Saba Ahmad is a Litigator working on environmental, administrative and commercial matters in Toronto. Learn more at www.sabaahmad.com
This morning, on @MetroMorning, I heard Murtaza Haider of Ryerson University reject public transit as an alternative to closing the Gardner Expressway. He said electrifying the GO Lakeshore line would not increase capacity. Of course, if true, his assertion would support his thesis about the importance of the Gardner Expressway. But it’s not true. According to Metrolinx:
“A mixture of non‐stop and local services is an appropriate way to provide relatively fast journey times for longer‐distance passengers to Union Station, whilst providing capacity for those travelling shorter distances. The use of electric trains on all‐stop services, with their superior acceleration and deceleration capability, would help to reduce the operating differential between the faster and slower trains and potentially allow a greater number of services to operate. In creating additional capacity for operating extra trains – either non‐stop or local ‐ this increase in service would help to meet growing demand in a cost‐effective manner.” (page 80 of GO Electrification Study, 2010)
“Option 2 (Lakeshore) consistently emerged as the best performing option, with a BCR likely to be above 1:1 and possibly significantly higher;” (Id. at p. xii)
We have important decisions to make in this town and misinformation is not helpful. I’m not saying closing the Gardner is necessarily a good idea. I use it whenever I drive downtown and I find it hard to conceive moving forward without it.
But that’s why we have planners – to create alternatives. Electrifying Lakeshore would be part of how we’d manage. I hope not too many people were persuaded by Dr. Haider’s irresponsible comments to the contrary.