Posted October 8th, 2010 by Engineering

Commuting Becomes Red-Button Issue in Toronto Elections

Jammed trains, gaps in streetcar service and traffic chaos mean Torontonians suffer longer commutes than residents of L.A. or New York, according to the Toronto Board of Trade. That’s why a recent Toronto Star poll found transportation was the top concern of voters heading into this month’s civic election.

The timelines for planning and building transit projects always exceed election cycles. The Yonge Street subway line is a classic example; first proposed in the 1920s, it wasn’t built until the 1950s.

That’s why the road to Toronto’s transportation woes is littered with ill-conceived projects and missed opportunities: a subway line under Eglinton Avenue that was cancelled, only to reappear in a new guise as the tunnel in the Transit City Eglinton light-rail line; the Scarborough Rapid Transit line, a now-obsolete technology at the end of its lifespan that has been surprisingly successful, carrying 12.5 million riders annually.

Up the middle of the multi-billion-dollar discussion is a wedge symbolic of the downtown-suburban divide, according to Professor Eric Miller (CivE) of the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre.

“At the end of the day this is really a question of the environment and quality of life, and economic competitiveness. It is the city regions that are competing against the world. Our federal government doesn’t realize that yet. Cities, to be competitive, have to be attractive, efficient places to live,” he said.

Follow the link to read the full article on the Toronto Star website.