Here was Mayor Rob Ford’s equally odious brother, Doug Ford at the transit debate on Wednesday: “The St. Clair streetcar is a total disaster.”
Much maligned St. Clair line not so bad after all – The Globe and Mail: “Since the June, 2010, completion of the right-of-way from Yonge Street to Gunns Loop, . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Like You Needed To Be Told The Ford Bros Were Full Of S**T
On Feb. 8, 2012, the majority of Toronto City Council voted to reaffirm most of the Transit City LRT plans. The vote was 25-18. Nine councillors voted no to the plan that would bring rapid transit to their wards. The Ford transit plan would only have brought rapid transit to 4 of these 9 wards.
. . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: Councillors Voted To Deny Rapid Transit For Their Constituents
Of course I know that it was a revolt by city councillors against the hare-brained, disastrous transit “policy” of Toronto Mayor Rob “I love gridlock” Ford. And it was the sweetest of sweet defeats against the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum who like to think that they run the show like little Mubaraks. Here was . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: Thank Occupy For Mayor Ford’s Big Defeat
Photo of Rob Ford by Tannis Toohey for The Toronto Star Yesterday, Toronto City Council took over the lead on transit planning in the city and voted to reaffirm most of the LRT lines outlined in the Transit City plan. Council voted 25-18 to reaffirm what was already a binding agreement between Toronto City . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: Has Toronto’s Mayor Become Irrelevant?
TTC Chair Karen Stintz Moves To Bury Rob Ford’s Subway
This Wednesday, Toronto city council will vote to bring back most of the Transit City plan. 24 members of council have called the meeting to force this vote – a vote that should have happened a year ago, and a vote that has to be . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: Toronto Councillors To Vote For the Return of Most of Transit City
Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish released a legal opinion today concluding that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford did not have legal authority to cancel Transit City. The opinion concludes that the mayor does not have independent power to bind the city, and only exercises power delegated by council or specific legislative responsibility. . . . → Read More: Law is Cool: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Lacked Legal Authority to Cancel Transit City
NOW Magazine // Daily // News // Transit City’s minority reportExcerpts:The results of the provincial election have encouraged progressives still holding out hope for the resurrection of Transit City. Councillor Adam Vaughan is among the devotees wa… . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: Toronto mayor Ford still confused after provincial election. Better chance now for Transit City comeback
…was on those poor kid’s Xmas turkey.Although I disagree that the late upsurge in Anti-Ford administration anger is entirely a product of Metro’s downtowners. I know a couple of Ford voters living in the ridiculously congested Finch … . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Only Gravy Rob Ford Could Find
In what can be seen as either an act of hubris (Do as I say or I will unleash Ford Nation during the fall election) or an act of desperation (Oops, why did the private sector fail me?), Mayor Rob Ford made a visit to Dalton McGuinty yesterday, seeking … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Another Ardent Free Enterpriser Seeks A ‘Left-Wing’ solution
CTV Toronto – NY university names Miller a city-building fellow – CTV NewsFrom One Toronto:Rob Ford, a Mayor without VisionToronto residents should be proud to have our former mayor, David Miller, recognized as a city builder. From Transit City, to cle… . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: NY university names David Miller a city-building fellow
Metro – Ford deals death blow to Transit CityToronto must pay at least $49M to cancel LRT planI was waiting for more numbers to come in before posting this. So far, we have a waste, by Ford, of $179 million.From the Metro article:Ford was noncommittal … . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: Noncommittal Rob Ford brushes off $130 million + $49 million wasted in cancelling Transit City
Mapping Toronto’s Wellbeing – TorontoistOkay, first, no one is surprised that they didn’t and don’t pay attention.Here is a smoking gun of inattentiveness:Scroll down to “Overcrowded TTC Routes”. Notice that the most overcrowded public transit routes a… . . . → Read More: Driving The Porcelain Bus: The Rob Ford supporters never paid attention
This is the deputation I gave in City Hall on February 2nd regarding bus service cuts. Meeting Room #2 was overflowing — 160 constituents, 30 above fire code — waited their turn for over 5 hours for 5 minutes of time to speak to Toronto Transit Commissioners, and City Councillors. Run by Councillor Stintz, the new TTC Chair, the deputations were tightly constrained to five minutes. To her credit, she was unfailingly polite to the deputants, although she showed visible irritation when Transit City was defended.
The diverse face of Toronto was out in full force. York University students asked for late buses so they could attend basketball practice and night classes, the Roller Derby chicks pleaded for safe access to their arena to practice their moves, and a 90 year-old man spoke eloquently about his need to have access to a pharmacy for his medication, and visit his wife in a chronic care facility. His neighbourhood would have bus service cut in half, and isolate even him further. The TV reporters fled with his heartfelt testimony, but I have yet to find it on CTV news.
With no further ado, here is my deputation.
