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jerryking : queen’s_park   16

Globe editorial: A little transit miracle grows on King Street - The Globe and Mail
'Make no little plans," goes architect Daniel Burnman's oft quoted line. "They have no magic to stir men's blood."

A three-kilometre stretch of King Street, which runs through the heart of downtown and is home to the busiest streetcar route in the city, has been redesigned to give public transit priority. For decades, streetcars have been slowed to a walking pace at rush hour, held up by a crush of cars. As of a week ago, however, cars are being severely restricted on King, and must turn right off of the newly transit-centric street at every intersection. Under the one-year pilot project, only streetcars can use the downtown stretch of King as a thoroughfare.

The aim is to greatly speed up the King streetcar, which carries 65,000 passengers a day. That's more people than any above-ground transit route in the city, roughly as many as the 500 buses of the provincial GO Transit's entire suburban bus system, and more than the Toronto Transit Commission's Sheppard subway. (The Sheppard line was one of those Big Plans that never made sense based on ridership or economics, but which got built anyhow because it had the magic to stir the blood of well-connected politicians.)

The cost of this big change on one of the busiest transit routes in the city? Small. Instead of being measured in billions of dollars and decades of construction, it involved the exorbitant expense of trucking in a few concrete barriers, changing a handful of road signs and buying some yellow paint. Construction period? Counted in days. This in a city used to endlessly debating big, transformative transit solutions that, if they could get funded, would arrive around the time one of Jagmeet Singh's grandchildren is elected prime minister.

For example, look at the so-called Downtown Relief Line. It's a badly needed subway expansion that has been under consideration for more than half a century. Politicians, who have repeatedly shelved the DRL because it will do a better job of serving passengers than voters, have recently rediscovered it, and feasibility studies are once again moving forward. But even under the most optimistic timetable – and assuming Toronto, Queen's Park and Ottawa find the money to pay for it – it's still at least a decade and a half away from completion.

Meanwhile, between a Friday night and a Monday morning, King Street was transformed from a run-of-the-mill road into the country's newest public transit thru-way.

But beyond King Street, politicians and promoters continue searching for the biggest of big transit ideas for the GTA. For example, the provincial Liberals continue to push ahead with planning a $21-billion (before cost overruns) high-speed rail line between Toronto and Windsor. And the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the quango that runs Pearson International Airport, is pushing the idea of making itself the region's second public-transit hub, a move it estimates will cost $11.2-billion. The concept, however questionable its value to most GTA commuters, aims to excite the new Canada Infrastructure Bank, while pleasing 905-region voters and the politicians who woo them.

The challenge is that much of the GTA is too low density to support high-intensity public transit. The two big exceptions are routes running from the periphery to the compact employment area of downtown Toronto, and transit within the central parts of Toronto, which are dense enough to allow many people to live car-free.
Toronto  commuting  traffic_congestion  pilot_programs  TTC  transit  editorials  DRL  GTA  density  HSR  GTAA  hubs  Pearson_International  YYZ  King_Street  Queen’s_Park 
november 2017 by jerryking
Wider Dufferin Overpass Opens, Ready for Rail Path & GO RER | Urban Toronto
July 21, 2017 4:49 pm | by Craig White.

The newly widened bridge facilitates future transportation upgrades for Torontonians, specifically for those who ride the rails or their bikes, or those who simply walk.

For those who ride GO Trains on the Kitchener, Milton, or Barrie corridors, the widened bridge means that another track can now be laid over the bridge. Eventually this part of the corridor will have two tracks for each of the three corridors, and another two tracks for the UP Express. The increase in tracks means that all corridors will eventually be able to support the frequent 2-Way All-Day trains which RER-type service requires. The provincial government, through Metrolinx, is changing GO from a commuter service to a Regional Express Rail service over the next decade.
Toronto  GO  Metrolinx  RER  transit  infrastructure  Queen’s_Park 
july 2017 by jerryking
Exit interview: The ROM’s departing CEO and the museum’s challenges - The Globe and Mail
JAMES ADAMS
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 28 2014

This was the hope: That after the $300-million convulsion known as Renaissance ROM, Janet Carding would, as the Royal Ontario Museum’s director and CEO effective Sept. 13, 2010, begin to re-establish the Toronto museum as a museum. Her predecessor, William Thorsell, had spent most of his 10 years bringing to fruition the bricks-and-mortar overhaul of the Grande Olde Dame on the southwest corner of Queen’s Park and Bloor Street West – an overhaul brazenly exemplified by the jagged thrusts of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal designed by starchitect Daniel Libeskind.

