Recent comments

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 4 days ago

    Cheap shots? I didn't intend for my comments to be anything other than factual, so I apologize if they came across otherwise. The issue with a 2009 start date for electrification of the Weston subdivision is that there was not an applicable existing design. For example, the current construction that is ongoing was started in 2003 with an EA in 2006 and an update to the EA and design approved in 2009 (with large items such as the Weston Tunnel added). Electrification was raised only as part of the 2006 Georgetown South Expansion EA, and it was determined that the 1983 study was both outdated for the system and did not cover this corridor. It was agreed in the 2009 EA update that electrification would be studied, designed, and implemented. The study was completed in December 2010. Conceptual design was undertaken over 2011 and 2012. Preliminary design was advanced as the basis of the EA consultation in 2013, with the EA consultation period now from December 2013 until June 2014 (assuming that it is not escalated for more study). Detailed design can then occur in 2014 and 2015 with construction taking a three year period from 2015 to 2017. As construction of the Georgetown South Expansion has occurred, Metrolinx has considered what and where electrification may have an impact based on the conceptual design and made allowances to avoid duplication of efforts. For example, the design of Bloor and Weston stations have integrated the electrification needs and the design of the UP Express DMUs is such that they can be upgraded to EMUs at the same incremental price as just buying EMUs now.

    I agree completely with your assessment of Metrolinx in that they feel that whatever government(s) we have in 2014 to 2020 can't take away money that's already spent. In addition, by breaking up the total project into smaller manageable chunks, they are more politically appealing because it's more ribbon cuttings and less sticker-price shock. At the end of the day however, Metrolinx has no power over what the actual plan is because all their capital funding is approved at Queen's Park. That's why the dedicated transit funding for Metrolinx is such a huge deal. It takes the politics out of the equation of what gets done first (for example the UP Express and Georgetown South expansion versus Lakeshore expansion or Vaughan Spadina subway extension versus DRL subway) or at least reduces it to an influence rather than direct oversight.

    If you're ok with CalTrain taking 20 years of planning, why is the Metrolinx timeline of 10 years so onerous? I mourn the two decades lost to budget tightening, but that is the political background of why this time table has slipped until it was not possible to do both the track expansion and electrification at the same time. GO Transit has a few reports that analyse CalTrain's program in the context of importing it to Canada (http://www.gotransit.com/electrification/en/current_study/docs/L1959.pdf) (http://www.gotransit.com/electrification/en/current_study/docs/L3144/PR243550_PD4.pdf) (http://www.gotransit.com/electrification/en/current_study/docs/L3203/1-FinalReport.pdf)
    Metrolinx does have a strategic long-term plan and are now trying to get the independent funding to build it all.

    Regarding AMT, I should have been more specific. The Deux-Montagnes line was bought in 1982 with the ownership/maintenance arrangement changing in 1996. In 1992, after the same 10 year window that Metrolinx is looking at, Quebec announced it would electrify was constructed from 1993 to 1995. As such, it is the only Canadian electrified passenger train route that operates in mixed traffic with freight trains.

    The Georgetown South expansion will enable a 50% increase in daily trains in 2015 with room to grow (specifically two-way all-day 30-minute service). It's not electrification that's needed to make that happen, but actual tracks to allow trains to pass each other. If you look at the Union Station report (or it may be a separate USRC report, I'd have to double check), the time savings by electrifying is around 6 seconds between Strachan Avenue and the Don River. This section is the busiest part of the network with no room for further expansion (they have just built the last track they can squeeze in). They are redoing all the switches and signalling however to extract whatever other time savings are possible. There still is capacity available in the mid-day and evening off-peak periods, but generally that's not the central issue. The main options remaining for extra peak capacity are two build new stations where the Bathurst North Yard and Don Yard currently have mid-day train storage (assuming we have built all the other corridors up to allow two-way all-day service) and/or building a tunnel under the USRC from one end to the other with a new station under the GO bus terminal. Any vision of extra traffic in this area needs to take this into account, but from my experience, they usually don't include those underlying connections. Even the conceived Bathurst Station relies on a DRL subway stop being built first to transfer the Georgetown people into the TTC's system.

