Posts Tagged ‘ttc

Rob Ford really hates streetcars

- April 10th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford at Soccerworld on Wednesday (Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun) 

Mayor Rob Ford came out Wednesday saying Toronto has “a terrible transit system compared to other major cities in the world” and promising, again, to try to phase out streetcars (story here). 

Ford’s anti-streetcar rant provided a lot of insight into how he sees transit in Toronto and if you’re a transit fan, you’re probably going to disagree with everything he said.

The mayor argued congestion is “only going to get worse.”

“As Toronto grows there is going to be more cars, there is going to be more congestion,” he said. “There is no magic solution.”

But Ford argued subways were the only form of transit that would get people out of their cars.

“I know one thing, I won’t get on a streetcar,” he said. “If I have an option of driving or streetcar, I want to get in my car.”

Although mayoral candidates John Tory and Karen Stintz have promised to focus on building a downtown relief line as the city’s next major subway project, Ford repeated Wednesday that a downtown relief line is the third most-important line on his subway wish list.

He wants the city to complete the Sheppard subway from the end of the existing stub to the Scarborough Town Centre and then build a Finch subway before focusing on a Downtown Relief Line.

“People are getting ignored up in North York, people are getting ignored in Scarborough,” Ford said.

Karen Stintz is dropping the gloves

- September 13th, 2013

TTC chair Karen Stintz went into the weekend taking a swipe at Transportation Minister Glen Murray.

As you’ll read in the Saturday Sun, Stintz is accusing the province a.k.a. Murray of derailing transit planning in Toronto when it comes to his Scarborough subway announcement (read her op-ed here).

Stintz told me Friday night she’s dropping the gloves now because Murray’s “go-it-alone announcement” has derailed discussions with the federal government for subway funding – the city needs around $660 million from the feds.

“I’ve got to fight for transit, got to fight for Scarborough,” Stintz said. “Minister Murray’s plan doesn’t make any transit sense.

“He’s acting like a bully, like he can bully his way through on a plan that doesn’t make any sense and I don’t understand why because he doesn’t need to do this.”

That’s pretty tough talk – particularly from someone who had a one-on-one meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne this week about the subway project.

We’ll see if it pays off with the Scarborough subway Stintz wants or hits the gas to a transit plan train wreck with the province.

Mayor Rob Ford’s subway victory speech

- September 5th, 2013

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Mayor Rob Ford in Bridlewood Park on Wednesday night (Craig Robertson, Toronto Sun)

Hours after Transportation Minister Glen Murray announced a plan for a shorter Scarborough subway funded entirely by the provincial government, Mayor Rob Ford was at Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly’s community barbecue in Bridlewood Park. Ford took the opportunity at the barbecue to claim victory on subways and deliver a campaign-style speech to the crowd. Here’s what Ford said:

Thank you so much Mr. Deputy Mayor. You should be very proud to have a deputy mayor from Scarborough, folks.

As you know Doug Holyday got elected so the choice was mine, I looked at all 44 councillors at who would best represent the views of not just their area but all of Toronto. It was a no-brainer, folks, it was a no-brainer. Norm Kelly was head and shoulders above the rest. I appointed Norm Kelly as deputy mayor, second in command to running this city so congratulations Mr. Deputy Mayor. It is an honour to have you serving as deputy mayor and he’s no nonsense, he’s on to me constantly, non-stop of which I need and I appreciate that.

But even better news, better news today, folks, we’re getting subways in Scarborough!

And when everyone else was talking LRTs, LRTs, LRTs there was one person that said he’s not moving away from his vision of subways and that’s Rob Ford. 

I said to the chair of the TTC Karen Stintz “I want LRTs, LRTs, LRTs” – I said, “No Karen, you’re not getting LRTs, we’re getting subways.” 

I told the premier, Kathleen Wynne, she says “I want LRTs.” I said, “You’re not getting LRTs. We want subways in Scarborough.” We won that victory.

I told Metrolinx, we don’t want LRTs in Scarborough, we want subways, subways, subways. 

Promise made, promise kept. Thank you so much for the support out in Scarborough. 

I can’t wait until the next election. The election is Oct. 27 of next year. I really need your support, I know we can win it and we’re going to go another four years. 

So again folks, thank you so much for your support. I want to thank the new deputy mayor for being here, I want to thank you for inviting me.

