c9: (streetcar)
Jim Kenzie’s unhinged rant masquerading as auto journalism (“Pan Am Games’s HOV lanes are a countrywide virus”) is a stain on the Toronto Star’s reputation. It should be retracted, and all copies used to line birdcages. Since that’s unlikely, a response.

First, his comparison of basic carpooling used around the planet to the scourge of HIV/AIDS demands immediate apology from him and his editor. Have some perspective and human decency, or go back to the internet comment section from whence you crawled.

That aside, the piece is riddled with falsehoods, math errors, and misleading statements, using his pulpit to set back our evolution into a region with an effective, non-gridlocked transportation system.

Kenzie claims only 0.001% could have benefited from the HOV lanes – 65 people, in a region of 6.5 million. But there are over 6,100 athletes competing, and GM provided 1,200 vehicles for athlete, official, and volunteer transportation, so his math seems quite impossible.

He also describes the HOV lanes – just 235 km across the entire GTHA – as being “up to one third of our traffic resources”. Ignoring his comical definition of traffic resources as merely the pavement his car touches, he should be aware that in Toronto alone there are over 5,365 km of roads. Even if every inch of the HOV lanes were inside the City of Toronto, they’d represent just 4% of our road space.

Kenzie claims the HOV lanes “didn’t work,” and that they’ve “never worked anywhere,” but presents no evidence for this. A simple Google search for “carpooling research” will yield some fascinating information, should he someday wish to research his already-published article.

Another pretty basic error Kenzie and his editor missed is that the United Kingdom has had carpool lanes in Leeds for over 17 years. And of course throughout Europe the public transit options are far more advanced than in car-oriented North America, leading to different choices.

To be fair, as one should, one thing Kenzie gets right is that the HOV lanes regularly had illegal users, especially when new. Behavioural change is never instant, and explanation of carpooling facts can help. It’s unfortunate he aligned himself with the fact-free approach to policy of our former mayor, denigrating this well-understood, low-cost tool, widely-used worldwide for managing congestion.

Just because nobody wanted to carpool with him – a race car driver and automotive writer! – doesn’t mean nobody else carpooled, and he shows this in his article: some were so willing to change their behaviour they paid strangers to sit in their car! Clearly HOV lanes can modify behaviour.

“Our highway system IS our transit system,” he declares. “If people want to ride a bus or subway, let them pay for it.” Jim, TTC’s subways carry nearly double what Toronto’s expressways carry, every single day, and the transit riders are paying. Plus their taxes – and those of cyclists and pedestrians – are going toward the massively subsidized highways you adore too.

It’s farcical to imagine that an automotive journalist truly believes the highway is the transit system. Where does he think the over 1.5 million TTC riders per day should go? In the same highway lane with him? One lane of highway maxes out at the equivalent of five subway trains per hour.

“All that pavement going to waste,” he cries, misunderstanding that the entire point is for the pavement to be available when needed. HOV lanes can upgrade the experience for everyone: emergency services, special event athletes, even auto journalists – if they decide to be a grownup and live in harmony with the rest of their region, instead of throwing a tantrum in the Star.

HOV lanes aren't a virus, but rather they're a vaccine which will help our region grow and stay strong.
c9: (streetcar)
Demands for removal of streetcars from Toronto, usually accompanied by anecdotes and/or falsehoods rather than facts, seem to originate slightly more often on the right. So I thought I'd investigate whether that made sense. Spoiler alert: no.

I wrote the following as an op-ed submission for the National Post, but since they passed on it (which I'm fine with, it's pretty wonky) I'm publishing it here.



Russell Kirk’s principles of conservatism argue for retaining Toronto’s streetcars, rather than the radical option of removal often found in some newspapers.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.”

Morals hold no relevance to transit mode, however a strong sense of right and wrong should encourage efficient public services. Streetcars carry as many as three or more buses.

“Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.”

Radical change brings with it larger risk, and inefficient learning curves. Streetcars have been in Toronto (and around the world) for generations, and we have learned much about what works and what does not. We have not yet put it all into practice, due to our veneration of the car and on-street parking.

“Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.”