TTC Deputation: Proposed Transit Cuts on Bus Schedules for the Davenport Riding in relation to Lower Income Residents and Support for Transit City
Dear TTC, Mayor Ford and Toronto City Councillors,
I am a constituent of Ward 18, part of the Davenport Riding. I am also a member of the Clean Train Coalition, and have spent the last two years advocating for all-encompassing, sustainable transit policy in Ontario.
I am here today to speak of the correlation between low-income wage earners, transit, and the right of citizens to public transit – transit which should be egalitarian, surface level, consistent and frequent. This right for accessible transit should be a democratic right, not a privilege, which can be revoked or suspended by City Council, to implicitly prioritize cars over public transit. By cutting bus frequency, and routes, the City Council will force people back into cars, or in the case of the Davenport Riding, to take taxis, which they can ill afford.
Cutting bus service in the Davenport Riding flies against equitable treatment of those who provide services upon which we are dependent- the invisible glue of our society. These constituents are night shift workers- nurses, office cleaners, factory employees, minimum wage earners – all of the most vulnerable members of society to transit cuts. And who are these workers? Single mothers, new immigrants, those just entering the workforce, night school students, and the elderly- all of whom need off rush hour transit to go to work, school and church safely.
It is well-known in transit system planning that once bus service is cut back, or becomes intermittent, passenger numbers drop throughout the route, so cutting back on bus frequency at any point in the schedule will reduce passenger numbers on that route. Eventually, the route will be avoided altogether if service frequency is cut back to the bone. In addition, low income constituents also have the least access to ‘just in time’ information for online information regarding schedule changes due to the high cost of Internet service, and are affected most by erratic schedules because they cannot access transit updates.
The residents of Davenport are particularly dependent on transit, as many cannot afford cars. As new immigrants, and service sector employees, they often have the least control over the hours of their employment, thus are the most vulnerable to service cuts during the evening and weekends. Traffic cannot shift into rush hour schedules; these constituents cannot determine the time and need for bus service. Those who work minimum wage jobs cannot afford to take taxis, and often require transit to ensure that they get home safely at night in at risk neighbourhoods. Minimum wage in Ontario is $10.25 an hour, and the cost of a cab from downtown Toronto to west-end Toronto can cost up to $40, more than half the daily rate of a minimum wage employee. Is this fair?
In addition, many immigrants – Portuguese, Italian and Asian – have communities which centre around church. Cutting back Sunday service will restrict their access to their place of worship and right to congregation- cornerstones of society building- and which benefit the multinational city I am proud to call home.
The same principles of consistency and access to transit service apply to the proposed expansion of light rail transit for Transit City. This expansion of service level transit will revitalize and benefit entire neighbourhoods along its 75 km route, enable over three times this same demographic of rider to access and support businesses in their community, and build businesses within a far greater area than the area directly above subway stations. The air rights directly above the few subway stations proposed by Mayor Ford’s ‘Transportation City’ are not his unilateral right to sell to highrise developers. Transit City’s LRT is being implemented in dozens of cities internationally
, and is proven to improve the quality of life within neighbourhoods, and provide interconnections to subway stations. Why wait seven years for a few subway stations, when Transit City can be built in three to serve almost four times as many riders, and provide facelifts and multiple transit stops for entire districts?
In summary, by cutting back bus service to Davenport Riding, one of the poorest in Canada, the Toronto City Council will make this community poorer, and may force riders to choose between being able to go to work, or not, based upon transit costs. Those who can afford cars are fortunate, and expect society to pay the cost of road maintenance, traffic control, and highway expansion, why are any cuts even considered in public transit, and car drivers prioritized over citizens’ rights to go to work on public transit? Taxpayers subsidize cars, and I have not heard of any cuts to any services required to maintain the highway system proposed by the current Mayor or City Council.
We need to support current bus routes, and get to work on building Transit City immediately, so that Torontonians in the GTA can go to work- safely, equitably and quickly.
Photo Credit Warren McPherson: Image of Transit Guru Steve Munro, and others, crowded into Meeting Room #2, waiting to deputize with great patience.
. . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Getting to Work on Transit City
This is the deputation I gave in City Hall on February 2nd regarding bus service cuts. Meeting Room #2 was overflowing — 160 constituents, 30 above fire code — waited their turn for over 5 hours for 5 minutes of time to speak to Toronto Transit Commissioners, and City Councillors. Run by Councillor Stintz, . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Getting to Work on Transit City
“Send in the clowns
Don’t bother they are here.”
– Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical ‘A Little Night Music’
As a transit rider and taxpayer, I write of our right to moral outrage. The events since the October 25th municipal election have left me reeling- from the Ringling Brothers pomp and circumstance of Don Cherry’s inauguration of Rob Ford as mayor of our once progressive city, to the new regime’s attempted transit fee hike and service cuts, and to the higher personal income tax garnered to subsidize corporate tax cuts, our political arena has become a three-ring circus.