With the Crystal, Thorsell made the ROM a talking point, a lightning rod for debate, a rude, not-to-be-ignored presence on Toronto’s topography. It would be Carding’s job to take all that attention and, through a judicious mix of programming, exhibitions and education, translate it into visitors, be they visitors physically accessing the museum’s six million artifacts and 40 galleries through the new front door on Bloor, or virtually, through digital media.

This is the reality: Carding, it was announced this week, is to leave the ROM in March, a full five months and a bit before the expiration of the five-year contract she signed with the museum’s board of trustees in 2010
exits  CEOs  ROM  museums  Toronto  leadership  challenges  William_Thorsell  landmarks  iconic  Queen’s_Park 
november 2014 by jerryking
Ontario PCs offer a bit of doable, a lot of dreamland - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 30 2014

Conversely, there are two very doable and sensible ideas in the Conservative arsenal. Private clinics of the kind that operate in other public health systems, authorized, regulated and reimbursed by the state, should be allowed to do routine, repetitive surgeries. And arbitrators, when settling public-sector disputes, must take into account the “ability to pay,” instead of just ratcheting up settlements based on comparisons with other groups of workers.
Jeffrey_Simpson  elections  myths  Ontario  Tim_Hudak  transit  provincial  Progressive_Conservatives  Queen’s_Park 
june 2014 by jerryking
Ontario’s ‘none of the above’ election - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, May. 24 2014

Start with economic growth after inflation. From 1982 to 2013, it averaged 2.6 per cent. From 2014 to 2035, it will be 2.1 per cent. Roughly speaking, therefore, growth will be about 20 per cent slower.

The labour force will grow more slowly largely because of an aging population, a change being felt throughout Canada. Labour productivity will be flat at best, and quite likely lower than from 1985 to 2000. In the meantime, global competition will intensify.

Manufacturing has been declining as a share of the economy in North America and Western Europe. Ontario’s decline was halted temporarily back when the Canadian dollar plunged to nearly 60 cents, but those days are long gone.

The province’s cost competitiveness – this is one of the two or three central challenges – has been poor. Unit labour costs have gone up by a little over 5 per cent per year over the last 13 years, compared with just over 2 per cent in the United States.

When a province’s unit labour costs rise more than twice as fast as the country where it does 78 per cent of its trade, the results are obvious: plant shutdowns, unemployment and not enough new capacity added. Automobiles are the classic case: plant openings in Mexico and the U.S., but none recently in Ontario.

Business investment in machinery and equipment has lagged the Canadian average and is far below the United States. Research and development, a pathway to innovation, also lags. It’s better than the very poor Canadian average, but far below the U.S. Take away the healthy financial sector and the Toronto’s overheated housing market, and what do you have?

In Toronto and Ottawa, where prosperity is sustained, it’s easy to forget the swaths of the province in the southwest, north and east, where very little new economic activity has been taking place. The old industrial cities – Hamilton, Windsor, St. Catharines, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie – and smaller cities, such as Leamington, are nearly all suffering in one form or another.

For most of the past quarter-century, Ontario provincial governments have run deficits. Slowly, the debt has risen. Such is the situation that Ontario now receives yearly small payments from the country’s equalization scheme. (And such is the absurdity of the scheme that Ontario taxpayers remain net contributors to Ottawa, which then turns around and gives a small portion of the revenues back in equalization.)

The Ontario government has reached far, but failed to execute: clean energy, gas plants, e-health, Ornge air ambulance, nuclear cost overruns. No wonder trust in government is low. For almost a decade, the Liberal government let health-care spending rip – 7-per-cent yearly increases without commensurate improvements in the system. (Spending increases are now down to 2.5 per cent a year.)

Very, very powerful – and very, very conservative – public-sector unions and associations in schools, universities, health care, policing, firefighting and municipal government make change very, very difficult.
Ontario  elections  turnout  Jeffrey_Simpson  challenges  long-term  slow_growth  low_growth  Queen’s_Park 
may 2014 by jerryking
Ontario's Hudak promises more subways, while NDP takes aim at hydro bills - The Globe and Mail
ADRIAN MORROW AND KALEIGH ROGERS
Toronto and Sarnia — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 16 2014
Tim_Hudak  Toronto  transit  elections  provincial  Progressive_Conservatives  Queen’s_Park 
may 2014 by jerryking
Rob Ford, non-conservative - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 24 2013 | G&M