Edmund Burke said the individual is foolish, but the species is wise. Over 250 cities worldwide currently use streetcar or tram systems (in mixed traffic, as opposed to modern LRT in exclusive rights-of-way), and nearly 50 of those streetcar lines began operation in the 21st century. I submit that these cities are neither outliers nor populated exclusively by fools.

“Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence.”

Popularity should give way to probable long-term consequences. Removing streetcars would mean adding more, smaller vehicles to the road; hiring more high-cost drivers and maintenance workers; removing more on-street parking for buses to access the curb lane; but do nothing to improve capacity or speed for the nearly 300,000 daily riders of TTC’s streetcar system.

“Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.”

Reducing options and forcing square pegs into round holes is seen in conservatism as limiting. Not every purpose can be served by a small-capacity bus or a large-capacity subway, especially given the dramatic budgetary implications. We’ve seen in Toronto the time and cost risks inherent to depending on subway-building alone.

“Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.”

There is no such thing as utopia. Arguments that streetcars bring only negatives, and removal would bring only positives, are unworthy of consideration. Every transit mode has challenges: anywhere from the TTC’s multi-year early-shutdown projects to replace subway tunnel liners and rails, Vancouver’s recent SkyTrain evacuations, and the hundreds of bus accidents each year involving fixed objects such as streetlights and hydro poles.

“Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.”

Public transit, much like other public infrastructure, costs rather than lines the public purse, in all but the densest cities. Inefficiency through lower-capacity vehicles should be avoided to reduce required taxation and required property for storage of larger fleets.

“Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.”

A group should not needlessly or excessively restrain an individual. Since public transit provides freedom of movement, efficient transit rather than no transit is our goal. Subways to every door are neither affordable nor possible, and buses for all would increase our collective costs through labour, capital, and travel time. Those increased costs constitute involuntary collectivism.

“Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.”

Decisions should be made on data, evidence, and learning from mistakes, not due to angry repetition of magic words such as “subways,” “gridlock,” or “folks.”

“Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.”

A conservative should see value in both heritage and in new ideas. Requiring only old, or only new, robs us of potential benefits from the other, and therefore radical change is to be avoided, and overall benefits should be considered. Which is to say, that streetcar in front of you is helping scores or even hundreds of your neighbours, even when it annoys a smaller number of people in personal vehicles nearby.

Cameron MacLeod co-founded CodeRedTO, which advocates for all transit modes in appropriate locations.
c9: (transit)
For Torontonians who take the Bloor-Danforth subway: you know that really old subway train with the vinyl seats and no air conditioning? Those are called “H4” trains, and the very last one of those goes out of service forever in about 20 minutes. Hooray!
The H4 cars were ordered in 1973. So smart transit decisions matter, cause you’re stuck with them for a few decades!
Over the next year or two, the TTC is getting lots of the new Toronto Rocket (“TR”) trains for the Yonge line, and the red T1’s are switching to Bloor, and the orange/brown H6s will disappear too! (they’re being sold to Nigeria)

New transit vehicles aren't everything the TTC needs, but they're something.
c9: (Toronto)
Yesterday, several media outlets received an email regarding the goals and activities of #CodeRedTO and the abilities of Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems. This email was misleading in some places, flat out incorrect in others. If you missed it, read the original message here. (What's CodeRedTO?)

The official #CodeRedTO response, sent this morning:


Dear all:

On Tuesday morning, you may have received an email that provides an alternate viewpoint to transit policy in the City of Toronto. CodeRedTO welcomes this debate and would like to present the following as a rebuttal to the arguments posed by Mr. Gutierrez.


CodeRedTO's motivations

"There is an ongoing attempt to revive the former Transit City plan as an alternative to building subways in Toronto, with its proponents getting attention to their cause in a series of articles and interviews by the Toronto media."

CodeRedTO's goal is not to revive Transit City but to ensure Toronto moves forward on an achievable, evidence-based rapid transit strategy. We are not advocating against subways: we're questioning the appropriateness of directing all committed funding and resources to needlessly bury the planned on Eglinton Avenue, ignoring the transit needs of northwest Etobicoke by cancelling a funded and approved LRT line, and halting construction of a LRT line on Sheppard Avenue East to spend over a year on studies that show a subway line is not affordable by the private sector, let alone the through public funding.


