By Shaun Cleaver, STA Ally
This past Friday, the TTC announced that it would further modify the design plans for the Scarborough One-Stop Subway Extension in the face of pressure from car drivers and homeowners.
Scarborough has an urgent need for more rapid transit. This rapid transit can be provided quickly with a Light Rail Transit (LRT) network. 2016 could have seen the opening of a full LRT on Sheppard Avenue East that would have freed transit from the congestion created by cars.
There could also be another LRT under construction to bring rapid transit to Centennial College and the edge of Malvern.
Instead, the one Scarborough-focused plan being taken seriously right now is for a big hole with one subway station. And this plan just got worse.
Whereas Scarborough’s transit riders are starving for a comprehensive network and affordable travel around Scarborough, homeowners and drivers screamed, “Get your gigantic hole out of our neighbourhood.” Ironically, these same homeowners and drivers claimed to support better transit for Scarborough.
Yet as soon as construction details for the One-Stop Extension were released, their tangibleconcernswere about how they’d be inconvenienced by closed roads, dust, and noise.
These people claim to speak for Scarborough, yet they do not speak for Scarborough transit riders.
What will be the fallout of the TTC buckling to this pressure from car drivers and single-family homeowners? Will the cost go up even further?
We know that Toronto needs to invest in rapid transit, but this subway extension is a bad investment of our valuable transit resources. Furthermore, the majority of councillors in City Council have repeatedly voted on this issue with inadequate and misleading information about costs.
Will the delay for rapid transit get even worse?
The subway extension was promised to only take a few more years than the original 7-Stop LRT plan. Instead, deadlines are being missed despite the official messaging that the project is on-schedule.
How many more years do we need endure the screech of the Scarborough RT? How many more winters do we need to wait for replacement buses because the RT has stopped running due to weather conditions? Construction could be happening now to replace the clunky RT with a modern LRT that extends into north-east Scarborough.
As if they knew that we would point out the obviousness of increased costs and delays from this homeowner/driver advocacy, the TTC has denied these are issues. To this we ask, “Hey TTC, is the One-Stop Subway Extension still on track to ‘only’ cost $3.2B and open in 2025?”
We await a credible answer. Given some recent issues with misleading memos and suppressed information to make service cuts seem like routine adjustments, our confidence in the TTC is a bit shaken.
Are you a Scarborough transit rider who is tired of progress being undermined by the needs of people trying to maintain the status quo? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.