    There is a plan of action for Union Station and the USRC spanning the 40 years from 2001 to 2031, where projects are undertaken to allow extra capacity and that capacity is captured in the plans for expanded GO service. It's the same process that allowed all-day two-way 30-minute headways on the Lakeshore corridor. More track work and signal work is needed to eventually move this down to 15-minute headways with the lowest physically possible separation being 9-minutes due to the requirements of the speed on switches, signal block sizes, and passenger loading and unloading. Even under electrification, subway-type frequencies of 3-minute or 5-minute headways are unachievable.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 4 days ago

    Dead on. The 2011 Metrolinx electrification study reads like it was written by the Clean Train Coalition. Every single thing in it has been mentioned over and over for years. In fact a casual look at newspaper clippings reveals that people had been wondering for years why Metrolinx was so unaware of electric systems unlike almost every other operator in the world. Take a walk down memory lane and read some of those stories from 2008 and 2009; people are saying the same thing today that they were then. The only thing that has changed is that Metrolinx has slowly and begrudgingly accepted what everybody was saying.

    If Metrolinx had just said lets build a good system that services as many people as possible (rather than a premium service for downtown businessmen who more than likely use Porter now) and asked how could we integrate it with the communities it travels through there is no reason that that they could not have met the "deadline" in 2015. Especially with McGuinty's gift of shortened EA processes (6 months!). People were and still are asking for MORE trains but Metrolinx was so insular that it spent its time trying to discredit anybody and everybody who disagreed with it (as documented in the Globe and Mail in 2009: "A leaked Metrolinx document called opponents “NIMBYs or local politicians on the make” and said, “We should salt the sessions with supporters.” or outright mislead them (as documented in the decision by the Advertising Standards Council: http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2011/08/19/metrolinx_ad_ruled_misl...).

    I would love to know too why it has taken Metrolinx 6 years to catch up to where rail science is everywhere else on earth.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 5 days ago

    Again I mention that any thorough study of the airport link must be done through the political lens. From the 1980's to David Collenette and Blu-22 the link has always been seen as part of the olympics first rather than citizens needs. The reason to build has always been because of a sporting event. And now we end up wasting cash just to meet some 2 week sporting event deadline (for an event that almost nobody cares about: where was the last pan am games held?). This has shaped everything about the plans and its why we are building a line with 2 stops when other cities are building complete systems.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 5 days ago

    Your cheap shots aside, 2009 would have been a great starting point and there was no reason not to. I suspect that this irrational desire to build a second class line for a two week sporting event (increasing costs to taxpayers in the long run and robbing other worthy projects of funding) was that this is all about the olympics. Somewhere in Queens Park somebody decided that if we had a link it would help sell the next olympic bid even though zero athletes will actually use the link. You can talk about politics of the past, but dont think there is not politics now. I suspect too that many at Metrolinx have a bunker mentality in that they are scared (and they have a point) that if something gets stalled it will be stopped in its tracks again. Most folks at Metrolinx would rather build a better system but seem happy to get anything at this point. If Tim Hudak is the next premier and he cancels everything but subways then they may wish they had been more forceful with their political masters as transit takes a backseat for another generation (http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2013/10/21/a_conservative_governm...)

    If you read my comments clearly I never said CalTrain currently operates electric trains but if you are not familiar with them then I can understand how it might appear that way. They have been undergoing 20 years of planning to modernize their system which finally got the planning go ahead in 2004. Among the many things they did was get an exception to use European electric trains on fright lines. Its this kind of innovation that will make their new electric lines, which replace diesel, the most cutting edge in North America. All the studies and information they have has been sitting waiting for others to copy. I have mentioned their studies and their upcoming EA report on electric trains to Metrolinx. It will leave zero doubt about electric and shows what long term planning can achieve.

    http://www.caltrain.com/projectsplans/CaltrainModernization/Modernizatio...

    In Montreal there have been competing airport link plans some with AMT and some without. Basically all the plans are electric and have multiple stops. They look exactly like what people have said could and should be built here.Sadly every where you look you see superior systems being built and other systems being converted to electric. But not here.