Subways, subways, subways! Scarborough, Scarborough, Scarborooooough! 

All the best, God bless everybody, I’ll see you around, take care. 

 

 

Quotes of the day: Denzil tries to derail the Scarborough subway

- July 17th, 2013

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Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong – a member of Mayor Rob Ford’s own executive committee – emerged as the biggest and most quotable roadblock to the mayor’s subway push Tuesday.

Here’s a rundown of some of the shots Minnan-Wong fired at the subway report and its supporters:

 

“If this goes forward this proposal will end up biting this council in the ass and it will be hard and it will be deep.”

- Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong unsuccessfully urging council to refer the subway report back to staff for further study and to confirm funding commitments from the federal government. Council rejected the delay Tuesday.

 

“The councillor has flip-flopped more than a boated fish.”

- Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong on TTC chair Karen Stintz and her support for subways, then LRTs, then subways, then LRTs and now the Scarborough subway extension.

 

“Fiscal conservatives (that support this) will have to turn in their membership cards … I think this is a vote-buying exercise and the facts aren’t in the report.” 

- Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong on the push for the Scarborough subway.

 

Focus on buses not bikes: Denzil Minnan-Wong to TTC chair Karen Stintz

- May 7th, 2013

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong

Public Works chair Denzil Minnan-Wong testing the Sherbourne St. separated bike lanes (Toronto Sun file photo)

“The TTC has enough problems making the buses run on time and trying to run a capital program. They shouldn’t be buying new businesses that are just going to be sucking more money out of the system.”

- Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong on TTC chair Karen Stintz floating the idea of the transit authority riding to the rescue of the BIXI Toronto bike-share program (full story here).

Stintz Wars: The Fords strike back

- April 28th, 2013

Mayor Rob Ford and Karen Stintz

“I know she’s in over her head.” 

- Mayor Rob Ford talking about TTC chair Karen Stintz during his Newstalk 1010 radio show Sunday. Ford was fuming on the air Sunday over the push by Stintz and other councillors to debate what transit revenue tools to endorse at the next council meeting. Stintz called Ford’s leadership into question last week after his executive committee voted to put the debate over revenue tools off (story here).

But the mayor wasn’t the only one who was taking shots at Stintz Sunday:

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“I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her.”

- Councillor Doug Ford on Stintz during Sunday’s Ford brothers’ radio show. Ford also complained about Stintz going to a New York Yankees game while she was on a taxpayer-funded trip to New York City last week.

Did Karen Stintz just jump into the 2014 mayor’s race?

- April 24th, 2013

Karen Stintz

“The mayor had an obligation to bring it to council for full debate. I don’t believe he showed leadership in this matter and I don’t believe he has a vision for transit and I don’t believe he has a vision for this city and I think that’s unfortunate.” 

- TTC chair Karen Stintz reacting Wednesday to Mayor Rob Ford’s refusal to bring the transit revenue tools report to council ASAP (story here).

With language like that it sure sounds like she’s gearing up to run against Ford in 2014. So far, Stintz has been touted as a possible mayoral candidate but has yet to throw her hat in the ring.

But clearly the Fords – based on their language about Stintz in the recent past – are already expecting her to jump in the race (story here).

Stay tuned.

Happy Anniversary TTC CEO Andy Byford

- February 21st, 2013

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Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong took to Twitter Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of the hiring of TTC CEO Andy Byford.

“Thanks to former Commissioners for making it happen!” Minnan-Wong tweeted. “Results show it was the best decision.”

What Minnan-Wong didn’t say was it is also the one-year anniversary of the sacking of former TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster.

Webster was dumped by those loyal to Mayor Rob Ford on the TTC commission – led by Minnan-Wong. Byford emerged from the closed-door meeting as Webster’s replacement.

“It is just no way to run a railway,” TTC chair Karen Stintz said following the 5 to 4 vote. “We’ve just turned arguably what should be the least political board and commission into the most political board and commission. It’s really quite interesting to me.”

Sources told the Sun at the time the meeting where Webster was fired and Byford was promoted was chaotic – some councillors shouted and swore at times during the in camera debate.

In a classic case of every City Hall action has an equal and opposite reaction, Minnan-Wong and the commissioners that dumped Webster ended up losing their spots on the TTC.

A few weeks later, Stintz led a revolt at council sacking those TTC commissioners who dumped Webster and locking in her position as chair until 2014.

