Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Rob Ford: Day #1, promise #1?

Toronto Sun: A list of Ford's promises - Oct 26/2010
Streetcars: Ford has vowed to rip streetcars off arterial roads and replace them with buses. Red Rockets will still be roaming along the St. Clair right-of-way and other spots where the infrastructure has already been built.

CBC: Rob Ford won't scrap streetcars: report - Oct 27/2010
...a copy of Ford's transportation plan taken from his campaign website states "We will improve traffic flow downtown by removing some streetcars. Streetcars on downtown arterial streets will be replaced with clean buses that provide the same capacity on the same routes."

Rob Ford also told the CBC's Steve D'Souza during the campaign: "Eliminate them all, within, you know, ten years. Get rid of all the streetcars. We don't need them."

The National Post: Ford’s plans for streetcars still up in the air - Oct 27/2010
The future of Toronto’s iconic streetcars remains up in the air, as mayor-elect Rob Ford said that if cancelling a streetcar replacement contract costs “the taxpayers an arm and a leg, then obviously we can’t do it.”

In an interview this week, his brother and councillor-elect Doug Ford corrected a “misnomer” that the Ford’s want to chuck longstanding lines. “Spadina is there to stay, St. Clair is there to stay,” he said.

But on the campaign trail Mr. Ford talked about “phasing out” streetcars over ten years, and replacing them with buses. He is an ardent streetcar opponent and believes the city should be building subways instead.

The city has placed a $1.2-billion order for new streetcars, the first of which are expected to arrive in 2012, and scrapping that plan could cost taxpayers more than $100-million in penalties, the National Post reported last week.

In my article Toronto Mayoral Race: And the winner is... I wrote:
As we congratulate ourselves for having voted for the winner, I would like to temper the enthusiasm with a touch of reality. Politicians curry our favour during a campaign with the typical and sometimes ubiquitous if not trite "campaign promise". Ah how they promise us the world. And when they are out on the campaign trail, miles and months from actually ascending to the throne, the possibility of realising those grandiose promises seems like an almost sure thing.

However, once in office, after taking over the reins, that first bucket of cold reality gets splashed in their face and they are suddenly confronted with practice not hypothesis. Toronto, like any population, represents various diverse and competing interests. There is only so much in the pot, so the mayor as a leader has to strive to meet the demands and arrive at some sort of compromise. If not, we could all find ourselves in a stalemate where nobody wins.

Subways not streetcars
Is Mr. Ford aware of the fact that a subway costs more than a streetcar? Far more?

When Mr. Ford advocates for buses, does he know that streetcars run on electricity as opposed to combustible fuel? Pollution = zero, zip, nada.

Does Mr. Ford realise that a streetcar can carry more passengers than a bus because it is just bigger?

When Mr. Ford talks of people complaining about having to wait behind streetcars when they're driving downtown, may I ask why the complainers are not taking the streetcar? Besides, who says that a bus weaving in and out of traffic is going to cause so much less congestion? I lived in the downtown core for 4 years and I found streetcars to be practical, quiet, efficient and non-polluting.

$100 million? Mr. Ford is not seriously considering the cancellation of the existing contract and making us all pay $100 million? This is exactly what happened in Ottawa a few years back. The newly elected mayor cancels the plan and the city has to pay zillions in penalties. Sorry, just plain foolish.


Comparing the cost of LTR and Subway


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