John Tory’s one-stop subway, just what everyone in Scarborough wants. At least, that’s what it’s boosters would have you believe. In their eyes, it is a transformative project that will generate so called jobs, development and growth at the Scarborough Town Centre, (though nowhere else) even though the Mayor’s office has to convince Oxford Properties, the STC owner, of the subway’s merits. A huge problem with the mayor’s plan (apart from the fact that it’s an expensive boondoggle) is the fact that the over 16,000 daily riders who board the Scarborough RT at stations other than the STC will see their stations close. And then are the more than 125,000 other Scarborough residents who will never see an expanded LRT network on Eglinton East or Sheppard as the subway eats up funding for these projects. Seems like the Mayor is only concerned with his vision of growth at the Town Centre, one clearly not even shared by the major developer in the area! Actual transit riders don’t factor into his vision.
Over the past two weeks, we have been surveying riders at Lawrence East station, the second most used station on the SRT , to find out their opinions on this station closure. Turns out, not only are riders not keen on this but most did not even know Lawrence East will be no more when (or if) the subway opens.
Our results show that of our over 200 respondents, only a small minority were even aware that their station is disappearing. This is just the least of it! Of these respondents, most were also not aware of how Mayor Tory hopes to replace the station with a SmartTrack station. (as you might expect, given their response to the first question) Furthermore, once they heard of the plan, most were unhappy with such a replacement, given that SmartTrack/Go fares are likely to remain high and offer no free transfer to the TTC network.
With their station closing and an unattractive replacement being forced on them, is it any surprise that riders would prefer the original 7 stop LRT plan, as it keeps their local station and offers them connections to both the rest of Scarborough AND the wider citywide transit network? Since our results show that almost equal proportions of riders are heading downtown and within Scarborough, why do most Scarborough councillors and the Mayor refuse to listen to their transit-using constituents?
We’ve packaged the entire survey as one document, feel free to print it and bring it and use it to explain to others that Scarborough does not want this subway! Lawrence East SRT Survey_ForPrint
This anger and frustration were on full display this morning when we presented our results to the media and rallied with riders disappointed in our politicians’ failure to invest in real transit for Scarborough. You can see us hard at work early this morning!
The message from survey respondents and those standing with us to save their station is loud and clear: it’s time to put the subway to rest, those who ride transit in Scarborough don’t want it.