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Rob Ford releases “Transportation Plan”

ford-photoMayoral candidate (and current frontrunner) Rob Ford has released his “transportation plan” (PDF).

The contents of the plan can be summed up as follows:

  • Streetcars are bad.  TransitCity should not be built because an efficient wide-ranging Light Rail Transit system costs 1/10 as much as an equivalent subway system… but subway promises get votes.  Not only should new streetcar lines not be built, but existing lines should be torn out and replaced with buses.
  • There’s a war on cars!  Let’s stop the war and cater to drivers!
  • Bikelanes are fine, but only where they can be added without removing ANY lanes for cars.  Any bikeway network system should ONLY exist in ravines, park systems and hydro corridors.

To sum up… nothing new from the Rob Ford team.  For a group that wants responsible fiscal management at City Hall, they sure want a lot of money spent on subways.

As well, they don’t seem to notice that EVERY other major city in the world is trying to shift their citizens AWAY from private automobile use… because catering to the car is an inefficient way to plan an urban transportation system.    If your city is bogged down in traffic jams, no one can get to where they are going to work, shop and play.

Torontoist sums up the policy release quite well:

Brace yourselves, kids: Rob Ford has released his transportation plan [PDF]. Though we fully expect and look forward to multiple eviscerations of its details in the forthcoming days, in the interim let us just say that this is an astonishing bit of fiction which demonstrates little grasp of transit policy, government relations, or basic arithmetic.

Here’s a video of Ford announcing his Transportation Plan… he doesn’t seem to have read it before:

  • duncan

    Does this “plan” only sound good to people who have never left Toronto, or, quite possibly, the ‘burbs?

    I really love the claim that streetcars cause congestion. As James from The Urban Country pointed out, if you replace the 58,000 transit riders on the King Street streetcar with cars and buses, guess what, no one is going to move along King Street.

    This is simply terrible.

  • Ford seems to cater to a lot of people who think driving is the ONLY way to get around.

    They don’t understand the volume of people that use TTC/bike/walk to work.

    Ford’s plan will unfortunately make transportation WORSE in Toronto. Encouraging car use will slow everything down even more. Few people in the general electorate actually understand that though.

  • Why are you guys so worked up? I can’t wait to bike to work downtown via a ravine.

  • Phil

    This guy finds it hard to read his own simple words.

    Inviting cars into Toronto will only invite congestion. How is a subway going to help downtown? The congestion is downtown, not in Scarborough. If anything it will pack the subways more, which are already full. Heck they were full at rush hour 30 years ago. Express buses on Eglinton, where there’s all kinds of cars during rush hour.

    During the winter, you never see curbs. Fail.

    Rob Ford, put down the bong. You’re not going to solve downtown congestion with a subway in Scarborough. You should spend more time downtown where the problem is. You’re not going to get people riding the TTC, especially if you put more people on it.

  • He seems to like the idea of grouping cyclists and pedestrians. I do the Martin Goodman trail twice a day and, quite frankly, I get more nervous sometimes about joggers or pedestrians with IPods in their ears, than I get nervous about cars in the downtown core. I have had more close calls with pedestrians than I have had with cars for that matter! I average around 25 km/hr with max speeds around 40 kms depending on winds and have cyclists wizzing past me daily. A pedestrian getting hit by a 180 pound person driving a bike at 35 km/hr would not be pretty. I do love the idea of biking to work at Bay and College by ravine though! Now, if only I could find a ravine…..

  • Is this guy for real? His transportation plan reads like someone deliberately trying to sound obtuse!

  • If this guy wins, then it doesn’t leave me a lot of hope for our country. We always like to think that Canada is above the ignorance of the red states in America, but this guy might be more ignorant about the world than even Sarah Palin.

    Here are just a few flaws:

    – Traffic signals can’t be synchronized unless you convert two-way streets to one-way streets. I sure as hell wouldn’t want Queen, King, Spadina, Dundas, Yonge, and College to be more like Richmond/Adelaide. But then again, Ford caters to people who don’t live downtown, so one-way streets with synched lights would be great in their mind.
    – 3 streetcars carry roughly the same number of passengers as 4 buses. So pulling the plug on the King streetcar will put roughly 30 new buses on King street during rush hour, adding to the congestion. (not even to mention the fact that buses emit diesel exhaust). [1]
    – As somebody else pointed out, painted curbs won’t do much good in the winter or at night even for that matter.
    – Bicycle trails through ravines and valleys are fun and all, but we have plenty of recreational trails already that aren’t direct and can only be used for recreation. This isn’t going to help people who want to use their bicycles for transportation.

    If Rob Ford is elected, it will only reaffirm the belief that bicycles don’t belong on roads and should only be used for recreation. Furthermore, he will do everything in his power to roll back the small progress we have made over several decades.

    We can’t let this guy get elected.

    [1] http://transit.toronto.on.ca/archives/weblog/2010/09/09-editorial_.shtml (read the last update to get the most realistic numbers for bus capacity).

  • Quote: “We can’t let this guy get elected.”

    AMEN to that. i hope we all do even a small part to prevent this from happening. I do sincerely believe having this person in the Mayor’s Chair would be detrimental to our city.

  • his transit plan is nothing more than a convenient way to make his commute from etobicoke > city hall that much faster.

