Budget 2020: We Need New Revenue Tools To Address Scarborough’s Looming Transit Crisis

Scarborough has two out of three of the highest bus ridership corridors in Toronto. Usually when bus routes are heavily used we replace them with higher capacity transit like Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), streetcar, LRT or subway.  Instead, our politicians have wasted ten years arguing over a replacement for the aging Scarborough RT (SRT). It will be at least ten more years before a subway extends east of Kennedy station.  But a three-stop subway is not a network and Scarborough doesn’t end at McCowan and Sheppard East. ...  read more

2019 was a pivotal year for transit in Scarborough!

Agnes Thompson, Local Champion

There were a few wins, some major setbacks, but by the end of 2019, the call  for a reliable and affordable rapid transit network in Scarborough was louder than ever.

In February, Scarborough Transit Action and Connect Sheppard East (LRT Network Coalition) conducted a transit workshop at the East Scarborough Storefront. Residents support the Eglinton East LRT. They also want to see better service on the 54 Lawrence East bus.

In April, the Ford government opted for a three-stop subway and broke  its 2018 election promise to build the Eglinton East LRT. Scarborough residents were not happy. We hosted a town hall with Scarborough Civic Action Network and U of T Scarborough Campus Student Union at the Mid-Scarborough Hub. It was packed. Mayor Tory confirmed there was no city money for the EELRT either.  ...  read more

Scarborough’s needs Bus Rapid Transit, bus only lanes, now!

The TTC’s Five-Year Service Plan and Ten-Year Outlook  report will go to the TTC Commission December, 12 and 16. It calls for bus only lanes and signal priority along  our busiest surface transit routes.  These are  cost effective measures toward increased ridership and shorter travel times. But we should take a  more ambitious approach  to address the needs of transit riders in Scarborough.

It will be at least ten years before the Scarborough subway is built.  Frequent breakdowns of  the aging SRT and no commitment to  build crucial rapid transit like the Sheppard East and Eglinton East LRTs is leaving riders in our under served neighbourhoods behind.  ...  read more

Fordnation’s allies on Toronto council throw Scarborough transit riders under the bus, again

In an alternate universe, $5.5-billion could buy a 50-stop light rail network serving most of Scarborough. Instead, Doug Ford will push forward the replacement of the Scarborough RT to 2030 with three subway stops for 11,000 new riders.

The majority of Scarborough community organizations applauded the Toronto-Ontario transit plan which would see the province take sole ownership and fund this three-stop subway. Many called on Toronto council  to build the Eglinton East and Sheppard East LRTs as well. At the Executive Committee meeting on October 23rd, Mayor Tory repeatedly “reminded” Scarborough deputants here, here and here that the $1.2375 billion Scarborough Subway levy could now be put toward the Eglinton East LRT (EELRT).  ...  read more

The Death of Rapid Transit in Scarborough

Overcrowded 54 Lawrence East bus during off-peak hours

Up until a few days ago, the  province was poised to take over the existing subway system and new transit infrastructure delivery from the TTC. At first glance, this appears to be a good thing. It is much easier for the province to generate revenue for the TTC’s $33.5 billion backlog in maintenance and state-of-good-repair. It is also much easier for the province to generate revenue for new transit infrastructure.

However, there is no agreement between the city and the province on what to build. Here’s a comparison of  Mayor Tory and Premier Ford’s transit priorities: ...  read more

HANDS OF OUR TTC! Where’s the Eglinton East LRT?

Bill 107 Getting Ontario Moving Act was passed in the legislature at Queens Park on June 4, 2019. The province has now taken “Sole Responsibility” for four Toronto transit projects: Ontario Line (formerly Relief Line), an extension of the Yonge Line to Richmond Hill and a three-stop Scarborough Subway. It prevents the city from planning or building transit projects that are similar or near to projects the province is building. And it does not require the province to compensate the city for any assets it expropriates from the TTC. ...  read more

No money for the Eglinton East LRT. NOW WHAT?

What’s that loud sucking noise? That’s the $4 billion Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) soaking up all the rapid transit money for Scarborough. Had the SSE been judged on cost-effectiveness, we might not be poised to spend $4 billion on a one-stop subway that will carry only 31,000 riders a day.

Taken from www.citybuidinginstitute.ca/2019/04/03/king-street-by-the-numbers

And had rapid transit to underserved neighbourhoods and campuses been a top priority, there would be enough money for the much-needed Eglinton East LRT (EELRT) from Kennedy to Malvern.

