Scarborough residents share different opinions on transit proposals

News Mar 28, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Murto Hilali is 14. He doesn’t control Toronto’s purse-strings.

But the young East Scarborough resident has a stake in which set of transit projects for the area goes forward: by the time one is built, he said, he’ll be looking for a job.

Toronto City Council this week was set to advance a one-stop subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre, plus a now-unfunded Eglinton East light-rail-transit line - unless opponents managed to derail the subway, and try building the Eglinton East plus a seven-stop Scarborough LRT in its place.

At a public meeting in Scarborough Village, Hilali said he’d prefer not to look for a job downtown. “In my opinion, the LRT will bring development into Scarborough, where the subway will just help people get out,” he said.

Others in the overflowing crowd Monday offered different opinions, of course, but the meeting seemed to disprove Mayor John Tory’s argument Scarborough residents are united behind the proposed subway because their political representatives are.

Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie, the area’s lone political holdout, called light rail “a proven off-the-shelf technology” and said it’s a “huge concern” the subway budget keeps going up and projected ridership down.

Before council opted for a subway in 2013, the province offered to fully fund and pay to operate the seven-stop Scarborough LRT for 60 years, Ainsilie added. “That’s a lot of money we quickly said no to.”

Scarborough Centre Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, however, said the new Scarborough Centre subway station will be one of the busiest ever built in Toronto.

“Building this subway is not the horrendous crime some people would like you to believe,” he said, arguing it’s logical to serve the demand around Scarborough Town Centre, which will remain a busy hub for buses.

Scarborough Centre has had the aging Scarborough Rapid Transit line - running along “the back end of industrial buildings” - for 35 years and it’s brought the area little in development and jobs, De Baeremaeker said, and replacing it with a new LRT (which would also continue north of Highway 401) would do no better.

Scarborough subway is now the only major proposed transit project in Toronto that’s fully funded; not building it would be “craziness,” said De Baeremaeker, who suggested Hilali may not have to work downtown if Scarborough Centre is successfully developed.

Tricia Wood, a panellist at the meeting, argued swapping the original LRT plan for a one-stop subway is “a terrible loss of local transit” for Scarborough.

The subway extension won’t give people an alternative to driving, while two LRT lines would spread development on Scarborough’s major boulevards and help more people, said Wood, a geography professor and Torontoist columnist.

Council previously voted for a package that included the subway and 17-stop Eglinton East line.

“If it’s really both, and not a bait and switch, then build the Eglinton East first,” Wood said. “You’ve got at least to 2020 to find money for the subway too.”

De Baeremaeker, though, said the tax increase supporting the projects specifically says “for the Scarborough Subway.”

Scarborough residents share different opinions on transit proposals

Despite claims, Scarborough isn't united behind subway plan

News Mar 28, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Murto Hilali is 14. He doesn’t control Toronto’s purse-strings.

But the young East Scarborough resident has a stake in which set of transit projects for the area goes forward: by the time one is built, he said, he’ll be looking for a job.

Toronto City Council this week was set to advance a one-stop subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre, plus a now-unfunded Eglinton East light-rail-transit line - unless opponents managed to derail the subway, and try building the Eglinton East plus a seven-stop Scarborough LRT in its place.

At a public meeting in Scarborough Village, Hilali said he’d prefer not to look for a job downtown. “In my opinion, the LRT will bring development into Scarborough, where the subway will just help people get out,” he said.

Others in the overflowing crowd Monday offered different opinions, of course, but the meeting seemed to disprove Mayor John Tory’s argument Scarborough residents are united behind the proposed subway because their political representatives are.

Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie, the area’s lone political holdout, called light rail “a proven off-the-shelf technology” and said it’s a “huge concern” the subway budget keeps going up and projected ridership down.

Before council opted for a subway in 2013, the province offered to fully fund and pay to operate the seven-stop Scarborough LRT for 60 years, Ainsilie added. “That’s a lot of money we quickly said no to.”

Scarborough Centre Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, however, said the new Scarborough Centre subway station will be one of the busiest ever built in Toronto.

