1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Blogs

subway

Scarborough subway extension to proceed despite ballooning costs

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jul 14th, 2016

The controversial one-stop extension of Line 2 will go ahead as planned after council voted 28-15 against reviving plans for a seven-stop light-rail transit (LRT) line in the east end on Wednesday.

The issue was being discussed as part of a broader transit plan for Toronto. However, the subway versus LRT debate dominated the council meeting.

“Following this vote we must now put an end to years of inaction and delay and move ahead with a comprehensive plan to serve our city’s needs,” said Mayor John Tory, a vocal supporter of the Scarborough subway extension.

“This plan was approved with a wealth of input and information from city staff, including the city manager’s office, the TTC and our planning department, and I want to thank them for their hard work and professionalism.”

Councillors also voted in favour of the Downtown Relief Line and studies into other possible transit projects, including extending the Sheppard subway line and linking Downsview to Yonge-Sheppard.

A motion to extend the Eglinton Crosstown LRT 17 stops to the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, the cost for the subway extension, to Scarborough Town Centre, has ballooned once again. This time, it’s another $200-million for decommissioning the Scarborough RT and financing costs.

Last month, the city manager said the estimated cost was pegged at $3.16-billion, which was higher than Mayor John Tory’s $2.9-billion estimate – an increase of around $900-million from the cost estimate issued in January.

However, at the city council meeting on Wednesday, staff said the increased cost did not factor in the additional $200-million. The overall estimated cost is now around $3.4-billion.

Tory said the added cost of financing would also apply to the LRT.

“The cost of the LRT, the old LRT, has for reasons stated — including Kennedy station and the passage of time — substantially inflated to the point where now, it’s not that far off the cost of the express subway,” Tory said.

“And that’s where you’ll have to start to consider the fact that the express subway, according to Mr. Byford this morning, is going to last 80 years, where the LRT, for almost the same amount of money, is going to last 30.”

But Coun. Josh Matlow said the mayor was “absolutely” fudging the numbers to make the subway extension look more favourable.

“He’s factually incorrect,” Matlow said. “What is omitted from his arguments is that the inflationary costs on the LRT … are actually in the master agreement agreed to by Metrolinx.

“With respect to the city’s budget, we won’t actually have to pay for the ongoing maintenance costs; we won’t have to pay for the capital costs for the LRT; we won’t have to pay for the shutdown of the SRT. In other words, all these words that are being used as an apple to apple comparison are really apples and oranges.”

The increased cost for the Scarborough subway means the city is short $1.3-billion for the LRT to U of T Scarborough.

The price for the original version of the project, a three-stop subway, was budgeted at $3.56-billion. If the city stayed with the three-stop subway, it would be been $1.4-billion over budget, and would cost $4.3-billion.

The subway extension, now down to one stop after stations at Lawrence and Sheppard were cut, will have the remaining corridor serviced by the 17-stop LRT.


Related stories:

Scarborough subway extension hot topic once again at City Hall

Scarborough subway price tag hits $3.16B

Tory defends extra $900M for Scarborough subway extension


TTC CEO Andy Byford points out the longer we wait, the more it costs.

“The costs per month of delay for the Scarborough subway is $13-million,” Byford said.

TTC chair Josh Colle said the east end has had LRT for a while and there was evidence to suggest it is not the right call.

“We’ve had light-rail or rapid transit in that corridor for a generation. It hasn’t brought the development, hasn’t brought the economic activity, and in fact even after decades of having it in that corridor, people don’t use it,” Colle said.

Coun. Gord Perks, who was in favour of the LRT, said the one-stop subway plan is equivalent to the subway running from Union to Davisville stations, calling it bad urban planning.

Meanwhile, city planner Jennifer Keesmaat recommended council remove the three-stop subway plan from consideration and move forward with analysis for LRT to the U of T Scarborough campus.

TTC will not mail out August Metropasses

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jul 13th, 2016

metropass-878x494

The TTC will not be mailing out August Metropasses due to a possible Canada Post lockout or strike.

The passes must be purchased in person. Those who signed up for the year-long discount program will receive a credit for the difference, regardless if they purchase an August pass or not.

About 53,000 people subscribe to the discount plan, the TTC said on its website.

People who participate in the Volume Incentive Pass (VIP) program are not affected.

Metropasses go on sale starting July 18 at retail outlets, July 21 in pass vending machines in subway stations, and on July 24 at station collector booths. The TTC said it would be supplying more passes to those locations to cope with the demand.

Presto card, valid ID, needed for kids to ride TTC for free

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jul 13th, 2016

FILE PHOTO

All children under the age of 12 can currently ride the TTC for free but starting next year they’ll need to show ID to get the discount.

At a Monday night meeting, the TTC Board approved new fare policies: Children aged six to nine must carry Presto cards, and those aged 10 to 12 must carry a photo ID to ride for free.