An Environmental Assessment for the EELRT was approved in 2009. But the LRT keeps falling off the priority list. Without a commitment of at least $150 million to take it to shovel-readiness, Scarborough residents will remain stuck with inadequate bus service. ...  read more

How to get funding for the Eglinton East LRT

“In 2016, Mayor Tory promised to build the Eglinton East LRT (EELRT) as part of Scarborough’s rapid transit network. In 2018, he promised to extend it from University of Toronto Scarborough campus to Malvern Town Centre.

The EELRT is shovel-ready but funding must be approved before construction can begin.

A report will go before the Mayor’s Executive on  April 9th, 2019. It’s our chance to tell Council we need this vital rapid transit line built publicly, now!

We’ve got the talking points and letter writing/speaking template.  Find out who your councillor is and how to contact them here...  read more

Who will champion the Eglinton East LRT?

 

Scarborough politicians love to complain about how our part of the city is ignored while overlooking rapid transit to our under served neighbourhoods. Funding for the Eglinton East LRT (EELRT) has been eliminated twice over the past eight years while funding for $3.56B Scarborough subway and $1.46B SmartTrack  remain firmly in place.  Though there is more overall public support for this line and it’s  improved access to jobs, education and services in seven Priority Neighbourhoods, it will take more than lines on a map to secure the future of this 21-stop LRT from Kennedy to Malvern.

In 2010, the late Rob Ford cancelled the original Scarborough Malvern LRT without a peep from Scarborough councillors. The only outcry came from students at U of T Scarborough. Had more politicians rallied behind it, construction would have started in 2014 and it would be up and running next year.  It happened again in 2016 when the costs of John Tory’s one-stop, “Express Subway” skyrocketed from $2-billion to $3.35-billion, eating up any money left over for the EELRT.  Only Scarborough Guildwood councillor Paul Ainslie proposed a better use of $3.56 billion would be a 24-stop LRT network including both the 17-stop Eglinton East LRT and the 7-stop Scarborough LRT.

Yet Mayor Tory continues to use the unfunded EELRT to prop up his Scarborough “transit network” (a 6 km tunnel to a shopping mall and one SmartTrack/GO station at Lawrence East). Perhaps he is hoping no one will notice that without the EELRT riders will be left with two separate access points on two separate lines, instead of the five RT stops they have now.

Higher levels of government have promised $9 billion  for Toronto’s transit priorities. With $3.56-billion already allocated for the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) and $1.46-billion in SmartTrack funding secured from this new money,  the $6.8-billion Relief  Line, $2.2-billion Eglinton East LRT and $1.98-billion Waterfront LRT are left to compete for the remaining $7.5-billion.

During the 2018 provincial election, Doug Ford promised another $5-billion toward transit in Toronto with the Sheppard Loop (three-stop SSE), Relief Line and Yonge Extension to Richmond Hill as their priority.

The Conservative party platform included the Eglinton East LRT with the proviso that it be tunneled:

“The Eglinton Crosstown is currently being built across the city. There will be two additional expansions to this project: Westward expansion to Pearson International Airport, and eastward expansion to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

However, future expansions of the Eglinton Crosstown should be built underground to help reduce congestion once construction is completed.”

Tunneling the 27 km Eglinton East LRT from Kennedy  to Malvern  would add  billions in costs. Clearly, sensible transit planning for the suburbs is not on Ford Nation’s agenda.  However, both the EELRT and Sheppard Loop were promised to Scarborough before a

“line by line review” of Ontario’s finances ...  read more

Our vision – RAPID TRANSIT For All of Scarborough!

Source: maQSeaimages http://maqseaimages.blogspot.com

Scarborough’s residents love our part of the city! We want our neighbourhoods to thrive.  As we’re home to some of Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods, with the highest number of racialized people and rates of unemployment, we need a=&0=&

A =&1=& LRT Network made up of the Scarborough, Sheppard East and Eglinton East LRT lines would bring equity and prosperity to Scarborough by:

  • Connecting our communities with a fast, convenient and affordable way to get to  work, schools, shopping, appointments and entertainment.
  • Creating 14,390 new jobs including good TTC operations and maintenance jobs.
  • Providing training opportunities and apprenticeships for our young people.
  • Facilitating redevelopment along each LRT route.
  • Increasing walkability and accessibility for seniors and those with mobility issues.
  • Reducing congestion and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Making our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Keeping our four SRT stations and eliminating the need to reroute buses to a  33-bay underground bus terminal at the Scarborough Town Centre.
  •  ...  read more