LRT plans and road space

"Contrary to what they say, Transit City is the wrong approach to solve Toronto's gridlock problem, since it is about taking existing, and scarce, road space in exchange for short trains going on their own right-of-ways, quite similar to current Toronto streetcars on St. Clair, or Spadina."

Approved LRT plans on Eglinton, Finch, and Sheppard, largely minimized the reduction of road space for cars. On each line, the number of general traffic lanes are maintained. This is possible because the surface sections of these LRT lines are in road right-of-ways that are 30 metres, or more, in width. As noted in yesterday's Toronto Star (http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1120102--cohn-mcguinty-ford-lrt-deal-destined-to-collapse-under-its-own-weight), the Province is said to have offered expropriation on Eglinton Avenue East to actuallywiden the roadway to accommodate an extra general traffic lane, but Mayor Ford reportedly declined.

More importantly, transit lanes are arguably a more efficient use of road space than a general traffic lane. The throughput of people is much greater, given a two-LRT train could carry as many as 400 people. With auto occupancy rates in Toronto averaging around 1.1 persons per vehicle, that's over 350 fewer vehicles on the road, which would occupy much, much, more road space.


Congestion and travel speeds

"People use their cars mostly because they are able to travel in much shorter time compared to transit, and this happens everywhere in the city, except for downtown during rush hour."

First of all, we have to be clear that vehicular congestion is not just a "downtown" problem. Much of the congestion downtown can be traced back to inadequate transit and other travel options in automobile-dominated suburban neighbourhoods. We should also note that some of the worst congestion areas in the Toronto region are in the the most car-friendly places. If building wider roads and more highways is the solution, then Highway 401 would never be congested, with sixteen lanes of constantly free-flowing traffic.

"If a proposed LRT is expected to save 5 minutes compared to an existing bus route, that will still remain uncompetitive to the car. And that is "if", because streetcars on separated right-of-ways do not seem to go faster than buses in mixed traffic. Let me explain with the 5 cases below:

  • Taking the Queens Quay-Spadina streetcar LRT between Queens Quay/Bay and Spadina/Harbord (on its own right-of-way) takes 21 minutes and 15 stops, on a 4.3 km stretch.
  • Taking the St. Clair streetcar LRT between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street (on its own right-of-way) takes 19 minutes and 17 stops, on a 4.1 km stretch.
  • Taking the Eglinton West bus between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street takes also 19 minutes, but 19 stops, on a 4.4 km stretch.
  • Taking the Finch West bus between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street takes 12 minutes and 18 stops, on a 4.5 km stretch.
  • And last, taking the Bloor subway between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street takes only 8 minutes and 7 stops, on a 4.1 km stretch."

The comparison of LRT plans on Eglinton/Sheppard/Finch to streetcars downtown is common, but wrong. With all transit technologies, travel time is largely determined by design. It is also inappropriate to compare downtown operating speeds with suburban operating speeds. For example, the Spadina Streetcar is "slow" by suburban standards, at an average speed of approximately 15km/h, but it is "fast" by downtown standards, when the comparative Bay bus (similar traffic conditions and activity) travels at an average of just 10 km/h.

Stop spacing is a major design consideration when it comes to speed. Mr. Gutierrez's comparisons largely prove this point: the more stops you have the slower a service runs. Spadina/St. Clair has stop spacing of about 200 metres. The LRT plans provide much wider stop spacing (approximately 500 metres) to increase travel speed and will have signal priority to reduce long stops at intersections.

The LRT lines on Eglinton, Finch, and Sheppard were all designed to achieve an average design speed of at least 25 km/h.

The average speed of the Bloor-Danforth Subway today is 30 km/h.
The average speed of buses on Eglinton and Finch during rush hour is 20 km/h.
The average speed of a car on the Gardiner Expressway during rush hour is 22 km/h.

There are ways to further increase the design speed of the LRT lines. Further increasing stop spacing, grade separating the LRT line at congested intersections (as was planned at Eglinton and Don Mills), and different approaches to signal priority are all approaches that can be investigated.


Debating the costs of rapid transit

"Therefore, it is very hard to justify Transit City's $167 million per kilometre expense (figure taken from Transit City proponent's website:www.savetransitcity.com). On the other hand, the inflated estimate of $348 million per kilometre for building subways, seems to be taken from the current construction of the 8.6 km long Spadina subway extension (at $2.63 billion, or $305 million per km). However, this line includes 6 expensive subway stations that, by themselves, will cost about $1 billion dollars. If they had designed real estate opportunities (commercial or residential) above these new subway stations, TTC would've had these stations paid with private funds, therefore reducing the public cost for this subway extension to $1.6 billion, or $186 million per km."

