When my children were young and money was very short, I counted out tokens carefully and walked when I could. Later, after I began a good, full-time job by King-Yonge, I left work at 5:00 to pick up my children from childcare. Five overcrowded streetcars passed our stop by. I was becoming frantic as it grew later, wondering if this was a daily pattern, how I would manage.
Transit is central to whether people can easily access grocery shopping, recreation programs, higher education and employment. The City’s Poverty Reduction Plan recognizes that. We built Transportation in, as Pam McConnell advised us, as one of the five fingers to move people towards prosperity.
Still while our transit system is too expensive for many, it is also sorely underfunded. Overcrowding is the most obvious problem. (Overheated subway cars another.)
The Downtown Relief Line has been identified as a priority by successive governments. Yet overcrowding continues, now scarily so on some days at Bloor-Yonge. This has been an issue for well over a decade and continues to worsen. We need action now.
I love the convenience of the GO train, yet I need to hear more from transit experts about the technical challenges of essentially converting a full-sized train built for long-distances into a subway able to start and slow more easily. I have been intrigued by the case being put forward by some advocates to add a station to Monarch Park.
I have a favourable approach to LRT as long as it is part of a wider transit network. We have learned that transit stubs are a poor investment and that networks make us stronger.
If elected, I would commit to:
- full funding of the City's Poverty Reduction Plan, which within the next term, move to lower fares for low-income people
- prioritize the Downtown Relief line because it is overdue
- vote to stop the Scarborough subway because the population density does not support it