    A lot of Metrolinx's ridership projections for Georgetown are considered very blue sky and even Metrolinx admits they might not happen for 40 years so I think taxpayers and transit users would be more than happy to make some use of the corridor and Union Station until then. It is also worth noting that if people had been thinking they might have envisioned a DRL as part of Georgetown with a final stop somewhere other than Union. With electric there are many possibilities.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 5 days ago

    great research "mapleson" lots of goodies to research, you are clearly well informed
    So I guess this is how metrolinx communicates with its local stakeholders, interesting.

    we've been pushing this issue for long enough, under liberal leadership (Mcginty), I might add, when the whole ARL (now UP) was in the early planning stages. So what's the detailed "new improved" response from the powers-that-be to explain why this 2013 "better" EA couldn't have been started 6-8yrs ago at the same time as plans to build what you are building now?

    I'm more interested in responsible govt, not partisan politics, lip service to delay an EA that everybody already knew is the responsible thing to do, I don't call that appropriately responsive, regardless of which party holds the reigns.

    So perhaps mapleson, you can write a few paragraphs detailing why it has taken metrolinx this long to decide on doing a new EA for electrification, and why it couldn't have been done when plans started for the ARL?

    This should be easy considering your 30yr history lesson on the politics of regional rail planning.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 5 days ago

    Built it right the first time? When would that have been? In the 1850s and 1860s when the Grand Trunk Railroad built the first tracks on the Weston subdivision? When they switched to 'standard' gauge tracks in the 1870s and 1880s? Or delaying the ongoing Georgetown South Expansion project that is upgrading the unused service tracks to mainline standards? Metrolinx only was able to purchase the Weston subdivision from CN in 2009.

    CalTrain doesn't operate electrified service, so it's not a great example of whatever you are trying to exemplify. AMT in Montreal is a much better choice.

    I completely agree that building sooner means saving money and headaches down the road, but we can't change the past political decisions that put transit on the backburner. I've read all your suggested reports, and I think you have the wrong end of the stick. 'The Big Move' has the Union-Pearson Express as item 2 of the 9 'big moves', which is half the reason for the GTS expansion now ongoing.

    As for using the rail corridor for local transit, I'd suggest you check out the "Union Station 2031" report that shows just how congested Union Station is and will be. Any increase in peak service will come with an extra $1-2B price tag as all the 'easy' solutions are exhausted.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 5 days ago

    If they had started from scratch they would have built a better system. In fact thats what people wished was that they would have started from scratch instead of discounting electric BEFORE the EA. I was present at the first Metrolinx meetings with the public and they said that it would cost billions to electrify the corridor even though they had done zero studies. That number is now 440 million. It was clear and reported in the press that people had the impression that electric, the worldwide standard in commuter rail, was not even being considered. That EA, by the way, was part of a new truncated EA process that greatly shortened the timeline. What a coincidence.

    I travel a lot and use commuter rail and airport links in many other cities. If you are happy with with things great. I am not.

    By the way I do give you points for the Suncor reference, few people remember that.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 5 days ago

    They could have built it right the first time. Its not like electric trains are a novelty especially with the advances that CalTrain have been working on for the last 20 years. Read the 2012 Auditor Generals report and ask your self if you feel confident that the best choices were made. Read Metrolinx's 2011 electrification study and ask your self if the best choices were made. Read the Big Move and ask yourself if the Georgetown corridor was completely forgotten as part of the mix. I am not going to belabour it but we could have been so far ahead and saved tons of cash by picking a built in Ontario electric solution and seeing the corridor as part of a transit solution for the West End. We got second best.If that.

  • Noise Wall Committee Websites   39 weeks 5 days ago

    I was just presenting it. There are some flaws in it for sure and in terms of Railpath it serves no purpose to use up all the space for a green wall at the expense of space to cycle or walk or see the sky. I am glad that different views are being presented and I wish there was more of this kind of effort put into projects.

    Metrolinx has complete authority over the corridor and answers to nobody except the government. Sadly thats why we are getting a second rate system with 2 stops. Lately though, it is finally dawning on people that an electric system could help help create an affordable western DRL ---ie seeing the corridor as having transit value for the people who actually live next to it, especially in Weston. I am hopeful that we will see some movement on this as it is becoming painfully obvious.

  • 299 Campbell development & expansion of the Perth-Dupont Library   39 weeks 5 days ago
  • Noise Wall Committee Websites   39 weeks 6 days ago

    The Wabash Building Society design is definitely pretty, but it has several fundamental flaws. First, it doesn't incorporate the new tracks on the rail corridor, making it appear that there is more space than there actually is. Second, the gaps in the wall would allow noise through away, so they are effectively useless. Third, the thickness of the landscaping would be a choice between 'urban forest'/'green wall' and the Railpath. Fourth, the latest designs from Metrolinx are much more attractive than in the report, and community input is definitely a big part of what they'll actually do. Fifth, if the noise is more attractive than the noise wall, a petition could be started, because it's communities concerns about noise that got this ball rolling in the first place. Finally, when electrification does come, the overhead portals would be 3m taller than this proposed wall.

