May 29, 2010

George Smitherman's Transit Vision for Toronto

CANADA - Mayoral hopeful George Smitherman has finally released his vision of the future of the TTC. The plan was released yesterday. A 17 billion ramped up transit plan which includes:

#1. Extending the subway east to Sherway Gardens, replacing the Scarborough RT with an above-ground subway.

#2. The Sheppard subway would also be extended west from Yonge St. to Downsview station.

#3. Extending the Spadina line to York University.

#4. A waterfront streetcar to the West Donlands.

#5. Limited free midday TTC service for seniors.

#6. Curb-separated bike lanes in the city and "cycle superhighways" through Toronto’s parks and trails.

And he would do all this without new taxes or road tolls, all built in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

“It is a shameful lack of leadership that has put Toronto in the position that our transit system is a throwback to decades ago,” says Smitherman, referring to the fact that the TTC is 30 years behind schedule in terms of infrastructure building.

Smitherman has yet to unveil his platform for reorganizing the city's budget to pay for these expenses. $10 billion has already been set aside for future TTC infrastructure. Smitherman says he will be looking to private companies to make up the difference.

Does that mean Toronto will finally start renovating and renting out space inside subways to be used as cafes, stores, offices, etc? It has been done before in some subway stations with limited success. Overseas other subway systems seem to have no trouble coming up with private investment and stores willing to setup shop in high traffic zones.

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