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New report suggests light-rail transit best for Toronto - TorontoLoftBlog.com

15 November 2010

Toronto Environmental Alliance determines light-rail transit is best for Toronto; will Ford agree?

Light-Rail Transit (image from Spacing Toronto)
According to the Toronto Star, a new report generated by the Toronto Environmental Alliance and a coalition called TTCriders argues that light rail transit is both cheaper and better for the environment than subways. In “Light rail transit touted as best for Toronto,” Tess Kalinowski reports that the groups are eager to move away from transit discussions based on financial costs, and instead focus on environmental impact.

Rob Ford, mayor-elect, is “pro-subway,” but the Toronto Environmental Alliance seems to hope that his tune will change once Ford realizes that light rail is a cheaper alternative. In theory, subways carry more people and could take more cars off the road, but this scenario is only plausible in densely populated areas – Ford wants to expand the subway system into the suburbs, where such density does not exist. Subways also “rate slightly better than light rail in terms of fewer greenhouse gas emissions,” but because light rail vehicles are cheaper to implement, more of these vehicles could be put on Toronto’s roads more quickly, thereby taking more cars off the road than the slower-and-more-expensive-to-build subways.

Light rail vehicles, part of the Transit City plan, will operate in their own lanes with signal priority and fewer stops than downtown streetcars. Ford has said that he wants to replace some streetcars with hybrid buses.

The Toronto Environmental Alliance has yet to meet with Ford, but the Toronto Star article quotes the group’s executive director, Franz Hartmann as saying “If the mayor-elect thinks subways make more sense from an emissions perspective let’s see the evidence.” The group’s report suggests that all TTC service changes “be evaluated by the emissions of the vehicles involved and the number of cars service expansions or reductions would take on or off the road.”

As originally published here: http://www.torontoloftblog.com/?p=1580

2010-11-15 New report suggests light-rail transit best for Toronto_TorontoLoftBlog.com_.pdf13.83 KB