Light rail transit supporters out in force

The pro-light rail transit group, TTCriders, has been very vocal about the controversy shaking City Hall and dividing residents over the TTC’s plans for the city’s transit.

On Sunday, the group was canvassing the neighbourhood around the Eglinton GO
station. They were handing out flyers addressing why LRT is a better option than subways. They also planned on attending a town hall meeting hosted by SAFE (Subways Are For Everyone) on Monday at Scarborough Civic Centre, where they have been guided to “respectfully offer another point of view.”

There has been a lot of misinformation being spread, and we plan to stop it at its root

— Jamie Kirkpatrick

The most recent flyer, which was handed out on Sunday, says “Scarborough Deserves Rapid Transit Now,” across the top of the page. It further breaks down why LRT is a better choice over subways.

“We want to represent vocally how the LRT will benefit the people of Scarborough. There has been a lot of misinformation being spread, and we plan to stop it at its root,” said Jamie Kirkpatrick, the spokesperson for TTCriders.

The battle of LRT over subways can be broken down into several arguments: cost of building the LRT or subway, the time it will take to build, and whether or not it will be able to transport people efficiently.

The group has been vocal at several town hall meetings recently, backing councilors who want to build LRT instead of subways.

“I have read a report recently that said LRT is beneficial both economically and socially within communities that have implemented them,” said Margaret Saunders, a member of TTCriders.

The five experts who were invited to speak at the most recent town hall meeting quickly denounced the author of the study as uneducated on the matter. Norm Kelly said the LRT was turned down before in the 1970s because buses were the favoured transportation method in Scarborough.

SAFE’s town hall meeting on Mar. 19 saw economists Dr. Joanne Kennelly and Dr. Gordon Chong speak against LRT along Sheppard Avenue. Kennelly explained why LRT lines are only a temporary fix for an already crowded roadway.

“The peak capacity is 10,000 people an hour for LRTs. We could reach that today. Subways can transport two or three times that. There really is no debate over which form of transportation is the most useful in a city that could double in size in the next 10 years,” said Kennelly.

TTCriders members remained quiet during the discussion, but boos and thumbs down were given when Mayor Ford entered the room.

Karen Stintz, one of the most vocal about the necessity of the LRT was absent during the discussion. Members of the panel remarked that she was offered the chair, but decided not to come. The chair with her name on it was left in front of the crowd.

Toronto council’s decision to go ahead with the Sheppard LRT is a victory for TTCriders, but the mayor’s decision to continue to push the province to only fund subways makes it clear that further pro-LRT and subways campaigns are ahead.

TTCriders said it will remain active until the LRT is fully understood and the campaign against it is finished. They plan on doing so through more canvassing activities and further discussion with groups that are pro-subway.

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The proposed route would have LRT using the centre median from Don Mills station to Meadowvale Road.

About this article

By: Thomas Wallenius
Posted: Mar 25 2012 8:27 pm
Filed under: News

2 Comments on "Light rail transit supporters out in force"

  1. No matter what is decided, people will be dead by the time it is built. Subways need shuttle buses in case there is flooding, smoke, medical emergencies, personal injury at track level, maintenance, signal problems, disabled trains, security incidents, power off situations, etc. Light rapid transit is not a streetcar which some people ignore because they will not use public transit at all. People who only drive should stay out of this debate because they do not know or understand the issues.

  2. Michael Segal | March 26, 2012 at 7:13 am |

    Although I like riding the subways but I’ve always enjoyed a good streetcar ride even more so having that said I definitely am pro-LRT I will be looking forward to riding the new LRT’s in the future (hopefully)

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