Government-Created Masterplanning Maps & Proposals I've always been fascinated by the 25-year masterplanning cycles for public transit and regional transit, often done by different transit agencies but now much more co-operatively (TTC, Metrolinx, etc). Eventually, UrbanToronto.ca should write an article about the history of 25-year masterplans (I'd be happy to donate this post to such an article, just co-credit me and image sources). Here is a small sampling of major 25-year masterplans: Network 2011 -- Mid-80s masterplanning Covered in Transit Toronto and Wikipedia, this is TTC's 1985 masterplanning for year 2011. Suffice to say, we never got this far due to the politics of the era and the 1991 recession. So many failed dreams, but also very short in ambition, and not very well-coordinated with GO's first dreams to electrify (the ICTS proposals). Metrolinx 2031 / The Big Move -- Mid-2000s masterplanning As GO Transit was turned into Metrolinx, The Big Move finally came out. There's a really comprehensive section on Metrolinx's site and on Wikipedia. In a shorter 15-year masterplanning time horizon, there is also the MoveOntario 2020 plan and the GO 2020 plan. Metrolinx 2041 RTP -- Mid-2010s masterplanning Already covered in this UrbanToronto flagship article. Much more collaboration with TTC and other transit agencies than ever. Refines Metrolinx 2031, adjust for the Transit City roller coaster politics, and current political wranglings. Roughly two-thirds of similar elements to Metrolinx 2031 appears to have significant momentum (TPAPs, funding, EAs, etc) and some refinements as a result of recent Metrolinx 2041 public consultations on the Metrolinx 2041 RTP (pdf) Failed Dreams So many failed dreams here, but a clear pattern is that over the last few decades have shown increased intensity of eagerness to keep masterplanning transit in Toronto's huge pressures to densify. We're finally at least punching some projects through. Yet we keep demanding more projects to be begun, even as many projects have been buffered-up into the pipeline. Extent of Average Political Damage Seems Slowly Decreasing Over Decades Many of us still remember major cancellations such as mid-construction abortions (e.g. such as the Eglinton subway fill-in of the 1990s). Perception is that political damage is slowly decreasing over the decades, many Transit City LRTs have survived (so far), the Relief Line is feeling real close to reality, both Brampton/Mississauga and Scarborough are getting bones (Hurontario LRT and Scarborough subway) even as we debate fiercely over their merits. Politicians slowly get less power to cancel projects permanently. Seeing most Transit City get resurrected after years, unlike 1911 "DRL" plans or 1960s era TTC subway plans. Metrolinx best thing ever to Toronto Transit despite scandals? Under this POV, it feels like Metrolinx despite "scandals", may have been the best-ever thing to happen to Toronto Transit scene. Indeed, for many people, the jury is still out in many people's opinions and we need to see more of the "good" routes complete like the Crosstown, Relief Line, turning GO into a frequent metro (under whatever brand names people argue about), and more, to start finally "feeling" the true fruits of these persistently urgent 25-year masterplanning. What is happening is a miracle because roughly two-thirds of elements of the earlier Metrolinx 2031 masterplan (or very roughly similar counterparts) are already in progress, funded, completed EA, have RFQs or RFPs. Metrolinx has succeeded that high a percentage on an earlier masterplan. This is far beyond any Canadian transit agency (dissapointing HSR bus expansions, stalled TTC subway plans, etc). Now Metrolinx is funding more local transit and Doug Ford is actually transferring the Yonge Subway from City of Toronto over to Metrolinx. Doug Ford is giving the subways to Metrolinx -- we don't necessarily agree on that, but it shows that there is no chance of Metrolinx disbanding -- as some may desire having read only sensational bad news headlines in the papers. While some of us are dissapointed at some inefficient spends or line-items, regardless of fault, political-wise, agency-wise, engineering-wise, contractor-wise or other reason). Even as we are late, behind schedule until it is finally built, fume about Presto glitches until we find we really love the convenience after all, some scream "boondoggle" at UP Express