THANK YOU to all who voted for my Candidacy! Much appreciated.
I am very aware of the financial and legislative / administrative limitations that make it virtually impossible for our City to develop infrastructure significantly. Such initiatives cost tens of billions of dollars and take decades to complete. Nobody wants to pay more taxes, and the government is in debt. The traffic gridlock is getting much worse every year. We need solutions that are relatively inexpensive and can be implemented fast, with maximum impact.
I believe there are a lot of things we can do, very simple, common-sense ideas such as clearing the main routes of street parking, left turns, streetcars, bicycle 'lanes', potholes, out-of-sync traffic lights. We must impose a congestion levy to all vehicles accessing downtown areas and use those funds to make public transit more accessible: fare-free and plenty of parking around downtown core. Read more below.
Cars, Trucks, Buses, Streetcars, Taxi, Uber, Bicycles, Skateboards, Left and Right turns, Parking and Standing... There's too much happening on the streets! That's why they're congested.
- Designate an array of major / key routes including the main N-S / E-W streets such as Yonge, University, Bathurst, Church, Jarvis.. Lake Shore, Front, King, Adelaide, Richmond, Queen, Dundas.. etc etc. These routes will be used for traffic relief.
- Parking, left-turns, bicycles, skateboards, walking, jogging - not allowed.
- Expand the use of dynamically adjusted, synchronized lights, creating 'green waves' to increase traffic fluidity and to clear temporary congestion caused by accidents, outages, events.
- Expand the use of one-way streets similar to Adelaide - Richmond.
- Replace Streetcars with Electric buses in the downtown areas where the streetcar does not have a designated lane. Streetcars are great in open space but they're very disruptive in a congested urban environment.
Parking is one of the City's worst managed administrative activities. Street parking is very disruptive to the traffic fluidity, it is grossly abused, too expensive to enforce and it encourages people to drive.
- No parking allowed on TRR's and on most streets especially in the downtown area.
- Build parking structures to to replace the street parking capacity and to recuperate the 'lost revenue'. Large parking structures are needed around major TTC stations - in many cases already in place.
- Hire external contractors (not City employees) to enforce parking.
On this topic of Parking Management, I would order a serious audit of all Handicapped Parking Permits and I would enforce parking rules for permitted vehicles. There are too many obvious abuses - I know personally a few people who are 'borrowing' permits that allow them to park wherever they want and I see a lot of obviously non-handicapped people parking their cars illegally, Parking Enforcement agents disregarding their infractions by default.
This is not fair to the rest of us and frankly to people with handicap.
I fully support the idea of adding more Express Bus Routes! Congratulations to Mayor Tory and Councillor Bailao. Well, kinda..
I prefer the 'real' Express routes, the ones that criss-cross the city, not those Buses that don't stop in all stations. Also, I find the budget allocated to this initiative totally insufficient.
We need Express routes - with priority lanes - to connect various points from around downtown area and in the suburbs to the major points of interest in the downtown area.
These Express routes are probably the best solution we can have on a low budget. They're flexible, scalable, easy to re-route if necessary.
This initiative, coupled with the measures described in the 'Traffic Relief Routes' section represents, in my opinion, a solid start in addressing #GRIDLOCK immediately, on a low budget.
The Capital investment initiatives such as more subway lines will probably have to wait until funding is available and then until the construction is complete. But there's a lot we can do NOW!.
It makes absolutely NO SENSE to make people 1) Pay for parking at those sprawling TTC lots; 2) Pay for increased TTC fares; 3) Add the inconvenience...
No wonder many people who can afford driving will choose driving over 'Riding the Rocket'.
My proposal is to make TTC a better, cheaper, more attractive option.
This includes Fare-Free TTC for all rides originating in the 'Downtown' area - South of Bloor, East of Dufferin, West of DVP. People who live in the suburbs would pay for one-way ride into downtown, the return would be fare-free. All rides within downtown would be fare-free, inviting more people to take TTC rather than short drives aound downtown.
People would me much more inclined to take TTC if they had good parking options around the major TTC hubs. That means:
- Large parking structures;
- Reasonable parking rates;
- Easy access to TTC vehicles;
The total cost of a trip should be significantly less for Parking + TTC vs. driving and parking downtown, to make up for the loss in speed and convenience the driving option offers.
High parking rates and high fares do not encourage people to take TTC! So let's lower these costs to attract more people.
Out of all vehicles available in public transit around the world, the Electric Bus seems to me is the best option.
The Electric Bus is environmentally friendly, is more mobile and less noisy compared to streetcars. It has a modern look and it is definitely growing foothold all over the world.
I detest streetcars. The can be a very good option on a dedicated track where other vehicles don't interfere, but the narrow and busy streets of downtown Toronto are no place for streetcars. They can't go around stopped vehicles, they stop traffic in busy intersections for onboarding/offboarding of passengers, they make a lot of noise. A vehicle breakdown closes an entire line!
I am a biker myself - riding my bicycle to the office in the downtown area.. I am a strong supporter of bicycles and bicycle lanes.
- Toronto needs an expanded, contiguous network of bicycle lanes, allowing bikers to reach a large number of destinations.
- Bicycle lanes should always be separate from the rest of the traffic. Vehicles and bicycles don't mix well, and 'sharing the road' has already caused too many accidents.
- Bikers must obey traffic rules and laws. I see bikers breaking rules every day, crossing intersections in disregard of traffic lights, riding on sidewalks, crosswalks etc.
Toronto Lake Shore is comprised of a few dis-contiguous 'pockets' of recreational areas, interrupted by various properties that, some of them, could be relocated, such as HMCS York, Fire Station 334, Police Marine Unit etc.
I support the City to reclaim as much Lake Shore land as possible by relocating government facilities and purchasing private properties in order to create a more contiguous space where we can build more appropriate recreational facilities that would make our waterfront even more attractive.
I believe that more entertainment facilities along the waterfront (restaurants, bars, promenades, shopping areas, watersports etc) would boost tourism in the City.
I would join the chorus of wildly speculative City Planning my fellow Candidates engage in, floating around 'pipe-dream' plans whose costs would run into tens of billions - if the estimates could ever be correct.
IF FUNDING WAS PLENTIFUL
I would support these development ideas:
- More subway lines and stops; It would be presumptuous for me to propose specific routes, that should be the result of thorough analysis to make sure the development will serve a maximum number of passengers.
- I would support the replacement of QEW bridge from Dufferin through DVP with a tunnel, completely or partially buried. The land above it should be used to build parks and recreational facilities.
- This is an idea I proposed during the 2014 elections and was also presented by Mayor John Tory recently: the covering of railway tracks from Bathurst (or even Dufferin) through Jarvis or further to the East. The newly created surface represents prime downtown location, great for more parks and recreational facilities.