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    Torontoist's feature on how Stepgate went viral internationally is a mustread.
  • The National Post covers a disturbing report about claiming a police officer maimed a teenager. If the Toronto police have been actively trying to cover up criminal assault by one of their members ...

  • Global News notes that Metrolinx has opted to remove Bombardier for consideration in operating GO Transit.

  • A high-speed ferry link between Toronto and Niagara--St. Catherine's--is imaginable. Economically viable? The Globe and Mail reports.

  • Simon Lewsen describes in The Globe and Mail how the 1977 murder of Emanuel Jaques led, eventually, to the transformation of Yonge Street.

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  • James Bow talks about how Ontario aiming for experimental hydrogen-powered trains, not electric ones, is a mistake.

  • Marginal Revolution reports on the community that WalMart took to a West Virginia county it is now leaving.

  • Diane Duane shows an old novel proposal from 1999 that she found again, and is now dusting off.

  • Transit Toronto notes that the time-based transfer program on the St. Clair route is ending, after 12 years.

  • Unicorn Booty reports on the lavender scare of the 1950s in the United States.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the strong use of repetition, as a literary device, in the Hebrew version particularly of Genesis.

  • Window on Eurasia wonders how the Russian-American relationship, one Russia has depended on in the past, will evolve.

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  • Torontoist's Emily Macrae notes the importance that parks will have for a Toronto with an aging population.

  • The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports that Siemens is challenging Metrolinx's award of the contract for new streetcars to Alstom.

  • Global News shares arguments from business owners that the floodwaters around the Toronto Islands has fallen enough to reopen them.

  • CBC News' Justin Li reports that Ward's Island, easternmost of the Toronto Islands, actually is open for business.

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  • blogTO notes the ridiculous costs associated with Presto installation on TTC vehicles. Why are we using it?

  • The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr notes that the Ontario government is subsidizing the Union-Pearson Express to the tune of $C 11 per passenger. (This is an improvement.)

  • Steve Munro reports on the causes of and dynamics of noise generation on the 514 Cherry streetcar route.

  • CP24 notes that the City of Toronto has lost $C 5 million so far thanks to the flooding on the Toronto Islands, mostly from lost ferry revenue.

  • Alex Bozikovic notes in The Globe and Mail that the Toronto waterfront is going to receive more than a billion dollars in funding for flood protection.

  • Andrea Houston at Torontoist argues that anger is a perfectly appropriate response to the suffering and death of the homeless of Toronto.

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Northbound incoming to Eglinton station


On Tuesday, I took this photo of one of the new subway trains making its way north to Eglinton station.
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  • Torontoist notes that, between climate change and development, Toronto faces serious flood risks in the future.

  • Ben Spurr notes in the Toronto Star that, come September, Metrolinx will oversee 3% fare increases on GO Transit and the UP Express.

  • I am unsurprised to learn, again from the Toronto Star's Ben Spurr, that the TTC has won an award recognizing it as the best public transit agency in North America.

  • Fatima Syed notes that Brampton, with its newly hired urban planner, is in search of a new identity.

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  • Language Hat blogs about appearances of Nahuatl in Los Angeles, in television and in education.
  • Language Log talks about "Zhonghua minzu", meaning "Chinese nation" or "Chinese race" depending on the translation.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that Canada, with inelastic production, might have a marijuana shortage come legalization/
  • In the NYR Daily, Christopher de Bellaigue wonders if Britain--the West, even--might be on the verge of a descent into communal violence.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at the accessibility of VIA Rail's data on trade arrivals and departures.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel notes that, in the far distant starless future, the decay of binary brown dwarf orbits can still start stars.

  • Torontoist shares photos of the Dyke March.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Tatarstan's tradition of bourgeois and intellectually critical nationalism could have wider consequences, in Russia and beyond.

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  • Steve Munro reports on the many problems associated with implementing new express buses, in Toronto and elsewhere.

  • Global News was one of many sources reporting on the high rate of failure of the new Bombardier streetcars.

  • Ben Spurr notes the astounding failure of the City of Toronto to do basic things at Union Station, like collect rent.

  • Transit Toronto notes that GO Transit's seasonal routes to Niagara have started today and will go until 4 September.

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  • Daily Xtra notes that, in the 1930s, the shops of Yonge and Dundas supported a queer community. The tours described sound interesting.

