Ontario Election 2011

Parties Compete Over Regional Transit Support

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 12, 2011

In an article published by yorkregion.com, Liberal and PC candidates in Newmarket-Aurora are competing to show which party has stronger support for regional transit improvements.

After the Liberals announced a $6.8 billion plan to roll out all-day GO Train service, PC candidate Frank Klees responded, "There’s no question that all-day transit service to our communities must happen," adding that he has long been advocating for this investment.

Klees also noted that a Tory government would "honour and advance" existing commitments to transit, including the Yonge Subway extension and planned extensions to York Region's Viva bus rapid transit system.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2011 at 22:33:31

As with all promises in Canadian politics this one is vague and non-binding, so it's really just as useful as saying "Window trombone banana running oxford mightily!!!"

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 09:00:59

Hmm. Contrast PC Leader Tim Hudak:

We have a very different approach from Dalton McGuinty, who tells communities what their priorities are. We’re actually going to listen to what mayors, councillors and local residents have to say. We’ve set aside $35 billion for infrastructure projects, targeted largely at breaking gridlock. So I’ll look forward to the best suggestions that Hamilton has, whether it’s roads, bridges or transit, instead of following Dalton McGuinty’s model where he decides what’s best.

It gets better:

The other thing I’ll add to the transportation file: Our party, the Ontario PC party, is the only party that supports the Mid-Peninsula corridor, which will be the largest investment in job creation in Hamilton and Niagara that we’ve seen in generations; both in building the highway and attracting more businesses along a new transportation corridor. That will create more jobs for Hamilton residents.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:52:17 in reply to Comment 69519

You'd think that for $35 billion you could hire someone with a degree in transportation gegography who could explain why building new highways doesn't stop gridlock. Failing that, Ryan will explain it for free.

"We're going to spend an enormous amount of your money digging a big long hole - so there will be some jobs with it. When it's all done, we'll have a great new place to put gridlock."

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 11:38:36 in reply to Comment 69530

"We're going to spend an enormous amount of your money digging a big long hole - so there will be some jobs with it. When it's all done, we'll have a great new place to put gridlock."

Love it Alex and agree with hiring experts to prove why we don't need it.

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By Luftballons (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:55:22 in reply to Comment 69530

Oh, I get that, believe me. It's just that the mainstream media and the motoring populace often seems to be immune to logic.

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By Luftballons (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:48:27 in reply to Comment 69519

I would guess that whoever is elected will have to address the habitual bottlenecking of the QEW south of the skyway. (How many gridlock stories were there in August alone? ) Whether the resulting policy will ignore highway infrastructure in favour of public transit depends upon your generosity with regard to the political animal.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 15:05:07 in reply to Comment 69529

I would guess that whoever is elected will have to address the habitual bottlenecking of the QEW south of the skyway.

And north of the skyway. And west of the skyway. And east of the skyway. And on the skyway.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 09:43:30 in reply to Comment 69519

We'll listen to what you want, but we are building a highway no matter what. Does anyone have a link to a speach/article where Andrea talks extensively about her stand on the mid-pen? I found a quote about supporting Burlington residents but does that just mean the highway would be diverted or is the NDP completely against the entire mid-pen from Fort Erie to Burlington through Hamilton.

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By Luftballons (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:37:57 in reply to Comment 69522

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ontario2007.png

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 09:20:38

Steve Munro has a detailed review of the three parties' positions on transportation. Note that the Liberal plan makes no mention of the light rail lines promised to Hamilton in 2007.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-09-13 09:22:46

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 11:23:39

True enough the mid pen highway will not stop congestion. It will however provide another route to bring traffic into Hamilton. This will encourage people and businesses to come here. Is that not what we want? To grow the city. The highway is not an end all or be all but it is another way to make this city more attractive for investment.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 11:42:35 in reply to Comment 69536

It will however provide another route to bring traffic past Hamilton.

Fixed.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 21:37:02 in reply to Comment 69540

Makes total sense Nobrainer. Just like the QEW and 401 bring traffic right past Toronto. Your name seems fitting.

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By asking (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 12:56:35

Building more higways, is not the answer.


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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 14:06:58 in reply to Comment 69546

It is not like cars and trucks are the number one form of transport in the area. The populace of Southern Ontario hate driving their cars anywhere. Just look at the buses and trains they are always full. Or maybe not. The last time I took the morning express train to Toronto there were less than half a dozen people in the car I was in. Judging by the number waiting for the doors to open I would say that the number was typical for all the cars. The highway on the other hand was already starting to get pretty slow from the sheer volume of traffic. People just do not want to drive and insist on taking transit, or maybe not. These same people are the ones who pay the taxes. The taxes that fund all the projects LRT, highways, subways and the like. When do they get a say in it? In my mind they speak everyday when they get into their car and drive to where they need to go or decide to take transit. It is their money they need to have a say in how it is spent.

