Rob Ford Loves Subways

cityhallIt's all about subways. Just ask our mayor Rob Ford.

From the National Post:

The power struggle over what transit to build in Toronto continues at City Hall, with Mayor Rob Ford telling reporters, at his weekly weigh-in: “It’s all about subways.” An excerpt of the scrum follows.

Reporter: Mr. Mayor, some people at 11 o’clock are discussing the legal standard of scrapping Transit City and they are saying you may have overstepped your boundaries. What do you say?

Mayor: I didn’t overstep my boundaries, I did what the taxpayers want. They want subways, that’s it. They don’t want streetcars. I was out in Scarborough over the weekend, people came up to me and said, they want subways. That’s it.

Reporter: Is there any wiggle room for you on this issue?

Mayor: It’s the taxpayers. The taxpayers want…I was elected on subways, they want subways, I was out on Saturday, people want subways. That’s it.

Reporter: Do you think you’ll win this vote? It doesn’t seem like you have the votes.

Mayor: It’s all subways. It’s all about subways.

Reporter: What are you going to do though if council votes against that?

Mayor: All about subways. So, it’s the taxpayers that elected me to get the subways in and that’s what we’re going to do.

Reporter: So, you think that gives you authority to, if council votes against that.

Mayor: It’s like winning an election. So if they voted me in, that means [stutters a bit] I don’t win an election? It doesn’t make sense.

That makes sense. I'm so proud of our mayor when he argues so eloquently. Really, you can't argue with his logic, which clearly proves he had the authority to cancel Transit City.

By the way, on Rob Ford's first day in office, I wrote that he did not have the authority to cancel Transit City. He's one vote out of 45. That's it.

But you can't deny his love of subways. Rob Ford loves subways.

Update:

All About Subways (Don't Make Sense) rap remix!



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Comments (21 - click here to join in!)

Justorbs

Rob Ford is absolutely right. The backbone of major worldwide cities such as Toronto is subways, subways, subways. This streetcar/LRT crap going down the middle of the street is what you'd find in Salzburg, Austria or Valcencia, Spain.

Having said that, Toronto needs a DLR (Downtown Relief Line) more than anything. If I were the city I'd forget about the Eglinton and Sheppard lines and focus on 3 things:

-Building a Downtown Relief Line
-Building a much-needed connection between Sheppard and Downsview
-Turn the SRT into a subway or an LRT at the very least.

January 30, 2012 @ 5:57 PM

elvis

How is this news Mike?

January 30, 2012 @ 7:30 PM

NW

When I first read the headline I wondered "what about Mr. Sub and Quizno's?", but they I realized there was an "s" after Subway.

I agree with Justorbs.

January 30, 2012 @ 8:18 PM

Freddie P.

Ford is right, I've visited some great cities, London, Rome, Paris and they all have subways that put Toronto to shame - cheaper to ride and far more efficient.
These cities have people with vision. Toronto has sore losers who won't give a guy a chance.
In the long run, Ford may prove to be a lousy Mayor (like David Miller did) but he needs more than a year to prove it.
The cheap sniping at this guy is sickening.

January 30, 2012 @ 8:41 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@elvis

Clearly nobody read the transcript.

He didn't run on a "no subway" platform. As I recall, it was all about some gravy that didn't exist.

And his election in now way means "everybody is anti-subway". The premise is entirely faulty.

It's illogical gibberish. This is our mayor. Bless us and save us from the fires of hell.

January 30, 2012 @ 8:52 PM

Irvine

@FreddieP:

Indeed Paris, London, Rome, Stockholm, etc do have great subway systems. Very good point Fred.

Of course you forget that in all those countries the tax levels are much higher than Canada. I can just imagine if Ontario had a VAT of 25% to pay for transit. You'd be the first of many pocketbook citizens screaming about the high tax levels & "waste" at City Hall.

Secondly, you also failed urban studies. Cities like London, Paris, etc have a much higher population density which make subways viable. There is much higher car ownership in North America as well (due almost entirely to very low petroleum taxes in North America).

Because of this Light Rail Transit (LRT) makes absolute sense. Calgary has almost as much track as Toronto with a population of barely 1.2 million. The recent West LRT expansion was over budget at 1.48 billion (compared to Ford's 8 billion dollar plan)

AND..the C Train (LRT in Calgary) is the second most efficient system in North America. Ridership of 280,000 a day with an average cost of 27 CENTS a trip. AND..the C Train system is run entirely on Wind Power produced in Pincher Creek, Alberta. 100% emissions free.