Riders aged 13 to 19 must also carry a photo ID to get the youth discount.

“Ultimately your access to the system for everyone, regardless of your age, is going to be a card,” TTC Chair Josh Colle explained. “One of the challenges we’ve seen is the 14-year-old who claims they’re 12.”

In a report, the TTC said they lose $72.9 million annually to so-called concession fares. It’s broken down below:

  • Post-secondary monthly pass = $13.5 million
  • Senior cash, ticket, passes = $23.3 million
  • Student cash, ticket, passes = $27.8 million
  • Children free = $8.3 million

“We want to make sure it’s as user friendly as possible. I’ve got a six-, a 10- and a 12-year-old who ride transit. I guarantee you I’ll be holding the six-year-old’s card. He will not be,” said Colle. “At the same time there has to be some age identification on all our brackets, the same way a senior, in theory, could show a driver’s license to give proof of age.”

The TTC is cracking down on fare evasion, including on new streetcars with all-door boarding, and is asking for proof of payment on more routes. Asking children to carry passes and ID is just one more measure.

Toronto power outage continues, as does heat warning

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jul 13th, 2016

blackout-878x494

power outage that began around 10 a.m. on Wednesday continued on Thursday morning, with pockets of Toronto still without power.

The area around Highway 427 and Eglinton Avenue is the worst hit. Click here to see a map of the current outages.

In the Toronto Hydro Twitter feed, the acronym ‘ETOR’ stands for estimated time of restoration. There’s no word yet on when power will be restored.

Toronto Hydro is asking residents to keep an eye on their electricity use, especially given the sweltering heat. The soaring temperatures have forced customers to turn up the air conditioning and that demand could be having an effect on the power supply.

Toronto is likely in for another day of record-breaking heat. A heat warning issued by Environment Canada on Monday continues for Toronto and southern Ontario, while the City of Toronto’s medical officer of health issued their own warning.

There’s a high of 32 C in the forecast, and with the humidex it will feel near 41, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

Toronto and the GTA will see a cloudy morning with some showers and a chance of thunderstorms, with much of the storm activity north of Toronto. The afternoon is all sunshine, Taylor said, while the night will be clear with a low near 19 C.

Wednesday’s high of 36 C broke three weather records: It was the hottest July 13 on record, topping the 34.9 C set in 2005; it was the hottest day in Toronto so far this year, beating 34.6 C from June 20; and Pearson International Airport was the hottest spot in the entire country.

Toronto got some relief from the heat overnight but it came at a cost. Thunderstorms caused delays at Pearson and damage around the city. Around 1 a.m. on Thursday, lightning forced all ground crew personnel off the tarmac as a precaution.

Flight delays are also possible on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, the storm knocked over temporary fencing, garbage bins, and tree branches across the city. A few photos are below:

A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including knocking over this temporary fence. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including knocking over this temporary fence. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including this fallen tree. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy
A storm on July 13, 2016, caused damage across Toronto, including knocking over this temporary fence. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy

The Tenors change lyrics of ‘O Canada’ at MLB all-star game

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jul 13th, 2016

Ted-Rogers-Statue-Unveiling-The-Tenors-878x494

Canadian quartet The Tenors changed a lyric of O Canada as they made a political statement while singing the national anthem at Tuesday night’s MLB all-star game.

The group based in British Columbia changed a line of the anthem during their on-field performance at Petco Park to “We’re all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great.” The normal lyric is “With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free.”

One member of the four-man group held up a sign saying “All Lives Matter” while singing the altered lyrics. The words “United We Stand” were written on the back of the sign.

Although the audio wasn’t crystal-clear at the park, many fans reacted with surprise. The Canadian anthem wasn’t shown live on U.S. television, but it aired in Canada, where the Tenors’ decision to change the words drew overwhelming criticism on social media.

The Tenors are Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters, Remigio Pereira and Victor Micallef. The Juno Award-winning group has recorded multiple platinum albums in Canada.

“All Lives Matter” has become a common online response in recent months to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, particularly after the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

The Tenors released a statement two hours later on their Twitter page citing only one member was aware of the lyric change during that performance. The statement points the finger at Remigio Pereira, who sang the adlib while holding a sign that reads ‘All Lives Matter’ to the all-star game crowd.

Scarborough subway vs. LRT debate to dominate city council meeting

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jul 12th, 2016

lrtscarborough

The Scarborough subway saga is back on the agenda at City Hall on Tuesday – yet another debate over whether the area should have a subway or light-rail transit (LRT).

The issue is being discussed as part of a major transit plan for Toronto, which includes a proposed downtown relief line. Some councillors are pushing for the LRT after subway costs ballooned.

Mayor John Tory remains in favour of a one-stop subway extension in Scarborough, despite the $2.9-billon cost, up $900-million from the cost estimate issued in January.

