Mar. 30, 2016

My Message to Our City Councillors - Mar 29'16

Hi All - I sent the following message by e-mail to most of our City Councillors earlier this evening.  I also copied many of our city planners, other politicians, and the media as well as other interested parties.

I did miss attaching a copy of the original Toronto Belt Line Railway which I later sent under separate cover.



I am seeking your support for a subway belt line that would travel around the perimeter of the city. It’s not a new concept.  In fact; I believe the concept has been proposed many times, and there was an actual passenger rail belt line around the city in the late 1800s.  The route was intended “to service and promote new suburban neighbourhoods north of the city limits through the communities that eventually became Rosedale, Moore Park, Forest Hill and Swansea - The line was never profitable and it only ran for two years - Today, as part of a rails-to-trail project, the remaining part of the line is now the Beltline Trail - The railway was built by railway entrepreneur James David Edgar” – Wikipedia.  It was called The Toronto Belt Line Railway. 

A belt line would be key to the success of public transit in Toronto.  It would be in the same class as:

-        The Bloor Viaduct (Prince Edward Viaduct) [Supporting one of the busiest subway lines in the world]

-        R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant (Almost 75 years old and still producing over 40% of Toronto’s and York Region’s drinking water)

-        The 401 Highway (What can I say? – One of the busiest and most congested highways in the world)

-        The CN tower (Iconic landmark recognized worldwide)

It is my intention to write to every MP, every MPP, and every City Councillor within close proximity of the GTA that may have even a remote chance of affecting any decision made on the matter.  I have already submitted most of my plans to over 100 different authorities and interested parties including:  numerous politicians, city planners, the media, and other interested parties; as well as Mayor John Tory, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

It’s not really that difficult; 50% of it is already in place.  The Bloor-Danforth Line (Line 2) is already in place as the south quarter.  An extension of the Bloor-Danforth Line to McCowan Road and Sheppard Avenue East would be the east quarter [the planned extension of the Bloor-Danforth Line to Scarborough Centre will cover 90% of it (100% if the McCowan and Lawrence Station, and the McCowan and Sheppard Station are added back in to the current plans (last estimate roughly $1 billion more)].  About 30% of the north quarter (the Sheppard Subway) is already in place.  And finally; the proposed Jane Street LRT could be a subway instead, covering the west quarter.  The outstanding pieces are:

-        A subway connecting the east end of the Sheppard Subway at Don Mills and Sheppard with McCowan and Sheppard, and with Scarborough Centre

-        A subway connecting the west end of the Sheppard Subway at Yonge and Sheppard with the Jane Street Subway

Once it is built you will literally be able to “get around” in this city.  James David Edgar was over 125 years ahead of his time.  

My plans do include subway extensions to areas outside the GTA, but this belt line would be the key element in the entire network. 

Attached is a file with my proposal.  I have also attached a file with my ten phase plan for transit in Scarborough.  I have not addressed the rest of the GTA to the same degree because, as a long time resident of Scarborough (now living in Brampton ON), I am more familiar with the traffic and transit issues in Scarborough than I am with the rest of the city.   

My main concern with LRTs is that the number of different modes of transit used, and transfers, need to be kept to a minimum.  I am pro subway, but you will see that my plans make good use of various forms of transit while keeping things efficient and effective. 

I do not believe that we need the SmartTrack.  I think the electrification of the GO Train system and the increase in capacity and frequency that was being planned for prior to the election of John Tory will serve the area north of the GTA for quite some time.  The logistics of incorporating a SmartTrack with the existing GO system must be very challenging and costly, and expansion of the subway network will do so much more for local transit. 

Please note; I have not had time to get into great detail (such as the number, location, and orientation of stations) because the city’s planning department are moving at an “unprecedented pace” and making changes on the fly, and I want to get this out before any firm decisions or commitments are made. 

I do realize that some of my proposed dates might be too aggressive, so I would understand if many of the dates had to be pushed out five or ten years from my proposed timelines, but the important thing is to know where we want to go with this now, so that things are built with a future plan and options in mind.  This will ensure that the cost to build and expand later will be reasonable and without waste.

FYI; Phil Prentice is an alias, not my real name, as I don't want any publicity/or to draw any attention to myself.  I will be posting this and promoting my ideas online as Phil Prentice.

I do have more to add.  I will be in touch again later.


Regards,  WS (Alias Phil P)"


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