(When we initially wrote this post we believed the Councillor Karygiannis was merely a destructive voice yelling from the margins. We have since learned that politics have transpired to make his mistaken and problematic voice relevant. We have updated the post to provide more details about the options that Councillor Karygiannis is supporting)
On Wednesday 6 July, Ward 39 (Scarborough-Agincourt) Councillor Jim Karygiannis posted on his website that he is requesting “engagement” on the City of Toronto’s latest plan for the one-stop subway extension. For Councillor Karygiannis, “engagement” means completing a survey that forces residents to select some variation of “build a few subway stops” and little else. This flawed, undemocratic process will cause further misinformation about transit in Scarborough. The Councillor’s online survey is another example of how Toronto’s leaders, starting with Mayor John Tory, have thrown out sensible transit planning principles in favour of reckless, irresponsible, rhetoric-based transit planning.We are demanding that Councillor Karygiannis provide an accurate cost/benefit analysis of all transit options and immediately publish the results of his survey to all Ward 39 residents in real-time.
Councillor Karygiannis is misleading his own constituents about transit options
As an alleged service to his constituents, Councillor Karygiannis has published a shallow, misleading and self-serving document that he appears to have created himself, with no scientific research or input from the City of Toronto, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), TTC riders in Scarborough, or residents of Ward 39. It is unclear how Councillor Karygiannis is qualified to deliver valid research on public transit in Toronto when he has no professional background as an urban planner, nor any personal experience riding a bus in his own neighbourhood.
The document ignores the reality that subways are only part of a transit network that includes buses and various forms of light rail. The document makes no mention of financial costs of different transit options, at a time when local Toronto politicians are cutting funding to existing TTC service. The document also omits repeated calls from local planning experts, credible media journalists, lifelong transit advocates and Scarborough residentsfor a light rapid transit network that would bring transportation equity and vast improvements to mobility for residents in east Toronto.
Toronto has a long history of electing politicians who mislead their constituents on the best transit options
Councillor Karygiannis is the latest in a never-ending line of Toronto politicians who shamefully reject their responsibility as public officials to represent the facts on transit. Like Mayor Tory, Karygiannis refuses to explain how a smart, cost-effective, multi-modal transit network would get people moving in and through Ward 39 neighbourhoods like L’Amoreaux, Chester Le, Tam O’Shanter, Agincourt and Milliken.
Stale, career Toronto politicians like Karygiannis and Mayor Tory have made a comfortable living by misleading Scarborough residents into believing that 20th century subway technology is the only public transit option available, even when overwhelming evidence supports a better plan.
The best transit option is a vote for the 7-stop LRT
There is one grammatically incorrect option in Councillor Karygiannis’ survey to “Support a Light Rail Transit (LRT) to replace the ailing Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT)”. For residents in Ward 39 who have already informed themselves on this debate, this survey option is the closest thing to supporting 21st century transit infrastructure in Ward 39. A 7-stop light rapid transit line would serve five times as many Scarborough residents as the one-stop extension.
(Updated 13 July, 2016)
In order to bring clarity to the discussion in Toronto Council, we have revised Councillor Karygiannis’ misleading unpublic survey to reflect the actual options available. In today’s Council debate we will see if Karygiannis proposes that Council support one of his misleading options.
Revision of Karygiannis’ survey to reflect realistic options
Councillor Karygiannis has said the results of this online poll will determine his vote at Council. If he was serious about giving Ward 39 residents a democratic voice, he would take the following steps:
- Provide an accurate, complete summary of the true costs and benefits for all transit options in Ward 39, including a light rail network.
- Present and defend his preferred transit option in a public, accessible debate that would be open to all Ward 39 residents.
- Publish the results of his website survey to all Ward 39 residents in real-time.
When asked a legitimate question about how to turn his proposition of a “Sheppard subway” into reality, Councillor Karygiannis’ opinion was supported by the following logic:
Unfortunately, those of us who ride transit in Scarborough have long endured the problematic and misleading musings of politicians like Councillor Karygiannis. Stunts like this one are a reminder of why we need to continue the struggle for better transit in all of Toronto.