So over the next decade or so, Toronto will debate about building a subway line, Calgary will build this (go to page 4)

http://www.calgarytransit.com/pdf/ct_lrt_network_plan.pdf

A tale of 2 cities. One, a broken down and cash starved in Canada's provincial version of "Greece". The other city is a positive, progressive growing place located in a province with no public debt & 10's of billions of cash in government coffers.

LRT's make sense. And in a world of $150 dollar a barrel crude they're going to make more sense.

PS Vancouver has a far superior transit system to any city in Canada. Maybe you should adopt their model? Of course that would mean a 15 cent per litre surcharge on gas anywhere served by Translink. Next time you drive to Vancouver take notice how much more expensive gas is in the Lower Mainland compared to say Chilliwack. Would you be willing to have a GTA gas tax? No, I bet you wouldn't.


January 31, 2012 @ 11:31 AM

Zach

I can understand why people are mad at the extra costs, but I think the subway is a better long term solution. Yes it's expensive to do now, but it will be more expensive in 20 years! We have to look at long term payoffs. I live in the suburbs though so what do I know.

January 31, 2012 @ 11:51 AM

Chris in EY

First up I'm not pro or anti Ford. To me this is what should happen in politics. Someone states a position (Ford - subways!), debate happens (council - transit city or another idea!), a vote is held. Action is/is not taken. That doesn't happen though.

Here's the problem Mike. The right wins and the left whines. The left wins the right whines. The left making fun of Ford's weight and in your case his intelligence and speech is juvenile and pathetic. Just like it was when the right made fun of Chretien's face or any Republican nominee ad right now. This behaviour is lazy and takes away from the real debate of the issue. Most people prefer this b/c they don't have to think. Do you teach your kids that this behaviour is acceptable? I doubt it -- you seem like a good family guy and though I'm often at odds with your political opinions I respect them because it makes me think about an issue from a different angle. This is what democracy should be about.

Let me ask you this. How has your life changed since Ford was elected? Probably not at all, at least not because anything he's done/not done. You may believe it will turn out differently because of who sits in the mayor's chair, but that is a different question and impossible to quantify. I believe citizens succeed despite government, not because of it.

Politicians, no matter what sign they put their name on, are the "gravy". They are the biggest waste of tax dollars in the system. They do not care about you or I. They care about making a sales job to enough people in their riding who think a certain way so they ensure themselves another term in office. Plain and simple. To think otherwise is I believe naive. This is their job, not a higher calling. I will never vote for anyone who says it's a higher calling, that's a lie.

Can you name one politician who has left politics in worse shape then when they went in -- at least those not involved in scandal -- although a lot of time, Chretien and Mulroney, come to mind scandal is irrelevant.

Let's look at this issue. Everyone agrees Toronto needs better transit. The question is how to get it done. Now politicians aren't really interested in answering this question because to do so means spending money. And when you spend money on infrastructure, money has to be appropriated from citizens. People do not like having their money taken from them without say in how it's spent. Obviously people are different, and what one person wants is different from the next. The government is very good at doing this though.

Instead what they want is this. Ford wants to get the pro-subway people arguing for them. Milhevc (sp?) wants the transit city fighting for light rail. While this public fight is happening nothing gets done. Soon a new election happens. Ford says "Look what I tired to do, we can do it next time." Vaughan says "Look how I stopped Ford, next time we can get him even more." Rinse repeat. Rinse repeat. Same goes for provincial and federal politics.

Obviously some things do get done, but never to the extent that is promised. If you accomplish everything in the first 4 years, what's your encore after all?

At the end of the day the question is not so much if your going to step in shit, because you will. It's do you prefer to step in blue shit, red shit, orange shit, green shit or some other colour.

The greatest tragedy about Steve Jobs dying is that he didn't get a logical government app built.

Sorry for the long post.

January 31, 2012 @ 12:52 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Chris in EY

I never say anything about Rob Ford's weight, but his logic and disrespect for the process is fair game, and nothing like making fun of Chrétien's face. Not even close.

All I ask is that they debate and vote in council. Ford wants to skip council.

January 31, 2012 @ 1:13 PM

Chris in EY

C'mon Mike. I just put Rob Ford into your search. You have regularly ridiculed him or linked to others who have.

examples:
Rob Ford is ..... one later. Google search image - rob ford is an idiot, douchebag moron, fat.

The image adds nothing to the post except to advance your negative opinion of him.

Photoshop of his kicking a football - all negative including kicking a baby and a kitten.

In your Rob Ford can't kill transit city post: "I'm just wondering how long it will be until this idiot implodes or our city explodes."

