Don’t Let First Impressions Fool You: Mayor’s Transit Plan Snubs Suburbs

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2011

Toronto: The Mayor’s new transit expansion plan - contrary to first impressions - snubs Toronto’s suburbs. People along Finch West and those who live in east-end Scarborough get no relief from congestion and overcrowded buses. And people who live close to Sheppard Avenue will have to sacrifice single family homes and small businesses for 40 storey skyscrapers to pay for a subway.

“First impressions are deceiving: Torontonians should be very skeptical about this plan,” said Jamie Kirkpatrick, Transit Campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “Once they read the fine print, Torontonians will see that the suburbs are once again snubbed.”

“Scarborough is left out of the Mayor’s plan,” said Pagalavan Thavarajah, President Elect of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Student Union. “If this subway ever gets built it will stop at Scarborough City Centre. Anyone east gets NOTHING, except for crowded buses and more road congestion.”

“It’s completely unfair that the Mayor has forgotten the people who live in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood,” said Silvia Arauz, mother of two and local community organizer. “We need fast reliable transit along Finch to replace the busiest bus route in Toronto, not a promise of morebbuses.”

“People who were promised rapid transit along Sheppard Avenue will also lose,” said Kirkpatrick. “They will have to sacrifice their neighbourhoods to 40 storey skyscapers to finance the Mayor’s privately funded subway scheme, if it ever happens.”

The Mayor’s plan sinks almost all of the $8.4 billion of provincial money for transit expansion into burying all of the Eglinton LRT and turning the Scarborough RT into a LRT. The high cost of burying the eastern most part of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT eats up money that was to pay for fast, reliable rapid transit on Finch West and eastern Scarborough.

“This plan makes no sense for Toronto taxpayers,” said Kirkpatrick. “Rather than building 52 km of fast reliable transit with $8.4 Billion (the original plan), his plan builds only 25 km with the same amount of money. So much less is built because the Mayor insists on needlessly burying another 8 km of Eglinton.”

“Once you take away the spin, Torontonians are left with a plan that snubs suburban transit users,” said Kirkpatrick. “If the Mayor is so confident about his plan, he should take it to the suburbs and explain why getting nothing is good for them.”


For More Information:

Jamie Kirkpatrick, Transit Campaigner, Toronto Environmental Alliance