To assemble enough land to create a development parcel to finance a subway station is virtually impossible. Given expropriation requires "fair value" to be paid to the landowner and that any subway plan would dramatically increase the value of the land, the cost-benefit of this type of land assembly would be a tough sell. There's also the argument against the legitimacy of expropriating land by a municipality primarily for the purpose of developing the land for profit themselves.

A good point is made here: subway stations are expensive; even the most spartan and value-engineered station would cost at least $75-million, whereas the most elaborate surface LRT station would be a fraction of that cost, under $10-million. It's easy to see why: no need for elevators, escalators, extensive digging, or disruption to the surrounding community.

"Alternatively, we can build elevated mass transit systems like the city of Vancouver does, where we would keep our scarce road space unaffected. We can even do this at a lower cost compared to Transit City's LRTs, since Vancouver's 19.2 km long Canada Line, including its 16 stations, cost about $2 billion, or $104 million per km. This is less than 2/3 of Transit City's cost."

Elevated lines are an option and it should be investigated further as a potential design solution. However, Mayor Ford also refused this option on Eglinton Avenue East when it was proposed. Most definitely, lessons from the Canada Line should be considered, such as public-private partnership options, and extensive value-engineering. Do note that station costs for Canada Line are significantly lower because they're much smaller stations (50 metre length compared to 150 metres for a subway station, and 100 metres for an Eglinton LRT station).


Is the motivation misguided?

"To our advantage, Toronto has a series of corridors where we can put additional road capacity; and without having to destroy neighbourhoods, as it was done half a century ago in many cities in North America."

Additional road capacity is not a solution to Toronto's transportation woes, if we even have room for it. The motivation of providing enhanced rapid transit should not be to free up space for road widening and expansion. Why? Read about induced demand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand), which is an important concept. In short, increasing road capacity will only add more cars to our roads. Providing more transportation and mobility choice is the key to reduce our reliance on driving to get around the region. Driving when necessary, but not out of necessity.


Agreeing on a balance

"Toronto doesn't need a Transit City plan. Instead, we need a Transportation City plan that would improve transportation for all commuters. A balanced plan that serves transit riders, car drivers, walkers and bicycle riders, alike."

We finally agree here. We need a balanced plan. A subway-only plan is not balanced. Nor is a LRT-only plan.

A balanced plan means:
  • We can build subways where they make sense: providing York University with a much needed subway connection, extending the Sheppard Subway to the employment centre at Consumers Road or a downtown relief line where more transit capacity is needed to support the transit-dependent development in the core.
  • We should build LRTs where its flexibility is an advantage and capacity is appropriate.
  • We should ensure our local bus network remains well-funded and provides reliable, frequent service.
  • We should make it safe and convenient to walk, bike, and carpool to transit and other destinations.

Those are the makings of a balanced plan. Instead, we face the danger of following a random, untested collection of ideas that claims to be balanced, but is deliberately unachievable as to stall transit progress in a city starved for travel options.

We must move forward on solutions.

Laurence Lui
for CodeRedTO

c9: (Toronto)
A note from your host, @c_9: This email was sent to CodeRedTO.com, SaveTransitCity.com, 11 reporters from the National Post, 10 reporters from the Toronto Star, 4 reporters from the CBC, 2 at the Sun, 1 Global, 1 CTV, plus others.

I personally found it misleading in many cases and factually wrong in others. I have not responded to it yet. This is included only for discussion purposes, not for trashing the author. Personal attacks will be deleted.

If I personally respond, or if CodeRedTO sends an official response, I will post it to this blog as well.


Yes I still have a LiveJournal. Shush.


