LRT in Ontario, Politiques de transport et orientations budgétaires

Citizen groups are wresting with the details of
LRT plans in Waterloo and Ottawa. Toronto's
plan looks like it's back on track.
( Graphic from Tri-Tag )
Transport Action Ontario AGM, April 21 

Transport Action Ontario's Annual General Meeting and public forum will be held:
Saturday, April 21, 2012, Metro Hall
55 John St., Toronto, Room 303
AGM, 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Public Welcome
Afternoon public forum: 1:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Public Welcome

Greg Gormick, among others, will lead discussions in the afternoon. Gormick is a top transportation writer whose credits include the original plan for the Shining Waters Railway from Peterborough to Toronto and No little plan: Electrify Go Transit . Gormick will join other panelists to discuss "Via Rail, The next ten years". Regional representatives will lead talks on light rail developments in Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto.

Jean Desautels, Politiques de transport et orientations budgétaires du Québec

Le 22 mars l’association Transport 2000 Québec a réagi avec circonspection au budget du ministre des Finances Raymond Bachand.  Tout en exprimant sa déception au silence du Ministre sur le dossier des transports collectifs, l’organisme se dit à tout le moins encouragé par la nouvelle mesure axée sur une éventuelle bourse du carbone comme outil de financement

Ainsi, tout en étant déçu que le ministre des Finances fasse peu de cas de l’importance des investissements en transport collectif, le vice-président de l’Association monsieur Jean Desautels trouve une certaine consolation quant à la mise en place d’un marché du carbone comme moyen de financement dans les années à venir.  Toutefois, on aurait pu s’attendre à plus d’activisme du Gouvernement dans la mesure où le discours inaugural 2011-2012 à l’Assemblée nationale ouvrait la voie dans cette direction.  Transport 2000 s’intéressera de plus près au renouvellement de la politique de financement, attendue depuis l’an dernier, en interpellant non seulement les autorités gouvernementales mais aussi les autres formations politiques dans la perspective d’une campagne électorale à venir.

Devil is in the details, David Jeanes on Ottawa LRT plan

"The City's revised plan for light rail transit project is coming under renewed fire from a group that has been very supportive of the concept. David Jeanes with Transport Action Canada acknowledges that relocating a downtown station from the National Arts Centre to Sussex Drive and Rideau Street will serve the Rideau Centre-ByWard Market area, but he believes the revised plan destroys much of what the original scheme hoped to achieve," CFRA reported on March 20.

"(Transport Action Canada President David) Jeanes tells CFRA. "The problem is that this key detail was having a really good gateway to downtown Ottawa right on Confederation Square and that's what they've thrown away. Jeanes also criticizes plans to have smaller stations than originally planned," George Gordon with Lauren Davis reported for CFRA on March 20, 2012. 

CFRA poll supports call for another downtown LRT station in Ottawa 

"Mayor Jim Watson defends dropping the Elgin St. station from the proposed Light Rail system saying we can't afford it. Critics say 750 metres between the Queen/O'Connor station and the Rideau Centre East station is too far - compared to 450 metres between downtown Toronto subway stations," CFRA reported on March 20.

19.7% - I agree with the Mayor. People can walk a little further. The Elgin station costs too much
76.0% - I agree with the critics. If we want people to use the system, the stations must be conveniently located
4.20% - Other 
1,309 - Total Votes

Transport Action Ontario lauds Toronto council Sheppard LRT decision

Transport Action Ontario congratulates Toronto City Council on its decision to implement light rail transit (LRT) along Sheppard Ave E by a vote of 24 to 19. This is an informed decision based on rigorous study and prolonged debate.

“It took longer than originally expected to get this project going, but it is good news for everyone that this project will finally move forward, and nobody should question whether this was the right choice – it was the only choice, realistically.  It’ll be a new page for Agincourt and Malvern, and if done well, will be an example of a sustainable transit option for other projects going forward,” said Transport Action Ontario Secretary, Bruce Budd.

The Sheppard East LRT project, cancelled shortly after it started, can quickly pick up where it left off, especially since the grade separation work along Sheppard at the GO line has been proceeding anyway. The line will run from where the Sheppard subway stops at Don Mills to Morningside Ave in the Malvern community.

“The Province now needs to follow through on the message it has been sending consistently: That Council is supreme.  Council’s decision is in line with the 5 principles Metrolinx set out, as noted by the Expert Panel, so we expect cabinet and the upcoming budget to be supportive of getting this project built as soon as possible,” said Peter Miasek, Transport Action Ontario’s president.  “Once there is an actual operating model of LRT in Toronto, there will be more informed, less ideologically-driven debates on future projects.”

Retour du train de passagers de Via Rail: Le Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie

«Le Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie prévoit maintenant un retour du train de passagers de «VIA Rail à la mi-avril entre Matapédia et New Carlisle, et peut-être pas avant juin entre New Carlisle et Gaspé. Ce nouvel échéancier retarde le retour du train de passagers à l'est de New Carlisle. La nécessité de réaliser des études de capacité portante sur un grand nombre de ponts un peu partout, mais principalement entre New Carlisle et Gaspé, justifie ce nouvel horaire de rétablissement de service. Il y a 95 ponts entre Matapédia et Gaspé, et tous n'ont pas à être évalués, mais c'est le cas des plus longues structures» Gilles Gagné a écrit pour Le Soleil le 17 mars.