  • Electrification EA Commences   39 weeks 6 days ago

    First of all, an EA is only valid for five years, so at a minimum an updates would be necessary. Second, environmental law has changed significantly since 1983. Third, public consultation is necessary with the new residents, 30 years is a long time and this neighbourhoods have changed composition drastically since then. Fourth, until recently Metrolinx didn't own any of their tracks, and so any electrification would need the approval of CP and CN. Fifth, the GO network has changed significantly since 1983, including a whole new locomotive fleet, train consists holding ten times the number of passengers, many more trains per hour, completely different ridership patterns, and Union Station being at capacity. Sixth, no electromagnetic interference study was undertaken in 1983 and there are much more concerns about and usage of electromagnetic frequencies in 2013. Seventh, the network studied does not resemble the current network at all, except for the Lakeshore corridor. The Weston subdivision was not included, but CP's Canpa, Galt, and North Toronto subdivisions were. In addition, GO currently is serving 180% to 260% of the 1983 prediction of ultimate 2021 capacity.

    Finally, the Progressive Conservatives had a majority until 1985 and then a minority until 1987. Rather than spend money on improving privately-owned rail corridors, Bill Davis wanted to buy a 25% stake in Suncor. When the Liberals took power in 1987 through an accord with the NDP, they were facing deficits and were attempting to balance the budget, which they did in 1989-1990. However, a minor recession turned this into a $2.5B deficit in 1990-1991 under the NDP. By 1995, we had the Mike Harris Progressive Conservatives and more budget tightening. Under none of these governments was electrification even on the table for funding. Whether rightly or wrongly in that decision, it's a past generation of politicians from all stripes that did not fund the project. It received new legs under McGinty, but the underlying fundamentals changed so significantly from 1983 that it required starting from scratch.

  • 299 Campbell development & expansion of the Perth-Dupont Library   39 weeks 6 days ago

    This evening Toronto City Council approved a plan to build a new, 10,000 square foot library as part of a condo project at 299 Campbell Avenue. This was the last major hurdle in the approvals process. It's an awesome development made possible by Councillor Ana Bailao. She has delivered something really great for our neighbourhood.
    Over the course of the next six months, the developer will finish the final design of the building. When complete, sales of the condo units will begin and once they reached about 70% sold, construction will start. The new library should open in about three years if all goes well.

  • Electrification EA Commences   40 weeks 3 days ago

    They had way more than the 5yrs you mentioned to do everything that Scott just mentioned. It's not a matter of planning, it's a matter of executing an already approved plan, the last electrification EA study done on this same line, by GG (metrolinx) was in the early 1980s and it was approved then,
    20+ years later and inflated cost we are doing an EA again, for third time (the 1980s study was the second electrification EA that was approved),
    Planning isn't the issue...

  • Chances of electrification of UP line...?   41 weeks 2 days ago

    There will be another round of consultation in February 2014 for the Electrification EA. The Liberals agreed they would roll out electrification as a result of the Georgetown South Expansion project now ongoing. However, electrification still is an unfunded project along with the fourth track on the Weston subdivision. As there will be at least one provincial election between now and the any electrification-related construction, it all depends on who wins. In the meantime, the GTS project will be building soundwalls along most of the rail corridor. There will be separate public consultation for that.

  • Electrification EA Commences   41 weeks 2 days ago

    Squeezing new stations into the rail corridor isn't as easy as it sounds, and definately couldn't have been completed for 2015. It easily takes 5 years to go from concept to in the ground. Metrolinx isn't going to stop improving their system where and when they can, unless they don't have funding. We'll have at least one new station on the line before we get electrification built.

  • 299 Campbell development & expansion of the Perth-Dupont Library   41 weeks 3 days ago

    Just a note to let everyone know that the Library project was up for another round of approvals yesterday at the Planning and Growth Committee at City Hall. With Councillor Ana Bailao's help the item passed with no problem and it is on to the full City Council for approval on Dec.16-17. Short of some last minute snafu, it looks like clear sailing now for a new library in the Junction Triangle.