  • Justin

    The more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

    Remember, the people of outside of the downtown core all pay taxes and contribute their hard-earned money towards downtown development. They deserve a proper transit system as much as downtowners do. Not to mention Scarborough streets are even worse than downtown during rush hour. Hence why I moved out of there and now bike / transit to work. Driving my car downtown wasn’t a problem, but getting out of Scarborough was.

    As both a cyclist and a driver I’d be the first to admit that bicycles mixed with cars isn’t a good idea, and majority of the time it’s the cyclists fault for not obeying the rules of the road. (weaving traffic, running red lights, not heeding to right of way). I saw a kid in front of me knock over a pedestrian on York St running a red light last week. He yelled at the pedestrians, it was obviously his fault… running a red light when the pedestrians were crossing. Happens a lot unfortunately. I ride my bike like I’m a vehicle driver, I find it much safer that way, I suppose because drivers can more easily anticipate my moves.

    The GO Trains only get you to Union station, if you work further north you have to pay another $120+ for a TTC pass as well, which many won’t do, so they drive instead. Connecting more people to the downtown core via subway would reduce downtown congestion, and congestion outside of the GTA.

    Street cars on city streets DO cause considerable congestion, I don’t understand how duncan doesn’t see that. They travel at at an average of 9km/h according to Transit city, 17km/h according to Ford. (meaning all vehicles behind them must travel at this speed on average.) When they open their doors then the right lane of traffic must also stop while passengers load/unload. All this causes more congestion. Not to mention in the spring time when the rails require resurfacing due to snow plows breaking up the pavement, causing further delays. It’s no secret that vehicles are more efficient at higher engine speeds, with less idiling. So the slower vehicles means more pollution as well. Hybrid busses are cheaper, less pollution, and run on only one lane. Dedicated streetcars like on Spadina are of course a much better idea opposed to a mixed street car/ vehicle / bicycle street.

    Keep in mind that according to the TTC a bus costs less than 1/4 the price of a street car (excluding the price of the rail network), uses less energy, and can remain in service longer. It can also be re-sold much easier. Our street cars are difficult to sell because the gap (width) between the rails we have in Toronto is proprietry to our city, so whoever buys them used needs to spend a lot of money to modify the street cars to use on their rail systems, so we usually end up scrapping them instead.

    The 4 bus to 3 street car ratio actually enforces the idea of better service. The fact that buses travel faster, and there will be an additional bus on the street means less wait time for commuters and quicker transit. Not to mention that the hybrid buses would still use less energy/less pollution compared to the current electric light rail system.

    Also about the diesel pollution by buses, all new buses purchased by the TTC are gasoline/electric hybrid using between 20%-30% less fuel than the diesel counterparts.

    I don’t know where James Schwartz got the idea that only one way streets can have synchronized lights. The idea is to use the very inexpensive SCOOT technology to synchronize lights based on real-time data on traffic flow. Search it up for more info. There was a good article about this in NOW a few weeks back.

    I agree with nodders that grouping pedestrians & cyclists is not a good idea either. I agree with Phil that the painted curbs won’t work in the winter.

    Still don’t know who I’m going to vote for.

  • I’ve just returned from a week long trip to Copenhagen. I was originally supporting Ford’s fiscal responsibility and long-term position as an Etobicoke councillor.

    Based on the fact that my main gripe with the city is the TTC and transit and that I will be choosing a mayor solely for their transportation integration plans I will have to withdraw my support for Ford.

    Safe Protected Bike Lanes. Smart Roadways. Integrated rail systems – a Feature in most cities around the World. Copenhagen a shining example.

    Smitherman clearly has better political alliances and the know how to get this done, his plan is more competent and is the reason I’ve changed my tune about who I will vote for.

    Shaun *a downtown resident commuting by car to Markham daily.

  • duncan

    It looks as though some (and most likely all) of the streetcar lines will be “saved.” Brother Ford is claiming this was a rumor spread by their competition… or uhm, taken directly from the video above. Here’s a link to the streetcar story: http://www.thestar.com/news/article/881629

    I still am amazed by the amount of people who claim that streetcars cause “gridlock.” These are the same people, alone in their car, inching their vehicle up on the elderly lady who needs a few extra seconds to board the streetcar and then proceed to step on the gas and make a dangerous pass before another line of parked vehicles blocks “their” way on our arterial roads.

    Please, take a look at this situation. Is it really the streetcar that is slowing traffic? Is it not the abundance of large vehicles, carrying just ONE person, and the abundance of parked vehicles no longer carrying anyone that are left to block a lane that could allow for more traffic?

    Just imagine if Queen Street or King Street had 4 buses for every 3 streetcars, to carry the same amount of people (not more), who now have to weave around parked (both legally and illegally) vehicles to drop off and pick up people. Cyclists would now have to deal with weaving cabs, cars, delivery vehicles and transit buses. Guess how much you’ll improve the situation without streetcars? None at all. And allegedly, these two streetcar lines transport more people daily than the 401 because of their ability to move more people at the same time.

    The next time you’re “stuck” behind a streetcar, take a look at your own situation, what could YOU have done to speed up your commute? I’m sure you have plenty options.

  • Larry

    Justin: ‘Also about the diesel pollution by buses, all new buses purchased by the TTC are gasoline/electric hybrid using between 20%-30% less fuel than the diesel counterparts’

    Sorry, they’re all DIESEL/electric hybrids.