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April, May, June, July, August and September 2012, 12 e-mails

April 2012
D. C. wrote

Davenport MPP Jonah Schein and MP Andrew Cash are hosting the Clean Train Festival on the railpath on Saturday April 28 from 1pm-4pm. There will be speeches, music and children's games. Find out more on facebook(www.facebook.com/events/299570210112567/).

They also have lawn signs that call for clean trains on the Air Rail Link and not dirty diesel. You can email Jonah Schein at jschein-co@ndp.on.ca or Andrew Cash at andrew.cash@parl.gc.ca and request your Clean Trains Now lawn sign.

==== Below is a summary of the Union-Pearson Air Rail Link issue from Councillor Mike Layton's e-newsletter.

The Union-Pearson Air Rail Link

This week the Toronto Star printed an article co-authored by Councillor Nunziata and I calling on the Province to support Toronto City Council's request that the Air Rail Link serve our communities in the west-end by electrifying it, adding stops including one in Liberty Village, and making the fares affordable. You can read the full article here (www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1159406--province-has-to-come-on-board-to-help-with-the-air-rail-link-toronto-needs). We also moved a motion on the issue that passed 40-2, which means Toronto City Council will formally request the Premier to direct Metrolinx to add more stops to the Air Rail Link, electrify the line and making fares affordable. This motion does not bind the Premier, but the City of Toronto is taking a strong position on the issue and we hope the Province will respect the will of City Council.

When the Air Rail Link was originally proposed, there was a call for it to operate as a public transit line with at least 10 stops in the communities along the way. However, instead of coming forward with a plan to fulfill this need, the Province instead proposed an air-rail link which, at this time, would stop at only two stations — one in Weston and one at Bloor. Even the plans for the Bloor stop no longer include integration with the Dundas West subway station for ease of transfer between lines. The Air Rail Link in its current form does not integrate with other major transit expansion projects in the city, and does not integrate with the new Eglinton light rail transit line.

The Union-to-Pearson rail corridor offers the potential for an above-ground electric subway-style service for the west-end. There is no reason why stops should not be added along it to see this line fulfill the need for rapid transit to the airport. Communities across Toronto have called for additional stops at Humber, Woodbine, Etobicoke North, Jane Street, Eglinton Avenue West, Carleton Village, the Junction and Liberty Village. We need this line to not only help people get to and from the airport for travel, but also for work. There are 355,000 jobs in the Pearson airport eco-business zone which overlaps three regional municipalities.

Toronto City Council, the Medical Officer of Health and thousands across Toronto have repeatedly requested the electrification of the line. Frequent dirty diesel trains running through our neighbourhoods are not healthy and not necessary. Instead of running diesel trains for a business class premium fare express service between Union Station and the airport, we should maximize the impact of the provincial investment in the Air Rail Link. The line currently proposed is to operate at full cost recovery, which means trip costs will not only exceed TTC fares but even current GO Transit fares. We must build the Air Rail Link from the start as a healthy, affordable and sustainable electric transit line that stops in our neighbourhoods so Toronto can use it.

May 2012
M. M. wrote:

Dear Councillor Bailao and Mayor Ford,

Last night I attended a consultation session organized to discuss the proposed sound mitigation walls along the West Toronto rail corridor.

I was horrified to learn that they will be erecting a 5 metre sound wall through the neighbourhoods that line the corridor. Just to provide some perspective on how large this is, the Berlin wall was 3.65 metres. Visualize that for a moment.

I found it particularly frustrating that the Metrolinx representative indicated that this is a firm decision, that they are not re-assessing the need for this large sound wall (i.e. should the line be electrified) and that the only feedback they are looking for from residents is to provide input on the particular materials selected for the wall.

In addition to further dissecting the City, the wall will have a significant negative impact on the West Toronto Rail Path by casting a permanent afternoon shadow. I am very concerned by this and my comment to this effect did not seem to register with the Metrolinx representative. It's rather unfortunate and shortsighted that this issue was completely ignored during the environmental assessment process. For example, I would love to see some sun/shadow visualizations to help the community and decision makers balance the need for sound mitigation with the impact of the wall.

