Header photo by Hamish Grant. Used with permission.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stepping up for clean air in Toronto

I like my air clean and my transit accessible.  How do you like them?

Let me tell you little story about Metrolinx: Metrolinx (formally known as the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) is the public authority that manages transportation planning throughout the GTA. It operates GO Transit, and is responsible for planning and implementing the growth of transit in the region.

Transit = good

One of the projects that Metrolinx is involved with is an expansion of the rail corridor between Georgetown and Union Station.  Currently, about 45 trains run through that corridor each day.  After the expansion, that number will rise to between 200 and 450.

More transit = more good (right?)

Maybe.  Problem # 1 is that all this new rail infrastructure is being built to increase diesel train capacity. Four hundred more diesel trains running through the west end of Toronto daily?  That's a lot of diesel.

"Toronto is the new L.A." has a nice ring to it if we're talking about famous people. It's less appealing if referring to smog.

Here's what I'm thinking: If we're spending all kinds of money expanding the rail service through this corridor, why not invest in sustainable transit?  Why not make it electric?  With the PanAm games coming to this city, wouldn't a modern, clean, electric rail system be something that we would want to proudly showcase, rather than a smoke-spewing diesel behemoth?

Problem #2: These trains aren't going to be stopping in the communities they run through; they will be going straight from Union Station to Pearson International Airport.

It doesn't seem like a well-thought out plan.  Shouldn't these trains running through these west-Toronto communities at least serve them?  That's what I think.

The GOOD NEWS is that it's not a done deal yet.
But the cause needs further support.  You can:

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