Gardiner 6, Streetcars 24

This is the lunacy that governs Metro. While hundreds of thousands are lost in traffic delays each year on Metro's clogged freeways due to lack of spending, millions are spent unnecessarily on the TTC's toys, the streetcars, which are costing many times the what a convenient, accessible natural gas bus would cost. Here's a letter I wrote to Norman Kelly, and will forwarding to the others at Metro shortly:

Further to our conversation about the TTC, I want to ask this fundamental question: Why are so few people working on the Gardiner Expressway for so few hours? The incredible delays caused year after year by the low-speed expressway repair jobs only magnify the reasons why business is driven to the suburbs, where the 400 series highways are maintained at night.

Last time I crawled by on the Gardiner work zone, I noticed only 3 people working on the upper deck (perhaps some were underneath). I also noticed that they work bankerís hours as well, and are done by 5pm. This is crazy!

Itís absolutely the opposite message that we should be sending to business, who set up their businesses in areas that are easily serviced by commercial vehicles. Metro Toronto, and the City of Toronto, are sending out all the wrong messages to these tax-lucrative enterprises. Downtown Toronto looks like Detroit, especially in the Ataratiri disaster area.

I want to contrast the lack of people working on the Gardiner to the number of people working on a streetcar problem, on April 22, at 8:45am, at Broadview and Queen. One streetcar was stuck in the intersection, his connection to the overhead wire severed, due to lack of maintenance to the overhead wires. This streetcar was there long enough to block a total of at least 24 streetcars in each direction. There were two overhead wire repairmen in their TTC overhead wire truck, and two supervisors in their new TTC supervisor cars. The fifty or one hundred people who still waited for the busses that needed to be brought in were massively inconvenienced. In total, there were about 30 people making at least $20/hour (quick math: salaries and equipment cost: over $1500/hour) working on a problem that could be solved by scrapping the streetcars and replacing them with clean natural gas busses. Not to mention the broken roads and broken wires that must be replaced at $60,000+ per mile.

Meanwhile, fifty thousand people an hour are severely delayed while only 3-6 workers who probably make less than $20/hour are working.

Itís clear by this simple analysis that Metroís spending priorities are completely out of wack.

In summary, I propose that the streetcars be scrapped immediately on all but one or two historical routes and/or right-of-way routes. I also propose that extra money be allocated immediately and that work be done on the Gardiner 24 hours/7 days a week until it is done. Money should be spent to benefit the greatest number of taxpayers (in this case traffic on the Gardiner), not on the fewest (as in the insanely expensive and unreliable streetcar service).

I would like this topic brought up at the appropriate committee meeting.

If you agree with what you've read here, write to your Toronto Councillor today!

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