Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"It's Just Overkill..."

Overkill is when you attempt to solve a problem by proposing a solution that is far more elaborate and expensive than is necessary. Building a highway to solve congestion at a single intersection is overkill. Remember this definition, because I will come back to it.

One of the popular proposals floating around the internet concerns to best way to get passengers from Square One, Mississauga Transit's main hub, to Cooksville GO Station, the nearest GO station. Under the proposal, the entire Milton line, and eventually any other line, would be converted to a light rail-type line using shorter EMU trains running as frequently as every 15 minutes. Further, these trains would leave the current Milton line, run up Hurontario to Square One, run west along the 403 corridor before re-joining the line north of Erindale Station.

As ambitious as this plan is, it reeks of overkill.
  1. In my opinion, the problem isn't getting people to the GO station from Square One, its getting people out of their cars, period. I feel resources should be better spent strengthening neighbourhood and arterial routes. The streets are designed in a car friendly, transit unfriendly way, and in order to bring transit to the people, we'll need an expensive network of local buses. Money should be spent there.
  2. With the Mississauga busway under construction (assuming the speeds are as promised), a lot of off-peak ridership from Square One will use that service to get into the city. While more transit options is better than none, I wonder if, realistically, ridership at Square One can support two rapid transit lines, both going towards Kipling.
  3. The transit network is an instrument of development, and we're better off encouraging development around the GO stations. I fear that connecting the line to Square One will only serve to continue the development of that area in particular.
  4. The Hurontario Street LRT should provide a five minute connection between Cooksville Station and Square One, which is more than adequate, and will have a larger catchment area than this single stop diversion.
I am not opposed to more connections to Square One and I'm not opposed to frequent service on the GO rail network. I applaud the authors of this idea for thinking big - which we must do - but if we want to win over the public support, we must keep our ideas grounded in reason-ability - if that is even a word.

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At 10/18/2007 5:49 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of overkill, has anyone besides myself seriously considered that extending the subway north of Steeles (both to Vaughan and up Yonge Street) is overkill?

Probably not, since most are unaware of the fact that those extensions will not operate at the same service levels as the rest of the line! During rush hours half of the trains (and perhaps two thirds on the Vaughan extension) will be turned back further south. This will be necessary in order to increase service to 90 second intervals once the signalling system on the rest of the line has been upgraded, since it takes 140 seconds to turn a train at a stub-end terminal such as Finch or Downsview.
LRT is a better option that should be considered for a number of reasons. I won't cover all the reasons here, as I go into them on the blog for the Toronto LRT Information page at

At 10/18/2007 6:55 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

The Spadina Subway extension will always be controversial, but I don't support building stub lines. Its already a subway, so it should continue as a subway in order to avoid building an isolated system in the northwest corner of the city with limited expansion possibilities. The controversy over the Scarborough RT replacement is evidence enough.

I support the construction of light rail lines as an alternative to new subway lines, but not as a substitute for subway extensions unless such a line diverges in several different directions to cover a larger catchment area.

Light rail has a place in the greater Toronto area, but I don't think its place is as a strict extension of the Spadina subway

At 10/19/2007 10:22 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10/19/2007 11:17 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the most part, those who suggest LRT to replace some (or all) of the Spadina extension or SRT envision a network of light rail lines converging on the subway terminus. Not a straight replacement, per se.

During the election, one of the provincial NDP's transport policy planks was to cancel the subway north of Steeles ... I think in favour of several diverging LRT lines.

Considering the projected ridership on the Spadina subway extension, I would have preferred that all modes had been studied. Going to the campus appeals to common sense, but responsible number-crunching reveal surprising low potential ridership, especially April to August.

Consider how many folks converge on York from all points of the compass.

We deserved a credible study of the projected ridership demands, based on realistic development potential along the line, not the political lobbying we got.

The rest of MoveOntario 2020 will hopefully get much more reasoned study than the Spadina extension did.

Ed D.

At 10/24/2007 9:32 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrae Griffith said, "I support the construction of light rail lines as an alternative to new subway lines, but not as a substitute for subway extensions unless such a line diverges in several different directions to cover a larger catchment area."

That is exactly why rapid transit from Downsview to York U and Vaughan should be LRT. This would connect, and likely interline, with Transit City's Finch West line as well as its Jane Line. Furthermore, VIVA Phase 3 calls for LRT and that would provide another connection as well as interlining possibilities at Highway 7.


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