before their turnaround popularity (UPX at new price is popular now with standees, 4 times more ridership, the now-popular UPX now pays bigger % of farebox than Hamilton HSR), credit where credit due -- so many projects much further along in Toronto history than in any previous 25-year masterplanning cycle. The good old "Boondoggle-screamers" have not gotten the memo about UPX, they should ride the UPX at peak. They DO tend to learn from their lessons, unlike many other options, and keep going. In that view, Metrolinx is one of the best things that happened to GTHA. Things like the Presto (complaints like $1bn spend, slow 24hour load time, deployment glitches) can be a bone of contention for many people who don't use Presto. However, Presto is still an amazing system that has successfully tied 12 transit agencies together into one farecard system. Stretches all way from Hamilton through Ottawa. So it is one of the world's most complex farecard systems behind the scenes. But simplifying fares for end users. Deployment glitches are annoying but Presto has been stable for a long time in Ottawa and GO Transit, etc. Once glitches are ironed out and more mature areas, the system tends to be amazing for actual users in terms of convenience. The 24-hour fareload delays are not a problem when you load the card at a vending machine. Many international farecard systems don't even let you load the farecard online -- unlike Presto which lets you (even if it's 24 hour). If you hate 24 hour delay, just go presto vending machine and the card is refilled instantly in 15 seconds (YouTube video proof of Presto refill in 15 seconds). Even Hamilton downtown station only has the slower/older vending machine in the bus area which aren't good. But the improved Toronto Presto vending machines are coming to Hamilton LRT and they can be used to refill for HSR buses too. Back to the master plans -- while less than a quarter is complete, many are in progress, funded, EA, RFP, RFQ, construction, delivery -- e.g. Eglinton Crosstown under construction. Even while things like West Harbour GO station idles waiting for the extra track to be built (2018 Canal bridge finished, 2019 Confederation GO station under construction, etc), the infrastructure will gradually become much more heavily used. Unfortunately, these pre-requisite delays also happen elsewhere (e.g. much like how certain freeways are idle in Ontario -- like that unused segment of the billion-dollar Windsor freeway extension to the yet-unbuilt USA bridge yet to begin construction -- so it's not just a Metrolinx thing). While we should have construction in a more efficient sequence/order -- we're wasting far less on repeatedly-cancelled projects of past decades. Even many Transit City routes have resurrected. We're early in the Big Move cycle, it does not feel like progress at all yet but many shovels are already in the ground. The big benefits don't appear until near the end of a 25-year cycle. The glass is figuratively more than half full. We haven't drank it yet (whether you view it as healthy water or unhealthy kool aid, is subject to debate). Regardless of your opinion of Metrolinx or TTC or both, a much more successful-percentage 25-year planning cycle is still fantastic for the whole of Ontario. Just less than 5 years ago, GO trains were hourly on Lakeshore. Now the talk is that in the fairly near future (possibly as early as 2019) -- GO Trains are planned to be every 15 minutes on Lakeshore. That's a massive improvement. Niagara GO extension is already well under construction with the Confederation GO and Grimsby GO construction sites (which will finally make West Harbour GO a more heavily used station within a few years). The Future: Greater Golden Horseshoe 2051 Plan It will be fascinating to see how this slowly evolves towards the 2051 Master Plan (presumably Metrolinx 2051). Some early thinkings have begun towards that as GGH2051 (Greater Golden Horseshoe 2051 Plan) which is done by Ontario Ministry of Transport. This would presumably have elements rolled into 2051 Regional Transport Plan consultations (Metrolinx or whatever name they have then) beginning around the year 2026. 25-Year Masterplanning Cycles Timed to Census Predictions There appears a very clear intent is to refine/continue 25-year masterplanning cycles once every census decade. It is clear this is logical to continue to keep refining as best as we can, regardless of politics.