Scarborough one stop subway extension decision vs. 24 stop LRTs unacceptable!

I have read both Councillor Josh Matlow’s and Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon’s reports to their constituents regarding the Toronto City Council’s decision to go ahead with a subway extension to the Scarborough Town Centre at a cost of at least $3.2 billion and rising vs. up to 7 plus 17 stop LRTs in Scarborough for about the same price.

I must agree with Councillor Matlow’s reasoning over that of Councillor McMahon’s because of the sheer logic supporting 24 stops versus one. That one stop would replace the present SRT to the Town Centre which has 5 stops. All but one will be gone with the proposed subway; no progress for Scarborough there!

Councillor McMahon tells us that it is impossible to look back, that  we must move on because of the expense of further delays. But the issue is that Torontonians have been denied a perfectly good, affordable Transit City LRT plan since 2010 when Rob Ford took over as mayor. Really, any transit is now more expensive because of the 6 years of delay brought on by Mr. Ford’s irrational hatred of streetcars because they block car traffic. They do not – LRT’s are built on their own separate rights of way (and they  are very accessible due to floor heights equalling station platform heights).

Social justice and the environment are at stake. Revenues we so far are unwilling to raise will be sucked away (by the $ billions for a one stop subway extension) from residents of the inner suburbs who will now have to wait another generation for high speed transit. Needed cycling infrastructure – for health, reduced gridlock and improved environment – which I applaud Councillor McMahon for leading on, will be delayed even more by revenues going to a one stop subway. Even the ‘Road Safety Plan’ which was approved by Council last week is at risk of saving very few lives as the ‘car-nage’ continues because viable transit will not replace car driving for another generation.

This decision is fundamentally political. It is not about what is best for ‘the common good’. Mayor Tory, some Scarborough Councillors and at least one Scarborough Liberal MPP and now cabinet minister may have gotten elected by favouring a subway and they and a small majority of other Councillors were willing to hold their noses and vote for a one stop subway that defies ‘evidence based decision making’. This is just unacceptable!

I question Councillor McMahon’s statement that says the subway has the support of City staff. I was at City Council in 2012 when former TTC head Gary Webster was grilled about subways vs the Transit City plan and his honest answers in favour of LRTs cost him his job.

I would ask that prominent Toronto citizens come forward and say to the Mayor and Council that Torontonians do not accept this ‘political’ decision for a one stop subway extension vs. possible 24 stop LRTs for Scarborough.

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About Murray Lumley

Board member of Conscience Canada; Christian Peacemaker Teams Reservist; retired teacher; grandfather
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