The railpath is an amazing example of when City and Provincial staff, community volunteers and political representatives can successfully work together to bring us a sustainable transportation solution. It is heavily used by west Toronto residents and we eagerly await its eventual extension down to the waterfront.

However, I fear that the proposed wall will undermine its function is a public space and an active transportation corridor. Winding its way behind buildings and separated from street view, the Railpath could potentially be transformed into a cold and unwelcoming canyon. At present, it is well used in part because there is safety and security in its popular use and open welcoming vista to looking west. I think we will be setting it up for failure if we remove its afternoon sun as people will feel isolated, vulnerable when alone and less likely to use it. We risk losing a really wonderful public asset.

The absurdity of this consultation is that the 5 metre wall height is necessitated by the Provinces' insistance that the new lines be built for deisel trains, completely disregarding the City's position that the line should be immediately electrified and integrated with our local transit system. Electric trains are significantly quieter, stop and start more easily and would not require such imposing sound barriers. To date I have not heard a defensible rationale to meet the artificial 2015 deadline for the sake of a 2 week sporting event. If the Province, Metrolinx and the City are all on record as supporting electrification, why aren't we building it this way the first place? Why are you wasting my money Premier McGuinty?

Please all of you keep this important issue on your radar.

From: The Clean Train Coalition

Urgent Update!! Please forward to your Networks!

Hello again!

On Thursday, May 3rd a private members bill calling for electrification of the Georgetown corridor for the air rail link will be introduced at the Ontario Legislature by Jonah Schein, the MPP for Davenport.

We have just received word from Queens Park that this is moved up on the schedule and is now to take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday. You are welcome to attend and view from the gallery when the bill is introduced.

Right now, with a minority government in Queen's Park, we can win this vote by reaching out, once more, to members from all parties.

Please help us in this effort by contacting your MPP and cc Premier McGuinty. Tell them that they must vote in favour of this bill. Tell them we do not accept the plan to run diesel trains though our neighbourhoods, next to our schools, our parks, our houses and businesses. And we will not sit by while our air is further polluted. Rather, we will fight for what we know is right: clean, electric, accessible and affordable transit

Please, take a moment to email your MPP, and cc Premier McGuinty (dmcguinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org). The addresses of politicians along the corridor are below.

A complete list of MPP's contact details can be found here: www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/member_addresses.do?AddType=QP&locale=en

In addition to emailing, call Premier McGuinty (416-325-1941) and tell him yourself: Toronto demands clean electric trains, not dirty diesels!

The Clean Train Coalition has a long history of building cross-partisan support for our goals. We have worked productively with members of all political parties.

Thank you for your support. Clean Transit is possible.

The Clean Train Coalition

LIST OF MPPs along the Union to Pearson rail corridor

Jagmeet Singh
Brampton Gore Malton

Queen's Park: 416-325-1784

Constituency: 905-799-3939

Shafiq Qaadri
Etobicoke North

Queen's Park: 416-327-6611 

Constituency: 416-745-2859

Laura Albanese
York South-Weston
Queen's Park: 416-212-9790
Constituency: 416-243-7984

Jonah Schein
jschein-qp@ndp.on.ca\\ Queen's Park: 416-325-0014
Constituency: 416-535-3158

Cheri DiNovo
Parkdale-High Park
Queen's Park: 416-325-0244
Constituency: 416-763-5630

Rosario Marchese
Queen's Park: 416-325-9092
Constituency: 416-603-9664


Premier Dalton McGuinty

Help get the word out - get your neighbours to sign up to www.cleantrain.ca Follow us on twitter! @cleantrain Invite friends to join our facebook group.

June 2012
K. P. wrote

The Metrolinx Electric Train Update (“Not Anytime Soon”) was a well attended meeting last night with residents, interest groups and local politicians from all levels in attendance. While everyone was given an opportunity to speak, there were no decision makers or government representatives in attendance. Well paid consultants answered questions while PR flacks made notes that will be added to a large file marked IGNORE.