  • Torontoist's Tricia Wood arguesthat the proposed high speed rail route in southern Ontario is wasteful spending, reflecting a two-tier transit network.

  • Steve Munro crunches data on the Queen Street route to find that buses have an advantage over streetcars.

  • The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr notes that the TTC is planning to noticeably expand its express bus network.

  • NOW Toronto's Lisa Ferguson writes about potential NIMBYism in the opposition to new high-rises in High Park.

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  • Steve Munro calls for an honest public review of what Toronto actually does need insofar as mass transit is concerned.

  • Torontoist is justly critical of a one-stop Scarborough subway extension that will help make mass transit there worse.

  • Spacing's John Lorinc is critical of plans for mass transit expansion that do not respond to existing issues.

  • The Toronto Star notes that Union-Pearson Express ridership is up but also notes that it remains heavily subsidized.
  • rfmcdonald: (photo)
    It's not inaccurate to say that a big part of the reason I did Doors Open yesterday was because of the TTC-themed Lego exhibit at the Toronto Railway Museum, in Roundhouse Park. The amount of work that went into the details of these models, some of them working miniatures, is impressive.

    IMG_20170528_162942


    IMG_20170528_162952


    IMG_20170528_163011


    IMG_20170528_163035
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    The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr looks at how the new streetcars the TTC is contracting to buy with Alstom with compared with Bombardier's oft-promised ones, and the consequences.

    After a protracted dispute with Bombardier about delays to its light rail vehicle order for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Metrolinx has taken the drastic step of placing an order for cars with another company.

    Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced Friday that Metrolinx, which is the provincial agency in charge of transit planning for the GTHA, has inked a deal to buy 61 vehicles from the French firm Alstom at a cost of $528 million.

    The transit agency hasn’t cancelled its $770-million purchase from Bombardier, which as a result of a lawsuit brought by the manufacturer is now tied up in a dispute resolution process. But Del Duca said allowing both purchases to go ahead simultaneously would provide Metrolinx with a backup fleet that guarantees it will have enough vehicles to open the Crosstown line by 2021.

    Del Duca called it “a creative and prudent approach to dealing with a less than ideal situation.”

    Bombardier maintains that Metrolinx had no need to seek another supplier, and says it will be able to supply all 182 cars the agency ordered in 2010, 76 of which would run on the Crosstown line.
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    Underneath #toronto #bathurststreet #davenport #tunnel #night


    Walking part of the way home tonight, heading south then west from St. Clair West, I passed by this mural on the rail underpass on Bathurst just north of Dupont.
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    Tower in the night, north towards Davenport


    The signals tower on the rail line to the north of my home was just barely perceptible, late last night, against the bright clouds.
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    The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports on the latest in the back-and-forth between Metrolinx and Bombardier.

    The TTC says it remains confident that Bombardier will stick to its latest streetcar delivery schedule, despite allegations this week of ongoing dysfunction at the Quebec-based rail manufacturer’s plants.

    Court documents filed Thursday by Metrolinx, the provincially owned transit agency, accuse Bombardier of a “persistent inability to deliver on its contractual obligations” under a 2010 deal for 182 light rail vehicles (LRVs) and claim that as recently as last month there were “chronic and ongoing” problems with the company’s manufacturing processes.

    The $770-million order from Metrolinx is separate from the TTC’s 2009 purchase from Bombardier of 204 low-floor streetcars, which has also been plagued by delays. But the vehicles from the two orders are similar and Bombardier is assembling the TTC cars at the same plants that have worked on the Metrolinx project.

    Metrolinx filed the affidavits in response to Bombardier’s attempt to secure an injunction to prevent the agency from cancelling the contract. The documents have not been tested in court.

    Bombardier denies it has bungled the Metrolinx order and in a statement released Thursday said: “we categorically disagree” with Metrolinx’s allegations. The company stated it was “fully able to deliver” the vehicles, which Metrolinx purchased to run on the Eglinton Crosstown and the Finch LRT.
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    The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski reports on a study that suggests, plausibly enough, that increases in GO Transit rail service to outlying communities in the Greater Toronto Area will boost real estate prices there.

    The plan to expand the GO train system to 15-minute, all-day two way service could increase some Toronto area property values up to 12 per cent.

    It could also make housing up to 18 per cent more affordable in some areas of the region, according to a study of 773 communities commissioned by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

    But maximizing those benefits depends on local municipalities making it attractive for commuters to get to the station, said the president of a data analytics company that studied the impact of GO’s Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion on Toronto region housing prices and affordability.