Globe and Mail, Via Rail infrastructure investment needed

"The high quality of the new Via 1 lounge at Toronto’s Union Station is a signal that a stunning renovation is under way. If only it were also a sign of a revival of passenger railway service, at least in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor. There is the population to support such service, and the transportation and the environmental imperatives are obvious. Via Rail is delivering comfort and good service. Its food service for Via 1 travellers is unmatched by domestic airlines, and the first-class lounge in Toronto is now as good or better than anything the airlines offer," a Globe and Mail editorial said on March 22.

"Ultimately, for many, the clincher is not service or comfort, but time. Via is doing what it can to make rail travel a serious alternative, but it is impeded by its current equipment, and freight demand for the tracks. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has supported Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s push for subway extensions. By that logic, the federal government should embrace Via Rail’s needs for infrastructure improvements," the Globe and Mail editorial said.

$5B rail line to boost Quebec resources

"It rated just a six-paragraph mention among hundreds of pages of Quebec government budget documents. But it will be one of Canada's largest infrastructure projects when it gets off the ground — a multibillion-dollar effort to build a huge railway across an isolated stretch of rugged land and accelerate the province's push into natural resources," Nicolas Van Praet wrote for the Financial Post on March 22.

"Canadian National Railway Co. and pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec are teaming up on an estimated $5-billion project to lay down a new track stretching 800 kilometres from the port of Sept-Îles north past Shefferville into the mines of the Labrador Trough. The aim is to serve major iron ore producers like Cliffs Natural Resources and juniors like Adriana Resources Inc., as well as other current and potential miners, that are searching for a better way to get their Quebec-produced material to international markets," the Financial Post reported.

Des millions pour sauver le train en Gaspésie

«La Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie est propriétaire du tronçon allant de Matapédia à Gaspé sur une distance de 300 km. Percé — Le gouvernement du Québec est prêt à octroyer 17 millions de dollars à la Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie (SCFG) sur deux ans pour assurer le maintien du réseau ferroviaire menacé de fermeture en raison de son état critique »Thierry Haroun a écrit pour Le Devoir le 22 mars.
$6M announced for Digby - Saint John ferry

"The governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick say they will invest up to $6 million over the next three years to fund the ferry between Digby, N.S. and Saint John, N.B. Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said each province will spend up to $1 million annually to help Bay Ferries Ltd. operate and maintain the route across the Bay of Fundy," CBC News reported on March 21.

Road Safety, Driven to Distraction International Conference

The Canadian Automobile Association and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation hosted the Driven to Distraction International Conference on March 1, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. Experts from Europe, the United States and Canada made presentations on this complex and deadly problem. Criticisms were made of the benchmark 100-car naturalist study and the notion hands-free phoning is any less dangerous than using an old fashioned hand-held cellphone. The presentations included:
The Evolution of Distracted Driving, Robyn Robertson, Traffic Injury Research Foundation
Distracted Driving in Canada, Brian Jonah, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators
In-Vehicle Distractions, Dr. Oliver Carsten, University of Leeds
Effects of Cell Phones on Driving Performance, Dr. David Strayer, University of Utah
Alberta’s Progressive Approach to Legislation, Shaun Hammond, Alberta Transportation
Quebec’s Experiences and Evaluation Efforts, Pierre-Olivier Sénéchal, SAAQ

Stephen Rees, Walking the most important transportation mode

"Walking is the most important transportation mode – and therefore the one that we tend to think about least. … For simple health reasons, you should walk at least half an hour every day. Without a doubt the most effective way to do that is to incorporate walking into your routine. Walking is part of your commute whatever mode you use – so making that walk a bit longer ought to be a no brainer. Yes, your commute may take a bit longer," Stephen Rees wrote on March 6.

"There are lots of places designed for walking – but not usually  for walking as part of a trip. In cities which has some of the best walking paths – the Vancouver seawall, the Richmond dyke – there are many streets that have no sidewalks or even sidewalks that are continuous. Browngate Road at No 3 Road has no sidewalk on the north side even though it is a few yards from Aberdeen Station on the Canada Line," Stephen Rees reported.  

Waterloo LRT, Tri-TAG paying attention to station spacing 

"One of the main goals of rapid transit is to decentralize the bus network from a system of hub-and-spoke routes to a system of cross-corridor bus routes which connect to rapid transit stations. However, the current planned LRT station locations in Waterloo between Uptown and Northfield are not optimally placed to achieve this goal," Duncan Clemens wrote for the Tri-cities Transport Action Group on March 21.

The issue with the above setup is that it would divert cross-corridor routes off their corridors and into a terminal station in front of UW Davis Centre. Diverting trips from these corridors would result in longer cross-town travel times, and would reduce the amount of mixed-use development potential at the cross-corridors. Anyone who has travelled on Routes 7 and 8 through Charles Street Terminal knows the frustrating experience that even a minor route diversion can have on your overall travel time. Time wasted sitting at a terminal is time spent thinking about how much quicker it is to drive or even walk.

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1158, March 23, 2012
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290


le 1 avril, Charny, L’assemblée générale annuelle du Groupe TRAQ aura lieu au 104-5314, avenue des Belles-Amours coin Maréchal-Joffre,

April 1, Charny, AGM Groupe TRAQ, 104-5314, avenue des Belles-Amours

April 21, Toronto, Transport Action Ontario Annual General Meeting, Metro Hall, Toronto, 55 John St., Room 303. Business meeting 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. : 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Via Rail, LRT in Ontario 

les 26 et 27 avril, Granby, Le Colloque 2012 de l'Association des Transports collectifs ruraux du Québec (ATCRQ) se tiendra à Hôtel Spa et Confort à Granby, Québec