Rob Fordism, the idea, endures. It’s an ideology of resentment, bitterness and negativity. It is politics by dumb slogans rather than considered principles. It is the conservatism of “No.” If Canadian conservative parties, and Canada, are to prosper, they – and we – have to rise above it....Fordism doesn’t come with an open mind. He and his advisors have sought to channel and inflame a certain group of angry voters. Seeking to address voter rage is one thing; aiming to embody and feed it is another. ...Is the future of conservatism government by enemies list? We hope not, and so do many conservatives. Mr. Ford often campaigned and governed that way. Every party across the spectrum does to some extent. What you are for is always at least partly about what you are against. But how far do you push it? Are you constantly running against a growing enemies list – unions, the pinko left, “elites”? It can sometimes yield electoral results, but it coarsens all of us.

And is government itself on the enemies list? That’s the Tea Party position. It’s perfectly reasonable for conservatives to want government to be smaller and more efficient, and for taxes to be lower. But conservatism at its best is a project of improvement of government, not tearing it down....But Fordism has also been, above all, a conservatism of slogans over principles. And the slogans are shallow and easily changeable. What kind of fiscal conservative pushes “Subways! Subways! Subways!”...Conservatives normally want to spend taxpayers money with greater care and efficiency, yet here was Mr. Ford advocating the most expensive, least efficient solution....When it comes to transit policy, the Brothers Ford have been writing the script not just for the city, but also for the provincial official opposition. Mr. Hudak’s provincial Tories want to spend less on Toronto-area public transit than the current Liberal government but, in obeisance to Mr. Ford, they also want much more of that diminished pie to go to subways rather than long-planned, lower cost suburban light rail. Cutting the family food budget while simultaneously insisting that every meal include steak is recipe for going hungry.

Conservatism in Canada has a long history and a bright future. Fordism? Hopefully not.
Rob_Ford  Toronto  transit  editorials  conservatism  wedge_issues  open_mind  Queen’s_Park  resentment  bitterness  grievances 
november 2013 by jerryking
Toronto’s problem has grown beyond its mayor
Nov. 08 2013 | The Globe and Mail |Richard Florida

Toronto must deal with an even larger schism, the one that divides its booming 21st-century economy from its outmoded growth model and system of governance. It is this – not Mr. Ford – that poses the most serious threat to Toronto’s continued prosperity....Toronto has reached a true inflection point, and the problem is not high taxes or fiscal profligacy, as many have framed it....Toronto’s biggest problem is its growth model, which has far outlived its shelf life.

When a city region like Toronto – or Atlanta, Washington, Dallas or Miami – hits the 5.5 to six million mark in population, it can no longer grow based on cars and sprawl. It has to grow upward as well as outward and has to become much more oriented to transit. Most cities fail to make the required investments and their growth stalls and falters. The truly great cities are able to invest in ways that change their growth trajectory. This is what New York did more than a century ago when it built its rail and subway lines. That’s what Toronto needs to do now if it wants to achieve its ambition to become a truly global city....To do so requires not just massive investments in transit, but more flexible building and zoning regimes that promote greater density at the core and in the suburbs alike. The dysfunction in the mayor’s office means that all this is being put on the back burner....then there is the deep and fundamental problem of the growing geographic inequality that produced Mr. Ford in the first place. ....Inequality has frustrated even the most effective mayors...[Toronto} needs a new governance system that is adequate to the new challenges it faces....Toronto can lead the world by devising a modern system that’s up to the task of investing in governing and investing in a large economically integrated city. ...the basic idea would be to create a new kind of federalism, which extends from the provincial government through the city and all the way down to the varied communities and neighbourhoods that make it up.
21st._century  building_codes  cities  communities  densification  federalism  land_uses  mayoral  neighbourhoods  NYC  Queen’s_Park  regulation  Richard_Florida  Rob_Ford  scandals  schisms  transit  Toronto  zoning  inflection_points 
november 2013 by jerryking
Teachers’ unions are obsolete
Jan. 12 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Margaret Wente.
Wherever you live in Canada, whatever party your provincial government happens to belong to, strife in the schools is about to become a way of life. The public-sector pie is shrinking, and everybody on the public payroll will have to take a hit. That’s why Ontario’s education-friendly government cracked down on the teachers. If they’re not reined in, everybody else will fight back, too. More than 1.1-million people in Ontario – civil servants, social workers, nurses, teachers, police, garbage collectors – are on the public payroll; their collective paycheque amounts to around $58-billion a year.