    “While the GO station may be close to people it may not be accessible to them,” said Paul Smetanin, president of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA).

    Areas that stand to gain the most in terms of affordability from RER are those outside the city, places such as Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton and King.
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    The Globe and Mail's Oliver Moore reports on Metrolinx's announcement that it is searching for a new transit car maker to replace Bombardier.

    Metrolinx has opened talks with another transit builder as it pushes for a quick resolution to its legal showdown with Bombardier Inc. over a $770-million light-rail vehicle order for Toronto.

    The regional transit agency alleges in a 2,000-page court filing that Bombardier’s delays are putting the $5.4-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT project at risk. And it argues that the Montreal-based company is trying to drag out the legal process so that Metrolinx won’t have enough time to go to another supplier, even if it wins in court.

    At issue are the 182 transit vehicles destined primarily for the Crosstown – which is under construction and scheduled to open in 2021 – and an LRT project planned for Finch Avenue West.

    Metrolinx will be on the hook for major fines if the vehicles don’t arrive in time to open the Crosstown as scheduled. The agency, an arm of the provincial government, is also keenly aware that its political masters could change next year and is under pressure to show it can deliver big projects.
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    What can be said but that this, reported by the Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro, is unacceptable?

    A $100,000 consultant’s report meant to help determine whether transit projects worth billions of dollars are cost-effective has been kept secret by the city.

    In June, the city paid the firm, Arup, which consults on transportation projects worldwide, to provide business case analyses for several projects planned by the city, including Mayor John Tory’s original “SmartTrack” idea for additional stops along the GO Transit rail line travelling through Toronto, and the controversial one-stop Scarborough subway extension.

    The report produced by Arup, however, was never publicly released as part of a city staff report to executive committee in June, which was then debated at a July council meeting.

    The missing consultant information adds to a series of questions over future transit plans that include delayed reports and a secret briefing note on the Scarborough subway extension that has been called a “political football,” and still-incomplete analysis of the mayor’s key campaign promise for an additional heavy rail service that is moving ahead, while heavily modified.
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    The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports on the depths to which the Metrolinx-Bombardier relationship has descended. Is there anything at all salvageable from this ghastly mess?

    Metrolinx executives ripped into rail manufacturer Bombardier at a meeting of the transit agency’s board on Friday, depicting the company as an organization in disarray and accusing it of spreading false information.

    Reading from prepared remarks, board chair Rob Prichard criticized the company for taking Metrolinx to court in a dispute over a $770-million light rail vehicle order that has been bogged down by delays.

    “Bombardier’s behaviour in going to court is not that of a trusted partner,” Prichard said. He slammed allegations the company made last week in a press release blaming Metrolinx for the delays as “false.”

    Over the course of the contract Bombardier has cycled through at least two presidents, three vice presidents and five project managers, and Prichard said that had undermined the company’s ability to deliver vehicles on time.

    “Bombardier needs to stabilize its business and the leadership of its business, focus on meeting its commitments and schedules, stop blaming others for its own shortcomings, and to start delivering its overdue vehicles,” Prichard said.
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    The Globe and Mail's Dominika Lirette reports on the support of the British Columbian government for funding a study looking into the feasibility of a high-speed rail route connecting Vancouver with Oregon's Portland.

    British Columbia’s Transportation Minister says the province supports Washington State’s decision to study the feasibility of a high-speed rail line from Portland to Vancouver.

    Washington Governor Jay Inslee has allotted $1-million (U.S.) from his 2017-19 state budget to examine the costs and benefits of building a system to carry travellers 400 kilometres an hour with stops in Seattle and Bellingham. A report is due in December.

    Transportation Minister Todd Stone said it’s “far too premature” to talk about a potential financial commitment to a high-speed rail line, but he said the province is interested in the idea.

    “The Premier sent a letter to Governor Inslee recently, extending provincial support for the state of Washington’s decision to actually do some due diligence, some analysis on this proposed high-speed rail link, and we certainly support them doing that,” Mr. Stone said.

    He noted that that an agreement signed last year between British Columbia and Washington State, known as the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, highlights transportation as a key priority.

    The study will examine the design and cost of a high-speed rail system, the potential demand and whether it would be economically viable. A budget document outlining the study says the high-speed rail system, if built, could connect with east-west routes in the state, as well as a similar system, in California.

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