Metrolinx representatives repeated that diesel trains are scheduled to begin on the Airport Rail Link beginning in February, 2015. All the approvals are in place and construction is well underway.

Sound mitigation walls five metres tall will be installed along the entire corridor before service begins. (by comparison, the Berlin Wall was 3.6 metres.) The West Toronto Railpath will see the existing fence with ivy and Virginia creeper growing on it, replaced with a massive, solid block wall running its entire length (like you see along the 401 now).

The current Metrolinx Electrification Study will finish just a few months before diesel trains start running to the airport. Officials made it clear that there are no technical issues preventing the construction of an electric train airport link except the political will (construction would take three years to complete). But it is clear the government has no interest in listening, they have all of us going to meetings with all the other electric train advocates talking to people with no power to make decisions while construction ploughs on.

Diesel trains are here to stay unless something big happens real soon. Metrolinx officials made it clear last night they are prepared to study and discuss electric trains for another two years, but they have no mandate or funding to design, build or operate electric trains. They have a mandate to talk the clock out and when the talking stops, we’ll have a much bigger diesel train network running through West Toronto.

J. B. wrote:

I didn't make the meeting the other night but here's a summary from our neighbours to the north. Doesn't look good... Does anyone know if the walls are necessary with electrification? or are they just there to block sound?

I know electrification is in Stintz's new $30 billion transit plan at $1.5 billion. www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/property-tax-hike-proposed-for-blockbuster-30-billion-ttc-overhaul/article4372853/ I'm figuring that's our next hope, depending if it makes it through council and past Dwight Duncan. Not sure on the timeline there though.

E. M. wrote:

I don;t think the walls are at all necessary for electrification. It's for sound buffering. And possibly to get the exhaust to go up rather than directly sideways?

C. C. wrote:

Regardless, the real pressure that must be brought to bear is on the Premier. He is the one holding the go/no-go on this project, but no one has yet figured out a way to get him to budge. I think they think that "any transit" is better than no transit. They do not believe that there will be any adverse health effects. They still think we're NIMBY NDP-front whiners. I'm not saying this to be facetious. This is actually the problem at Queen's Park.

The other problem is that Metrolinx, despite in theory being an agency that is SUPPOSED to provide expert opinions, has NO clout. They are completely under the control of their political masters. Although the province keeps saying that "Metrolinx will make recommendations," in reality, Metrolinx says they do what they are told.

So any criticisms of Metrolinx, no matter how accurate, simply distract from the main problem - which is how to get our Premier to do what we want.

Any new ideas, actions, and energy would be greatly appreciated. Rephrase that - we desperately need new folks to step up to the plate - either to try new ideas, or attack the same ideas over again. There is very little "manpower" left at the CTC and however you may want to criticize that situation, it's the truth and we need some new folks to help us out.

J. M. wrote:

Though the Metrolinx reps have "no authority", the fact is that Metrolinx has been and continues to buy railway aggressively around the GTA and central Ontario, so I am personally surprised that they have any commitment at all to electricity when they lease their lines out to CN, GO and other diesel-based train companies. Actually, that probably reads better as "I am personally not surprised they don't do anything about electric rail".



July 2012
Clean Train Coalition

Get your datebook! July 18th is the next Clean Train General Meeting

The Clean Train Coalition is holding a general meeting on Wednesday July 18th at Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre, 1900 Davenport Road just west of Symington. The meeting will take place in the main hall/sanctuary, starting at 7pm sharp.

Our discussion will include setting up a formal Board of Directors for CTC, planning ways to reach Premier McGuinty on rail service electrification, building support for the Clean Train movement in communities along the line, and getting the resources we need for taking action.

With the recent World Health Organization announcement that reclassifies diesel exhaust as a carcinogen, it is even more urgent that Metrolinx's plans get changed and the Air Rail Link be built as electric from the start of service.

