Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What the experts suggest

From an article which appeared in the GTA section of the star today, here are some suggestions for transit in the GTA which have been proposed by renowned experts in the field. Most of the ideas are well founded, which is a difference from the average letter-to-the-editor.
  • Use the City of Toronto Act to expand taxing powers and put money into transit initiatives. - We may very well need to pass laws to make sure that taxes meant for transit actually go to transit. I fear they may end up in general revenue.
  • Stop making on-the-fly decisions. Get a proper long-term transit plan. - I have been advocating for a long term plan for years, but we need politician who will think beyond their term in order to back up such a plan.
  • Shake up the TTC, either replacing the commission chair or some of the commissioners with others not running for public office. - This depends on your opinion of politicians in general. Do you think they are evil and self serving, or do you feel that they are really good and responsible to the community at large? We definitely need to shake up the people sitting on the TTC and on council and add more community participation, but I'm willing to wait and see how the next TTC handles it.
  • Put dedicated bus or LRT lines along the Finch hydro corridor. - Can't complain, but I've got a few more places which might need BRT or LRT.
  • Build more bike lanes and more pedestrian-friendly streets. - And back it up with a transit system which supports cycling.
  • Improve the arterial road network. - Add transit priority lanes to every major artery, to ensure people who take transit have a level playing field with car drivers.
  • The city should endorse a provincially chartered subway development corporation with expropriation powers and the ability to issue long-term bonds. - This could come in the form of a Greater Toronto Rapid Transit Company, which could manage and expand GO, the subway and VIVA. This would leave local agencies to concentrate on running the systems within their borders while the major projects are co-ordinated by upper levels of government.
  • Tear down the borders that separates the 905 and the 416 areas. - This should be done by reducing the fare needed to cross the boundaries, and improving cross border travel so people don't have to transfer in some industrial district on the outskirts of the city.

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