Home > News Room > TEA in the News > Transit plan gets bumpy ride on both sides of subway divide - Toronto Star

Transit plan gets bumpy ride on both sides of subway divide - Toronto Star

April 1, 2011
Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter
The Toronto Star

Silvia Arauz and Patricia Sinclair live at opposite ends of Finch Ave. One supports light rail on the road; the latter has campaigned for the Sheppard subway extension Mayor Rob Ford says he’ll build with private-sector funds.

Both women say politicians have made a hash of the latest Toronto transit expansion plan.

Arauz commutes from Keele to her job in Rexdale on the TTC’s 36 bus.

She supports the call for more consultation on the city’s new transit plan issued Friday by the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

The new joint provincial-city transit plan — which puts 25 kilometres of underground light rail on Eglinton and calls for an expansion of the Sheppard subway — kills a previous plan that would also have built light rail down the middle of Finch Ave. Instead, residents in the northwest have been promised better bus service, with the mayor’s assurance that a Finch subway could be considered in 10 years — too late for Arauz.

“It’s already so difficult cramming in (the bus), and to know there was the option to better the situation … it’s frustrating. You sometimes have to wait for two or three buses to get on,” she said.

The 36 Finch bus, which runs no more than three minutes apart in rush hours, gets bunched up in traffic, making for long waits and long rides, said Arauz.

In addition to rapid transit, she says her community is missing out on the livelier street life that LRT promised with new mid-rise development.

A former Malvern resident, she says the new transit map isolates the eastern and western extremities of Toronto.

“I don’t want to badmouth Mayor Ford,” she said. “But it’s not a smart decision to upset so many people who voted for him and are now being disrespected by him …. He made a lot of promises to be the voice of the people. He said he’s one of us. If he’s one of us, he would know how badly the northwest area needs connection with the rest of Toronto.”

Sinclair lives near Finch and Warden Aves. She would love to commute south to Sheppard for a quick subway ride downtown. Instead, it takes more than half an hour on the bus along Finch to the Yonge subway line.

“From my point of view, Scarborough got screwed again,” she said.

The province should be helping Ford build the Sheppard line and converting the SRT to subway instead of LRT, she feels. Queen’s Park is using tax dollars, however, to pay for Eglinton, which Sinclair believes will further burden the crowded Yonge subway.

“It seems the province doesn’t want to be bothered to give Scarborough anything,” she said. “But we still have Rob Ford looking into the private partnerships.”

Sinclair believes Ford’s plan — despite the fact he’s offered no details — can work, given that the province has embraced private partnerships to build hospitals and other infrastructure.

“I don’t think the taxpayer has to fork out anything,” she said.

As originally published here: http://www.thestar.com/news/transportation/article/967705--transit-plan-gets-bumpy-ride-on-both-sides-of-subway-divide

2011-04-01 Transit plan gets bumpy ride _Toronto Star_.pdf34.21 KB