The case for public-sector unions is arguable at the best of times. Public employees are supposed to behave in the public interest. But the more entrenched and powerful their unions become, the more money they are able to extract in the form of raises, bankable sick days, job security, generous pensions, rigid work rules, and the like. The unions’ job is to act in the interest of their members, which is inevitably contrary to the broader interests of the public. Politicians are happy to comply because the public purse is bottomless (until it’s not). Politicians are supposed to bargain on behalf of all the citizens. But the citizens don’t have unions.
Margaret_Wente  unions  Ontario  teachers  public_sector  Salman_Khan  Khan_Academy  Queen’s_Park 
january 2013 by jerryking
Cable guy out front in mayoral race
February 11, 2003 | G&M Page A18 | By JOHN BARBER.

John Tory shocked the municipal press gallery to the tips of its shabby boots last week when he marched us all to the Sai Woo restaurant -- legendary lair of backroom dealmakers, circa 1965 -- to announce his intention of running for mayor of Toronto in 2003.
He did it in the simplest way: by talking in sentences. But it was still a shock. An entire generation has passed since any of us has encountered a right-wing mayoralty candidate -- to say nothing of a mayor -- capable of doing that....But Mr. Tory's emphasis on the many-faceted "decline of Toronto," visible in everything from the quality of decision-making at City Hall to the number of tourists spending their money here, shows that he knows how to make the most of his breaks, His deliberately low-key kickoff betrayed evidence of extensive research -- i.e., polling -- and a well-organized, professional campaign team. These guys clearly know what they're doing.
Politically, they have plopped their candidate straight into the middle of the spectrum, right on top of Barbara Hall, the former Toronto mayor who is leading early polls in the 2003 race. She has travelled there from the left, he from the right; at this point in the race, the difference between them is much more one of style than policy.
John_Tory  mayoral  elections  Toronto  low-key  Queen’s_Park 
september 2012 by jerryking
Rob Ford’s entrenched position on Toronto transit hurts our pocketbooks - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 17, 2011 | G&M | Editorial.

critics are questioning whether the Eglinton line, known as The Crosstown, can even be built for the amount budgeted by Queen’s Park.

The reason? Under former mayor David Miller, the $4.6-billion Crosstown was to operate in a dedicated surface right-of-way for almost half the route while running in a tunnel through the city core. But Mr. Ford, who campaigned to end the so-called “war on the car,” insisted the entire 19-kilometre line be buried, at an additional cost of $2.2-billion, an almost 50-per-cent mark-up. While transit officials say that burying the LRT may attract a few more riders, $2.2-billion is a steep premium to pay for what is an essentially aesthetic decision, especially for a fiscal conservative.

There’s an elegant solution readily available to the mayor. He should ask Mr. McGuinty to revert to the original Eglinton plan, but on the proviso that the $2.2-billion be used as seed money for a public-private partnership deal for the Sheppard subway. The model is Vancouver’s Canada Line, built with $720-million in capital from a private consortium that operates the service through a 35-year franchise.
editorials  Rob_Ford  transit  Toronto  TTC  Eglinton_Crosstown  Queen’s_Park 
november 2011 by jerryking
Rob Ford to hold cap-in-hand talks with Dalton McGuinty - The Globe and Mail
Aug. 16, 2011 |Globe and Mail Update | KAREN HOWLETT and
PATRICK WHITE.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will meet with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty on
Wednesday morning, where he will seek the province’s help in addressing
the city’s financial woes.

Mr. Ford is coming cap in hand to Queen’s Park, just three weeks before
the official launch of the provincial election campaign and amid a new
awkward tone in his relations with Mr. McGuinty.
Rob_Ford  Dalton_McGuinty  Toronto  Ontario  elections  Queen’s_Park 
august 2011 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: Ontario spreads renewable energy deals around
April 9, 2010 | Globe & Mail | SHAWN MCCARTHY AND RICHARD
BLACKWELL. "North American power companies are flocking to Ontario as
the hot spot for renewable energy, with its promise of long-term
contracts, premium electricity prices and a streamlined regulatory
process that minimizes the risk of project delays."..."The provincial
government yesterday unveiled a roster of 184 agreements to purchase
electricity from wind, solar and small hydro projects proposed by a
range of suppliers, including multinational companies, a farmers'
organization, and native-owned corporations."...The province says the
FIT program will make Ontario a leading jurisdiction for renewable
energy in North America, and is expected to generate 20,000 direct and
indirect jobs in the province in part because companies must procure a
specific portion of the goods and services required for the project in
Ontario.
renewable  alternative_energy  green  Ontario  hotspots  aboriginals  Queen’s_Park 
may 2010 by jerryking

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