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You are receiving this email because you have concerns about the Metrolinx project and because you have expressed interest in the April 21 meeting that will convene ‘stakeholders’ to develop a coordinated response/strategy. If you prefer to be removed from this list, just send me a quick note.
As you well know, the Metrolinx initiative is a massive undertaking to change transit infrastructure in the GTA and Hamilton regions. Much of this vision is good. Some of it is bad. And parts of it are really terrible. Communities and groups up and down the tracks have concerns about the environmental impact of diesel, the noise of the trains, the chaos of construction, the impact on cycling infrastructure and the location of stops.
Unfortunately, right now we are disconnected. Several groups have started to engage directly with Metrolinx while others are just discovering the project, and still others have no idea of the potential impact. This makes it extremely difficult to have our voices heard. We think that working together is the first step in redirecting this project in a way that serves the needs of our communities.
The April 21 Meeting
You may be wondering what is going on with the Metrolinx rail project that was the topic of so much discussion on the listserve for a while. A few of us who were concerned decided to meet and discuss the issue further and see what we could do about it. We think it is a serious issue for our community, especially because of the potential pollution from diesel trains, the noise, the disruption of the plans for the railpath(bike path that is planned for the tracks). We are hopeful that some good might come out of it, maybe a stop near us, maybe electrification of the trains instead of diesel- but we know that in order for that to happen we need to continue to make our voices heard. There are lots of community groups alongside the rail tracks that are organizing now and we think we should be part of those efforts.
So after a couple of meetings, we are at the point of updating everyone on the listserve of what's been done so far and seeing if there are some more concerned people who want to get involved. We have organized two meetings- one is a small meeting with metrolinx to gather more information on what they are planning. Below this email is a list of questions that we plan on asking metrolinx, if you don't see the question you want answered there, please email me with it and I'll make sure it is on the agenda. The minutes from the metrolinx session will be emailed out to this listserve afterwards.
Hello, There's growing discussion in the Brockton neighbourhood about the Railpath bikeway, Toronto's Bike Plan and Metrolinx's mandate to plan for active sustainable transportation. The West Toronto Railpath south of Dundas provides a fantastic opportunity to knit together Toronto's bikeway network and engage the community in a meaningful way. I'm wondering out loud if a joint community working group may be of some value to the planning processes underway by the City and Metrolinx?
Click on map to enlarge it
Attached is a quick map showing some key opportunities. Strategic investment in the Railpath bridges could create:
- linkages with proposed bicycle lanes along College, Argyle and High Park and with minor bicycle routes along Brock, Sorauren, Dundas and Lansdowne
- access to the Railpath at Dundas, Lansdowne-Sorauren and Brock so that the Railpath can become a bicycle highway through the city and allow for both local and regional cycling.
- easier access to amenities such as community centres, a major grocery store and schools which will help to reduce automobile trips. In particular, the bridge (or bridge/tunnel combination?) connecting Lansdowne, the Railpath and Sorauren would greatly improve pedestrian and cyclist safety crossing Lansdowne to the grocery store while providing a much more convenient option to get to the summer farmer's market, recreation and new community centre at Sorauren Park.
Some corrections to the information being posted.
Re: the fare. The Fare was suggested at $20 in May of 2002 as a fare which would optimize profit for the private operator. Part of the determination was that the train would be operated as a ‘premium’ service. To do that it could never be overcrowded. So the fare had to be high enough to ensure that at rush hour, the trains would be only just full, not overfull. That fare was based on interviews with passengers at various fares. Public transit and taxi fares have gone up substantially in the past 7 years, so it is not unthinkable that a $30 or $35 fare today would have that effect. The complete study is on our website (www.westoncommunitycoaltion.ca). It is the Halcrow study. An earlier study in 2001 by KPMG, set an optimum profit fare at $14. In any event, the fare would be completely unregulated, and would, similar to 407, be set in order to prevent the service from becoming too popular. Both studies assumed much larger railcars than planned by SNC Lavalin (BUDD cars will seat 60, the studies were based on 80 or more).
