Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Toronto the Double Standard

As you may know, Brampton is now where Toronto has sat many a times over the past few years.

The province is offering money to build the Hurontario-Main LRT, between Port Credit in Mississauga and the Brampton GO Station in downtown Brampton. $1.6 billion. Mississauga is in. Some councillors in Brampton are not so sure.

There are concerns about it damaging downtown Brampton's heritage district. Council voted 10-1 last fall against running the LRT down Main Street, and asked city staff to explore a variety of other alignments. Napkin drawing at its best.

Tomorrow, Brampton council will go through another vote on this. I'll leave the merit of the heritage-detruction argument to you, but a recent Q&A article with the Transportation Minister really grinded my gears:

Q: Would a no vote derail the project entirely?
A: If ultimately council decides they don’t want an LRT to run up to the Brampton GO station I will respect the wishes of council. From what I can tell at this point in time, that would mean the LRT would run from Port Credit GO up to Steeles Avenue at Shoppers World. And that would be the extent of the project and then we would get on with continuing to build the rest of the regional transit network. I personally believe that would be an enormous missed opportunity for Brampton.
Q: Is the province open to changing or redefining the proposed route?
A: I’ll respect the decision that council makes on July 8 but I am really not opening the door to extensive, ongoing negotiations about routes.

Good on the province to put its foot down. Take it or leave it. But you sure as hell didn't see the same treatment here in Toronto. The province even played along and endorsed what Scarborough councillors wanted: a pretty pork barrel transit project that made no damn sense. We're talking about building subways vs. re-routing an LRT, but the principle is the same: local politicians thinking they're transit experts, and mucking everything up.

The price? Well, still no shovels in the ground in Scarborough....and the problems shall continue into the future.

From where I sit, it's a confirmation that Toronto really is the centre of the universe. Only in Toronto can you stir the transit politics pot, pander to voters, and end up (with a plan for) building inefficient transportation. We definitely get treated differently here, and not for the better.

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