to how we’re going to use this investment to benefit the city.”

Stintz of course did change her take on Transit City, even joining then-Mayor David Miller in fighting the “Save Transit City” campaign in 2010 before the municipal election.

Asked this week about her anti-LRT comments in 2009, Stintz said she had a view that LRTs were streetcars.

“I now have a better understanding of the technology and a better appreciation of how important it is to spend scarce resources wisely to improve transit across the city,” Stintz wrote in an e-mail response.

“I can also tell you that I support subways and support their construction.  Our challenge is finding the resources to meet all our transit needs.”

Can Mayor Rob Ford’s “special message” put the brakes on the transit rebellion?

- February 7th, 2012

Mayor Rob Ford

Mayor Rob Ford about to weigh-in Monday at the Cut the Waist Challenge (Photo by Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun)

As TTC chair Karen Stintz handed in a letter signed by 24 councillors demanding a special meeting (an unprecedented move at Toronto City Hall), Mayor Rob Ford was busy weighing in as part of his Cut the Waist challenge.

Ford refused to take questions at the weigh-in despite the swirling controversy and what some councillors have called a transit “crisis” in the city.

The meeting – set for Wednesday – is expected to derail Ford’s transit plans and call for a return to the Transit City plan the mayor cancelled. If that happens, Toronto could have a transit plan its own mayor doesn’t support.

But Ford doesn’t seem to be going down without a fight.

The mayor’s office sent out an email blast to supporters last night urging them to call their councillors to “express their views on underground rapid transit.”

The full Ford email is below:

A Special Message from Mayor Rob Ford

 

Dear Friends,

 

Today, 24 City Councillors signed a petition that will allow for a special meeting of City Council this Wednesday.

 

At issue is my plan to expand rapid transit with the underground Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown, the Sheppard subway expansion and enhanced express bus service on Finch.

 

Many Councillors are looking to disband my rapid transit plan in favour of a Light Rail Vehicle network that would put more tracks on the roads, create traffic chaos and result in years of needless, messy and inconvenient construction.

 

Over the past number of weeks you have been updated with the facts on rapid transit.  It is now time for Toronto residents to express their views on underground rapid transit.

 

Let your Councillor know why you support underground rapid transit by visiting http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp to get your Councillor’s contact information.  Thank you.

 

Yours truly,

 

Mayor Rob Ford