PM Harper, Premier McGuinty, Mayor Ford — each have become ringleaders in their own right. Each promotes obstructionist duplicity, deflecting questions about who really holds the reins on our right to dissent without censure, discounting, or ridicule, while cutting tax revenues needed to support essential public services, such as transit, which enable us to get to work efficiently. Once service becomes intermittent, such as the recently proposed scaling back of the nighttime schedule of 48 bus routes, riders will no longer use these unpredictable routes. Who rides the later buses? Shift workers, recent immigrants, service sector employees, teenagers – those who cannot afford cars, and are the most vulnerable to being stranded within a system. With this plan, and the construction of 18 km of subway with 11 stops, rather than Transit City, Mayor Ford has announced his ‘Transportation City’, thus his ‘War on the Transit Rider’. Cars are machines; we cannot have a war on them.
Mayor Ford’s reign was kicked off on December 7th, when Don Cherry, the host of ‘Coach’s Corner’ on the CBC, placed the chain of office around Mayor Ford’s neck at City Hall, and said “Actually I’m wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything.”
With that speech, the municipal gloves were off, and my bicycle helmet was on. The tone was set for the new City Hall, which was to be run by an executive council queried, hand-selected, and confirmed by his staff that their allegiance to Mayor Ford was absolute. Adam Vaughan, the councilor that everyone wanted to run for mayor, turned his back on the proceedings.
Within days of his election, Mayor Ford was granted the ear of Premier McGuinty, and convinced him to abandon seven years of Transit City planning. In those same few days, Spacing, the new urban magazine, designed bicycle-riding leftwing pinko buttons to fight this inaugural costume drama with humour, and a signifier of moral outrage. 10,000 buttons were sold in the first two days by Spacing, with 10 per cent of the proceeds going to the Toronto Cyclists’ Union.
For 25 years at the CBC, a pinko-kook institution, Mississauga resident Don Cherry has earned up to $700,000 a year for 5 minutes per game of Yogi Berra commentary on hockey, and now his ‘bite the hand that feeds him’ malapropisms have been immortalized on a button, and banded together downtown Toronto pinko-kooks. I wear my button everywhere with amused and exasperated pride, and often point to it as a mutual badge of honour to fellow pinkos– on the streets, in the subway, and in cafes — to build solidarity.
Those who conjecture about why Transit City is being dismantled also believe the mayoral modus operandi of Mayor Ford is calculated. Ford wants to return the favour of his election to property developers who bankrolled his campaign, and by doing so, undermine the egalitarian, urban planning begun by ex-Mayor Miller, which would integrate communities into the subway corridor by continuing to build 75 km of priority lines of Light Rail Transit. This project has already been whittled down 47 km by budget cuts by Premier McGuinty; ex-Mayor Miller’s original plan included 122 km of LRT.
In addition, they believe Mayor Ford wants to sell off valuable air rights for high rise development above subway stops to his developer friends. This plan is in direct contrast to ex-Mayor Miller, who wanted his legacy to be Transit City. This LRT system includes multiple transit stops to encourage business and street level development within neighbourhoods, supports mom and pop businesses along its route, and enables those who are disabled and elderly access to surface level transit. The vision of Mayor Ford is elitist– massive high rises will mark the spot of subway stations, which will take 7 years to build, serve 122,000 people, and are difficult to access, whereas the plan of Transit City is to enable transit-oriented development to serve 400,000 people, revitalize entire communities, and can be built within three years to relieve the gridlock, and a portion of healthcare expenses, which cost Ontario $6 billion a year.
And the three-ring circus continues. Premier McGuinty allowed Mayor Ford’s fireside chat for significant reasons– Ontario views the HST as a corporate tax grab, he is culpable for enacting 233/10, the 5-meter fence rule, which permitted the suspension of civil liberties during the G20, and he has made a series of exceptionally poor decisions in the last year, including outsourcing $6 billion of wind turbines to Samsung. Who is advising him?
Yet even as Premier McGuinty exclaims from the center of his ring “Ontarians understand the need for corporate tax cuts”, provincial corporate tax rates are cut from 14 to 12 per cent so that $2.4 billion in public revenues will be lost for Transit City. No, I don’t understand why I am paying much more for fewer services, any more than I understand why the new City Council recently attempted to raise transit fees by 10 cents to $3.10 for each token when I buy a set of ten to offset the $60 lost from the vehicle registration fee, and federally, why my taxes have increased between $144 (income $44,000) to $447 per annum (income $100,000) so that $14 billion in tax revenues are lost to the public purse, and why Canadian corporations will pay the lowest taxes in the industrialized world at 12.2 per cent, when American corporations pay 28.3 per cent.
