Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, April 06, 2009

Building An ABOVEground SUBway

I wonder if anyone reads Gord Henderson’s column anymore. I wonder as well if anyone will ever be appointed to be the Page 3 columnist to take his place. Or has the Star decided that there is no point in doing so.

I know for myself I generally skip the Columnists on the Editorial pages of the Star. A lot of the Columnists are not local and I find their topics uninteresting. Why the Star has to get a column from Jack Lessenberry as an example to tell us about Michigan I am not sure. I sometimes miss good local columns that way.

Like most readers of the Star, I generally look for a Page 3 column because I expect it to be there and then have to remind myself that Gord has left. I guess I have not yet been trained to remember that Henderson has a column on Saturdays on the Editorial Page because I have almost missed it as well several times now. To be honest, they have not been all that interesting anyway. Some of the sparkle seems to have gone with the transition.

The one good thing I guess is that only have to get angry once a week instead of three times a week.

I truly cannot believe that Gord has given a free pass to our Mayor for so long even though I sometimes call him the Sheriff. It is too bad because if there had been some critical comments from the Star and from Gord on the important matters, we might have had a different kind of leadership in this City, one at least that pretended to care what its citizens thought.

Saturday’s Henderson Column was another freebie for the Mayor with Gord doing Eddie’s job. It is becoming clearer that our Mayor has been told to keep his mouth shut and so is relying on others to do his dirty work.

I found this comment hilarious when talking about the DRIC road:
  • “half-assed border fix”

Yup, a road that will probably cost over $2 billion if it is ever built, that is probably 10 times more expensive than the cost of any other road in Ontario and which, according to our Mayor, is only $100 million more than his beloved and award-winning Greenlink is a piece of junk.

Ridiculous statements such as this that have been part of our Leadership’s verbal strategy are really not very helpful anymore. No one accepts them but for a few diehards.

The tactic really doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did. All it does is get the Senior Levels madder at our City. All it does as well is make the citizenry madder at the Mayor and Council. More confrontation with the Senior Levels as the situation gets worse here with job losses and home foreclosures makes no sense any more. We do not have that luxury as we did years before.

The main reason in my opinion why the Premier has not washed his hands of Windsor completely is because he would lose two Cabinet Ministers in the next election.

It is a surprise to me that it took so long for a group like CIBPA to organize. Now that it has, and if they can maintain their momentum, then we will have a true group of citizens who are worried about our City and who will be able to apply the appropriate pressure so that a settlement is finally achieved.

Henderson’s column on Saturday really does not help matters at all. The continued attacks on Toronto are an easy target but hardly makes sense when this City requires Senior Levels to put in infrastructure money that is the only thing that we have going for us.

I do think that it is time for these type of columns to stop the in the same way that it is time now for Eddie to stop with the health scares about children. You could almost hear the groans when he started on that subject at the CIBPA Caboto Club session. It is enough already.

Until I read the Henderson column, I really did not know very much about what was being offered in Toronto. I did some checking and was disgusted. The nonsense about tunnels is despicable because it is misleading:

  • “You want tunnels with that? Lots of tunnels? No problem.You got 'em

    Real tunnels on the most important trade artery between Canada and the U.S.were too costly for the province, too difficult to build and much too good for the like of Windsorites.

    But when it comes to Torontonians getting to work on time and not having their vastly more important neighbourhoods disrupted by noise and pollution, that's a different story.

    The loot delivered by McGuinty included $4.6 billion for a 32.5-km light rail line extending from Pearson International Airport to Toronto's east end, a line that will boast no fewer than 13 km of tunnelling.

    That's more than triple the tunnelling proposed in the original Green- Link plan for the six-km corridor from E.C. Row to Howard Avenue, and more than six times what DRIC's lame and toxic Parkway plan (a bunch of overpasses masquerading as tunnels) would involve.

    So why is tunnelling OK now? Because these are Torontonians and their travel time, not to mention their health and well-being, is hugely important to the McGuinty government.”

This type of comment is an insult to the readers of the Star, especially to those Windsorites who who do not know that part of Toronto. It is NOT on the usual tourist circuit for visits in Toronto. It should never have been allowed in the newspaper in the first place.

Here’s the reality from the Star’s sister newspaper, the National Post. Why couldn't Gord easily research the point as I did:

  • “Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today handed Toronto $4.6 billion to build a light-rail line along Eglinton Avenue, stretching from Pearson Airport to Scarborough.