Dear all,

There is an ongoing attempt to revive the former Transit City plan as an alternative to building subways in Toronto, with its proponents getting attention to their cause in a series of articles and interviews by the Toronto media. Contrary to what they say, Transit City is the wrong approach to solve Toronto's gridlock problem, since it is about taking existing, and scarce, road space in exchange for short trains going on their own right-of-ways, quite similar to current Toronto streetcars on St. Clair, or Spadina. Transit City proponents argue that this plan would take hundreds or thousands of cars off the roads, by assuming that car trips are linear, when in reality they are not. People use their cars mostly because they are able to travel in much shorter time compared to transit, and this happens everywhere in the city, except for downtown during rush hour. If a proposed LRT is expected to save 5 minutes compared to an existing bus route, that will still remain uncompetitive to the car. And that is "if", because streetcars on separated right-of-ways do not seem to go faster than buses in mixed traffic. Let me explain with the 5 cases below:

- Taking the Queens Quay-Spadina streetcar LRT between Queens Quay/Bay and Spadina/Harbord (on its own right-of-way) takes 21 minutes and 15 stops, on a 4.3 km stretch.
- Taking the St. Clair streetcar LRT between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street (on its own right-of-way) takes 19 minutes and 17 stops, on a 4.1 km stretch.
- Taking the Eglinton West bus between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street takes also 19 minutes, but 19 stops, on a 4.4 km stretch.
- Taking the Finch West bus between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street takes 12 minutes and 18 stops, on a 4.5 km stretch.
- And last, taking the Bloor subway between Yonge Street and Dufferin Street takes only 8 minutes and 7 stops, on a 4.1 km stretch.

From the experiences above, we observe that LRTs on separated right-of-ways in Toronto do not move faster than buses in mixed traffic. Therefore, it is very hard to justify Transit City's $167 million per kilometre expense (figure taken from Transit City proponent's website: www.savetransitcity.com). On the other hand, the inflated estimate of $348 million per kilometre for building subways, seems to be taken from the current construction of the 8.6 km long Spadina subway extension (at $2.63 billion, or $305 million per km). However, this line includes 6 expensive subway stations that, by themselves, will cost about $1 billion dollars. If they had designed real estate opportunities (commercial or residential) above these new subway stations, TTC would've had these stations paid with private funds, therefore reducing the public cost for this subway extension to $1.6 billion, or $186 million per km. Also, if Toronto begins a large subway construction program, economies of scale would apply, which would further reduce the cost per km for building subways. Alternatively, we can build elevated mass transit systems like the city of Vancouver does, where we would keep our scarce road space unaffected. We can even do this at a lower cost compared to Transit City's LRTs, since Vancouver's 19.2 km long Canada Line, including its 16 stations, cost about $2 billion, or $104 million per km. This is less than 2/3 of Transit City's cost.

Having said all the above, Toronto commuters still remain without a plan to improve the road conditions in this city. And this is for the majority of Torontonians, who commute on private cars. Even if we execute Metrolinx's entire "The Big Move" plan, we would still have over 50% of commuters in Toronto travelling on private cars. Without increasing road capacity, but with the population increasing 43% in Toronto and its surroundings, in the next 20 years (as forecasted by Metrolinx), traffic gridlock will only get much worse. To our advantage, Toronto has a series of corridors where we can put additional road capacity; and without having to destroy neighbourhoods, as it was done half a century ago in many cities in North America.

Toronto doesn't need a Transit City plan. Instead, we need a Transportation City plan that would improve transportation for all commuters. A balanced plan that serves transit riders, car drivers, walkers and bicycle riders, alike.

Yours sincerely,

Jose Ramon Gutierrez


P.S.:  Links to recent articles about reviving Transit City, as referred above:
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/21/code-red-gears-up-to-fight-for-a-better-way/
http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=184596
c9: (streetcar)

Major public infrastructure projects require years to plan, engineer and finance. Abandoning them just as they are about to be constructed triggers immense direct and indirect costs. I don't believe most of Ottawa realizes to this day just how absolutely disastrous the cancellation of that project was for the entire city. Politically, it rendered the council impotent.

Giving in to the new mayor's 11th-hour campaign promise to re-write 58 separate votes by two councils over eight years; then disconnecting from hundreds of millions of federal/provincial funding dollars without any alternative but some to-be-determined recommendations of a volunteer committee, gave the council no choices but what the mayor and staff presented. If Ottawa City Council could cancel a procurement process which had won a national award, send German engineers home and then start making decisions by the seat of its pants -- then say goodbye to coherent, due diligence decision making on anything.