“Building this subway is not the horrendous crime some people would like you to believe,” he said, arguing it’s logical to serve the demand around Scarborough Town Centre, which will remain a busy hub for buses.

Scarborough Centre has had the aging Scarborough Rapid Transit line - running along “the back end of industrial buildings” - for 35 years and it’s brought the area little in development and jobs, De Baeremaeker said, and replacing it with a new LRT (which would also continue north of Highway 401) would do no better.

Scarborough subway is now the only major proposed transit project in Toronto that’s fully funded; not building it would be “craziness,” said De Baeremaeker, who suggested Hilali may not have to work downtown if Scarborough Centre is successfully developed.

Tricia Wood, a panellist at the meeting, argued swapping the original LRT plan for a one-stop subway is “a terrible loss of local transit” for Scarborough.

The subway extension won’t give people an alternative to driving, while two LRT lines would spread development on Scarborough’s major boulevards and help more people, said Wood, a geography professor and Torontoist columnist.

Council previously voted for a package that included the subway and 17-stop Eglinton East line.

“If it’s really both, and not a bait and switch, then build the Eglinton East first,” Wood said. “You’ve got at least to 2020 to find money for the subway too.”

De Baeremaeker, though, said the tax increase supporting the projects specifically says “for the Scarborough Subway.”

Scarborough residents share different opinions on transit proposals

Despite claims, Scarborough isn't united behind subway plan

News Mar 28, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

Murto Hilali is 14. He doesn’t control Toronto’s purse-strings.

But the young East Scarborough resident has a stake in which set of transit projects for the area goes forward: by the time one is built, he said, he’ll be looking for a job.

Toronto City Council this week was set to advance a one-stop subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre, plus a now-unfunded Eglinton East light-rail-transit line - unless opponents managed to derail the subway, and try building the Eglinton East plus a seven-stop Scarborough LRT in its place.

At a public meeting in Scarborough Village, Hilali said he’d prefer not to look for a job downtown. “In my opinion, the LRT will bring development into Scarborough, where the subway will just help people get out,” he said.

Others in the overflowing crowd Monday offered different opinions, of course, but the meeting seemed to disprove Mayor John Tory’s argument Scarborough residents are united behind the proposed subway because their political representatives are.

Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie, the area’s lone political holdout, called light rail “a proven off-the-shelf technology” and said it’s a “huge concern” the subway budget keeps going up and projected ridership down.

Before council opted for a subway in 2013, the province offered to fully fund and pay to operate the seven-stop Scarborough LRT for 60 years, Ainsilie added. “That’s a lot of money we quickly said no to.”

Scarborough Centre Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, however, said the new Scarborough Centre subway station will be one of the busiest ever built in Toronto.

“Building this subway is not the horrendous crime some people would like you to believe,” he said, arguing it’s logical to serve the demand around Scarborough Town Centre, which will remain a busy hub for buses.

Scarborough Centre has had the aging Scarborough Rapid Transit line - running along “the back end of industrial buildings” - for 35 years and it’s brought the area little in development and jobs, De Baeremaeker said, and replacing it with a new LRT (which would also continue north of Highway 401) would do no better.

Scarborough subway is now the only major proposed transit project in Toronto that’s fully funded; not building it would be “craziness,” said De Baeremaeker, who suggested Hilali may not have to work downtown if Scarborough Centre is successfully developed.

Tricia Wood, a panellist at the meeting, argued swapping the original LRT plan for a one-stop subway is “a terrible loss of local transit” for Scarborough.

The subway extension won’t give people an alternative to driving, while two LRT lines would spread development on Scarborough’s major boulevards and help more people, said Wood, a geography professor and Torontoist columnist.

Council previously voted for a package that included the subway and 17-stop Eglinton East line.

“If it’s really both, and not a bait and switch, then build the Eglinton East first,” Wood said. “You’ve got at least to 2020 to find money for the subway too.”

De Baeremaeker, though, said the tax increase supporting the projects specifically says “for the Scarborough Subway.”