The proposed subway extension is now down to one stop, to Scarborough Town Centre, with the remaining corridor to be serviced by a 17-stop LRT. The subway would run directly from Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre and would no longer stop at Lawrence or Sheppard.

The proposed layout for the Scarborough transit plan.
The proposed layout for the Scarborough transit plan.

The price for the original version of the project, a three-stop subway, was budgeted at $3.56 billion. If the city stayed with the three-stop subway, it would be been $1.4-billion over budget, and would cost $4.3 billion.

Although some councillors are against the subway extension, Tory is getting some support from other groups. The Toronto Sun reports five institutions in Scarborough, including two hospitals, Centennial College, the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus and the local business association have written an open letter supporting the one-stop extension and the 17-stop LRT project.

Also on the agenda, as part of the broader transit plan for Toronto, is the mayor’s SmartTrack proposal. Last month, Tory and the province announced new stops for SmartTrack and GO Transit’s Regional Express Rail Network in the east and west ends of the city.

The council meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. Click here to read the agenda.


Related stories:

Scarborough subway extension hot topic once again at City Hall

Minister of Children and Youth Services urges city council to overturn street hockey ban

City council to debate Norm Kelly’s motion calling for 911 texting


911 texting

City council is also set to vote on a motion from Coun. Norm Kelly for 911 texting to be adopted in Toronto. If approved, the city could become the first one in Canada to allow texting 911 for all residents seeking help in an emergency.

The motion cites the Orlando massacre as an example of a situation where 911 texting could have saved lives.

“There are situations in which making voice calls would attract unwanted attention and texting would provide a safe alternative,” Kelly’s motion states.

The motion goes on to remind council that the technology is already available to those with hearing and speech impairments.

Street hockey ban

Another issue that councillors will be debating is a proposal to remove the city’s current ban on street hockey and basketball.

Currently, playing the games on residential roadways can result in a $90 ticket. Ontario’s Child and Youth Services Minister Michael Coteau is urging councillors to allow the games to be played for the health and overall well-being of children in the province.

Man in wheelchair faces off with TTC bus during rush hour

Betty Wondimu | posted Tuesday, Jul 12th, 2016

wheelchair-bus-878x494

After being neglected at his Etobicoke bus stop for hours, one man resorted to stopping rush-hour traffic in order to be serviced.

Mohamad Alhajabdullah said he and his 10-year-old son spent nearly two hours in 30-degree heat waiting for wheelchair space on the 45 Kipling bus.

Bus after bus pulled up at Kipling Avenue and Redcliff Boulevard last Tuesday afternoon, with only standing room available.

Alhajabdullah said at least six buses passed him by. One driver asked him to wait for the next ride.

That’s when another man waiting for the bus stepped in to help Alhajabdullah and his son park his wheelchair in the road before boarding a crowded bus himself.

“I roll my chair in front of the bus and say I am not moving until you find a solution for me,” Alhajabdullah said.

photo of the dramatic stand-off surfaced on Twitter a few hours later.

TTC CEO Brad Ross said the transit company has a protocol to ensure people in wheelchairs are able to access service promptly.

“We are investigating this incident because protocol requires us to call our control centre when we’re unable to accommodate somebody in a wheelchair to determine if the next bus, the following bus, is able to accommodate the person,” Ross said.

“If they are unable to accommodate them because of crowding for example, then we would call Wheel Trans and make sure that that person gets a ride.”

After halting service for 10 minutes, a passenger called a wheelchair taxi for Alhajabdullah and his son and convinced him to take it home.

Alhajabdullah is a refugee who came to Canada with his family from Syria and became paralyzed after a bomb blast in his hometown.

“I’ve been here for seven months that’s more than 200 days. I am so grateful. Everything is amazing I don’t know what happened that day,” he said.

“I need to send a message, a symbol, that I am in a chair and sometimes need help, it’s a small message.”

Heat warning continues for Toronto

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jul 12th, 2016

hotheatweathersun16X9-878x494

Environment Canada issued the heat warning on Monday and it continued Tuesday. The City of Toronto issued its own heat warning on Tuesday.

There’s a high of 32 C in the forecast and it will feel more like 40 with the humidex, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

The city can expect varying amounts of sun and cloud with a slight chance of brief, isolated showers. Overnight, it will be clear, with a low near 21.

Cooler weather will arrive by Friday, Environment Canada said, but until then, it will be sticky in the city.

Here’s a few tips to keep cool, from the City of Toronto:

  • Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty.
  • Go to air-conditioned places, including shopping malls or one of many local libraries or community centres located in each neighbourhood.
  • Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down.
  • Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and, when outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Never leave seniors, children or pets unattended in a car.
  • Landlords of buildings without air conditioning are encouraged to provide a dedicated cooling room for vulnerable residents to escape the heat.
  • Community agencies are encouraged to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call or check on those clients at increased risk of heat-related illness during warnings.
Page 7 of 10« First...56789...Last »