This needs your help to make it happen, and we need communities along the corridor to work together.

Join us! Be part of the solution! Clean Trains are possible!

Where: Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre, 1900 Davenport Road

When: Wednesday July 18th, 7pm

Please forward to your networks.

About the Clean Train Coalition

The Clean Train Coalition is a voluntary organization of concerned citizens and people who live and work in communities located along the Georgetown South rail corridor running northwest from Toronto's downtown. It was formed in April 2009 in response to plans by Metrolinx for the Georgetown South Service Expansion and the Air rail Link between Union Station and Pearson Airport.

We believe that public health, the urban environment and vibrant neighbourhoods all depend on smart investment in public transit infrastructure.

For further information on The Clean Train Coalition, please see www.cleantrain.ca

A. C. wrote:

TONIGHT: Come out to the Clean Train Meeting!

The Clean Train Coalition is holding a general meeting on Wednesday July 18th at Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre, 1900 Davenport Road just west of Symington. The meeting will take place in the main hall/sanctuary, starting at 7pm.

With the recent World Health Organization announcement that diesel exhaust is carcinogenic, it is even more urgent that we call for Clean Trains Now! Come share your ideas and find out more about how we can build community support and win this fight!

Join me at BIG on Bloor this weekend

Join me this weekend to celebrate the great neighbourhood of Bloordale at the BIG on Bloor Festival! The festival will be held on Bloor St., between Dufferin and Lansdowne, and celebrates our vibrant neighbourhood, local shops, artists, and community members.

At the opening ceremonies I will be presenting BIG on Bloor awards to recognize some of those unsung heroes who help make Davenport such a great place to live, to work and to be. The awards will be presented at the Bloordale Stage, located at Bloor and Dufferin Street.

Don’t forget to drop by our table near Brock Ave where we will have updates about the campaigns we are working on, petitions to sign, free waterbottles and mini soccer balls.

For more information, check out: www.bigonbloor.com/festival/

Canvass with J. and me!

All summer I will be knocking on doors throughout the riding to talk to folks about clean trains and our urban worker campaign and to hear what issues people care about.

J. and I will also be visiting farmers markets and community events. Please email or call if you can join us – we always need volunteers! We will be canvassing every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and evening.

See you around Davenport,

August 2012
K. P. wrote

The Junction Triangle Rail Committee is holding an event tomorrow (Thursday, August 30) called JT Mothers Against Diesel Potluck in Perth Square Park from 11 am to 1 pm. It is a chance for residents to take their concerns about the government's diesel train expansion plans directly to the Premier.

The weather is promising, Hiccup the Clown will be along to entertain the kids and Dalton is expecting our call. Your invited to bring a dish and join us.

Complete event details on our site http://www.junctiontriangle.ca/node/1666

September 2012
K. P. wrote:

For anyone wondering what the future of diesel train service in the Junction Triangle will look like, you can see it on display in Perth Square Park (350 Perth Avenue) on Sunday, September 16 from Noon until 3 p.m.

As part of the massive diesel train expansion now under construction on the Georgetown South rail corridor, the provincial government will be installing five metre high fences all along the tracks bordering our neighbourhood. For this one occasion only, the wannabe engineers of the Junction Triangle Rail Committee will be constructing and displaying the kind of things Dalton McGuinty wants to grow in Ontario, train walls.

Everyone will be horrified at the price the government is asking neighbourhoods along the corridor to shoulder in a rush to build a rail link to the airport in time for a two-week sporting event. You don’t need to wait for Halloween to get scared, come out and see how the Pan Am Games is going to divide West Toronto with sixteen feet, four inches of ugly.

At great personal expense, we will also be displaying all of the barriers required by clean, quiet, electric trains – something we advocate (along with the rest of the modern world).

Don’t be late, we could get arrested for this one. Our event is free and open to everyone, but be warned, these images are disturbing.

Content last modified on September 18, 2012, at 05:51 PM EST