Simpson's monorail video

Bigger embarrassment Leafs or Rob Ford

All seem along the same lines as the Chretien thing to me. Don't get me wrong it's your blog and you can do what you want. Nor do I want to come across as being offended. I think all politicians are scavengers at best.

As is evident (I hope anyway) I agree with your point around debate and council. The point I was trying to make was that when the public stops focusing on the issues the politicians win at our expense (figuratively and literally).

When you constantly criticize, people tune out. Does the Star (and the same applies to pro-Ford drivel from Levy and the Sun) or Chris Hume have any credibility when it comes to Ford? I say no -- they've beat their anti-ford message into the ground. It may energize people who have already made up their mind, but doesn't sway people, if anything it will move people the other way who haven't made up there mind. Like I said in my other post - who can honestly say their lives have been super-negatively impacted by anything this council has done? Negativity for the sake of negativity doesn't attract people. I think I remember you writing something on how attack ads are bad(could be wrong though), regardless people will generally pick positive over negative when there's an option.

Let me paraphrase a quote from your I don't like the optics post.

"It makes Toronto Mike and his cronies appear petty and brings less attention to the issues that require attention."

If your trying to advance the causes that you believe important, quit the demeaning and stick to the facts.

After all, what the world needs now, is love sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just not enough of. That's and unbiased news sources anyway.

January 31, 2012 @ 3:23 PM

Jason Paris

Freddy P...

Ford couldn't be more wrong. Why do you keep defending his stupidity?

London, Paris and Rome, yes all great cities, also all have LRT networks too. You do realize this right? Stating they are "cheaper to ride" is generally incorrect too as they are zoned systems and there is no real way to compare fares, but your average single-ride ticket will cost about 40% more in London than T.O. You also seem unaware that Toronto's subway system is larger than Rome's.

Toronto is doing fairly well, but the one thing that can and will easily drag down the entire economy here is the horrendous state of transit expansion which is already costing upwards of billions per year. This is serious and Rob Ford isn't. There's nothing cheap about sniping at Rob Ford on a file he clearly knows nothing about and was designed, it seems, from his steering wheel.

The view by some in Toronto that above-ground LRT is somehow from the 1950s, slows traffic, doesn't attract riders and creates pollution is so far from the truth it is basically laughable. Travel to any world city (as you apparently did) and truly look and how a COMBINATION of different technologies are used (busses, busways, LRTs, streetcars, subways, S-Bahns, regional rail, national rail, etc.) to meet the demands of different corridors. Believing transit is "subways or bust" is silly, expensive and not in-keeping with international best practices. Density (very important), destinations (somewhat important) and feeder routes (somewhat important) are what goes into higher-order transit planning and for the vast majority of Scarborugh, LRT technology - at surface - would produce the best bang for the buck. Every transit expert knows it and so it seems do most of the city now too. Anything else, is the real gravy train.

If you want Toronto to compete with the cities you listed, than stop blindly supporting a Mayor who is 2.3 billion wrong on this file. If you are hell-bent on subways (and I love subways too!), argue for where they really make sense (i.e. DRL, modest extensions to existing lines, Sheppard eventually).

January 31, 2012 @ 3:57 PM

CQ

An oldie but a goodie:
http://classicquarters.blogspot.com/2004/10/my-ttc-includes-malvern-line.html

How about a 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. rail-line "surface subway" direct from the DVP, and the 401 EAST into both the Yonge Line (at underused Summerhill remodelled Train Station / LCBO and also the Dupont Station - for college/univ students and white collar businesses along the University Line.
Frees up the Yonge Line from bus transfers, frees up two major highways plus downtown parking and added gridlock, and quickens commute times.

Er, of course, we cannot do that because that is not how we do things already!

January 31, 2012 @ 4:54 PM

JP

Everyone wants subways, but it makes no sense to devote the 8 billion or so Toronto received in transit funding on an incredibly expensive subway along Sheppard. There just isn't the density there. It's not our most pressing need (not close).

If you want to build a subway - great. Build the DRL.

Short of that though, Miller's plan gets transportation to sorely needed neighbourhoods in a fiscally responsible way.

Ford's plans have made no sense and seem to have no thought put to them. Putting the Eglinton LRT totally underground is literally ridiculous. If it's underground, it may as well be subway for better service/capacity. If you are committed to LRT, you should build at least partly above ground to save costs (the whole point of LRTs). Putting it completely underground captures the negatives of both options. Makes no sense.

