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Subways, subways, subways

January 19, 2023

I covered transit issues for 30 years, both at Queen’s Park and at Toronto’s City Hall. I also use transit frequently. Any time I wrote about the need for new subway lines, I was met with scorn from all the clever know-it-alls who told me in their very pompous way that above-ground light rail was the way to go.

In a city like Toronto, I argued, light rail will be paralyzed any time there’s a major snowstorm. Turns out, I’m right. Take a look at what’s happening in Ottawa, where its brand new light rail system is a big, fat, expensive mess. What genius decided that Ottawa, one of the coldest, snowiest capital cities in the world, should have above ground light rail and not a subway?

In my part of town, I look at the Eglinton Crosslink, which should have been finished years ago. I retired in 2016 and it was behind schedule then. It’s still not running. Out in Scarborough, the lines are there and so are the stations. They’ve turned Eglinton, once upon a time the best east-west route, into an obstacle course. And there is still no hope on the horizon for a transit vehicle to actually make the trip across town. And you just know that as soon as it snows, the line in Scarborough will freeze to a halt.

The downtown portion of the line was built underground. Oh, lucky downtowners, snug in their warm and comfortable stations. In Scarborough, we’re left with freezing, windswept stations on a line with no trains. And now they’re complaining because Scarborough is finally getting a three-stop subway line. We’re losing the Scarborough LRT, and good riddance to that. It was so unreliable, the TTC used to shut it down ahead of storms because they knew it wouldn’t withstand the wintry blasts.

And you wonder why people in Scarborough don’t take transit.

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