  • 362 / 370 Wallace Ave. (Former Glidden site) - Wallace Walk   42 weeks 2 days ago

    I believe that this is more procedural than anything else. The City just had meetings at Planning and Growth that covered the changing of zoning of employment lands. There are still some small sticking points between the city and the developer about the Wallace property. By going to the OMB BEFORE the zoning meetings last week it means that the project can continue and would be dealt with under the zoning codes as they were at the time of the OMB filing. If they had not then it was possible that after last week the City and the developer might have had to go back to square one in the process which would be a major use and waste of time and resources. Basically it froze or grandfathered the zoning in time.

  • 362 / 370 Wallace Ave. (Former Glidden site) - Wallace Walk   42 weeks 3 days ago

    I don't quite understand what's happening at the OMB.

    Somerset Wallace Developments Limited has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board
    under subsection 34(11) of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 13, as amended, from
    Council’s neglect to enact a proposed amendment to Zoning By-law 438-86 of the City
    of Toronto to rezone lands respecting 362 Wallace Avenue to permit the mixed use
    development comprised with residential and light industrial uses
    O.M.B. File No. PL130563

    Somerset Wallace Developments Limited has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board
    under subsection 22(7) of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 13, as amended, from
    Council’s neglect to enact a proposed amendment to the Official Plan for the City of
    Toronto to redesignate lands respecting 362 Wallace Avenue to permit the mixed use
    development comprised with residential and light industrial uses
    Approval Authority File No. 11 286663 STE 18 OZ
    O.M.B. File No. PL130562

    Does this mean that the City has just been to slow to make changes to zoning / OP? That's what it sounds like "neglect to enact a proposed amendment" means. Or does it mean that the City denied the zoning/OP changes, and the developer is trying to overturn that?

  • 362 / 370 Wallace Ave. (Former Glidden site) - Wallace Walk   42 weeks 3 days ago
  • 362 / 370 Wallace Ave. (Former Glidden site) - Wallace Walk   42 weeks 3 days ago

    http://app.toronto.ca/ApplicationStatus/details.do?folderRsn=3407266

    Application: New Building
    Status: Permit Issued
    Location: 362 WALLACE AVE, TORONTO ON
    Ward 18: Davenport
    Application#:13 215602 BLD 00 NB
    Issued Date: Nov 21, 2013
    Project: Industrial, New Building
    Description: Proposal to construct a new 1 sty industrial building with 1 level of below grade parking. 362-364 Wallace Ave.

  • 362 / 370 Wallace Ave. (Former Glidden site) - Wallace Walk   42 weeks 4 days ago

    They are looking for somebody to run it. Although it is from the developer it is just a structure with no operating budget or staff. The United Way would be a the kind of service organization they would look for.

  • 362 / 370 Wallace Ave. (Former Glidden site) - Wallace Walk   42 weeks 5 days ago

    Hi everyone, this post could be of our interest.
    "The City is seeking one or more community organizations for occupancy in a Below-Market Rent City Space in Ward 18 at 362 Wallace Avenue."
    It looks to me, that City of Toronto is renting out the JT community center promised by 362 Wallace developers.
    Any thoughts on this? Tnx
    http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=fc78f40f9aae0410...

  • Annual Junction Triangle Home Style Craft Show   43 weeks 2 days ago

    Hope to see a lot of our neighbours at the 3rd Annual Junction Triangle Home Style Craft and Gift Show tomorrow. The show runs from 11-4 and there's lots of great stuff to be had! 25 different vendors selling everything from Leather bound memory books to Home made caramels to face and body care products to...the list goes on..and on...!! Join us for lunch at the café sponsored by our wonderful friends at Urban Acorn and make sure to stop by the raffle table to try and win some wonderful gift items! The big man himself will be there too! Pictures with Santa for $5...all proceeds from café, raffle tickets and Santa pictures will support arts programming at Perth Avenue Public School.

    Please come and support your wonderful. local school!

  • 299 Campbell development & expansion of the Perth-Dupont Library   43 weeks 2 days ago

    Fantastic news......

    Thank you Ana and the 299 Campbell developer, and thx to the library expansion committee,

    This is a major step in the right direction for our community