January 31, 2012 @ 8:15 PM

olafthebent

He is a buffoon and a philistine. His attempts to "simplify" complex city issues are ham-fisted at best.
He is a simpleton with an over-inflated sense of self-worth. He has introduced more divisive policies than his predecessors.
He campaigned on the "stop the gravy" platform claiming Billions of dollars were wasted... thus far he has identified only thousands.
He claims to reduce taxes. He took away a tax applicable to me about every 5-10 years (vehicle registration) and replaced it with a yearly "service fee" from a different collumn in the balance sheet. As a result I now pay more than I did (so much for cutting taxes) while he has reduced services.
He also campaigned on "no single bid contracts", while his family business continues to receive business (Deco labels) from a single bid contract (for the TTC).
Under his predecessor my Subway fare went up, but so did my services. Under his tenure my fare has increased while service has vastly decreased.
He has replaced an approved transit plan with one that will cost Billions more (it seems illegally) simply because he cannot stand the sight of a streetcar on a six lane road. This has pushed back a transit solution in a severely congested city by years.
There is much more...
On the plus side, he's lost 16 pounds in two weeks

February 1, 2012 @ 12:15 AM

Ben Vidal

Bang on Jason Paris.

I wonder if Fred has actually travelled the world, or just seen it all on post cards and heard about it through friends, because going through his blog all his travels are to the US and he continually uses Chicago as the bar for things. He continually fails to note that Chicago took 90 years to get where it is. Then again he feels that they have a massive ferris wheel which was nice to look at so Toronto should have one too. Enough said there!

He fails to note that the TTC is one of the least funded systems on the continent. Read another way it loses less money per rider than nearly all the systems in the US and Europe. In an obtuse way it is one of the most profitable systems in the world. Countries around the world pump money into their systems to subsidize everything.


Like Jason said to look at a transit system of only being a underground subways is at best ignorant and at worst borderline dangerous. Any good system is made up of a bunch of parts moving in sync. Why Europe tends to work so well is that if one part breaks down passengers can readily move between the other options offered. Has ford ever even been on the Subway?

Great to see that Doug Ford can be so articulate in stating an enema is needed at the TTC. Good ol Robbie sits there in the middle of traffic and says this street is busy why would we put a subway above ground. Does he not realize the subway is to be created to alleviate traffic and provide "a better way"?

February 2, 2012 @ 11:51 AM

Jason Paris

Thanks for the kind words B.V.

Does Ford also not realize that the reason he was able to make a big press conference on that busy corner is because of the very wide boulevards that aren't being properly utilized?

February 3, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

Zach

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Edward_Viaduct

Here's an example where investing more money at the time seemed cost prohibitive but ended up saving the city BIG MONEY long term.

February 6, 2012 @ 12:33 PM

Jason Paris

Indeed, but not a consistent analogy with Eglinton East. The viaduct over the Don at Bloor/Danforth connected two street car lines and what was almost two cities at the time. Eglinton East is taking a busy bus/vehicular corridor and updating it with higher-order transit that reflects the area's density, destinations and feeder routes for the foreseeable future. Long-term, there's nothing preventing more eastward parts of Eglinton to be placed underground should it be warranted. Also, there was never an existing order for low-floor train-sets on Bloor, as there is on Eglinton.

February 7, 2012 @ 10:30 AM

Zach

Totally can respect your views Jason. To me, it just seems stupid to do this twice.

Eventually those routes will go Subway - so why should we pay twice? The big problem with the GTA is too many idiot city planners design for TODAY - and those plans for TODAY dont get started for 5 years, therefore they're already behind when they start. To me its a breath of fresh air to see someone speaking long term, actually realizing our population is going to continue to expand and short term solutions aren't reasonable.

Honestly, our transit system is a joke because everyone is concerned about next year and not next decade.

Glad to hear your two cents Jason

-zach

February 7, 2012 @ 12:15 PM

Jason Paris

Zach, thanks for being so respectful on this somewhat divisive issue.

For the record, I feel the Eglinton LRT (even at grade in parts) IS long-term transit planning. When other cities build LRT networks they don't look at them as temporary, so I'm not sure why we are.

Also, I'm not anti-subway either. I'm ok with a small Sheppard extension, I'm a huge backer of the DRL and feel Yonge and Bloor could have modest extensions as well. I just basically want what is VERY LIMITED AND VERY RARE capital money in these parts to be spent with the entire city in mind. Not burying all of Eglinton allows that to happen.

February 8, 2012 @ 1:05 PM

Jason Paris

It also should be remembered that it is only Stintz's compromise plan that brings further heavy-rail subway to Scarborough, not Mayor Ford's.

February 8, 2012 @ 2:44 PM

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