A Cry For Help

So there I was, minding my own business, reading an article about David Miller in the Globe and Mail, wondering if there was anything to his assertion that Transit City could be revived from its current deadness when I was hit in the face with a bucket of cold water by current TTC Chair, Karen Stintz.

Any talk of a Transit City resurrection was just ‘a distraction’ claimed Councillor Stintz. “At some point, you just need to make decisions and move. I’m at the point where we are about to dig Eglinton. Let’s just get started, before we go changing more plans.”

Absolutely. Enough with the talk. We need action. Somebody toss me a shovel. I’ll get the digging started.

Oops. Wait. Hold on there for a second. Seems like not all the kinks have been fully ironed out on the mayor’s plan to bury the Eglinton Ave. LRT.

“Unresolved technical issues,” according to the TTC Chair.

Pray. Do go on…

“For one, the change of plans championed by Mayor Ford could trigger a new environmental assessment – a costly and time-consuming proposition.”

So, Councillor Stintz, when you make the claim of — let me just jump back a couple paragraphs in the article — being “at the point where we are about to dig Eglinton”, that might not actually be the case, yeah? Depending on whether or not yet another environmental assessment is needed on what is, ostensibly, a change in plans. Which you hate, those pesky and distracting change of plans.

But wait, Councillor Stintz ain’t done yet. Apparently, that land formation, carved out by retreating glaciers or forged by the erosion of a river making its relentless way to Lake Ontario (I’m not really up on the whole geology explanations), the Don Valley ‘also is a problem’.

“You can’t tunnel there,” Stintz says. “It’s just not possible. So what are the other options? That work is still under way.”

Jesus Fucking Christ.

When are the adults finally going to step in and resume control of this conversation? How long do a majority of councillors continue to let Rob Ford play at being mayor? He makes grand pronouncements which are treated as gospel, as done deals, with no eye on any possible negative implications to such whims and passing fancies, and everyone sits back and says, oh well, he’s the mayor, he has a mandate. Onward and tally ho!

And I’m not letting the province off the hook here. It is their money after all. Shouldn’t they insist on it being spent wisely or, at least, not wastefully? While I hate the idea of another level of government stepping in and mucking about with the city’s business, it is what they do, right? We are their creatures. Doesn’t ownership confer a certain degree of responsibility to ensure your pet is behaving properly?

There are all sorts of yellow flags being waved here. First and foremost, a lack of a concrete plan. We want to take all that money that was assigned for Transit City and use it to bury one line and cancel all the other ones. OK, well, one. All due diligence has been done on this, right? Prepared for any new contingency or any unforeseen snag that will inevitably arise? Like say, crossing the Don Valley? I know how much everybody hates streetcars on the roads but how do you propose to cross the valley?

And secondly, all this has council approval, yes? I know you, Mayor Ford, were elected with a mandate but so were the 44 councillors. We’re assuming at least 22 of them have signed on to your transit plan, what’s it called again? Transportation City? Yes? Yes?

There are ways the province can meddle in our municipal affairs without being patronizing, bullying or overstepping. Ensuring more public scrutiny of this change of plan would be a start. We can bemoan more delays all we want because of further discussions but the TTC Chair, Mayor Ford’s chosen representative, has brought up a couple scenarios that could well be even more detrimental to progress if they came to pass.

I mean, Councillor Stintz is basically begging people to stop the madness. In a newspaper article where she starts out intending to put the talk of a Transit City revival to bed, the TTC chair takes more ink describing the problems facing the new plan than she does dismissing Transit City. Forget Transit City, people. We’re good to go. Except for a couple tiny but possibly HUGE obstacles that could set things back years, decades.

Every time I hear Counicllor Stintz speak lately, I get the impression she’s been taken prisoner by Team Ford. In carefully constructed statements that contain high levels of plausible deniability, she’s blinking out code for us, screaming for help. This one, she seems to be signalling that the mayor’s transit plan is a mess, ill-thought out and very possibly facing much higher costs than advertised. (New environmental assessment=additional costs). We’re already to go. Let’s start digging. Unresolved technical issues be damned!

I’m sorry. Did the TTC Chair just say ‘unresolved technical issues’? That’s our safe word. Time to move in, people. We need to free the hostage.

Commence Operation Rescue Transit City.

— SWATly submitted by Cityslikr

3 thoughts on “A Cry For Help

  1. Ford’s transit plan is called GRIDLOCK CITY. Ford will add another 5000 cars a day next year to the streets for the 20,000 lost fares on the TTC because of reduced service and higher fares.
    This will add another billion or so to the 6 billion that gridlock costs this city now.

    Oh ya I have found Ford’s GRAVY TRAIN it will be buried under Eglington Ave.

  2. Barry does it make sense to put the Eglinton LRT that was $4.2 billion; underground for the cost of $8.2 billion?! So Toronto may save a few million in 2012(Aug.-Dec.) by contracting garbage pick up to a company in Pickering. How’s Ford popularity rating?

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