All you need to do is look at Toronto. See who the mayor is. Read his platform, what he promised to do, and is now doing exactly that. The people of Toronto elected the mayor with the ideas they liked. This site in its infinite wisdom condemns him and the people for voting him into power because they know better. They are the only ones who know what is right and proper for everybody. Nobody else needs to express an opinion or bother weighing in on the matter because the RTH faithful have all the answers for all the people, or maybe not.

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By jonathan (registered) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 19:37:26 in reply to Comment 69552

I took the 7:05 Express Train to Union Station this morning. Yes, it was quite empty when we started...but by the time we left Oakville, it was standing-room-only. So to claim that the train from Hamilton is practically empty is a little misleading, no?

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 15:58:36 in reply to Comment 69552

You are right. Everyone should have a say absolutely, but for Hudak to say I am going to build it, that's not asking now is it?

I will agree that we don't just need to sell why we don't need it, but to come up with creative ways not to need it and to fix the problems on our highways now.

I for one, when I drive, don't use the Skyway or the QEW. I take Eastport/Liftbridge, QEW quickly to take Plains across Fairview. As others point out, so many people are going to work in Burlington. Alternate routes certainly help.

If we can create more jobs and keep more people in Hamilton (or whatever city they live in), then I hardly need to leave except to go up north or to see the Jays or that sort of thing and I can take the train to see the Jays so I am then on that highway much less. I take the train to work 95% of the time anyways so I am not in that gridlock daily, but we need to fill all those factories and warehouses in north Hamilton with some good paying jobs, as well as all those office towers and new ones, downtown. AKA the need for local transit solutions so all these new jobs don't create internal traffic mayem.

I personally want to work in Hamilton. I'd be willing to bet there were quite a few travelling to downtown TO daily, that would rather stay local too.

We also need to give companies incentive to take a good look at their employee-base and where they are coming from and look at building satelite offices to get those people working closer to home. Or offer work from home solutions which some big companies are getting the hang of but get them to put a program in place to allow their employees at least one day a week, to work from their home offices.

All technology has done to date is create more paper, ruin wrists, backs, etc. Let's use it to our benefit to stop the need for more highways and large parking lots.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 15:09:45

I can understand the need to build more highways in the area - reports keep explaining how the GTA has the most miserable commute in the world. But I fail to see how the mid-pen will help. I mean, the QEW east of Hamilton never seems too crowded to me - I commuted that way for a semester in highschool. The QEW through Burlington is miserable, but the mid-pen won't relieve any of that pressure. The only thing the midpen seems to accomplish is to allow drivers going from Niagara to Brantford/London/Detroit to circumvent Hamilton and our snarled portion of the QEW/403.

To me, the mid-pen is more about irrigating more countryside with expressways so we can build more roadside box-malls, office-parks, and suburban sprawl. And that will only make the QEW/403's traffic woes worse as the residents try to make it into Burlington and Oakville.

Who actually wants the mid-pen besides developers?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 20:59:25 in reply to Comment 69563

The commute isn't nearly as bad as it could be.

http://www.wheels.ca/article/799793

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 15:41:30 in reply to Comment 69563

I can understand the need to build more highways in the area - reports keep explaining how the GTA has the most miserable commute in the world.

One of the basic principles of traffic engineering is that building a highway induces enough additional automobile traffic to fill it. The GTHA has some of the worst traffic in North America precisely because we have spent the past half-century responding to gridlock by building more highways.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 23:37:59 in reply to Comment 69564

Nonsense. You keep spouting the same nonsense over and over again like it is the gospel, it is not. By your logic if we take a small city like Milton and build more highways people will come and use it. They proved you wrong. The James Snow Parkway was a bad idea and was built anyway and it is not used. It has very little traffic on it. By your logic there should be lots of traffic.

Take a look at a map of Los Angeles. That city has way more highways than Toronto does so by your logic it should have worse commutes than Toronto, by a longshot. NYC has more highways than Toronto and is a much bigger city so their commutes should be a lot worse than Toronto, but guess what once again your logic does not apply. In actuality Toronto has worse commutes even though it is a smaller city. What Toronto needs is more highways not less. What we need is more common sense. Not silliness telling us that more highways lead to more congestion.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 16:45:01 in reply to Comment 69564

Hey, I agree with you. I'm just saying that even from a pro-highway perspective, the mid pen doesn't make much sense.