I predict a similar scenario will play out in Toronto. If the council caves in to the new mayor, it will run from one ad-hoc decision to another.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Clive+Doucet+Toronto+heed+Ottawa+rail+experience/3949414/story.html#ixzz17iqH7gwN

Toronto's new mayor has big ideas, but they can mostly be classified as "impossible without spending huge amounts of money" or "stupid". *sigh*

Plan B

Dec. 4th, 2010 09:04 am
c9: (streetcar)
A possible response to Ford from the "elites"...
 

Is it wrong for me to want to fully embrace my “downtown elitist” status (conferred by those comment-mongers trolling the various media websites) and say that for all I care, Ford can shut down Transit City, run up against a brick wall for his subway plan once the deficit hawks have their say at Queen’s Park and Ottawa, and the suburbanites who support him can enjoy idling on the DVP and shivering in bus shelters for the next umpteen years?

As it stands, I have access to four surface routes within a ten minute walk from home, which can get me to the subway fairly quickly. Even when the axe comes down on TTC subsidies under the new regime, I should still be fine. Of course, Ford has said nothing so far about what he will do with fares, so that might be a problem. But honestly, if this is what Ford voters want, then I say let’s give it to them, high and hard.
 

(from a comment at http://stevemunro.ca/?p=4644)

(Rob Ford is Toronto's new mayor, and he hates everything except subways when it comes to transit. Has no grasp of the benefits of surface streetcars or separated LRVs, and refuses to involve himself with facts in the discussion.)
c9: (Explosion)
Disney's "Magic Highway USA" from 1957 -- thanks [livejournal.com profile] terraplanner ! -- is nutso.


c9: (transit)
There's a concept I thought of this morning which I'm sure brighter minds have already thought of. I call it "shrinking to your audience". It's when a company chooses to play to their current customers instead of playing to the customers they want or need.

I'm in Ottawa for work, and I just struggled to get from one spot to another by transit. I have *never* had this difficulty before, in many many trips to Ottawa. I didn't struggle due to bus frequency or routes (though Ottawa has a lot of growing up to do on that front*), but rather due to paying my fare.

In years past, I could purchase daypass vouchers at the Ottawa airport, much like buying bus tickets, and then turn them into a daypass when I boarded my first bus each day. The daypass was cheaper than 4 transit trips by cash, and gave me lots of flexibility while in the city. It also meant that I wasn't paying for $30-40 cab rides to and from the airport, so I was saving the company money too.

Last night upon landing, I learned that there are no more daypass vouchers. I have to buy them with cash on the bus. Problem: now I need to have exact change cash with me each morning, and I get no receipt for work expenses. Oh well.

This morning, I tried to find somewhere to sell bus tickets so I could get back on the bus and get to the office. A brand new, shiny, clean Shoppers Drug Mart didn't have any. Everything else was closed -- and this was right downtown on Monday morning at 7:00! Finally I found a corner store that sold tickets -- cash only! -- and was able to get some transit for myself.

OCTranspo's job is to increase ridership and improve the transit experience for people in Ottawa. Removing pass options, removing payment options, and removing (or not pushing) ticket sales outlets is not the way to do that. It's a shame, because I'm sure the various decisions had all sorts of pros listed. But if you're driving people away from transit - even I felt like just hailing a cab last night when my bus was 6 minutes late and my scarce cash was about to be used up - then you're not doing your job.

Come on OCTranspo. Ottawa city council has proven they're not ready to be the grownups on transit. Can you please avoid following their example?


* I say this because during rush hour there are about 100,000 bus routes that each go right downtown. There is almost no hub-and-spoke connector system in Ottawa, so nobody is being trained for future LRT. Instead, people are offended if they can't get a bus directly from their neighbourhood to their place of work, and Ottawa ends up with insane bus gridlock twice a day. In the 80's OCTranspo was named the best transit system in North America. Today, OC has a great website, but their system leaves a lot to be desired.
c9: (streetcar)
Every year in Toronto many public and prvate buildings open their doors to the public to allow people to see things they might not normally have access to. Museums for free, legislature tours, university labs, all sorts of places. The city gets really into it, with City Hall and several TTC facilities opened up, so today we went to see the Greenwood Subway Yard.



