Oct. 28, 2016

Email to Jennifer Pagliaro, the star.com, October 27th 2016

Hi Jennifer - I am a frequent reader of yours - I strongly support the city's decision to go with a subway extension rather than an LRT for Scarborough - As a former longtime resident of Scarborough, I know what it is to travel to and from the city from Markham and Lawrence 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day or more 5 days a week for 4 years straight - An LRT just doesn't cut it - Although I would prefer to have seen a three or four stop subway extension built, the one stop subway extension combined with a Kennedy and Lawrence SmartTrack Station is the still a better long-term solution for Scarborough and the rest of the GTA
Although I'm not necessarily in favour of it, the amount of new development in the city over the past 30 years has been mind-boggling; Mississauga is booming too - The city's plans simply fall short - The GO lines and subways should be seen as main arteries with LRT Streetcars and buses being the arterioles and capillaries feeding and distributing passengers to and from those arteries - The Scarborough Subway should be extended straight along McCowan Road to north of Markham with high-capacity parking garages south of Markham for those living in Markham, and north of Markham for those living further north
The Scarborough Subway should turn back west at McCowan and Sheppard and connect with the Sheppard East Subway at Don Mills and Sheppard - This would provide a rapid connection between Scarborough Centre and North York - Those traveling between Markham and North York would then have a rapid alternative as well
Once these arteries are built the rest could be LRTs and buses and possibly streetcars
Having said all this; the Relief Line should take priority over everything as all of these improvements will feed the existing Line 1 and Line 2 subways which we all know are already operating well beyond capacity
Below/attached is Phase IV of my proposal for rapid transit in Scarborough - The differences between the city's plan and my plan are that my plan includes the following additional key items:
 - Four new subway stops instead of one with the subway extension between Scarborough Centre and McCowan and Sheppard reinstated at a total additional cost of about $1.2 billion
 - A subway connecting the Sheppard East Subway and the McCowan Road Subway between Don Mills and Sheppard and McCowan and Sheppard - $2.9 billion [The cost of an LRT along this route was understated by almost $1 billion (this cost for a transitional subway/LRT station at Don Mills and Sheppard was conveniently left out of the equation when comparing the cost difference between a subway and an along this route, not to mention the present value of $500 million to $1 billion in lost time transferring between Subway and LRT over a period of 30 years)] - This cost for lost time is based on my guesstimate of the present value of lost time transferring between subway and SRT at Kennedy and Eglinton over the past 30 years
 - A Markham Road LRT connecting Centennial College Progress Campus and Malvern Centre with the Eglinton GO station - Approximately $1 billion [If you recall; the city considered spending an extra $1 billion to route the Scarborough Subway Extension along Markham Road because of its potential for future development - Why not spend it on an LRT?]
 - An Ellesmere LRT connecting Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital and UTSC with Scarborough Centre and the Ellesmere SmartTrack Station - $800 million
 - A Sheppard Avenue East BRT - $50 million
 - Scarborough Centre Driverless Shuttlebus connecting Centennial College Progress Campus, the McCowan Commercial and Residential Precinct, the new Scarborough Centre Subway Station, Scarborough Town Centre, and Ellesmere SmartTrack Station - $50 million
 - Toronto Zoo Driverless Shuttlebus - $20 million
 - And finally; an Express LRT along Lawrence Avenue East between the Lawrence SmartTrack Station and the DRT Pulse and Sheppard East BRT Station at Kingston Road and Sheppard Avenue East - Guesstimate $2 billion [This would be the beginning of a rapid east-west crosstown Express LRT alternate to GO connecting Mississauga Brampton Toronto and the Durham Region (which I call the MBTD Express LRT)] - The travel time for an Express LRT between Pearson Airport and Kingston Road and Sheppard Avenue East along a Lawrence Avenue corridor would be 46 minutes for a Siemens S70 LRT with limited stops verses 96 minutes for a Eglinton Crosstown Bombardier LRT with frequent stops - By limited stops I mean stops only at the airport and intermodal connections with other key modes of rapid transit such as subways GO train lines BRTs and other LRT lines - It would be the equivalent of having a GO train running down the middle of Lawrence Avenue - The line would have to be tunneled between Leslie Street and Mount Pleasant Road in order to bypass the Post Road and Bridal Path areas - The powers-that-be wouldn't want to disturb their good friends and neighbours (This is what I think really killed the Spadina Expressway)
Yes; I know this is a pipe dream and we cannot afford it, but everything the city is proposing should have been built by now and this is where we should/could have been 15 to 20 years from now
I don't much care if information was withheld and numbers were manipulated in order to justify the subway extension over LRT - The same tactics were used when selecting LRT over subway for Sheppard Avenue East - Subways are the right way to go for both of these routes - Let's just leave the Scarborough Subway decision alone and get on with it
Phil Prentice
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