Many American cities with less gridlock have more highways in parallel feeding into their urban cores. So there is logic in what they say - obviously, principles of traffic engineering disagree.

But either way, the mid-pen isn't in the right place to produce this effect. Is there really a massive demand from people in Caledonia or St. Catherines to go to Brantford, or to have a very roundabout route to the ETR and the 401? It's not like the 401 through Burlington/Oakville/Missauga is much better than the 403/QEW.

From a traffic perspective, the mid-pen seems like a solution looking for a problem. Which to me, obviously implies it's solving a different problem - the real problem it's solving is "where can we build more expressway-adjascent tract housing and box-malls and 1-story office parks within the GTHA?"

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 23:41:23 in reply to Comment 69567

Not sure how the mid pen would help Toronto traffic. I cannot imagine that it will affect Toronto commutes one way or the other. What I do see it doing is making Hamilton more attractive. More highways make accessibility easier and faster. This increase in speed and ease cannot help but make us more attractive to both people looking for a place to live and businesses looking for a place to locate.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 16:55:29 in reply to Comment 69567

Which to me, obviously implies it's solving a different problem

Yes, precisely. The argument for the Mid-Pen is prima facie ridiculous.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 23:42:31 in reply to Comment 69571

Wow again you actually reference yourself. Just where did you get your degree in traffic management?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:16:38 in reply to Comment 69583

Yes. Instead of posting a number of separate references, he posted an article he wrote that gathers together a number of separate references. Your point?

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted September 14, 2011 at 16:36:53 in reply to Comment 69601

I could see your point, Highwater, if the article was balanced, but when it's obviously biased, then I can see Mr Meister's point.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 14, 2011 at 17:25:16 in reply to Comment 69624

Did you click through to the links in Ryan's article? And yes, I realize that when one is making an argument one makes selective use of available resources to back it up, nonetheless the resources are presented for the reader to review and reach their own conclusions.

However that is not what Meister is supposedly asking. Meister is questioning Ryan's expertise in "traffic management". Ryan of course, makes no such claim but rather aggregates the expertise of road network experts such as Dietrich Braess and Anthony Downs.

Meister is well aware of this and his question was merely rhetorical. His only 'point' was to take a gratuitous swipe at someone he disagrees with but is too lazy to refute with arguments and references of his own.

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-09-14 17:26:59

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted September 15, 2011 at 00:02:09 in reply to Comment 69632

Read the references that you refer to. They both say that increasing capacity MAY reduce overall efficiency. MAY not will. In the experts own words it is MAY yet on this site it becomes the gospel, if you increase capacity you automatically reduce overall efficiency. That is the problem with so many of the arguments made on this site, the MAY just becomes an absolute.

There was a study in San Fransisco that concluded that as much as 30% of the traffic in San Fransisco was drivers circling looking for a parking spot. Then it gets quoted as a definitive study that all traffic is made up of 30% of drivers circling looking for a parking spot. In Hamilton? Who in their right mind needs to circle around for a parking spot in Hamilton?

My question was not rhetorical. Ryan was referencing an article that he wrote. Now he referrers to it as if it where the definitive answer to traffic problems. His reasoning was flawed when he wrote the article and is still flawed to this day. I find anyone who tries to prove a point in an article or debate by referencing an article that they themselves wrote to be offensive, unless of course there is some kind of recognized peer revue or general consensus that that article was universally acclaimed. If you write a thesis for your PHD and it accepted and approved by the university and you get your PHD and then you wish to reference it in a debate or argument then be my guest, that is a legitimate thing to do. To refer to an article that you wrote yourself that is not even terribly accurate is kind of creepy.

I am a big common sense guy. I believe that if you look at anything with a little common sense things will fall into place and the answer will become clear. There just is not enough common sense in many of the articles on this site. I realize that the authors are not at all evil, nor do they wish to harm the city but they are working on passion and not logic and common sense.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2011 at 21:46:04

Has anyone managed to find a solid answer on what Hudak plans to do about the Greenbelt? In everything I've seen he's been remarkably evasive...

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted September 14, 2011 at 16:38:57 in reply to Comment 69579

I want to support Hudak in this race because I'm so sick of McGuilty and all of his weasely lies, but messing with the Greenbelt would be a deal breaker for me

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2011 at 16:59:10 in reply to Comment 69628

Same situation as always. The Liberal party bathes in an ocean of stink from their broken promises and scandals, but when you look at their policies and record against the alternatives... they still look like the best option if you care about a balanced policy of environmentalism and business.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2011 at 10:52:27 in reply to Comment 69579

... oh crap.

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By A. Propos (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2011 at 13:00:39

http://xkcd.com/951/

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