Aaaaa, scary giant man threatening the innocent townsfolk! Aaaaaa! (click for more pics)
c9: (Default)
"a report on the innocent matter of fare integration showed Metrolinx' staff's... hunger for power" - http://ping.fm/CjUu2
c9: (streetcar)
Certainly not rough enough to hold a no-notice strike that stranded thousands this weekend (including me) and then bring back a laundry list of new contract desires after signing and then reneging on a prior agreement.

For example:

"Everyone knows the maintenance department is a joke. They are always complaining about how hard and tough their working conditions are. Yet they might work 2-3 hours out of an 8 hour shift."
-- TTC Subway Operator

"Overtime available. Concern for safety. And job security is virtually 100%. 3 hours of work per day stretched to fill the entire shift." ... "Most of the time, I’d usually work hard and was told that I shouldn’t."
-- Former TTC Maintenance Worker

"...employees must observe their Birthday Holiday on their birthday, (i.e. they must take that day off.)"
-- TTC Collective Bargaining Agreement that expired in March 2008 (PDF, p. 45)

Trapped

Apr. 26th, 2008 11:19 am
c9: (streetcar)
Last night I flew from Calgary to Toronto, arriving slightly late at 11:20pm.

At 11:25pm I boarded the express bus from the airport to the subway.

Halfway to the subway the driver announced they were going on strike.

In fifteen minutes.

He told us we would make the last subway going east.

We didn't.

Hundreds of people stranded on the edge of western Toronto. Not many cabs.

*That* could have been an interesting night.

A few friends decided that I better be rescued, so they zoomed out and did so. Yay for rescues! I would have been OK to walk, but man I would have been tired.

For your reference: the potential route.

Today we have no transit. Toronto is eerily quiet.
c9: (transit)
I figured out how to get to New Westminster using the Vancouver SkyTrain on my own, but then I learned that Google could have told me!

Doesn't seem to work for Toronto yet, or at least not for the buses. Does your city do this?
c9: (transit)
I'm in Ottawa teaching this week, and I discovered this morning that taking the O-Train on my way to the airport will actually save me time! Hooray!

Normally I just take the OC Transpo bus (97) to and from the airport, because it takes not much longer than a cab, costs far less (even though work pays), and is better for the planet. But the 97 runs right through downtown between our office in the near-west and the airport in the south, so there's a big slowdown from all the non-airport passengers (how rude!).

(view the maps here)
c9: (transit)
  1. I still love this icon. If you live in Toronto or use our streetcars, check out www.mynewstreetcar.ca to sound off on what you want to see in the new ones!
  2. Vincent is sick with strep throat, as am I. However, he's brand new to it, whereas I'm on day four of antibiotics. Learn more about strep throat from the medical experts of wikipedia!
  3. I'm flying to Winnipeg today for a 2-day class. Back Wednesday. I hope my husband will be OK, I feel guilty leaving him home sick.
  4. I just opened a new bank account for the money I'm collecting for our family reunion. *Another* plastic card to carry around. Woo!
  5. While I'm waiting for my flight, having free internet would be wonderful, but neither YYZ nor YWG have free internet. Grrr.
c9: (Explosion)
* where "fun" is defined as "helpful to us" and "game" is defined as "work-like activity for which you are not being paid".

  1. Control-Click here. (this will get you a new tab if you're using IE7 or Firefox)

  2. Either click a neighbourhood or use the checkboxes to pick beighbourhoods (we will both be working at the intersection of C1/C2/C8/C9)

  3. Find us something awesome matching these needs:
    • Two bedrooms, or 1+den
    • Not drug-eriffic or hooker-tastic
    • Under $300,000
    • Along the subway (check out awesomeness here)
    • Over 800 square feet (the cats need room to play!)

GTAA

Aug. 24th, 2006 06:26 pm
c9: (Contrails)

Huge News



Lester B. Pearson International Airport's LINK Train is operational!

It was originally not going to be operational until 2007. But it launched July 6th. And I was at the airport twice and didn't ride it! Argh! It's so stupid but I want to go to the airport this weekend and ride it even though we're not flying anywhere. I'm a little bit nuts.
c9: (Default)

Got at b3co.com!

I want to ride more metros! Plus I want to use [livejournal.com profile] ironmanjt's Airline version once he's created it!

August 2015

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