    The 30-kilometre crosstown line, to be buried through the city’s dense core

    The Eglinton line will extend some 30 kilometres from the airport to the Kennedy subway stop in Scarborough. It will be buried for 13 kilometres roughly from Keele to Leslie streets, but it will be an underground light-rail line rather than a full subway. It is set to be fully operational in 2016.

    Toronto city councillor Karen Stintz (Eglinton Lawrence) said she was “pleased” with the announcement.

    “My preference would have been a subway, that being said I appreciate that this is going to go forward,” she said.”

Here is how the Toronto Star explained the need for putting the light-rail system underground:

  • “Q. Then why is about one-third of the Eglinton line being tunnelled between Leslie and Keele Sts.?

    The street isn't wide enough to accommodate the streetcar right-of-way and two lanes of traffic travelling in both directions.”

Here is a comment about Finch Avenue:

  • "TTC engineers have determined that a 36-metre-wide road is ideal when putting two light-rail tracks down the middle of a city street, separated from the traffic.

    But from Bathurst to Yonge Street, Finch is just 30 metres wide, forcing the TTC and city staff to devise other designs, including considering widening the road "over time" to avoid snarling traffic"

In other words, it is only going UNDERground where the road is too narrow. Using Henderson’s logic, the entire 30 km should have gone UNDERground. They are not.

DUH…an analogy for Windsorites who have never been to Toronto is putting a streetcar line down the middle of Ouellette Avenue from Tecumseh to the River. It could not happen. It is just like the Bloor subway line and the Yonge Street subway line in Toronto that are UNDERground as well. There is not enough room on the street for traffic and a light rail system.

I happened to live about a half a block away from Eglinton Avenue in a house when I lived in Toronto where the SUBway would go UNDERground. I know exactly the reason why a line has to go UNDERground. There is no room for it on the surface. It is a cheaper “SUBway” type system.

As far as I know, generally SUBways are built UNDERground

  • Q. Why isn't the city building a subway along Eglinton Ave.?

    Anticipated ridership for the line doesn't justify a subway, according to the TTC. It expects a demand for 5,400 passengers per hour in one direction by 2031. About 10,000 people per hour is considered the threshold for a subway; 8,000 people per hour is the level at which the TTC considers the technology used by Scarborough Rapid Transit.

Spreading misinformation like this is not at all helpful. It might be fun to work up the locals so that the Mayor has a bargaining position but it gives people an expectation that will never happen. All it does is cause more distress. That is what is so reprehensible about what is taking place here and the debate so far.

One would have thought given the true facts that the Star would be more careful in what is written on its Editorial pages. I will at least give credit to the Star Editorial a few days ago where it said:

  • “And obviously there's big difference between a subway-bus system and a border access road.”

That is a huge difference which Henderson chose to ignore completely. Why that distinction was not forced to be revealed in the Henderson story is beyond me. But then again, that Editorial was designed to help out our Mayor as well.

The Star’s mission has to be to pressure Sandra and Dwight to make the Premier come to Windsor and bow down to our Mayor’s genius.

  • “Perhaps we can now conclude that the premier finally understands why this community has been fighting tooth and nail…

    So why is it, Premier McGuinty, that in Toronto it's OK to want to improve the air we breathe and make the air cleaner, but not here?”

That is the new Eddie-defined strategy that he has been preaching so many times over the past little while. Force the Premier to come here to talk to Council and to be cross examined by our Black Letter Law expert and by our Perry Mason. Allow the Enforcer to finally get an answer to his question about why no one listens to Windsor.

Oh sure, force the Province to mediate but only under the terms and conditions dictated by our Mayor. Those one-sided terms would determine the results wouldn’t they.

In fact, if one actually can read to the end of the Star Editorial, one can see total capitulation by Eddie:

  • “There's time to find a better solution, and GreenLink provides the blueprint.”

Now we know the truth. The "no-compromise" City solutions....BS!

Greenlink was nothing more than a negotiating tool for our Mayor. It is exactly the same for which we spent millions on the Schwartz Report and for the debate over a full tunneling. Can you imagine, our millions of taxpayer dollars paid Foreign Consultant generated “no compromise” position is nothing more now than a “blueprint.” What a joke!

The Province does not have to negotiate; Eddie is negotiating himself downwards.

However, do not be fooled. Do not get carried away with all this stuff. Do not get all upset. This is merely theatre and drama. All that the Premier and our Mayor are doing is arguing about who gets how much of the spoils after their alliance with the Federal Government forces the Owner of the Bridge Company to sell out.

If you want an analogy that explains this all so clearly, it is the following. It is nothing more than the Allies fighting about who gets what in East Europe after defeating the “enemy.”