A bike ride along the tracks (both CP and VIARail)+]
Yes, I too am glad to see the exchange on this topic.
I don't see the logic in Andrew's comment below about "having it ways". If we have learned anything over the last few years here and abroad, it is that P3s ("public-private partnerships") are a gigantic scam that cost both government and the general public more than publicly financed and run projects. Andrew seems to be suggesting we will at least be getting an airport link, albeit an expensive and impractical one, funded and operated by private dollars. In fact, we could very well be getting an airport link that is both expensive and impractical AND whose costs are funded by the public purse. For those interested, there was a recent post on the very topic of P3 madness on the "Progressive Economics Forum" blog:
A copy of the response letter for P-191 Alternative Routes for the Air Rail Link presented by Cheri DiNovo (request in December 2008, response date: 6 Mar 2009).
Wow, I'm excited that we finally have something to discuss on this list serve other than plumbers and eavestrough cleaners. Good response, lots of good points, some of which I'd like to reply to.
The proposed fare is $20, not $35. As Sheila Pin pointed out a cab to Pearson is already $35-40 so the rail link wouldn't be competitive at $35.
The city is rolling out a major rapid transit expansion through Transit City, which I think addresses part of Raghu's concern. Some others are worried that we shouldn't spend money on an airport rail link that supposedly benefits the few, others complain that we shouldn't have these public private partnerships. People, we can't have it both ways! It's a rapid transit link that will take cars off the road and has the potential to service a transit hub in our community. Isn't that a desirable goal?
Re: Kim and others point about reducing air travel. I'm in total agreement. Air travel is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. But people are still flying and if we can encourage them to at least leave their cars on the road we can lessen some of the environmental impact.
The city needs a major expansion of its public-transit network, with the overwhelming priority being that of meeting the daily transportation needs of average Toronto residents and working people. If one of the offshoots is improved access to the airport for airport employees and airline passengers -- and I don't see why it shouldn't be -- so much the better.
But the approach to this rail link to the airport has been wrongheaded from the start. For one thing, it is not public transit. As the original poster from Weston pointed out, it is a "public-private partnership" in which the public effectively finances and guarantees the profits of a private conglomerate over which it has little or no control including in the area of pricing. As we have been learning with each passing day, whether it's hospitals or mortgage financing or public bailouts of private companies, this type of arrangement is an enormous scam that is far more costly to the public purse and represents little more than a further upward transfer of wealth.
Latest Action - Canada Line case starts March 16, 2009 March 4, 2009
The trial of a Cambie Street small business' claim for damages due to cut and cover construction disruption is scheduled to start in British Columbia Supreme Court on Monday, March 16, 2009.
This information was sent by Suri Weinberg-Linsky from the Weston Community Coalition, regarding the huge expansion planned for the rail corridor.
I wanted to introduce myself and touch base with regards to the Air Rail Link and GO Transit upgrade that will be taking place along the Georgetown Corridor which is just west of your location. As you may or may not be aware, the announcement of the link to Pearson from Union Station was made back in 2003 and in 2005 was scheduled to go forward and be built along with the GO upgrade. Our community of Weston, one of the oldest villages in Toronto, found out how it would devastate our neighbourhood: closing all our level crossings effectively cutting the residential side off from the business main street including our Farmers' Market and by increasing the train traffic from the current 65 or so trains per day to over 200. Based on the announcement and potential devastation, we formed a community group called the Weston Community Coalition. We made some inroads into the Environmental Assessment process back in 2005 but that all changed last year with the new EA's for all transportation projects which will fast track these two projects and not allow for full assessment. Now, in 2009, we have found out that it won't just be the 140 diesel trains (which we object to) plus a few extra GO trains but will end up being over 350 trains per day by the time they do the Air Rail Link and the full upgrade to the GO service. It will effectively become the most heavily used corridor in all of North America and we believe the world! All trains will use diesel locomotives, not electric. We have been told that electrification is not possible and to move on. We keep pressing to find out why.