Karen Stintz’s letter to commissioners

- January 30th, 2013

TTC chair Karen Stintz fired off a letter to TTC commissioners today in response to the ongoing controversy over the sole-source newsstand contract approved last week. Here’s Stintz’s letter:

Dear Commissioners:
By now, you should have received an “unconditional” offer from International News, submitted at 8:00 pm yesterday evening, with respect to operating the newsstands within the subway system.  I learned about this proposal at 9:45 PM last evening through the media, and reviewed it for the first time this morning.
While the proposal claims to be unconditional the terms of the proposal are very unclear, since the current leases do not expire until 2014 at the earliest.
I cannot explain why this proposal was not submitted over the course of the last four months when this issue was before the Commission; however, I believe that it should be reviewed in the interest of fairness and transparency.  I will be asking TTC staff to conduct a third-party review of the International News proposal against the Gateway proposal and to provide a briefing note to the Commissioners before the next meeting.  This third-party review should include commentary from legal and real-estate experts and will evaluate the terms of each proposal for value-for-money, the current relationship each tenant has with its respective landlord(s), and the customer-service impact on the TTC.
If you feel there are other components regarding this issue which need to be covered by such a third-party review please forward them to me.
I feel strongly that this review be conducted by a third-party since TTC staff have been inconsistent in their recommendations to the Commission.
I also believe very strongly that this issue has become a distraction to the good work that is going on at the TTC.  This needs to end.  Andy Byford agrees with me.
This review, I believe, will still demonstrate that the Tobmar/Gateway lease extension proposal is very solid. It makes enormous business sense to extend leases for good tenants when the rents are increased by 67%. This is not a sole-source contract.  It is a lease-extension and a very common practice throughout the TTC, the City and its Agency, Boards and Commissions where there is a landlord-tenant relationship.
For the record, the Mayor has yet to contact me on this issue.
Thank you.
Yours truly,
Karen Stintz
TTC Chair & City Councillor for
Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence
City of Toronto

Taxpayer-funded buses for football teams? Not a Ford show topic

- November 4th, 2012

Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford weren’t talking at all Sunday about two TTC buses dumping their riders to go pick up the Don Bosco Eagles – the high school football team the mayor coaches.

Both Fords were mum on the fact fare-paying TTC riders had to get off two buses Thursday so the vehicles could go pick up his high school football team at the request of Toronto Police (story here).

The TTC was talking. TTC officials issued a statement – just two hours after the Ford show ended – and released TTC CEO Andy Byford’s email to commissioners about the incident (blog post on that here).

As the Sun reported Friday, TTC commissioner and Councillor Peter Milczyn said he will be pushing police and the TTC for answers on why the order was given to ditch riders (story here).

The Fords could have come out on their Newstalk 1010 show in support of Milczyn’s call for answers. Mayor Ford could have made it clear whether or not he knew riders were losing their ride so his team could get a personal TTC bus back to their school and apologized to those who were inconvenienced. Mayor Ford could have also explained why he feels he needs to be at the field with his team instead of at City Hall.

But neither Mayor Ford or Councillor Ford addressed the issue Sunday.

Mayor Ford did acknowledge the undefeated Eagles have a playoff game this week against Senator O’Connor.

“Everyone and all the lefties try to give you hell but if you were going to a ballet class they wouldn’t mind it,” Councillor Ford said.

“People don’t realize how much you mentor these kids, how much you teach them, it is not about just the sport of football … it is about mentoring them, getting them involved in the community, getting them a great education and a secondary education in college.”

One caller, Mike from Toronto, did criticize Mayor Ford for leaving this week’s city council meeting to go to football.

“You say you’re fighting for transit yet you are missing the debate to coach a football game,” the caller told Ford.

Ford laughed off the call.

“Thank you very much, actually I didn’t miss the debate. I actually voted for subways and I made a passionate speech about subways,” he said. “But I do appreciate obviously, you get both sides of the coin.”

(Here’s the story on Ford’s speech at the end of the debate over the master agreement for Toronto’s four light rail lines)

The same caller also criticized the Fords for pushing ahead the removal of the Jarvis St. bike lanes.

Councillor Ford argued people that use Jarvis “overwhelmingly want the Jarvis bike lane gone.”

“It’s called listening to the taxpayers,” Mayor Ford added.