As a Liberal premier, Premier McGuinty has added to my tax burden given to me by the federal Conservatives, thereby supporting PM Harper’s corporate agenda. I thought they were opposing parties. As a result, I am getting far fewer services for far higher transit fees, increased taxation from all sides, and a possible public sector wage freeze — a triple whammy. And watch — this federal tax loss in tax revenue will be used to justify even more downloading of transit infrastructure costs to the provinces by forcing them to finance overruns. PM Harper and Premier McGuinty could have allocated some of these revenues to fund sustainable transportation infrastructure and upgrades, including electrifying the Air Rail Link, and the Georgetown corridor by Metrolinx, and easily included a 15% contingency fund.
$14 billion federally, and $2.4 billion provincially is $16.4 billion in lost tax revenues. $16.4 billion can buy world class, sustainable, electric transit infrastructure, education, research and innovation, and the capacity for forward thinking design and self-governance; $16.4 billion in tax cuts widens the gap between the car-drivers and transit riders, and closes the door on municipal services, including legal clinics, home care, and public housing for those who need them most, yet were the target demographic for Mayor Ford’s Gravy Train campaign. It also complicates travel time in the GTA for citizens do not want to waste half their workday in gridlock, as drivers idle in single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) behind their buses. These diesel buses, as proposed by Mayor Ford, should be Light Rail Vehicles, which are twice as fast, with no emissions, and serve the entire GTA. ‘Transportation City’ is not as efficient or clean as ‘Transit City’, and depends on fossil fuels in a post carbon economy.
Cities, including the GTA, need to become the epicenter of all greening initiatives, as up to 70% of the world will live in urban centers by 2050. It is clear that Mayor Ford will not be able to represent the City of Toronto on the world stage with his backward policies prioritizing cars, subways, and buses. GTA transit infrastructure is 25 years behind international standards already, and his version of fossil-fuel based transit, and expanding highway system, will be considered archaic before it is built. Cuts from federal and provincial corporate tax revenues could have been used to build this transit infrastructure so that TTC riders can get to work, quickly and efficiently without congestion, to their lungs or their workday.
Just as Mayor Ford’s inauguration did on youtube, his self-serving version of Transit City, ‘Transportation City’, will make us a laughing stock internationally. And as other countries build sustainable transit for resilient cities, we will be stuck in traffic, waiting for a change in transit policy and governance. As the economic engine of Canada, this funding is owed to the TTC transit rider more than the tax cuts are owed to the executive class, but it is not seen this way by this corporate glad-handing, three-ring circus.
We need to get to work on Transit City- and right away – so we can go to work.
DON CHERRY and ROB FORD “…for all the PINKOs out there, that ride bicycles…”, posted on youtube.com, December 7, 2010 at
Left-wing pinko buttons store at http://spacing.ca/store/buttons/left-wing-pinko-button/
Pembina Report, “Making Tracks Torontonians”, January 5, 2011, at http://www.pembina.org/pub/2151
John Cartwright, The Toronto Star, July 11, 2010
‘Opinion: Cancel corporate tax cuts to deal with deficit’at
Sean Marshall, TTC holds off on fare increase, service cuts, January 12, 2011 at http://spacingtoronto.ca/2011/01/12/ttc-proposes-fare-increase-service-cuts/ . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stuck in Traffic in Transportation City
“Send in the clownsDon’t bother they are here.”– Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical ‘A Little Night Music’
As a transit rider and taxpayer, I write of our right to moral outrage. The events since the October 25th municipal election have left me reeling- from the Ringling Brothers pomp and circumstance of Don . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Stuck in Traffic in Transportation City
Two weeks ago, as I galloped down MIT’s Infinite Corridor, I spotted a poster advertising the speech of Ray LaHood, US Secretary of Transportation, as part of the Transportation@ MIT lecture series. At MIT, 230 faculty are working on progressive transp… . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: An Infinite Corridor, Reinventing the Automobile, and the Resilient City
Two weeks ago, as I galloped down MIT’s Infinite Corridor, I spotted a poster advertising the speech of Ray LaHood, US Secretary of Transportation, as part of the Transportation@ MIT lecture series. At MIT, 230 faculty are working on progressive transport initiatives, drawn from the School of Engineering, the School of Architecture and Planning, and . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: An Infinite Corridor, Reinventing the Automobile, and the Resilient City
Gordon Mack Scott, Managing Partner of the Strategic Improvement Company, speaks about the need to protect municipal assets, and public services, so that we can all be players in the greater economy.
I shot this interview in Ward 18, which is part of the Davenport Riding, a high priority region in the City of . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: "Stakeholders not Shareholders"
Gordon Mack Scott, Managing Partner of the Strategic Improvement Company, speaks about the need to protect municipal assets, and public services, so that we can all be players in the greater economy.I shot this interview in Ward 18, which is part of th… . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: "Stakeholders not Shareholders"