Ontario Liberals violating their own Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act – by Karl Haab

St Clair Streetcar

The Ontario government is in the process of mailing out notices by registered mail to the 70% of Ontario businesses who haven’t registered under their Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, threatening to punish them with fines of up to $15,000.00 and at the same time this government is violating its own act.

The Act orders businesses to make it easier for people with disabilities to reach their businesses while the Liberal Ontario Government with their Metrolinx ‘Big Move’ makes it almost impossible for the disabled to reach those businesses on any of the streets where they are going to build an LRT down the centre of that street.

You would think that most successful businesses would have enough sense to make it easy for the disabled to reach them without having the government tell them what to do.

But the government blocking access to these businesses with LRTs on platforms, streetcars or Rapid Transit by preventing people from making left turns to reach those businesses and preventing them from crossing the street is unforgivable.

The only way these businesses are going to be able to make it easier for their disabled customers to reach them, is to turf out the Liberal Government. The sooner, the better.

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Making the Move – On the Overburdened Taxpayer – by Patricia Sinclair

Letter to Anne Golden – December 19, 2013

Dear Dr. Golden,

Over this past week the feedback on the Transit Panel’s Report demonstrates the dissatisfaction of the average citizen with our decision makers and their advisors.

There is much disconnect between what the people want and what our current government is willing to deliver.  This is leading to the start of a bottom up transition.

Your report has many sound recommendations:

            – redeploying provincial portion of the HST charged on Gas/Fuel in GTHA to transit

            – capturing land value uplift

            – alignment of Transit Plans with the Growth Plan

            – supportive Land Use Policies

            – a dedicated, segregated transparent Transit Funding Account

            – Accountability and Transparency [overall!-not just funding]

            – evidence based evaluation in transit decisions…

However, until the taxpayers of Ontario believe they have a government and a transit agency (including TTC) that is:

            competently managing the monies they are currently collecting and,

            delivering the type of transit and development they want to see built that

            serves the greatest number of people/needs given our scarce resources,

the Transit Panel’s recommendations will simply gather dust.

The provincial Auditor General’s Reports offer Ontarians but a small snap shot of the workings of government, including Metrolinx in December 2012.  The level of incompetence that we are seeing is almost beyond comprehension.

Starting from a base of billions, if we extrapolate a fraction of the findings across the board…, no doubt you can comprehend why the vast majority of Ontarians balk at any calls for tax increases.

There is no doubt we need to create an integrated region-wide transit network.  The public continue their calls for such a plan, as do industry professionals.

The latest report from Michael Schabas[i] highlights the reasons why Metrolinx’s Big Move, if allowed to proceed, will be Ontario’s Platinum Billion $ Boondoggle.

Unfortunately, his report doesn’t go nearly far enough to estimate full opportunity costs nor, GTA’ers cultural attachment to Subways.  As Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner rightly notes, “the goal should not be an increase in transit projects, but a substantial increase in transit usage which is accomplished through effective overall transit planning.”[ii]

We cannot do this unless, like your panel and Mr. Schabas point out, we “have information that is clear, complete and consistent to allow for the comparison of the relative merits and drawbacks of proposed projects.”  He goes further to say that, “At present, this type of information is not readily available, and its absence is impeding public and political debates on how the region can use transit to reduce congestion and improve economic competitiveness.”

Where do we go from here?

1.         There is nothing fair nor necessary about tax increases given the current state of government mismanagement.  No accountability = No Tax Increase

            Our economic situation is such that government must work with the current level of tax revenues, ensure all gas taxes go directly to transportation (transit and roads) funding and, explore other funding sources: debentures, land value capture, private/public partnerships.

2.         All transit plans, current and future, need to be independently, professionally assessed.  The public has little confidence in Metrolinx and no greater in TTC.

            In Toronto, City Planning needs to understand their enabler role.

            Information on the merits (pros and cons) needs to be available, transparent and honest.

3.         We purportedly live in a democracy.  Government, their advisors, civil servants work to serve the will of the people not the other way around.  Transit plans need to deliver what the people want in ways that prove economically enhancing.

2014 will no doubt prove to be an interesting year for transit.

Patricia Sinclair

Real Torontonians Dig Subways

cc: Premier Wynne and provincial MPPs; Transit Panel


[ii]http://www.ecoissues.ca/index.php/Transit_Assessments:_Is_Faster_Always_Better%3F

New LRT Poll is worthless – by Karl Haab

A poll based on misleading information is absolutely worthless. The TTC and Metrolinx have been touting LRTs as beautiful and rapid transportation for years and obviously there are still plenty of Torontonians drinking that Kool-Aid.

These LRTs are nothing of that sort. The misleading architectural drawings they circulated showing an LRT without the noxious 8 inch platform they will be running on and showing wide boulevards are misleading. The fact is that these LRTs will result in much narrower main thoroughfares in some cases down to only one lane for cars in each direction creating much more gridlock than we have now. These LRTs will not solve our transportation problem, but will make them far worse.

And the 8 inch platform will prevent cars from making left turns at most intersections and slowing down traffic where these cars and trucks have to make U-turns to get to where they need to go.

Rapid they are not. It’s not the speed they can attain on an unobstructed line that counts, it’s the speed they can attain in traffic which will be no more than 13 to 18 km/h depending on the time of day.

Then there will be the forest of traffic signals so confusing, motorist will have to slow down to a crawl if they don’t want to obey the wrong signal.

If Mr. Soknacki were to do his homework and take the time to travel west on St. Clair Avenue West a few times at different times of the day all the way to Weston Road and study the various studies showing the many pitfalls that make LRTs useless and even illegal, he might stop his sugar and spice LRT campaign. And when Soknacki claims that LRTs are cheaper to build, he uses Metrolinx’s inflated figures of 3.1 billion for the Scarborough Subway, while the Metrolinx consultants say it will cost only 1.4 billion. Metrolinx added 100 % for contingencies (the usual amount is 10%) and $360 million for HST!

People living in “old” Toronto couldn’t care less what happens in Scarborough and don’t depend on transit out here so why ask their opinion? Asking people whether they want to spend an additional $1B without including the fact that the cost will be amortized over a much longer period rather than being treated as an upfront expenditure, that the tunnels will be there ostensibly “forever” as adverse the SRT lasting 25 years, far short of its planned lifetime before it has to be replaced. 7 stops vs 3 stops is like comparing apples with oranges. Most people will have to take a bus from their house to the nearest rail station be it LRT or Subway. The majority of Scarborough residents aren’t living on the rail line so won’t be walking anyway.

And while Toronto City Council, the TTC and Metrolinx have dilly-dallied on what to do for several years, do we really need a Soknacki or the grand-standing publicity seeker Josh Matlow who thinks he should be the next TTC chairman, to start all over again?

Give us a break! We are tired of the NDP circus at City Hall!

Karl Haab, President

New Conservatory of Music Ltd.